I achieved all four of my intended financial goals for 2014, including the Version 2 and 3 Targets. Yes that's right...... I'm awesome! During my end of year review I found that I've become very strong at managing money. Once I have money in my possession, I'm very good at saving/investing it and I choose not to spend it on the normal consumer items. It also highlighted that I'm currently very average at making money. My income is above the national average (approx £30,000 per year), but it's far from strong. My 'side hustles' are making an impact, but if I was able to make more money from them, my investments, dividend income and time to become FI would all benefit from the back end.
I've decided to make 2015 The Year Of Making Money. I might be average at making money at the moment, but I have a lot of confidence in my ability to set Goals and to achieve them. If I set my mind to something, I can usually accomplish it. If I'm unable to achieve it, it's probably someone else's fault. Like I said, I'm pretty damn awesome! ;-)
My 2015 goals are across all the areas in my life, and some of them are quite ambitious for me. I review my progress in each area on a weekly basis (every Sunday). I consider what's worked, what hasn't, what do I need to do to keep on track, and then I make any necessary adjustments for the week ahead. I'll now be posting a 'Goal Update' on a Monthly and Quarterly basis on this Blog to show my progress on each area and to keep me on track.
Without further ado, grab yourself a hot drink and settle in. Here we go........
I will earn at least £50,000 in income by 31 December 2015
I need to earn £4,166 per month, every month, to be on track by the end of the year. This month I earned £2,556.02 income. Last year I averaged £2,030.95 income between March - December 2014, so this was a high income month for me.
My average Income in 2015 has taken a much needed step up from last month. It was £1,857 and is now £2,031.95. Even with the increase, it's still less than half of the required amount for my target, and we're almost half way through the year. I won't write this target off until I'm in November, and I'd say realistically (not pessimistically) that it's unlikely at this stage. This is an outcome goal, and I just need to focus on the things that influence it - such as Kindle, Dividends, my employment, and new streams, and we'll see what happens. Behind Target
I will earn at least £1,000 per month creating and selling Kindle e-books by 31 December 2015
I want to earn £1,000 in a month by the end of December 2015. In April I had 15 books on sale. I made approximately £181.16 in direct book sales. More recently, I established that with Kindle Unlimited (KU) downloads included, I had increased that estimated earnings to £243.17 for the month. When you consider KU sales in previous months, I made approximately £102.05 in March and £51.47 in February, so I'm really pleased with the way my income is increasing month to month. My mid month projections for May look to be around the £350 when considering KU. This will be the first month that I haven't doubled my earnings which was inevitable, but the month to month growth is around the 44% mark, and I'd happily take that number moving forward.
My best selling book has helped tremendously over the month. It brought in £74.31 in April, which is it's first full month on sale. The book cost was £71.45, so I made a 100% ROI in less than 4 weeks, which is outstanding. I now have 3 out of the 15 books that have paid themselves off, and I'm hoping that number will continue to increase.
Based on estimates, my 15 books earned £243.17, which is £16.21 per book. If I continue with this ROI for 50 books, I'll earn approx £810.50 a month.
I mentioned last month that I was going to spend some time converting my ebooks to paperbacks via CreateSpace (an Amazon Partner). This process is easy to do, and I've made progress, but I still haven't managed to put one out on the market yet. I'm hoping that I'll be in a position to before the end of May. I've hired my first voice artist who's currently recording the audio for my Marathon book on Amazon's other partner ACX. He's agreed to do the same for my Triathlon book as well. I'd like to put all of my book on audio as well as paperback to appeal to more people. On Track
I will have a ‘Freedom Fund’ worth over £50,000 by 31 December 2015.
I had a great start to this Goal at the start of the year, due to my First Direct Regular Saver payout, but I've been unable to maintain that level of increase. At the end of March it was worth £30,509.62. The Freedom Fund was worth £32,116.30 at the end of April. That leaves me with £17,883.70 to go in 8 months or £2,235 per month. That amount is more than my current average income, never mind taking into consideration my expenses. I'll require some significant help from Kindle and the good old stock market to put me back on track with this one. Behind Target
I will receive £2,000 in dividend income by 31 December 2015
I recently made a post on my Dividend Income for April. I received an amount your nan might shout out whilst you're playing darts - £101.80!
My monthly average dropped as a result to a more mature/boring total of £103.46 after 4 months. To hit my Goal, I'll need to bring in £167 per month over 12 months. This looks like a big ask, based on a third of the year passing already and the amount I need to increase. However, some BIG dividend months are coming up in May and June and I'm hoping to be closer to the desired average at that point. My forward dividends still don't cover this amount at the moment, so I'm relying on bringing in additional capital (via Kindle sales) to fund more investments, to get a higher forward dividend income. I feel more confident about this one than I do with my total income amount for 2015. Behind Target
I will create and sell at least 50 Kindle e-books on Amazon by 31 December 2015
I want to publish at least 4 books a month as a minimum standard. I achieved this during March
but I just fell short for April. At the end of the month I had 15 books selling (1 short). I've made less progress in April and even less in May, which is largely down to writing my own book, exploring CreateSpace and ACX avenues.
If I were FI or had more time during the week, I would have probably hit this goal already. But if your aunt had balls she'd be your uncle, right! I still have 5 books unedited and not selling on Amazon as I haven't allocated time to work on them. I could also not experiment with my own writing, CreateSpace and ACX. All of which would help push my book count up. However, would it push my income up more than not trying these options? Who knows?!
I'm willing to try them out and see for myself. Most Kindle publishers push the benefits of CreateSpace and ACX, as you've already paid for the writing. Actually, I haven't heard a downside to doing them. They won't earn as much as the books, but it just allows you to earn more off the material you've produced and paid for, so why not!
My own book is more of a gamble, but I feel passionately about it, and I've enjoyed the process. I'm desperate to get my work out there and the thought of helping other people with it is driving me on. It might flop big time on the sales front, and it's largely out of my hands, so I don't want to think of it as an income generator just yet. I'll report my earning breakdown so you can see how it compares to my Kindle publishing.
I think this one will go to the wire and if I don't make it, I certainly won't lose any sleep over it. I'd happily take £2,000 monthly income and have 25 books out there, than 50 books earning £500. Behind Target
I will become a money coach in 2015. I will have three separate ‘trial sessions’ with people I know and three separate ‘paid sessions’ with people I don’t know by 31 December 2015
I haven't made any further progress with this Goal this month, and I'm happy with that. I'd like to continue improving my Kindle business for the time being. On the coaching front, I'm actually getting some coaching myself from a successful Kindle Publisher. He's reputed to be earning over $10,000 per month, and has a goal to achieve $15,000 per month. I'd happily take a fraction of his success, and yet I see no reason to why it wouldn't be possible for me to achive the same goal with the knowledge and time - I have the desire! I believe the coaching will only improve my performance, but it should help provide a platform of how to coach which I take on myself. On Track
I will hit 100% of my Bonuses (three in total) for 2015
Part one done!
The annual target is looking very good, and I'm expecting to hit it at the end of June/early July.
The final bonus is based on how I perform as a manager and there are many factors that fit within it. This one is subjective, and ultimately it's my managers decision. I remain optimistc about how I'm doing as a manager. I know I'm not perfect, and there's an argument that I shouldn't therefore qualify to get 100%, but I'll keep on doing what I can and leave it up to 'The Man'. I just need to keep showing consistency in these areas now until August to eliminate any doubt. On Track
I will help all 7 people in my team develop by supporting them achieve at least one personal goal – Attend a course / get a promotion / hit a personal target etc by 31 December 2015.
Still early days on this Goal as most are performance based, and I'll have a better idea in a few months or in some cases in December. Nothing new on this front. On Track
I will record my daily macro-nutrients in a nutrition diary for at least one month.
I managed to achieve this goal in January. COMPLETED!!
I will squat 175kg, I will Bench 120kg, and Deadlift 200kg
My groin injury is present, but much better. I've started squatting again finally. I realistically have too much to do on this, unless I drastically change my routine. I'd need to put on significant bodyweight and reduce my cardiovascular training, which I'm unwilling to do now. My deadlift is in a similar position. My aim is to get them close to what I could do at the end of last year prior to the injury, but for now, I'm just thankful for doing it. My Bench Press is increasing nice and slowly, and I think that target is looking good. I've added a couple of new goals to my list for physical. Behind Target - Squat/ DL
On Track - Bench Press
I will perform a one arm pull up, 25 full range pulls and a one-motion bar muscle up by 31st December 2015
With my lack of lower body training, I've been trying new things with my upper body - specifically gymnastics and calisthenics. My pull ups are increasing nicely, and I'd like to achieve something only a few humans can - a one arm pull up. In order to get to that level, I need to be able to do approx 25 full range pull ups. I haven't tested myself yet, but I think I'm around 15-17 right now.
The bar muscle up is when you can do a pull up down to your waist (not chin), and then transfer into pressing yourself over the bar. See it like someone pulling themselves out of a pool. You do a pull up followed by a press. A one-motion muscle up is doing it without slowing or stopping, from dead hang to full lock out on top of the bar. On track
I will perform a morning ritual, which lasts at least 10 mins, every weekday morning for the whole of 2015. (260 morning rituals)
I wanted to complete 22 morning rituals this month, and I competed 10 in the end. So far I'm 64/84.
So, why the drop off? it's been a slow transition off them. I can't say there's a particular reason behind it, I've just opted to get up and start working right away rather than focusing on certain morning tasks. I can't say that I feel better off for not doing them, and I don't feel a big drop off in my well-being for neglecting them either.
I've noticed that I've incorporated the breathing exercises, meditation, gratitude, and organising at work and even on the weekend, which is a good sign.
I have to be honest and say I don't feel too bad for getting behind on this one. Ultimately I feel very happy. I know that if I do them I feel good, but I don't feel bad for not doing them. I don't want to write and commit to improving it in May and future months, as I haven't so far and I'm fine with that. Behind Target
I will perform a weekly review, on the weekend, for the whole of 2015. (52 weekly reviews)
I love these sessions, but unfortunately they've dropped off too. I haven't done one since 29th March.
I have missed them and I plan on re-implementing them. I'm currently 14/18.
What happened here? My Mastermind sessions on a Sunday evening were replacing them, and initially I was working on both. Since I starting writing the book, I've prioritised work over myself and I haven't been doubling up. The mastermind group has also had a few breaks on the Sunday and now that I've been out of the habit of the weekly summary, I've just not even thought about them.
I put a lot of value in these reflection sessions, and I plan on doing it again this Sunday to get back in the swing of things. On Track
I will have at least a date and location organised for our wedding by 31 December 2015
No change! This is a lower priority Goal of mine at the moment. Sorry Lou. I still love you! In all honesty, I'll probably look at this goal after July/August time. Behind Target
I will go on two holidays with Miss FFBF for at least two nights each by 31 December 2015
No change. I still haven't taken any action on this goal. We're going to use one holiday for the UK Gathering in York in the summer - Lucky Lou! No other progress made here. Behind Target
I will visit three long distant friends - JB, RF and JD by 31 December 2015
No progress made here. Lower priority goal and easy to achieve. Behind Target
I will have at least one ‘guy only' night a month for the whole of 2015. (12 ‘Guy Only’ nights)
Night 4 was fun. We reverted back to a poker night, as it went down well earlier in the year. One of the other guys decided to host it this time. There was an endless supply of food, snacks and wine. It was fantastic!
I brought around a bottle of wine for the host to say thanks. I usually buy bottles that have been reduced to half price for myself around the £4-6, and I found a nice bottle that was £6 from £12. I'll take that. The host used to own a house in France, and was a regular bulk buyer of the wine over there. I've never seen so many bottles in a house before. He nonchalantly popped a cork of a 2001 variety and passed me the bottle. It was out of this world, and kicked the as of my half price 2013 contribution!
I got my ass handed to me in the poker too unfortunately, and one chap cleaned us out by winning both lengthy games. On Track
I will contribute at least £250 towards charity for by 31 December 2015
We had 3 runners from work running the London Marathon so I chipped in with a contribution there. I ended up contributing £34 towards the cause, and my grand total is now up to £97.88. I want to be ahead of £125 by the end of June and it looks like I'm on track to achieve that. On Track
I will have 150,000 all time page views on my Blog by 31 December 2015
At the end of April, this Blog had 83,627 all time views. I'm just ahead of where I need to be now. On Track
I will consistently average over 10,000 page views a month by 31 December 2015
In April I had 12,259 page views. This is my new PB! I didn't post as frequently during April, but I'm encouraged by the number increase. May's numbers are understandably lower, as I haven't posted very frequently. I remain positive that I can achieve this one. On Track
I will publish 120 posts by 31 December 2015. (10 per month)
I managed to publish 8 posts in April. This is just behind what I need to stay on track with my goal. You've probably all noticed that Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat over the last couple of months for me. Blogging is important to me and I thoroughly enjoy the process. My Kindle publishing has taken control of my time, and I'm comfortable with that. I'm hoping that Kindle will allow me to leave my 9-5 job for good, and I'll be in a position to write much more regularly. Blogging will take many years to achieve the same goal, if it's even possible for me.
I'm trying to track my progress on the Blog as a minimum, and if I'm able to share my thoughts or ideas, then it's a bonus. I'm just going to keep plugging away with this one. Behind Target
I will organise two UK Gathering for FI/PF Bloggers and readers by 31 December 2015
1 down and 1 to go. SoA Gathering was outstanding and I can't wait until the next one - York!
I've released the date, and I need to spend some time in June reviewing potential locations.
I'll do another one in Autumn for the London and South East folk, and look to continue doing them next year. On Track
I will happily start and build Email list for Blog by 31 December 2015
I'm continuing to see great progress in some areas and backwards steps in others. Overall I'm very happy with how things are going as I feel I'm moving in the right direction.
How was April/May for you? What actions have you taken in 2015? Are you heading in the right direction?
Labels: Dividend Growth Investing, Dividend Income, Early Retirement, Financial Independence, Frugal Living, Goals, Kindle Publishing, Monthly Goal Update, Personal Development, Strategy