In this episode, we review our 2020 goals. If you are a new member of Firing the Man Nation, you might want to check out Episodes 6 and 25 where we set our goals and checked their progress. We discuss the lessons learned in accomplishing these goals, whether we were successful or not, and are able to come up with valuable insights that we will carry this new year, 2021.
Let’s dive right in and join us in Firing the Man!
[00:01 – 03:38] Opening Segment
- We introduce our topic for today
- Setting goals and declaring them were new to us
[03:39 – 10:49] Learning is Not Limited to Books
- Ken and I have the same first goal for 2020
- Connect with people and build our networks
- Nothing can beat meeting people personally
- Zoom fatigue is real
- We have been more successful on our second goal
- Ken doubled the size of his team to add value and lessen his workload
- David has been allotting 2 hours per week to learn something new
- Here’s a therapeutic activity from David you might want to try too!
[10:50 – 17:31] Solopreneurs Should Not Be Solo Forever
- Ken has surpassed his 3rd goal of allotting 2 hours weekly to diversify off Amazon
- He was able to diversify for more than 2 hours weekly
- Ken’s tip is to build an “online real estate” first
- David shares how he achieved his 3rd goal of crossing out 1 bottleneck monthly
- Why the biggest bottleneck in his business is himself
- You should not do everything
[17:32 – 27:21] Don’t Forget to Reward Yourself
- Ken is happy to share his 100% top-line growth across e-commerce brands
- Hear from Ken how he did it
- Listen to David’s story about “firing the man!”
- Ken was able to build his email list to 15,000 emails!
- Don’t miss Ken’s tips about setting and accomplishing goals
[27:22 – 29:42] Closing Segment
- Listen to David’s advice on “smelling the roses”
- Final words
“I think as solopreneurs…at some point, you have to transition away from having to do everything or feeling like you have to do everything.” – David Schomer
“[Life] is a journey of challenging yourself. Set a goal and see if you can hit it and learn along the way.” – Ken Wilson
- 6: We Share Our Goals for 2020
- 25: Q2 Review of Our 2020 E-Commerce Goals
- 33: Bookkeeping Basics for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs with Anna Hill, CPA
- 53: Top 5 Episodes in 2020 – A Year in Review
- Armchair Expert
Email us –> firstname.lastname@example.org
I have not fired the man. And I would say, you know, some people may look at our show and say, you know, that’s hypocritical. You have a, you have a show about, you know, firing the man quitting your job and running your own e commerce business. And you know, my response to that is, yes, it is a bit hypocritical, but also like, we want to take people along for the ride.
Sometimes we think that maybe a goal is further out of reach than reality. But, you know, when you put it on paper, and you put your effort into it, then you know, you’re gonna you’re gonna reach even faster, usually. So, yeah, that was that was that is by far the biggest goal that I had set for 2020. And I accomplished it.
We’re constantly like pushing the envelope in terms of like, keep growing, keep doubling, keep scaling by companies more and more and more. And I do think it’s good to stop and smell the roses. And it’s something that I know I need to do a better job of. And it’s been fun to like, watch you. You know, I think not that you haven’t stopped grinding but like, it seems like you know, when you fired man, you took some time off to smell the roses.
Welcome, everyone, to the Firing The Man podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we review our 2020 goals. As you may have listened on episode six, at the beginning of the year, Ken and I set out five goals that we were going to hold ourselves accountable to mid year, you can check out Episode 25, we did a mid year check in to see how we were doing on our goals. Now it’s finally the end of 2020. It’s hard to believe it has been a crazy year. But we’re done. So Ken, how this year before we dive in, broadly speaking, how did this year go?
Yeah, so it went really well. You know, some of the goals I accomplished some of them. I didn’t. Some of it was, you know, I have to take responsibility for some of it was not my fault. But yeah, overall, I’m really happy. And you know, it’s just kind of super helpful to set goals, and then to publicly announce them, right? And then so not only do I have you, you know, breathing down my neck, Ken, what’s up with your goals, then I have the audience to say, Hey, you know, what’s going on here? So I think it’s really, it’s helpful to, you know, plan out, and then, you know, share with people and then you know, hold yourself accountable. So, but overall, really good. How about you, David? Yeah, it
was a pretty good year, I have to admit that this is the first year that I’ve ever written down my goals done a mid year check in. And then at the end of the year, done a formal follow up. I’ve written down goals before, but I don’t think that I have placed as much time and attention to them. And I think as a result, as some of those haven’t panned out the way I would have liked. And so this year has been great. And I’ll tell you, there’s a added bonus of announcing them to the entire firing demand nation in that, you know, obviously you can are going to keep me accountable, but the audience is out there as well. So, yeah, I would say at the beginning of 2020, I would have never expected the year to go the way as but there’s definitely been some positives, there’s been some negatives. And so looking forward to this episode. So what was your first goal of 2020?
Okay, so the first goal that I had, for 2020 was attend at least three conferences on e commerce, and I had a couple of them listed at brand accelerator live and craft and commerce. Well, this is one of the goals where it was kind of out of my control, you know, pandemic hit, and March and so literally every every conference for the rest of the year was was canceled. So I did however, attend one virtual conference, you know, I went to a brand accelerator live virtual, and it was it was helpful. You know, however, I you know, there was a lot of these summits out there, right, like this, you know, blah, blah summit, all of these virtual events, and I was just not wasn’t a huge fan of that, right. Like, I like to go and interact with people to be in an environment to have that energy just to be surrounded with like minded people, and you don’t get that with the virtual event. So I just didn’t like I didn’t like the summit and, and, you know, it’s like I have so much other stuff to work on, to take carve out two or three days to hear 29,000 speakers on all these topics, like I’m not going to absorb all that. And I didn’t enjoy the environment. So I would say you know, this one, you know, the, definitely I don’t take full accountability for the pandemic, but I did, I did do one virtual conference. So you know, I am looking forward to 2021 or I think can get back into that,
for sure, for sure.
So David, what was your first goal?
It was to attend three conferences on e commerce and attend one virtual conference. Now I can check the box on the virtual conference, but very similar to you did not attend the conferences. Now, here’s where I don’t feel like this was a complete failure. I did supplement with having conversations with probably 15 other sellers in the space. And that has been through masterminds. It’s been largely this podcast, but you know, if I think about, what do I get out of a networking event, it is to you know, meet people hear about what’s working, what’s going well in their business. And I feel like I was able to supplement that in these interactions with other people. Now, I too, am really looking forward to, you know, getting back to these in person conferences, you just can’t You can’t beat them. And I would say to any of our listeners that are thinking about or are on the fence about going to a live conference once the world reopens, I do it, definitely do it. I have never regretted the money I’ve spent or the time that I’ve spent going to some of these conferences. It’s it’s great to meet other people in the industry. I too. I got zoom fatigue this year. And I think that’s a real thing. You know, zoom. Like, you know exactly what I mean by that. Right? Yeah, you know, zoom meetings can totally eat up a day. And man, it seems like everyone every call starts off the same like a Dan, your microphones muted. Hey, can you guys hear me and it’s just obnoxious. And so I you know, do I think zoom meetings are going to continue on into the future, of course. But boy, am I excited for the world to reopen post COVID. So anyway, it seems like we’re both, you know, kind of had a similar outcome there. What was your second goal?
Yeah, so I definitely agree with you that the zoom is, I’m zoomed out, and ready for for change. So moving along. My second goal was, I wanted to build my team from three and a half to seven. So basically doubling it. Now this one, as I, as we review these, I, you know, sometimes we often forget why we do something, or why we don’t do something. And I’ve and we also change along the way, you know, it’s a process and I think I’ve changed this goal a little bit, RF changed the way I think about it, to not just, you know, have more of a of a vanity to like, hey, I’ve doubled my team, I have X amount of employees, and more or less to now it’s like, hey, how can I add value and and decrease what I’m doing and surround myself with people that will, will support the team and move the needle? Right? So I’ve changed it a little bit. So I currently have five people. So I but I also let go somebody and then brought someone else new. And so but all the five people have a direct purpose. And it’s not just scaling to scale. Right? So I definitely want to continue to scale but but strategically, not just numbers, like Hey, where, you know, are we at max capacity somewhere? Okay, let’s bring someone in to help that out. Or do we have a gap somewhere that we really needed expertise, and let’s bring somebody in, versus just scaling to scale. So I would say it was I didn’t hit my number that I was striving for. But I’ve kind of changed along the way. And but I did increase. So right now I’m at I’m at five, including myself. So David, what’s your second goal?
So my second goal was to carve off two hours per week for learning. And I have definitely accomplished this one, I would say it’s probably been closer to like eight or 10. And one thing that I’ll say about this is oftentimes when people think about learning, they’re thinking about, you know, sitting at a desk and reading a textbook, right? That, you know, in academics, that is how you do your learning. And I have read a fair amount of books this year, however, I have found some different ways to learn. And one of them is through podcasts. And you know, I’ve always been listening to podcasts, but I if you look at you know, my library, there’s a lot of stand up comedians, there’s a lot of entertainment, I would say just more like more garbage material or like just something that I listened to, to unwind. But man, I found a lot of really good podcasts out there that are ecommerce specific. And so I made a rule that if I was listening to a podcast, and it was before noon, that it was going to be something educational, and if it was after, you know, 12pm then it was going to be something that I enjoyed, you know, you can’t totally let go that you can’t be a robot but, and I would say one thing that that I did add, which is kind of odd and eclectic, but I really like to chop wood. I find it therapeutic. And there’s just something that’s totally alpha about that activity. And so probably once a week for the last six months, I will, you know, put on a good podcast go out and split words. And, you know, getting some exercise fill my brain with some knowledge and, and I really enjoyed that. So I would say, you know, in academics traditional model is to just sit down and put your face in a textbook and you know, that knowledge is going to soak in to your brain. And I would say, you know, if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably like listening to podcasts. And so know that learning doesn’t have to happen in a book and can you know, come from audio books or podcasts or other mediums?
Nice. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great that you’re kind of you kind of even expanded on that and and achieved it. That’s, that’s good. And all that wood chopping keep you warm, too. So
that’s right. Abraham Lincoln said, If you chop your own wood, it it heats you twice.
Oh, nice. That is good. Yeah, that’s, you’re doubling up. Right? That’s right. All right. All right. My third goal, allocate two hours per week on diversification off of Amazon. So you know, both both of my current brands are Amazon centric, right. And that adds a lot of that’s a liability, you know, one sales channel. So I, that goal is completed, i and i would say i probably allocated more than two hours per week, you know, I’ve added one of my major wins, I’ve added the Etsy sales channel, you know, David was like, Hey, can you should check out this? Etsy, I think it would be a good fit for one of your brands. And I was like, Okay, let me check this out. Well, you know, Etsy is now a six figure sales channel for one of my brands. And, and that was achieved by spending time, you know, trying to diversify off of Amazon. I’ve also added eBay in the process of adding Walmart, and I have really built out a websites that then I focused on conversion optimization, and traffic generation SEO. So I focused on a lot of that stuff, and it’s really starting to pay off, you know, the pie chart of my sales channels, Amazon used to be 100% of the pie chart. Now it’s down there pushing that 90%. So it’s moving in the right direction, I really want to see that kind of move down to that 50 60% range. So this goal was accomplished.
Definitely. Now, let me ask you this, if one of our listeners is saying, hey, that sounds like a good goal, I want to do that next year. What has been one diversification move that you’ve made, that you think has paid the biggest dividends? Obviously, Etsy has been a good move for your brand. But, you know, if someone wanted to diversify, do you think their own website makes sense? Do you think, you know, adding some of these eBay? Walmart makes sense? What do you think?
So above anything else, if you don’t have a website for your brand, that would be number one. So you definitely want to have your own online real estate. so to speak, right? You want to get your domain, you want to put up a website and you want to, you want to have a store that you can sell your products to that are independent, Etsy is still an external sales General, and they can shut me down. If you have your own website, you know, you’re not going to get shut down unless you don’t pay the bills. Right. So your website would be top of the list, and then getting into SEO and content and paid ads and stuff like that. But yeah, number one is your website, David.
Sorry to interrupt the episode, you may have heard Ken and I talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed it, the back end of my Amazon account, going back 18 months, and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is, it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake, and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee, they only charge a commission if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to www.getida.com and enter promo code FTM for firing the man FTM 400. This is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode. My next goal was to get one thing off my plate per month that is creating a bottleneck. And I’ve talked about this many times on the show, but I am the biggest bottleneck in my business. You know, I think that has to do with a kind of I’m a little bit of a control freak that, you know, I want everything to run through me. And you know, for instance, if I have somebody write a listing, I’m always proofing it. If I have someone do infographics, I’m always providing feedback. And so this has been something that I do think I’ve done a good job of this year. Things that come to mind are getting a bookkeeper, you know, I’m a CPA and that was something that I always felt like was a natural task for me, but I hated it and I was doing a very bad job of it. And I went out and I hired a professional bookkeeper, and that is just made a tremendous difference in my business. You know getting timely information. The people that are doing my books, our e commerce focused, check out our episode with Anna Hill, that’s who I’m talking about, she’s done a tremendous job. So that’s probably in terms of things that I’ve got off my plate that has probably freed up the most time, I also have hired another virtual assistant, which has been a good move. And you know, they started in part time capacity and now are moving more towards full time capacity. And they are, I would say I paying them right now what you pay an experienced level person. And so I think a lot of people, especially in the Amazon space, they’ll go to online jobs.ph, they’ll hire somebody for six or seven bucks an hour. And this person that I brought on this year, I’m paying significantly more than that. But boy is the juice worth the squeeze. I mean, he’s, he has five years of experience, he is really good, and just managing my overall Amazon account. And I can say that, you know, paying a little more for that person has freed up a ton of my time. And so, I don’t know, Ken, have you found that to be true in terms of like, going for the lowest cost provider versus, you know, paying somebody a little more?
Yeah, absolutely. And also, I think it depends on the task, you know, like, if you just need to hire somebody for just a kind of a small repetitive task, you know, online jobs.ph might be good. If you want someone to help out with some high level tasks and provide some input and, and some experience, you’re gonna, you’re gonna, you’re gonna pay, you know, like what you said, the juice is worth squeeze. Right. So, yeah, I thought I have found the same. If you you know, pay more, you get more?
Definitely, definitely. And so yeah, I would say that that hire has freed up quite a few, you know, quite a bit of my time to focus on other things, you know, this is something that I need to continue doing, it is going to be on my 2021 goals list. Because I think as solopreneurs, you start off, you’re doing everything, and that mindset is sticky. It stays with you. And at some point, you need to transition away from, you know, having to do everything or feeling like you have to do everything. And, and so I think that, you know, as you’re going through the different stages of growth, there needs to be a big pivot there in mindset. And I’d say I’m like, I’m mid pivot. I haven’t made it yet. But I’m recovering. I’m on my way.
Nice. Yeah, I yeah, definitely agree that there’s a pivot at some point where you reach a point where you reach a ceiling of what you can do, right? And then you’ll you have to ask, Who is going to do that? Not how am I going to do that? Yeah. So moving along my next goal 100%, top line growth across econ brands. And I’m happy to say that that goal was accomplished, you know, ecommerce, it, I get the, you know, depending on what space you’re in, what what niche, you’re in an e commerce, you’ve likely done very well, unless you’re in you know, travel or something like that. Maybe you’re not doing as well. Luckily, I’m very fortunate that both of my brands are you know, they did really well. So the 35% 45% increase in e commerce has translated to my brand. So 100%, top line growth cross econ brands, that goal is it was accomplished. So yeah, super excited about that. And very fortunate. David, what’s your next one?
So this was the last goal that I had. And I’m gonna This is embarrassing to say, I’m just gonna preface this statement with this. Back on episode six, I had written down on my goals that I wanted to fire the man by December 31 2020. And I if you go back and you listen to that episode, you will notice that I do not say that. I remember when we were recording, I said can I I feel uneasy about saying that, about throwing that out there. And there was a number of reasons for that one, I didn’t want somebody for my company to hear about it, too. I wasn’t confident that I was able to do it. And that has haunted me that has haunted me it’s not announcing that and we’re going to record our 2021 goals. And this is going to be a goal that that I carry over to next year and so I have not fired the man and I would say you know some people may look at our show and say you know that’s hypocritical you have a you have a show about you know, firing the man quitting your job and running your own e commerce business. And you know, my response to that is yes, it is a bit hypocritical but also like we want to take people along for the ride. And this is a goal that I did not accomplish this year. What I will say is that I have put things in motion and I am a lot closer as we stand here today in December recording this than I was in January when I was a coward and did not announce this goal to the group. And so you know, watching you fire the man after having the show for six months was super inspirational. And I want you to know I I am committed to this goal. And but you No, there’s a lesson learned here. Sometimes things take longer than you anticipate. I also think, I don’t know if you believe in this, but I think when you say something out loud to a large group of people, when you put it out to the universe, the universe response, I did not put this goal out to the universe. And I think that, you know, knowing that the firing the band nation did not hear this as one of my goals. I think that’s one of the reasons that as I sit here in December, I still am employed by the man. And so anyway, that’s a long winded ramble about Goal number five, but Mark my words 2021, I will be firing the man,
that’s awesome. And, and it, and I would definitely give you props for being vulnerable, and sharing your story with, you know, with the audience, because that’s not that’s, that’s hard to do. Right. And, you know, you and I, when we started the podcast, it was it was to document our journey on firing man, right. So, but yeah, I’m super proud of you in the process, and to share that with the audiences. Now. That’s huge. And I’m really looking forward to 2021 I think it’s gonna have some some big things in the future. So
definitely, now this next goal can I’m just gonna say from an outsider looking in, you have crushed it. So what was this next goal?
Yeah, so the next one, build my email list to 25,000 for one of my brands. And so I started the year, I don’t even know if I had an email list. If I did, it was just a few 100. And so I’m finishing the year at 15,000. So a really happy I didn’t hit the 25,000 mark, maybe I set that too high. Maybe I didn’t. But it was achievable. But there you know, it, that was one of the goals where I wanted to be uncomfortable with setting it really high and, and to and to go for it. And it was one of those where I learned along the way, a lot of things that’s going to help me in the future. And it was a little bit more difficult than what I thought. But that is that is life knows that journey of challenging yourself, hey, set a goal and see if we can hit it and learn along the way. But yeah, so so I’ve finished a year at right around 15,000. Which on this goal I have listed on here. It’s it’s why like, why would I want to grow my email list. And this goal is really pay dividends for my company we talked about earlier about diversification off of Amazon, this plays a key role in that, you know, like if you have your website, you can direct people to get your own sales. And so this list of 15,000 people that I had, I ran a Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale, generated several $1,000 in sales on my website. Now back in January, when I had a few 100 people like in my website was not optimized, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. So this email list is a huge asset moving forward. And that’ll continue to build. It’s almost like a machine where it’s when it when it gets rolling, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. So I’m really excited about what I’ve achieved on that goal. I didn’t get 25,000. But I got 15,000. And I’m really happy with it.
So where did you start the year at?
I think I had a few 100 or a few 1000. Like it was really it was really small.
Okay, check out Episode 53, where Ken does a incredibly deep dive on exactly how he did this. He walks you step by step how to create lead magnets and how to create an email list. Not just have any emails, but have very solid and relevant emails. And so you know, the thing that I like about this is if you wanted to get to 25,000, you could go online and buy a list of 25,000 junk emails what I’d say like not relevant. But what as you have been, it’s a highly curated list of people that are very interested in your products. And so not only are they emails, but they’re high quality emails.
Yeah, exactly. So I do have your right. So I’ve had a lot more people on the list than 15,000. But but the list is curated. So I have a sequence a welcome sequence that comes in. And it’s about, I think I have it up to like 15 emails now. And all of these 15,000 have been through that 15 email, welcome sequence. So if they were going to unsubscribe if they weren’t interested in what I had to offer, they’re off the list already. So this is a highly curated list, you know, really good open rates that
I’m done trying to increase. So Ken, before you go into your last goal, I want you to say that when you set this in January, I thought man that is setting this goal. He’s putting it out to the universe. boy do I admire him and watching you follow through on this one has been absolutely inspirational. So Ken, what was your last goal?
So the last goal that I had was fire the man by December 31 2020. And you know, at at that time, that was a tall order, but you’re right, like when you put something out there, you’re like oh shit, I’m gonna have to hold myself accountable. And it was something that I’ve been working towards for For a while, and one of the reasons that I wanted to start the podcast, you know, it was like, Hey, this is like what you and I are striving to do. And yeah, it had to be a goal of mine, like I had to, I had to put that out there, like, I’m trying to do this. Now I’m gonna put it out there, and just let the chips fall, right. And so in June of 2020, I fired the man. And it was pretty amazing. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, to be honest with you, in January, when we set these, I had no idea how I was going to do that. Well, in March, I hired a business coach. And I started setting out laying out all of my plans that I had in my head and everything that I pulled from my business coach, and I came up with a plan, it was actually a six month plan that I expedited, and two, I believe, four months or three months, and so it was even quicker than I had ever imagined. Like, sometimes we think that maybe a goal is further out of reach than reality. But, you know, when you put it on paper, and you put your effort into it, then you know, you’re gonna you’re gonna reach even faster, usually. So, yeah, that was that was that is by far the biggest goal that I had set for 2020. And I accomplished it. So that’s another thing I want to kind of bring up here as David as you and I go through these goals and all the listeners, you know, one thing that I really learned this year that I was not good at, I’m still not that good at it, but I’m getting better is to take a pause, you know, when you set goals, and you achieve them, pause and and like reward yourself and like just kind of think about what you’ve accomplished. And let it soak in, it feels good. And it’s kind of that route, you know, even reward yourself with with something, you know, whether it’s time or buy yourself something, whatever. And you build that that feedback cycle, that loop of setting a goal, accomplishing it, then rewarding yourself saying a goal accomplishing rewarding yourself. And that’s something that I’ve learned this year, that’s really powerful. I’ve never tried that before. I did it this year. And I’m going to continue to build that out in 2021. So, you know, if you’re setting goals at home, you know, set them, accomplish them, make a plan, accomplish them. And then take a pause, you know, let it soak in what you’ve accomplished, reward yourself and then set more goals. Definitely. You know, the
thing that comes to mind when you say that is I was listening to an interview with Dec Shepherd armchair expert, I think he was interviewing Jason Bateman. And DAX recently directed a movie that just did not do that well and box off in the box office. And he’s really disappointed about that. He talks about it all the time on his podcast. And Jason said, you know, imagine talking to your five year old self and say, Hey, when you’re older, you’re gonna make movies, like that five year old kid would be thrilled. And I thought that was just really good perspective. You know, we’re constantly like pushing the envelope in terms of like, keep growing, keep doubling, keep scaling by companies more, more more. And I do think it’s good to stop and smell the roses. And it’s something that I know I need to do a better job of. And it’s been fun to like, watch you. You know, I think not that you haven’t stopped grinding but like, it seems like you know, when you fired man, you took some time off to smell the roses. And, and when I fire the man in 2021 you hear that universe in 2021 I’m gonna be doing the same thing. And so I think it’s good to continue to elevate our goals. But yeah, stop and smell the roses.
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s Firing The Man Podcast. If you like this episode, head on over to www.firingtheman.com And check out our resource library for exclusive firing demand discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is www.firingtheman.com/resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at Firing The Man on YouTube at Firing The Man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out
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