My 2013 in Review and What’s In Store For 2014?

2013-in-reviewHappy New Year!

I couldn’t believe that the new year has come & today is really January 1st, 2014. Time went by so fast!

Actually I didn’t intend to write this post, but eventually I got inspired by this amazing yearly review post on Nathan Barry’s blog when surfing through the web.

So here we are, let’s take a look at what happened to me & my business in 2013.

What Went Well

Get Rid of My Severe Acne

This is one thing that I never told you before.

I was a severe acne sufferer & I have spent hundreds of dollars going to doctors and taking different kinds of medicine just to hopefully get rid of all the embarassing pimples on my face. (that’s why my first niche website is about “How To Clean Acne”)

But none of them worked. Actually they just worked for a short period of time (2-3 months max) and my acne always came back after a while.

I was almost giving up but then luckily I stumbled upon this amazing blog written by Tracy Raftl – a beautiful woman from Australian, and learn more about how to get rid of acne naturally.

I read her blog like crazy & bought all of her products.

Then I discovered that it was all about my diet that was full of of toxic & unhealthy foods that ruined my body and as the result caused my acne.

It was really a life-changing moment for me. I begun to clean my diet & ate way healthier foods than before and fortunately it worked. My acne has gone and never come back as long as I still maintain a healthy diet.

The fun part is that I no longer consider it as a diet, it’s the healthy lifestyle that I love.

So a big thank to Tracy from TheLoveVitamin.com. She basically changed my life.

Be In A Relationship

If you ask me what’s the biggest thing that I get out of college, I will say: a girl friend :P

6 months in college I learned nothing, but thankfully I got a girl friend who was in the same class as me.

Actually we’re going to celebrate our one year anniversary of being together on January 11th.

Drop Out of College & Being Self-Employed

It was scary to make the move but it was totally worth it. I don’t deny the advantages of learning in college but from the business standpoint, I learned nothing while spending so much time to be in class & do the homework.

Just start a business and learn along the way is still the best way to become an entrepreneur in my opinion.

Start This Blog & A Successful Niche Website Case Study

This was definitely the best decision I made this year. I’m always passionate about blogging & sharing my experience with people and have been doing that for over 5 years now.

The blog, along with the reader, really helps to keep me motivated & accountable. And yes, I earned a bit money from people purchasing products through my affiliate links as well.

I’m so grateful for all the support you guys have been giving me. Thank you :) I’ll keep delivering more and more value to the community.

Join The Dynamite Circle

This is a close-knit group of online entrepreneurs which really has a big impact on my thinking & the way I do business online. Read more about it here.

Travel To Thailand

This is my first trip to travel abroad. I learned a lot & the time & money spent was totally worth it.

Beat the Fear of Selling

As I’m still quite young & never have a real job before, I was afraid of selling & charging people for products & services.

I thought selling was bad, really bad, and I felt guilty of doing that.

But I was dead wrong.

It’s not as bad as I think.

Actually, it’s probaly the only way if I want to really produce more value & make a bigger impact on people’s lives.

In fact, the cost of running the blog is increasing really fast as the traffic grows, because I have to pay for things like hosting, email service, etc…

More importantly, I have to spend a lot of my personal time creating high quality, practical & in-depth content for the blog (this 3000-word keyword research guide took me 10 hours to create).

Time is our most valuable commodity, and it never comes back.

By charging people for products & services, I have money to pay for expenses, to create more and more value and to make the blog significantly better.

I’m spending lots of money on creating high quality guides like this one too. 

But don’t get me wrong, 98% of the content I publish on this blog will still be completely free & at the highest quality as possible, but I will be developing & introducing some premium products & services that are of really high quality to help you even more with your own businesses.

It’s a win win situation.

New Friends

Being an entrepreneur is really lonely, but that’s the cost of being different& taking charge of your own life.

I had to give up on some friends from high school or college, because while they were partying & drinking wine all night, I stayed at home working on my business while enjoying every sip of my big glass of green smoothie :D

Joining the Dynamite Circle has solved that problem as we not only communicate through an online platform, we have live event and hang out together every now and then.

What Did Not Go Well

Setting & Achieving Goals

Last year I’ve not got it right when it comes to goal setting. As a result, I’ve achieved only a few of them.

I changed my approach a little bit this year. Instead of focusing on some big hairy goals, I determine my WANT’s for the year & put all my effort on following simple systems that probaly get me to my WANT’s.

For example, one of my want for this year is to get a six-pack. So my system (or my goal) is to work out at least 3 days a week in the morning while eating a clean & healthy diet with no carbs.

Money Management & Bookkeeping

I have to confess that I didn’t manage my money well & kept wasting money on un-neccesary things (businesswise). That’s why I stopped publishing income reports as I had no idea where my money came & went.

I just hired a CPA so hopefully my financial will be better managed this year.

Stick To The Publishing Schedule

Blogging is really time consuming (Dan Andrew from TropicalMBA even said that entrepreneurs shouldn’t start a blog).

As the blog was making me virtually nothing, but still cost me time & money to maintain, I had to focus on my niche website business which generated the majority of my income.

That’s why I didn’t really focus on publishing content & growing the blog for a while.

The solution?

Turn the blog into a business.

Yes, I mean it. A real business which generates profit for me.

Focus

I lost focus easily. I jumped from one project to another.

The result?

Most of them are half-done or almost finished.

But there’s no difference between a 5-percent-completed and 90-percent-completed project.

An unfinished project is an unfinished project.

I have to admit that I had too many of them.

If I was ever focusing on only the blog and my niche website building project, I could have making so much more money.

What’s In Store For 2014

What Was Your 2013?

This post is getting realy long (over 1,600 words already).  But before I sign off, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading this blog and support me for over a year.

I really want to hear about your 2013. How did you do & your lessons learned. Please leave a comment and tell me & other people in the community about that so we can learn from each others and be prepared for a great 2014 ahead.

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  • http://usavemovingandstorage.com Jae @ U-Save Moving and Storage

    A great post. Its good that you are concentrating on you and your business. All the fun can come later on when its been built up and running as a machine.

    Jae

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thank you :D Happy New Year and Have a Great 2014

  • Priyank

    Hi Mate,

    Happy New Year. Wishing you all the success and peace in 2014.

    And congrats for the great relationship…!

    We would love to read more if you in the New Year, be it income reports or information loaded contents.

    Thanks.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Hehe :P Same to you buddy

  • http://bestbreadmachineguide.com Peter Svenson

    Looks like you have a great list of goals for 2014 Tung, I’ll be following closely. Are you going to document the low carb journey to a six pack? I wish you the best of luck in that and don’t forget to plan and prepare those meals ahead of time. Happy new year

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Hmm I record all my workout but maybe I wont publicly document here :P

  • http://www.infohulk.com/ Hardip

    Happy New Year Tung…!

    Each post always inspire me. I had also acne problem during teeange but it was finished after proper diet. I also believe that Food always effects on health.

    I will be waiting for six pack photk soon ;) Keep sharing success story or new experiment with us.

    Enjoy with your girl friend (y)

    Anyways, Best of luck for 2014.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      I agree… food is very important

  • Desmond Morris

    Nice post, Tung.

    I have the very same problem with English. Good writing / reading and poor speaking / listening. Anyway, I look forward to your next posts.

    Happy New Year

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Yeah we should be more confident & speak more

  • Kishore

    It’s great to share what you did last year. It was one of your post that pushed me to start one amazon affiliate site. Thanks for it.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Wow that’s really great :D How about your site now

  • http://www.hostomacho.com Bashoo Zmmarraii

    hahahaha its seems like me

    i am on the same track dont know whether to leave the college or what

    its tough decision for me as i loose alot of time going to college

    unlike you i never do the homework :D

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      same here :P

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com Dan

    Sounds like a fabulous year Tung, wish you a happy new year and I’m very much looking forward to following your journey on the blog.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Great to have you here Dan :P

      You inspire me so much & thanks for creating an amazing community of like-minded people… I have to say that the DC really changed my life

      I wish you have a great 2014 ahead :D

  • Another Kelvin

    Hi Tung,
    Its Kelvin here and I wanna say its always a pleasure reading your post.Am so happy and encouraged when you take your time to encourage us with your post.I’ve been hooked to your blog since my first visit and have been a regular visitor so as to read all of your helpful and encouraging posts.this is my first comment and I wanna say I really do appreciate all your efforts.Thanks and keep it up.
    As for your reflections for the past year,yes there is a lot to learn and mistakes to avoid this new year but most importantly,you did record quite a huge success in most of the businesses you started.so I hope you capitalize on them for a much greater year this year cos that’s what I wish for you and for the rest of us visitors to your blog.
    Its a pleasure being here and happy new year Tung!
    Kelvin

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thanks for your kind words Kelvin :P

  • Bruno

    Hi Tung,

    Great goals you’ve set yourself for 2014!

    Hope you achieve each and every one of them!

    Keep inspiring us! :)

    Bruno

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Yeah I’ll try my best

      Happy New Year :D

  • Rick

    Tung, thanks for sharing. Very inspirational, especially the acne part. Earlier in the year you inspired me to start 14 niche sites. They are just now getting up and running. Made $48 in commissions so far. I will let you know how things progress. Rick.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Wow that’s awesome man…. keep hustling.. looking forward to your journey… if you have any question, just email me

  • http://www.realonlineincomereports.com Jason

    Cool overview, Tung. And thanks for linking to that TropicalMBA post. Very interesting to read that entrepreneurs should NOT start a blog.

    I agree that blogging eats up time. And can even distract from money making projects. So, I like to keep “business” and blogging separate, with my priority being the business.

    Blogging does bring me value. It’s helped me to organize my thoughts/strategies, hold myself accountable in a public setting, and make connections with others.

    But niche sites(the “business”) will always be my priority throughout the month. That leaves me with enough time for only one blog post a month.

    It’s a tough balance to maintain between business and blogging, so I’m interested to see how you combine then both in 2014!

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thank you Jazon :P I keep checking your site to see new update too… Hope you have a great 2014 :D

  • http://mmoscope.com yombee

    Happy new year Tung.
    Almost a month since your last post. Tell me at least one post a week is on your todo list for 2014!
    For me 2014 is the “lets jump in water” year as we say in France. Time to finaly stop only reading and learning and create a money site.
    One question I was thinking about reading your post is : Should I really focus on ONE site?
    It seems it takes at least 3 to 6 months for a site to reach minimal efficiency.
    So beside doing other websites what would you suggest?
    Working SEO all the way?

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      I think if you’re just starting out or dont have a team behind you, focus on one site to make it a huge success is a great idea.

      But when you are more experienced & have enough cash flow to have more team members, building a system with processes is the best way to scale up

  • http://www.steadyblogger.com Casey

    Hey Tung, it’s great to see how your year went. Someday, this year, I’ll hopefully be able to post my own review. I fell into the same trap of not sticking to a publishing schedule and found out quick that it really does affect your traffic. Anyways, hope to continue follow you into 2014 and beyond!

    -Casey

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      I agree Casey… actually I’m seeing the traffic has declined a bit since I post too infrequently. Stick to 2 posts a week maybe the best :D

  • http://www.joomlart.com Hung Dinh

    You are super-awesome em! Wishing you another great 2014

    Selling is still an easy part, selling the right way is the hardest part I have seen during my 10 years of being an entrepreneur.

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thank you anh :P You’re a great inspiration to me.

  • http://berichandrich.com Raweewan M.

    Hi
    Do you remember me? Your blog is also inspired me a lot. I’m working full-time while doing some online business stuffs. I’m thinking of growing my products & services this year as you do too. I hope you’re going well with everything in your business and life. I’ll publish my review of last year in few days. Well, Happy New Year 2014

    Thanks

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thank Raweewan for your support :P Have a great 2014 too

  • http://www.cadcamservices.in yogesh

    First up all, Happy New year.
    Really great work you have done in 2013. I personally learnt lot of from you success and still learning, I read every post carefully and try to implement into my project. :) :)

  • Pingback: Be Rich And Rich Journey: Year 2013 In Review And 500 Words Challenge()

  • David

    I think keeping the focus is one of the most important things an entrepreneur can learn, Anyway it is sometimes really difficult because we have no bosses :)

    Tung, can I contact you to tell your opinion about a business idea?

    Happy New Year!

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      yeah just email me :D

  • http://www.rayjohnagregado.com Ray John

    Happy New Year Tung!

    Keep moving forward! :)

  • http://imeandmoney.com Aman

    Happy New Year Tung and great to finally see a new post from you :) You’ve been a real inspiration to me in 2013 (along with Spencer) and here’s wishing you all the luck in 2014.

    P.S – I gave you a shout out on my latest income report. Thanks for inspiring me :)

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Congrats on the achievement man :P I hope you will have a great 2014

  • http://www.nichehacks.com Stuart Walker

    Tung, ,

    This is a great post. I’ve seen plenty of ‘best posts of 2013′ type round up posts but never one where a blogger actually goes into his personal life like this. Very nice touch.

    Glad you enjoyed Thailand. Why just visit though? Come live here like myself and thousands of other internet marketers are. It’s awesome!

    P.S.
    Why are you not building an email list on the blog or am I just missing it?

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Your blog is totally awesome Stuart :P I really like it.
      I got a GF at home so… hehe
      Yeah I switched to a new theme and have a few problem with the Hybrid Connect plugin so the option is now correctly displayed :(

  • http://newbiesup.com/ Leo @Newbiesup

    Acne is not a big problem since you are young, but live on a healthy diet is important no matter how old we are.
    Keep it up and hope to see your more success in 2014.

  • http://seo-genius.org/blog Anisul@seo-genius

    Hey Tung , belated happy new year buddy :) Best of luck with your venture in 2014 ! I have planned to do some case studies related to SEO this year and already started one on “Driving traffic without Google!” Wish me luck so that I make it a success ! :p

  • Bunny

    Thanks for being so honest when you share your information. Whether it is business or personal, it helps us all realize that as humans we are always a work in progress. :-) Congratulations on your many achievements and realizations. May your relationship be long and happy for both of you.

    What you post about building niche and authority sites is what has helped me keep trying. I got my feet wet in it over a year ago, but could never steal enough time from my responsibilities to get it to completion. I’ve owned three domains for several years, with incomplete ideas and design! Just this Christmas, I had my very first two orders on one of those partially built sites. $6 in commission via Amazon. WOW! I know – that’s small – but that was $6 on something I didn’t finish. Imagine what I’d earn once I finish the darn things. :-)

    Those $6 and your posts keep me motivated. I steal 15 minute intervals between other commitments (things I can’t get out of) and work on my sites, my writing, my design, and understanding how to promote these sites. It’s slow, but I’ll get there. If I can earn $500 a month, that would COMPLETELY lift me out of my situation – and give me a chance at really making it.

    Thank you for helping. Remember though, amid your growth and progress, take some time each and savor LIFE. Life is too short. Never put off enjoying where you are right this second. :-)

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thanks for your kind words Bunny…This kind of comment is what keeps me motivated to produce more value.

  • http://www.hendricksendesign.com Taylor Hendricksen

    Great post Tung! It’s so fun to look back and see how far we’ve come. It’s also amazing how fast life changes. Good luck in 2014!

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      Thanks for dropping by Taylor :P

      Wish you a great 2014 too :D

  • Steve

    Great stuff Tung…enjoy following.
    Some firm advice if I may, from an old man in the business and money game…

    Everything else is secondary in business…..everything….to managing your money. You should spend the time, educate, learn (its easier than most things you are doing), utilize software if need be. YOU should learn, it’s Your money, no one else will care about it as much as you:) I’ve read a few times about your troubles with it…just take the time young man, you are as smart as all hell anyway. Content or seo or any other activity where you can make it…. is all completely pointless unless you can hold onto and correctly manage your money:)

    • http://www.cloudliving.com/ Tung Tran

      You’re right Steve… thanks for your valuable advice :P

      It’s definitely on my list as one of the most important things to learn now

  • http://viralblogcontent.com/ Brandon

    Awesome stuff, actually haven’t read a lot of your stuff yet (but I can see there’s a ton to check out). Found your site through the DC, and this looks like a great resource.