In the last post, we wrote about our 2016 goals. We discussed the hits, and misses, and when Joe and I sat down to talk about what we learned, the conversation naturally flowed into what we’d like to do in 2017.
If you haven’t written down the things you’d like to do in 2017, you may get to the point where you’re about to sit down, and you’re overwhelmed with what you should do. At any given moment, there are at least 29 things I could do to improve my business. But do they align with what we’d like to accomplish?
So, here are the things Joe and I (and OG on the podcast) agreed we’d like to happen in 2017:
2017 Goals: Stacking Benjamins
40,000 Listeners per Episode
Every year since we launched, the number of people who have downloaded each podcast episode has doubled. We’d like this year to be no exception. At FinCon, Noah Kagan challenged us to 10X our goal, so we are thinking bigger (because a podcast where each episode is downloaded 400,000 times is huge), but when we negotiate with our sponsors, we are much more realistic. This number guides everything else we do. If one of us comes up with a great idea or a grand plan, we write it down for “after we hit our primary goal.” This helps us focus and not chase shiny objects. In fact, we’re focusing on having more fun, and creating systems that will help us scale.
Stacking Benjamins Courses
One of the ways we’re going to have more fun is to create a number of different courses. We love creating things (I’m excellent at design and Joe is great at breaking down difficult money topics into manageable pieces) and we love working with small groups. This is going to be really fun. Here’s the schedule (I’ll add links once they become available):
January: Save 50
We’re putting a fresh coat of paint on Save 50, the course that teaches people how to save half their income. We added a module (which is almost done!) and we’ll launch this course in mid-January.
February: How Taxes Work
This is a great time to talk taxes (even though they seem to be everyone’s least favorite topic). We’ll teach people how to understand their tax forms to maximize their returns (legally, of course).
March: How to Find Hidden Money in Your Budget
We’re all about maximizing money here at Stacking Benjamins (because the more you can stack, the better you are!) and we’ll teach people how to review some of the things they’re paying for to see if they are paying the right amount or where they can find more to save.
April: Relaunch Stacking 101 Benjamins
We launched this in 2015, but, as I learned in QPS, we gave people too much information too fast. So, we’ll reconfigure this to slow down the pace and give people enough to do each day so they can make excellent progress without getting overwhelmed.
May: How to Build a Sexier Investment Portfolio
You want a sexy investment portfolio? Cool. I barely know what that means (other than the fact that my portfolio that consists of index funds and one individual stock is not sexy), but I’m excited to make images for this presentation.
September: How to Use Morningstar
If you’ve ever looked at Morningstar and been confused and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Joe and OG understand everything on Morningstar, and they’ll walk us through how to read it.
October: Debt Attack 101
Do you have debt? Do you want to pay it off? If so, I know how you feel. I got into a massive pile of credit card debt, and paid it off slowly, then all at once. There are a million ways to attack your debt, and we’ll go into them in this course.
November: Risk Management 101
The riskier the investment, the more it potentially pays out. But, of course, it’s not guaranteed. We’ll go into the ins and outs of how to manage your risk to protect your downside while making the best decisions for your investments.
Course: Pinterest Boot Camp
We have one major course that we’re launching (actually, relaunching) in late January/early February 2017. We’ve taken pieces of the too-big-to-succeed course and reconfigured it into an easy-to-digest course where we focus on the three things that make the biggest impact to your Pinterest presence. If you want traffic from Pinterest and you don’t want to learn all there is to learn about the darn platform, this boot camp is right for you. We launch January 17, but you can find out more (and register) here. I’m excited about that course because the price point is approachable (less than it would cost for you to hire us for one month!) and it’ll be really effective.
February: Relaunch On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog!
Anne and I wrote this in 2015 and have learned a lot since then, so we spent time going through and reworking it. We hired Kali Hawlk to edit the book, and all we lack is going through her edits and adding content where she thinks we missed something major. It took a lot for us to decide to hire someone (and pay a professional!) to help us, but it made the book stronger and better overall. We’re proud of the book in its original rendition, but for this, we’ll put together a launch team, and really launch it (as opposed to simply setting it up to download on the site). We’ll even go through and make it available on Kindle.
For-Profit Blogging Webinars
Several times a month, we’ll talk about different ways to ramp up your business. Some will discuss Pinterest, some will discuss mailing lists. They’ll be free when they’re live (currently thinking we’ll do these every Thursday afternoon), and they’ll cost a small fee for people who want to watch the recording. I’m excited about this because webinars are a fun way to get to know you better and get to talk to you about ways to grow your blog. They’ll also get me more comfortable in front of a crowd (I’ll also start participating in Toastmasters to help with that), which can only be good for my career.
Frugal Portland Goals
On Frugal Portland, we’d like to plan our content for the year. That means taking a day every week and making sure we have new posts. We’re ranking for a great keyword (cheap Portland!) and all we need to do is have about 52 posts scheduled. We have excellent writers, so the content is fun and engaging. All we lack is focus, which is going to change in 2017.
Other Quantifiable Goals for our Business
10,000 Email Subscribers for Stacking Benjamins/5,000 Email Subscribers on For-Profit Blogging
As of this writing, Stacking Benjamins has 3,677 subscribers and For-Profit Blogging has 1,640 subscribers. We’ll grow our email lists by participating in 1000in30, the free email list-growing course that’s delivered via email. It’s one tip a day for 30 days, and even though I wrote it, it’ll help me to take 30 days to grow each of our email lists.
Grow Our Social Media Presence Everywhere
We don’t focus as much on social media as we should. In fact, here are our current stats (feel free to follow us!):
- Stacking Benjamins Facebook page: 2592 likes
- Stacking Benjamins Green Room closed Facebook group: 449 members
- The Save 50 Closed Facebook Group: 477 members
- For-Profit Blogging Facebook page: 412 likes
- The For-Profit Blogging closed Facebook group: 312 members
- @averagejoemoney: 7308 followers
- @kathleencelmins: 6884 followers
- @sbenjaminscast: 290 followers
- @forprofitblog: 11 followers (!!!)
- @frugalportland: 409 followers
- instagram.com/kathleencelmins: 293 followers
- instagram.com/stackingbenjaminspodcast: 28 followers (!!!)
As you can see, we have a lot of work to do.
Earn $50,000 from our Websites
I’ve mentioned before that the majority of my income comes from the podcast. We’re not allowed to discuss the exact amount we earn over there because we have another partner (who we call “OG”) who doesn’t want income disclosed. That’s understandable, but he’s not a partner on our websites, so in this space, you’ll see monthly updates on earnings from here. Look for the first update at the end of January or beginning of February.
50 New Posts on For-Profit Blogging
If you look at the posts from 2016, you’ll see a lack of consistency. In May/June, there was a new post every day, and between October and December, there were maybe five post altogether. That’s not fair to my readers. I want this to be a site where you can expect a new post from me every Tuesday.
Send 50 Newsletters on Stacking Benjamins and 50 Newsletters on For-Profit Blogging
On that same token, you’ll start seeing newsletters from me and not just that week’s blog post. I’ll take inspiration from some of the newsletters I’m subscribed to, and follow a template. Tim Ferriss’s five-bullet Friday is awesome.
Focus on Play
This is not as quantifiable as tracking dollars or subscribers, but it’s the underlying theme of 2017. We play online for a living, and we are going to focus on what that means. The mantra, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” is absolutely untrue (because work is work, and not all of it is sunshine and roses) but we do love what we do, and we want to talk about the importance of play.
Not only that, but we’re going to actually play. Which brings me to my personal resolutions.
My Personal 2017 Resolutions
I sincerely believe that work and play are intermixed (hey, I work for myself, from home, and have a baby, so of course I think that), so I’m going to track my resolutions for myself (that don’t directly correspond to business) here as well.
Exercise at Least Five Times Per Week
We just moved back to a neighborhood we lived in a few years ago, which happens to be my favorite neighborhood in Portland. I’m walking distance to a yoga studio I used to absolutely love, so I’m going to bring yoga back into my life in 2017. I stopped exercising almost entirely once I had a baby, because there’s a lot of guilt associated with working from home. If i’m not working, I should be spending time with my family, right? Or doing something productive around the house. My husband Brent stays at home with the baby, so if anyone should get a break, it’s him, isn’t it?
But enough of the guilt. Yoga centers me. I find that time spent at yoga is not time that is wasted. It’s time and space away from work and family that helps me remember why I’m working so hard. It’s also similar to how you get your great ideas in the shower — taking a physical step away from work helps me be a better business owner.
So, in 2017, my health is a priority. Every work day (and some non work days) I will walk over to the yoga studio and spend an hour in my own body. I’ll quiet my mind and focus on my breath.
Read One Hard Book
Brent and I created the laziest book club in the world last year when we decided to read Infinite Jest together in January. We’re calling it “read one hard book a year” and we do it every January. Once we’re finished with the books we’re currently reading (and once we find the book buried in the boxes from the move!) we’re going to read Anna Karenina together.
Get Caught Up on Pulitzer-Prize Winning Fiction
As of this writing, the Pulitzer prize has been awarded to 89 books, and I have read 66 of those. So I have 23 to read this year (24 if you count the one that will win in 2017). Between those and the hard book, that’ll be plenty of reading for the year.
Be More of a Neighbor
I lived in the same neighborhood for two years, and learned the names of only a few of my neighbors. So it comes as no surprise that I didn’t fall in love with the neighborhood. Now, to be fair, there were other flaws, but now that I live in a part of town I adore, I’m going to be more of a neighbor. In fact, Brent and I have plans, this week, to go knock on doors in our immediate vicinity and introduce ourselves. This is going to go a LONG way toward making me love this neighborhood more than I already do.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Instead of spinning my wheels and freaking out when things pile up, 2017 is going to be a year for creating systems. I’m playing with ways to direct my attention and focus on one task at a time (because as we know, humans can’t multitask). A future post will go into my systems and tools that I use currently to organize my days, weeks, and year.
I am so excited about where 2017 will take me, and I’m thrilled you’re on this journey with me!