Monthly Goal Update: April 2017


I’ve committed to tracking the progress of my goals on a monthly basis. These posts have been inconsistent in previous years, so I plan on recording 12 of these for 2017.

I record these videos to keep myself accountable and show others how I’ve gone from A to B. I hope in time, I can help to inspire people to become accountable for their goals too.

Dr. Gail Matthews conducted a study that found you’re 39.5% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. She also found that if you send progress reports to others – friends, mentors, coaches, accountability partners etc. you were 76.7% more likely to achieve those goals.

Writing them down significantly weighs the odds of success in your favour, but providing regular updates almost doubles the chances of success. This is a big reason behind me making these posts/videos.

I have 9 Goals for 2017. They’re spread across different areas of my life. Each month I record an update video charting my progress. Let’s get into it!

 

2017 Goals

1. I will easily create and launch an online course by 31st December 2017

This is my priority goal for 2017. If I achieved this and failed the rest, I would be very happy with my year overall, such is the requirement of the task.

April has been a solid month for me on this goal. I recorded and uploaded all the videos for Module 1. Horray! 1 down, 8 to go.

Regular readers will know that I planned on granting my coach access to the course once I had completed Module 1 for testing/feedback.

To provide some context, my coach is not backward in coming forward. He routinely calls me out for things I say or do, if he feels there’s value to be had. That’s why I enjoy working with him!

As this is the first time I’ve created a course, complied a presentation on Self Publishing and recorded audio over the top – I had the thought that he might go to town on suggestions on how to improve.

So…. what did he think? (Nervous gulp)

He loved it!

It’s hard to put into words how amazing it felt to hear that. My coach will always find ways in which I can improve – and he has once again – but his suggestions are very easy to implement.

Once I complete Module 2, I’ll be providing access to the content for my Founding Members to test for a reduced lifetime rate. This is all getting very real now!

Suggested Improvements

  • I used stats / percentages to back up certain points. He said I could do a better job of sourcing them. I thought I had done this, but clearly not enough. I can add them in the slides and the lesson pages to emphasize this a little more.
  • He thought the content in Lesson 7 – ‘Navigating the Kindle Store’ – could be too much for people to take on this early. I used this lesson as a primer for Module 2, which involves a lot of use in the Kindle Store. I believe that Module 2 will help support lesson 7’s presence in that position. I’ll see what the Founders members think once I release Module 2 to them.
  • He suggested creating a flow chart / diagram at the very start showing what’s included in the course. Specifically, what will he (as the user) have to go through? EG. First, we select a book topic, then we hire a writer (or write ourselves), then we hire a graphic designer etc. I create a run through of the upcoming lessons in lesson 1, but I don’t go into the detail he suggested. I think an initial FAQ section on my course marketing will cover this. Also, I intend on doing a course tour for the homepage once I’ve finished the course. At this stage, I’ll walk the user through the process in more detail.
  • He would like to know in advance what costs will be associated with each stage of the process and for the whole process. Another great point! I planned on putting this info up front in a FAQ section of my marketing before people buy it so they know what to expect in advance. I HAVE to put this concern and the previous one at the start somewhere and I’m open to suggestions which will ideally not involve re-recording the first video. I’ll await further feedback on this.

He Liked

  • My delivery – He thought my tone, language and pace were strong. He also liked how clear I made each point. I had complete paranoia about this. I think it’s a case of hating the sound of your own voice, as Lou has also said that it’s really good. I just don’t see it!
  • Slides – He said they were slick professional and engaging. I also like the slides, especially now that I’ve timed the points.
  • Support / Care – One of the sweetest bits of feedback he gave was that I seemed like I cared. I had a nurturing tone on some of the complicated points, and he felt reassured that I cared enough to help get the user through. Out of all the feedback, this resonated with me most of all. I know that I don’t have to do this course, and I’m not doing it for the money. Having someone tell me that I cared was very reassuring for me.
  • Lesson 5 ‘Overcoming Fear & Doubt’ – At the start of this slide, I say that this is probably the most important lesson, in the most important Module (Mindset). He said, “it was excellent, and gave me a lot of food for thought”. I thought I might have waffled a bit too much on this, so I was delighted to hear that. I feel strongly about that topic, and what’s funny is I’m putting my theory into practice by the very nature of working through this course.
  • He spoke to his wife about possibly trying publishing himself. He said he was “Blown away” with what I did and can’t wait to review the rest of it because he might try it himself. O.M.F. G.

I’ve made a start on Module 2, with a renewed spring in my step.

I most also admit that since Lou came back (last Sunday), I haven’t lifted a finger towards the course. I’ve had a full week off, which wasn’t the initial plan but turned out that way.

 

2. I will easily set up a charitable fund, promote it on my Blog, and donate 10% of my course profits to ‘Building Schools For Africa’ by 31st December 2017.

My goal here is to work towards building a new school for kids in Cameroon with the Charity ‘Building Schools For Africa’. I’ll need £20,000 to fund the entire project.

I plan on raising the funds myself by putting a percentage of my earnings towards it each month, and by giving 10% of my course profits towards the fund.

I set up the fund in a separate saving account, and I promoted the project on my old Blogger site with a post and an additional page dedicated to it.

However, since moving over to WordPress, I’ve somehow lost the page, and I’ll need to write it up once again. Here’s the progress so far:

Jan = £1,069 (5.3%)
Feb = £1,304 (6.5%)
Mar = £1,438 (7.2%)
Apr = £1,788 (8.9%)

In 2017, my contributions have averaged £240 per month. At this rate, I’ll get to the total in 76 months or 6.3 years! So, I have some work to do. I don’t have a deadline, but I’d like to hit it in half of that ideally. The end of 2020 would be a good marker.

Obviously, my course release will help things along, so I just need to get back to work and release the damn thing.

 

3. My Investment portfolio will easily pay me £6,000 (£500 per month) in income in 2017.

This goal is one of the most exciting for me to review each month. Since moving to Cambridge, Lou and I are very fortunate to live mortgage free. This has had a significant impact on our monthly expenses. Although we’re unclear how much it costs to live down here precisely (as it’s only been 6 months), we think it’s going to be roughly the same as Herefordshire minus the mortgage (£365 less for both Lou and me).

Our basic living costs – Food, transport, house bills, insurance are somewhere in the region of £400 to £450 per month. I spend more money than that each month, but all of that can be stripped back, tweaked or changed as they’re less important to my overall lifestyle.

My first objective is to prove that I can cover all of my living costs with passive investments only in 2017. This includes Dividend and Peer to Peer lending income only. I’ve over-estimated that amount to be £500 per month to make sure I cover everything.

I don’t use any of the income. I reinvest all dividends, P2P income, and capital gain profit right back into more buying more assets.

My longer term goal is to cover my entire lifestyle expenses with dividends and P2P income, which is currently around the £1,250 per month mark. Anyone that’s followed me for a long time will appreciate that this total has shot up since my early years of £832 a month expenses back in Herefordshire (with a mortgage). The increase is due to my increased wage in publishing books and the subsequently increased amount I receive in guilt free spending (10% of earnings).

April was the lowest month of the year and my forecast suggests that it’ll stay that way for the rest of 2017. Let’s take a closer look:

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55 (TOTAL: £1,258.09 / AVE: £419.36)
Apr = £311.93 (TOTAL: £1,570.02 / AVE: £392.51)

Dividends were down at £99.88, which is actually lower than 2016, and my P2P lending made up the rest. The average has dropped further away from my £500 a month goal, but that should change over the following months. I’m set to receive my highest amount of dividends next month, and when combined with P2P, I’ve forecast it being over £800 in total which is very exciting.

 

Here’s my dividend history to date, including the 2017 forecast as it stands:

Dividends 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
January £0.00 £2.66 £83.47 £33.89 £166.26
February £0.00 £3.78 £56.22 £56.50 £256.25
March £0.00 £5.64 £172.36 £78.54 £142.41
April £0.00 £12.16 £101.80 £123.52 £99.88
May £1.18 £55.29 £339.89 £353.68 £555.95
June £0.00 £114.08 £224.94 £313.23 £668.21
July £0.00 £56.62 £128.91 £432.32 £643.81
August £0.00 £40.79 £120.31 £128.04 £236.66
September £3.13 £124.19 £264.48 £211.74 £332.01
October £0.00 £19.92 £194.21 £351.90 £592.37
November £0.00 £83.76 £87.34 £109.33 £239.96
December £5.57 £71.44 £114.55 £74.33 £77.53
Total £9.88 £590.33 £1,888.48 £2,267.02 £4,011.30
Average £0.90 £49.19 £157.37 £188.92 £334.28

 

Someone asked me why I get so excited about dividends when I’m earning over £5,000 per month publishing books. I know that the publishing is part time, but the dividends are totally work-free once invested. And not just that…. most of my investments will increase that payment next year and the year after that resulting in YOY increases. I don’t have to declare the ISA income (dividends), and I don’t have to pay any tax on it. AND finally, each month that goes by is another month compound interest can work its magic, which ultimately leads to unprecedented returns in years to come.

From my dividend investing alone, I’m in line to become an ISA millionaire before my 50th birthday. OMG right!

 

4. I will easily create and launch my new Blog with 500 email subscribers by 31st December 2017.

As you’re reading this you’ll be aware that I FINALLY transferred my site from Blogger onto WordPress. You’ll also be aware that it still needs some work!

One evening I was bored and decided to make the switch. I promised myself that if I made the switch, I wouldn’t work too hard on ‘how it looked’ for now, as that would detract my efforts from the course which is my priority.

I kinda wish I hadn’t made the switch at this moment, but it needed to be done at some stage. FFB40 is currently some Frank-in-Blog or someone that’s had way too much plastic surgery and it just looks worse.

I’ve been disappointed with Optimize Press’s Blog format overall. I use OP for my author websites, and it’s a crucial theme to any new publishers journey, but its blog is very average.

At some point….. I’ll need to review the theme I use on here to make it look a little more normal, without having to learn code or dick around with the formatting.

Subscribers – I’ll focus on that once the Blog theme and layout have been done.

Can you help me?

If you have any advice on simple user-friendly WordPress theme’s, please let me know. I’m not after anything special. I tried Thesis Theme and ditched them after a few weeks as it was way over my head and needed a programmer to set it all up.

Any simple, cool looking, low-cost suggestions?

5. I will easily read or listen to 16 books by 31st December 2017.

In an attempt to invest more into myself, I’ve been diving into books over the last 12 months. I set myself the goal of reading 1.3 books a month and I’ve rinsed through this goal already. The full list is below and I’ve bolded the ones I read in April:

1. ‘Screw it, let’s do it’ by Richard Branson
2. ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini
3. ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ by Atul Gawande
4. ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday
5. ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg
6. ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tsu
7. ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl
8. ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman’ by Richard Feynman
9. ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse
10. ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius
11. ‘Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life’ by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn
12. ‘The Truth’ by Neil Strauss
13. ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday
14. ‘#AskGaryVee’ by Gar Vaynerchuk
15. ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown
16. ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ by Brene Brown
17. ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone
18. ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss

‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday – AMAZON LINK – Excellent read! I got a huge amount of value from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’, and an almost equal amount from this one. The Obstacle is the Way helps you not only traverse through life’s many obstacles but how to turn them into your advantage. Are you a human being? If so, you have to read it!

If TOITW focusses on external obstacles, the ‘Ego is the Enemy’ focusses on the internal self, and what a powerful combination of material that is. It’s a simple read, and it’s jam packed with life changing information. Mainly on not allowing your ego to take over and make decisions for you. Excellent stuff!

‘#AskGaryVee’ by Gar VaynerchukAMAZON LINK – A must read for any budding entrepreneur. Gary Vee is like the Michael Jordan of entrepreneurs. He lives, sleeps, and breaths entrepreneurship. His immigrant upbringing, coupled with his parent’s guidance have helped create a force of nature. This book is about summarising the questions he receives from budding entrepreneurs on his weekly youtube show #ASKGARYVEE. He’s put together all the key questions and grouped them into appropriate categories.

Gary has a rare blend of ridiculous honesty and caring support – Which I love and try to live by myself! He doesn’t mince his words and he speaks from the heart. If you feel you need a kick up the ass to start publishing, matched betting or anything else as a side hustle I encourage you to check it out, as well as his youtube channel. His work ethic is unbelievable and probably unhealthy, but most of us could all do a little extra to achieve what we want in life.

‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeownAMAZON LINK – Following Minimalism, I listened to this book to get a more business-like approach to the whole cutting down thing. What a great book. It didn’t disappoint. Greg has helped me realise that instead of asking “what could I add to my to-do list?”, try asking “what can I eliminate?” instead.

The existentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital from the trivial many. Eliminate any activity that isn’t in line with what you intend to achieve.

I’ve always been someone that tries to do everything and achieves very little. This book has helped me understand my wasted effort. By focussing on essentialism, I’m able to to make more meaningful progress in my life. I can design my life rather than having it designed for me (by others).

This is a must read for anyone that – like me – tries to take on too much in their life and feels like they’re not achieving enough.

‘The Power of Vulnerability’ by Brene BrownAMAZON LINK – Ok, Ok…. I know the title makes you want to vomit but just hear me out. I’ve heard Brene speak, and she’s a wonderful public speaker. She’s not a million miles away from a stand-up comic. Her honesty, openness to being vulnerable is so courageous and admirable I had to check it out.

Lou and I are re-listening to this book together and we’re both getting a lot from it.

Brene believes that we’re all living in a culture of scarcity – we’re never enough. We’re not fit enough, rich enough, funny enough, educated etc…..

The scarcity mindset live in shame. We shame each other and ourselves. We’re deep rooted in comparison and our culture is fractured by disengagement.

In this book, Brene guides you through her Guideposts to Wholeheartedness – Being Happy and fulfilled. I admit the title and that last sentence are sickening, but give it a shot. She even makes fun of it herself.

One of the key ways to experience happiness and fulfillment (my words) is by embracing vulnerability in our lives, which is very hard to do for people living in a scarcity culture deep-rooted in shame.

A book which most humans should open themselves up to, but one in which most will naturally be turned off by.

‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone AMAZON LINK – Huge disappointment for me. Aside from the fact that he can speak the English language properly, his ‘over-the-top’ just work harder philosophy turned me off.

He undoubtedly works extremely hard. He knows how to sell. He’s very successful. But his style is just not for me.

He admits to not being a good manager or coach. No shit! I would hate to work for him. He admits to doing everything possible to bend the rules in his favour and to annihilate the competition. I can’t stand this macho bullshit.

There’s still value to be taken from this guy, and if you have a similar aversion to this approach to mine, I recommend the paperback!

His final chapter on how he made / is making a TV program was very interesting. Grant just does it. He takes massive action every day and GETS WHAT HE WANTS. I admire that. He acts first and thinks later, and I think there’s a lot of value in that. I think Gary Vee shit’s on this guy for public speaking and providing value for entrepreneurs. My reason for this is – He cares!

Gary’s priority is offering value for the end user. Always giving more than he takes. That’s his core philosophy. Grant’s focus is on Grant and his family.

‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss – This has been my toilet read for the past 4 months, and it’s probably the best toilet read I’ve ever had. Tim has interviewed hundreds of highly successful people on his podcast in all walks of life and this book is a summary of his learnings. He’s split the book into Health, Wealth and Wise, as he believes this is the core to living a fulfilled life.

If you don’t enjoy reading books, this is perfect. You can read a couple of pages a day without losing track. You can read it in any order. The information is amazing. It will enhance your life for sure. It’s also a great read for exposing you to people and philosophies you might not have previously considered. The material is great but it is light, which is great for a non-reader. If you love reading, like me, you’ll be left with hundreds of new reading opportunities as he asks most of them for recommendations and you might want to read their own pieces.

6. Lou and I will easily have at least one ‘date night’ a month for the whole of 2017. (12 ‘date nights’ in total)

Lou and I have committed to getting out of the house at least once a month to let someone else cook for us so we can sit back and enjoy each others company without distraction. Poor Lou!

We’ve both enjoyed this goal so far, and despite her being away for just over 3 weeks in April, we squeezed in the date night just before she left. Here are the restaurants/pubs we’ve attended in the Cambridge area.

1. Jan – The Golden Ball
2. Feb – MillWorks
3. Mar – The Crown and Punchbowl
4. Apr – St Johns Chop House

St John’s Chop House was superb! We both went for the rack of beef, and it was quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. It literally fell off the bone and was outstanding. We’ll definitely go back and recommend it to anyone in the area.

 

7. I will easily attend 3 x different clubs/classes in Cambridge area by 31st March 2017.

I set this goal, with a limited timeframe to make me get out there and meet people. I have limited friends in the area, and I hope by putting myself out there I’ll meet like-minded people.

I’ve now finished the beginner’s Improv course in Cambridge, which was brilliant. I want to continue practicing this art. I’ll be signing up to the Improver’s course, which is due in Sept. In the meantime, I wanted to sign up to another 2 x clubs for the summer.

I signed up to ‘Run Your Own Business’ and  ‘Graphic Design for Beginners’ for summer.

However, I have since cancelled the Graphic Design course. In the last 7 days, I’ve had some issues with my eyes. In fact, I was experiencing a pressure build up behind my right eye whenever I wore my glasses, looked at my laptop or tv. This prevented me from working for 4 days as well as being concerned about what the hell was going on. It had been just over 2 years since my last eye test so I made an immediate appointment.

My eyes got the all clear, but I was told to rest them and get a new prescription. I’ve since returned to wearing my old glasses and working on my laptop and I’m taking it steady until my new lenses arrive.

Back on point, I decided to withdraw from the graphics course because of my high exposure to screens. I think this is the right decision for my health, despite feeling disappointed. I do enjoy graphic design and I think this course is right up my alley. One for future terms I think.

In the meantime the Run Your Own Business course is a great way to meet like-minded people, learn more about optimising my business, and in turn hopefully helping other people (like you) run your own.

I took a lot from the first of 6 sessions and I’ll report back on my experience next month.

8. I will easily record 52 new Youtube videos and have 2,000 Youtube subscribers by 31st December 2017.

Following on from Greg McKeown, I’ve eliminated the regular work I was doing with Youtube to focus more on my Course. This is likely to result in me failing this goal, but I’m prepared for that sacrifice to release my course.

In April I released 2 videos and gained 18 subscribers, bringing my totals to 12 videos in 4 months and 343 subscribers.

 

9. I will easily complete 26 x bi-weekly reviews to track my progress in 2017.

During these sessions, I focus on my previous week’s performance to my goals. I consider what I’ve learned, celebrate my successes and set up the following week’s activities. The idea of this goal is to keep myself accountable on a weekly basis and to ensure over the course of 7 days, I’m moving in the right direction.

 

You deserve a medal if you read all of that!

How was April for you?

Please share your wins, learning outcomes and general thoughts below. Here’s to a Marvellous May!

 

4 Comments

  • TwentytoWealthy

    Reply Reply 12th May 2017

    Really impressed by the passive dividend income, its very inspiring! ..

    I look forward to seeing your progress achieving the goals you’ve set yourself.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 13th May 2017

      Thank you TwentytoWealthy. It’s taken my 4 years to build it up to where it is now. It’s very satisfying to see how it’s progressed over the years, and I get excited thinking about where it’ll be in the next 4 years.

      Thanks for stopping by and best of luck to you too!

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 12th May 2017

    Hi Huw

    Nice update and what great feedback already regarding your online course.

    Great numbers all round, both charity and dividend income. Like you, I get excited about my dividends because it’s true passive income, requiring no effort aside from the initial investment. I’ve had one month so far where my dividends exceeded my matched betting profits as it wasn’t a good month for MB, but still, I was well chuffed!

    Keep up the great work!

    PS – now give me my medal, I read it all!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 13th May 2017

      Hey Weenie,

      Thank you!

      Yes, truth be told, I found myself getting a little emotional about it. I’ve put so much effort into it, it was just a relief to hear it was pants.

      That’s so cool Weenie. Congrat’s!

      I love the Divi’s. They’re my favourite source of income. Where else can you get a YOY pay rise for doing nothing? I still get a kick adding them up each month. If anything, I get more excited now than I did before because the amounts are that much more substantial. Seeing YOY growth is very motivating for me.

      How about you? You’re divi’s are starting to add up nicely!

      I feel satisfied with where I’ve been able to get to in the last 4 years, and it excites me to think where I’m going to take them to in the next 4+ years.

      The medals in the post! 🙂

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