NOTE: This blog is the final blog post of this year as I take time off to spend with my family. I look forward to returning in 2014 with a new series of articles for you all. Thank you so much and Happy Holidays to all my readers.
In the spirit of continued transparency and full disclosure I share with you all the notes from my internal debrief on how things with my business and my life went over the past 12 months.
This is my second annual public review, which is even more interesting as I can look back at the post from last year to see where this ship I’m steering has traveled.
I’ve written quite a bit about my process for setting and tracking my goals throughout the year. I have found and used the very helpful process from blogger Chris Guillebeau that I slightly modified it to meet my own needs.
As I enter into each year I set goals into a variety of categories, such as “Photography” or “Writing” or “Health and Fitness.” Under each category I not only have specific goals, I put milestones, metrics and estimated due dates. Then four times a year I check back into my goals to track my progress so that I can revise my efforts if need be. Or sometimes I just take goals off the list if they are no longer part of my interests.
At the end of the year I do a final recap (the fourth review) on how everything went. By sharing the results below, it helps keep me accountable for the next round of goals I will be setting for myself. So without further hesitation, here is the full transparent review of how I did in 2013.
It is powerful seeing the results in black and white on my screen. Within the past 12 months I left my secure full-time corporate job to focus on my own company, I photographed 39 magazine covers in multiple countries, I spent a significant amount of time traveling throughout the US on projects, I launched a personal creative project and continued efforts with The Pro Exposure. So how did each happen and what did not end up happening?
GOALS: Going into this year I set 13 major goals for myself in the category. The overall theme was to work towards growing my work on a national and even an international level. From there the specific goals included my marketing campaign mailers and website update “Developing Beyond the Image,” pitching to multiple national and international publications, photographing national and international publication spreads, developing instructional materials for my clients and the Year of the Shot creative campaign.
RESULTS: As part of the Developing Beyond the Image campaign, I created rack-card mailers which were sent out to approximately 250 prospective clients (magazines, ad agencies, commercial clients, etc). Also I created a website update detailing the campaign. Response to the mailers was low which I attribute to a lack of follow up with additional materials. However with clients I had the opportunity to follow up with and build relationships with – results were strong. On the publishing front we had 39 covers published not only in the US but also Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and even the Ukraine. I photographed all 12 of the Max Sports & Fitness Magazine covers as well as most of the Scottsdale Health Magazine covers. I increased my national publishing work with multiple spreads in Oxygen Magazine, two photo shoots for Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine (appearing in early 2014), and an article and photo spread in the national photography magazine, Shutterbug. I completed 9 projects with the Year of the Shot Campaign having the goal of 8. I did shoot a 10th, but a publication purchased it before I could ever post it on the blog. Although I did strengthen relationships with a lot of prospective clients, I was not able to make it out to NY to meet with target photo editors for publications I wanted to be working with. As such I’ve set it to happen early in 2104.
GOALS: As I entered into the year I expected to be doing a bit of public speaking and as such I set goals of preparing a speaker’s kit as well as presenting at two conferences.
RESULTS: After the first quarter of the year I decided that I was going to results my effort and energy put into public speaking to focus more on other goals. As such I did not achieve either of my two goals. I did however give multiple presentations to educational organizations or schools (from high schools to colleges to even teaching HS teachers) on photography and marketing photography.
MULTIMEDIA & VIDEO
GOALS: The past few years this has been a secondary goal to develop fuller video services for my clients. This includes teaming with videographers and offering it as an added value on projects.
RESULTS: Through various works with a few different videographers I’ve been able to offer it to clients with some traction, albeit not overwhelming, it is something I feel will be bigger in 2014.
GOALS: I had huge goals in health and fitness this year; from running my second half marathon to being in a photo shoot as the talent, to learning to rock climb and more.
RESULTS: I was doing very well in my training. Four-to-five days a week I was hitting the gym very hard and had a great diet. Then came an injury, which has sidelined me for the past five months. I am overly anxious to set big goals in this category again for the New Year.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
GOALS: Spending at least one day a week having dinner with my family, regular get-togethers with friends and taking a personal trip.
RESULTS: I’ve been good at getting together with my family on a weekly basis and although I’ve taken many trips with my friends; it has all been business related. I certainly failed at making more personal time, which I was (believe it or not) better at in 2012.
LEARNING, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
GOALS: Goals for this category included reading 20 books, studying posing techniques, lighting set ups and post production workflows. Also included proactive networking and contacting professionals that I admire. The last goal here was to learn to be a better cook.
RESULTS: I certainly read more than 20 books, probably digesting around 30. Although I did not study much posing or post production workflows, I did spend a great deal of time researching and learning various lighting set ups and styles. I did not attend nearly as many networking or professional events as I have in previous years. Although I did make a good push in the last two months of the year to attend a few and meet several new people. When it came to contact people I admire, this is an area, which I fell down on. I did manage to connect with a photographer who has work I greatly admire and am trying to set up a time to meet for coffee. When it comes to being a better cook, I’ve been testing out my abilities with new foods. Some have gone well – some really poorly. But I am certainly having fun in the process.
RESULTS: I did not create 12 external articles. At the end of the year I had two or three. However one was for a national photography magazine, which has driven me a bit of web traffic. I did increase my blog articles to twice a week, from once. I just finished writing the e-book and it is in editing and I also just released another e-book manifesto as well. In the past year my blog has grown by 140 subscribers, which is the fastest growth it has ever had in the time I’ve run the blog. However I am not yet at my goal.
THE PRO EXPOSURE
GOALS: Ours goals with The Pro Exposure podcast included growing the Facebook following to 1000, focusing on quality interviews and features as well as setting the foundation to organize TPE as a business with a monetization strategy. Side goals included a conference as well as a redevelopment of the website.
RESULTS: Before the end of the year we launched our 40th episode and feel the podcast is growing and gaining traction. We are nearly at our Facebook goal and are proud of the variety of topics and interviews we’ve had in the past year. We’ve set our strategy for turning TPE into a business and believe it will come to fruition in the New Year. The website is under re-design now and we have launched a new branding strategy. However it has not received nearly the level of traction we hoped – so that will be an increased effort in 2014.
FULL TIME CORPORATE JOB
GOALS: I had two goals my full time corporate job. The first was to end my full time employment. The second was to eventually work for them on a freelance/contract basis as a photographer.
RESULTS: January 25 of this year marked my last day before I began to just focus solely on my own photography company. And since this summer, I’ve begun to get multiple freelance contract projects from the old company. One of my proudest accomplishments this year!
NEW YEAR. NEW CHANGES. NEW GOALS. NEW PROJECTS.
I’ve already begun my goal planning for the new calendar year. Some of the highlights include:
– Heading out to major publishing markets to shop my portfolio around.
– Getting back into my training routine to compete in my second half marathon, shaving 30 minutes off my previous time.
– Opening my photo studio in the Phoenix-metro area
– Developing events through The Pro Exposure (both seminars and meet-ups)
– Launch my upcoming e-book on how to get published in the fitness industry
My overall theme for the upcoming year will not be to get more work, but to get better work – the best work I can. Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with me and I look forward to what comes next in 2014.