I’ve been dying to write a blog post to recap 2015 for some time, but with my workload and travel, I haven’t really been able to get away from working to reflect on what’s probably been my greatest year ever.
But never fear – I finally locked myself in a room and found the time to put a year of victories, failures and hustling on paper. And yep, you read that correctly. I’m writing this blog post on a physical piece of paper (what’s paper…?). It’s actually the only way I can fully remove distractions and have a clear head these days, but more on that later…
So here we go – here’s what happened during my best year ever, as well as what I’m planning to do next:
For starters, check out this video I put together on my big year. Stay with me, as it’s loaded with metrics and numbers. Video notes below:
Let me start by saying that I hit my three major goals for 2015:
- Be everywhere (as determined by how many people tell me I’m everywhere).
- Connect with or help one person a day (I actually connected with 368, of which 21 are now great friends, and 3 of whom became my partners in new companies).
- Push my limits by working 13.3 hour days (basically, 80-hour weeks) every day in 2015.
Another major win for me was discovering Slack groups. I’m now in more than 20 groups, and this is by far my favorite marketing tactic/growth hack ever. Because of my participation, I can connect with practically anyone I want through one of my groups.
Here’s a rough round-up of the impact my 80-hour work weeks had on my major projects:
When I Work
- Grew our blog to 500,000 monthly visitors
- Grew our leads to 20,000+ new trials per month
- Hacked PR and, as a result, drove more than 100 mentions a month on major publications
- Created an online community with a few hundred people – and even better, they’re active! Our average users post several times a day, which is a much better engagement rate than I’ve seen in most online communities.
My Personal Projects
- My ebook, 100 Days of Growth, sold 23,000+ copies and continues to sell 14 copies a day. For more details on how I did it, check out my slide deck.
- ContentMarketer.io has 250 customers, with 500+ new leads a month, all of which come from content marketing and WOM.
- Narrow.io now has over 1,000 customers. 70% of our business comes from WOM; the rest comes from content marketing.
- I launched Notifier, a free tool for promoting your content on Twitter, which already has 500+ users.
- My personal blog generated 98 leads in 2015 that resulted in 7 consulting engagements totaling $198,000 in revenue.
- I was also able to refer out 19 leads to my trusted network (people and companies I’ve personally vetted that do content marketing, SEO, PC, and various other marketing services). In total, they closed $1.05 million in revenue
- I started a private dinner series called Growth.Chat (10-15 person dinners around the world). I’ve already had 8 dinners and connected with 100+ awesome people, 50+ of whom I communicate with weekly through my Slack group
Personal Branding (aka, my chance to humblebrag)
- I’ve been quoted/mentioned in popular media sources 496 times in 2015.
- I connected with 368 people this 2015, some of whom I’ve been able to help, and some of whom have helped me. Of these 368 people:
- 78 took my advice, and then emailed me about their results
- 3 of them became my business partners in new companies (Quuu.co, Narrow.io, ContentMarketer.io)
- I had 20+ “aha moments” that led to tremendous business and personal growth.
- I was featured on TV (3 times!).
- I wrote 250+ blog posts ( I stopped counting in November 2015) which generated over 10 million views.
- I became a public speaker and spoke at 7 conferences and events. I even keynoted a conference of 3,200 people, which I consider to be a huge accomplishment, considering last year I was scared to death of public speaking!
- At these presentations, I got 17% of my audience to engage with me online (while still on stage) through tweets, downloads of my book, emails, etc. I was actually able to drive more than 100+ sales while still on stage.
- I traveled the world (ok, only 7 countries and 9 states), being on the road 2.7 times a month for an average of 3 days.
- I settled in Austin, TX, which is a big deal for my wife and me, since we’ve lived in 12 apartments in 9 cities over the last 10 years (none of which were over 1,000 square feet). After closing on my house, I literally hopped on a plane to Europe to speak at the How To Web Conference 2015.
- I was a guest on 38 podcast interviews. Check a few of them out at the links below:
- Rebel Growth – HOW TO SEND A COLD EMAIL TO ANYONE TO GROW YOUR COMPANY
- Rhodium Weekend – How to Promote Your Content To Influencers
- Earn Worthy – Inbound Unboxed 020: Growth Hacking Tools and Tactics
- Growth Hacking – 100 Days of Growth Author and Amazing Growth Hacker
- Douglas Slim Digital – How to Crush It with Content Marketing, Have an Article Published on Forbes and Drive 50K Visitors to Your Website
- 360 Entrepreneur – The Content Marketing Playbook
The Good and Bad
On the bad side of things, I gained 17 lbs of fat in 2015 and lost pretty much all of my health and fitness habits as I focused on growing my companies and traveling. It was a huge sacrifice, but worth it.
On the good side, though, I finally fulfilled my 10-year-old self’s dreams of buying a car with doors that open up (BMW i8).
What’s Next in 2016?
- I’m currently in the process of finding my replacement at When I Work. It’s been amazing to work with Chad Halvorson (I moved all the way to Minnesota to learn from him) and the When I Work team, but I’ve found that I can’t effectively manage the company’s marketing needs remotely from Austin and run two other startups (not to mention my 15 other projects…). A blog post coming soon on my learnings from interviewing 100s of candidates.
- Investing in more content. Creating content helped me get on TV and radio, land major public speaking gigs and drive over 98 leads worth $1.05 million in revenue. It’s clearly working for me.
- I’m planning to branch into more video. Soon, I’m going to be starting a series of short 5-minute videos where I share all the things I learned the hard way. If you have any suggestions on what I should cover, send them my way.
- One of the 368 people I helped last year started a company called Quuu.co. I used it a few times, became a customer, fell in love with it, and now I’m an advisor. It’s an awesome solution to fill your social media feed, and I’m looking forward to investing even more into it in 2016.
- Less work, more fun. I’m exhausted and mentally tapped. It’s time for me to scale back a bit and live a little (jump out of planes & race cars).
- I’m going to continue connecting with and helping more people. No agenda – I just want to see what comes from these interactions.
- Content Marketer.io is launching a content marketing course that’ll teach everything I know about content marketing. I’ll be sharing more details here as they’re available, but trust me, it’s going to be awesome.
- More speaking engagements and in-person workshops. Besides what I’m doing with Content Marketer, I want to teach everything I know, and being a part of events like this is a great way to do it.
- I’ll be launching Version 2 of 100 Days of Growth, as well as a Portuguese version of Content Marketing Playbook.
- Finally, I’ll be purging everything that didn’t work for me in 2015. This removes 15-20 things I do regularly that simply isn’t providing enough of an ROI to justify my time.
And now, some helpful advice for you…
- Invest in content marketing. RIGHT NOW.
- Be about action, not about talking. Anybody can talk a big game, but it’s those that put things into action that come out ahead.
- Build your 1,000 raving fans. Or your 100 fans. I’ll take a small audience of engaged advocates over a huge crowd of people who don’t really care about you any day.
How did your 2015 go? What are your priorities for this year? Leave me a comment sharing how you’re planning to crush it in 2016: