One year ago I wrote an article titled 13 months to freedom where I laid out my plan to build an online income through my websites, large enough to support my monthly living expenses.
My goal was to build an online income of $5000 per month over a period of 13 months and I think it’s only fair to all of you that I reveal how my year has gone, what I’ve achieved and how close I’ve come to the goals I set for myself.
Business Achievements of 2011
In hindsight, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing with my online business 13 months ago. I had no real plan or strategy to follow and I pretty much wasted the first 8 of those 13 months on totally pointless activities.
While I worked hard, put in many hours and was constantly putting myself out there, I was going about it the wrong way. I wasn’t working on anything that could bring in the kind of money that I wanted to make.
I created and launched 3 of my own products: How to blog HQ, CLoudblogginghq (with my buddyGlen) and the Confidence Black book.
Each of those products took me 2 months to create, and only Cloudblogginghq was a real success, mostly because of Glen’s blog audience. The other two products I created barely covered the cost of making them, not even counting the time I put in.
But these are the things I did wrong, and although I could have done much more with the time I had if I knew what I know now, I had to go through the process of making these mistakes to be able to know what I know now.
So what have I achieved in 2011?
In terms of income, I’ve averaged around $1500 per month for the year. Not quite enough for me to live off and far from my $5000 per month goal, but it’s a step in the right direction.
I built and sold various niche sites throughout the year which earned me a couple of thousand dollars, but more importantly, it taught me a lot about building niche sites. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out a profitable method for building niche sites without having to work on them myself (outsourcing a lot of the work) and I’m currently building some new niche sites based on this method. I’ll be able to tell within the next 4 months if it indeed works out as well as I expect it to, and then each site should bring in at least a few hundred dollars per month on total autopilot.
As for this blog, UpgradeReality, I’ve written a few dozen quality articles throughout the year. Upgrade Reality has gained close to 5000 new subscribed readers. The amount of people visiting UpgradeReality on a daily basis has risen to about 3000 hits per day (triple what it was in the beginning of the year) and Upgradereality.com has received over 500,000 views in the last 12 months.
In the background I’ve also been trading the forex markets and building up my trading account. Forex trading is a big passion of mine (you may have noticed the occasional posts about online forex trading) and I’ve recently decided to overhaul my old forex blog so that I can seriously start building it up in 2012.
Goals for 2012
Currently my personal life and freedom is not quite as I’d like to have it due to my lack of significant income.
Since I’m talking on a personal level here, I might as well be open about my thoughts and feelings. I’ve recently turned 25 years old and in many ways I no longer feel like a boy but a man. The time when a boy becomes a man cannot be determined by a mere number in age. Some boys become men at a very young age and some boys just never seem to become men, even when they’re in their thirties or forties.
A real man is many things. He needs to totally believe in himself, have his own boundaries and his own goals. A real man is kind and compassionate but hard, stern and aggressive when he needs to be. He does not blame others for what goes wrong in his own life and he takes responsibility for himself and the ones he cares about. A real man provides, protects and gives but is also not afraid to ask for help when he needs it.
All these qualities of a real man I’ve listed above (and the many more I haven’t listed) take time and experience to obtain. I feel that I’m well on my way but I still have much to learn. I also feel that in order for me to really become a man, I need to achieve my goals of financial freedom, build up my own business and conquer any and all obstacles in my way.
As a result, my sole focus and only goal for 2012 is to create enough of an income so I can have the freedom to live how I want, where I want, with the girl that I love.
So… I need a plan because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
My plan for 2012 to take my financial freedom is the following:
I’ve spent the last 2,5 years building UpgradeReality up to the personal development resource it is today. It is bringing in some money every month but not as much as I think it could and this is likely due to me not offering enough quality solutions for the readers’ problems that they’re willing to pay for.
I’m planning to write many more articles to increase both the daily traffic and subscribed readers.
I’m also collaborating with 3 incredibly talented people on a personal development guide that will surpass all personal development guides and I plan to offer this guide to the readers and visitors of UpgradeReality, planning to turn it into the main source of income for this blog.
The reason why I love working on UpgradeReality so much is not so much for the money but for the satisfaction of making a difference to the lives of others. I get dozens of emails from readers thanking me for my articles and motivation and although I may not be getting a huge amount of money for the time I put in, life’s not all about making money for personal gains. I believe in karma, and the more you give, the more you get back.
2- Forexhabits & Trading
Other than the topic of personal development, a big passion of mine is online forex trading (as you may have read when I published my 3-part tutorial about it).
I am currently trading for myself part time with a small ($1000) account and I hope to build that up to an account size of a few thousand dollars in 2012.
Due to the fact that forex trading is such a passion of mine, I am not only interested in trading for myself. I want to share my knowledge and experience of forex trading with as many other people as possible and help them become more profitable traders. Thus, I’m going to build my blog ForexHabits into a complete online forex trading resource in the same way that I’ve built UpgradeReality as a personal development resource.
Since the online forex trading niche is one where participants are much more likely to spend money on information (due to the nature of the niche, i.e. working with money), owning a popular resource in this niche can be rather profitable.
If you’re interested in learning more about forex trading and becoming a profitable forex trader, check out my blog ForexHabits and subscribe to the email updates (it’s 100% free).
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve set up a good dozen niche sites throughout the year that made money through promoting affiliate products. I also sold all of these sites and the reason for that is because the sites took way too much of my time.
Building a niche site and writing dozens of articles about a topic that you’re not passionate about is rather time-consuming, although it can be done in a few days of hardcore work. However, driving traffic to the site once it’s finished or building enough backlinks to the site to get a top ranking in Google is almost impossible if not a stupid allocation of time and energy.
All the time I put into building these sites and learning about SEO was not a complete waste of time. In fact, I’ve learned a huge amount from it and I think that I’ve figured out a really energy-efficient way to create profitable niche sites by outsourcing most of the work (including article writing and SEO).
I’m in the process of creating 5 new niche sites through this new strategy I’ve planned out and I’ll be able to tell within the next 4 months if this goes according to plan. It will however require that I invest about $2000 upfront so there is a bit of a risk involved for me.
If it turns out that my strategy works, then it’s only a matter of spending enough money to build dozens of niche sites and I’ll likely go out and get a loan to do this. If the strategy fails and it’s not as profitable as I expect it to be, at worst I’ll lose a couple of hundred dollars because I can always sell those niche sites for close to cost price.
What Are Your Goals For 2012?
I’ve told you about my achievements for 2011 and my goals for 2012. You’ll have noticed how my goals are all about gaining financial freedom and that is because the only obstacle in my personal life is the lack of enough money to do what I want.
But what about you? I want to hear from you…!
Please tell me how your 2011 went and if you made progress towards your goals.
Please tell me what your goals are for 2012 and how you plan to make them materialize?
Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012 in advance!
Your friend and mentor,