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Year in Review: 2015

 

First of all, Happy New Year!

I really hope you enjoyed 2015 and are feeling refreshed for a massive 2016 (I know some of you might be hungover)!

I haven’t posted a blog post in quite some time so I do apologize for that. One of my goals for 2016 is to turn this blog into what I always intended it to be and to post valuable content on a weekly basis.

I decided to do a year in review post to kickstart the year for a number of reasons.

 

1. On a personal level, to reflect on what went well and my successful ventures.

2. To spot weaknesses and perhaps opportunities in my mistakes and failures.

3. To try and get a “bird’s-eye view” of where my business currently stands and where it is going in the future.

4. To hopefully educate and inspire those of you who are reading this.

5. To share my goals for 2016.

 

So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

 

A Rough Start

 

I graduated from university in December 2014 and my business definitely wasn’t “stable” and where I wanted it to be. Balancing university final exams and running a business is no easy feat and so my business would take extended breaks and I couldn’t commit ALL my time to my business. After graduation, I had a choice to make and my life was at a crossroads.  I had the option take an entrepreneurial path to pursue my dream of building a internet business on a full time basis or I had the choice to find a corporate job.

Before I had graduated, I always knew what my choice was going to be but it doesn’t mean the other option didn’t cross my mind. So, I decided to take the plunge and go “all-in” on my dream. I moved to the city and the internet provider here in South Africa has a monopoly on the market and is just useless so it took them a staggering 3 months to come and install my internet line. So for 3 months I was still working on a part-time basis, using my iPhone’s internet as a hotspot.

I worked with what I had and began planning projects for when I did finally have my internet. I managed to put around 3 full projects into development so while I didn’t have full-time internet – when I did finally get it I had projects that were ready to go.

 

Here’s What Went Well for Me in 2015

 

2015 was my biggest year to date financially and on a personal level. I launched several pieces of software into the marketplace and crossed the 7 figure milestone in my first year of developing software and selling it online. I saw my business take off and I saw numerous areas of my business expand such as software, affiliate promotions, business relationships and more.

I ended up launching Targeting Inspector v2.0, AudienceDrill, VideoSkins, VideoDrill, Social Suite, VidEngage and more. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to launch software but I still feel I’m not reaching my full potential so in 2016 I’m going to be looking at focusing more on each software and the entire marketing process behind each launch. I think I’ve let myself down a bit with some of the marketing for a couple of launches and although all of them were profitable – I still feel there is room for improvement.

I took a huge risk on the VideoSkins project with Sam Bakker because it was a huge upfront investment but that’s business. You cannot succeed without taking risks. We did a lot of things right on that launch and it ended up being my first multiple six figure launch and it is something I’m extremely proud of.

Having new projects on the go consistently on top of bug fixes and support for old projects forces you to build a team. Graphic designers, developers, support and more. Hiring is not easy and finding someone that is above-average and committed is harder than I thought. Luckily, I believe I now have a solid team that will help me achieve my goals in 2016.

Another part of my business that expanded were my business relationships (mentors, affiliates, partners etc). It was always something I struggled with and I know this to be true with the majority of the industry. I enjoyed the process of developing amazing software and then marketing it but I wasn’t putting the necessary effort in with affiliates. That was a mind-shift for me in 2015 and I can say I have definitely improved my business by expanding my relationships with people I do business with and venturing into different niches (which have separate circles). This is not only on a professional/business level (although I do believe in mutually beneficial/reciprocal relationships) but on a friendly level. Associate yourself with people who are committed, ambitious, down-to-earth and on the same path you are on. I’ve made many friends this year and that brings me to my next point.

I attended my first internet marketing event this year in the UK. It’s funny, you interact with people on a daily basis and you feel you know them but you’ve never actually met them face-to-face. That changed this year when I went to the UK Marketing Summit in Liverpool and I met partners and other people I spoke to at least once every one-two weeks in person. I can honestly say it strengthened those relationships and it was probably the best thing I did for my business this year.

 

What Did I Fail At in 2015?

 

I’d probably be here all day writing if I could explain everything I failed at but the short answer is… a lot.

Here’s the thing though. Personally, I don’t consider something a failure if I learn something from it. If I do it twice, fine. It’s a failure but it’s a conscious failure and it’s then on me as I’ve then made a decision to fail and it’s my responsibility. I try my best to move forward in those situations and try to figure our lessons in what can be improved upon the next time around.

I’ve failed at putting out certain projects (whether they flopped or just didn’t make it out of development), I’ve failed at this very blog, I’ve failed at taking action on occasions, I’ve failed at looking at the long-term benefits vs instant gratification (something I’ve always struggled with), I’ve failed at not being lazy, video production, I’ve failed to continue education consistently (reading) etc etc.

It’s hard to admit failure but it’s liberating at the same time. I know the mistakes I’ve made in 2015 and I know what I am going to do to improve in 2016.

What are some of your failures? I challenge you to admit at least one failure in the comments below…

 

My Top 5 Lessons Learned from 2015

 

1. Continue your education relentlessly

This is something I let slip a bit and it’s something I’ll be improving this year. Read everyday. Read books, blog posts, articles etc. Continue to educate yourself and motivate yourself. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of “I’ll start that book tomorrow”. Read 5 pages today. You’ll find it’s more rewarding than you thought – on multiple levels.

 

2. Do it right or don’t do it at all

Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule was recommended to me by Chris Record and it changed how I approach business. Everyone has approached something in their life with 50% effort, 20% effort etc where you KNOW you should be giving it 100% of your effort. It’s something that struck home and every project I do in 2016 will have my 10X effort. You’re only doing yourself an injustice by not giving it your full effort.

 

3. Work on yourself (self-improvement)

This is something I’m passionate about and I feel we all need to be constantly working on “upgrading” ourselves in ALL aspects of our lives. Relationships, health, wealth etc. Personally, I love to work out. It helps with my anxiety, it helps with motivation, it boosts confidence and it even helps with eating correctly. In 2015, I feel I didn’t improve on all aspects in my life and that’s something I will be working on going into 2016.

 

4. Never get comfortable and remain humble

I see it often in the marketplace and I’m guilty of it too. Do you feel comfortable where you are? If so, you need to do something about it. In order to grow, we need to put ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Webinars were a big jump outside of my comfort zone for me in 2015 and it’s helped me grow as a person and in my business. Remain humble and down to earth. A lot of people get big-headed when they achieve mild success and I think that’s ignorant. There’s always someone higher than you that you can aspire to or someone coming up from the bottom to take your place so never make the mistake of thinking you’re better than someone else. Remain humble and continue to pursue your dreams as if there is someone right behind you.

 

5. Provide value

This is something I did right on some levels in 2015, but badly on others. For example, I stand behind my software as being valuable and I believe I’m bringing value to the marketplace through that channel. On the flip side, this blog was a bit of a failure last year for me and I’m planning to revive it this year by providing as much value as I can. I’d love to build a solid community of self-made entrepreneurs here.

 

My Goals for 2016

 

I’m not going to blab on about exact figures but I do have financial goals I have set for myself.  The goals below may seem vague but I have expanded on them and I keep them in a sticky on my computer – open at all times with more specifics. Here are my goals for 2016:

1. Attend 2 marketing events

2. Revive the Selfmade Mindset brand

3. Work on my omnipresence in all aspects of my business

4. Read a book a week

5. Work on generating more recurring revenue

6. Double my 2015 financials

 

Thank YOU

 

This may just be my longest post on this blog but I had a lot to get out and I feel refreshed going into 2016. I hope you took some value away from this post and I promise to help you through this blog if you keep coming back. If you’re a customer or subscriber of mine, I’m extremely grateful for your support and I appreciate you more than you know.

2015 was massive.

2016 will be EVEN BIGGER.

Thanks again for your continued support!

 

One final question – what do you want to see more from my side (blog posts, videos, software?). Any input will be great, I’d love to produce more of what you enjoy!

 

To your self-made success,
Brad Stephens

 
 
 

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Comments

5 Comments

Remus

Hey Brad,

Just wanted to say congratulations for all your work, your software really made a difference for the IM world in 2015. Often times, your bonuses are more valuable than the affiliate product you are promoting 🙂
If you’re in need for some ideas for new products, here’s what I would suggest:
01. Traffic generation trainings/Case studies (Even more FB examples)
02. A PPC BIng training
03. Getting traffic from lesser know social media platforms
04. A PBN service for backlinking, for ranking local SEO and afiiliate/Youtube affiliate

Have a great new Year!

Brad Stephens

Hey Remus, apologies for the late response! Thank you for the kind feedback!

I appreciate you recommending what I could create more content on, I’ll definitely take your suggestions into consideraton… 🙂

gerhard

Hey Brad,
thanks for sharing your ethics, thought process and where you stand in life with such clarity. Pretty cool to see it from a young kid like you. You inspired me to sit down and do the same. Too many things right now are not where I’d like them to be and the only way is to lay it down in a plan and execute the plan. At the beginning and the end of every day I face the guy in the mirror who counts most, because only he can make it happen.
Thanks again,
Gerhard

Brad Stephens

Hey Gerhard, sorry for the late reply 🙂

Really great to hear that I inspired you to do the same, that’s awesome to hear! I’m looking at expanding this blog and to really turn it into a content hub and a community.

Can’t wait to watch you grow in 2016!

Mark

Hey Brad, just thought I’d accept your challenge and let you know just one of my failures of the year. I’ve been battling with becoming my very best. I’m working tremendously on breaking out of this introverted cocoon like shell I’ve allowed my mind to lock me away inside. At times I feel so energized with the agony of misery swirling around this world I’ve been victimizing myself within. Seems, I’ll make it out soon as I have accepted, (instead of failure), that DEATH is the only alternative. Thanks for your help. I certainly agree that reading and self improvement are major steps for changing ones mindset.


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