2014 Goals: 3X KickoffLabs, Travel, Read, Write, & Simplify

What if you could triple your income, work less, & travel to spend more time with your family? It’s possible.

2014 Water

Triple KickoffLabs monthly recurring revenue. Over the last year we grew MRR by 73%. Our work in 2013 went into building a product that’s now ready to handle a much wider set of use cases and greatly increase the lifetime value of a customer. Follow us in 2014 to see exactly how.

Expand our international work-life integration adventure to two months. In 2013 we spent exactly one month living and working in Ireland. It was extremely rewarding. That month even ended up being one of the best for business in 2013. We’re going to take what we learned and expand this adventure to two months in 2014.

Read 12 books. I feel like I replaced a lot of crap TV in 2013 with crappy social media. Did staring at my TV get replaced by staring at my phone? I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. The quality of media you consume has an enormous impact on the quality work you produce.

So far so good. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and I’m 27% of the way through the Steve Jobs biography. The best Kindle feature… not having Twitter and Facebook apps.

Write and publish a book. My goal to write more in 2013 just wasn’t inspiring enough. Having a huge target… a published book that generates revenue… is extremely exiting and motivating. There’s an english major in our family so you’d think this would have already happened. Guess I’m going to have to pick up the slack here. 🙂

Continue to simplify. Last years challenge still applies with some bullets.

  • End 2014 with less “stuff” than we started with. Continue selling and donating things we don’t wear or use regularly.
  • Simplify my garden. The last couple of years I’ve converted our front yard into a vegetable/fruit garden. Last year we weren’t around to enjoy the late harvest anyway. Just berries & quick growing cherry tomatoes this year.
  • Digitally I’d like to reduce the amount of photos in our library by at least 50% by removing the crap.

Outsourcing 2014

  • I’m looking at you 2014 Christmas lights. 🙂 Gabe and I are going to design what we want on an iPad and have professionals install them because “I’m worried daddy is going to fall off the ladder and I can’t catch him.” – Said Gabe.
  • Leverage a meal planning and preparation service. I love cooking… but only so many times in a week.
  • Get a pool guy until Gabe is old enough to clean the hot tub. Make sure he isn’t too attractive.

If you wondered how I did on 2013 goals you can read this. What are your goals for 2014?

Grading my 2013 Resolutions

I made a lot of resolutions public on this blog for 2013. Lets see how I did…

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Move my family to Ireland for at least a month

This fell under the concept of scaring yourself with one big goal for the year. My big goal was to try out the “New Rich” concepts of location independent work + life experiences. Easy if you are single… a lot more challenging with a family. How did it go?

We spent a month living and working in Ireland and it was a blast. There’s going to be a similar goal set for 2014 if we can ever decide on a location. Of course there are improvements that could be made, it could be done cheaper, but what we did was approachable for just about anyone.

I’ll give myself a solid A- on this goal.

Simplify life in 2013

In order to make room for big goals we have to let go of the physical and mental distractions that keep us from making real progress. I’m going to say I succeeded here with room for improvement in 2014.

I killed off virtual distractions

  • Killed off the Evolvingwe and Ledgards.com websites and simplified down to this domain and blog. I also killed those email accounts.
  • I have 50% fewer apps installed on my phone.
  • I stopped selling my app development training series and now just give away the iPhone apps I developed. For some reason I couldn’t let go enough to sell those businesses.
  • We no longer have cable TV in the house.
  • I unsubscribed from the blogs, newsletters, and searches I had setup to monitor our competitors. I care about our success and if they do something interesting my customers tell me about it anyway. 🙂

We finished 2013 with less physical stuff than we started with

This was no small feat with two small children that are showered with presents on Christmas, birthdays, and other random events, but I believe we did it.

  • We donated a good percentage of our clothing and found it liberating.
  • We sold off Skis, Snowboards, TVs, TV Stands, baby stuff, and just about anything we could find in our house that didn’t have a purpose.
  • We employed friends and relatives to focus their gift giving on higher quality toys with a higher lifetime value like legos.
  • We cleaned out our kitchen and sold/donated anything that hadn’t been used in months. Same for the garage and the utility room. This makes what we do have easier to find. 🙂

I’d like to go further in the next year. Living with fewer, higher quality, things is liberating. I’ll give myself a solid B here.

Outsourcing life in 2013

My goal to outsource more personal and professional tasks in 2013 was a mixed bag.

On one hand KickoffLabs was able to hire a great support engineer, designer, and someone to help with marketing by the second half of the year. Without this my trip to Ireland would have been a LOT more difficult.

On the other hand personal outsourcing didn’t go well at all. We did find a friend to handle some of the initial research on our trip to Ireland, but ended up doing too much of the work ourselves. My “honey-do” list remained a “honey-do” list and is still a distraction.

Professionally I’ll give myself a B for removing myself from a lot of basic tasks. Personally I’ll have to give myself a D-.

Learning Writing, Photography, & Guitar in 2013

This set of goals would have been better off unspoken.

Writing?

You can tell I didn’t write much on my blog and the general goal of “publishing” something every day just became un-interesting. Yes, I wrote a LOT of copy and marketing emails for KickoffLabs, but I don’t think it was a big or specific enough goal to be motivated. Just wait for the updated version of this goal in 2014.

Photography

I didn’t end up taking a class. I did take a lot of great pictures throughout the year and I’m enjoying seeing people create KickoffLabs pages with some of my shots as background images.

We did a great job taking pictures around Ireland… but the concepts of shooting in raw mode, post production in lightroom, etc just became overwhelming. Not sure what I’ll do here.

Guitar – Finishing Rocksmith

The less I write here the better.

Bonus Goal Achieved – Better Health

I was sick for months at a time last winter and topped out at 17% body fat. I resolved that something had to change so I could survive having two small children that are effectively mini-biological weapons living in our house.

No more diet soda

Or soda of any kind really. Working with Scott has the effect of becoming a better eater through osmosis. The big thing was just to realize that crap in is crap out. Most sodas are crap and diet sodas aren’t healthy for you at all. I’m onto teas, coconut water, and just more water in general.

Switch to more high intensity workouts

Last winter I topped out around 17% body fat and I’ve made it down to around 13%. A lot of this probably comes from eating a little better… but honestly I haven’t changed my diet much other than the soda change and perhaps being a little more “paleo”.

It’s not that I wasn’t putting in the time to workout so I decided to change HOW I worked out. A crossfit box opened up down the street and the research on high intensity workouts was compelling.

The difference in muscle strength and endurance is simply amazing from three to four 5 to 15 minute workouts combined with some lifting every week. For example: I was lucky to have been able to hit 3 proper pull-ups at a time before and now can knock out 20-35 without assistance in most workouts.

That’s it. Look forward to seeing my 2014 goals soon. Did you look back on your goals for 2013? How did you do?

Ledgard Family Guide to Nashville

I’m not sure anyone reads this blog, but it’s still good to store information on that we link to a lot.  This post came up as a reply to a co-worker looking for things to do in Nashville.

Dining

Have the official cheeseburger in paradise at Rotier’s…. The Buffet song was written about this place… no, really. You want the cheeseburger and a milkshake.

I’d also recommend hitting up South Street.

Music Row

Both of those places are on the same side of town within walking distance of Music Row.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Row.  Now, you might not be too interested in country music, but it’s a good walk around on a nice day. 

Music Row is awesome to see "polished" Music City … beautiful tree lined streets with all the major record labels and famous recording studios. This area is within easy walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame,Vanderbilt and the 2 restaurants above.

Also nearby (only about a block west of Rotiers) is the Parthenon, which is totally bizarre but worth glimpsing if you are near.

“Real Music City”

But the Broadway / 4th Ave area is the place to see "real" music city … It’s where all the acts get their start and vibe is amazing. In the summer, a trolley usually connects the Vandy / Music Row area to downtown (just a couple miles) so it can all be easily done in one afternoon / evening. From this Frommers link…

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/nashville/0019010008.html

7. Hatch Show Print

The oldest poster shop in the United States still prints its posters on an old-fashioned letterpress printer. The most popular posters are those advertising the Grand Ole Opry.

8. Gruhn Guitars

This is the most famous guitar shop in Nashville; it specializes in used and vintage guitars.

9. Ryman Auditorium

The Grand Ole Opry was held here from 1943 to 1974. The building was originally built as a tabernacle to host evangelical revival meetings, but because of its good acoustics and large seating capacity, it became a popular setting for theater and music performances.

10. Ernest Tubb Record Shop

This store was once the home of the Midnite Jamboree, a country music radio show that took place after the Grand Ole Opry was over on Saturday nights.

12. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

Grand Ole Opry musicians used to duck in here, one of the most famous bars in Nashville, before, during, and after the show at the Ryman. There’s live country music all day long at Tootsie’s.

And, of course there is the arboretum where Gretchen & I went to school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanderbilt_University

Wow, that’s harsh

It’s the end of “Manny being Manny” in Boston. Apparently the whole team agreed…

Theo’s initial comments – Extra Bases – Red Sox blog

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is addressing the media concerning yesterday’s trade of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

“I think it puts us in a good position going forward from a baseball standpoint, and also from the position of standing for something as an organization,” said Epstein. The Red Sox GM said that the team held a meeting with the 25 players on the roster before trading Ramirez, and that the Red Sox now “feel like a team for the first time in a while.”

“There was an environment that was not conducive to winning surrounding this club,” said Epstein. “We wanted to change that if we could. We also wanted to make a good baseball trade.”

Commence your slip-n-slide commute

This was the scene walking out the “The Hammer” at the theatre in Bellevue tonight.  After having to walk up the final hill to our house we went sledding. 

PIC-0063

The Hammer, BTW, is highly recommended.  Driving with hundreds of people that haven’t seen 5 inches of snow… NOT recommended.

Your Guide to Following Josh Online

I’ve been updating some online personas of late and wanted to fill all two of my readers into where I’ll be posting moving forward.

Professional Josh

Personal Josh

The personal me has two main locations

There are lots of reasons for this divide that I’ll explain in a future post on evolvingwe.com.  This is one of the few posts that will be cross posted for reference to site visitors.