This year our web app, Freckle Time Tracking, turned 5 years old. And Freckle crossed $1 million in revenue. (Our business as a whole crossed $1m probably 18 mos before.)
I’m done looking backward for the next 12 months ;) It’s a new year, it’s time to look forward.
Here’s what I want to do between now and January, 2015:
Grow Freckle Time Tracking to $700k/year run rate. That is, I want to reach $58,333 in recurring revenue by Dec 31, 2014 — or, +51% growth in MRR over December 2013 (less yearly prepayments). Considering Dec 2013 over Dec 2012 was nearly 40% growth, this is less crazy than it sounds. I’ll be writing a detailed blog post about how.
Run BaconBizConf once more (dates coming soon! late May!). No changes here; we’re not interested in growing. The last BBConf was nearly perfect. I’ll be writing a detailed blog post about how we ran the last one, & how we’ll run this one.
Run 30×500 5-6 times — and get the revenue back up to where it was in 2012 (>$400k), before The Great Revamp and inevitable sacrifice, as we slayed the golden goose, on purpose, to rebuild it. That old goose made us a lot of money. But Alex and I don’t just want money, we want students to ship and make their own money! The new 30×500 costs less — a lot less — and helps deliver more results for more people.
Release 2 self-guided products in the “30×500 Universe”. First up: Just Fucking Ship, a guide to getting — and staying — off your ass. After that, we’re thinking about a landing page clinic, or something about how to write delicious & effective blog posts & newsletters, or perhaps something about pricing.
Keep the momentum going for our 30×500 alumni community. Right now, you take 30×500, and then maybe you take the exercise program afterwards, and then… nothing. There’s a mailing list for alums of the old class, but it’s dead more often than not. Bootstrapping is nothing if not an endurance race — not that you have to work 50-hour weeks, but you need to keep working, every week, to get places. Freckle’s entire revenue history is proof of this. Alex and I are about to launch a “gym membership” for 30×500 alums, with monthly exercises & topics. More info coming soon.
Sign a contract, with a good publisher, for a biz-bestseller-style treatment of the 30×500 philosophy. Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. And I want to get the 30×500 message out to the broader world. Self-published ebooks are a great way to make money, and create a lot of change for those who buy them, but they can never hit the NYT Bestseller list.
Grow our team to 5 or 6 people (+1-2). This isn’t required, but it would be awesome… if and only if we can find the right people. Otherwise, it’s not worth it. Thinking: 1 admin person, and 1 developer. I have been urged to write about hiring, so I will.
Give 3-4% of our gross revenue to charity. This past year we did nearly 2%. I want to double it. I wrote about our charitable giving.
These are the acts of doing… the ones that I can put directly into action.
The other things I want are results. I want to…
Help 100 more students make their very first product dollar. We already have a pretty big list of Students Who Shipped And Made Their First Product Dollar. (Sharing soon.) And with every round of 30×500, more and more students actually do something with it. This makes me very happy. But we’re greedy for results & case studies. We want more more more!
Get BaconBiz, the anti-HN, off the ground. A community place for everyone — not just 30×500 alums. To promote bootstrapping, to create a place for bootstrappers to share links, discuss, teach, learn & meet each other. Yep, I’ve been talking about this for a long time, I know. But I’ve been working with limited energy for a long time, too. Now I am a lot better — and I’m working off a plan to get the creative atom online so you all can help me build it. More on this soon. I hope you’ll contribute :)
Make bootstrapping the obvious alternative. This is not just about a best-selling book — or about me. The startup world & startup media is as sick as ever (if not sicker). We need an alternative — and we have one. But bootstrapping is still viewed as a distant second to the VC route, and most importantly, even when people choose it, they can’t separate the toxic VC-backed practices from what real business requires (and what it offers).
I want to reach beyond my tiny little world and spread the bootstrapping gospel — the tiny product first, brick stacking, habit-riffic, evidence-driven, good-life-supporting gospel.
And of course, personal goals:
Take more vacation. Actual vacation, not just sitting-at-home-too-tired-to-do-anything time off, which I take a lot of thanks to my bloody CFS. Also, not “work your way around the world” vacation, because that barely works. I wrote about this: How to (REALLY) Travel the World, Run Your Biz & Not Go Broke or Crazy.
Visit new places. Last year we only went to 1 new place, for various (health, financial, time) reasons.
Work on more passion projects. My ‘career’ is so vertically integrated that almost anything I do has some business impact. Which is great! But sometimes it gets boring. I want to do at least one project a month, using my design/dev/writing skills, just for the helluva it, with absolutely zero upside.
Feel like a normal person. I’ve been some variation of chronically ill since July 2009. I’m so close to getting better, but not there yet. The fact that the thyroid treatment has helped so much has simply highlighted what’s left: the CFS itself is definitely its own thing on top of a lifetime of being hypothyroid. In 2014, my doctor + I are exploring antivirals and other options for the CFS. All I want to be is normal… able to work a full day for an entire week with no repercussions, able to hold a party or go to a party without knowing there’ll be a cost, later, able to go outside, or drink a beer, and sweat, without ending up with white fingers and uncontrollable shivering. (Is Chronic illness the best reason to bootstrap? I think so.)
So, that’s it. “That’s it?” Yeah, haha, I know. It’s a big fat list.
But 12 months is a long time. And I’m not alone — I’ve got a business partner (hi, honey), a partner in crime (hi, Alex), two awesome team mates (hi Devon, hi Cannon!), a private network of bootstrapping friends for support, customers that tell me how much they appreciate our work, students to inspire me to learn, and lots of friends to drink and eat s’mores with me during all the other hours of the week.
And for BaconBizConf… our kickass speakers and sponsors and attendees, too. And for BaconBiz… me, you, and everyone else in it with us.
That’s what makes it possible and so very worth it.
What are your goals for 2014?
If you don’t have a big one yet… this year will be a great one to get your first product out the door.
It’s not as hard as you think to make something people want to buy.
Especially since you should do a tiny product first.
At heart, it’s all about showing up and embracing reality. That’s the hardest part. And the best.