2014 Year in Review

Photo by  Ashley Kelemen

Each of the past three years I've written an annual review and I encourage you to do the same.

Sometimes it is easier just to keep thinking about today, tomorrow, and the future, but looking back at what went well and what didn't go well can help you see just how far you've come and determine what to do or focus on in the upcoming year.

  • In 2011, I started blogging, quit my day job, got married, and traveled for three months straight.
  • In 2012, I co-launched Fizzle.co, started my first podcast, shot my first real video of myself, and started a mastermind group with Barrett Brooks & Nathan Barry (that's still going strong).
  • In 2013, I lived in Italy for 6 weeks with my wife Jen, helped grow Fizzle to over 1,100 members, started doing video client work, Jen was diagnosed with cancer, and we got a puppy.

At the beginning of 2014, Jen and I picked a single word for the year: simplify. I'm pretty sure we failed at that.

We moved into a bigger place, traveled a lot, Jen's cancer returned, I left my job at Fizzle to go solo, and did all of the below.

Let's first take a look at all of the things I helped create or did this year.

What was my body of work this year?

What went well in 2014?

  • I replaced my income from Fizzle on day one through my video production studio
  • Had my first year of substantial income from my personal online projects through digital sales of the DIY Video Guide (after three years of slow growth)
  • Hired my first employee, my brother-in-law Tim, part-time to help me with video production and editing
  • Made a lot of things (see above)
  • Created a video studio in a garage we rent for making videos
  • Invested five figures back into my business (mainly through equipment purchases)
  • Helped Stillmotion with a video shoot here in San Diego
  • Helped my wife photograph a handful of weddings
  • Started rock climbing again
  • Bought a surfboard and went surfing about ten times
  • Recommitted to weight lifting and lifted weights more times in 2014 than in any other year

What didn't go well in 2014?

  • I didn't take much time off, so I'll be remedying this in 2015. My wife and I have scheduled a week off in Kauai and a month exploring the British Isles in the fall (during which I will do a planned sabbatical the entire time).
  • I kept a sporadic publishing schedule on this site for the first nine months. I've already started a new system using Trello to better schedule and get ahead on content.
  • I only grew my mailing list by 38% which was mainly fueled by the product launch at the start of the year. Now, I completely switched the topic I was talking about at the beginning of the year, so pruning the list made that number lower, but I'd like to at least grow my list (and the community for this site) by at least 5x in 2015.
  • I didn't become debt free again like I wanted to from medical bills, business start-up costs, Jen's student loans, etc.
  • I didn't re-release the DIY Video Guide or create another product. I wanted to create version 2.0 towards the end of last year, but I'll be doing so this year instead.

What am I working toward in 2015?

Instead of sharing a complete detailed plan for the year, since mine isn't fully finished yet, I'll just share some of the bigger projects I have planned for this year.

My three high level strategic priorities for the year are:

  1. Turn pro on consistently releasing free content (podcasts, videos, email courses, and guides) to serve and grow our community.
  2. Create products, workshops, and advanced training to impact people deeper and growing my business.
  3. Run my company like a CEO or CFO would by using an accountant each month, doing financial forecasting, profit and loss reporting, etc.

My other main priorities at a granular level are:

  • More free guides, video courses, and email classes to help grow the community and email list.
  • Continually push my video making abilities, techniques, and skills (specifically color grading and motion graphics in After Effects).
  • Redesign this site, perhaps in a style more similar to my video production studio's site.
  • Speaking at new conferences. I know for sure that I'll be speaking at Social Media Marketing World here in San Diego, but I'm still waiting to hear about a few others. I am planning to also attend WistiaFest, VidCon, and NMX even I'm not speaking.

All these projects, including continuing to spend at least 50% of my company's time and resources doing video work for clients, will continually bring my wife and I closer to some of our long-term goals like traveling more, owning a home, starting a family, etc.

Now, I didn't share financials or revenue in this year's review because more often than not that leads me to comparing myself to how other people are doing instead of comparing how I'm doing to my own goals and past, which is what I should really be doing.

That being said, I grossed more money in 2014 than any other year, but I also invested more back into my business this year and had more life expenses than any other too, so any sharing of revenue numbers wouldn't have the whole picture of transparency anyway.

Oh, and my words for 2015 are focus, scale, and save.

Closing Thoughts

Every year I think this annual review is going to be fairly straight forward and just take an hour or so, but it never does. Once I really dive into all the projects I've worked on, trips I've taken, distractions I've had, and what I thought the year was going to be like it takes quite a few hours over a handful of days to put this together.

I encourage you to put something like this together as well and if you have an audience, share it with them. Too often we don't share our accomplishments were and plans for the future are with people that follow or care about us.

Look at what you did last year. Reflect on it. Plan the next year. Then share it.

I hope you've had either a restful or productive holiday season and I'm excited to keep sharing more and more with you in 2015.

Thanks for being along for the ride.


Caleb Wojcik

Caleb Wojciknews