This week, I will give you my 2023 review.
- what went well
- what went poorly
- what mistakes I made
- what lessons I learned
- other gems
Let’s do this.
Moving To Denver
We love it here.
When you look out my front door, you will see a lake and a mountain range. The lake is big and beautiful. Couples and friends walk around the lake and share their lives with each other.
On the other side of the lake is a mountain range.
Those mountains have been there for 70 million years. They don’t care about me or my stupid little problems. They don’t care about the couples who walk around the lake, talking about their jobs or their in laws or their dreams.
When my kids wake up in the morning, we start each day by saying good morning to the mountains.
The little dude will line up at the front door and say “Good morning mountains!!!”
It reminds me every day how insignificant I am.
Yesterday was Christmas, and Jules and I took the fam for a hike. I never imagined that this was something I would get to do in my life.
It’s the best.
We are so grateful we get to raise The Little Man and The Sweet girl in a way where they are always surrounded by nature.
This was a great year for me in business.
I’ve made more money this year than I did last year. I made more money last year than I did the year before. This has been true every year, for the last 15 years in a row.
It’s best to get rich slowly. Jules and I live way below our means and so we have avoided falling into the trap of lifestyle creep. Also, since my success has come slowly, I’ve never felt like I made it.
This is a catch 22, because I never feel like I’m doing well enough. I’ve never had that feeling of “YES! I MADE IT!!!!”
But I know that feeling is a trap. Making it is an illusion. There is always another mountain to climb. I’m grateful for my slow success because I feel hungrier than ever.
Let’s look at specifics.
Stodzy Internet Marketing
This was our best year yet. We did millions in revenue and continued to build a world class team.
The biggest change for me this year was that I removed myself from the day to day management of the company, and instead focused most of my attention on sales.
The results were self evident. I generated more business this year than ever before. But the process was very uncomfortable. It’s still uncomfortable.
Tricia has completely taken over the operations. Tricia is one of the most amazing people I will ever know. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have her in my life.
2024 will be Stodzy’s breakout year. You heard it here first.
Copyblogger is the perfect example of the phrase “success will take twice as long as you hope and cost twice as much as you thought.”
My stubbornness and persistence is the only reason why Copyblogger is succeeding. Last year, in my review, I wrote about the endless mistakes I made trying to grow Copyblogger.
This year, I’m thrilled to say that the lessons paid off and we made great progress.
I created 3 revenue streams for Copyblogger and all of them have been generating money.
Sponsorships – The ConvertKit Sponsorship Network has been great. I did $90k in sponsorship revenue this year. I owe a huge thanks to Armando and the team.
Copyblogger Academy – The Academy is one of the hardest projects I’ve ever done in my life. The best thing I did this year is reach out to my friend Charles and bring him in as a partner to run and manage The Academy.
Charles is a 1%er. Out of all the people I’ve ever worked with in my life, he has been the most professional, most reliable, and the most results oriented. There’s not even a close second. He’s incredible.
Charles has been a huge blessing to me. Together, he and I are creating the best membership site in the world.
Digital Commerce Partners – DCP also had a great year. We didn’t exceed our goals, but we didn’t fall short either. We hit our revenue projections and our client acquisition goals right on the nose. We are happy with it.
We did 7 figures in revenue and we are building a base of incredible testimonials. Jonny uses the “profit first” method and so generating profits for DCP has never been a problem.
Most importantly, we are generating amazing results for our customers, which means that the company is building a reputation and we will continue to grow in time.
Check out this testimonial we got from SEMRush. (Which is one of our clients.)
I’ve come to really admire Jonny and I value his friendship immensely. He’s an amazing operator and I’m grateful to be his partner.
I’ve grown so much this year.
We had both of our kids in Nashville and if you are a parent, you may relate to the fact that when your kids are infants, there’s not as much learning and self reflecting going on.
You’re just surviving.
But The Little Man is now 2 1/2, and The Sweet Girl is now 16 months old. This year I was able to actually be a parent and watch them grow and spend time with my family in a way that instilled a deep meaning in my life.
Things suddenly make sense in a way they didn’t before.
Julian already loves the Eagles (as if he had a choice.) Every Sunday, he wears his Dawkins jersey and he says “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!! We are building a relationship.
Most importantly, I realize how lucky I am to share this wild journey with Jules.
My wife is the absolute coolest person in the world. I am so incredibly lucky to have her and she is lucky to have me. She introduced me to hiking and I introduced her to the city. I’m so lucky. I’m so indescribably lucky.
Nothing is more important than my relationship with my wife. I’m blessed.
Best Books I Read This Year
1. The Graveyard Book – I love Neil Gaiman. I never get sick of reading him. The Graveyard Book was another masterpiece. The ending was stunning.
I loved it so much that I even bought the graphic novel version of the book and read that too.
2. Essentialism – I have always liked the idea of remembering one idea from every non fiction book I read. No one can truly apply all the jargon in a non fiction self help into their lives.
But Essentialism was different.
I haven’t felt this way from reading a book since I’ve read The Book Book and Think and Grow Rich more than 10 years ago.
I’ve been studying and meditating on it every day. In fact, I haven’t even picked up a different non fiction book since because I want to keep studying the book and applying it’s lessons in my life.
This book completely transformed the way I think about life and business.
3. The Library At Mount Char – Absolutely brilliant.
I’ve never read anything like this before. I didn’t know you could write a book like this. It was so creative and different that there were times reading it when I thought “are you even allowed to do this?”
Through all it’s idiosyncrasies, I never lost the story and I never felt like the plot got away from me.
10 out of 10.
My Biggest Failures
This will sound like a humble brag, but there wasn’t much that went wrong this year.
In 2022, I took some big losses as an investor. In total, I lost about $130,000 dollars. That is a lot of money. Fortunately, I had a lot of wins last year as well so the loss didn’t impact me that much.
However, the loss taught me a huge lesson about what kind of investor I want to be.
I have no desire to be a start up investor or an angel investor. My methodology is to invest in cash flow. I approach investing much more along the lines of Warren Buffet.
Since then, I changed my approach and the results were evident.
There were no catastrophic losses and frankly, I don’t think I will ever again put myself in a position where I can lose that much money at once.
With that said, of course I made mistakes this year and learned valuable lessons from them. Here are the biggest ones.
1. Agency Clarity – This was a course I created to help people start and build agencies. As much as I love this course and this idea for a brand, it was too much. As soon as I bundled this course inside Copyblogger Academy, everything became easier.
2. Your Boulder – Again, I should have never taken this on.
I’m in a transition stage in my life where I need to start saying no to things. In the beginning of your career, you want to say yes to as much as possible. Your hustle and your work ethic is your biggest asset.
But as you start to grow, it’s very important to learn how to say no.
I should have said no to Your Boulder. I love the brand and I love the website, but it’s a darling I needed to kill. My goal is to try and sell the company. It’s a great brand. There is so much opportunity, but I need to let it go.
If I can’t sell it, I will kill it, no matter how much it hurts.
3. Plzdm.Me – This is a tough one. I bought this company in the early parts of the year. It was a good deal and a great product. But as soon as I bought the company, Elon killed the Twitter API and destroyed me over night.
It taught me a lot about platform risk.
My biggest mistake this year was trying to do too much. It’s been a difficult habit for me to break.
The Biggest Take Away From 2023
I already told you about Essentialism. The book transformed my thinking. The main methodology behind the book is “less but better.”
I’m finally in an emotional position where I am comfortable doing less and I have enough experience to know what to focus on and what to discard.
It’s possible to do less while generating more success at the same time. I’m afraid that I won’t hit my potential. I’m afraid that I will be one of those sad stories of someone who almost made it, and then lost it all because he took his foot off the gas right when it mattered most.
But that isn’t the case. Essentialism is a way of life that contributes to success. It doesn’t diminish it.
This lesson is going to catapult me into the new year and 2024 is going to be my best year yet. I have so many plans and changes that I can’t wait to tell you about.
Buckle up, because your boy is making moves.
Enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll talk to you in the new year with an outline of my 2024 plan of action.