2018 Recap and 2019 roadmap

2018 is coming to a close and 2019 is just starting. This year has been a wild ride with a new job, a side-project launched, a lot of growth, and some bad habits formed.

In the past, I was resistant to making new years resolutions or making significant changes in my life during this time of year. This year, however, I felt different. Instead of starting the new year and changing everything cold turkey, I started making changes in December. I relaunched my website, became more active on Twitter, launched Markerters.chat, and continue to focus on IronMic.

Before I go into my new years resolutions and talk about the roadmap for 2019, I wanted to recap the year.

New Job 👩‍💻

In January, I started a new job with a marketing and development agency in San Antonio. This job move was a big change for me. It was not only a career change but also one where the I've had the opportunity to grow, network, and learn more in a year then decades of schooling could do. When I started, I joined to write content, create graphics, and focus on social media. Now I am leading up the marketing team and crafting strategies for dozens of small businesses and startups.

It's been an exciting year working through the different strategies for each business. Since we don't work with one category of business, I get to approach marketing for companies in hundreds of different ways. Some companies focus on paid advertising with Google while others concentrate on SEO and content marketing.

Side Projects 👩‍🎨

Since I was in middle school, I have been doing side projects. The longest running side project was Digital Bounds, and this year I finally sunset the project. Because of the project I was able to attend CES, SXSW, and dozens of other technology related events and conferences. The decision to sunset Digital Bounds wasn't easy; I had worked on the technology blog for 6 or 7 years. It wasn't a wild success, but it brought a lot of joy working on it every week. I plan on writing further on why I sunset Digital Bounds in the new year. The jest of the story revolves around the new job and having a shift in focus from being the technology blogger to wanting to build my brand.

After I left Digital Bounds behind, I had a bit of downtime. I started to brainstorm business ideas with my two friends and business partners, Kyle McDonald and Sunny Singh. From the brainstorming, we knew we wanted to have something that would generate money out of the gate and help us build out our brands at the same time. We came to the idea of an automated and straightforward podcast website generator. At the time we were all launching podcasts, and we found a problem - if you hosted with Anchor or SoundCloud, you didn't have a website. You had to use Squarespace or WordPress to create a site. From this, IronMic was formed, and we launched an MVP in late summer. The service isn't a wild success but it's grown at a steady pace, and we have paying customers covering most of the monthly costs.

Then recently, I launched Marketers.Chat as a private Slack workspace. It's meant for anyone who does marketing, whether you work for a startup or you're a developer and have to market your new product you just launched on Product Hunt. I created the workspace because most of the "marketers" I meet are all the used car salesman types. They follow thousands of people on Twitter and use growth hacking in unethical ways. It's grown slowly but with the right people. I hope to grow it more of the year and keep the same level of marketers on the Slack.

Growth 📈

I have grown leaps and bounds through the year, learning more about SEO, PPC, and marketing then I would anywhere else. I have connected with some talented players within the San Antonio market. These connections have helped with IronMic and getting more traction within the podcasting community.

The biggest opportunity of the year was going to San Fransisco and learning from Google directly about Google AdWords. The trip helped me understand Google AdWords more, and discover all the new features that Google rolled out with the Google Ads update.

Hands down, 2018 has been the year of growth.

2019 Roadmap 🛣

2019 is a lot about growing what I am doing. I don't want to launch any new projects or get started on anything big. I want to focus time on growing what I have. In the past, I would launch sometime and get bored and move on. In the case of Digital Bounds, I got hyper focused on the blog and didn't grow other projects with more potential.

This year, I did some new years resolutions in a Twitter thread.

To expand on them a little:

#1 Creating more content 🖋

I want to grow my blog and my brand. I want to help others learn about marketing and find creative ways to monetize the blog. I am going to create more content on the site, much like what you see being created through December.

I am also going to work on the SEO for the site. While I have had the domain for close to a decade, I haven't used the site for much. The domain lacks any valuable backlinks, but I am going to work on the off-page SEO throughout the year.

The goal is to launch paid tutorials, sell ebooks, and sell consulting services from the blog. This is a 2020 or 2021 goal, but it's still on my radar.

I am also making a goal to start sharing photos that I take to Unsplash for others to use!

High level ways to make more content

  • Tweet more/interact with others on Twitter
  • Shoot my with my camera to submit to Unsplash
  • Write blog articles on challenges I face through the year
  • Keep a daily log of what I am working on

#2 Healthier diet 🍇

I am changing my ways, eating less junk and trying to be healthier. I found junk food not only causes, but it can cause me to be unfocused and tired. If I eat healthier, I often feel more focused and had more energy to work versus how I felt when I ate junk. It seems like a simple concept, but when junk food was easier to find/make then healthy food, the choice wasn't always clear.

I have started eating heather, cutting out some breads, sugar, and process foods. I plan on cutting back more and more, instead of switching over cold turkey.

#3 Family time 👨‍👩‍👧

Family is important. I have spent tons of time with the family but I want to devote more time to spending time with the family. We have Christmas and the new year together and we will make a collective effort to spend more quality time together throughout the year.

My goal is to discount once a week whether that's Saturday or Sunday. This will help me focus on my family and not on Twitter or other social media platforms.

#4 Grow side projects  📈

Growing side projects is easier said than done. Between IronMic and Marketers.Chat I plan on creating content weekly, focusing on my podcast and IronMic's podcast, and work on the SEO for these projects.

We plan on rolling out a blog on IronMic instead of solely focusing on Medium. We will still crosspost to Medium, but we want to have content on our side to convert people to paying customers.

My Goals for the year 🥅

I have a few goals for the year but overall here they are:

  1. Create 52 blogs whether that's for myself or IronMic
  2. Record  25 episodes for my podcast and 12 episodes for IronMic'd  
  3. Eat out less (No more McDonald's and other fast food joints)
  4. Disconnect on the weekend for a few hours to spend more time with the family

Wrap-Up

Thank you for reading my wrap-up on 2018 and my roadmap for 2019. I have typically taken the new year as a holiday that shouldn't be around, but 2018 has brought a lot of positive change. I hope to make a lot more positive change through 2019.

I will write quarterly updates on the changes and progress I have made. You can tweet me @leonhitchens or find me on other social media channels as leonhitchens.