2017 Results, 2018 Goals

A year ago I wrote my tasks for the year, my goals and how they contribute for my overall career vision.

As usual, I’ve failed virtually every goal I set, but the most interesting thing is as I read my ‘career vision’, I give zero fucks about any part of it.

This is what is written in that field:

Become Australia’s leading online entrepreneur and inspire millions of people to start businesses.

As 2017 draws to a close, I realise that I’m nowhere near Australia’s leading online entrepreneur. In fact I’m no longer an online entrepreneur at all. I’m no longer spending any time trying to ‘inspire’ people to start businesses. I don’t want anyone to start a business who doesn’t want to start one or who isn’t cut out to do it.

Things change so much in 12 months that you wonder why you bother setting goals. In any case I do enjoy writing these yearly posts, so that is enough motivation for now. So here’s the progress vs the goals on the year that was, followed my my goals for 2018.

Dan Norris Author

From 2012 to 2016 writing books was a big part of my life and career. I wrote 4 books in that time (2 in 2016) and had built up a decent income and side business off the back of them. The plan was to continue that in 2017. The specific goals were to:

  • Launch another book.
  • Get 10,000 free downloads in the free period and #1 in the paid listings in its category.
  • Total of 100,000 books ordered by the end of 2017.

I failed on all of them. I didn’t even really think about writing another book until the last few weeks of the year. I had started a book when I wrote the goals and written 10,000 words but realised it just wasn’t that interesting to me anymore (a book about online services). So I decided to wait until I had a decent idea or a burst of inspiration. All of my other books have resulted from busts of inspiration that led to what I thought were pretty good book ideas.

I didn’t have any this year until a few weeks ago. I went to see Gary Vee live and was there for 2 hours. The first hour was listening to a revolting pitch from a so called professional business coach and the next hour was pure inspiration and epic charisma from the king Gary Vee. Those 2 talks kicked me into action to start writing my 5th business book. I won’t say too much now but the book is my original business book idea, and the one I’ve wanted to write the whole time.

I’ve made a very small amount of progress but as for the goals above not even close. Not close to releasing a new book and book sales are sitting at about 67,000 which isn’t that much more than last year.

I did manage to release all books as audio books which wasn’t a goal, but not a bad effort.

For Dan Norris Author, I give myself an E for 2017.

One time in school I cheated on an essay, didn’t get caught but still got an E. That one hurt. Let’s move on.

Personal brand and mastermind

I have a personal mastermind which has around 200 members and it brings in a decent side hustle income for me. But it’s mainly just a cool group of people that all help each other out with business challenges.

The goals I had for 2017 for the personal brand and mastermind were:

  • Do another 7 Day Startup Challenge and get great results for participants.
  • Earn $100,000 AUD between my personal brand and books.
  • Reach 250 members of my community.

Again here I really didn’t do that well. I didn’t even think about doing a challenge, didn’t do much at all with the 7 Day Startup brand and didn’t really grow the community.

Revenue from personal brand was about $70,000, which was about 30% less than 2016.

Where I am at now is a very different place and I’m around very different people. My personal brand has taken a backseat and the mastermind is just a good stable group, it’s no longer something I really spend much time growing. I still love the group itself I just don’t really have the motivation to focus on making it bigger. I kind of like it the way it is.

I think part of it is I’m not really around people who are pushing me to focus on this part of what I do anymore, and it’s also just getting over the whole personal brand idea and online marketing space. There’s really not a lot about that whole world that interests me anymore. At least not right now.

For my personal brand for 2017 I also give myself an E.

At this rate it’s going to be a fun year! EEEEEEEE……

Black Hops Brewery

For a long time now I’ve believed that the biggest ‘hack’ of business is to just focus on whatever has momentum. For a while it was my WordPress business WP Curve, and for a while it was my personal brand and books. Since 2015 it’s been my brewery Black Hops. And this year I decided to focus 100% on this business, working full time in the business for the first time.

The one thing I can say I did reasonably successfully in 2017 was continue focusing on Black Hops (as planned), which in the past has not been easy for me. My goals at the start of the year clearly show how focused I wanted to be on Black Hops in 2017.

There were 9 goals for Black Hops.

Remain profitable (not as easy as it sounds).

It’s not quite as simple as it sounds to be ‘profitable’ when you have so many competing factors in growing a business like a brewery. You have the need to invest, the need to build the team for the future, founders who need to be paid, Council restrictions to deal with, I could literally go on forever.

For 2017 we probably won’t quite be profitable but given how much we’ve grown and how much of our expenses are geared towards future growth, I think we have done quite well on this one, although I accept defeat on being profitable the whole year.

Pass $83,000 / month to become a million dollar business by increasing keg sales and Taproom sales

We’ve smashed this goal and are well beyond 7 figure run rate. In the next few months when we raise money via crowdfunding, we’ll publish our financials in full. For those interested, you can check this link out.

Double capacity by taking over the space next door.

This was also achieved this year with the next building taken over and new tanks installed and currently filled with beer. This also meant raising money, which we were able to do in about a week.

It more than tripled our capacity and we also took over the building behind us for storage and cold room space. It’s been a big year for signing leases!

Increase the size of our Taproom.

Achieved. The taproom is unrecognisable from what it was 12 months ago. The goal of increasing the size seems silly now when you go to Black Hops. The place is a completely different place and a completely unique place on the Gold Coast. This was probably our most significant result of 2017, we’ve created something great with a lot of restrictions and a lot of challenges. Although I confess I’ve had almost nothing to do with it.

Win Gold at the AIBA’s

We achieved this goal with 2 Gold medals and some silvers and bronzes. This was a huge highlight of the year, especially for Govs and Eddie who do all the work in the brewery and with the beer ideas. It’s pretty epic to be recognised at this level from a quality standpoint.

Make the top 5 at GABS (we’ve come 13th and 9th the last 2 years)

We failed on this one. I think they only announced the top 10 and we weren’t in it.

Make the Hottest 100 Craft Beer list (we’ve come 113th and 148th the last 2 years).

This one I care about a lot more. We haven’t made this list before and after failing last year it really lit a fire under me. This is a list that every relevant brewery is on, so I think with some very big changes in 2017 we are in a good shot to make this list. We won’t know for a month, but I’ll come back and update this post. Out of interest the big changes were our release of our Pale Ale in cans, which was a new beer and has become by far our biggest seller.

If you’ve tried our beers, you can vote for the Pale Ale in the awards here.

Start a new line of physical products under a new brand owned by Black Hops

With this one I decided to not start a new brand just to keep it Black Hops branded. The plan was to release a cooler bag and I put in quite a lot of work into it and got it to prototype stage and kind of dropped the ball on it, because of budget reasons and the whole thing kind of ran out of steam. I need to pick this one back up when I get time and kick it off again.

Still be friends at the end of the year.

This one was achieved. We are doing great as founders and we have the most epic team in the world and while we’ve had our ups and downs, I think we are all pretty solid.

Overall for Black Hops it’s been a bloody epic year. As good as it’s been though, I think 2018 will be our year.

Other businesses

BoredAF

I also had 2 other businesses I put some serious money and effort into in 2017. One was my business animation startup BoredAF. This one had some ambitious goals most of which I failed:

  • Launch! (managed to do that).
  • Become profitable in the first month of launching (my definition of profitable is covering costs). (I was pretty close to covering costs but probably not completely).
  • Turn it into a 6 figure business ($8,333 AUD / month) by the end of 2017 (not even close).
  • Build up a decent social media following (500,000 views total on YouTube and 5,000 likes on Facebook, and create at least 1 video that is viewed more than 100,000 times. (fail).

For this one I had some decent social media traction, particularly on YouTube. 700 subscribers, one video that actually did pass 100k views and over 229,000 total views across all videos. Not too bad, but in the end I really didn’t have the energy to focus on making company videos and with my focus purely on Black Hops, I decided to shut this one down. I tried to sell it, but wasn’t happy with any of the offers so I just closed it off and kept the domain name (boredaf.com).

RevCart

I also started an ecommerce software business called RevCart and that also failed badly. Again lack of focus was a problem, I really didn’t want to be working on it in the end and I was just pouring money into it. I spent a lot of money trying to get it up and I did launch it, but I realised about a week later that I had no desire to keep it going and without drive, funding or good developers, it would fail even worse.

It took me way too long to shut it down and I made all the mistakes that I have spent the last 4 years telling people not to make. I felt like a complete idiot and lost a lot of money.

Summary

So all up, 7 goals achieved out of 22. 70% failure rate. Slightly better than my ‘worst’ year 2013 (What I learned Failing at 83%).

Not that it’s been an awful year, it’s mainly that things have changed so much in 12 months that the goals are no longer relevant. However I won’t lie. There have been some massive failures this year that have been hard to take and I’d love to say I’ve learned lessons but really they are lessons I’ve leaned years earlier and preach to others about, so I’d be lying if I said I’ve learned new things from the failures.

One thing I know is that failure fucking sucks, and I’m no longer anywhere near as excited about the idea of failing as a lot of other entrepreneurs are.

Related: Can we at least admit that failure isn’t the goal

2018 Goals

So what for 2018. Given how crazy half of my 2017 goals feel like right now, how do you even start to put down some goals for 2018? Here is my best guess at what the year might look like.

Dan Norris Author

I would like to finish the book I’m currently writing and keep some action going on my Author status, as opposed to just letting it die off completely.

Goals:

  • Release my 5th book
  • Pass 100,000 in all time book orders

Black Hops

Black Hops will be the clear focus for 2018 and we have a few very big and ambitious goal in 2018:

  • Build a new brewery by the end of 2018.
  • Make Black Hops one of the most recognisable craft beer breweries in Australia.

A few more notes

Crypto

Crypto didn’t make it into my 2017 goals but with the year it’s had it’s worth a mention. This year I’ve spent quite a bit of time messaging mates and just generally talking and ‘investing’ (more like gambling) in Crypto Currencies.

Financially if I was to sell my holdings now, I would earn more personal profit in Crypto than I have from any of the businesses mentioned above. But it’s the amount I’ve become interested in it, that is the real surprise. Cryptos have become ADD tech geek heaven because of the constant change and surprise and of course the gigantic implications they could have.

I just wanted to mention that in passing because I have a feeling Crypto will play a decent role in my 2018 and beyond, but I don’t want to set specific goals around it just yet.

New businesses

I want to set myself a challenge for 2018 to not start any new businesses or projects. I’ll allow myself to plan new projects / businesses for 2019 but no focus on new businesses in 2018.

2018 is the year of Black Hops. At the end of the year I want to feel like I’ve done everything I can to make Black Hops everything it can be.

Conclusion

I know these posts are very self centred but I also know people don’t mind seeing in behind the curtains on some of this stuff, so I hope it was interesting. if you have any questions please let me know below.

Here are a few links to things I’m working on: