So, its hard to believe that 2013 is already over and its time to review the entire year! Its seems like just a few short months ago when I wrote an in-depth post outlining my goals for 2013.
As you read this post, I hope it makes you reflect on your own goals and perhaps inspires you to stretch yourself a little more and perhaps become a little better in your business. Obviously this post is talking about me, my business, and my goals…but in some small way I hope it can benefit you.
Overall, I know that public accountability is a huge motivator. I've thought about my original goals shared on Niche Pursuits here many time throughout the year. You guys all make me nervous…because I don't want to come short of my goals!
So, with that, lets review what my goals were last year and the results!
2013 Goals and Results
For this year, I had 6 primary goals that I discussed in January 2013 here.
1. Build 2 Public Niche Sites – Completed!
I am happy to say that I accomplished this goal in BIG way during 2013! I was able to build the site BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com as Niche Site Project 1 and it did extremely well! Obviously it had some ups and downs as people started copying my site and then building spammy links to it for negative SEO purposes…but overall it was actually very profitable, and still makes money despite the challenges.
I will continue to work on this project and hopefully recover all my rankings…stay tuned!
After Niche Site Project 1, I turned the reigns over to you and let you decide what type of public project I should do. The popular vote came back that I should train someone without much experience to build their first successful niche site. In fact, I even let YOU pick the student. The popular vote came back that I should select Perrin.
Perrin has knocked the niche site project 2 site out of the park! Through several coaching sessions and video training, Perrin was able to build aPennyShaved.com. Not only does he currently rank #1 or 2 in Google for his primary keyword, but he made over $650 in December 2013!
I fully expect that aPennyShaved.com will earn over $1000 this month (January), he is well on his way.
Not only were these niche sites profitable for Perrin and I, but I have heard MANY stories from others sharing their success by following these case studies step by step. So, congratulations to all of you out there for your successful sites!
2. Accomplish at least 1 “Niche Pursuit” – Failed
As a reminder, a “Niche Pursuit” is a small niche business idea – outside of building niche sites. This might be buying and selling used books, create a small piece of software, or anything else.
I suppose that I could count Rank Hero as a niche business venture that I undertook this year. But I really view that as an extension of my existing business.
As the year went on, I found that I needed more and more time to focus on the growth of Long Tail Pro, NichePursuits.com, and my own niche sites (among other things). So, perhaps its not a bad thing that I focused and grew my existing business, but it does mean that I didn't fully accomplish this goal.
3. Double the Average Monthly Unique Visitors to NichePursuits.com – Failed
In 2012, NichePursuits.com had 199,598 Unique Visitors; or an average of 16,633 monthly unique visitors.
In 2013, NichePursuits.com had 337,290 Unique Visitors, or an average of 28,107.5 monthly unique visitors. So, I did not hit my goal, but my blog still had tremendous growth! Growing by nearly 70% in one year is pretty good for a site that was already well established…I'm happy!
I should also clarify that is 337,290 unique people! That is a ton of people that have read my content…amazing! Many of you come back more than once, so the number of visits and pageviews is much higher. Here's a nice screenshot that shows unique visitors, number of visits, and pageviews from 2013:
Nearly 1.8 million page views sounds pretty big to me! (The spikes are when I send an email or publish a new post in case you are wondering). Is 147,854 pageviews per month good? Doesn't matter so much…I love the growing community of people here at NichePursuits.com. Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing!
4. Double the Affiliate Sales on NichePursuits.com – Completed!
I didn't share how much I made from affiliate commissions last year on my site here. I don't plan on sharing that amount this year either – I will just compare the 2 years to see if it doubled.
I continued my pattern of not optimizing my site for affiliate commissions, I could do much more to add more affiliate links to posts or add more advertising.
I haven't completed 100% of the accounting for 2013, but I was able to pull enough rough numbers together to know that I did indeed double my affiliate sales on NichePursuits.com! I attribute most of this to how poorly I did in 2012 rather than how well I did in 2013.
I still actually view the amount of affiliate commissions I earn as low for the amount of traffic that my site gets. All of these “affiliate commissions” do not include things like sales of Long Tail Pro, Rank Hero, Niche Website Theme, etc. (These are products where I am an owner).
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5. Double my Income from Niche Sites – Failed
I really wanted to make this happen, but other than the Niche Site Projects, I actually only built out about half a dozen other sites. I experienced at lot of growth with my blog (as you can see) as well on Long Tail Pro, and simply did not have much time.
For most of 2013, I was still trying to do everything myself – or when I did hire a full-time VA based in the Philippines, it didn't work out.
Despite all that, I am happy to say that my niche site income DID increase by 38% in 2013. So, even though I didn't hit my goal, I'm happy with the growth in earnings! In a nutshell, my older sites (built pre-2013) continued to be stable or grow; and my sites in 2013 added even more to my bottom line.
I'm happy with 38% growth considering the trouble I had with VAs and limited number of new sites built.
However, what's exciting is that I now have an AWESOME full-time employee helping me build out lots of new niche sites in 2014! With his help, I fully expect to double my niche site income in 2014…woohoo!
6. Read 1 Business Book Per Month – Complete!
I set a goal to read a new business book each month, and I'm happy to say that I accomplished that goal! I was providing reviews of some of the books I read early in the year (such as here and here); however, I fizzled on the reviews later in the year. But I still read the books! Some of these are self published authors and some are not.
Here are the 12 books that I read in 2013:
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purposefollow by Tony Hsieh. I really enjoyed this book and HIGHLY recommend it. I wrote a review here.
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by MJ DeMarco. The book was good, but not great. I agreed with the principles taught, but had a few issues with it. Read my review here.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Excellent book, recommended. Read my review here.
- The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. A different kind of book, more for motivational little quotes or stories. Its good though. Read my review here.
- Rules of Thumb: How to Stay Productive and Inspired Even in the Most Turbulent Times by Alam M. Webber. This book did not grab me at all. This was more about stories from the author's life, and I didn't find them interesting. So, I skimmed the book very quickly and moved on. Just my opinion.
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink . This was a great book and got me thinking. I recommend it.
- Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google by Aaron Goldman. This was a really great book as well. I really enjoyed Aaron's witty and funny writing style along with excellent marketing tips.
- The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. This was a pretty good book. Its most applicable to small business owners that are feeling overwhelmed with their business. I started to just skim at the end, as it seemed like a lot of repetitive material, but still a good book.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. This was a really good book. The science of the brain and stories were extremely fascinating. This book will really get you thinking about the habits you have and how you can change. Highly recommended.
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. I did not enjoy this book at all. Definitely not recommended. If you have started a blog, already have a twitter account, and have any kind of internet basics, you probably don't need this book. I would suspect that older people that are just learning about what the internet is might find this book good. I know alot of people like Michael Hyatt, but I personally do not recommend this book.
- QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground by Scott Stratten. Hilarious book by an amazing marketer. I've had the pleasure of hearing Scott speak in person at PubCon and New Media Expo. This book is mostly a picture book of companies doing stupid things on social media that will hurt their brands. I recommend for the laughs and simple but powerful marketing advice. Its a tiny book that can be read in a couple of hours.
- Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian. This was a good book, partly for the story behind Reddit and partly for the interesting business advice that Alexis shares. Recommended.
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I didn't like this book. I read Nassim's previous book, The Black Swan, and liked that. However, this one feels like the author wrote it to prove how smart he is. He's a smart dude, no doubt. But reading it is not easy – complicated language, philosophical monologue, obscure ancient examples, and written like a snooty professor…not written for the reader to enjoy. But written by a highly intelligent person that feels like he wants to make sure we all know he's smarter than us. Well done Nassim. Don't read this.
Overall, I made it through 13 books…sweet! I plan to up the goal in 2014.
Review and Your Thoughts
Overall, 2013 was an amazing year for my business, and I'm happy with the goals that I completed. Even though I only completed 3 of my 6 goals, I still made positive progress on all of them. I can live with that.
In addition, I accomplished some other things this year in my business that I haven't shared publicly. One of those was the tremendous growth of Long Tail Pro in 2013. I want to thank all of you for that! Is anyone interested in hearing more about my software business – Long Tail Pro?
I look forward to 2014, and hope to make it the best year in my business to date. I'll be sharing my goals for 2014 next week in a blog post.
What about your 2013 goals, how did it go? What do you have planned for 2014? I'd love to hear your thoughts on my goals as well as your own. Best of luck to everyone in their business this year!