This Dad Does – 2016 in Review or What You Can Learn from a Full Year of Writing
New year’s resolutions always seem like a bad idea to me. Caught up in the excitement, euphoria and tipsiness of a new year, you commit to a far-fetched goal. Your chance of success? Slim.
But there is value in reflecting on the year that has passed and planning on how to make the next year better than ever. Which is what I’m going to do now.
Here’s the thing: I really hate these type of posts. Mainly because (with a few exceptions) they suck. Especially if you read generic parenting blogs (which I used to). They suck because they offer little of value to you the reader. So with that in mind, sit back while I blind you with knowledge.
Control is Everything
What do you think about when you read ‘control’? Maybe you see it as a negative trait “Oh such and such is very controlling.” But when it comes to writing online and running a blog, control is everything. You need complete control.
It’s now over a year since I went self hosted with BADNET. I’ve never looked back even though I didn’t understand the full range of advantages at the time. Look at the newly launched Books for Dads page – a feature like that just isn’t possible with free hosting.
Self hosting means you own your site. Free hosting means you don’t. The insignificant cost of self hosting is nothing compared to the freedom it gives you.
Since learning the importance of control, I’ve rolled this out into other aspects of my life including career, personal finances, investments, spare time and my kids education. If you relinquish control for things in your life someone else picks up the slack. The question is, do you trust them?
What do you lack control of in your own life? Is it time to take it back? Having a plan of what you want more control over isn’t Machiavellian. It’s just bloody good sense.
Be Prepared to Play the Long Game
One of the big lessons from 2016 was this: learn to play the long game. This translates into most things in life: career, raising kids, gym, health and finances.
When it comes to this website, it’s been a game changer. If you’re thinking of starting a blog in 2017, then bear these things in mind.
Build an Email List
Do this from day one. I did and it has built slowly and steadily to the point where I have over 100 dedicated men who follow the blog and our message closely. You guys are my elite crack commando team of Dads.
Offering the free eBook gave subscribers an incentive to sign up and even though it’s short (just 7 pages) I’ve had good feedback on how useful it is.
Treat your subscribers well – mine get a heads up on new website features, special offers and will get an early copy of my new book. There are loads of simple WordPress plug-ins that let you capture emails easily. Themes like Marketers Delight (this one) have that function built in.
If you focus on building a list steadily over time, the results can be surprising.
Learning new Skills
When I first started out I could barely use WordPress. Now I’ve reached a stage where I’m confident enough to mess around with the code on my site and write a little in HTML. I didn’t take a course in these things. I’ve learned by doing.
Having the right mindset is required: the resourcefulness or abundance mindset says that you can learn almost anything FOR FREE using Google or YouTube to find the answers. There’s no excuse for not knowing how to do something with your site.
Building a Social Media Platform
I’ve worked hard at building up my Twitter following over the past year. Things really took off when I decided to focus wholly on the feed for This Dad Does and leave my other feed alone. It’s grown amazingly fast and I enjoy a highly engaged audience.
This year saw the launch of Gab.ai. Don’t believe what you’ve read about Gab in the media. The guys there are building an amazing space and the discussions are high brow. Plus you get 300 characters and can edit your posts (follow me on Gab here).
When I did my first Periscope I was blown away by the response. Compared to the effort required for YouTube, it’s a fantastic way to communicate.
The immediacy and interaction is something phenomenal. Unfortunately the time difference can mean many of you can’t watch live but the replays are nearly as good.
Things are going to keep building, so stay tuned to the site and social media for updates.
Make Time For What’s Important to You
By chance I happened across my life audit that I conducted after reading the ‘Mindset is Focus’ chapter of Gorilla Mindset. It was satisfying to be able to read what I’d written a year ago and how successful I’d been in achieving much of this.
A year ago I conducted this Gorilla Mindset inspired life audit. 12 months on I've managed to put most of these into practice. pic.twitter.com/fC8GVqboxs
There is a recurring theme through many of my suggested actions – that I wanted to prioritise and make time for what’s important in my life.
There is a saying that goes like this:
“You make time for the things that are important to you in life.”
But is that always the case? What about when you procrastinate? Is procrastination the most important thing in your life? It’s more accurate if we say we want to make time for the things that are important to us.
But how do you put that into action? Imagine if you wanted a shorter commute, more time with your family and a house in the country. Does that mean changing jobs and moving from the city to make it a reality? It has for me.
Since I cut out junk TV, sports, porn watching and magazines last year, I’ve:
Earned over $1000 from freelancing and affiliate marketing
Learned how to do basic code and HTML
Had more time with my kids and wife
Built two websites and a mailing list
Read and listened to 30 books
Consolidated my investments
(The green ‘checks’ are HTML that I now know how to write in using MD)
Imagine what you could achieve if you were ruthless in developing focus. You’d have more energy and time to do the important things in life. Is it time you too had a life audit?
For those Who Have Helped: Thank You
A post like this gives me a chance to thank those of you who have helped and supported me and my work through the past 12 months.
It’s been a thrill ride and one which is set to continue. I’m not going to list everyone who has helped but know that I will continue to give you value and repay in kind whenever I can.
What to Expect in 2017
The Roman goddess Janus had two faces. One that looked to the past and one that looked to the future. So it’s only right that I cast a look at what is coming next year.
When I started ThisDadDoes.com I wanted to write at least two posts a week for the first year which I achieved despite traveling for work, military service and a hectic family life. I still expect to post regularly on the blog but I’m shifting focus towards some other projects including:
My new book (expect it in the first half of 2017)
More Periscopes as I develop my ability to speak on camera
Building my social media platform including Twitter, Gab and Facebook
Sending more of the good stuff to my loyal band of mailing list subscribers
Freelancing and my niche site will probably take a back seat as I balance all of this with training hard, my new job and a new life in the country.
This Dad Does 2016 in Review: Closing Thoughts
This turned into a longer post than I anticipated. But things have been moving quickly. Life comes at you fast. There’s been so much going on in 2016 that I’m left wondering how 2017 will be better. Though I’m sure it will be.
Thanks for following and supporting. And for my best year ever.
See you in 2017.
P.S. Did you pick up that subscribers are going to get my new book FOR FREE??? Sign up here if you want to be included.