Looking back over my Plans for 2015 blog post (January 10, 2015), I was pleasantly surprised to have hit many of the marks that I had set out to achieve. “Surprised” being the operative word…
Brief Recap of 2015
Before even measuring up, I knew it was a super productive year, but it was also filled with twists and turns – so I approached the review with caution.
Lo and behold, we did release our first app; finish the idea validation series on another app; reach our goal of growing the subscriber base by 100% (actually, it was 500% to be exact); and plenty more.
However, my aspirations of hiring a Virtual Assistant didn’t come to fruition, and are now firmly on the back-burner.
I also strayed from the project pipeline outlined for 2015. There was enough foresight to recognize that all of those projects couldn’t actually get done in one year, but some new opportunities came to light, so the priorities shifted slightly.
I’m not going to be so bold as to outline my project pipeline this time around.
What’s on the Bookshelf
A great way to look back on the year is to get a snapshot of the books you completed.
I ended the previous year (2014) strong by reading:
- Gary Vaynerchuk’s books Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
- Scott Fox’s books e-Riches 2.0: Next-Generation Marketing Strategies for Making Millions Online and Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love
- Chris Ducker’s book Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business
I was on a tear!
There was plenty of time to read mainly because I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms in December 2014/January 2015.
The trend continued well into 2015 (thankfully not the waiting room part), but rather I continued to consume books at a pretty consistent rate. This was made easier with audiobooks, where I routinely spend time walking the dog and/or at the gym with my headphones.
Here’s a list of the books that I’ve either read or listened to in 2015:
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
by Jeff Olson
- Flight Plan: The Real Secret of Success by Brian Tracy
- The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
- Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
- Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
- Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca
- The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
- Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Hilarious, especially if you’re a parent)
- Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey (Classic)
- MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
Most of these can be categorized into: personal development, finances, entrepreneurship, and humor. Hey, you are what you eat (and you always need to feed your head!)
Taking in too much information can sometimes be distracting, but reading is essential. So at least try to ensure it’s either for pleasure or moving you closer to achieving your goals. There’s always room to cut back on info elsewhere (i.e. news, TV, etc.).
There is already a small pile of books that I have on my shelf for 2016, including:
- The Big Idea: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million by Donny Deutsch;
- Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others by David Kord Murray; and
- What to Do When its Your Turn (and its Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin.
But what I’m most excited about is:
- Peter Voogd’s 6 Months to 6 Figures and
- Pat Flynn’s Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.
You’ll see more about these two titles over the coming month or so!
Focus is the New Multitask
The unofficial theme of 2015 seemed to be “growth”. Growth of the blog; of the number of subscribers; and of my personal knowledge-base. While I will continue to work towards keeping that trend moving upward, this year’s focus will be on, well, Focus!
John Lee Dumas describes “focus” as:
Focus on One Course Until Success
While I like to keep my fingers in many pies, and will continue to work at putting the pieces together on larger projects, I will attempt to focus my efforts a bit more in 2016, rather than sticking to the shotgun approach.
Giving myself “permission” to publish blog posts bi-weekly (rather than weekly) has already begun to help in opening up more time for execution. Although I was sticking to the once a week schedule pretty good at the beginning of 2015, it became unsustainable. The additional week between posts allows time to both focus more on the writing, as well as on promoting the content on the blog.
In addition, 2015 brought several unexpected opportunities and moments of clarity that will help guide my actions in 2016.
Some came in the form of opportunities – such as the joint venture with Jeff Goins and his Tribe Writers course, and more recently being included in Pat Flynn’s (from Smart Passive Income) book launch team for his first book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.
These types of opportunities are win-win-win, because they are perfectly aligned with our mission here on this blog; with those of my audience; and they help found and nurture relationships with more established online entrepreneurs who have helped me over the years (both directly and indirectly).
Other solutions came in the form of clarity – from organizing my activities around a few core competencies, to literally organizing my activities using Trello, a clean web-based project management application. I’m just starting to get into this software, but so far it seems to be the perfect marriage of to-do list meets mind mapping.
But the biggest “AHA” moment I had, or as Brian Tracy would call it my “super-conscious solution” came out-of-the-blue, when it dawned on me that two of the projects I had been working on could be merged into one. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t see the obvious connection (and efficiencies) between these projects. Nonetheless, the synergies were there, just waiting to be recognized (thanks brain!) More on this project later in the year.
The sum of these opportunities and moments of clarity will allow me to focus better on what’s important to moving the needle on Testing the Muse moving forward.
I’m also here to do anything I can to help you find your opportunities in 2016!