So my brief time back home in Ireland has come to a close. I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Dublin, and tomorrow I jet off to spend four months living in Spain.
Just before moving to Cork in late December I wrote a post called The plan of attack: How I intend to earn money, gain influence, and make a difference, in which I listed out all the things I wanted to accomplish before I left for Spain. Now it’s time to look back and see how I fared. Such reviews are important methinks. They help me understand my limitations and get better at setting realistic goals. Hopefully you’ll find these reviews interesting, too.
I had the following goals for my four months in Cork:
- Release a free manifesto
- Release a paid product
- Speak at three or more conferences/universities
- Speak on Irish radio
- Appear on Irish national television
- Secure a spot as a columnist for a large Irish newspaper
- Guest blog at least once every fortnight
- Post an interview at least once every fortnight
- Take a trip to Dublin and Northern Ireland
- Take a trip to England, Scotland and Wales
- Build community, help spread knowledge
Let’s run through each goal to see how it actually played out. Green for success, red for failure, other colors by mistake.
1. Release a free manifesto
I accomplished this on schedule, releasing Disrupting the Rabblement: How to think for yourself, live your dreams, and piss off some zombies at the end of January. I was very happy with how it was received. I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback about it and by my best estimation, the work has now been downloaded just over 1,000 times. Giggidy.
If you haven’t read the manifesto yet, you can click here to download it now (PDF format)
2. Release a paid product
Initially I was aiming to release my first paid product at the end of February, but then I decided to build an entire online course, so I pushed back the release date to mid-March. On March 17th, I beta launched A Course In Courage. The goal of the course is to help other people become more courageous and live their dreams, all for the price of one cup of coffee per week.
While there is still lots of room for improvement in the course, the feedback I’ve gotten from reviewers and participants has been primarily positive. Not many people have signed up for A Course In Courage however, and so it hasn’t generated anything close to the revenue that I was hoping for. I believe I’m mostly failing with the marketing side of things, so I’ll be working hard on that going forward.
3. Speak at three or more conferences/universities
I was hoping to do this in March and April, and it was largely dependent on a lucrative launch of my paid product. The idea to go into universities and show them how I was able to make money online by my own efforts, without having to rely on traditional employment or suck up to gatekeepers. Of course, I couldn’t talk that talk without first walking that walk, so as it turned out I didn’t even look for such speaking opportunities. Hopefully I’ll be in a position to do so later this year.
All that said, I did get some public speaking experience these past few months. I attended several local Toastmasters clubs and participated in Table Topics, and even acted as the guest lead for a meeting in March (thanks, Pat!). Then there was my well-received Pecha Kucha presentation back in January, and my second foray into stand-up comedy a couple of weeks ago. Videos for those…
4. Speak on Irish radio
I’ll call this mission accomplished. Twice I was able to get on one of Ireland’s largest radio stations, Today FM. The first time was to play Ah-Yeah-Okay on the Ray Foley Show (mp3), and the second time was to discuss minimalism with Ray D’Arcy (mp3). Ideally, I would have also been able to get on the radio to discuss online entrepreneurship, but again I felt I needed to have some real success under my belt before I could talk about that on the airwaves.
5. Appear on Irish national television
Fail. I didn’t even give this one a good effort, apart from sending an email to inquire about tickets to Pat Kenny’s Frontline (no reply). As with the last two goals, I didn’t feel confident going after this one without first having some entrepreneurial success behind me.
6. Secure a spot as a columnist for a large Irish newspaper
This is a goal I feel I could have achieved if I had pushed for it, but I really didn’t put forth any effort. I would still like to do this in future, writing monthly about the mobile lifestyle I’m creating for myself, but I’m aware that the task would require some serious energy and attention. Can’t go submitting just any old crap to a national newspaper.
7. Guest blog at least once every fortnight
I failed miserably at this, only contributing a couple of guest posts to smaller blogs over the past four months, and those only came about by invitation. Apart from a pair of failed submissions, I didn’t go hard after any game-changing guest posts on big blogs. I underestimated how much of my time and energy would be required to do that.
8. Post an interview at least once every fortnight
I started off in January doing an interview every fortnight, and I liked how the posts turned out. However, the interviews didn’t generate a lot of traffic and didn’t seem to resonate much with my regular readers. Given how much work I put into them, I determined I wasn’t getting enough return on my investment and pulled the plug.
I’m still calling this mission accomplished though. I gave it my best shot before realizing that interviews weren’t a good fit for my blog. No failure there.
For those of you interested in checking out the interview posts, here are the links:
- Better business through uncertainty: An interview with advanced riskologist Tyler Tervooren
- Building castles and laying foundations: An interview with radical minimalist Nina Yau
- How to travel the world as a full-time language hacker: An interview with Irish polyglot Benny Lewis
- How to travel the world indefinitely: An interview with pro nomad Mark Webster
- How to make serious money doing what you love (and without quitting your day job): An interview with Emmett Cooke
9. Take a trip to Dublin and Northern Ireland
I’m in Dublin now, but only so I can fly to Madrid, and I didn’t get close to visiting Northern Ireland. Trying to figure out this self-employment thing and get some sustainable income flowing, I didn’t think it wise to take chunks of time off to go traveling.
10. Take a trip to England, Scotland and Wales
Same as the above. No trip to the UK for me these past few months. Perhaps I’ll be in a position to remedy that after Spain.
11. Build community, help spread knowledge
This was three goals rolled into one. First I wanted to create a Meetup group for Cork-based people who want to make a positive difference in the world. That became Cork World Changers, and through it I was able to meet some great people and share and receive lots of value. It looks like it’s going to continue on strong without me now, which I’m delighted about. Many thanks to everyone involved.
Second, I wanted to start a Mastermind group, Skyping with some cool people every week or so, bouncing ideas and encouragement off each other. That came to fruition when Spyros Heniadis asked if I’d like to join his group, along with Nada from miniMOMist. It’s been a great experience.
Finally, I wanted to volunteer at least one evening per week, sharing web design and computer skills with others. This I failed at. I did deliver an extended web design class at a local community center a few weeks back, and I did volunteer for an afternoon at a local Oxfam shop, but that was the extent of my volunteer activities in Cork. No excuses here, I simply didn’t make it a priority to seek out more opportunities.
So I reached 5 out of my 11 goals during my four months in Cork. I’m okay with that. I intentionally set my goals high to push myself. I believe it’s better to set big, exciting goals and fall short than it is to set small, boring goals and reach them. There’s a bar chart out there somewhere that depicts that idea nicely, but fecked if I can find it.
If I could do the last four months over again though, I definitely wouldn’t set so many goals for such a short period of time. Experience has shown me how distractions (some welcome, some not) can sneak in, projects can take longer or become more complex than expected, motivation can come and go.
Looking forward to my four months in Spain I’m mainly going to be focused on just two goals:
- Become fluent in Spanish
- Start earning at least $1,000 per month online
I’ll need to be much more disciplined going forward to keep my priorities straight and stay on track. It’s actually pretty cool that I’m moving to a new city in a new country where I don’t know anyone. It’s like hitting the reset button, starting from scratch, getting a do-over.
Speaking of goals, and before I wrap this up, I want to mention a recent product released by David Damron. It’s called Destination X: Your Guide to Accomplishing Anything (affiliate link). David sent me a review copy and I liked it a whole helluva lot, enough to recommend it to you folks. You’ve probably noticed by now that I don’t recommend a lot of products on here, but this one is worth checking out.
Note that you’ll only get full value from Destination X if you’re willing to sit down and go through the worksheets. It’s not just an ebook that you can skim through and expect it to change your world.
If Destination X sounds like your cup of tea, and you buy it through my affiliate link, forward me along your email receipt (himself at ndoherty dot com) and I’ll happily throw in a 30-minute Skype call so we can chat about goal setting and whatever it is you’re working towards.
Alright, time to go get my Spanish on 😉