2022 was a year of doubling down on what works and building momentum.
Both personally and professionally, I experimented a lot and found clarity on what to invest in.
I like to follow James Clear's annual review template, which leads you through answering three questions:
If you have a question about any of this or feel like there's an important piece of information missing, please do let me know and I'd love to fill it in as it probably a simple oversight.
Starting the year off, I ended up reacquiring my old job board Hey Marketers. It feels like an eternity ago now. Since I still owned a minority portion, the buyer asked if I'd be interested in selling the rest of my equity stake or reacquiring the whole thing for a pretty steep discount. I did some research and found Pallet as a great operational partner, so I went through with the reacquisition and rebranded it to the Swipe Files Job Board.
Another huge win was locking in newsletter sponsors for the entire year. Not only was it a large cash influx that made day to day operations easier, but it also freed up a lot of creativity not having to worry about sponsors for another 12 months. Thanks again to Agorapulse, Ahrefs, The Juice, 42 Agency, and Supermetrics for their support.
Speaking of the newsletter, it reached 15,000 subscribers by the end of the year, more than doubling from 7,000 the previous year. A lot of this growth was powered by cross-promotions with other newsletters via SparkLoop. (disclaimer: I'm a small angel investor)
Oh, and hey! I'm in the SaaS game now. Connor Lindsey and I got connected over Twitter and we started building SwipeWell. It's been a heck of a journey so far from scoping out the MVP, becoming our #1 power user, doing over 100 calls in the span of a few weeks to manually onboard customers, to getting our first revenue and trying to scale up marketing.
I took a few trips: Maui with family, Austin for work, Big Bear for snowboarding.
In 2022, I really amped up my exercise and hobbies. Snowboarding, pickleball, and taking up MMA.
I picked up reading more again, this time motivated by a sci-fi kick. Here's what I read:
They say finding a cofounder is a lot like dating. And you don't want to propose after the first date. So I did quite a bit of dating to feel out potential relationships and projects. While it was a lot of fun, most were unfruitful. SwipeWell was the emerging success story, and there are still a few other budding relationships and projects that have yet to bear fruit. The unfortunate part is that it was a very windy road that took a lot of energy.
The flip side of this coin has been not one, but two failed SaaS acquisition attempts. The first one makes for a much better story. We found a great business, at a great price, and quickly got an LOI signed to begin due diligence. A week into diligence, and a week before scheduled closing, I received an email from the seller that simply stated "Sorry, I sold the company." Lolz. The second attempt was much less interesting... we simply backed out.
Another area that's been a thorn in my side is my work in progress book on SaaS marketing, Founding Marketing. I managed to crank out about 80% of the manuscript in about 6 weeks, and then haven't made much more progress since. Writing a book is hard! Perfectionism is the enemy.
A quick aside to mention crypto. I have a decent portion of my net worth wrapped up in crypto, and about 66% of that value was wiped out when everything crashed. Wah wah... bummer.
This is where my annual review gets a lot more personal.
For the first time, I tangibly understand what it looks like and feels like to be a spiritual leader. There's a lot of weight to it. It's important. And it shows up in very obvious as well as very subtle ways.
It takes being assertive, disciplined, and having personal conviction.
I've also learned to filter my thoughts and emotions less. It's okay to be negative and just sit in the suckiness of something for a while. The eternal optimist in me makes it tempting to just ignore problems and negative experiences altogether. But that's not reality.
In a similar vein, a tough pill to swallow is understanding that sometimes it takes conflict to resolve conflict. Conflict isn't inherently bad — it's an opportunity to be vulnerable, real, and accepted by another person.