2014 Year in Review

This is the first time I’ve done an annual review (publicly). I like to keep my cards close to the chest 😉

After reading the annual reviews of Patrick Mckenzie (patio11), Nathan Barry, Dan Norris, Brennan Dunn, and some others, I thought what the heck. Might as well give it a shot. These are well worth reading if you are looking to get into any kind of online business.

What Went Well

  • Travel: I have spent a bit over 4 months on the road including the US, Canada, Australia, China, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey, London, and a few countries in the Mediterranean, meeting lots of great people along the way. I love traveling, exploring different countries, and trying to live life like a local wherever I go. And don’t get me started on food…
  • Automation: The main reason why I can step away from my business is because I spent a good deal of time automating my business, most of which happened by the start of 2014. A lot of my sales and marketing activities are automated by Infusionsoft. Everything else, I try to delegate as much as possible.
  • Conferences: I attended some conferences and events around the world but my favourite is probably the World Domination Summit (really not as bad as it sounds) in Portland, Oregon.
  • Consulting: I’ve spent a lot more time over the past 2 years attending professional conferences and growing my network. This has paid off well, especially in 2014 with a 6-figure income. I have mostly focused on marketing consulting which has turned into IT consulting projects in some instances.
    Going forward though, I will start reducing engagements. I think that consulting is great for many reasons but when your own products business reaches a certain stage, it becomes more valuable to cut back on consulting (there are exceptions though, e.g. when consulting offers additional benefits for your own business).
  • Ecommerce: My ecommerce business really exploded in 2014 and I’ve dedicated a much larger portion of my resources than I had originally planned to keep fuelling that growth. People sometimes ask about digital vs physical products. In my experience, ecommerce has lower profit margins, requires capital to be tied up in inventory for some time, and you need to deal with fulfilment and logistics. On the plus side, conversions on selling physical products are higher, and you can obtain a higher rate of growth on average. You don’t need a well crafted sales letter-just a few images, and you can still convert very well.

What Didn’t Go Well

  • Fitness: The drawback of travelling frequently is that it’s more difficult to stick to your daily rituals. This has certainly been the case for me as I have not been keeping my routine whilst on the road and I definitely haven’t worked out as much as I should have (aiming for at least 30-60 min daily).
  • Writing: My initial plan for 2014 was to write a book and to blog more often. I had a strong start but it kind of fell by the wayside. My hope for 2015 is
  • Software: Despite having created many WP plugins and software for clients, I didn’t launch any SaaS projects for myself. Instead I have half-completed projects lying around.
2 Comments
  • Susan
    July 24, 2015

    Just tripped across you when reviewing Lead Pages which I have purchased- have dug around and read a few of your reviews….love your writing style and your clear understanding of tech stuff and where it intersects with the market and you understand consumers!
    Will read more and would be interested in finding out about your consultancies- are you still Australia based or did you just come here for uni?

    • Rui Zhi
      July 25, 2015

      Thanks, Susan!

      I spent almost all of my life in Sydney but only visit Australian occasionally now

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