By Anthony McDougle, January 29, 2016

First off, let’s get this out of the way: I don’t believe in “New Year’s Resolutions.” The entire concept irks me; it implies that you just meander about the rest of the year, no goals in mind, getting nothing done… then BAM! January 1 comes around and you feel like you need to accomplish something – anything! – just because it’s the first day of a new year.

Instead, I prefer to try and spend my life in a constant state of self-improvement. In fact, if I’m not actively putting in some kind of effort towards achieving my goals, I end up getting stressed out and frustrated with life. Doing nothing for extended periods of time isn’t relaxing to me at all! I always have a bunch of goals and I’m almost always working hard to achieve them.

The problem, however, is that I didn’t accomplish much in December! I put The Benefit X-Change on hold; I took some time off from my day job; I even stopped eating healthy. Sure, it was nice to sit around and just let myself enjoy good times and good food with my friends and family during the holiday season, but now that’s over and I’m feeling a little bit behind. It’s time to start getting things done again!

So, with that in mind, I’ve spent some time re-evaluating where I’m at and what I need to accomplish in the coming months.

Where I’m At

I have several long-term goals (business/career-oriented as well as personal) that I’ve been working on for a few years now. And despite working hard, it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those moments of huge success – and because of that, sometimes it feels like I’m going nowhere! However, it’s important to keep in mind that the little victories do add up, so I need to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished when I start getting frustrated with my progress.

While I do have goals in all aspects of my life, many are outside of the scope of this blog – so I’m going to avoid talking about my physical/fitness, spiritual, and relationship/social goals for now.

1. The Benefit X-Change is Live!

The Benefit X-Change is currently my biggest project, and I’ve been focused on it for a while. It’s the first big business I’m hoping to build, and if successful, will be the first real stepping stone on my path to escaping the nine-to-five lifestyle.

And it’s live!

Last year, we were able to actually complete the “beta” version and launch the product. Of course, having a “beta” version isn’t enough to quit my job and go at it full time, but the launch did bring in a bit of cash, and we actually have customers and a bit of recurring revenue! It’s not much, but it is huge to have a product that’s actually selling!

Additionally, the code is complete on the “production version” and we’re just about ready for our next launch. The last launch brought some initial profits, and with a more complete product and a better grip on internet marketing, we should be able to have an even bigger launch this time!

I’ve got a post in mind detailing “product launches,” so you can look forward to that sometime in the near future!

Unfortunately, one of the reasons I was sitting idle in the month of December was because the coding piece is complete. Due to the constantly-changing nature of the Obamacare laws, we need to be absolutely sure we’re doing everything correctly on the back-end – so there’s a bunch of administrative stuff that needs to happen (most of which doesn’t even involve me) before we can hit the ground hard with our marketing campaign.

2. I’m Officially a Landlord!

Yes, I actually have an income-generating rental property!

I actually bought this property a while back, planning to live in it for a while (and get it rent-ready) before moving and renting it out.

Well, early last year, I was finally ready – and in March, I was able to get a tenant to move in!

Furthermore, I’ve lucked out – he’s been a fantastic tenant! He’s a responsible guy, he’s put his rent on auto-pay each month, and he doesn’t call me in the middle of the night to change a light bulb. I’ve made a consistent profit since he’s moved in – even with having to make a few repairs along the way. Since renting the property out, I’ve probably spent a grand total of about an hour of work (mostly just calling repairmen to get them to head over and fix something) and I’ve netted an average of about $400 extra each month. Of course, if I need to find a new tenant in March, or a big, expensive repair comes up, that will obviously drag down my average.

The important thing, however, is that I’ve taken that first step – and it only gets easier from here!

What I’m Going to Accomplish

In the coming months, I need to make sure to accomplish something new, to try and raise the bar on my business and financial goals. Unfortunately, while The Benefit X-Change is on hold, I’m sitting idly. And I don’t like that! So I’ve set up some new goals to focus on in the meantime.

1. A New Mini-Project

While I’m waiting for The Benefit X-Change to be ready, I will be working on a new mini-project for the near future: an affiliate marketing or “niche” site. I’m currently in the research stage of this idea, so I’ll be going into more details on the project in future blog posts.

This truly will be a mini project in comparison to the others I’ve been focusing on (like The Benefit X-Change). I don’t expect to ever make hundreds of thousands of dollars and quit my job from this one project; in fact, my main goal right now is simply to add about $500 to $1k of income per month. However, I also don’t plan to spend the entire year or longer focusing on it. The reason I settled on this idea is because I’m hoping to hustle hard for a couple of months, get something small going, and then switch my focus back to The Benefit X-Change when the time comes.

Another benefit, in addition to adding to my side income, is that I should learn a lot from working on this new site. There won’t be much coding involved (which is kind of a bummer – I actually really enjoy that part!) but it will be an opportunity to apply the marketing knowledge and skills that I’ve been accumulating. A small site dedicated specifically to marketing third-party products seems like the perfect place to test the waters, learn what works in regards to internet marketing, and alter my approach where necessary – then be able to successfully apply the knowledge to the bigger (and more lucrative) products!

I plan to document my approach to this project, so check back soon for updates!

2. Expand My Real Estate Empire

Rental properties will be one of the cornerstones of my overall business model, and I’ve already taken the first huge step towards success in this area. With one property already generating income, I’m on the right track; but I can’t stop there if I want to be truly successful!
I’ve been saving up since that first purchase, but with all of my other plans taking up my mental bandwidth, I haven’t really had the chance to focus on this much lately. Hopefully, however, I’ll be able to put a few of these projects on autopilot (to an extent) later this year, which will allow me to divert some of my focus back to other things – namely, seeking out the next big real estate deal!

And I’m pretty excited about doing that when I get the chance. I’ve already done plenty of legwork while dealing with the first property, so the next one should be pretty straightforward. Financing will be a whole different beast the next time around, as the first property of any kind is always more streamlined when it comes to getting a mortgage, but I already have the experience under my belt related to finding a profitable deal and getting a tenant in there, as well as the resources I used for the first one – such as a lease and advertising materials.

Additionally, since I had success with the first property, I’ve drummed up some interest from others in participating in future deals – people who have experience in areas that I don’t such as estimating and doing repairs, getting cheap financing, and even a guy with a real estate license. While I’m confident I can be successful without these things (and I already sort of proved it with the first property), working with these people could allow me to focus on the areas of the business that I excel in, saving both time and money.

Time to Hit the Ground Running!

2015 is in the books, and while it wasn’t wildly successful, I definitely made some progress towards my goals.

But I can’t stop there. It’s time to look ahead to 2016. And with my goals for this year laid out ahead of me, it’s time to hit it hard and make something happen.

It’s time to get things done. Here’s to what should be a wildly successful year!

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