Note: This is a post by Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.
2011 was a crazy, crazy year for us.
It was full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and big lifestyle swings.
In case you’ve forgotten (or haven’t been around that long), here’s a short list of some of best, most intense, or most controversial posts of 2011.
The competition wasn’t even close this year for most popular post. In fact, the above “24 Action” post *nearly* beat out all other posts in 2011 combined. It was shared a staggering amount of times on Facebook and Twitter and inspired several other posts around the blogosphere. It’s one of the best places to start if you are new!
Most Important: Thoughts on Losing an Unborn Child…
Within three days, this became the most commented post (300+) in Man Vs. Debt history. That meant a lot to us (still does). Writing the post was more therapeutic than anything else, but I’m really happy at the personal emails I’ve received from people it’s deeply helped through their own tough situations.
Most Pride Generated: My TEDx Talk: “What Does Freedom Mean to You?”
I’m extremely proud of my recent TEDx Talk (I know I just posted it), because it sums up the experience we’ve been on over the last three years so well. If you are new to the community and haven’t invested the 19 minutes, please do. I think you’ll find it a fantastic overview of our message!
Most Discussed: Do You Give to Panhandlers?
This generated over 230 comments on what turned out to be a fantastic discussion on principles, perception, and charity. The comments section contains great points made by both sides. The jury is still out for me!
Most Controversial: The Cost of a Dead Osama Bin Laden
This is a short post that a few people provided some extremely harsh feedback on. The topic is obviously a bit polarizing, but I didn’t set out to make it controversial at all. Still goes to prove that you have to be very careful when navigating waters like these!
Most Facebook Likes: [Infographic] Why Student Loans Suck…
Three posts this year broke the 1,000 Facebook Like mark, but this infographic I shared earlier in the year beat out even the “Most Popular” overall post with 1,300+ likes on facebook. Turns out everyone hates student loans!
Most Reminiscing: 10 Truths I’ve Learned on the Open Road…
As most of you know, Courtney, Milli, and I spent the first 2/3 of the year traveling around the U.S. in our R.V. We met so many amazing people, learned so much about ourselves, and had a lot of fun. Of all the posts in 2011, this post made me smile the most as I reread it recently.
Most Bang For Your Buck: It’s O.K. to Change Your Course
An extremely short and punchy post that cracked the top 5 this year in most metrics. If you are looking for the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, this is likely your favorite of the year!
Overall, Man Vs. Debt had close to 600,000 unique visitors to the site in 2011. These visitors viewed just under 1.4 million pages.
We didn’t quite hit all our “benchmarks” I had set early in the year (for goals like subscribers, pageviews, Facebook fans, etc…), but that’s OK. We made great progress toward all of them on what averaged out to be about 2 posts per month only!
What to Expect in 2012!…
I’m going to take a slightly different approach to goal-setting this year. Instead of measuring many of the traditional, larger metrics – I want to measure our creative output as a community.
One of my biggest goals for last year was to build a small team to help magnify what is possible for the community. It wasn’t easy or simple, but I believe I’ve found that mix now. Starting this month, you’ll get to know them more.
GOAL #1: Find a fun way to consistently produce valuable content.
My desire to consistently produce content went down in 2011. I actually don’t think I produced any LESS overall, but much of it was invested in to products like “You Vs. Debt”, speeches, etc… In other words, I didn’t produce as much free-to-the-masses value as I had wanted!
As a team, we want to up that to 8-10 creative content pieces per month! This involves me getting more into podcasting, video production, and other ways to deliver inspiring and impactful content without getting burned out (which happens when I write all the time).
For years, I’ve been the only voice on the website with only a couple guest posts per year. I may bring on an occasional fresh voice from time to time this year to spice things up and provide another unique perspective. We won’t do anything crazy, but in moderation this will really help our first goal.
GOAL #2: Be everywhere (inspired by Pat).
We just launched the new podcast and have set up the studio here at the house for regular video productions. My goal for 2012 is to finally expand into audio and video to complement the writing we do around here.
- Reach Episode 35 of the Man Vs. Debt Podcast.
- Reach Episode 26 of MvDTV (new).
- Get Youtube channel to 1,000,000 views (this includes other videos outside of MvDTV alone).
- Film and produce a documentary (this won’t be about MvD, but will be on a topic related to our message).
GOAL #3: Generate $250,000 in revenue
This is a purely business goal, but one that means we can pay for all our expenses, support our small team, and still have fantastic money left over. I firmly believe a healthy business side to the community will ensure that we can spread out message for many more years to come.
GOAL #4: 1,000 new You Vs. Debt alumni
In 2011, I invested tens of thousands of dollars (and what seemed like that many man hours) recording one of our two flagship courses. After completely scrapping the first version, we’ve finally struck gold with our second attempt. Students from the Fall 2011 class are doing phenomenal on average – and we plan to have 3-4 different classes in 2012.
Having 1,000 new people go through the course and graduate will make a huge impact, make the course even better than it is, and give our community hundreds of new success stories for inspiration.
What are your 2012 Goals?…
As you can see, I’ve moved away from tracking the “big” numbers as it pertains to the website (and even my personal life). But I’m interested to see how you approach reflecting on past years and planning for the new one.
In my personal life, I’m attempting to dedicate this year to fitness (and nearly fitness alone). Instead of having 10 different categories and 10 different sub-goals. I’m going to channel focus into fitness.
Last year was up and down in this area. Some good progress and then some setbacks. But I’ve never fully dedicated myself to this (I’ve always prioritized other commitments and projects over my health).
So this year is about prioritizing the habit of fitness over any other (even this community).
One focus. One vision.
We’ll see how it goes!
What are your goals for your business and life in 2012?