At the beginning of January, I laid out 18 goals I wanted to accomplish this year. My list consisted of both business and personal goals, with some items certainly harder and loftier than the others. While I made sure that my goals are reasonably achievable, I can't deny that a part of me–any maybe you, too–is wondering if I can achieve them all.
That's why I decided that I will do a quarterly check on my progress to clearly see how far along I am on the road to achieving my goals. If you've set goals too, this is a practice I highly recommend. Far too often we underestimate how quickly a year can pass, and if you don't make frequent checks on the things you set out to do, you might have the surprise of your life in the form of untended goals by year's end.
So in this episode, I will share with you my first 2018 Goals Quarterly Review. If you didn't get a chance to listen to my goals episode, here's the list of my 18 (yes, I did that to be cheesy) 2018 Goals for your reference:
- Develop 50 new products
- Launch on Amazon Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and eventually, Australia
- Optimize our Amazon listings to increase sales by 50%
- Improve PPC
- Implement the concepts in the book Traction in our business
- Reach $10 million in revenue with a 10% net profit
- Lose 12 lbs
- Record 100 episodes of the podcast
- Launch a new version of ecomcrew.com
- Launch 4 new courses
- Speak at at least 4 industry events
- Hike 80 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail
- Take an epic 2-week vacation
- Visit the Philippines office at least once
- Read 4 books (I know, I know… 4 books aren’t a lot but I’m not really a book reader so please don’t laugh at me)
- Hand off my Facebook ads to other people within the company
- Come up with at least one new tactic that no one else is doing
- Never lose sight of the bigger picture: create 5 star products that people will truly love and continue to enjoy what I’m doing
I'm happy to say that I'm on track with most of the items on the list. I know, however, that this is just the 1st quarter and unexpected things could derail those goals. But this check has given me the confidence I need to continue with the year head on.
Thanks for listening to this episode. Until next week, happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 134 of the EcomCrew Podcast. Today we're going to be reviewing our 2018 goals here at Terran since the end of the first quarter. I thought it'd be a good time to do a quarterly review, and I want to try to do this throughout the year. So first quarter is in the books. It's hard to believe that we're already three months through 2018. Right on the other side of this break, we're going to dig right into all the 18 goals and see what our progress has been.
All right guys, happy second quarter part of the year. It's crazy the first part of the year is already gone. The first quarter is in the books January, February, March in the books. We're starting our second quarter now and want to review our 2018 goals. If you remember way back a few podcasts ago, it was I think before episode 100, we’ll throw it in the show notes, I put out a pretty lofty list of goals to accomplish in 2018.
And to put myself on the spot I plan on doing a quarterly review of these goals every quarter. So without further ado let's dig into it. I do want to mention just real quick actually, you can go to EcomCrew.com/134 to get to the show notes for this episode. If you have any comments or thoughts about this, I’d love to hear from you. So yeah let's dig right into it.
Goal number one was to develop 50 products. To be on pace I guess we need to be at about 12 and a half products at this point. And I am proud to say we're actually ahead of schedule on this. We've got about 15 to 17 products are already on order about to get on a plane. Not much after recording this podcast, I’m heading over to Asia for a few weeks, and I plan on getting several more products while we are over there and hopefully find some new products.
So we are well on our way to accomplish this goal of developing 50 new products for 2018. The one thing I am concerned about as the year progresses, it is getting harder and harder to find more products. I think we're kind of picking off the easy low hanging fruit as they say, and I'm definitely a little bit concerned about being able to keep up that pace throughout the year. But through the second quarter, it definitely looks like it's going to be achievable.
We have a lot of really cool stuff in the pipeline some pretty major stuff in the pipeline I’d love to talk about on the EcomCrew Podcast in the future. But yeah, a checkmark on goal number one. Number two is to launch on Amazon Canada, UK, and EU by the end of 2018. And we are well on our way. I would say we’re ahead of schedule on this as well. We've already got a large portion of our products in Canada.
We have all the rest of the SKUs in our warehouse and on pallets waiting to be picked up as of right now. And our goal is to have all of ColorIt and IceWraps running from Amazon.ca by the end of the second quarter. And also opening up both of those sites to Canadian customers and therefore advertising in Canada and making all of our products available in Canada, shipping from within Canada. Definitely a pretty exciting development for us. I hope that we can get some pretty major gains with that.
I've been told by lots of people in my masterminds that advertising outside of the US on Facebook and other platforms exceeds everything else because there's not a lot of people doing it in those countries, or as many people doing it as there are in the United States. We're also ahead of schedule with the UK. We already have a lot of our products in Amazon UK, got our first few sales there.
I am disappointed though at our sales volume to this point in Amazon UK. But I'm hoping that it's just a short term thing until the fly wheel kind of spins up and we get our first few sales there. Hopefully that will kind of build momentum going into Q2. Number three as Amazon listing optimization, we are well on our way for this. We don't have a lot of these rolled out on our listings yet, but we already have our entire team in the Philippines and the US working very hard to accomplish this goal.
I think that we are going to end up ahead of schedule by the end of Q2. I feel like we're little bit behind schedule right now, but we have a lot of pent up energy there and I think very quickly this is going to start rolling out and making a very big difference within our organization.
Number four is optimize Amazon PPC more effectively. The thing that's probably helped more with this than anything else is the new functionality within Sellics. I mean it's just absolutely amazing the automatic bidding features and functionalities that they have in there has lowered our PPC spend significantly. We put in a bunch of auto optimized rules that got rolled back in our Philippines office to help put this together.
You can go to EcomCrew.com/Sellics, S-E-L-L-I-C-S. So that is an affiliate link if you want to help support the EcomCrew Podcast. I’ve been using Sellics since the very beginning pretty much of our Amazon journey. And before they even came out with the PPC functionality, I found it to be a really awesome tool just you can look at each individual listing and product and see profitability in sales on a day by day basis and actually look at your overall profitability on a listing and making sure you're not losing money.
There’ve been several listings that we thought we were making money but we're losing money; we're able to correct that all because of Sellics. Again, EcomCrew.com/Sellics to support the EcomCrew Podcast with that. But definitely well on our way to optimizing PPC spend more efficiently. I would say we are well ahead of our goal there on that one.
Number five implement Traction, goal setting, being better organized, getting everybody on the same page. I would say with this we are well ahead of schedule. We will be 100% complete with this by the time I leave the Philippines. We have a company meeting coming up, actually the day that this gets released in California.
And then a week from Friday, we're going to be having a corporate meeting in the Philippines getting everyone on the same page, rolling out Traction to our team, which is going to include letting everyone know what our corporate goals are and our values and our focus, and what our quarterly rocks are and year goals are and having everybody on the same page in terms of what our forecast is and our goals.
It's going to be really awesome getting everybody on the same page and implementing Traction. So I would say we’re going to have that one checked off and completely done before the second quarter is even over which is awesome. Number six; generate ten million dollars in e-commerce sales. This really, this number truly is actually 9.7 million is our forecast.
Our forecast for the first quarter was 1.2 million. So basically obviously 1.2 million times four quarters is not ten million, but we knew we were going to be coming out of the gates for the year without any momentum behind us because we didn't have any real new products in the pipeline. We're starting from ground zero. So our January as we forecasted was basically not much better than the previous let's say like October. So we didn't have a lot of momentum.
But our forecast basically was for January 350,000, for February 400,000 and then for March to be at 450,000. And I'm excited to say that we are at one hundred and — something like 104% of our goal. We did over 1.2 million dollars in sales, just over 1.2 million dollars in our first quarter this year. We just had our first $500,000 month ever outside of the holidays.
December is always a softball, but outside of December we had our first $500,000 month at 501,000 in March which is really exciting just to kind of check that off of our list of things to do. Now we got to get a million dollar month in sometime this year to get on our goal of 9.7 million. But for the first quarter we are definitely ahead of schedule which is awesome. But we have some lofty goals for Apr, May, and June. Our forecast basically goes to 500,000 and 600,000, and then I think 650,000.
And I got to be honest, as excited as I am and proud of our team that we've been able to get ahead of schedule up to this point, I am nervous that we're coming a little bit light on being able to get Q2 where we need to be. We'll see what happens. We're definitely on the right track; I just don't know that we're going to be able to put up the numbers that we quite had planned for a couple of different reasons. Number on, as I mentioned the UK really isn't hitting the ground running as hard as I was expecting and hoping.
Number two, unfortunately we still keep on having problems running out of inventory on some products. And it's this one of these damned if you do, damned if you don't things where you have new products that you release, you want to order enough inventory so you don't run out of stock, but you don't want to order too much inventory because of the off chance that you have a failure, what happens then? You're throwing inventory in the trash can or holding on to it forever.
And the products that we've released most recently even though we've ordered what I consider to be a ridiculous amount of inventory to make sure we don't run out, we're still selling more than even our wildest projections which is a great problem to have. But we keep on creating this stutter stop problem of sales running up on a product and we lose our momentum, and have to regain that. And it's really, really difficult really, really frustrating.
We did just hire a full time logistics person, supply chain specialist. He started a week ago Monday; a really brilliant young man that we hope will help with this problem and be on top of the stuff a little bit more. But I am worried that us being out of a couple of key products, top three sellers right in the middle of Q2. We know we're going to run out and not quite get them in time is definitely going to hurt and we'll see what happens.
The next one here is lose 12 pounds in 2018. I’m ahead of schedule in the first six, definitely a little bit behind schedule on this. I feel like this is a constant problem in entrepreneurial life. You end up not taking care of yourself as much as you should and taking care of your business more. A big priority for me through the rest of 2018, something that I talked about at length with my team or my mastermind in Mexico, definitely on the right track there.
I have been especially last month doing a lot better. I have lost a couple pounds but a little bit behind on trying to get to 12 by just a little bit. But I don't know, like I feel like it's not just a weight loss goal as much as a work life balance goal. And as I'm recording this podcast at 8:19 at night right now, that has not been a great balance.
Mostly it's been a decent balance, but leading up to this trip that we’re about to take over to Asia for almost five weeks, there's just too much to get done in a short amount of time. And yeah it's going to be really long hours leading up to getting on the plane. And the thing that's going to be kind of ironic about this is that I'm actually looking forward to the flight to be able to actually relax because it's been that crazy the last couple of weeks. It's actually been pretty stressful.
I usually don't have stress affect me all that much, but it has been stressful. I know right now I have more to get done in the next few days before we leave than is physically capable of being done, and that is definitely frustrating. So number eight, record 100 episodes of the EcomCrew Podcast. Again, another checkmark here. We are right on schedule with that. We've only missed one episode so far the entire first quarter, and that was an unfortunate circumstances where Abby was out the office because I think she was sick or something.
I forgot exactly what happened now. Actually I think maybe she had – that might have been when she had a death in the family. I forgot exactly what the situation was. But totally understandable and we had the podcast recorded but we didn't get it posted. But we are definitely on track to do 100 episodes this year. We had a little bit of wiggle room in there of being able to miss four total episodes. So we're right on schedule with 2018 to get 100 episodes out this year.
Number nine, launch a new version of EcomCrew, definitely really proud of the fact that we have got that up and running. A big, big shout out to Dave [inaudible 00:13:25] for helping us roll that out. The guy is just masterful. The site looks absolutely bloody fantastic, really proud of being a part of this team of Dave and Dave and myself and Abby back in the Philippines. Man, just the site is looking really good.
Now we've got some back end stuff we're working on and we're really looking forward to getting stuff rolled. And as a quick plug for My EcomCrew, a part of this re-launch was My.EcomCrew. You can go to MyEcomCrew.com. It's a free area with a bunch of resources. We launched three free training courses there, all my talks from previous conventions or some hours I've done are all on there. It's a really cool valuable resource.
It's that value first marketing stuff that we do with ColorIt and our other brands; we're doing it with EcomCrew. So go to MyEcomCrew.com and check that out today. Number ten here is launch at least four new courses in 2018. We've already launched two, we have our Building a Seven Figure Brand course. We have Importing from China course. And not much after this podcast gets released; we're getting ready to launch a Amazon course, Launching a Number One Bestseller Amazon course.
We've already basically through the end of April will be at three courses. So I think we can get one more in between May and the end of the year. I say that facetiously because I think we'll get way more than one done and definitely again proud of the team for it. I mean it's not just me by any stretch of imagination. Dave Bryant helps with a lot of recording of the videos and putting the power points together. Dave QA [ph] does all the video editing. Abby is back there working on all the PDFs and materials.
It is definitely a team effort. It is not easy. It is a ton of work. I’m definitely proud of everyone for what they've been able to do there. Go to EcomCrew.com/course to check out all the different courses we have, definitely working on building a lot of really valuable content for our community through paid courses throughout 2018.
Number 11 is speak at four industry events. I've already spoken at Ecommerce Fuel live back in January which was an honor to be able to come back and do that again. I spoke about launching Facebook ads at that event, and I have that recording. It's a little bit of a shaky iPhone recording, but that is in the My EcomCrew, definitely go check that out for free.
And I am about to go on a plane and go speak at Global Sources over in Hong Kong this April. Actually it's already April now, so just – actually it’s in a few days of recording this podcast. And then I go doing something crazy. On May 2nd, I get on an airplane at one o'clock in the morning leaving Guangzhou China. I land later that day on May 2nd in Miami Florida, and the next day I am speaking at Sellers Summit which I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Steve Chou is one of my good friends in the industry. I love hanging out there with not only him but all the other guys that attend that event both speakers and attendees. I’m definitely looking forward to doing that. I just hope I can stay awake, like genuinely worried that I will be so jet lagged that it will be tough to be awake at the event. But I hope to be able to take some [inaudible 00:16:44] or something on the plane and I guess rely on my good old friend coffee throughout the day at the Sellers Summit.
I'll take a nap the week after when I have a few days off, and hopefully it'll be a great event. So that'll be three industry events to speak at, and hopefully somewhere along the way throughout the rest of the year maybe Global Sources would invite me back, or there's also the Rhodium Weekend I'm looking forward to possibly talking at. There's a bunch of other opportunities, possibly Ezra Firestone having me back at Ecommerce All-Stars. I’m not sure exactly what's out there in the cards, but with three done by the end of April, I should definitely be able to get this checked off.
Number 12, hike 80 miles of the PCT. We had that slated for March, pretty mad that this did not happen. I really love hiking, definitely done a bunch of hiking on the weekends on day hikes just going out there and doing stuff whenever it's been nice which is almost all the time here in Southern California. And whenever I've had time I’ve been pretty good about that. But there just wasn't enough time on the schedule to take a week off and do an 80 mile PCT hike.
The trip to Mexico definitely put the kink in that. I wasn't really thinking that through when I made this goal. I don't know how I’m going to fix this. I feel like I have the rest of the year to figure out something, but I don't know exactly how I'm going to get this done. The PCT in particular is not really hikeable in the fall because there's no water left on the trail at that time of the year, and it's just too much to try to bring water with you.
So I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to solve this. It might require getting on a plane and going somewhere else. But I do want to try to get a hike in like this and we’ll see what we can do. Number 13, is taking one epic two plus week vacation. I have already scheduled out. The advice of the mastermind was to have a stop on the radar to have something to look forward to. And we got in August a big trip planned to Europe. It will be at least two weeks if not two and a half weeks.
Looking forward to going over there, and visiting some friends that we have not seen in a long time. The sad part for me is that I've been to 49 countries and I'm really looking forward to having that monster, and a 50 checked off my list. And just I think mentally it's cool to say I've been to 50 countries. It seems so much more baller than 49, but I'm stuck at 49. I just haven't had the opportunity to find something new to go to.
And in my first world problems category that I always joke about that we're going to Western Europe, and I've been to all the Western European countries. So there's no easy way to go visit another country on this trip without having like a ridiculous diversion of a waste of time. So the 50th country is going to have to wait, but I'm not going to wait on the two week vacation. I’m looking forward to August and Western Europe to visit a few different friends, so that should be awesome.
Number 14; visit the Philippines office at least once in 2018. Yeah, getting ready to go on a plane this Saturday, aboard at noon on Saturday. We arrive in the Philippines at 1:00 am Monday morning, and somehow we're going to drag our rear ends into the office on Monday morning and be at the office and spend the entire week with the Philippines team. So I'm looking forward to already checking this off the list in early April.
I love getting these things done sooner than later. And I feel like it'll be a great accomplishment getting out to the Philippines again. It's not easy. It's not close obviously, but I enjoy every minute that I'm with my team over there and really looking forward to that part of the trip.
Number 15, read a book a quarter. I have read a book this quarter. It was Traction, got fully through it. Not only read it but implemented it with my team, really happy and proud of that achievement. It's been a great book so much so that there is going to be an entire series of podcasts dedicated to Traction over the next few weeks. Basically almost the rest of the month of April is going to be dedicated to this topic, really looking forward to playing these podcast episodes down and helping people with this the same way that it's helped me.
I’ll talk more about that obviously as those episodes come up. But definitely be on the lookout for those episodes. My book for the quarter Q2 is going to be Ready Player One, going to read a personal kind of enjoyable book more than a business book. This was something that was a gift from someone to me from the e-commerce community. I'm not going to call them out and embarrass them.
But if you're listening, I really appreciate you buying it. I thought that was very touching. I really appreciate getting that as a gift and that is my project for all this plane travel that we have coming up. Without internet, I think it'll be a good way to clear my mind, have a great book to read. Everyone has recommended this book Ready Player One. So unless something crazy happens, I should have that read easily before the end of Q2 and have two books done for the end of Q2. And I already have a couple of ideas of what I want to read for Q3. And maybe who knows maybe I'll get ahead of schedule and get another book in there at some point.
Hand off Facebook ads to others in the company. I did not expect to be saying this so soon, but we hired an amazing young talent in Madeleine to take over as our digital marketing manager. And she is just kicking butt and taking names. I have already been showing her how to run some Facebook ads and I am very confident by the end of this year she will be running Facebook ads for this company like period.
I think I might meet with her once a week or once a month and just kind of go over high level strategy for our Facebook ads, but I have every bit of confidence that she's going to run a Facebook out for us by the end of this year which is my goal is to be able to hand that off and be able to focus on something else. I don't know what that is yet, but something else that's probably better suited for the CEO of a ten million dollar company. I should not be in there getting my hands dirty day in and day out with every Facebook ad that we run as a company.
Number 17, come up with at least one new tactic that no one else is doing. Definitely have not done that yet, but I am very confident that now that Madeleine who I just mentioned started and we have a digital marketing specialist or manager in place and our team continues to grow, I will have more time to be able to dedicate to dreaming up the wizardry that I do that's kind of my thing.
And one of the things I’ll kind of allude to that Traction talks about is every company needs a visionary and every company needs an implementor, and they are never the same person. And I think that's probably what my mistake has been a good many years of entrepreneurship is I am without a doubt there's not many people that would argue that I'm the visionary in the company and I am not a good implementor when it gets past just being me in a company.
We’re at a situation where we had 20 employees like we do at this point, we need someone else that's a good implementor doing that. And we have that in Jacqueline our COO who has just been crushing it for us. End of story that she is awesome. So, definitely looking forward to getting something done here at number 17.
Number 18; never lose sight of the bigger picture. Make great products that customers truly enjoy while enjoying coming to work every day and ensuring that we are creating jobs and opportunities for our employees to where they're excited to enjoy coming to work too. And this is something that's a big initiative for us in 2018. We'll be talking about our quarterly goals and yearly goals, and three year plan when I get into the whole Traction thing.
But one of the things that's really important to me is first of all making sure that we make products that our customers love. I’m not in the business of making money off of people no matter any cost. I want people to get a product from us and have a positive experience, never think that they've been ripped off or that something they got from us is a piece of junk, and they regret it.
We've all been there. We've all purchased something at some point our lives, been really excited to make the purchase only to regret it later. And I don't want to be that guy, like not a plan of my life or I just do not want to be that guy. The money is not that important to me. I'd rather make someone happy and make a little bit less money. So we work really hard on trying to make really good products that our customers love. It's super important.
And again I’ll go over this Traction. For me it's important to make sure that I and my wife like enjoy coming to work every day. Work is a third or more of our life and it's a big part of our livelihood, and I don't want to be doing something that makes me miserable day in and day out. And there's definitely going to be ups and downs to that. Right now it's a little bit stressful as I said; we're getting ready to go on this big trip, and the hours the last couple of weeks have definitely gone a little bit longer which is frustrating.
But even still, I love what I do. I love coming to work every day, and I need to force myself to love it a little bit less and take care of myself more and do more personal things that we get enjoyment out of as well, which we don't have a shortage of that either. But the work stuff has so much instant gratification. It makes it tough. And I talked about this again in the mastermind just how the tendency of the entrepreneur to get obsessed over one thing like we have been with our business and working on that too.
So that's that next part. And then also like I said, creating jobs and opportunities for our employees to where they're excited to come to work as well. I mean to me they are a part of our family, and I want them to be coming into work every day looking forward to coming into work, not being on the car ride or the bus rider or whatever it might be on the way to the office and just being like, man I can't wait to go home, or I hate this job. I can’t wait to find another job that I like more.
I don't want people thinking that. I've been there before. It's not a pleasant part of life having a job that you don't like. And again I mean work is a third of your life, and I want to make it an enriching experience for our employees at least for the third of their life that I am a part of. I can't control their sleep and I can't control their personal life, but I definitely want to make a great work environment for the people that call Terran their home, which is our parent company that runs this whole show.
So that is our 18 goals. I feel like that 18th one, we are definitely in the wheel house for. I think it's more of a journey than saying, okay, well that's done, and we can move on. Because I don't want to ever move on from that. I think that that last goal is an ongoing thing that will always be there. It's a part of our core values. Again I kind of alluded to Traction. I'll talk more about that as those episodes come out.
So that's going to be it for this episode. I’m going to hit the end button here, and hit the closing of the show. I want to thank you guys for listening. Thank you guys so much for supporting the EcomCrew Podcast. It really means a lot.
And that's a wrap. I want to thank you guys again for listening to episode number 134 of the EcomCrew Podcast. Please go to EcomCrew.com/134. Let me know what you think of our first quarter, what we've done or been able to accomplish. For me I'm really proud of what we've been able to accomplish. It’s not for me, but for our team. I love seeing what they've been able to do, like how far they've come, and what we can accomplish the rest of this year.
It's been an awesome ride so far, looking forward to seeing what the next nine months has in store for us. So again, go to EcomCrew.com/134. Leave us a comment; let us know what you've been working on as well in the first three months of this year. We’d love to hear from you on anything you want to let us know about in the comments. It's always good hearing from EcomCrew members. Again, I want to thank you for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. And until the next one everybody, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.