Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
The last five years I've encountered the biggest growth I've ever had in my personal and business life.
Having clearly defined goals and revisiting those goals on a routine basis is 100% of the catalyst behind that growth.
I've enjoyed writing these articles and hope that you can take something out of these and apply to your own life and goals.
Sadly, that's why most people fail.
The other aspect is most people don't take time to reflect all the good things they have achieved.
We get so caught up in achieving the next “big thing” we forget about all the small wins along the way.
Let’s first take a look at what my goals were in 2015. We'll then identify my Positive Focus for last year. Lastly, I'll share my 1 year goals for 2016 plus my goals for the first quarter to get this year started right.
Let's get started…
1. Grow my assets under management by $30 million
Technically, this wasn’t a full one year goal. I did this post at the beginning of the year, but didn't hire my new advisor, Andrew, until March of 2015. The goal then was to grow $30 million by March of 2016, so I still have roughly 90 days to make that happen.
At this point, I doubt that I'll get that unless a serious influx of new assets come in. I’ll probably be closer to the $15 million to $20 million mark, which is by far the most I’ve brought in in a long time, which is great. This has a lot to do with hiring Andrew and being much more intentional with our marketing and perfecting our back end processes.
We held a few local seminars and launched our first two webinars. The webinars are really taking off, so we’re putting more emphasis on those in 2016.
I’ll be honest – that goal was pretty outrageous based on my growth in previous years. When I first established the goal it was to hit $15 million.
For fun I doubled it.
Sometimes you have to dream big, right? 🙂
I’m probably not going to get it – but I’m fairly close about within 60% of my original goal.
I’m very happy with the progress even though I didn’t get my initial goal. But hey, I may never had made the additional $15-$20 million mark if I hadn't raised the bar to $30 million.
2. Grow my online revenue by 150%
I’m still tallying the numbers, but it looks like I’m going to be roughly right around 145% on this one. I'm really happy about this one. It's a little bit below where my initial goal was but a lot closer than my asset goal!
There are a few different ways that I make money online. Primarily, it's through my blogs, but what really proved to be the difference-maker was I pre-launched my first course.
I’m currently working on completing the material now (I’ll share more about that in my one year goals).
3. Take five vacations
For those who have been following me for a while, you probably know that two years ago my wife and I embarked on our first RV trip. It was a two-week RV trip and I had a blast. The kids had a blast, too. And the wife – maybe she had a blast too – even though RVs aren’t her thing.
The agreement was that if we did an RV trip that year that she would get her beach vacation the year after, which would have happened in 2015. At the beginning of 2015 Mandy and I went to Jamaica without the kids.
It was awesome!
We then went to Orlando for spring break, with the whole family. We also did a couples-only trip to Mexico, adding a another beach vacation. Mandy and I also went back to Jamaica, but to a different resort, and took our kids for yet another vacation.
Coming from where the most vacations that we typically took was one vacation, or maybe two if you count spring break – this was a fun goal to achieve and we can't wait to do it again.
4. Get and keep a six pack
This is the one I’m most disappointed about. I’m good at working out and do so very consistently. We have an elliptical in our home downstairs.
I’ve also done the 21 Day Fix with my wife – a few different times. I have some bumper plates in my garage, if I ever want to do some deadlifts. I do CrossFit. I’ve got a kettle bell. I’ve got a box for box jumps, and jump rope for double unders. I have all this stuff. I even joined a gym recently (end of November), just so that I have a place to work out when my garage was too cold.
Despite this, I’m basically in the exact same spot where I was a year ago. Not like I’m fat by any stretch, but right now I’m weighing about 208 pounds. I got below 200 for a little bit this summer, but have hovering around 202 pounds. For a few months I started lifting heavier and increased my calorie intake. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, or why I’ve gained a little bit of weight, but I definitely don’t have the six pack that I want.
I’ve been using MyFitness Pal and I just know that whenever I splurge, I splurge with the best of them. We’re planning another vacation – adults only, no kids – at the beginning of 2016, which is to say that right now I have about four weeks to slim down. I don’t know if I’ll get a six pack in that time frame, but I'm doing something about it. More on that in my 90 day goals.
Positive Focus – 2015 a Year in Review
Alright, so that’s some of the one year goals I had, and how they've turned out. Now I want to reflect on my Positive Focus – what were all the good things that happened last year. I think what's really important is to reflect back on the good things that occurred.
Here's a recap of the good:
1. Hiring Andrew
Andrew is the financial advisor who is currently working with me at Alliance Wealth Management. Bringing him on board was huge and a game-changer. I had another advisor who was with me for a little while, and it just didn’t quite work out. I thought I was in the process of grooming another intern, but it didn’t work out either.
Andrew kind of just fell in my lap. We had several lunch meetings, just to get to know each other, and it made me recognize that we are very similar. We both had really big ambitions, and both wanted to grow.
Bringing him on board has just been huge. It’s been huge for the business, and it’s been huge for me to be able to have somebody else who can help grow the practice. That is definitely one of the big plusses I had in 2015.
2. Refining our unique process
Prior to Andrew coming on board I had created the Financial Success Blueprint. This is a unique process for anyone who's interested in becoming a client of myself and Alliance Wealth Management.
When we first created it, like anything new, we had to really tweak the process constantly. Not so much on the front end, but more on the back end.
For example, how do we handle the flow of getting our potential new clients from step one to step two of the process. And and then from step three to step four? It's a six step process, and we needed to create a seamless flow from one step to the next.
There are a lot of things that happen in those steps to make sure it gets done and gets done in an efficient manner. The first couple of times we went through we definitely had a few bumps in the road!
But through time and constantly reviewing our procedures we've almost got the process where it runs seamless.
When a new prospect or client comes on board, we know who is going what and when each step is going to get done by who. It's a beautiful thing when it all comes together!
It probably will never be 100% perfect, but it has come so far that we’re probably at 80% to 90% where it needs to be. I’m a perfectionist so I just want it to be legit, which means we’re constantly reevaluating it.
I don’t actually have any hand in that process – everything gets done without me, which improves my efficiency and frees up my time to work on other parts of our business. That's a huge win and a positive focus.
3. Cutting down to 17-hour workweeks at the office
I've recognized I am so much more productive when I am not in the office. I often get sucked into meaningless tasks or hallway chatter which cuts into productivity.
Meanwhile, I’ve got three boys and a wife to spend time with on top of working out. I’m also the head coach of my oldest son’s third grade basketball team, and an assistant coach for my middle son's basketball team, too. Added together, I just don’t have a lot of extra time in the day.
I drop off my youngest at pre-K at 8:15, so sometimes I don’t get to the office until almost 9:00. And having to be someplace either after work or during the day, I'm very protective and cautious of that time. What I recognize is that on the days I’m in the office, I get distracted, or I’ll get stuck in a conversation that really isn’t all that productive.
It's okay to have those conversations here and there, but not everyday, and not when a five minute conversation turns into 20 minutes. It can prevent you from being productive and creative, and when I need to be in that place where I'm taking advantage of my unique abilities.
Recognizing that, I told my office manager, I don’t want to be in the office more than 16 hours per week. And when I am that time is going to be client meetings or strategy meetings with my team.
But if there is anything else as far as doing portfolio reviews or strategy sessions for clients or marketing for the firm or whatever that is, I’ve got to get away from the office. That’s means either me working at home, or at the local Barnes and Noble or a local coffee shop. To hold me accountable I'm having my office manager track my hours.
If you notice the bullet point on this section was a 17-hour work week, but my goal was 16 hours; as of last tracking, I’m at about 16.97 hours per week that I’m in the office.
I’m almost an hour above what my initial goal was, but being the fact that for a time – especially this summer, whenever Andrew first came on board and I was training him and we were doing seminars – I was putting in a lot more. There were nights I was there until 6pm or 7 p.m., which I haven’t done in a long time.
When you’ve been in the business for over 13 years like I have, typically most advisors I would assume don’t work past a certain hour. That's because you’ve built up your business, and you don’t have to work in the evenings. I found myself working late some nights, having to take care of both new and existing clients, plus training Andrew on where he needed to be to be able to manage things.
Now that I've put the time in I should be able to take a step back and reduce my time in the office. My goal is to cut down to less than 16 hours.
4. I’ve pre launched my first course
Launching a course is something I’ve been wanting to do for over five years, but I could never come up with the concept. The idea I finally decided on is based off one of the most common questionsI get asked, especially from other financial advisors, and that's how I’ve used online marketing to grow my practice and my brand.
I’ve been asked that question over and over again, so I decided to create a course Before I created it I wanted to know if anyone was interested. That meant that I had to email a list of 140 or 150 advisors and and presell it to them.
Basically, I said here’s the course – here’s what I’m going to do. If you’re interested, and you want to buy it now, you’re going to get a very, very steep discount, because the course isn’t done yet.
I’ve got to give props to my buddy Grant Baldwin, a good friend of mine whose also a speaker and online entrepreneur, and to Bryan Harris from Videofruit.com, both of whom were very helpful in this. Grant helped me decide on the topic and Bryan has wrote this really amazing article on how to launch a course.
When I pre-sold it, 28 advisors signed up at $497. Boo-yah!
Right now I'm in the process of creating the material, which was a very exciting thing for me. That’s something I’ve wanted to do and I finally did it.
5. I took five vacations this year
That was a huge positive focus, and I'm thankful to be able to do that. Thankful that number one, we have the money to do that, but also thankful that I had the willingness – and not just the idea – to do that. I’m around people who are successful, and a lot of them just keep doing more work, work, work, and they don’t take time to appreciate what’s really important.
Your job or business isn't it. It’s the people around you that love you.
That's why I make it a priority to spend time with family and my kids while I can before they get old enough and they don’t care about going on vacation with their family. I want to make sure I take advantage of that now.
6. Completed the GoRuck Challenge
This was something that literally kicked my butt. Each year Tom – a good buddy of mine – and I do one adventure race per year. In years past we’ve done the Urbanathalon, and the Tough Mudder. We had planned on doing the Spartan Race this year but scheduling just didn’t work out; we wanted to do the Spartan Race Trifecta which is doing the three races in the calendar year.
So when we figured we couldn’t do that we decided to do the Go Ruck Challenge, and I don’t know what I thought about the Go Ruck Challenge. Part of me thought it would be like the Tough Mudder, which was pretty easy. But Go Ruck was challenging and within 30 minutes of realizing that I was nowhere close, it beat me down. It was one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve put myself through, maybe in my entire life. I have never been that exhausted.
It was 12 hours long. We started at 9 p.m. on a Friday evening, and we went until 10:30 the next morning with a 30 pound rock and just a lot of crazy other things. You can read more about Go Ruck Challenge, but it really kicked my butt.
7. Seminar and first webinar in the books
It was the first seminar I’ve done in over eight years, and then we also had our first few webinars this year, which were a huge success. We plan to do a lot more of those in 2016. The webinar is something that I’ve been talking about doing for probably at least two years (my procrastination habit at work yet again!). But I finally got it done and it was good stuff.
Alright, that’s a look on the positive focus on some of the things that I’m excited about.
Some of the things that I often forget about, and this is something that we all need to do – we all should do – because we take all the good things and all the “little” things for granted. When is the last time that you reflected back on the last 90 days, or the last year, just to see what are some of the good things to have happened?.
If I’m ever stuck in a rut, this is just an easy exercise that we can all do to be grateful for all those things that we just forget about because once a good thing happens you’re kind of on to the next thing. It’s always good to reflect back and and reflect on those things and be grateful for them. It makes you appreciate it even a whole lot more.
Honorable mentions: Nominated in the inaugural class for a Saluki Emerging Award by my alma mater, taking the #1 spot for our regions Reader's Choice awards for Best Financial Advisor, paid to travel to New York to speak and meet the actor Chris O'Donnel, and a half-page interview in the USA Today.
More from GFC, Below
Now let's move on to my new goals for 2016, starting with…
90 Day Goals
Here's a look at my first quarter goals that I'm already working on.
1. Hold two webinars.
We are in the process of creating an alternatives to long care insurance, and also another one on mutual funds. The goal is to have one in January and another one in March, so that gives us a little bit of time to do both.
2. Take Another spouse only vacation.
We are not going the beginning of January this year. Instead, we’re going to try to do it between Mandy’s and my birthday most likely in the middle of February. We're shooting for at least a four or five night vacation to somewhere warm and, of course, without kids.
So bring the sunscreen and umbrella drinks!
3. Complete my course for the online marketing for financial advisors.
As of this writing, I'm almost halfway done. I’ve got to roll up my sleeves and make some big progress from now until then, but I’m pretty confident. I’ve got a pretty good system going now. It took me a little while to get it figured out, but it’s getting there.
I’m showing behind-the-scenes of how I’ve grown my blog and used that to grow new clients and new opportunities, the kind that come from having such a strong online presence. That's something very easy for me because I’ve done it, and in fact I’ve been really good at doing that, so I need to get that done in the first quarter of 2016.
4. Email funnel for Good Financial Cents.
Right now I have over 22,000 email subscribers, and everyone on it gets the exact same information that is fed out over a 12 month periods. I’ve setup an auto responder series which has worked great as trickle my content over time.
The problem is if you’re reading this you could be 20 years old, or you could be 55 years old. And depending on where you’re at in your financial life, you’re going to want to read different information that’s more applicable to where you are on your financial journey.
With my blog I have so much content that speaks to all different generations, all different points of life where people are at with their finances, I need to do a much better job of making sure that you get information that is more pertinent to you and so that’s what we want to focus on.
With my old email provider, segmenting was very difficult. Last year I switched to ConvertKit and that is all going to change.
We’re in the process of segmenting our lists so that if you are in or just out of college, you’re going to get more information that’s geared towards someone just starting off.
If you’re someone that is raising a family, you’re going to get information that is more geared towards that. And if you’re closer to retirement, or in retirement, we want to make sure the information you get is around those types of situations that are most helpful for you.
This is a task I've needed to do for a while and recognized that I need to hire somebody otherwise it was never going to get done. I’ve already hired Tony and we’ve mapped out our plan. We’ll be working on thus during the first couple of months of 2016 to get our list better segmented.
If you’re on the email list, be sure to look out for that. We’ll have to send you an email so you can select what’s going to be the best information for you, but once you do that, I think you’ll appreciate it because that way everything that you get is going to be more relevant to where you are at with your finances. I’m very excited about this!
5. Hire an executive assistant for my online business.
If you looked at my business structure right now, with my firm I have an advisor, Andrew; I have an office manager currently, Stephanie. But with my online business, I have at my last count 11 independent contractors that are all assisting with my a variety of tasks. This includes copy editors, social media managers, podcast editors, WordPress developers (coders), my email marketing, graphic designer and my affiliate managers.
This kind of blew me away, actually. I didn’t realize that my team had grown to that big. Since none of them are full time employees, it doesn't feel as if I have a big team but numbers don't lie.
The biggest problem with my team is I'm basically the main point of contact for my entire team. That means I have to make all executive decisions and I'm responsible to answer all emails. I get interview requests or revenue opportunities (I get a lot of both) that I don’t even mess with anymore, but they’re all coming to my inbox and I just want to get rid of that.
That needs to change.
I recognize it doesn’t have to be the one who answers all these questions; it could be for Andrew or it could be for someone else on my team.
I'm going to hire an executive assistant who will manage the email flow, getting certain tasks done, and be that “go-to person” I can count on.
As of right now, my social media manager is the one that I’m currently talking with who is going to assume this role. We still have the need to have a conversation, but that's something that I’m really excited about.
What really inspired me to do this was going through the interview process for Michael Hyatt's mastermind program The Inner Circle.
Michael Hyatt, if you don’t know, is a published author, a New York Times bestseller, a super online marketer, and online business guy. He also was the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing before they were bought out by Harper Collins
He is also a Christian and just a good guy and I recently applied to be a part of his mastermind group. There were five spots open which 140 people applied to and I was one of the five selected. #happydance
What really interested me about Michael was as I went through this interview process, before I even talked with him, I talked with his daughter who is chief operations officer. I also spoke with her executive assistant, but then before that even happened it was the assistant to his executive assistant that scheduled the meeting.
I was like, “Oh my goodness, to actually talk with Michael it was 1, 2, 3 people before I even got to him!”
When I looked at my own business – that’s how I have my firm set up, but with my online businesses I don’t.
It’s just me and I don’t have a good reason why it’s just me.
It's been an eye opening experience realizing that I need to bring somebody on board that’s going to be that person for me.
One of the first things I did was complete an Impact Filter. This a tool I got from Strategic Coach. It helps clearly identify what you are trying to accomplish on a particular project.
It also analyzes the importance of doing this, what is the success criteria, and what does this look like in the end? So if I bring on the executive assistant what do I hope that this person is going to do for me?
What are my expectations of this person and then the question of what’s the best case scenario if I do hire this person, as well as what is the worst case scenario if I don’t hire this person.
It took me about 30 to 45 minutes to complete this and then I shared it with her. My hope is that she can see exactly what I’m looking for and what my expectations are.
If you don’t take some time to really write that down and visually see it, you can be setting yourself up for disappointment. Because you haven’t clearly articulated yourself and exactly what it is you are trying to achieve.
This is important for new hires or for any big projects that I am doing. I always take some time to fill out an Impact Filter and this time was no different.
6. Get that dang six pack
As mentioned above, my biggest disappointment from last year was not getting my six pack. I came close near the beginning of the summer, but nowhere close to maintaining it.
I'm the type of person that needs motivation or a deadline to achieve something. To make sure I have some skin in the game, I decided to message my buddies, Noah Kagan and Steve Chou.
Noah is a health nut and loves to hold people accountable. Steve is busy entrepreneur with a family and achieved a six pack awhile ago. I thought they would be the perfect two to keep me honest.
Here's how it went down..
So yeah….I bet Noah $1,000 I can have a six pack my March 13th, 2016. If you're wondering why that date it's the first date of our kids spring break and we'll be heading to somewhere warm to show off my new abs.
In case you're wondering, when/if I do get my six pack, I don't win any money. I just get abs.
And Steve just gets to heckle me along the way and make fun pictures like this:
This is what good friends are all about. 🙂
That's it for my 90 days goals. Next I’m going to go through my one year goals.
One Year Goals
1. To have a spouse-only vacation
We don’t know where we're going yet, but I do know it’s going to have a beach and we’re going to have umbrella drinks and it’s just going to be Mandy and me! We've already contacted our travel agent so wheels are in motion. Can't wait!
2. Rose's RV Trip Part 2
Yup. This is the 1 year goal I'm most excited about.
Unfortunately, I don’t have this lined up yet. It's a bit more difficult to plan because our oldest son is on traveling baseball team and we didn't have to deal with this when we went on our first RV trip two years ago. Mandy has already agreed to it….kinda.
I don’t have it in writing yet, but she told me that she’s going to do it. So far, so good.
I think we’re going to do it a little bit different this year. Last time we left from Illinois and drove out to the Grand Canyon which was fun, but unfortunately from here to Colorado there really isn’t anything to see – sorry Kansas, sorry North Texas. That's not to say it was a waste of travel, but driving there and driving back was about three days of not seeing a lot so we’re going to do it a little bit different.
This time we are going to fly somewhere, don’t know where yet, and then pick up an RV so that we can travel. I’m thinking someplace like Yellowstone or Northern California.
I really haven’t looked on the map yet, but that way we can spend more time seeing cool stuff, and not seeing more of Kansas, I wouldn't lose any sleep.
Kansas, I still love you but once you’ve seen a green field you’ve kind of seen them all.
3. 16-hour workweeks in the office
I already mentioned this as being a positive focus of last year. I’m not quite at 16 hours so I want to make sure that I get that this year.
I absolutely don’t want to be above 16 hours a week in the office.
4. Complete the Spartan Race Trifecta this year
Every year my buddy Tom and I do a crazy adventure race. Last year it was the GoRuck. This year we're doing the Spartan Race. But not just one. We're going to conquer the Trifecta!
We’ve already signed up for a Super and a Sprint for June in Chicago. If you’re reading this and you have not registered yet, come join us!
I’m excited because I actually got Mandy to – actually I didn’t really get her, I signed her up! I signed up Mandy to do a Spartan Sprint, which will be on that Sunday.
After we complete these two races we still have have to find a Beast to finish and then the Trifecta will be complete. AROO!
5. Start a weekly video podcast
I miss doing videos. Unfortunately, videos just take a lot of time, especially if you don’t have a good team on hand to do the editing and set up the extra production. Mandy used to help me with that back in the day, but she quit. 🙂
I had to find somebody else, and I’ve struggled to find anyone local, though I do have a few things lined up.
This is more like a second quarter project but it will happen this year.
6. Launch another blog movement
I already have it in mind. I don’t want to share it here just yet, but for those not familiar, in the past I’ve done the Roth IRA movement, the Life Insurance Movement and then the Debt Movement.
The Debt Movement was the last movement I head up and that was about two or three years ago, so it’s been awhile.
I tried doing an Invest Now movement and it didn’t really quite work out the way I wanted it to. I understand now why, so I have another movement in mind. Stay tuned!
7. Have my course fully launched
Not only do I want to have it completed, but I want to have it launched to where it looks legit, and where I can charge a premium on it. We’ll be doing webinars to promote it as well as a big marketing campaign to get it out there. I think that’s going to be a big piece of my revenue for 2016, so I'm looking forward to this one too.
8. Hire a new executive assistant for my online businesses
The wheels are already in motion here, so I’m going to have this completed in the first quarter.
9. Build a school
This is something Mandy and I have wanted to do for awhile. I don’t know if it’s going to be Pencils of Promise or a new charitable foundation that we just learned about (through Michael).
The biggest holdup as been our adoption. We have been in the process of adopting for over three years now.
However, there’s still no indication as to when it’s going to happen. But when we get word of the adoption, it will cost a good chunk of money to get it taken care of.
We've been hesitant to do anything else big because of this. Once we get our savings replenished from the mastermind group I just joined, Mandy and I have agreed that we're going to build our first school. Hopefully the first of many more! 🙂
10. Total revenue surpasses 7 figures
This goal is the weirdest one for me to write. Coming a family that really didn't have much and a first job out of college paying me a whopping $18,500, I never in a million would have expected to reach this goal.
Last year my income was flat from the year before but a very interesting happened. My online revenue for the first time ever surpassed my financial planning revenue.
That's awesome for a couple of reasons:
- This has been a goal of mine for a few years.
- I think it will grow even more this year.
For this to happen I'm shooting for a 50% growth in revenue for my financial planning practice, 25% growth in revenue for my blogs, plus a goal of $250k of revenue for my course.
For my practice, Andrew and I have committed to conducting a webinar at least once every month. We're also going implement our first automated webinar so leads can trickle in without us recording a live one.
On the blog sides, I firmly believe that after we better segment our list that revenue should increase with affiliate offers and other opportunities. This should also be a good lead source for the practice, too.
Finally, the course. I don't know the exact price point for my course, but since 28 people agreed to pre-buy the course for $497, I suspect that somewhere between $1297-$1,997 is doable. I'll also be hosting live webinars to promote this and having my new executive assistant help manage the new customers.
7 figures here I come!
2016 goals – Bring it on
Alright, so there's a peak in what Jeff Rose has in store for 2016.
One other thing I do want to add is how I'll be tracking them as the year progresses. This is a software program that Michael Hyatt introduced me to. It's called Goals on Track and it's an app but can also be accessed on your desktop.
You list what your goals are, if there are certain steps to complete those goals, and what those steps are.
After that, it shows your progress along the way. Here's a screenshot from the desktop view:
If we don’t constantly remind ourselves of what our goals are, it's easy to forget them. Put them in a place where you can see them everyday, and this app is something I’m testing out to make that happen.
I always write them down anyway, but having something on my phone at all times allows me to see what those goals are, and to remind me why they're important.
It’s also important to reflect back on the positive things that have happened as a result of your goals, because it's easy to forget about those things, and start beating ourselves up when we don’t hit goals. For example, I looked back at my assets under management goal and while I didn’t get the 30 million, but I still grew more than I ever had before and it’s exciting to see that.
Even though I didn’t get the goal, I still grew, and that’s the most important thing.
As long as you’re still growing and improving yourself then take time to appreciate that. Take note, and give yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes it’s really hard to do that for ourselves so that’s what doing the Positive Focus can do – provide that pat on the back that we sometimes desperately need.
Here's to you crushing your goals for 2016! I'd love to hear what you’re working on, so feel free to contact me via Twitter or shoot me an email.
When's the last time you wrote down your goals? More importantly, when's the last time you've revisited them?
Free Download: Want the same worksheet I used to write down my goals each quarter? Grab my Goal Achiever Worksheet and put your goals into hyper drive. Download the free worksheet HERE.