Welcome to my 5th annual review.
This is where I talk about what I achieved and learned in the previous year and outline my goals for the upcoming year.
Last year, my goals were to:
- Create a new product for English learners
- Reach 200,000 subscribers on YouTube
- Grow my teaching email list to 50,000
- Get in the best shape of my life
Let’s get straight into it.
NEW PRODUCT FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS (AND NEWS OF A SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH)
In 2014, I created a program for English learners. This started on WizIQ before I transferred it to my website.
Although this program did well, I wanted to do something new; something that could sit beside my original course.
For the first two months, I brainstormed what my new product would be like, wrote several outlines, bought domain names, and started creating content.
But then, I decided to do something else instead: to take the course I already had and upgrade it.
The To Fluency Program, the course that I started in 2014, was heavy on theory.
It showed learners how they could learn English. It went through two main methods that they could apply to their learning and how to commit to a long-term plan.
Those who followed the course this saw great results. However, the majority refund requests focused on the lack of materials.
They liked the method but wanted downloadable materials made for them.
This is what I decided to do in March:
- rerecord the entire course
- include a pronunciation section with downloadable audio
- create flashcards that went with the lessons
- relaunch it and promote it on social media, YouTube, and to my email list
It was a big task but one that I felt was necessary at the time.
It turned out to be a big success. The relaunch went to plan and the feedback I’ve received has been fantastic.
After the relaunch, it was time to put my focus back on YouTube.
MOVING HOUSE IS A BIG DEAL!
Last summer, we moved house.
This took over our lives for 2-3 months.
I won’t go into detail, but we ran into several difficulties that took up large parts of my day leading up to the purchase. Packing is no joke. It takes hours and hours. Unpacking too. One day was spent taking down, transporting, and reassembling the trampoline.
Our kids take up our mornings, evenings, and weekends. Therefore, the time I had to do all this was during work hours.
So, for 2-3 months, I was averaging 10-15 hour workweeks.
When this happens, it’s easy to lose a little motivation. I also got into cryptocurrencies at this time and found myself researching new coins instead of making videos.
My YouTube channel took a dive over spring and summer.
Here is a picture that shows this.
I made quick videos because I felt like I had to get something out there.
But I wasn’t excited about making these videos and it showed.
The momentum I had earlier in the year died out.
I didn’t panic, however. This had happened before. I’ve gone through periods where I wasn’t fully motivated. My mind was elsewhere.
Once things with the house started settling down – and my son went back to school! – it all came back. With a vengeance!
SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER: YOUTUBE TIME
While I was brainstorming my course at the start of the year, I was killing the YouTube game.
As you saw, watch time exploded.
But with so much time spent on my new program – and with the hectic summer – I lost a lot of momentum.
In September, I did the following:
- got excited about growing my YouTube channel again
- researched the best ways to do this
- consciously made my videos better
- promoted them
I looked at what I was doing and upped my game.
Here is a video I made on this:
I made my videos longer (great for watch time). I increased the quality. I kept users on YouTube by suggesting other videos instead of constantly talking about my book. I went through past videos and changed thumbnails to make them more clickable.
In fact, one of the videos that got a facelift – a video I recorded in 2014 – has started to gain a lot of traction.
The changes I made worked. I’m very close to getting back to the highs I achieved in February last year.
I GOT SICK & THIS GAVE ME A REALIZATION
We decided to spend the holidays in Manchester last year.
Leading up to this, I was realistic about how much I could get done before, during, and after this vacation.
I ended up getting sick and wasn’t able to do anything for 7 weeks. Again, I lost some momentum with my YouTube channel and in general.
In the weeks leading up to going away, I recorded 8 videos so that I could release them gradually.
This helped greatly and leads me to my first goal: to get ahead with videos.
I’ve always shied away from this as I like to introduce continuity; to tell stories and create open loops. But having videos that I consistently post is more important.
So, that’s goal number one.
Before I talk about the rest of my goals, let’s change pace.
WHAT I BOUGHT IN 2017:
I didn’t get much last year. The year before, I got new cameras, new software, the whole shebang.
Here is what I did get:
- New light: http://amzn.to/2GvVTWP
- Flexible tripod: http://amzn.to/2GxuXpA
- Clip-on mic: http://amzn.to/2DNstlo
- Background: http://amzn.to/2Fv5uMe
- Microphone stand: ttp://amzn.to/2BGgYue
I got the background for my new course. I haven’t used it since.
The microphone stand and tripod have been great. The new light too. I don’t know where the clip on mic is, though!
Here is what I use when making videos – most of this was bought in 2017:
MY OTHER GOALS IN 2017
I lost 27 lbs while gaining strength.
I hit my goal and being consistent with diet and exercise works. Who knew? Here is a before and after picture:
The goal of reaching 50,000 email subscribers (for this brand) was pushed down the pecking order. This is more of a priority this year.
GOALS FOR 2018
Alright, time for the juicy bit.
Instead of setting goals for the entire year, I am going to focus on the first three months.
I’m aware that, as I post this, the first month has already gone. This only makes Parkinson’s Law stronger!
GET 6 WEEKS AHEAD WITH VIDEOS AND START GROWING AGAIN
Momentum with YouTube was lost because I wasn’t able to make new videos. Getting ahead will solve this issue.
If I have to take time off work for whatever reason, I’ll have videos ready to go.
By the end of March, I want to be six weeks ahead. I’ve seen other teachers do this and I want it too. I’m also going to be more consistent with this blog and YouTube channel.
Once I reach this stage, I’ll be able to dedicate more time to other projects knowing that I have content ready to go.
It will also take the pressure off if something happens.
GET OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE AND PROMOTE MY COURSES MORE
I want to offer something new to my English learners and to you guys (coming soon!).
When I have started to do this in the past, a reason to not do it always cropped up.
I’m sure you know what this feels like. It’s difficult to do something new. It’s uncomfortable.
Whenever I get this feeling, I’m going to ask myself: what’s stopping me from doing this?
Writing things down helps. Taking that first step does too. If you want to create videos, for example, create a short one and share it with a few people. Take things from there.
Let’s all get out of our comfort zones. It’s where the magic happens.
This is something I’ve already started.
While sick in bed, I went through all my files and went on a delete spree. Everything is now organized and I’m going to stay on top of this.
When I start a new project like making a new YouTube video, all the files (video, audio, artwork etc.) will be in one folder. Once the project is complete, I file it all away.
It’s like I have an inbox for projects. It makes me focus on 1-2 projects at a time. I can also find what I need quickly because my files are all organized.
There’s nothing in my download or desktop folder.
I’m also going to get rid of anything that I don’t need (two bags of clothes are in the car ready to be donated). I’m embracing minimalism again. It feels good!
Being sick means that you can’t work or spend time with your children. I want to be present while doing both. I’m going to do whatever it takes to be as healthy as possible.
This is my number one priority.
Without this, nothing else matters.
OVER TO YOU
Overall, I’m happy with how the year went.
It’s easy to make excuses for things not working out. I could just say that I didn’t reach my goal of 200,000 subscribers because we moved house and for other reasons.
However, I know that I have to get ahead to account for things that happen. To be consistently consistent 😉
I’m excited to get stuck into my goals and I’ll be sure to update you at the end of quarter one.
What are your goals this year? What do you want to achieve?
Let me know below!