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2008 Goals: A Look Back

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Yesterday I got a little ahead of myself as I looked at my blogging goals for 2009. I should have realized that with the dwindle hours of 2008, I should be looking back at my goals for 2008, and adjusting from there. I haven't looked at them in a little while - a really bad sign. If I had to guess, Clubber Lang would hit it on nose with his famous line of, "My prediction?... Pain!"

My 2008 goals were complex. I had just left my full-time job in October of 2007 and was unsure if I was going to take another one, or go all out with the idea of earning online income. As fate would have it, I ended up doing a little bit of both. I didn't have a full-time job all year, but I did consult at an hourly wage. This consulting slowed down some of the gains I might have had if I went for all-out online income. At the same time, I definitely spent major hours on earning online income. I'm going to use my goals as if I was going all-out for online income - I had enough time even after my consulting to hit those goals.

Goals for 2008

Financial Goals
Net Worth Alternative Income
2008 Predicted 2008 Actual 2008 Predicted 2008 Actual
$250,000 $143,176 $5,000/mo. $2,235/mo.
Career Goals
Software Development Business Skills
2008 Predicted 2008 Actual 2008 Predicted 2008 Actual
500 hours 0 hours 2 books each category 2 books total
Health
Weight Body Fat
2008 Predicted 2008 Actual 2008 Predicted 2008 Actual
175 lbs. 176 lbs. 17% body fat 19.15% body fat
Websites
Lazy Man and Money Lazy Man and Health
2008 Predicted 2008 Actual 2008 Predicted 2008 Actual
55,000 mo. visitors/4,000 subscribers ~40,000/~3100 20,000/1,000 ~7,000/300

Reviewing the Goals

  • Net Worth - I have to give myself a D- on this one. Why not an F when I was so far off? It's simply that my net worth is largely tied to real estate that I own and stocks that I have invested in for retirement. When 70% of your portfolio loses some 30% of it's value - it's going to be pain. I couldn't have done too much differently other than moving out of stocks to something safer, but I don't believe in timing the market. For the real estate, I could have sold, but I would have locked in big losses. I'll continue to break even on a cash flow basis by renting it out and in a short 26 more years, own it outright ;-). A better goal would have been the income which brings us to...
  • Alternative Income - I thought I'd see a lot more growth the income growth my websites. I have to admit that I didn't do the best to monetize my sites, which is something that I've mentioned in the past. The landscape of monetizing websites has changed dramatically in the last year - some things for the better and some for the worse. For that reason, I would probably give myself a D+. I missed my targets by a lot, but with consulting (which is not alternative income), I probably came close.
  • Software Development - I completely underestimated my lack of desire to ever write software programs again. I used to enjoy the challenge and felt great about solving problems, now I just want the problem solved, so that I can move on to the next thing/goal on my list.
  • Business Skills - I was going to personal MBA, but found that almost none of the books were in my local library. If they were carried at all, they were all checked out far in advance. I got a couple via Paperback Swap, but it took so long to get that I lost interest. Plus I had a pile of personal finance books that people sent me to read. I think I did well by reading a few Malcolm Gladwell books (of which I still need to write reviews for). On the flip side, doing the consulting gave me some hands-on business skill experience.
  • Health - My wife isn't going to believe it, but I'm actually in a little better shape this year using my two metrics. The Wii Fit taunted me last night saying that my BMI was just barely in the "overweight" category. While I didn't reach my health goals, I feel that I had a pretty good exercise regimen for much of the year. It feel apart with a long trip to Australia, but I've since joined a gym and I've seen progress over the last month.
  • Website traffic - I actually passed the 55,000 for Lazy Man and Money a few times. I also got to around the 18,000 for Lazy Man and Health a couple of times. I didn't average those numbers, nor did I finish the year hitting those numbers. (I find December a tough month for Internet traffic with the holidays and people traveling.)

Conclusion: Jimmy Fallon may say that my progress over the last year had something in common with Derek Jeter... I "suck in three very specific ways: so hard, so bad, and wicked bad." I can explain away a lot of the problems that I had, but it doesn't make it better. Perhaps my goal setting was poor to begin with. Perhaps, I should have chosen shorter milestones such as a quarter. In that scenario, I would have at least realized that I wasn't likely to do any software development. There would have also been times when I might have reached my health and website traffic goals. I may have also realized that setting a net worth is extremely difficult when your assets can fluctuate wildly on factors that you can't control.

These are all lessons I have learned for when I make my 2009 goals

Last updated on December 31, 2008.

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9 Responses to “2008 Goals: A Look Back”

  1. Saver in the City says:

    Although you might be beating yourself up about not achieving some of your goals, you have to realize you’re still way ahead of a lot of people simple for setting them! Keep up the great blog and best of luck in 2009 for achieving everything you want!

  2. kosmo says:

    One thing you might do – ask “why” you were able to hit 55K a couple of times? Were you the recipient of links from other blogs during these times? If so, a couple of further questions:

    – Will your future posts strike a chord with any of these bloggers (resulting in future links)? Obviously, you don’t want to drastically alter your content just to get links from other bloggers.

    On the other hand, perhaps you could give the other bloggers a “heads-up” when one of your posts might be relevant to their readers, instead of having them simply stumble across it. Maybe you already do this.

    – How can you retain this cross traffic? It’s nice that they visit once, but it’s better if they become subscribers. I don’t have a silver bullet for this one. Obviously, it’s the $64,000 question.

  3. kosmo says:

    Meant to include this in the last post, but had a brain cramp.

    Do you have the “referrer” info in your traffic logs? Analyzing this could give you insights into your traffic.

  4. Terri says:

    Was the alternative income category a monthly toll? You said you earned around $30k via your websites in 2008 on your previous post.

  5. Lazy Man says:

    I know why I broke the 55K a few times… I found myself putting hours and hours into articles, researching and editing. The final product of that work was something that others wanted to link to.

    It’s simply a case of putting the work in and seeing the results in that sense.

    As for retaining traffic, sometimes it’s just luck of the draw. A high percentage of my traffic (and most bloggers who I talk to) come from search engines. People arriving via this method are usually there to get their question answered and then move on to their next task. Retaining them can be pretty difficult.

    I have all sorts of demographic information including “referer” info provided by Google Analytics.

  6. Lazy Man says:

    Terri, yes it was my best month (though not too far from the average one). I will go back and label that better.

  7. jim says:

    I think the best thing to do about RE and net worth is leave it out or let it be equal to one another, that’s what I do. I guess I never saw my home as an “investment” (though it’s held up in value) so I always kept it neutral with the loan.

  8. Lazy Man says:

    Since I don’t live in my home any more (and have no immediate plans to any time soon), it’s hard not to shift towards thinking of it as an investment.

    I think of it has a stock where the gains are necessarily realized, but they are there for the taking if you have the means to sell.

  9. Four Pillars says:

    Very interesting look at your goals – thanks for sharing.

    I don’t usually set many goals – I might have only 1 or 2 – I find more than that and it’s too hard to focus.

    Some of these goals are more like predictions ie net worth (as you point out).

    I try to set goals that I have direct control over – net worth is ok for long term but not short term.

    Mike

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