Ah, the post you have all been waiting for where I will shower you with all of the great wisdom I have gained over the past year combined with a stellar plan to dominate the world in 2012…or maybe not.
Sadly, 2012 isn’t starting out too well since I seem to be having issues getting back into the groove. I did almost zero IM stuff in December and while I don’t regret it, it is hard to get my brain back in business. In fact, that is why I am writing this post now when I should be working on my sites but hopefully writing this will help out.
I was pretty sure I had no goals written for 2011 because I am not a big yearly goal type person, but I did have some “plans” written up in January 2011 and was amused to find them:
So I have made a decision to approach “my business” very differently in 2011. I know many other IMers are moving in a similar direction and reading all of your blogs has helped me (thanks). In 2011 I plan to move to a more hands-off approach and only work 1-2 days a week. The rest of my time will be spent doing all the things a stay at home mom is suppose to do (shopping, cleaning, etc), getting my new house renovated, and pursuing some of my passions that I have let slip. I am still working out the particulars but that is the jist of my plan.
Epic failure on all parts. I can’t remember what I did as far as IM in the first half of the year but in September through November I was working more like 4 or 5 days a week on my sites. That was a good thing which I’ll get to later. As far as getting my house in shape – oops. Actually, we did make some progress in 2011 and got the majority done in Nov/Dec since we were hosting Christmas Eve dinner so maybe epic failure is harsh.
But just for fun and so I can pretend to be an organized blogger like the rest of you, let me share some 2011 highlights with nice headings.
What Went Wrong in 2011
1. My earnings were shakey.
I was making some small strides as far as earnings, but the road was bumpy. I lost about $100/month in passive income when eHow closed up. I lost a few hundred when my main adsense site got de-indexed.
2. I was unfocused in the first half of the year.
Even though I knew I needed to focus in on one or two sites to really improve my earnings, I still flitted around too much. The benefits of focusing only sunk in once I started doing it and saw the results.
3. I still looked for the shiney new object, hidden gold, easy way, etc.
Instead of focusing on what works for me (which again, I did later in the year) I still looked for an easy way. I spent too much time dreaming of ranking and earning rather than doing the dirty work of building up lots of content.
What Went Right in 2011
In case you haven’t seen the pattern yet, the second quarter to half of 2011 I had a plan and did much better.
1. I focused on Christmas sales starting around August.
For those on my mailing list, you will know that I had a very nice increase in earnings in November. December earnings (which I will send out soon) were even better. Want to know my secret? It’s simple – I was focused and had a timetable which I couldn’t modify since everyone INSISTS on keeping Christmas on December 25th. And while my productivity still had its ups and downs, it was much better than I had ever experienced before. I even checked the mirror to make sure it was still me.
2. I focused on what was working TODAY.
Sort of related to number 1, but this is still another lesson for my tendency to worry about the what-ifs. Rather than worry about whether a particular backlinking method or platform will still be viable in 6 months, I just got behind what was working at the moment. That was easier when I knew the jig was up by December 25th but there is no reason to not treat everyday like this.
3. I realized passive income from IM is a myth.
Again, this point is related to point #2 and focusing on the moment. But in 2011 I saw the loss of eHow income (not in my control), one site hit by Panda (mostly out of my control) and a de-indexing of my best earning site at the time (mostly out of my control). There are no guarantees in IM and even if you build a great website wearing your whitest of hats you still may get hit by an algo change (look at DaniWeb.com or AsktheBuilder.com) or have your state change the tax laws (ask CA affiliates or me since PA just pulled a CA, still waiting to see what Azon does).
Instead, I would call website income “potentially passive” or “temporarily passive”. You could build up a site that will earn for the next 10 years or only earn for the next few months. You just never know how it will turn out which for me means 1) Milk current earnings as much as possible, 2) Worry less about taking some chances to do #1 (within reason) and 3) Be ready to adjust when needed.
So there are your nice highlights with formatting. But overall I would say that 2011 was a volatile year for me but I learned a lot about myself and about the business. I am entering 2012 feeling much more confident and yet with more realistic expectations. My income for November and December was pretty good, great if you consider I did no work in December, and that money will be a big help this year (when it is finally paid out).
But enough looking back, let’s look forward. As I said, I am not big on yearly goals but I would like to put something out there so I have come up with just two: one personal and one business.
My Goals in 2012
1. Earn $2000 per month by July 1st.
I stopped publishing my earnings on the site and only do that by newsletter now, but I thought I would still put a number out there. To be honest, I have no idea where my income will land for this month. During my Christmas focus I did do some work on one of my Amazon sites and I expect traffic to be better this month than pre-Christmas, but Christmas has skewed everything. Same with Squidoo – I made a bunch of lenses for Christmas but some are evergreen products so I expect some continued sales.
I picked $2000 per month because that will be almost enough (barring my outsourcing budget) to pay for my kid’s school. We send our kids to a private Christian school and my basic goal in IM was always to be able to pay their tuition. If I can’t make that happen by summer then I will have to consider getting a contract/temp job in the Fall (yikes!). That gives me a little incentive.
2. Exercise Regularly
Just before my birthday in June I decided I was old and fat. Since I couldn’t change the former I decided to change the latter. I went on a low carb diet and lost about 15 pounds by December. But what really motivates me is how much better I feel. I have so much more energy and my moods are stabilized – low carbing really works wonders for me and I plan to continue it forever. I also think my IM productivity was bolstered greatly by the change.
BUT, I now need to go the next step and start exercising. I’d love to lose a few more pounds but my main concern is just health. I want to be healthier and fitter as that benefits all aspects of my life. By nature I hate to exercise so this will be a battle, but I have already started back at the gym and will also try to incorporate some walking on the days I don’t go to the gym. Specifically, I would like to take a 20-30 minute walk mid-day when I am doing IM work because let’s face it folks, sitting on your bum for hours at the computer isn’t pretty (I have the pictures to prove it).
So those are my two main goals this year. I do have another goal which is very general but I think I will post that later as this post is long enough.
Since I took all of December off to focus on home and family, yesterday was my first week “back to work”. I feel like I am floundering a bit trying to come up with a plan of attack for hitting my income goal, but I am getting there. Hopefully I will get onto a more productive schedule next week and maybe find time to post about HOW I plan to reach my income goal.
Your turn – What are your goals for 2012? Do you like my attempts to format my posts?