I did my first annual review ever last year, so you can check that out if you want to throw it back.
Here’s why I do these annual reviews:
- To acknowledge my accomplishments for the year: Making note of the good things that happened in 2019 helps build confidence and momentum to carry over into 2020.
- To review all the goals that I didn’t accomplish and any failures along the way: This helps me make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. It also helps me look at what I need to work on more in the coming year.
A Look Back at My Goals for 2019:
I shared my goals publically at the end of last year in my 2018 Annual Review. Now I’m going to list them out one by one to see how well I did.
1. Launch and Sell 3 New Online Courses
I launched and sold my first online video course ever in early 2018. It has been a big part of the reason why my business has grown so much.
So naturally, why not set a goal to launch 3 new courses in the following year?
Looking back, that was a terrible idea.
As it turns out, creating (good) videos is hard. As is the case for a lot of creators, the first videos that you make are usually really bad.
That was definitely true for me.
I’m talking, when I went back and listened to some of the videos from my course, it literally made me cringe. The course was selling well and getting great reviews from students. But looking back, I’m really not sure how.
So instead of creating new courses, I spent a lot of time re-recording and relaunching my first course. Now it is 10x better and is a product that I truly feel comfortable promoting and selling to my audience.
It just goes to show how much one can improve in a short period of time — especially when it comes to creating videos.
Verdict: Fail ❌
While I am proud that I was able to completely revamp my old course, I created and sold zero new courses. That means that I failed to complete my goal of launching 3 new courses.
2. Earn $10,000 per Month (Profit) From My Business
I’m not really one to talk about how much money I make (or don’t make). It’s very common for online entrepreneurs to share their income reports, but that’s not really my style.
With that said, this is a goal I set last year so I feel like I need to mention it briefly. At the very least, maybe it will motivate or inspire you in some way.
Earning $10,000 per month is kind of the magic number that most people like me aim for when it comes to building an online business. When I set this goal at the end of last year, I thought that I could (maybe) get there.
Maybe not this year, but I definitely felt that I would eventually reach this milestone.
But after years of hard work, I finally had my first ever $10,000 (profit) month in February of 2019.
As I said, I was confident that I’d reach this goal eventually. But I never, in a million years, thought it’d happen so fast.
It was in June of 2016 when I went all-in and committed to learning how to build an online business. I didn’t know how to do any of this stuff. But I was fully committed to doing whatever it takes to make it happen.
Three-and-a-half years later, I reached my ultimate financial goal.
There were a few months in 2019 where I didn’t quite hit that number. But most months I did. In fact, there was even one month where I more than doubled that number. 😱
My average monthly net income increased from approximately $5,000/month in 2018 to greater than $10,000/month in 2019.
So basically, I more than doubled my income.
This is all still pretty crazy to me if I’m being honest. It just goes to show that if you’re willing to work hard, day after day, eventually you will get the results you’re looking for.
And again, I’m not saying any of this to brag. I’m sharing this to let you know what’s possible.
Verdict: Complete ✅
It took me thousands of hours of reading, learning, and screwing up to get to where I am today. And I’m still not even close to where I want to be. But I am fortunate and grateful to have been able to reach this milestone.
3. Acquire a Rental Property
When it comes to building long-term wealth, it’s not about how much money you make. It’s about how much money you keep.
If you have cash sitting in the bank, you’re losing money due to the cost of inflation. That’s why you have to invest so that your money can grow and earn passively over the long term.
I’ve been investing in the stock market for years, but I also planned to invest in real estate as well. But now, I’ve completely shifted my perspective.
At the beginning of the year, my goal was to acquire (at least) one new rental property every year going forward.
That is no longer my goal, and here’s why:
Real Estate is a Business.
And I do not consider myself to be in the real estate business. I’m not a real estate guy, per se. I’m an entrepreneur who builds online businesses. That is what I’m good at. And that is where my time, focus, and energy needs to be.
Owning rental properties takes maintenance. Even with a property manager, there’s still upkeep and decisions that need to be made, so it’s never truly passive income.
Not to mention the amount of time it takes to scour the market to find a good deal. Doing so would take valuable time away from doing the things I’m good at, and that’s building and running online businesses.
That is why I’ve changed my mind about owning rental properties.
With that said, there are ways to invest in real estate without physically buying or managing the properties. Ways that ARE truly passive and even give you some of the same tax benefits.
And that is the path that I’ve chosen to pursue.
Rather than purchasing a rental property this year, I invested that money with two companies that find deals and manage the properties for me.
Those two companies are:
I did my research and due diligence before investing with these companies, and I’d suggest that you do the same.
With this type of real estate investing, I probably won’t earn as high of a return had I purchased properties on my own. However, it is truly passive, and I don’t have to do any of the work.
For me, that’s what is important so that I can focus on growing my business.
Verdict: Complete ✅
Technically, no, I did not acquire a rental property. But I was able to invest an amount much larger than what would have been required had I purchased a physical piece of real estate on my own. I’m happy about that, so I consider this goal to have been accomplished.
4. Grow My Amazon Affiliate Earnings to $2,000/month
I reached this goal fairly easily.
In the month of December 2019 (this month), I earned over $4,000 in Amazon Affiliate income. So yeah, it wasn’t very hard to accomplish this goal.
This big increase is one of the main reasons why I was able to hit most of my financial goals this year.
If you’re completely oblivious, here’s how it works:
Let say you run a website about food and cooking. So you decided to write an article about the best toasters that are for sale. In the article, you will list out all the best toasters with a link back to that product on Amazon.
When someone clicks on your link and buys a toaster, Amazon will pay you a commission on the sale. So if you can create the best article on the internet about toasters, Google will reward you by ranking your article #1 in the search engine.
So whenever someone searches for the keyword “Best Toasters,” your article will show up first and start getting traffic.
Weird example, I know, but that’s how you make money as an Amazon affiliate.
Verdict: Complete ✅
I’m happy to have reached this goal, and I plan to grow this income stream even more in 2020. To do so, all I have to do is 1) create new articles to promote more Amazon products and 2) improve my current articles so that they rank higher in the search engines.
5. Publish 200 New Articles Across All of My Sites
I didn’t even come close on this one. I went back and looked, and I only published around 101 articles this year.
I mean, that’s a lot. But it was nowhere near the goal I set.
The main reason is that I was the one doing a lot of the writing, all of the editing, and all of the publishing. That’s a lot of work for one mere mortal.
Now I have more systems in place, so 2020 will be a lot better. I’ve started outsourcing ALL of my articles to writers. I hired a virtual assistant to do the publishing. So now, basically all I’m doing is the outline and keyword research.
Verdict: Fail ❌
This goal was unrealistic. Especially seeing as I was the one doing every step of the publishing process. I had successfully created a bottleneck in my business. At least I’ve realized this now, so I should be able to publish better content more frequently in 2020.
6. Publish 75 New YouTube Videos
I published 65 YouTube videos in 2019. Close, but no cigar.
My channel did grow a ton, though. I went from around 1,500 subscribers to >8,000, so I am pleased with that.
Also, my channel is now monetized.
If you didn’t know, to be able to make money from YouTube videos, there are some criteria that you must meet before they’ll let you. You have to get at least 1000 subscribers and more than 4,000 hours of watch-time on your videos.
I had the subscribers but it took me until April before I was able to get enough watch-time to become eligible for monetization.
In 2019, my YouTube channel went from earning $0 to approximately $600/month. That’s a pretty big win in my book and I look forward to growing that more in 2020.
Verdict: Fail ❌
The number 75 was really just a random number that I pulled from thin air. I’m fine with publishing only 65 videos. On average, that’s more than 1 video per week so overall I’m happy with that pace.
7. Meditate More Days Than Not for at Least 20 Minutes
I mentioned this in last year’s annual report but I used to be in the camp that meditation and mindfulness were woo-woo practices only done by hippies.
Then I actually tried it back in 2017 and have stuck with it ever since.
Yeah, yeah — I know. It is a little weird. But science (and all-that) proves just how beneficial it is. I can honestly say that is has had a positive impact on my life by lowering stress and enhancing self-awareness and my ability to focus.
I mean, almost every high-performer that you’ll read about meditates, so there has to be something to it, right?
My goal this year was to meditate more days than not for 20 minutes.
And I failed miserably.
Up until January 1, 2019, I had only been meditating for 10 minutes at a time. So naturally I thought I was a pro and was ready to jump up to 20-minute sessions.
I tried that twice and couldn’t do it. Lol. So back down to 10-minutes I went. 20 minutes was just too long for me. I feel like 10 minutes is the perfect amount of time for me to clear my head and focus on my breathing — so I’ll be sticking with it.
At least I did meditate more days than not, though.
Verdict: Fail ❌
In 2018, I completed 235 sessions. But only 208 sessions in 2019. I use an app called Headspace that makes tracking these numbers easily. I completed more sessions last year than I did this year, and I don’t like that trajectory at all. Hopefully, I can improve on this in 2020.
8. Read (or Listen To) at Least 35 New Books
Reading is a huge priority for me. It’s the first thing I do every morning. Also, I make it a priority to revisit my yearly goals once a month to make sure I’m on track to reach them.
In November, I noticed that I wasn’t on pace to reach this goal. So basically, I had to consciously pick up the pace.
With that said, I was able to read (or listen to via Audible) 35 books this year.
Here they are (affiliate links):
2. Influence [audiobook]
3. The Obstacle is the Way
5. EPT: The Entrepreneurial Personality Type
6. Creativity for Sale
7. The Rational Male [audiobook]
8. Tax Free Wealth [audiobook]
9. The Entrepreneur Mind [audiobook]
10. Man Up [audiobook]
11. The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster [audiobook]
12. The Book on Rental Property Investing
13. 5-Day Weekend [audiobook]
15. Level Up Your Life [audiobook]
16. No More Mr. Nice Guy! [audiobook]
17. The Way of Men [audiobook]
18. The Introvert Advantage [audiobook]
19. The Way of the Superior Man
20. Cashflow Quadrant
21. The War or Art
23. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind [audiobook]
24. Think and Grow Rich [audiobook]
25. Getting Things Done
27. It Works [audiobook]
28. Atomic Habits [audiobook]
29. Millionaire Success Habits
30. Unf*k Yourself [audiobook]
31. Choose Yourself
32. High Performance Habits [audiobook]
33. It’s All In Your Head [audiobook]
34. The Millionaire Booklet [audiobook]
35. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success [audiobook]
As you can see, I listened to a lot of audiobooks this year. I much prefer actually reading books over listening. With that said, I can listen to books much faster so I try to do a mixture of both.
I highly recommend signing up for Audible (through Amazon) if you haven’t already.
Verdict: Complete ✅
I barely got this one, but I got it. Lesson: Documenting your goals and revisiting them often will drastically increase your chances of accomplishing them.
9. Publish 10 New Books for Sale on Amazon Kindle
I only published 5 new Kindle books.
I published 11 new paperbacks and 3 audiobooks.
This revenue stream wasn’t really a priority for me this year. With all the Amazon fees, I tend to earn a lot more profit by selling books on my own website. So that was my focus.
However, there was one good thing that happened this year..
One of my books hit #1 on the Amazon Best Sellers list. 🏆
Okay, so I must add: My book was only #1 in the Education category. But that was still really cool to see.
Verdict: Fail ❌
I only published 5 new Kindle books, which means that I didn’t reach this goal, unfortunately. I may or may not publish more books on Amazon in 2020.
10. Travel to a New Country
This year we traveled to Antigua and Barbuda which is a pair of islands in the West Indies. We specifically stayed on the island of Antigua. This was by far one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken.
The best part is, it was basically free.
Our flights and room were paid for using credit card points and the resort was all-inclusive, so we didn’t have to pay for food. Our only expenses were excursions, like the catamaran ride we took around the island as you can see in the picture below.
I’ve been getting a ton of questions lately about how I’m able to travel to cool places for free (or really cheap). I’m sharing everything I know to the members of my inner circle.
If you’re interested in learning more, shoot me a DM on Instagram and I’ll see if I can help.
Verdict: Complete ✅
Traveling is definitely something I’m passionate about and I plan to travel to a new country every year. Especially now that I know how to leverage credit to travel for free.
11. Travel to at Least 4 New Cities
Not only do I want to explore the world in other countries, but I also want to hit as many cities as possible in the United States as well.
This year I traveled to 5 new cities:
Verdict: Complete ✅
What cities should I visit in 2020? Right now, I have trips planned to LA, San Diego, Boise, Vancouver, and possibly Houston.
Send me your recommendations on Instagram.
12. Take at Least 4 New Online Courses
My first few years of trying to build an online business were slow. The reason is I wasn’t willing to invest in myself.
Can you learn everything by using Google and free YouTube videos?
Yes, you most likely can.
The problem is: It’s going to take you way longer. And that is exactly what I was trying to do when I was first getting started because I wasn’t willing to spend money to invest in myself.
When I really started getting the results I was looking for was when I started paying to get access to information that could help me get to the next level.
And I did that (and continue to do so) by investing in online courses offered by entrepreneurs who are further along than myself.
Over the years, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on information and I can 100% attribute a lot of my success to that. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I love investing money in assets like the stock market and real estate.
But the best investment that you can truly make is in yourself.
This year, I completed a total of 9 online courses (that I paid for). So I more than doubled the goal I set. I won’t list them all, but here are a few of the good ones that I feel comfortable recommending:
Verdict: Complete ✅
If I’m being honest, 9 courses is too many. I’m definitely going to scale that number back some in 2020. With that said, I’ll always keep investing in myself no matter what going forward.
13. Spend Less Time on eBay to Focus on Higher ROI Activities
If you’re not familiar, eBay is how I got started making money online. I would definitely recommend it to anyone starting out.
But there comes a point where you can only scale your eBay store so much. For me, it became burdensome because I was spending too much time listing items for sale on eBay when I could earn a lot more by focusing on my other businesses.
My goal was to simply stop spending so much time on eBay and focus more on activities with higher earning potential.
I accomplished this goal — somewhat.
At the end of 2018, I had approximately 350 items listed for sale in my eBay store. Now, at the end of 2019, I have less than 230.
My goal is to get that number down to under 100 listings and keep it there. The problem is, it’s fast, easy money.
Literally, every time I go to a store like Marshalls or TJ Maxx (among others), I end up spending like $300 on stuff to sell on eBay. That $300 turns into $600+ once all the items sell.
Here are some of my recent sales:
For me, it’s more like a hobby than a business. At least it’s a profitable hobby, amiright?
With that said, the time I spend on said hobby takes away from the time I could be spending growing my actual business.
Verdict: Complete ✅
Yes, I was able to spend less time on eBay this year. But I still have some work to do in this area. The solution is simple — I just have to stop buying stuff to resell. For me, that’s easier said than done.
14. Launch Another Successful Shopify Store
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that makes it easy to get an online store up and running in a few hours.
I run one Shopify store that prints and ships T-Shirts to customers in my primary niche. It all happens automatically without me having to do anything. And I like that.
At the first of last year, I had ambitions of starting a new store in a different niche and getting more involved with dropshipping.
I changed my mind.
I tried it and it definitely works which explains why there are teenagers out there buying Lamborghinis.
But I just wasn’t fulfilled selling crappy Chinese gadgets to random people that I’d never see or hear from again. So I stopped.
Honestly, it was shiny object syndrome. I saw the kids buying the lambos. And I know I’m way better at marketing than they are, so if they can do it, I can too, right?
The answer is yes, I could. But that’s not really what I’m about.
I run a company that actually helps people and adds value to their life. For me, it’s more about making an impact than it is about making money.
Verdict: Fail ❌
I’m happy that I didn’t accomplish this goal. No disrespect to you dropshippers out there. Keep raking it in. As I said, it’s just not my style.
15. Bench Press 350 lbs.
I was stuck at a 1-rep-max of 340 pounds for the longest. Then bulking season came around this year. Yes, I use that term as a joke, but in all seriousness. Every fall (around October), I usually relax with my diet a bit and start consuming more carbohydrates.
Increased carbohydrate consumption = An increased body weight
By December, my body weight increased from 157 to 162 pounds.
I know, not a huge gain. BUT this push helped me increase my strength just enough that I was finally able to reach my goal: Bench press 350 pounds for 1 repetition.
I’ve come a long way in 10 years. I started lifting weights in 2010 and was working out with 95 pounds on bench press. For those that don’t know, that’s only the bar with a 25-pound weight on each side.
It was an extremely slow build to get to where I am today.
The discipline I’ve developed over the years from showing up at the gym day in and day out has helped me tremendously in business. I can say that with 100% confidence.
Verdict: Complete ✅
And before you ask — the answer is no, you dingus. No, I’ve never taken steroids and never will. I’m not against them or people who use them, it’s just not my style.
16. Switch to a Better Host
When building a website, you need a hosting provider to store all its files and data on a server.
Up until this year, I’ve been using GoDaddy for this. Well, they suck.
I’m not sure why I went with them in the first place. Probably because their super bowl commercials had a bunch of hot chicks back in the day. That’s great marketing on their part, but I digress.
If you ever decide to build a website, don’t use GoDaddy. Please, just take my word for it.
At the first of the year, I switched over to Siteground. The difference has been night and day. My site is now way faster, and their customer support has been helpful every time I’ve needed them.
Not to mention, I get a better hosting package, and it’s cheaper than what I was paying.
Verdict: Complete ✅
I highly recommend Siteground for hosting, and I’m glad I (finally) made the switch.
17. Attend 3 Business/Marketing Conferences
I started the year off hot by attending 2 marketing/entrepreneurship conferences, both in the month of February.
In 2019, I attended:
I thought I’d reach this goal easily, needing to go to only one more live event. Well, I didn’t. There were a few more that I considered going to, but it just didn’t work out this year.
In 2020, I’ve already bought my tickets for:
If you’re going to either (or are interested in going), shoot me a DM on Instagram.
Verdict: Fail ❌
I mentioned earlier how important it is to invest in yourself. Going to live events is one of the best ways to do that.
18. Publish 1 New Article Per Month On This Website
This one is laughable.
I set a goal to write one article per month on this website. Well, I only published one article for the entire year. 😂
There’s no excuse, really. The reason is:
I’m not trying to make money from this website. The purpose of this site is just to document my journey so that I can keep track of my accomplishments (and failures) over the years.
With that said, I do make a living from my other websites so that is naturally where I spend the majority of my time.
Verdict: Fail ❌
Writing and creating quality content takes a lot of time. The more time I spend writing for this site, the less my overall business will grow. So I’m really not too upset about failing to reach this goal. With that said, hopefully, I can publish on this site a bit more in 2020.
Other Accomplishments in 2019:
In addition to the goals that are listed above, I had some other notable accomplishments that I’m going to share:
1. Redesigned My Main Website
I spent about a month updating and completely redesigning my main website. The old design was a bit out of date. Now it looks incredible and is more trustworthy in regards to acquiring customers. The new look and feel definitely contributed to the growth I saw this year.
2. Finished* a Year-Long Content Audit
This basically means that I completely reviewed and edited every single article on my website. The goal was to make each piece of content valuable and helpful for the visitor.
I learned a valuable lesson throughout this process.
The reason there is an asterisk on the word “finished” is that you really are never truly finished with a content audit. Running a high-traffic website requires you to always be constantly updating and improving the content to make it better.
3. I’m an Amazon Best-Selling Author
It feels weird typing that because I’m not a great writer by any means. Like I said before, one of my Kindle books hit #1 in the Education category on Amazon.
Some broskis out there would be flexing this in their Instagram bio and whatnot, but that’s not really my style. As I said before, it’s really not that big of a deal to me but was still pretty cool to see something that I created sitting in that #1 spot for a period of time.
4. Learned New Manufactured Spending Methods
If you didn’t know, Manufactured Spending is a technique to earn credit card rewards points without actually spending any of your own money. This is how I’m able to get so many free flights and hotel rooms when I travel.
You won’t be able to find this information on Google because the methods would stop working if too many people knew about them.
With that said, I do share everything I know about travel hacking and manufactured spending with the members of my inner circle. If this is something that you’re interested in, send me a message on Instagram.
5. 30-Day Challenges
I started implementing 30-day challenges each month as a productivity hack to get more stuff done. Basically, I’ll pick a task that I know I can do every day for 30 days. I try not to make the task too difficult. I keep it relatively small and attainable so that I’ll actually do it.
Completing small tasks every day adds up to big results over time. This technique has helped me accomplish some big projects in my business in a relatively short amount of time.
ContentPit has been pretty solid so far, but TextBroker has been hit or miss with the quality of articles that they provide.
Also, I hired a new virtual assistant to publish the articles on my website. It does cost money to pay virtual assistants, but this is a great way to invest back into the business. Doing so frees up more of my time so that I can focus on higher-value activities that will help my business grow.
I plan to continue to build systems and outsource more going forward.
My Goals for 2020:
Now that I’ve shared my accomplishments (and failures) from 2019, without further ado, let’s take a look at my goals for the coming year.
1. Earn $16,666 per month (profit) from multiple income streams.
2. Invest $50k total into my investment portfolio.
3. Launch and sell 1 new online course.
4. Grow my Amazon Associates income to $5,000 per month.
5. Publish 100 articles across all of my sites.
6. Publish 75 new YouTube videos.
7. Get 25,000 subscribers on YouTube.
8. Grow my YouTube income to >$1,500 per month.
9. Grow my email list to >20,000 people.
10. Meditate for 250 sessions/days.
11. Read (or listen to) at least 40 new books.
12. Publish 5 new Kindle books on Amazon.
13. Be interviewed as a guest on a podcast.
14. Travel to 2 new countries.
15. Travel to at least 4 new cities in the United States.
16. Invest in at least 3 new online courses.
17. Decrease the size of my eBay store to <100 listings.
18. Attend 3 business/entrepreneurship conferences.
19. Publish 5 new articles on this website.
On top of that, I have a reminder set to revisit my goals on the first day of each month. This helps to keep them fresh in my mind so that I can make sure that I’m on the right track.
I mentioned this last year, and it still holds true. I didn’t write this annual review for anyone else. I wrote it for myself.
Because I know, at some point in the future, I will look back at this and be glad I did.
This is the conclusion, and you’re still reading, so I just want to say thank you! I really, really appreciate it.
Hopefully, something I’ve said here will inspire you in some way, shape, or form.
All-in-all, 2019 had its ups and downs. But overall, it was a great year. I feel like I grew as an individual, and my business also grew.
What more could I possibly ask for?
Thanks again for reading. If you want to follow along with my journey, Instagram is probably the best place to do so.
Let’s go do bigger and better things in 2020.
Brant Reader is an entrepreneur who runs a portfolio of niche websites and grew a YouTube channel to more than one million subscribers. He is passionate about health, fitness, building wealth, traveling the world, and helping others do the same.