This is Annual Review number nine!
That makes this the longest career stint I’ve had. Woohoo! 🎉 (Before this, I was a Forensic Accountant for eight years.)
2023 was a great year.
Of course, it had its ups and downs, but my family and I are all healthy and safe, which is all that matters.
I was happier, healthier, and fitter than at any time since my kids were born. The year was a success from a work point of view too, although my revenue was down slightly on last year. Most importantly, I’ve rediscovered some of my mojo that I lost during the pandemic.
I’ll dive into all of this below, but let me begin with a review of my 2023 goals:
Did I Meet My 2023 Goals?
My explicit work goals for 2023 were:
- Create 2 new video courses – Yes, I launched Beginner Apps Script and The AI Playbook for Google Sheets
- Send my Google Sheets Tips newsletter every Monday – Yes,I sent 50 editions
- Hit 70k newsletter subscribers – Close! I reached 65,110.
What about non-work goals? Here’s how it went:
- Have another healthy year and get fit – Yes!!
- Century bike ride (100-mile ride) – Yes, at last! After missing this goal for the past few years, I made it a priority this year. I did 97 miles, 110 miles, and 142 mile rides.
- Multi-day adventures locally – yes, I managed a handful of local, overnight bike tours.
- C&O canal tour with my boys – no, we didn’t manage it this year. Bumping this one to next year.
- 25 nights camping – I managed 11 nights camping.
- Weekly brainstorming hike with my wife – sometimes, but it’s hard to do consistently.
- Read 20 books – I managed to read 15 books.
1) New Courses
In early April, I launched my Beginner Apps Script course:
It’s a comprehensive course designed as a fun and practical way to learn Apps Script.
In early October, I launched The AI Playbook for Google Sheets:
2) Google Sheets Tips Newsletter
I had another consistent year sending out 50 editions of my weekly Google Sheets Tips newsletter. The latest newsletter went out to 52,280 people.
If you’re one of those folks, thank you for your support!
And if you’re not, and you’d like to level up your Sheets skills with a bite-size tutorial each week, you can sign up here.
3) Community & Partnerships
Although I didn’t attend any in-person events this year, there were still many meaningful partnerships and friendships through the year.
And I’m truly honored to be part of the Google Developer Expert community for another year 🙏
It was always going to be tough to follow last year’s big push on web content. I published 12 posts this year (not including this one):
This year, my favorite posts to research and write were:
Traffic to the website is still strong, but it has slowly declined through the year. Some of that is probably due to publishing fewer posts. Competition is also a lot higher now than when I started, and improves every year.
(December is not showing a full month of stats.)
5) Sponsorships and Diversifying Revenue
Over 90% of my revenue still comes from my courses, but I’m working to diversify and increase the share from a handful of other sources.
Newsletter sponsorships is up and running and going well. I’m looking forward to building on this foundation in 2024. If you’re a brand looking to reach an audience of 50k+ professionals, you can sponsor a newsletter here.
Referrals: I don’t do any consulting work myself anymore, but I have a great relationship with my friends at Set & Forget. I’m delighted to continue this partnership into 2024 and have no hesitation in recommending them as your partner to help you realize your Workspace and automation goals. If you have a project in mind, I’m happy to make a referral for you. Start by completing this expression of interest form.
Affiliate income: The smallest slice of the pie, but it runs on autopilot. I’ll keep it going in 2024 and see what happens!
6) Non-work highlights
Looking back across the whole year, 2023 was a good one! Lots of memories that I’ll treasure for life.
My boys are growing up fast and I’m enjoying parenting more now that we can do a lot more things together. We’ve been hiking, biking, paddle-boarding, and rock climbing this year. At home, I’ve enjoyed countless hours of football (soccer) with my youngest son. And biking, lego, and robotics with my eldest.
I worked hard on the bike this year. For the first time since my kids were born, I felt like I reversed the slow middle-aged decline in fitness levels. Remarkably, I’m finishing the year fitter than I began it. I haven’t been able to say that for a decade. And it feels good.
We did lots of traveling as a family this year, both locally and further afield.
Travel and adventure highlights from the year:
- A visit to Colby College in Maine, for my wife’s college reunion
- An incredible family trip to Wyoming, when we hiked in the Tetons and stayed on a cowboy ranch
- A personal trip to the UK to visit home and spend some quality time with my parents
- During this same trip, I also spent an amazing 3 days in Snowdonia climbing all the 3,000 ft peaks with my great friend Alistair
- A few overnight bike trips on the C&O canal (January, March, May, and October)
- Doing enough biking to finally have the necessary fitness to tackle some century rides again: 97 miles, 110 miles, and 142 mile.
- A longer 6-day bike tour on the C&O canal and GAP trails this fall
- Lots of climbs of my local mountains: Loudoun Heights and Maryland Heights
It’s said that your 30’s and 40’s are your busiest years. You’re raising young children and are in the peak years of your career.
I’m in my early 40’s and I can confirm this is true. 😂
My biggest challenge continues to be trying to balance everything. It feels like I can never give enough attention to each different part of my life. It’s like the spinning plates game. You dash from plate to plate giving each a spin. Enough attention (and momentum) to keep it spinning until you can return.
This year I had a small dip in revenue for the business. This is not a fun feeling after seeing consistent growth for the past few years. There were two main causes: 1) my energy was elsewhere at times this year, and 2) my Black Friday sale underperformed compared to my forecast.
So I’m looking to create fresh new courses in 2024 as well as grow my audience.
Looking Forward To 2024
2024 Work Goals
Each year, I seem to set fewer and fewer goals. I think I’ve come to realize that though I can predict what Q1 might look like, the rest of the year is something of a mystery. Therefore, I’ll set some early-year goals and keep the rest of the year open!
Having said that, there are two annual goals that are somewhat predictable and in my control, that I will shoot for:
- Send 50 editions of my weekly Google Sheets newsletter
- Hit 80k newsletter subscribers
Next, those near-term goals for Q1, including a new course or two:
- I’m considering a Google Sheets Design Course teaching you how to make your Sheets look professional
- I want to create a Data Visualization course for Google Sheets
- Implementing a better onboarding system for new subscribers
- SEO push to claw back some lost traffic
- Explore new growth strategies in 2024: I think this will be a big push on YouTube! ▶️
Beyond that, I’m sure that AI will continue to play a big role in my work. In fact, I’m certain that I’ll be creating lots more Sheets + AI tutorials in 2024.
Other 2024 Goals
- Have another healthy year and get fitter.
- A C&O canal bike tour with my boys.
- A 200 mile double century ride.
- 25 nights camping, with at least 1 night per calendar month.
- An adventure trip with my brother.
- A trip home to see family in the UK.
- Weekly brainstorming hike with my wife.
- Read 15 books.
Thank you for your support on this journey. A big thank you for taking my courses and reading the weekly newsletters and articles. I hope they’ve been helpful to you!
Best wishes to you all for 2024! I’m excited to see what 2024 brings. See you around.
- 2022 In Review And A Look Forward To 2023
- 2021 In Review And A Look Forward To 2022
- 2020 In Review And A Look Forward To 2021
- 2019 In Review And A Look Forward To 2020
- 2018 In Review And A Look Forward To 2019
- 2017 In Review And A Look Forward To 2018
- 2016 In Review And A Look Forward To 2017
- 2015 In Review And A Look Forward To 2016