This week I’m reflecting on my experiences in 2018 and setting out some plans for the new year.
In January I set myself 4 goals for the new year. Here’s a recap of how they turned out:
- Complete 5 productized consulting projects. Technically this was a fail as I only did 2 “productized” consulting projects but I did complete a total of 12 consulting engagements in 2018.
- Launch a focused product with $1000 in real revenue. This was the goal of my “Web App Challenge” at the start of the year. Unfortunately, I neither shipped in 90 days or made $1000 in revenue. However, I did partner up with a co-founder to ship PaymentLink and I’m happy to report we do have early paying customers. More on our goals for next year below.
- Publish 24 posts on this blog. I started out strong on this goal but as the year progressed fell off the wagon and finished with 11 posts published to date. I do have several other posts written that I’ve shared only with my newsletter and I’ll be rolling them into a new content format in the new year.
- Learn to cook a new healthy meal each month. Not too much too much to say for this one beside it didn’t happen.
Here are 7 things I’m taking away from 2018:
- At the start of the year, I was out on my own as an independent consultant. Despite not having much previous independent work to fall back on I was fortunate enough to find new projects and my new full-time role through my existing network. Throughout the year I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some incredibly talented people. If there is one thing that’s really been driven home for me this year it’s that relationships are everything. Investing time and effort in your customers, your peers and just random people you meet on the internet really pays off.
- After commuting and working in an office full-time prior to 2018 I can confidently say that I will never go back. Remote work is awesome. Not only do I get back 10 hours a week that I previously spent commuting but I also have the flexibility to structure my time in the way that works best for me.
- This year was a busy one work wise with 3 different activities competing for my time. Throughout the year time spent in each area has peaked and troughed but on average in a typical week, I probably spent 40-50 hours on my full-time role, 10-20 on independent consulting projects and around 10 on PaymentLink. Needless to say, there have been a lot of late nights in 2018 and at times I’ve certainly felt burnt-out. I certainly plan to be more strategic about where I spend my time and attention in the coming year.
- After moving on from Sail and reflecting on my experience the importance of serving the right customers stands out as one of my most important but least obvious learnings. This applies to the consulting clients that I’ve had the opportunity to work with but also the customers
- One of the greatest benefits I’ve found of building and launching something of my own is how it has helped shape my thinking on what really matters about proucts and businesses. Ownership changes things
- At the end of 2017 I noted that a) Marketing is getting personal and that b) Experiences go beyond products. As 2018 draws to a close I think these realizations are more applicable than ever.
Here are my goals for the 3 things I plan to focus on in 2019:
A field guide to user onboarding -> stuartbalcombe.com/onboarding-field-guide
My new SaaS, currently in early access. Recurring billing for service businesses -> paymentlink.me
Outsourced business development for independent consultants -> consultdirect.co
Insights for early-stage growth and product development that puts customer outcomes at the center.