2011: The Year for Wildly Ambitious Goals

I read a statistic that showed a relatively high percentage of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions within the first few weeks of January (sorry, no reference link for that), so I thought to myself, “why not wait until a few weeks into January to even create my New Year’s resolutions and goals?”

In all seriousness, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and think about them, and I really believe this isn’t something a person should take lightly.  If you’re committed to reaching your goals throughout the year, you need to be willing to put in the initial time to create high quality goals – that is, goals that actually motivate you to act and achieve them.

Let’s Talk About Other People First…

This probably happens every year (and I’m just more in touch with it now because I now read a million different blogs), but it seems like everyone within the circle of blogs I follow is touting 2011 as “the year” for big things.

Before I go into my goals, I thought I’d link to some other bloggers’ 2011 goals that I found particularly interesting and inspiring (mainly because of how crazy/awesome they are):

  • Andrew from Renegade Writer plans to make $1 million, among other ambitious goals.
  • Murray from Murlu.com plans to do a ton of things, including the creation of 5 or more premium guides, launching of a new business, creation of an e-commerce website, and earning $3,000+ per month online.
  • Ian from PPCIan.com wants to become the VP of marketing at his corporate job, grow his affiliate revenue by 500%, and narrow his focus on niche websites.
  • Pat from Smart Passive Income has a great list of goals (as you would expect), including the launch of a coaching program, new WordPress plugin, and a new business.

My Primary Goals for 2011

When it comes to setting goals, I’m somewhat of a pessimist (or maybe just a realist).  As much as I’d love to think “I am absolutely going to accomplish all of these goals!” I know that it’s not always possible.  I’d much rather set the bar high and fall short of my goals, than set my goals in a way that allows me to easily reach them.  To me, if I’m easily crushing my goals, it means I didn’t put enough thought into creating them.

Don’t get me wrong – the goals still need to be attainable. Let’s jump into them, shall we?

#1 Dominate and enjoy my new “9 to 5” job

I briefly mentioned this on Twitter before, but haven’t talked about it on the blog yet.  About a week ago, I quit my job as a tax consultant at the public accounting firm I was working at.  I’m still a CPA, but my new job is in an entirely new field.  Now, I’m an executive recruiter, helping companies find top talent with respect to accounting and finance professionals (and conversely, helping experienced accounting/finance professionals find good opportunities).

I’ve only been doing the job for a week, but it’s already significantly more exciting than my previous job.  It’s a completely different work environment (I now work with 4 other people instead of 20-30 other people).  Maybe I’ll eventually get sick of it (like I did with tax consulting), but for right now, I’m digging it.  It’s a weird feeling to actually enjoy my day job.

Enjoying my “9 to 5” job is only half of the goal, however.  I also want to dominate it.  Executive recruiting is kind of like sales when it comes to how we’re compensated – there is a base salary, but then we’re also paid based on the job placements we make.  The reason why I love this is because now, hard work = more money.  I’m responsible for how much I make and how I go about scheduling my day, so the job does have a certain entrepreneurial feel to it.

Furthermore, I feel good about what I’m doing.  I’m finding people amazing jobs.  I’m solving a huge problem for clients.  I feel the direct impact of my work more than I ever have before (note: I haven’t made any deals yet – I’ve only been in the profession for a week, which has mostly consisted of training).

In my previous job, I could work my ass off (we’re talking 80-90 hour weeks during February, March, and part of April), and I wouldn’t see any additional money in my paycheck.  Granted, we were compensated in other ways (we were given way more paid time off compared to other professions), but I still never felt rewarded for my hard work.  Eventually, that can kill your motivation, especially if you’re not interested in what you’re doing to begin with.  Even during time when I felt the compensation was fair, I never could see how my hard work was directly helping someone’s life, even though it was (in a more indirect way).

The big problem with this goal (and the reason I’m talking about this goal first) is that it directly conflicts with most of my other goals.  The more dedicated I am to my day job, the less dedicated I can be to my online passive income goals.  Not to worry – I’ll strike some sort of balance over the next few months.

The “make money online” blogosphere paints such a negative picture of the “9 to 5 grind” that it’s hard for me (and probably many of you) to imagine a life where we actually want it to be part of our overall plan.

#2 Start a new authority site that will eventually earn $2,000+ per month

You’re probably thinking: “Wait a minute, Eric.  You’re going to take on another significant project? Don’t you have enough on your plate, especially with your new job?”

For this site, I’m actually going to partner with my sister, who is going to take the lead on content creation.  My work will primarily revolve around the site’s structure, implementing various monetization strategies, and ensuring that the site becomes wildly popular, both through SEO and interaction with the niche’s community.  Unfortunately, I can’t reveal the niche quite yet – we haven’t even started working on the site.

The one thing I will say – this niche is highly competitive and lucrative.  By the end of the year, I’d like for this site to be earning at least $500 per month.

#3 Lay the foundation for my own “real” business

While a lot of people strive to get away from “real work” in favor of being able to live off of passive income, I’m actually looking forward to actively working – for myself, that is.  I can’t say much about the business right now, but the goal of the business will be to help small/local businesses with their growth, via the internet.

In 2011, I don’t necessarily want or need the business to be fully functional, but I’d like the foundation in place.  I plan on forming an LLC, writing a killer business plan, formulating my marketing plan, and in general, taking the time to set the business up for a successful launch.

#4 Continue delivering high quality content on My 4-Hour Workweek at least 1-2 times per week

This goal is important to me because my blog is essentially the hub of everything else I do.  This is going to be the spot where I continue giving status updates on my projects and explaining what’s working and what isn’t working.

I’m not trying to become the next big internet marketing guru blogger.  If you follow the progress of most of the mainstream bloggers in this niche, you’ll find that ultimately, the bulk of their online income is earned through telling other people how to make money online.  Even the most reputable bloggers, where this was never their intention, have shifted toward making most of their money by telling people how to make money online.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it – I’m simply saying, that’s not where I envision this blog going in the future.  Yes, I make money from affiliate links on this blog, but I want that income to be completely insignificant compared to everything else I’m doing.

#5 Finish my Amazon niche site challenge by the end of 2011

The great thing about goals is that you own them, and you can tweak them when it’s reasonable to do so.  Originally, my goal was to create 4 new niche sites per month, which I’m finding to be doable, but it’s not effective when you don’t have the time to properly develop each site.

Therefore, I’m going to try to work more at a pace of two new sites per month.  I may still create 4 new sites in a month (I believe in the efficiency gained by batching certain tasks), however I may then take the following month to further develop those sites instead of creating new sites.

My ultimate goal is still the same: I want the collection of Amazon niche sites to generate at least $20,000 per year as part of my passive income portfolio.

#6 In 2011, earn $100,000 between my online income and offline day job income

I don’t care what the split is – I could earn $90,000 in my day job and $10,000 online, or I could fail at my day job (and earn $50,000 there), yet earn $50,000 online.

To some people, this isn’t a lot of money, but I would feel like I’ve achieved a great accomplishment if I could crack the six figure mark in 2011.

What are your 2011 goals?

I’ve shared mine – now I want to hear yours.  Feel free to either link to a goals post you’ve written on your own blog, or simply write your goals in the comments.

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39 Responses to “2011: The Year for Wildly Ambitious Goals”

  1. Thanks for the mention Eric!

    #4 is quite the dilemma. I want to make my million doing something different than “making money by teaching people how to make money.”

    I think you’ve got a killer list of goals: well thought out, specific, measurable, and balance attainability with challenge!

    -Andrew
    Andrew Walton recently posted… How The Inevitability Mindset Will Change Your Business or Life

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Andrew – I expect 2011 to be the most challenging, yet rewarding year of my career. I’m glad we’re still in January…

    I can’t wait to see the discussions we’ll be having in December. :)

    [Reply]

  2. You’ve clearly planned your goals Eric, I like the versatility in them, as well as the ambition.

    What’s important is that you don’t get downheartened. As you said, we’re only in January, and we have 11 months to charge towards our goals.

    I’d love to make a million, and I admit there’s plenty of ways to get there, I just don’t know how! I guess I need to pick a path and stick to it.
    Stuart recently posted… How To See The World

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Absolutely, Stuart. I’m a big believer in “owning” your goals. Although it means you need to take responsibility for achieving them, it also means you shouldn’t let them become a hurdle or barrier.

    You own them – you control them – and if necessary, you should tweak them to accommodate for changing circumstances.

    The goal of $1 million does seem daunting…perhaps that will find its way onto my 2012 goals list. 😛

    [Reply]

  3. Eric – thanks for sharing your goals. I especially like your first goal, because like a lot of us out there, still work 9-5 and still want to excel there. Sure, it would be terrific if we could all live off our online income, but that is not a reality for most of us, so we shouldn’t forget about what really pays the bills. And it helps if you happen to love what you do.

    I am just starting out myself and have challenged myself to build a niche site monetized via amazon affiliates. Are you going to have a place on your site where we can share our updates (kind of like Pat Flynn’s niche site hub)?

    All the best
    Lonnie
    Lonnie @ My Income Lab recently posted… Building My First Website – The Bricks &amp Mortor

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I wasn’t planning on doing any sort of hub, mainly because I wasn’t aware of many people doing a similar “challenge” related to Amazon sites. If there’s enough interest in one, perhaps I’ll set one up. I just don’t want to seem like a total Pat Flynn copycat. :)

    [Reply]

  4. Congrats on the new job Eric!

    PS – love that $100k bill. I was out in Vietnam just after new years and withdrew 1 million dong (i.e. $50 us)… felt like a king :-)

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Dinesh! I’d feel like a king with 1 million of any currency too. 😛

    [Reply]

  5. Congrats on your new job! That is so great that you can feel great about it!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about active income vs. passive income lately. I think a lot of IM gurus drill the passive life into your head without revealing that they worked their butts off getting to where they are.

    I started this year off with a major goal of making 5K per month with Amazon by June. Now (of course) I’m realizing I need some major active cashflow to get to this point.

    So I need to put in the sweat and work hard so that I don’t have to work so hard later on.

    Love the ambition!
    Lisa recently posted… Snow Blower PLR Articles

    [Reply]

  6. I want to finish my education and then drop all of my web clients and work for myself only. This is my goal for 2011, a pretty hard one nevertheless but I think I’ll make it…
    Ali Mujtaba recently posted… Can Ginkgo Biloba Reduce Tinnitus

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds like a good plan, Ali – keep at it, and you’ll get there.

    [Reply]

  7. Well I also have wild goals. Let see my growth. I just want 3k amazon, 3k adsense month first. Later clickbank, ebay and CJ. And make $500 from infoliks/smowtion/chitika and diversify as much as possible. So, change our life fully in just one year.
    Rahul recently posted… My First Niche Site No 1 On Google

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Rahul – awesome goal. I really like the idea of having significant income from several different sources. This way, if something happens to one of them, it won’t have such a negative effect on your bottom line. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  8. Great post. My goal this year seems almost contradictory: it’s to earn an average year’s pay for me in freelancing in the first six months so I can quit freelancing and just work on my own passive income projects – then getting to a full time income passively by the end of this year. Step by step is the key – if you look at the whole picture I think it’s too easy to get overwhelmed.
    Master Dayton recently posted… Writing for Passive Income- Small Steps for Big Goals

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Master Dayton – That actually makes a lot of sense. Pushing yourself to earn your “usual” annual pay in the first 6 months will take the burden off of you for the remainder of the year which, like you said, will allow you to build up your passive income projects and probably set yourself up for an even bigger year in 2012.

    [Reply]

  9. It’s almost refreshing to see someone refer to their day job as anything less than horrible! I have some clear, actionable goals myself for 2011 and this was the mistake I made last year (no goal tracking). Lets hope this is the definitive year most people speak of when they talk about 2011!
    Brendon recently posted… ISU Goals- Dreams- &amp Aspirations for 2011

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Yeah, it’s weird for me too, to not be complaining about my day job. :) I think 2011 will be a definitive year for many of us – can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    [Reply]

  10. Eric,
    Great post and thanks so much for the link! :-) I really appreciate it! Congrats on the new job, sounds very exciting. Your goals are really great ones. I really like your point about not turning your blog into a “how to male money online” blog. The temptation to do that is huge and I can relate. Ultimately, I think your blog will still reach guru status, however, because your posts are so awesome! All the best in 2011!
    Best,
    Ian

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Ian, I really appreciate it!

    [Reply]

  11. Hi Eric, looks like you’ve got a big plan for
    the 2011 years, that’s good. Do yourself a schedule and try to make the best of every (free) minute you have. Respect the schedule, take relaxing breaks, stay focused and you will sure do your best. Have a great day, Maria.
    Maria Pavel recently posted… Choosing A Career As A Certified Nursing Assistant

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s an awesome suggestion, Maria. Have breaks to relax is HUGE when it comes to keeping your happiness and sanity in check.

    [Reply]

    mani@vätskeersättning Reply:

    That was something I was thinking of reading the list (witch I think is really well formulated) but the fact that we often miss out of setting goals concerning the “not” doings.

    I believe we need does kind of goals to gain a balance in our lives and make our carrier boost in a happy and sound way.

    Thank Eric for an inspiring list!
    mani@vätskeersättning recently posted… Vätskeersättning- recept

    [Reply]

  12. After reading your post on Amazon Affiliate sites, I was inspired me to create 2 of my own. It’s good to see that they’re still an essential part of your 2011 income goals. Lonnie hit a great point about having a hub that can track progress in this area. Might not be quite as popular as Pat Flynn’s but it would be a great way to set yourself up as the authority of that strategy.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Reply:

    Lol, here I go speaking broken English as if I wasn’t born and raised here. My apologies.

    Its great to see how the number of comments you’re getting is growing week to week, Eric. I look forward to seeing your Online Blog and Passive Income Update for January.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Ryan. I really appreciate all the great comments everyone has been leaving lately – definitely gives me more of a motivation to write. I too am looking forward to seeing how January turns out!

    [Reply]

  13. Eric, I hear you! New year, new goals. I have a pretty ambitious February ahead of me, so I hear you. G’luck and let’s see what we can make happen within 30 days 😉
    Moon Hussain recently posted… 6 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Invaluable Insights On How They Built Their Online Empires

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds good, Moon. I’m looking forward to reading about what you’ve got going on in February. :)

    [Reply]

  14. Hi Eric,

    It definitely makes life more enjoyable when you love your job! Congrats! I’ve been in my current job 13 years and absolutely love it! (Been in the broadcast TV industry 20!) I’m actually excited to go to work if you can believe that! In 2 more years, I’ll get 4 weeks of vacation. But that pales in comparison to the time I could have if I was making a decent passive income.

    So I joined Pat’s Niche Site Duel a few months ago but got off track shortly after I started. But reading your niche site progress has brought back my motivation.

    My goal as an IM newbie is simple, to make my first online money in 2011. I’m working on a written plan so I don’t get off track again. By the way, nice work on the Backlink Tracker!
    Harlan Yee recently posted… Logitech Z305 Laptop Speaker Full Review

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Harlan – Glad to hear you’ve been able to go 13 years and still love your job. That’s a pretty great accomplishment.

    I think your simple 2011 goal is perfect – make your first $1 (or first $100, $1,000) online. From there, it’s all a matter of sticking to what you know works. Results may come slowly, but as long as you keep working at it, it’ll get better.

    [Reply]

  15. Lifestyle design for me, means knowing what you want from life, and making all you can to get that something or someone.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds good to me! Thanks for the comment, Ali.

    [Reply]

  16. Cool to see that you took on my idea of creating multiple sites at once and then spending extra time developing each of them. I’m happy with how it has been working for me. I haven’t had as much time to work on them as I hoped, but I’ve been able to focus on getting each of them set up, getting initial content on them, doing a small bit of offpage SEO on each one and now am working on getting additional content on each one. Also experimenting with a few different things along the way.

    Anyway, nice goals. I have dozens of goals in mind for 2011(might be a good idea for me to write those down for tracking and motivation), but one of the most relevant to the topic here is to make $2,000 in on month from my online projects. It can be split between them in any way and doesn’t have to be consistently at that level by the end of the year, but if I can get that to happen once then I should have a model for something that I can make consistent and then continue to build upward from there.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi John – that’s pretty much how I’m tackling the niche sites. Set them up in groups of 3 or 4, slowly add content and backlinks, and revisit them as necessary to continue adding content and backlinks. I still haven’t done enough work yet to get them ranking in a good spot where they see enough traffic, but that’ll come in time.

    I definitely recommend writing down your goals, or somehow making them public if you have a blog. $2,000/month is a nice target for online project income – I’d like to earn at least that much too.

    Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  17. Hi Eric,
    My goals this year are to improve my skills professionally. I have some specifics in mind.
    My personal money goals are to continue saving and building my retirement nest egg.
    And family wise, we’re saving for a possible new addition to the family this year… 😉
    Richard recently posted… 14 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Blog

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Great goals Richard – best of luck to you!

    [Reply]

  18. Hi Eric, your goals are well structured and you seem well equipped to reach them. I guess it’s not so much about setting goals but, actually setting goals within one’s reach. Good luck reaching yours!
    Aloys Jacobs recently posted… Symptoms of Yeast Infection In Men

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Aloys, I appreciate it! Best of luck with your goals as well.

    [Reply]

  19. Hi Eric,

    Congratulations on the new job (sorry if I’m a bit late)! I loved looking at your goals for the year, and I really do hope you accomplish them all (even if you might be doubtful).

    The business that you’re thinking about launching also sounds exciting. I’ve thought about getting into consulting before, and maybe that’s something I’ll end up doing in the future.

    I’m happy that you’re setting time aside to pursue your dreams though. That’s admirable, and not many people put the extra time aside to pursue their goals, believe it or not.

    Keep up the awesome work! I’m sure you’ll get there in the end. :)

    Christina
    Christina Crowe recently posted… Understanding Link Wheels and Avoiding Sandboxes- The Beginner’s Guide

    [Reply]

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