I wrote this post in 2014 and updated it in 2022… so you can see my goals and progress.
Sometimes it’s hard to be creative, when the only motivation is the passion and inspiration. Our creative brain may even resist hard deadlines or big numbers or the idea that our work should be shared or sold. At least in the beginning. But after nearly a decade as a starving artist I found out what most successful people discover: that art doesn’t matter unless it’s seen and appreciated.
When I started this blog (a decade ago) I already had a little bit of a platform but was relatively new at stuff like digital products, online courses or affiliate income (I’m still a total novice but after multiple six-figures, I’m learning).
Here’s what younger me has to say: I’ll add my updates in italics below.
I like to give round numbers to my goals, so recently I’ve been thinking of my future in terms of the following checkpoints:
1. 100,000 followers
And by that I mean email signups. About 7% of my list actually takes action when I have something interesting for them. Part of that is my fault and I’m getting better at it. I need better offers. I give away a lot of free stuff, so maybe free isn’t as enticing as $200 off or something.
But 100,000 followers would mean about 7,000 people might take action, which is a damn fine number of people to launch just about anything.
Update: I’ve grown my email lists to well over 100K but have to prune 1/4th every few months. I’m not doing the *best* at engagement because I often disappear for months to work on creative projects. And my list is about 25% opens and maybe 3% clicks, so for a 60K list, I *might* on rare occasions get about 2000 clicks, though most of the time it’s closer to 500. Still, not terrible, so I’ll consider this goal met. 10K very active subscribers who buy everything I make is a better goal.
2. $100,000 a year (in passive income)
I’ve gotten close to this figure in the past when I was busting my ass working, but recently I’ve been building more passive assets. I plan to write a lot of books and build a lot of tools, services, courses and websites so that I can make $10,000 a month in passive income, which will free me up completely to do much more important things with my time, help more people, support and help fund other projects and noble causes, and live in beautiful places.
Update: I’ve had the goal of 10K a month for *years* and I’ve come close or crossed it a few times, but not without actively promoting something. I was doing pretty well at around 5K/month passive for a few years, then my blog traffic went down and my income was cut in 2/3rds… which made it hard to focus on writing fantasy, so recently I’ve been focused on SEO and blogging again. But – things are going very well.
3. 100,000 words published (fiction)
100,000 words isn’t really a lot; actually I’ve published around 350,000 already; but I haven’t put out any fiction, which is a major goal and a major challenge for me. I’m going to overcome that by putting out over 100,000 words this year, ideally 10,000 words each for 10 new fiction series I have mapped out. I want to finish the first 10,000 words and put them out into the world. That will be a leap over a tall hurdle for me.
Update: well I do have well over a million words of fiction, but I still haven’t completed any of the 10 series I started, which is starting to get very annoying. My books are decent but I have trouble with accountability; still I’m making slow progress and things should get exciting when I finally finish some audiobookseries and boxsets (I’ve invested a TON in my fiction platform and writing – not to mention the opportunity cost of taking a few years off – and it hasn’t been profitable even though I’ve made over 100K in book sales.
4. 100,000 monthly visitors (website traffic)
I just added this one actually – in 2022 – and I’m kind of excited about it. I’ve had a steady 30~50K views a month but fewer actual real visitors (most people visit multiple pages). And I have some other sites so collectively, I get about 100K a month already.
But to be honest, I’ve been doing everything very poorly in terms of quality content and SEO. Recently I’ve been buying expired domains and rebranding websites, and experimenting with JarvisAI and SEOsurfer, which I recommend if you’re into that kind of thing (blogging, traffic, online courses, etc).
As a very quick summary:
– research which pages are already ranking in google
– fix them up to make them long, excellent, informative and keyword-rich
– get relevant backlinks from high authority sites.
I haven’t *begun* to do this yet but I have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to come together… I’ve spent $10K this month buying websites and tools, but I also made a quick $9K on a spontaneous course launch (for a course I mapped out six years ago and never finished).
I’ve had LOTS of offers that don’t convert very well, and I think *so far/fingers crossed* that this new course is actually working… so once I boost traffic, rewrite my newsletters, fix my landing pages, etc, things should be going pretty well.
That said, I talked about all the cool stuff I was going to do to make $500 a day
and $10k a month and I still think most of those ideas – there’s a list of 22 things to boost passive income – are pretty smart.
I’m a smart guy, I just have more enthusiasm than I have diligence. In 2022 I’m not feeling particularly optimistic… but I also know from experience that’s sometimes just the right position to be in (amateurs do it for the love and passion, but don’t have the experience or knowledge to get it done; when you gain mastery, some of the joy is less satisfying but results can be obtained with much less effort).
5. #1 for “how to write a book”
This is another recent goal for me. I talk about a lot of things on this site: publishing, book design, author marketing, branding… and maybe previously I was mostly a cover designer or a book editor (two things I’m not doing anymore). But more recently, after writing 25+ books, I’m pretty sure my writing resources are amazing. People even tell me so.
I’m not as polished or professional as the famous people. But my stuff works – better, I think, than most of the other Google results and adspam that pops up for “how to write a book.” Most of my resources are free, I have hundreds of hours of video content, chapter outlines, plotting templates, and very advanced tips and tricks for writing high quality fiction (or at the very least, finishing a book that doesn’t suck).
Also I’m kind of vain. So I’d like to be the number 1 result. You know, for bragging rights.
Why am I telling you all this?
Making it public keeps me on task and reminds me that other people are watching and waiting to see if I can pull it off. It’s throwing down a public gauntlet to myself. It’s making it real.
If you’d like to join me (anytime!) post your own goals in the comments. Make them big and scary. Maybe I can even help you get there.
Interesting read – I’ve decided to go for 1 million words published by the end of 2020! It’s a nice round number and I wonder just what I’ll have reached after another six years. I’ve self-published ~24,000 words of fiction this year so some way to go!
Then again last year’s NaNoWriMo produced over 65,000 words – must finish the edit before this year’s epic!