At the beginning of 2016 I set a series of SMART goals for the year ahead. I’ve committed to reviewing my progress each month to keep me on track and this is my update for the month of February. Feel free to check out my January progress too.
Run parkrun (5km) in one go, and in under 35 mins, by December. I have undertaken a further 3 parkruns since the beginning of February. My pb for the year is now 38.57, just under 4 mins away from my goal. I’ve been permitted to start jogging intervals in between walking and this has helped shave over 3 mins off my time this month. As my fitness returns and my knee strengthens I expect to see further improvement in the next few months. I’m very happy with my progress in this area and am confident I’m going to smash this goal well before the end of the year.
Get back to tennis by September. I had my last checkup with the surgeon early in February and he was very happy with my progress, even suggesting that I could return to “gentle tennis” in the next month or so (whatever “gentle tennis” is – it’s usually go hard or go home for me!) My physio is continuing to guide me and thinks I’ll be ready to return to proper tennis mid-year – even as early as June. Watch this space!
Establish household routines and stick to them. I’m continuing to bed down my routines. A few appointments and sick kids have derailed some of my scheduled housework days. However, even on the days where things don’t exactly go to plan, things are still falling into place. I am getting the kids out the door on time each day, the house is slowly getting into some sort of order and I’m feeling in more control, which is helping my stress levels and helping the family as a whole.
Update our household budget and review each week. I have reviewed our budget and am even more determined now to generate some additional income to help plug the gaps and get ahead. We have also re-fixed our home loan to reduce the interest we need to pay and I’m also reviewing all our bills and expenses in order to reduce costs where we can. This is going to be a continual work in progress.
Set up a work schedule by the end of January 2016. As shared in January, this is complete.
Overhaul my Double Scoop site by the end of February 2016. I have actually changed the schedule for this goal as I’m trying to determine what to concentrate on moving forward. While I would really like to focus Double Scoop on the disability sector, I’m also passionate about helping other special needs parents and My Home Truths provides more potential to create a passive income source. This suits us as it will mean there will be less dependence on providing dedicated services in the future (particularly if we choose to travel).
So at the moment I’m prioritising My Home Truths, particularly the writing of e-products and creation of printables, for sale. I’m also having a good, long, hard think about where I want to spend my energy and where I’ll be best concentrating my efforts. I’ll keep updating you on my plans as they become more concrete.
Make $2000 each month from blogging, consulting and product sales by December 2016. This is my most ambitious goal and the one I really need to hit to help support our family finances. Like January, February was a slow month and I did not make one cent! This is disappointing, particularly as I did field a few queries but I’m not going to give up just yet.
Sponsored posts/advertising: I fielded a few queries in January & February but nothing has come up that was a good fit for either side. I will be approaching businesses in March (for the first time ever – eek!) about creating more long term partnerships, particularly in the special needs space. I am putting together a list of my dream businesses, developing a package of services that I can offer and will be pitching hard to develop long lasting and meaningful relationships with brands that align with my values. Wish me luck!
e-products: I have nearly completed the second draft of my first e-product (The ultimate guide to family travel and autism) ready for further review. I’m on track to launch this in March/April so I can then focus on completing my guide to surviving redundancy for sale by the end of April here at Smarter Happier. I will also be creating the A to Z Guide to Family Travel (based on my A to Z travel guides from last year) and looking at bundling up some of my confession posts into engaging memoirs of life as a crap housewife. I know the more products I have in the marketplace, the greater my chance to generate an income so my plan is to have at least 5 products for sale as well as good quality printables (both free and paid) by June 30.
Niche sites: Our plan to create passive income through affiliate marketing on niche websites has also been put on the back burner for a little while. We’ve come to the realisation that I need to focus on one aspect of my online world at a time so we are postponing work on our niche sites until the end of June, when I’ll have a number of e-products in the marketplace. In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting with affiliate marketing on My Home Truths and here at Smarter Happier to gain a better understanding of how this form of marketing works so I’m in a better position to hit the ground running once we look at building niche sites again later in the year.
Achieve 500 page views per day on My Home Truths by the end of December 2016. This is another ambitious goal but I’m confident I can do it. I actually exceeded 500 views on 3 separate occasions this month so I know it’s possible 🙂
Overall, I’ve had a great month, averaging 250 views a day, smashing my February goal of 230 views a day. This result has been due to the following factors:
- developing useful and shareable content (e.g. free printables plus a guide on how to use them)
- spending $10 on a very successful Facebook ad campaign for new special needs parents
- strategically sharing old and new posts in special needs groups
- having a guest post published on The Mighty (online special needs website)
- participating in a Stumble Upon Facebook group which has helped to consistently build my page views (but slightly increase my bounce rate at the same time)
For March, I would like raise my average daily page views to 300 (why not aim high?). I will be submitting some more guest posts to The Mighty, to Every Australian Counts and to ABC Open (to raise my profile and increase my special needs expert credentials). But most of all I want to create even more useful content for other special needs parents on my blog. Because that’s why I’m doing this – to help others in any way that I can.
Build an email of 1000 subscribers by December 2016. I did attract another subscriber in February so my email list now numbers 44. I also have 71 people following me on Bloglovin and another 40 following me on WordPress. My plan for March is to actively engage with my followers to create anticipation for my first e-product. I am working on an opt-in product and have enabled the PopupAlly plugin to encourage more sign-ups. I am also working on a welcome email sequence and will be offering pre-ordering of my e-book before the end of March.
Have 1000 followers on each SM platform by the end of December 2016. I made good ground on this again in February and finally broke the 1000 barrier on Facebook – yay! This was due to people finding me via guest post, via my successful Facebook ad campaign and via the posts I have shared in special needs groups.
My SM follower numbers as at the end of February are:
Facebook – 1020 (+ 53)
Twitter – 2142 (+ 100)
Instagram – 553 (+ 26)
Pinterest – 464 (+ 33)
YouTube – 3 (steady – I need to publicise this more with a widget on my site and more promotion during the week)
LinkedIn – 489 (+ 4)
Google+ – 1048 (+ 12)
BTW – if you don’t already, feel free to follow me on any of the above platforms (or all of them!)
I want to become a recognised expert in special needs/autism parenting by July 2016. This goal is definitely within reach. My guest post on The Mighty has found me more readers and I am becoming more active in special needs parenting groups and also reaching out to people I know in the disability sector to improve my knowledge and expertise.
To post regularly on each website. My goal is to post on My Home Truths 2 – 3 times a week (which I did achieve in February), to post at least once a week here on Smarter Happier (which I achieved as well) and to post at least once a fortnight over at Double Scoop from February 2016. I achieved my goals for My Home Truths and Smarter Happier but I have not yet recommenced blogging at Double Scoop (for the reasons outlined earlier).
I have updated my editorial calendar for March and am looking forward to enjoying my blogging even more than I have this month. It is SO much easier when you have your ideas and plans laid out already! While I did switch things around during February, I am getting used to the process of pre-planning content and being able to write when I have the opportunity, rather than when inspiration strikes.he stress out of blog writing:
February was an interesting month. I finally got back into a routine here at home. The kids all successfully returned to school (and Delilah even started school successfully!). Despite some sickness and necessary appointments messing around with my schedule, I was far more productive and efficient than I have ever been before. Working a schedule has definitely been working for me – let’s hope it continues to be a winner.
Let’s also hope I can start drawing an income in March so I have a chance to reach my end of year goal and help ease the pressure on our household budget.
Have you taken the time to review your progress against your goals? If so, how are you tracking?