It’s officially time for my Year In Review. This is where I share the good, bad, and ugly that happened in my business (and life) during the 2021 calendar year.

I started doing this back in 2018 and kept it going for 2019 and 2020. And here we are again in twenty twenty-one, hence the name — annual review.

Why Do I Do This Every Year?

  • To acknowledge my accomplishments. Making note of the good things that happened this year can help me build confidence and momentum going forward. 
  • To review all the goals that I didn’t accomplish and any failures along the way. This helps me learn what I need to get better at so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes. 

To be honest, I put a lot of time and effort into writing these reviews. BUT, each year, once it’s finished, I’m always glad that I did.

A Look Back at My Goals for 2021:

I shared my goals publicly at the end of last year. Now, I’m going to list them out one by one to take a closer look at how I did. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

1. Double My Monthly Income

Technically, this isn’t the actual goal that I set. Last year, when I listed out my goals, I shared the specific dollar amount that I wanted to earn every month.

I’m grateful that I was able to easily reach that goal!

However, I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to share my revenue numbers publicly.

I feel like, by putting my financial information out there, it only increases my downside risk with little to no upside. For example, publicly sharing my income could potentially increase my risk of a tax audit; or even frivolous litigation.

I know this is unlikely, but still. I have a hard time finding one good reason to continue sharing this information. 

And, to be honest, as my earnings have increased over the years, it sort of feels like I’m bragging, which is the last thing I want to do.

If you’ve been following my journey, you know how much work I’ve put in, year after year. It’s finally starting to pay off. 

Verdict: Complete ✅

If you’re just dying to know, you could probably revisit my previous annual reviews and put the pieces together. Or, I’d be happy to talk about it in private. However, I will not be publicly sharing this information going forward.

Regardless, 2021 was (by far) my best financial year yet, and I’m incredibly grateful to be in the position I’m in. 

2. Invest $75k Total Into My Investment Portfolio

Thankfully, I was able to save and invest the majority of my income this year. Therefore, I easily accomplished this goal.

I have a (somewhat) diversified investment portfolio that includes:

  1. Cryptocurrency
  2. Index funds
  3. Rental Property
  4. REITs
  5. Syndications
  6. Individual stocks

(Listed in order from highest allocation percentage to lowest.)

Brant Reader Investment Portfolio 2021 Image

Verdict: Complete ✅

Yep, that’s right — the majority of my portfolio is invested in cryptocurrency. With that said, crypto is one of the main reasons my net worth has increaded over recent years.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You should probably read this book. Hashtag, Bitcoin to the moon. 🚀

3. Grow My Amazon Associates Income

Amazon Associates is the partner program of Amazon, where you can earn a commission whenever someone clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase.

I had a great year of Amazon earnings in 2020, so I wanted to capitalize on that and make this year even better.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

As you know, the first major lockdown from the pandemic took place back in 2020. Because of this, everyone was forced to stay home which resulted in a significant increase in online shopping, particularly from Amazon.

This benefited almost everyone who runs a website that promotes Amazon products, including myself. And, it made my affiliate commissions go through the roof! 

However, this year, everything started to get back to normal (for a bit), and people weren’t shopping quite as much online. So, naturally, my earnings in this department took a dip, which means that I did not accomplish this goal.

Verdict: Fail ❌

I’m not at all disappointed because I spent literally zero hours this year focusing on Amazon. Zilch. Meaning that I didn’t publish one single new article promoting Amazon products. I’ll share why later on, so keep reading.

4. Publish 104 Articles Across All of My Websites

When running a website as a business, publishing more articles usually equates to more income.

More Articles = More Traffic

And, with more visitors to your website comes more revenue in the form of affiliate marketing, advertising, video views, sponsorships, and product sales.

That is why I wanted to publish so many new articles this year.

Unfortunately, I failed to do so.

Verdict: Fail ❌

To be honest, I (basically) completely neglected my website for the entire year. This is surprising because it’s been the sole breadwinner for my business ever since I got started back in 2016. As you’ll soon learn, most of my time was spent growing my YouTube channel instead.

5. Publish 104 New YouTube Videos

I absolutely obliterated this goal!

At the end of 2020, I began to gain some traction on YouTube. My views and subscribers were going up, so I decided to double down and start a challenge of publishing a new video every single day for the month of December.

I wanted to finish the year strong, and the results blew me away. 

So much so that I decided to extend the daily video publishing schedule throughout the entire year. And I was successfully able to publish a new YouTube video every day in 2021.

Yep, that’s 365 videos, total. 

By doing so, the growth of my channel has been astronomical in regard to views, subscribers, and, most importantly, revenue. 

Verdict: Complete ✅

Basically, all of my time this year was spent working on YouTube. I’m happy to say that it’s paid off in a big way. YouTube ad revenue is now, by far, my largest income stream. And, now that I have a team in place, I’m considering keeping the daily publishing schedule going into 2022. We shall see. 

6. Surpass 400,000 Subscribers on YouTube

At the beginning of 2021, I had around 165,000 subscribers. So, I set a goal of 400k because I wanted to more than double my subscriber count.

I assumed that would be difficult because I expected that my channel growth would eventually plateau. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Now, as 2021 comes to an end, my channel has around 775,000 subscribers.

Brant Reader YouTube Subscribers 2021

Verdict: Complete ✅

This makes two years in a row that I’m in complete shock at how much my channel has grown. But the question remains, can I make it three?

7. Grow My YouTube Income

Publishing a new video every single day this year helped my views and subscriber count increase in a major way.

Naturally, my monthly ad revenue from YouTube increased as well.

Just a reminder in case you didn’t know: YouTube pays creators in exchange for running ads on their videos. This means that, in general, the more views and watch-time your videos get, the more money you’ll earn.

Therefore, publishing more videos usually equates to more views which, in turn, means more ad revenue.

Verdict: Complete ✅

Creating, uploading, and publishing a new video daily is not easy and takes a ton of work. However, it’s a proven strategy for growing a YouTube channel (and monthly revenue). 

8. Grow My Email List to >35,000 Subscribers

When a visitor comes to my website, aside from providing them with valuable content, one of my primary goals is to get them to subscribe to my email list.

This helps grow my audience and allows me to pitch new and existing products to convert readers into customers.

Total Email Subscribers 2021 Brant Reader

Verdict: Fail ❌

Unfortunately, I only published around twenty new articles this year and implemented no new email marketing strategies to gain new subscribers. This is something I hope to focus more on in 2022.

9. Meditate for 250 Days Out of the Year

I used to think that meditation was something only hippies did until I actually tried it and saw an immediate impact on my state of being. 

I wanted to perform a session on 250 separate days this year. Unfortunately, I was unable to do so. 

Verdict: Fail ❌

I performed meditation on 232 out of 365 days this year, which means that I wasn’t too far off my goal. However, unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it.

10. Read (or Listen to) 35 New Books

I’ve been reading nonfiction since 2016 and can confidently say that doing so drastically changed the trajectory of my life in a major way.

This is one of the most important habits I’ve developed and practice on a daily basis. In 2021, I read a total of 35 books, which is the exact number that I set for my goal. 

Here they are (affiliate links):

  1. Your Next Five Moves [Audiobook]
  2. The Business Owner’s Guide to Profit
  3. Think Like a Monk [Audiobook]
  4. Homeless to Billionaire [Audiobook]
  5. Master Your Emotions [Audiobook]
  6. The Power of Now
  7. The Official Guide to Success [Audiobook]
  8. Unfair Advantage [Audiobook]
  9. The Psychology of Money
  10. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
  11. Rich Dad’s Who Took My Money? [Audiobook]
  12. YouTube Secrets [Audiobook]
  13. Rich Dad’s Guide to Becoming Rich [Audiobook]
  14. Looking Out for #1 [Audiobook]
  15. Get Rich With the Law of Attraction Secrets [Audiobook]
  16. The Road to Riches [Audiobook]
  17. The Game [Audiobook]
  18. The Bitcoin Standard
  19. Art of Seduction [Audiobook]
  20. The Slight Edge
  21. The Unchained Man [Audiobook]
  22. The 48 Laws of Power [Audiobook]
  23. The Abundance Book
  24. The Common Path to Uncommon Success
  25. Bronze Age Mindset [Audiobook]
  26. Can’t Hurt Me [Audiobook]
  27. Outwitting the Devil
  28. Alpha Male Bible [Audiobook]
  29. How to Talk to Anyone [Audiobook]
  30. Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received
  31. A Happy Pocket Full of Money [Audiobook]
  32. The Millionaire Next Door [Audiobook]
  33. Mindset [Audiobook]
  34. Magic Internet Money
  35. Make Bank [Audiobook]

Over recent years, I’ve started listening to more and more audiobooks via Audible. I prefer reading the physical copy; however, listening helps me consume more books in less time since I’m a slow reader. 

Verdict: Complete ✅

I used to read a lot more books every year; however, there comes a point where reading too much is unproductive. Once you’ve found what works, it’s time to stop learning as much and start doing. Reading thirty-five books per year seems to be the sweet spot that works best for me. 

11. Publish 5 New Kindle Books on Amazon

Publishing and selling books on Amazon is another one of my income streams. I currently have 24 books for sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook format.

This includes two former #1 Amazon Best Sellers (in the Education category). 

However, in 2021, I created and published a grand total of zero books.

Verdict: Fail ❌

As I said before, all of my time this year was spent focusing on YouTube. I neglected publishing on Amazon just like I did on my website. 

With that said, one well-performing YouTube video has the potential to earn more in a month than all of my Amazon books combined in a year. So, you tell me which one I should be focusing my time on?

12. Be Interviewed as a Guest on a Podcast

Since I first started building an online business in 2016, everything (other than this website) has been behind the scenes.

No one (except a few family members and close friends) is even aware that I’ve built and run the most popular brand in the world within my particular niche. But everything that I create and publish is behind the name of that brand. My personal name or face isn’t attached to any of it whatsoever.

With that being said, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working in the shadows, and I really don’t want or care about receiving any type of recognition for the work that I do.

However, I would like to start networking more with other entrepreneurs who run businesses similar to mine. And one of the best ways to do so is to be interviewed as a guest on their podcast. Not to mention, I think it’d be great for my personal growth as a way to put myself out there.

This was a goal of mine in both 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately, I never got around to doing it either year. 

Verdict: Fail ❌

I think the reason I keep putting this off is because there’s little to no return on investment. Sure, it could be a great way to network with other entrepreneurs and potentially improve my communication skills (which I definitely need to work on). But, when it comes to moving the needle forward in my business, I have nothing to gain by doing so. 

13. Travel to a New Country

This year, I was able to visit Costa Rica and experience the Pura Vida lifestyle. We flew into Liberia and spent a week in the Guanacaste province.

We stayed at two different hotels. Both of which were located on the Gulf of Papagayo.

Our trip involved exploring tropical rainforests, waterfalls, volcanos, monkeys, and bathing in natural hot springs.

Brant Reader Costa Rica Waterfall 2021

Verdict: Complete ✅

The views and scenery in Costa Rica were breathtaking. Unfortunately, we only had time to explore the northern part of the country during our stay. I can’t wait to return and see the rest someday. 

14. Travel to 4 New Cities in the United States

Things opened back up (somewhat), so I was able to travel a bit more this year compared to last. Here are the cities I visited in 2021:

(by visit, it only counts if I book a stay and spend the night in said location)

1. Park City, UT
2. Athens, TN
3. Charleston, SC
4. Memphis, TN
5. Las Vegas, NV (x2)
6. Oxford, MS
7. Knoxville, TN
8. Laughlin, NV
9. Florence, AL
10. New Orleans, LA

Brant Reader 2021 Domestic Travel

Verdict: Complete ✅

Of the ten cities that I visited this year, six of them were new, which means that I was able to accomplish this goal. Where should I go in 2022?

15. Decrease My eBay Store to <50 Listings

Selling stuff on eBay is how I first got started making money online. At its peak, my eBay store had around 600 items listed for sale and served as a reliable income source while building my other online businesses.

However, eventually, it started to make mathematical sense to stop selling on eBay because my time is better spent on higher-value activities.

With that said, it meant that I needed to sell (or get rid of) my remaining inventory.

Verdict: Complete ✅

I had 136 items listed for sale at the beginning of the year. Now, I only have 26, which means that I accomplished this goal. I will either sell or donate the remaining items by the end of 2022.

16. Attend 1 Business/Entrepreneurship Conference

Every live event I was interested in this year fell on dates that didn’t align with my availability. Therefore, I attended a grand total of zero conferences in 2021.

Verdict: Fail ❌

Hopefully, I can make it work and attend a few live events in 2022.

17. Publish 1 New Article on This Website

Does this one count? Lol.

Every year I plan to start publishing more on this website as a way to grow my personal brand. But I never seem to do it. The reason is this:

I earn approximately zero dollars from this website.

So, what’s the point?

Verdict: Fail ❌

My time is better spent working on things that actually grow my business (like publishing daily YouTube videos). Maybe I’ll do better next year, but I highly doubt it.

Other Accomplishments in 2021:

In addition to the goals that are listed above, here are some other things that happened this year that I feel compelled to share:

1. Expanded My Team

My team now consists of one virtual assistant, five video editors, and a few part-time writers. It would be impossible to run (and grow) my business without the help of my team and the systems I’ve implemented over the years. 

2. Mastered the Mundane

This year, more than any other, I worked on pretty much the same exact thing every single day. As I mentioned, that thing was creating videos for my YouTube channel.

This includes topic research, titles, thumbnails, scripts, voiceovers, publishing, and promotion.

Having the discipline to complete repetitive daily tasks, in all areas of life, has led me to where I am today. Nothing can be built overnight; it must be cultivated over time. This includes doing boring, mundane tasks that are easy to do but also easy not to do. 

3. Crazy for Crypto

This year, I spent a lot of time expanding my knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s the future.

Luckily, I started buying Bitcoin back in 2017, and it’s appreciated more than 1,000% as of the time of this writing. However, this year, I actually started learning about why this technology is so revolutionary.

This isn’t financial advice, and I’m not suggesting that you should invest any of your money into cryptocurrency. However, I do recommend that you at least consider learning what it’s all about.

Remember when the internet was first invented? Cryptocurrency is still in the dial-up phase, so we’re still incredibly early on in the process.

4. Bought Land

I purchased land in a great location with the intention of building a custom home. It turns out that was going to very, very expensive.

Material prices have gone through the roof; therefore, the cost to build is almost double what it would have been over recent years.

So now, that project is on hold. Anyone want to go have a picnic on my empty lot?

5. Bought a House

Rather than overpaying to build during these unprecedented times, I decided to buy a modest home in a great location to live in for the time being.

It’s a house that I can easily resell or convert to a rental property down the road.

6. Bought an Xbox 😑

After more than a decade without gaming, I (made a colossal mistake and) purchased a new Xbox Series X.

I jokingly say it was a mistake, but it’s the truth. Unfortunately, I’ve wasted more time than I care to admit playing video games over the past few months.

I even created a makeshift gaming setup in my office closet:

Brant Reader Gaming Setup 2021

It’s the only spot where my wife can’t hear me screaming as I pwn twelve-year-olds and destroy them at Halo. 😎

In all seriousness, video games are fun and can be very addicting. This could become a legitimate problem if I let it. But, I know I have to keep the main thing the main thing.

7. Best Months Ever

Despite wasting far too many hours playing Xbox, I was able to finish the year strong with back-to-back-to-back best months ever.

I had my highest earning month ever in October. Then again in November, and again in December. Can I keep it going into 2022?

My Goals for 2022:

Now that I’ve shared my accomplishments (and failures) from 2021, without further ado, let’s take a look at my goals for the coming year.

1. Increase my monthly income.

2. Invest 50% of my income.

3. Publish 52 new articles on my website.

4. Publish 365 new YouTube videos.

5. Surpass 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

6. Increase my YouTube income.

7. Add 2 new passive income streams.

8. Have a new highest earning month ever.

9. Invest more in real estate. 

10. Update and improve all existing products. 

11. Launch a new product.

12. Read (or listen to) 35 new books.

13. Travel to a new country.

14. Travel to 4 new cities in the United States.

15. Attend 2 business/entrepreneurship live events.

Sharing my goals publicly helps keep me accountable and increases the chances of accomplishing them. 

I set a reminder to revisit my goals each month as a way to see if I’m making progress. This helps keep them fresh in my mind so I can stay on track to reach them by the end of the year.

Final Thoughts

Same story, different year. I didn’t write this annual review for anyone else. I wrote it for myself. Because I know that, at some point in the future, I’ll look back and be glad that I did. 

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time reading all the way to the end!

Hopefully, something I’ve shared here will inspire you in some way, shape, or form.

I have a good feeling about 2022. Now, let’s go make it happen. Cheers!

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