As I enter a new year, I have been thinking a lot about 2012. What went right? What didn’t?
Just to recap, I had a great job at Vanguard, moved to Maryland to work for an education startup in Rockville, went through a depression, got out of said depression, and I committed myself to having a career in marketing/entrepreneurship.
At Vanguard, I performed very well. I had very deep relationships with my clients (I managed a book of business of 620 high net worth families, with assets at about $1.4 billion), had some amazing co-workers, and could have easily seen myself there for 20…30 years. I still talk with some of my clients regularly, and some of my co-workers are friends for life.
I was under contract on a house; I now understand the home buying process. I bought a truck; I know how to research cars/trucks. Had a wonderful relationship (for the most part) that ended. Learned a lot. Had an amazing dog (still miss the little guy). And then, I moved to Maryland when another opportunity came calling. I worked with teachers and understand a lot more about the education problems facing our country. I understand venture capital (for the most part) and how it all works. I acquired some marketing skills, and I networked with some great people who I am excited to learn from.
So, how do I define 2013? For me, I hope it is my best year professionally and personally. I hope I become more focused, reliable, and just crush it. Last year was a bit of a rollar coaster ride for me , but now I know my strengths and what to work on. I was just diagnosed with a mild form of adult ADD (who would have thought?), and I am excited to work through it.
So, below are my 2013 goals, as well as, a TL:DR, and things for you to read/takeaways.
First and foremost, I am moving back to Blacksburg to work for Heyo. I am starting in early January, and I am excited to learn a ton and help the company flourish.
1) Digitize My Life. I finally am a believer in the Kindle. I want to buy/download every book that I own in print and put them onto the Kindle. I only want keep a select few in print. It’s an investment (will be a good chunk of change), but I believe it will make my life a lot easier and more fun. Think about it. Before bed, I will be able to pull out my Kindle and choose from a complete library of books! Traveling will be easier and I will have a lot less clutter in my house/apartment. I also want to get rid of all of my CDs/music and switch to Spotify unlimited or premium. I want to move my entire life into the cloud, as well as, organize all of my files.
2) Make My Health A Priority. As some of you know, I am only have one speed, which is “all out.” I want to get back to this look, but 10-15 lighter! Eating healthy and consistenly working out are priorities for me moving forward. I am going to try to take baby steps and make sure it is something that is sustainable. Before getting a new wardrobe (see next goal), I want to have the right physique, so I can buy tailored clothing. I have a goal of running a half-marathon by the end of the 2013. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. I’m ready to take baby steps towards this goal.
3) Buy A New Wardrobe. In the past few months, I have really started to understand and appreciate fashion and style. I used to just buy random outfits at like Kohls or JC Penneys. I have two walk-in closets full of clothing. I want to sell/donate a lot of my “stuff” and own a simple, quality wardrobe. A nice mix of professional (3-4 suits), with some casual, and some workout clothing. I own a lot of nice clothes already; it’s just a matter of sifting through it all, talking to some fashion afiancidos, and by the end of the year, be happy with my wardrobe.
4) Build A Personal CRM. One of my faults is that I struggle to “keep in touch” with people. I meet someone at a conference, follow up with them via e-mail, and then fail to keep in touch with that contact after a few months. I want to build a system that works something like this: a) Meet someone, exchange information. b) Follow up with them via e-mail/LinkedIn, c) Find something of value to share with them, d) Have a system automatically notify me in like 3 months to follow up with them, e) Modify/adjust and repeat. I want to create a system of efficiency for my own personal relationships. I want to make it a priority to maintain (and sustain) relationships with family, friends, mentors, etc. I want to personally write birthday and holiday cards to people and mail them to their address. I want to automate all of that. It is so important to dig your well before you’re thirsty!
5) Automate My Life More. Perfect segue into my next goal. I want to automate my life. I have always automated my finances, but I want to figure out how to automate my laundry. How do I automate healthy eating? What about a workout routine? I’ve always been a fan of Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferriss. The more time I can spend automating “routine” tasks, the better my life will be. I can spend more time traveling, maintaining important relationships. The more I automate my life, the more I’ll be able to ensure I don’t live a life with regret. I also want to automate some tasks at work, so I can spend more time on high-level, creative ideas, and less time on figuring out who to respond to following a marketing campaign.
6) Become More Of A Minimalist. I have a lot of stuff. I mean….a lot. By digitizing my life, I will be able to live with less clutter and stress. Also, it will save me a ton of money for the long-term. So many people have so much “stuff” but how much of it do we really use regularly? Becoming a minimalist will take some work and some time, but I will be so much happier after I have accomplished this goal. So, I will be selling a ton of stuff on eBay, donating a lot clothes to the YMCA, and more.
7) Learn A Ton Of New Marketing Skills. I have realized that I absolutely love marketing. Even moreso, I love the infusion of psychology and marketing. In 2013, I want to become a subject matter expert in word of mouth marketing, evangelist marketing, and social media marketing. That means that I may want to join WOMMA. That is what I get excited about: How to create an experience so amazing, so rememberable, that a client/customer spreads your message/product for you? How to make a brand so personal that people feel like they are a part of something bigger them themselves. However, I am most excited about learning marketing analytics. How do we optimize a funnel for user acquistion? What’s the most effective way to use KISSMetrics? What do we measure? How often? What are the the important KPIs? After talking with one of my mentors, he explained to me that the idea of user acquistion is simple: a) Find your customers, b) Get them to use your product, c) Get them to tell us how we suck/how we can improve (continuous feedback), d) Fix the problem (if any), give them all of the credit, e) Follow up consistently, f) Repeat. Testing and iterating. Testing and iterating. My life will be. Wake up, data. When I go get food, data. When I go to the gym, data. Bathroom, data. Before bed, data. In my dreams, data. If you don’t have data, you’re just a jerk with an opinion. Anyway, in digital marketing, there are many channels to acquire and sell to potential customers. Writing amazing content, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, putting ads on random blogs where your customers go to for content, social media, webinars, customer relationship marketing, and more. I am excited to build a CRM platform that takes Net Promoter Score into account and evangelizes our customers. It’s about the little things, like remembering that (Suzie) likes homemade goods and sending her homemade cookies on her 1 year anniversary as a customer, along with a handwritten card. The real question is….how do you scale that? New marketing slogans for 2013 are “Who does that?” and “Screw it, let’s do it.” I know the what, I just need to learn the how. I can’t wait.
8) Get Involved With Actively Caring Again. When I move back to Blacksburg, VA, my number one priority will be working with Heyo, helping it succeed, and learning new marketing skills. However, actively caring is more than just a movement; it is a values system. I believe in the mission and I want to incorporate daily intentional acts of kindness into my life again. Once I learn the proper marketing channels (how to measure, iterate, etc), I will be able to apply those to actively caring and assist in any way that I can. When AC4P was in my life, I was a lot happier. Committing intentional acts of kindness will lead me down the road of self-transcendence.
- 2012 was an interesting year. Very much a learning experience. In two words: Roller Coaster
- I loved it at Vanguard, still have a passion for personal finance.
- Gained an understanding of how to purchase a home, finance a car/truck, manage a lease and all of my utilities, stick to a budget, take care of a dog, and be in a committed relationship.
- Took a risk and worked for an education startup. Learned a lot about venture capital, and have a true understanding of the education issues facing our country
- Goals for 2013 are as follows: 1) Digitize my life, 2) Make my health a priority, 3) Buy a new wardrobe, 4) Build a personal CRM, 5) Automate my life more, 6) Become more of a minimalist, 7) Learn a ton of new marketing skills, 8) Get involved with actively caring again.
- My goals aren’t “SMART” goals. Rather, they are a framework for me next year.
Next Steps For You:
- Read MBA Mondays (a free MBA). Just do one per week.
- Bookmark Fred Wilson’s AVC
- Subscribe to Mark Cuban’s Personal Blog
- Buy these books: 4 Hour Chef, Tipping Point, Linchpin
- Watch this TED talk.
- Get involved with Actively Caring. Buy some wristbands and spread intentional acts of kindness throughout your community.
My next blog post will be titled something like, “Everything you need to know about personal finance” (creative, right?). It will mostly likely be a 3-5 part series, where I will cover basically everything I know about managing personal finances. Background: I am very close to being a CFP, I earned my securities license (7 & 63), studied applied economic management, and worked at Vanguard for 1 1/2 years, where I helped high net worth families manage their wealth.