I changed my goals for 2014, going with 3 goals that keep us accountable both on a personal and business level. Now that we are halfway through the year, it’s time to reflect on our progress and project out the rest of the year.
As always, I am leaving out steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs and contributing to 401(k)s) because they would have simply been checkboxes. I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. It’s not impressive to make a long list of achievable goals and when you accomplish 18 out of 20, to claim that 90% were completed when those last 2 might have been the most important.
1. Grow My Blog Carnival Submission Service To Over $500/Month
This has been growing a little, with a few people dropping out and a few new people coming on. However, I definitely haven’t put in effort to recruit new users, for a few reasons: I have been lazy and haven’t made it a priority, and I don’t want to step on the toes of friends and other bloggers who have similar services. It does seem like a few carnivals have stopped in the past few months, and for some, it’s been harder to find hosts. If I see things go back to normal and bloggers are more willing to host, I will renew my search for new users.
2. Create At Least Two New Streams Of Income That Bring In $100 Per Month.
At the beginning of the year, I said I had an idea for one of these income streams, and in March, I achieved that mark. With a friend, we buy some items in bulk and resell them individually for more on eBay. It worked very well, but due to circumstances outside of our control, we had to shut the operation down (we still have some more product to sell, so maybe 1-2 more months of this and then it will be done). It was a great run while it lasted and netted me more than $1,200 (or $100/month for a whole year), so I’m going to consider that a success. It certainly wasn’t a failure, or if it was, I hope all my ventures “fail” as spectacularly as this one did.
I do have another idea that would max out at $150/month that I may detail in a future post. It involves very little work and has a low barrier to entry (and anyone can do), so once I do a little testing, I’ll be able to give a step-by-step guide for everyone.
3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels
In the 2nd quarter, our discretionary spending was 21% higher than the first quarter, and a whopping 55% increase over our second quarter of 2013. This was caused by a whopping $1,200 international round-trip flight I booked for a friend’s wedding in October. It’s a lot of money, but it will be a lot of fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. For the year, we’ve spent 22% more than last year at this time, which comes down to less than 10% when that one single transaction was excluded. Maybe 5% was a stretch, especially considering that Lauren and I would like to take a big vacation after she graduates from graduate school in the fall. That won’t be cheap either, and we won’t let this goal get in the way of having a great time.
As a reminder, our new car is not included in this calculation (we decided to pay it off over 5 years instead of paying in cash). Our typical grocery bill, insurance, charity, tuition and student loan payments, rent, and utilities won’t count toward this goal, but everything else does. We want to see if we can keep our discretionary spending in check, because that’s all we can really control.
I’m not terribly excited that we spent more this year than last, and I don’t think our spending is out of control. I expect the third quarter to be kind to us, hopefully we can bring that 22% into the teens by the next checkup.
Rating Our Progress So Far
I’m definitely encouraged this quarter by the business progress, having a few extra streams of income, even if they’re temporary, definitely takes the sting out of spending a bit more. We have some room for improvement, so our work is definitely not done. Good thing we have half a year left!
How are you doing on your goals so far? Where are you succeeding?
Daniel, as one of the “drop-outs” from your carnival submission service, I just want to say that it’s a great service and it’s reasonably priced, thanks for making it available! I wish I were a more consistent blogger so that I could continue to take advantage of it.
I like your goal of additional “small” income streams too. I’m trying to do the same in the areas of web design and IT consulting. Good luck to you!
Thanks for the positive feedback!
I think the small goals make it realistic, and if just one or two can reasonably scale, it can soon become a pretty significant source of income!
Nice job on trying to get some side hustles going. And you did well with them. I have noticed the blogging community is a lot more anti-carnivals now that there is the change of being dinged for them. Honestly, I never did carnivals, so I don’t know what I’m missing :)
I’ve never hosted a carnival before but would be open to hosting one, if you need another blogger.
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