Best of Man Vs. Debt 2011… And New 2012 Goals…



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.

Most Popular:  24 Quick Actions You Can Do Today That Can Change Your Financial Life Forever

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?

27 thoughts on “Best of Man Vs. Debt 2011… And New 2012 Goals…”

  1. I just started my blog a couple of months ago and have just been testing the waters with it so far. In 2012 it’s my goal to take a more professional (but still fun) approach to my blog and turn it into a true business venture.

  2. Looking forward to hearing how the fitness thing goes. By the way how has the move worked out with the new digs? Looking forward to a great new year.

  3. My financial goal for this year is to pay off 1 (small) student loan. I’m aiming for the end of February, and then we can strategize for attacking the second (much larger) loan. Thanks for the inspiration and best of luck this year to you & your family!

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  5. Baker – These are phenomenal goals. I am so glad to see that you and the family are doing well. It is refreshing to see you prioritize your health above the community. The community is important and it’s easy to always put “work” first. I struggle with this myself and you’ve inspired me to put my fitness first as well.

    I know you will have tremendous success in 2012! Keep rockin’ the awesome.


  6. Great goals, Baker. I know you’ve been hard at work on stuff behind the scenes and I look forward to seeing the fruits of that work down the road.

    I’d been reviewing my 2011 goals, and had to give a shout out because, if you remember, you helped me set them! And thought you’d like to know that I snuck the biggest of those goals right under the wire in December…I quit my day job to blog full-time.

    In 2012 I’m looking to triple my email list and publish a book. That should keep me plenty busy.

    Good luck, Man, and thanks!

  7. After reading Goal #4, I was wondering if you thought about including Man Vs Debt alumni, whom you’ve helped get out of debt through your website, but haven’t necessarily taken the course? I’ll be first in line! 🙂

  8. Great post, Baker. I think the Ted talk was my favorite as it really shook things up for me. For 2012, focusing on synthesizing my skill set, harnessing the best part of my life (those i am good at professionally and personally) and simplifying. Let’s see how it goes.

  9. Great goals. My goals consist of paying off my credit card, and paying down and nearly off a student loan just because dead horses stink and these have been stinking for awhile now.

  10. Adam,

    I found your podcast by accident last week. your story inspires me. I was recently downsized from a major corporation in August. I was lucky enough to have joined a financial services company I am a part of last February.
    Your selling stuff program made me think and your struggle wanting to lose weight. In the last 20 years, I have accumulated a lot of both. So in 2012- I am resolving to downsize me and my stuff.
    Would love to bring you to Knoxville, TN. for a motivational seminar in the future.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Vernon Corum

  11. Great Review. Love the Tedx talk!
    Best of luck on your year of Fitness ( let us know if we can help 🙂
    Here to a Happy and Healthy New Year to All!
    Tracy Benham ( @TravelFit)

  12. Congrats on all your successes in 2011!!

    Great reminder about producing more content for readers.

    Also on the note of “one focus. one vision.” that seems to be the theme this year and I agree that is the way to go! So much better to truly focus our energy in changing one aspect and inevitably, growing in one area will inspire growth in various parts of our lives.

    Congrats + Happy New Year!

  13. Producing valuable content consistently is one of the toughest challenges for any blogger, glad to see you’re making a conscious effort! Best of luck, I’m looking forward to seeing how your goals turn out.

    As for my goals, I’d like to start 2012 by learning 2 new languages and learning how to design my own apps.

  14. This is very inspirational stuff. I have my own goals and I have my own website and focus to help me get the life I’d like. I’ll be following you with interest. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Hi Adam,

    Your blog is personable, informative and very well written, it’s a pleasure to read.

    For me, in 2011 I met a really honest traditional businessman who lived off of his referrals from his reputation through friends and family. He specialises in overseas property investments, and as I had been looking for someone to work with who was honest, transparent and take their unique content and put it online in the form of a blog for free, he was the ideal candidate.

    I have spent a long time getting to know him and his business and we’ve finally launched a blog that I hope will be more informative, transparent and interesting in our niche (there are no others that I’m aware of here in the UK).

    I’m really excited about it, as we’ve just launched it, and it would be an honour to write a guest post on here.

    Speak soon and all the best!

    Chris Wandel

  16. Just wanted to chime in and let you know that I read ONE post of yours (24 ways…) in December and it actually has changed my life. I have daydreamed about opening a bakery for a while now. So I picked Action #3 and sold 3 cakes in December and have already sold 2 this month, with more orders coming. I’m not necessarily looking to make the big bucks or quit my (part-time) day job, but the joy and pride I feel when I look at my creations and my website is amazing. I feel so free, like I have options about my income without having to give up being at home with my kids. Thank you SO MUCH. And if you’re ever in Texas, I’ll make you a cake. 😉

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