Every month I review how I did during my last month and plan out my focus for the next month. This is a follow-up to my previous post, August / September 2017 Personal Goals & Review. Since I do these goal posts monthly, you might want to read them all by checking out the betterment category.
Review: September 2017
For September, I set the following goal:
By October 1, 2017, I will have an understanding of which services offer me the most value worth paying for with the intention of growing an audience.
This focus was all about trying things out for Minafi and seeing what works and what doesn’t. In early September, I launched An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence, with the goal of spending a good deal of September getting the word out about it. I tried out a bunch and found some things that worked and some that didn’t fit with my goals.
Here’s a rundown of these services, why I tried them and what I got out of each.
Drip – Continue
Drip is an email service with a bunch of features and widgets. The email forms in the interactive guide, the end of each post, the sidebar and elsewhere are all feeding into Drip. The most fun part has been launching The Minimal Investor Course – a 10-week email course on how to invest. Hundreds of people subscribed to it in the last month and it’s been very motivating to continue it.The setup for this
The way this is set up within Drip is really neat too. I’ve created a campaign there that emails people 1 week apart. That gives me a week to write each email, which is also a good motivator.
Crowdfire – Cancel
Crowdfire is a service for growing a social media audience. I ended up trying a number of the features – like having Crowdfire recommend articles and post them. These ended up not being any articles that I would want to read. In the end, the recommendations ended up not fitting what I’m trying to share, so I decided to cancel it. There are other features included, but none that I found enough value to continue using.
Jooicer – Cancel
Jooicer is a service that will automatically follow and unfollow people on Twitter, as well as message people you follow. The downside to this is following a bunch of people I’ve never heard of, not building real relationships and getting loads of automatic messages from people. The end of all of this was that I felt like I was spamming people with invites, and so I decided to discontinue it. It was fun to see my Twitter follower numbers increase for a month though.
Canva – Later
Eventually, I want to create pretty Pinterest images for every post. That’s going to be a lot of work! For the images for the interactive guide and the minimal investor course used Canva, which I actually really enjoyed. I plan to renew a subscription later on when I give Pinterest a series chance. The way this image looks formatted on Twitter ended up being exactly what I was going for. They allow saving some assets (like the colors and the logo) to make it easy to reuse elements.
[New post, 6 weeks in the making!] An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence – Minafi@minafiblog on Twitter, September 4, 2017
Zapier – Later
Zapier is a great tool for automating repetitive tasks. I use it to post the latest posts to Twitter and Facebook and to funnel comments and email subscribers to a private Slack channel for me to keep track of. I liked this activity feed, but it wasn’t worth the current cost. Once I have more uses for Zapier I’d like to try it again.
Social Warfare Plugin – Continue
At the end of each post, and on the side, there’s a handy shareability. After a lot of trial and error, I went with the Social Warfare Plugin for this. There ended up being an error in the Minafi theme that prevented the plugin from working (my bad!). When I realized what it was and added 1 line (a missing call to
wp_footer()), a bunch of theme oddities suddenly fixed themselves. The share buttons on this post (on the left side or at the bottom) are both using this.
September Goals Review
- <> Try out services or tactics to promote traffic for:
- + Twitter was successful in spreading the word, and a TON of people have shared the interactive post on Facebook.
- – Haven’t gotten into Pinterest yet
- + Launch my interactive post!
- Launched on Labor day!
- + Continue posting 3x a week.
- Aimed for 12 posts, and made it to 9.
- Also wrote 4, 2,500 emails so calling this a success
- <> Try creating a time each day I write new posts for
- I did not get into any kind of schedule for September.
- My best attempt was writing for 30 minutes in the morning before doing anything.
- Hurricane hit, lost internet, house emergencies – not great for scheduling.
- + Do a better job at integrating email sign up
- This worked out! Up to almost 400 subscribers.
- + Send out bi-weekly emails
- Using RSS -> Email using Drip, I’m now sending out weekly and monthly newsletters.
- Also emails for The Minimal Investor Course
- + Continue going to the gym 3x a week.
- Aside from some days I missed due to contractors coming by, I hit this goal.
September was an odd month. There were a lot of highs – seeing the interactive guide linked to Rockstar Finance, Physician on FIRE, and be number 1 for a day on /r/financialindependence. People I have followed for years Tweeted about it like The Mad Fientist, and PT Money. So many others Tweeted about it too, which gave me a chance to read their content as well – which has been a ton of fun.
Some other outreach has been a lot of fun for Minafi too — including recording an episode with Pete for Do You Even Blog podcast which I’ve really enjoyed listening to. I can’t wait for it to come out! (despite being nervous that I’ll come off as a know-it-all or not personable).
My 2nd most shared post for the month (after the interactive guide) was my article on How I Would (and Do) Invest $1 Million. This post was part of the How to Invest a Million contest. I really like the idea behind the post, and voting is currently open. If you’re curious about some other strategies (or want to vote for which one you’d recommend/prefer), go check them out.
My outreach strategy for the Interactive Guide didn’t work though. I initially planned to reach out to a bunch of people after the launch and let them know about it — but due to a large amount of publicity, I felt like I might be reaching out to a bunch of people who were already exposed to it? This might be more effective, but it caused me to pause outreach and return it later on. I still want to see what I can do about this though.
Less fun was Hurricane Irma hitting Orlando. We prepared for the storm with plenty of food, water, and all the hurricane essentials. We have a propane stove to cook on and more than enough beer to get through a few days. When the storm hit, we experienced tropical-storm-force winds for a few hours followed by some hurricane-force winds. We were one of the lucky 25% of Floridians who did not lose power! We did lose internet, but not until 2 am when the storm was at its highest.
We had minor storm damage, but nothing too costly. A pipe in our front yard cracked and was leaking for a week before we realized it. A root had grown next to the pipe, and the winds from the storm must have nudged it just enough to crack it. Luckily, we still had water in the house, but we were losing water in the yard at about a gallon a minute.
Crooked Can Brewery In Winter Garden
After a few days of being stuck at home with a curfew in effect, we decided to get out and have some beers at our favorite local brewery – Crooked Can Brewery in Winter Garden. They were jumping with people enjoying the beer and getting a dose of air conditioning. Bonus points for their beer flight (get it?).
Orlando City Soccer
At my work, we had a company event where we went to an Orlando City Soccer Game which was a lot of fun! The new stadium they built here in Orlando is great – it feels cozy yet spacious. This is the view when you walk in. We also had a bunch of Publix Subs, which people from the southeast will appreciate.
So what am I focusing on for October?
By November 1, 2017, I will have finished the content of the Minimal Investor Course and the Interactive Guide PDF.
The big focus for October is back to long-lasting content. Content that can be useful for months or years (hopefully!) after the fact. While many blog posts serve as reminders, ideas or course corrections; the hope would be that these would serve as references that could come in handy.
The Interactive Guide PDF is a downloadable version of the content in the guide that people can sign up for and download for their own reference later. The technical side of this will be a little tricky, but don’t think it’ll be too bad. As a developer, the hardest part will be making it look pretty. 22 people have signed up for this so far, but I’m hoping that number continues to grow as more people read over the Interactive Guide and I incorporate it deeper into the post.
- Write all 10 emails of the Minimal Investor Course (4 down, 6 to go)
- Create Interactive Guide PDF for users
- Start a quarterly “My Minafi Investments” series
- Detailing what I’m actually investing in
- How value has changed in the last quarter
- Give transparency to the fact that I’m practicing what I preach.
- Meet lots of people at FinCon!
- Try to spend 30 minutes each morning on content
This last one is the habit I’m going to try focusing on this month. I tried this some last month and those days felt extremely productive. I’m much more of a night owl, but I’ve found I like programming at night and writing in the morning. The hope here is to create that time in the morning for this where I would be working on the Minimal Investor Course, the Minafi Investments series and general day to day posts. I know this won’t happen on all days, but I’d like to do at least two-thirds of the days in October.
I have a few personal goals as well:
- Spend less money
- In August & September, I spent more than I expected. I still hit a ~35% savings rate, but not the 50%+ I was hoping for.
- Switch from weekly goal setting to daily goal setting
- Instead of setting everything on Sundays, set tasks the night before
- Focus on clearing out more things from our house
- What we’re not using from the garage
- Upstairs items in closets
- Things from our attic
I spent a lot of July 2017 working on decluttering, but these areas were not hit. The hope would be to declutter these areas to be able to enjoy them more.
What are your goals for the month? How did you do on your goals from September? If you’re going to FinCon and want to grab a coffee, let me know!