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.
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