2015 year in review

2015 Year in Review

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​Last December I sat down for the first time and did a “year in review” (not the Facebook video).

I was encouraged to do this by Chris Guillebeau, who every year posts about his year end review and even created a free template for people to use.

I sat down for nearly one week and thought about everything that had happened in 2014. I wrote down the good, the bad, and what I wanted to change in my life.

Taking a few days to really dig into what I wanted to get out of 2015 was beyond huge for me. It was the first time I really came up with concrete goals, action items, and pursued them.

It’s safe to say I was absolutely going to do it again this year. Below is a review of my 2015.

Well… what went well during 2015?

– We finished our Hourly America tour! Wohoo! We completed our 50 state goal by crossing off two places neither Alyssa or I had ever been– Hawaii and Alaska (see more Alaska photos here). 

Alyssa and I on Mt. Denali in Alaska
Alyssa and I on Mt. Denali in Alaska
Paddle boarding for my 49th job in Maui
Paddle boarding for my 49th job in Maui
Flying in a helicopter up to base camp in Denali (coolest thing I've ever done)
Flying in a helicopter up to base camp in Denali!

– I co-ordinated and went on a cross-country book tour with Jia Jiang for his book Rejection Proof. Jia hired me on during the second half of our Hourly America tour to help him work on building an online course and planning his book tour. Jia has been a huge mentor and friend this past year who has taught me a lot about handling rejection & building a business.

Jia and I getting ready for a workshop in Portland
Jia and I getting ready for a workshop in Portland
Our first book tour stop in Philly (at the Rocky statue)
Our first book tour stop in Philly (at the Rocky statue)
Running around New York
Running around New York

– Alyssa and I paid off over $14k of my student loan debt, a major goal we kicked out earlier this year. The original goal was to pay off ALL of it this year, but $14k is something we are both proud of (Here’s a blog I wrote on how we’ve been paying it down this year).

paying off student debt

– I gave seven talks this year, both at companies and universities across the country. Speaking is something I enjoyed doing in college and wanted to do more, but this year was the first time I was asked to speak professionally. A large conference in Dallas called the CandE Symposium heard our story on CBS, asked me to come speak, and after my talk I ended up giving 4 more presentations in the next month based off that one talk. Speaking has already opened up so many doors and I’m enjoying the mess out of it. (Here is a link to an online version of the talk I gave called How to Create the Ultimate Hiring Experience)

Speaking at the Candidate Symposium in Fort Worth
Speaking at the Candidate Symposium in Fort Worth

– Alyssa and I got to work on several video projects together. One of our main goals in 2015 was to be able to continue our lifestyle of RVing and travel (aka not have to go get an office job). And throughout the year we started working with more clients to do video-based projects, which has allowed us to keep traveling and also create a lot of meaningful relationships.

2015 year in review
Photos taken while filming an online video course with Paul Angone from AllGroanUp.com

– A month ago we secured a blogging contributor agreement with Winnebago, which essentially allowed us to upgrade our motorhome to a 2016 Winnebago Brave. Read more about that here. Yay for no more leaks!

– I launched a free 7 part email course on how to travel America on $2k/month that’s been downloaded 1,200 times & have 400+ awesome people who have joined a private Facebook group from that course. I’ve also grown my website to around 10,000 monthly visitors. In the big scheme of things, this isn’t too crazy, but it feels good to see progress on people finding my blog. 

– I have nearly reached my goal of reading 20 books this year. Right now I’m at 17 books complete, with a giant stack of books I am half way through reading. 🙂 Something I’m extremely happy about is the diversity of books I read this year. In the past few years, most of the books I read were business or entrepreneurship and they all had a similar theme. This year I finished Atlas Shrugged and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, two extremely long books and both completely different than what I’ve been accustomed to reading.

What didn’t go well this year?

– I really don’t feel like we made as much progress on our documentary as we would have liked. Most of our time has been spent wrapped up in doing video work for clients, and not working on our film (side note: in doing this, we’ve learned a lot more about film). Our original plan was to have our documentary completed this past September. As it turns out, we likely won’t be finished until March of 2016. The good news: we found an amazing editor to help us finish our film. His name is Tate Hipps and he was a part of the media team with us at World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. We’re moving to Florence, Alabama the first of January to work alongside Tate and complete Hourly America!

– My original goal for my email list this year was to reach 10,000 subscribers. As of today, I’ve only reached 1,250 subscribers. While I didn’t come anywhere close to my original goal, I’ve definitely learned a lot about building community, guest blogging, and providing value for people who read my blog.

– Alyssa and I picked one book to read through together this year, which we ended up not completing. The main reason was the book we picked wasn’t very good. None the less, I want to make sure we are actively working on our marriage as a team.

– I didn’t work out nearly as much as I would have liked. Being on the road so much has made it really difficult for me to be as healthy as I would like. In reality, I’m just making excuses because I could go for a run or do push ups no matter where I’m at. I want to do better at this next year.

Reflecting on 2015

If I had to sum up 2015 in one word, it would be gratitude.

I’m so grateful for another year of marriage to my amazing wife Alyssa. I’m grateful that after quitting our jobs in 2014 on a whim and buying an RV, we’ve actually been able to continue traveling and doing work we truly enjoy. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come our way and the new friendships we’ve made with people online, from this blog, and through our travels.

It’s so easy to forget about all you accomplish within the span of one year. From a day to day perspective, I really struggle with feeling like “I’m not moving forward fast enough”. I’m constantly feeling like I’m not doing enough and I’m somehow falling behind (falling behind on what I’m not sure).

Sitting down to think about what went well and didn’t go well in the year has really helped give me more of a longterm focus and not worry so much about what I can or can’t accomplish in one day, but to think about what I can accomplish in one year, five, or ten years from now.

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015? Come on, I know something awesome happened. Let me know!

#AnnualReview