I’m closing out 2020 in the exact same way I began it.
Writing from a quaint little villa in Puerto Escondido, on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
I’m jotting this down with my Apple Notes app because I have no internet access and zero phone connection. It’s just one of those things that happens here from time to time. You go a full day with zero access to the outside world. You can’t even send a text message.
Not ideal when running a web design business remotely but, hey, it’s a great excuse to disconnect and spend time doing things that matter a lot more in the long run.
Speaking of which… where to begin…
2020 sure was something, wasn’t it?
At the end of every year, the internet loves to implode upon itself ranting and raving about how this was truly the worst year ever.
2016? The worst. 2017? Definitely the worst. 2018? Officially worser than worst. 2019? Can it get any more worst? 2020? Well, it’s safe to say that we have a new champion of bad.
There’s a reason for this. I know it feels like there isn’t, and everything is meaningless and getting out of bed in the morning is pointless. I get it.
But if you want to know why this is happening, and why things will get worse before they get better, (much, much better) feel free to reach out to me directly via email or private message.
Or did you think I didn’t have any interests outside of web design??
Anyways, let’s get into my annual State of My Web Design Business, shall we?
My Web Design Business’ Financial Goals
2019 was my biggest year of growth to date. I started out 2020 hoping to continue the momentum, with the ambitious goal of hitting six figures in revenue.
Business Goal #1: Grow my web design business’ revenue to 6 figures
This did not happen.
While I was certainly able to grow the business further, the gains were more modest this time. Revenue increased by 10.6%.
Goal achieved? ❌
But in a year of massive job losses, business closings and financial ruin, I am beyond grateful to have that.
There’s no doubt that the web design industry was one of the fortunate few to benefit from a global smothering of in-person interactions.
I have nothing to complain about.
That being said, while there’s never been more interest and desire to get websites made, there is definitely a lot less cash flow for small businesses. Many are struggling to stay afloat and are searching for affordable web design options.
I hope to meet that specific need for the forseeable future.
And, as I have been shouting from the rooftops for the past few years, there’s never been a better time to start your own web design business.
So cancel the Netflix, throw the Playstation out the window, drop the bag of Doritos and let’s get to work!
On the surface, it would appear that my blog traffic shrank over the past year. But that’s not entirely true.
For the past few years, a large portion of my traffic came from a viral Pinterest post about funny TED talks that kept going and going and going…
This year, it has finally started to lose steam.
But nearly every other blog post has increased in both Google rankings and search traffic.
One blog post, in particular, absolutely exploded this year. A blog post that I wrote nearly 4 years ago!
Kinda cool to think that 45,000 people read that post this year!
Notice how it started to take off right when more people were stuck at home watching more Netflix than ever before?
I think more and more people are starting to see Netflix, and TV in general, as nothing more than time-sucking, toxic garbage. And are beginning to act accordingly.
This leads us to my second business goal of 2020…
Business Goal #2: Write 1 blog post every week
I really wanted to write more in 2020. I enjoy it.
But it is also a ton of work. Especially when you’re writing epic 5,000-word posts to rank for SEO.
Setting a goal of 1 blog post every single week was ambitious. Which is probably why I added this at the end of my goal.
So, while I definitely produced a ton of content in 2020, blogging was not one of them. ????
Goal achieved? ❌
My podcast, meanwhile, really took off in the past year.
These stats only reflect Spotify’s analytics, so let’s take a look at overall growth across all podcasting platforms.
I attribute part of this growth to my new series of free web design coaching sessions, of which there are now 13 episodes.
I will definitely be producing more of these in 2021. They seem to be a big hit with listeners. (They’re also way easier to produce than a standard episode)
I’m also toying around with some new ideas for unique podcast content. Stay tuned!
The YouTube Channel
I officially hit 5,000 subscribers this year!
But, to be honest, I’m still struggling a bit with my YouTube channel.
Don’t get me wrong, I love making videos. But they take up far too much of my time.
With everything else I’ve got going on, I simply can’t produce more than one video every month or two. And my channel is suffering as a result.
It is still growing, due to a number of videos ranking well for some very competitive keywords, but not at the rate it was over the past couple of years.
What I really need is a video editor. Someone who can take a script and voice over and make a video out of it.
I’ve tried to hire a number of people to help me with this, but none have worked so far.
So, if video editing is something you do, or think you can do, I’m looking to hire someone! Get in touch with me and let’s see if we’re a good fit for each other.
My Personal Goals and Habits
A big part of self-reflection is assessing what stage you’re at with goals you set for yourself in the past.
At the end of last year, my personal goals were:
- “Run a minimum of 3 times a week for the entire year, regardless of weather”
- “Visit another country for a minimum of 3 months”
- “As always, never lose sight of what’s most important to me (my volunteer work, family, friends, time, etc)”
Personal Goal #1: Run a minimum of 3 times a week for the entire year, regardless of weather
Running 3x per week was going quite well for the first few months, but definitely faltered once the Covid lockdown hit.
And it took a bit for me to get back into my groove…
Goal achieved? ❌
Personal Goal #2: Visit another country for a minimum of 3 months
As for visiting another country for 3 months, I was literally on my way to Spain when (sorry if I sound like a broken record) the lockdowns began. So I bailed on my trip mid-journey and fled home to Canada.
So I’m gonna cut myself some slack on this one.
Goal achieved? ⚖️
Personal Goal #3: As always, never lose sight of what’s most important to me (my volunteer work, family, friends, time, etc)
The most important goal I set for myself was to never lose sight of what’s most important, and to spend my time accordingly.
That goal I feel 100% confident in saying I achieved.
I worked less, spent more time with family and friends (even if it was through a digital screen) and spent more quality time in my volunteer work than I have in the past few years.
I feel privileged that I was able to do all of that in what has been such an awful year for so many.
Goal achieved? ✅
Rolling a Car Into a Ditch to Get a Web Design Client
On October 13, I had an accident. It was pretty bad. I lost control of my car and rolled into a ditch.
I am extremely fortunate to have climbed out with only minor injuries.
I’m also fortunate that some travellers happened to be driving by and pulled over to come to my aid. One individual stuck around with me for 20 minutes while we waited for the paramedics and police to arrive.
I am grateful for his help.
Oh, and he also ended up buying a website from me. 😂
Like I said, 2020 was something else.
And while I know many of you guys are hungry for web design clients, this strategy is definitely not for the faint of heart.
On an Even More Personal Note, I’m Getting Married!
I saved the best for last. I don’t normally share such intimate details of my personal life, but this one is too good not to.
This year I found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. We’ll be tying the knot to begin 2021.
That alone makes 2020 one of the best years of my life.
What’s Next For 2021
Honestly, who on earth knows?
I’m going to reactivate some of the goals I failed at this year. Because I really want to achieve them this time.
And now that I’m living in a Latin American country again, and on the coast, I have some new goals in mind.
So, my goals for 2021 are as follows:
- 📈 Grow my business revenue to six figures
- 💪 Get in the best physical shape of my life (my new wife will be the judge of this one)
- 🌮 Improve my Spanish fluency from 30-40% to at least 75%
- 🏄🏻♂️ Surf a wave for at least 5 seconds
That last one is gonna be particularly tough…
As is tradition, I’d like to distill my entire year down into one simple quote:
“He who has a WHY to live for can bear with almost any HOW.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
See you next year!