I talk a lot about the importance of having goals. Many other bloggers do the same.
Books like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have dedicated an entire chapter on the subject. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.
I didn’t always understand why. One day, I finally figured it out. You can’t keep your head down forever and expect to arrive safely.
Sometimes, you need to fly high above and survey the land. Only then, you can successfully plan your route.
Much of what I’m going to write about here came from inspiration from other personal finance bloggers. Their transparency has served as great motivational material for me.
Their income reports fascinate me. I specifically like how everyone lists their goals and keeps track of them throughout the year. When they share their efforts, I become energized and want to do more.
That’s what I hope to do here. I hope to thank the other bloggers who have driven me to this point. On the other hand, if you’re new to this world, I hope you find motivation.
These goals can be achieved by anyone through hard work. Staying persistent is key. Don’t give up. You might find motivation in places where you least expect.
When I decided to start writing, I had one goal in mind: Stick with it.
Yes, that’s right. Two months ago, my only goal was to write and write for many months.
When perusing other blogs, I noticed some reached an end point. Their writers had stopped and left the scene. I don’t want to be another victim of the grind.
If you’re an experienced blogger and you’re reading this, I want you to virtually slap me if you see me stop. Trust me, I’ll hold myself accountable and take responsibility. However, sometimes you can’t make it anywhere without a small nudge.
While I have many goals for this website in 2017, I don’t think you should start any list without first making it personal. My personal goals come first.
This aligns closely with my principles. I can’t let work, hobbies, or side projects get in the way of my family and my future.
Personal Goals for 2017
- Stick to the budgeting habit we built in 2016
- Continue our meal planning practice we started in 2016
- Save 25% of our income (with a stretch goal of 40%)
- Read 1 book per month (my reading list)
- Hike twice a month
- Golf, but less than I did in 2016
- Stick to my future millionaire principles
My wife and I got married in Las Vegas in 2015. (To save money, if you can believe that). Our wedding was so much cheaper than the typical wedding. If you don’t want to spend $10,000 on a wedding or only want a small gathering, check out Las Vegas.
Even though we married in 2015, we still haven’t officially taken a honeymoon. We’re big snowboarders, so we’re taking a trip to Colorado this month. We paid for most of the trip in 2016, so we don’t need to dedicate much income to it in 2017.
We all have financial goals, but it’s also important to keep your relationships strong. My wife and I will be able to spend some quality time away from our usual daily activities.
After we knock out our first goal, it’s on to the next one.
2. Stick to the budgeting habit we built in 2016
In 2016, we started using YNAB. We love it.
YNAB has inspired us to budget outside of the software too. I’ve started keeping detailed spreadsheets to plan the entire year. As this is something most millionaires do, we know we’re following in great footsteps.
While we aren’t generally limited by our income now, strengthening this budgeting habit will give us power when we have to deal with financial setbacks in the future.
3. Continue our meal planning practice we started in 2016
My wife and I formed a great habit in 2016. It’s my favorite because it involved food – which we all love, right?!
We started meal planning. We plan everything.
It’s pretty simple. For the 7 days in a week, you make a table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For breakfast, I typically stick to the basics: cereal and milk, and sometimes a bagel, toast, or bacon. This makes it easy to shop and it starts to become a routine. We don’t have to come up with other ideas which can lead to impulse shopping and overspending.
For lunch, we stick to lunch meat, bread, apples and peanut butter, hummus and pretzels, and sometimes nuts. This meal has become somewhat of a routine as well and it makes shopping much easier.
Planning dinners is the most complicated and time consuming. Generally, we stick to a list of meals we’ve built up over our time together. Sticking to a routine helps with a few things.
Setting a routine with meal planning makes it easier to budget accurately. You begin to know the common prices of food items. In addition, it’s easy to become healthier since you eat the same variety of foods. If you count calories, you’re able to memorize serving sizes and calorie counts simply by repetition.
These benefits are why meal planning is my favorite goal of the year. If you don’t meal plan already, I encourage you to try.
4. Save 25% of our income (with a stretch goal of 40%)
In the past couple of years, we’ve had a few major expenses: buying a home, building a fence for our dogs, getting married, and student loans.
We’re also investing in my wife’s salon business.
However, we’re focused on an annual budget in 2017. Saving 25% of our income should easily be possible in 2017 if we stick to our budget.
Once we reach 25%, we’ll be striving to hit 40%.
We’re doing this in a number of ways. We’ve setup automatic contributions to our HSA. These will be pulled from my paycheck every two weeks.
We’ll be setting up a Roth IRA for my wife. Also we’ll be maximizing our contributions to both Roth IRAs for the year.
All of these contributions will be pulled automatically. With the money that’s left, we’ll be budgeting for our monthly expenses.
We haven’t done a very good job of paying ourselves first in the past. This will be solved in 2017 through the use of automation.
5. Read 1 book per month (my reading list)
Toward the end of 2016, I made my reading list for 2017.
I think it’s filled with a lot of great books. I’ve already ordered 3 of them from Thriftbooks. If you like physical copies of books and have a desire to build your home library, check them out.
Like I mention in my future millionaire reading list, I’ve always loved to read. However, I have never successfully turned it into a habit. That will change in 2017.
The first step is keeping books around the house that I love to read. Three books are on their way already.
6. Hike twice a month
My wife and I have always loved hiking. Even though we haven’t made it a habit, we love it when we make time for it.
We’ve hiked in Muir Woods in California and various places around the Midwest. I hope we’re able to explore some new places this year.
Since we know this is something we like, we want to do more of it in 2017. We plan to start with twice a month and go from there.
Hiking can be a cheap hobby. To start, we know we’ll need some decent hiking shoes. We’ll be looking for some good deals and sales to make sure we don’t get hurt out there.
As well as being a fun hobby, hiking will help with fitness. I already golf and my wife and I both snowboard in the winters, but hiking will add yet another way to stay active.
Like the other goals I’ve listed, hiking aligns with my principles.
7. Golf, but less than I did in 2016
I had a membership to a local golf course in 2016. It wasn’t cheap, but I took advantage of it any chance I got. I played golf a lot.
I improved a lot as well which was one of my goals.
Golf can be done on the cheap if you’re careful and look around. I may end up getting a membership at a course which I deem more affordable given my goals.
On the other hand, if you have the money I highly encourage getting a membership at a private golf club. If you love golf, you won’t regret it.
8. Stick to my future millionaire principles
I spent hours putting together my future millionaire principles. Each one of the 20 principles was well-thought and communicated.
The list of principles will help guide me for the rest of my life. They’ll help me achieve goals I’ve set. I’ll reference them constantly and refer back to them when I need to refocus.
I spent so much time on the principles because I wanted them to be a goal for 2017.
If you haven’t read them, go read my future millionaire principles now. I think they’re a great list for anyone aspiring to be a millionaire some day. And if you have any additions you think should be there, let me know.
Website Goals for 2017
- Reach $1,000 per month in revenue (with a stretch goal of $3,000)
- Guest post twice per month
- Continue my diary habit of 2016
- 50,000 page views per month (with a stretch goal of 150,000)
- Form 5 strong relationships with other bloggers
- Write 6 posts per month
- Improve my organic search traffic
- Help 3 people start blogging
1. Reach $1,000 per month in revenue (with a stretch goal of $3,000)
I’ve been reading a lot of income reports and year in review posts from other personal finance bloggers. If you haven’t ready any, I encourage you to check out this income report roundup.
After doing so, I believe it’s perfectly reasonable to reach $1,000 per month in 2017. I’m not sure if my stretch goal of $3,000 is possible, but I will be working hard to get there too.
The other goals I’ve listed will help contribute to this goal.
2. Guest post twice per month
Everyone says you should guest post, but it’s something I have yet to do.
I’m working on a couple of guest posts now, but I’m setting a goal of two per month. To achieve this goal, I need to build relationships with other websites and really try to add lots of value.
A lot of people suffer from impostor syndrome, myself included. I think that’s why I’m reluctant to push forward on guest blogging. That’s something I’ll be working on in 2017.
I also want to invite other guest posters to feel comfortable to write for Million Dollar Hacker. I don’t have a ton of traffic to offer yet, but if I hit some of my goals there will be more to come.
Becoming highly involved in the personal finance community is something that should follow with guest posting. I believe there is great value in online communities and I want to throw my experiences in the ring.
Every one of us has different perspectives which we can share. We just need to release them into the world. I promise to do more of that in 2017.
3. Continue my diary habit of 2016
Since I started Million Dollar Hacker, I’ve been keeping a diary.
I group my entries by week and write down every detail. I write down my failures. In addition, I write down what I think is working.
I’ve even made note of every WordPress plugin I’ve installed to date and when I installed them. To top that, I’ve made note of when certain posts get indexed on Google.
Now, I have no idea if any of this will be helpful. I think I could use it in the future. Maybe I’ll create a detailed course with it. I’ll likely reference it when responding to comments or blog posts.
Sometimes, you just have no idea when something might prove useful. By keeping a record of everything I do, I’ll at least have something that could blossom into a beautiful flower.
4. 50,000 page views per month (with a stretch goal of 150,000)
I have no idea if this is possible, but it seems like a great goal to attempt.
From where I am now, 50,000 page views per month is A LOT. To get there, I have to work extremely hard at the other goals in this list.
However, I believe if I achieve the other 7 goals in this list, this goal too can be achieved.
I want to form strong relationships with other blogs. This isn’t a ploy to gain traffic – although traffic is something that will come. Instead, I want to find my place in this ecosystem and offer my own perspective on things.
I come from a background in software and startups and I’ve seen the many different sides of business. It takes a lot of hard work to sell software products. And since software products are businesses much like blogs, they share many of the same traits.
With that experience, I believe I have something unique to offer – but I need to learn how to communicate it. Along the way, I hope to learn so much from others and I already have.
If I put in the time to get to know people and strive to be genuine, I can build this website from nothing. If it grows, I’ll be helping others by offering my own story.
5. Form 5 strong relationships with other bloggers
I’ve started to put myself out there on Twitter and engage with others. I find Twitter to be hugely valuable to learn and get to know other people.
With that being said, I want to do more. I want to read more and help others.
Although I’m new to the personal finance and blogging scenes, I know I can help. Being a software developer by trade, there is so much I can help with when it comes to WordPress and website design.
However, I won’t be able to build relationships without continuing to put myself out there and staying involved.
6. Write 6 posts per month
When I started writing, I stuck to a goal of 3 posts per week. Now, I don’t think that’s possible nor a good idea moving forward.
I don’t think I can write 3 quality posts per week.
I try to do a lot of research for every post. Data driven articles are fun and interesting to write. However, they are time consuming.
Part of it might be my sub-par writing skills and the process I currently follow. I’m always trying to find ways to improve my writing. Outlining posts before I write is one of the ways.
By updating my goal to 6 posts per month, I can focus on one post every 5 days. This should allow me more time to work on the writing process and develop more quality material.
I’m not a writer – I write software for a living. However, I believe I can vastly improve if I put in the hard work and stay persistent.
If you have any tips for me, my ears are open.
7. Improve my organic search traffic
SEO takes time. I know that.
Being a new website, my search engine traffic isn’t where I want it to be – join the club, right?
No matter what, search engine traffic is something I can work on. If I stay on track with the other goals I’ve listed, search engine traffic will come.
I’m no SEO expert, but it’s important to remember search engine traffic isn’t the only channel for a business. It’s simply one part of many streams you should develop.
Since I don’t get much traffic from search engines yet, I want to improve my SEO. Through writing, guest blogging, and taking part in the community, I believe my search traffic will grow.
I have no idea how much my search traffic will grow, but I want to see where it goes. If at first you don’t success, try, try again.
On the other hand, I don’t want to neglect other experiments and channels. For example, I don’t want to develop search engine traffic at the expense of social media.
8. Help 3 people start blogging
This goal is a bit crazy, but I think it will be fun.
There are a lot of people out there, just like me, who want to start writing for various reasons. Some people don’t care about the money. Others simply want an outlet to unleash their creativity.
I want to help them get started. In the world of the web, I’m knowledgeable enough to help out with almost anything. Developing software for the web is pretty much the same no matter what you’re doing. Blogging is no exception.
There are a lot of new bloggers out there dealing with buggy plugins, too much spam, and major security issues. I can help with that. I just need to offer my help.
And I don’t want to charge money for it – although many people make a living doing so.
I’m lucky enough to work in a well paid industry. Although I want to grow my revenue for this website, I still want to help others along the way.
Many people forget about the long term ROI of helping others. You don’t always need to slap a price tag on your services.
- 2016 was a great start to my blogging career.
- To follow in the footsteps of other millionaires, I’ve set personal and website goals for 2017.
- My personal goals center around growing good habits and having a stronger relationship with my wife.
- When it comes to goals for this website, I want to help others through guest posting and participation in the community.
- You don’t always need to get paid for your work. Sometimes the best ROI comes with services that don’t have a price tag.
What are your goals for 2017? Did you achieve all of your goals in 2016? I’d love to hear from you.