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 😛

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 😀

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

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Laser Focus On Only A Few Projects

As talked above, this year I will only be focusing on 2 things: grow the blog and my amazon affiliate websites.

New & Upcoming Products & Services

I already launched my SEO service on the blog but not officially. It was temporary closed for now as I’m intergrating an order management system. I’ll announce it in a blog post maybe next week.

I’m also getting so many emails from readers telling me that they’re struggling with building niche website even after reading everything on both my & other blogs, so I’m pumped to develop a product to solve that problem.

Improving My English Speaking

I can write pretty well but I have a lot to work on to improve my speaking as I don’t practise often while I write almost everyday. That’s why some people told me that my writing & speaking was significantly different.

Work Out First Thing in The Morning

This is a new change in my schedule based on the priority I set in my life. To me, my health is the most important and I won’t trade it with anything else even if it’s money.

If I’m healthy, I can focus better & work more productively which also lead to making more money.

So I work out first thing in the morning & work later or in the afternoon.

Take Cold Shower Everyday

This is a new experiement which was inspired by this post from Joel at ImpossibleHQ.com.

I did this for total 5 times now and felt amazing. I’m getting stronger both mentally and physically.

Travel More Frequently

One of my biggest dreams from childhood is to become an adventurer, and I love exploring the world. However, I’m not so productive on the road so maybe I’ll take some time off every now and then to visit new places.

Spend More Time Outside My Home Office

The inability to communicate effectively is really becoming my biggest problem. I’m kind of an introvert & I’m not so comfortable hanging around with lots of people. That’s definitely something I need to change in 2014 in order to be more successful.

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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.

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of CloudLiving.com.

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