2013 Recap and 2014 Business Goals

January 16, 2014 - by admin · Filed Under Uncategorized Leave a Comment 
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    Since it’s the New Year, I decided to write a recap of 2013 and what my main goals are for 2014.

    2013

    Truth be told, 2013 wasn’t that much of a good year for me.

    I had a high turnover of sites (including a 7-month partnership that mutually ended), which meant I had quite a lot of money sitting in my accounts but not enough active projects that I could scale.

    Most of 2013 was kind of like starting from scratch, building sites from the ground up, which was quite stressful.

    It’s strange how even when you sell sites for a good amount of money, you start to panic with no more money coming in on a monthly basis.  I wasn’t really prepared for this.

    I also didn’t take into account personal costs during the year.  For example, $100k in the bank might seem like a lot, but if you’re using up $30k per year in living costs then it can deteriorate quite quickly. I was actually starting to panic towards the end of 2013 because of couple of my main sites were taking longer than expected to make money.

    The biggest problem I’ve had over the last 12 months is that I’ve been developing projects from the ground up.  I’ve had little incoming revenue, which reduced my confidence to re-invest in growth, as I wanted to maintain a good cash flow.  The lesson I learned really is that before you sell a business for $50k or whatever, you need to be willing to re-invest at least half of that quickly in order to get a business up and running again to the same levels.

    I’m hoping that as my projects come into their own in 2014, I’ll hit a tipping point where I can start to re-invest larger amounts of money back into my business.  This is where I think the true scale and growth will come from.

    For example, if you re-invest $2k/month into a site making $3k/month, then it’ll get to $10k/month much faster then investing $750 into a site making $500/month.

    Having said that, I did learn a lot of new skills in 2013 including PR, PPC and video marketing. I also took a big step-forward in terms of conversion optimization, UX and increasing page views per visitor.

    Looking at my accounts, I did manage to maintain a decent level of revenue throughout the year, based on a mixture of website sales, revenue share accounts, partnership payoff and random websites.  However, I was very lucky at times.

    A major upside was Nominet’s decision to award all new future .uk domains in 2014 to the .co.uk owners.  This not only increases my premium domain portfolio but also gives me the option to re-launch or sell some of my penalized sites on the new domain in the future.

    In terms of personal life, I managed to take quite a lot of holidays during 2013 (snowboarding in France, Pesach in Israel, Stag do to Portugal and weekend in Prague).  I also moved into a house with some friends in Charlton, plus made some huge gains in personal fitness and muscle building.

    The major downside to 2013 was that I didn’t get an office or diversify my revenue from SEO as planned. However I did spend a lot of time trying and I think things will change in 2014.  I also visited the Google Campus a couple of times, which was a good experience (you can work in the café for free).

     2014 Business Goals

    2014 already got off to a great start: I hit 1k traffic on a site for the first time, found a new advertising partnership that increased my revenues and have a couple of PPC project ideas ready to launch next month.

    My main goals this year are to build a business around products AND services that I can market outside of SEO,  keep building large, authority portals (with return visitors and great content), run active email campaigns with 1,000+ subscribers, and run at least two successful PPC projects.

    The main thing I need to do as a marketer is diversify my traffic and tactics more.  It’s pointless running large content sites these days that are completely dependant on SEO.  You need to build on top of it by collecting emails, providing services and taking advantage of other traffic sources (e.g. invest in great tools that bring return traffic to your site).  Premium membership sites, using tools like WishList, are a great example of this.

    I’ve already bought domains for two separate PPC projects this week. By the end of 2014 I’d like to look back and see at least 40% of my income come from non-SEO sources.

    Other than that, I’m planning to work much harder this year (starting the day and finishing at more reasonable hours) and develop sites where users are actually inclined to come back and bookmark my site.

    I’d like to say I’ll get an office but with prices of £5k/year for a desk-alone in central London (plus £1k per year in transport), I don’t think this is realistic unless I find some other affiliates/entrepreneurs to share office space with.  If you know any then please get in touch.

     

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