2016 Annual Review

2016.

What a crazy year this has been.

While the purpose of this post isn’t to summarize what happened in the world, it’s worth mentioning that I believe we will look back on 2016 and it’s significance for many years to come.

That being said, let’s talk about my life and Boodaism.

In this report I’ll answer a few questions:

  • What went well?
  • What could I improve?
  • What are my aspirations and goals for next year?
  • What did I learn in 2016?

What Went Well

  • I completed a successful 4-year marriage. As you may know by reading the site, I reject the notion that the success of any relationship should be measured by it’s longevity. I can say without a doubt that the four years I spent living with and being in relationship with Paula was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I grew enormously as a person and the experience I gained has me in a place now where I feel incredibly confident and excited about my future, especially when it comes to my love life. I’ll definitely be writing more about this as I articulate the person I’m becoming in 2017.
  • I continued to post every week. Last year when I reported on this it was practically a mini-celebration, because setting a writing goal and sticking to it was really significant for me. Now, although it’s still worth mentioning, I don’t feel the need to throw a party for myself. I took a sabbatical in Feb of 2016 and I may or may not do that again in 2017. It’s nice to know that break is there if I need it.
  • I became a minimalist. After breaking up with Paula, I really allowed myself to embrace the part of me that loves not having so many things. I sold everything I owned in the fall of 2016 and I currently have everything I need in one medium sized backpack. This is making me very happy and I’ll be posting soon about the things I own and how I manage on so little things. I’ve thought a lot about this.
  • My google traffic doubled. Over time, the more my site is online and being linked to and visited by people, the more google will show it in it’s rankings. While it’s not terribly surprising, it’s nice to see that the longer I’m around, the more assistance I’ll get from google. Here are year by year stats on how many people came to Boodaism through google.
    • 2014: 5,620
    • 2015: 9,007
    • 2016: 17,759
  • I began to fall in love with music again. At the beginning of 2016 I learned that a new music venue had opened up right near where I lived, and I got really excited. I don’t do original music shows too often, mostly because there aren’t any great venues near where I live. I put on 4 shows in 2016, brought in musician friends from around the country and packed the room every time. My last show in October was unequivocally the best show I’ve ever played.

What I Could Improve

  • Money, money, money. To say I struggled a lot with money this year would be an understatement. Something that I’ve learned about myself which is both a blessing and a curse is that I can stomach a lot of financial insecurity. It’s a blessing because it allows me to not freak out and it’s a curse because sometimes I don’t feel the pain of a situation that would inspire me to take action when needed. 2017 will go much better if I focus my efforts on things that are generating income, and take some of the projects I’m currently working on (like this blog) and find ways to monetize them.
  • Not wait until the last minute to write. I wrote about this last year, and to be honest, I think I did a better job this year, but it’s still frustrating when I leave the weekly article to the last day. I genuinely love writing and if I sat down, even for 30 minutes a day and dedicated that time to article writing I would be much happier.
  • I’m frustrated with how slow Boodaism is growing. I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that really wants to be seeing bigger numbers at this point. I told myself two years ago when I began writing every week that it wasn’t going to be about the numbers, but I want this blog to be my main source of income, and for that to happen I need to be generating more traffic. In 2016 I averaged 5,000 unique visitors a month.
  • Becoming a better marketer. I struggled with this all year… how do I increase the conversion for Boodaism (visitors becoming email subscribers) without selling out and putting annoying pop-ups on the site? I can see this being an ongoing conversation in 2017 and I still haven’t figured out how I want to proceed, but my sense is I’m going to have to be a little more bold about if I want the site to succeed in the way that I do.

Aspirations and Goals for 2017

  • $5K/month from location-independent income. In the last couple months I’ve seen how much I love being a nomad and being able to pick up and travel whenever I want. It’s still easiest for me to make money playing music and running events in San Diego, but I don’t want to be tied to one location.
  • Lose 15 pounds. My parents have been a huge inspiration lately to my health. My Dad lost 50 pounds and my Mom lost 30 pounds in two years, and they’ve been able to keep it off. I’ve been really neglecting my health and there’s just no excuse for it. I’ll be tracking my eating and by the middle of the year (July 1st) my goal is to weigh 185 lbs and keep it that low through the rest of the year.
  • Not make too many goals! The truth is, if I do those two things that will make a big difference in my quality of life. Often it’s easy for me to set too many goals, so I’m just going to leave it with those two for now.

What I Learned in 2016

  • I’m a polyamorous-minded man who doesn’t want kids. One of the things that happened during my relationship with Paula was our views on open relationships and kids slowly drifted apart. When we began we were both on the same page, and as time went on I wanted kids less, she wanted kids more, I wanted to be polyamorous more, she wanted it less. I’ll expand more on this in future articles, but for now it’s safe to say that I discovered a lot about my relationship preferences in 2016.

  • I love coding. Recently I realized I love coding, and by coding I mean learning the language that builds websites and apps. I used to design websites in high school (back in the 90s!) but I haven’t updated my HTML knowledge since then and it’s time. I build all the websites myself (including this one) and I’ve been limited in what I can do because of knowledge gaps. I’m using freecodecamp.com and so far it seems like a great program.
  • I still don’t want to write books. I tried, again. I had an idea to write a book about the four years I was with Paula, and I started it, but at this point it just doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen for me. I simply don’t want to devote the time needed. I think a big part of it is finances, I can’t really devote the kind of time it would take to do a project that large if it’s not going to make me money soon. It’s a bummer to say this, but if I want to keep blogging weekly, I need other projects that will generate income sooner than a book would.

Final Thoughts

One of the ways I’d like to monetize this site is through online courses, and I’m almost finished with my first course. It’s called “How To Write Great Facebook Posts Without Being Insufferable”. I’m excited to begin teaching things I know because teaching has always been something I enjoy.

You can expect that course to go live in the next couple months, followed by other courses after that. Ultimately I’ll be building a nice library of courses for Boodaism readers, and maybe even featuring some guest teachers as well.

Thanks for supporting this site! I’ll see you in 2017.

P.S. The audio version of this article has some hidden gems that you won’t find in the written version. Click here to listen on iTunes.


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