If I had to summarize my entire 2018 with one simple quote, it would be this:
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli (former British Prime Minister)
I acted on a lot this year.
I implemented a variety of new strategies to grow my web design business, committed to a more consistent blogging schedule, experimented with some different creative outlets, and spent the majority of the year living in a foreign country.
Not everything worked. A number of my “actions” failed. Some were even devastating.
But many did work. In particular, 2018 was the year that all of my patient and methodical work on RapidWebLaunch really began to pay off.
And this transitioned into more opportunities to experience life from new perspectives.
My web design business experienced explosive growth
I spent several years patiently building RapidWebLaunch as a side hustle while working a full-time job. My objective was to use content marketing to improve my website’s SEO and bring in more leads and customers.
2018 was the year that this finally came to fruition.
By consistently writing awesome blog posts and creating quality YouTube videos, I was able to build an automated sales funnel that brought in more traffic and leads than ever before.
I also made a significant change in how I build my websites. I transitioned from Weebly to the world’s most popular web design platform, WordPress.
This was a significant undertaking that required rebuilding all of my clients websites from scratch in WordPress. The payoff was well worth it.
I still love Weebly for a lot of reasons, and will continue to recommend it to many wannabe designers out there, but my business simply outgrew their platform. I had sharpened my skills to the point where I was ready to take on larger, more complicated projects. Weebly was no longer enough for me.
As a result, the quality of my web designs improved, I streamlined many of my processes, and leased my own web servers. Profits went through hockey stick levels of growth. (as you can see from the fancy graph above)
This blog had more readers than ever before
In addition to increased revenue and profit margins, I hit an all-time high in blog readership. For whatever reason, a lot of people seem to like what I’m doing here!
In 2018, this blog received over 180,000 views. An increase of 105.9% over the previous year!
Not gonna lie, it feels good. Blogging is most definitely a long-term game that requires patience and consistency. But organic growth is by the far best way to grow your online business.
Not the only way, of course. But when you finally start hitting that #1 spot on Google for super competitive keywords, it feels so stinking good.
It wasn’t all rainbows and roses, though. I’m particularly concerned with that high bounce rate. (though much of that traffic is coming from Pinterest, which always has a notoriously high bounce rate)
I experienced what it’s like to live in a truly foreign land
As some of you already know, I spent the majority of 2018 living in a foreign country. The Pacific coast of Ecuador, to be exact.
It was an incredible experience that taught me a lot about myself.
I lived a mere 2 min walk from the beach. The incredibly affordable cost of living and simple lifestyle freed up my time in ways I never thought possible.
With this newly acquired time, I went to work establishing new habits. Particularly ones centered around personal growth. I took up running, cooked more, read more, and wrote more. I also learned enough Spanish to become about 30-40% fluent after knowing nothing but hola and cerveza when I first arrived.
While this journey unfortunately came to a rather sudden and heartbreaking end, living in Ecuador for nearly a year was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my (admittedly short) life.
And I very much look forward to doing it again one day soon.
My YouTube channel hit one milestone after another
In addition to writing more on the blog, I also invested more into growing my YouTube channel.
Basically, for almost every single blog post I write here, I also create an accompanying YouTube video. These videos are generally a mix of custom animation and “real-life” stock footage.
And the results started pouring in.
One of my videos soared past 100,000 views for the first time. Another video has reached 60,000 at the time of this writing, with multiple others surpassing the 10,000 mark.
I also hit 1,000 subscribers!
Sure, these are small-time numbers compared to many other people in this industry, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
I continue to be amazed at the awesome feedback and positive comments I’ve received as well. In particular, the comments I receive on my “How to Build a Web Design Business” tutorials inspire me to continue making videos.
New habits finally began to stick
As I mentioned, living in Ecuador supported a simple lifestyle that afforded me more personal time than I ever dreamed. And I didn’t waste that newly acquired resource on MOAR NETFLIX.
I finally got into a habit of reading books regularly. I even shared my 10 favorite nonfiction books of 2018 with all of you lovely people.
I began running. Something I’ve always detested. Admittedly, it’s infinitely more motivating when you get to run on a beach in your bare feet while watching the sun slide into the Pacific ocean, then cap it off with a quick dip in the sea. Maintaining my running habit in the harsh Canadian winter has been a larger challenge…
My blogging became more frequent and the content was of higher quality than ever before. I guess the ol’ “practice makes perfect” rings true yet again!
“Private victories precede public victories.” – Stephen R Covey (author)
I improved my diet and nutrition, and managed to shed a few pounds in the process.
And I made an active practice of (near) daily meditation. But not the typical transcendental kind. I’m not into that. My meditation is active. I dwell on the things that matter most to me, and the many reasons I have to be happy, regardless of my current situation.
It would seem this whole “gratitude” thing is all the rage now. I wonder what book was the first to preach the importance of being grateful?
What’s next for 2019?
Mostly, I want to continue and maintain the good habits I established in 2018.
More business growth, more creative marketing, better quality writing and YouTube videos, and continue learning Spanish. Obviously there are more specific goals that are stepping stones to these big-picture ones, but you get the idea.
And because travel is one of my great passions, I will be doing a lot more of that this year.
Where to? Who knows. I tend to do a lot of last minute trips based on where the crazy good flight deals will take me. But I would love to finally make my way to Asia this year.
Finally, a THANK YOU
Thank you to all of you out there who took the time to read or watch any of my content this year! I know there’s an endless sea of options to choose from, so it means a lot to me.
And even more so if you’re a customer of mine. I couldn’t have had any success in this business without you. Thank you for giving the little guy with a laptop a chance to make you a beautiful website.
To close, I’ll leave you with this little nugget to inspire your journey this upcoming year:
“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt. It is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” – Hal Boyle (journalist)
Where is your river flowing?