Posted by: draknor | January 10, 2012

Looking Forward

It’s been almost two weeks since I wrote my 2011 Reflections post. I had intended for this 2012 Looking Forward post to immediately follow, but sometimes things don’t work out according to plan.  And that’s okay.

I can feel that 2012 is going to be a big year… mostly because I have no idea what’s going to happen!

You see, in previous years I at least had some expectation for the year; when I was working my corporate IT job, I was assuming I would keep working that job, and making my salary, and the “unknowns” were more along the lines of what trips I might take, what new toys I might buy, etc.  This year will be completely different — I’m coming into the year with basically no current income generation, but lots of ideas.  I have a few months left before the savings runs out, so I’ve got the pressure on to figure out how to, first, maintain my lifestyle (eg not move into a cardboard box or become wholly dependent on my girlfriend). And then second, how to continue having amazing life experiences.  I’ve taken some amazing trips over the last few years, and there’s a couple more on my horizon, but I need to figure out how to make those happen.  And of course, fund the purchases of more toys — there’s always another camera, lens, or accessory that I’ve got my eye on!  And those iPads look pretty fun, too…

So, with that in mind, I want to spend a few moments here thinking & writing about what I want out of 2012. In a way, I want to write my 2012 Reflection post here in January, so I have some ideas about what I want to focus on for this year.

Professionally

Let’s start professionally, since that’s biggest on my mind right now.  I feel as if my days of single-source income are over (at least for now).  There are three avenues I want to focus on in 2012 — photography, internet marketing, and writing.  In photography, my goal for this year is to keep exploring & experimenting to find my style & my passion.  I’ve started with real estate photography and intend to keep pursuing that as I develop my fledgling business (David Phoenix Photography), but I have also been finding I enjoy concert / event photography. I have a feeling that I’m going to really enjoy photographing people who are creating — musicians, artists, performers, etc.  So that’s a key area I want to explore.

I want to keep my expectations somewhat realistic, so for now my goal for photography is to pay for itself and “toys”.  I think I’ve put about $2000 into my business so far, not including the camera & lenses themselves, so top priority here is to recoup my current (& future) investments, and generate enough profit to fund exciting new toys (such as this Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens! *drool*)  Hopefully I’ll do even better, but that’s my initial goal.  My biggest obstacle / challenge is figuring out how to market myself.  I’ve started making connections with a few real estate agents but I need to reach out to even more, and then also figure out how to market to FSBO sellers (such as via FSBOMadison.com).

The second area of income I want to explore is internet marketing (IM).  I’ve started accumulating lots and lots of content (how-to’s, tips, video tutorials, conference recordings, etc).  There’s a lot of research here for me to do yet, but my goal is to have this income fund my monthly living expenses ($2-4k/mo).  My biggest obstacle here is finding time to consume all of the content I’ve gathered so far, and then how to not get distracted by “new shiny” stuff and stay focused on whatever IM path I’m on.

And finally there’s writing — I have lots of ideas for writing.  To be honest, I don’t know that I expect to make a lot of money from writing — maybe it’ll help fill in gaps if the other two areas aren’t meeting my expectations, or give me a little bit to put into savings.  But more importantly, I just want to capture some of my ideas to share with others, or relate my experiences in the hopes that I can help someone else.  For example, one draft book that I’ve started is about starting on your journey to fitness success.  As I noted in my 2011 Reflections, I averaged 3x/week workouts over the entire year — that’s worth something, because I barely did anything in 2010.  So I found some way to make it work for me, and maybe I can write about that and help someone else find a way that will work for them; something that the rest of the $25 billion fitness industry hasn’t been able to do.  And if I can make a little money, and build a little credibility along the way, great!

Oh, and Karatedo Doshinkan training — but I’ll cover that more in fitness below.

Some of the bigger, general challenges here are figuring out how to balance my energy and time across these different ventures, and making sure that I’m making progress and not just spinning my wheels.  Spinning is incredibly easy to do — focusing on things that aren’t critical for the stage that I’m at.  For example, I’ve got a simple website up for my photography business.  It’s nothing special, I have ideas on how to make it better, nicer, more useful.  But the point is, the website is up and at my very early stage of the game (1 paying client so far), a polished website is not my highest priority.  Getting paying clients 2 & 3 is (or should be!).  If I can get a couple more paying clients, then I’ll have a better idea of what its important to them, what appeals to them, and how to market to them.  Or if my service is even worth continuing.  And getting these first couple of paying clients is much more likely to happen through personal interaction, which means getting out & meeting people.  Not as fun as website design, to a core introvert like myself.  But critical!

Health & Fitness

A lot of major changes in 2011 here that I want to keep on rolling in 2012.  I’m starting to stall again in my workouts this week, so a big thing for me this year will be recognizing when things aren’t working, and then taking appropriate steps to change.  Maybe I’m reaching the point where I need to change out my workout program for awhile and give my body different challenges.  Or maybe I need to really start focusing on my diet to ensure I’m giving my body everything it needs to recover & build up stronger.  Or maybe both!  The key here is figuring out what’s working, recognizing when its stops, and making changes to overall keep active & fit.

I’ve got a couple of strength goals in mind — short term (before end of January?) I’d like to squat 275 lbs (5×5) and bench 175 lbs (5×5).  Longer-term, I want to squat working sets > 300 lbs and discover what my new PR is.  I’d like to deadlift a new PR of > 400 lbs.

As for diet, I want to enjoy what I eat and eat what I need to recover & build.  When summer rolls around, maybe focusing a bit more on dietary changes so I can see my abs 🙂  Also, eating “clean” when reasonable — eg grass-fed beef when possible, organic free range chicken, etc.  Not fanatical about it, just keep making smart choices, when I have choices available.  And balancing my values with price — so maybe the $20/lb grass-fed flank steak isn’t practical, but $6/lb grass-fed ground beef is.

And finally, restarting regular training in Karatedo Doshinkan by training classes.  While this might generate some income for me, the far greater value is in regular training for me and in developing a Doshinkan community here in Madison.  I want to have a core group of trainees by the time I attend the Doshinkan special training this fall in Hawaii (and maybe 1-2 of them will come as well??)

Relationships

The other really big area of focus for me is in relationships.  I started to branch out & meet lots of new people last year, and I want to continue & expand upon that in 2012.  Meeting lots of cool new people, developing relationships with them, and maintaining those friendships through social gatherings, events, and shared interests.  It’s been incredibly valuable so far on a variety of levels — practicing social skills, generating ideas, making potential business connections, and just generally being active & sharing life’s ups & downs with others.  Definitely want more of that!

On a deeper relationship level, discovering more about myself and my relationship to my girlfriend — she’s such a great partner and challenges me in all the ways that I need challenging!  Specifically, learning how to ask for what I need, learning how to express what I’m feeling in non-accusatory ways (eg not blaming her), and learning how to depend on her & stay emotionally connected even when I just want to crawl inside & hide.  I’ll probably get lots of chances to practice these things!

And, as a testament to how great our relationship is despite these outstanding challenges, let’s just say there’s an engagement on the horizon 🙂

Wrap Up

Whew — a lot of things in motion this year!  And since life doesn’t always go according to plan, who knows what will end up happening? I didn’t start 2011 by thinking I was going to quit my job, but three months later that idea didn’t seem so crazy & six months later I did it.  Should be a wild ride this year and I’m excited to see how it all shakes out!

Advertisements

Categories