I had so many thoughts to share about 2015, the past couple years, and most importantly, looking forward at the future. I would say that 2015 was very much up and down, very volatile in terms of personal and professional achievements and relationships. Looking back over the last few years, the one thing I’m very excited about is my growth, across the board. I’ve matured so much and found out so much about myself and what is important to me. Relationships, always being the most important.
Coming out of 2013, which might have been the toughest year of my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. The year was filled with so much adversity, from the first day of the year to the end. I went into a little bit of a personal depression by the end of the year. I was exhausted, depressed and unsure of what would come next. I felt like a failure and like I hit rock bottom. At the end of the year, all I remember saying to myself was: “I just want to be happy again.” I tried to numb the pain in so many ways, some I’m not proud of, but, all the adversity helped me grow.
2014 was dedicated to discovery
I dedicated 2014 to taking a step back and figuring out what was next for me. I worked on trying to build an app, I considered taking a couple full time jobs at startups, but, nothing really fit. Towards the middle of the year, I was still feeling a little lost. By the end of the year, I did feel like I had found my “mojo” and I was back in my zone. I spent a lot of time having a lot of conversations with people over coffee, drinks, or meals. (btw, If you took the time to catch up, thank you, it was really helpful!)
What I learned and realized more than anything else: Failure meant I went down swinging, trying my hardest, and giving it my all. Saying “what if” meant I didn’t even try at all.
I realized my career wasn’t over and I could actually get things done. Most importantly, I realized that what was important to me wasn’t the money I made or the size of my bank account. It was my personal definition of success driven by relationships (family and friends), financial wealth, working with great people, loving what I do, travel, evolving as a human being, and continuously striving to be healthier and more athletic. Don’t get things confused either, I’m even more ambitious and driven thanks to my experiences. I have so many goals I still want to achieve and my answer to making 8 figures will always be “damn right I want that.” But again, I know what happiness looks like and having come from nothing, the superficial items in life don't define me. Sure, I love nice things (especially cars, watches, etc.), but, I’m not motivated by them. I’m driven by building great things and great relationships. My goal, for years now has been to build a legacy
that lives on forever.
2015 was dedicated to laying the foundation
I knew I didn’t want to say “what if” ever in my life. I went into 2015 hungry, excited and encouraged. There were a lot of bumps and bruises. But, more than anything, I grew in 2015 more than I have ever grown in my life. And, I felt like I hit my stride. Visible Factors has become something I never imagined it could. I love our client partners because they challenge us and we work so hard to see them succeed. I love our team because they have humbled me more than ever thanks to how smart they are and how good they are at what they do. I’m encouraged, excited, and motivated every single day of the week. More than anything, I’m hungrier than ever.
By the end of Q1 I knew I wanted to build Visible Factors. A couple friends actually said things to the extent of “So, are you finally admitting you’re building a digital marketing agency.” And, yes, I did. But, it was more than than just Visible Factors that I was building. For me, it was building a portfolio…VF was the start of that.
After speaking at Quickbooks Connect, I attended the Oprah keynote out of sheer coincidence of wanting to sit down because of my knee issues. But, it was almost like I belonged there because of what she said. There was a constant theme about “setting your intention” and it spoke volumes to me. Because as I’ve started to set my intentions and really focus on what I want vs. what every tells you, it’s a big change.
Focusing on building the portfolio
Since Q2 I’ve started building out my portfolio of investments. I’ve started the process of building a data product because seeds I’ve planted have started to sprout and hopefully by the end of 2016 will bloom fully. It’s finally getting some development love and traction it needs. I’ve started to build out web properties with partners and I’m hoping they will become the brands I see them becoming in 2016. I’m building a portfolio of businesses and investments I feel are the culmination of my dreams. Only one more on the checklist (more on that another day).
What about Visible Factors?
And, oh by the way, that side project Visible Factors that I decided I wanted to grow has grown to service over 30+ clients in 2 years. We have worked with some amazing brands like Ticketmaster and Children’s Hospital LA, fast growing startups like Luxe and Blue Bottle Coffee, and some really companies like David Kind. Going into 2016 we have some new clients I’m looking forward to digging into with the team.
The team has grown and we’ve expanded from simply top of the funnel channels like SEO and SEM to now being able to offer any online and offline advertising as well as content marketing to grow a business. Expanding further, we have spent lots of time growing our offerings around retention and re-engagement with Email Marketing (newsletters, design, and triggers/drip marketing/automation) and Conversion Optimization. Check out our clients and a couple small case studies about some of the work we've done, I'm really proud of it: http://visiblefactors.com/clients-case-studies/
Growing personally was important too
I was finally able to travel to Europe, I had a great relationship that I learned so much from (sadly, it came to an unfortunate end), and I was able to take a much needed break with good friends in Cabo. It was nice to do things I never had (or gave myself) the opportunity to do.
I kept expanding and testing on my health with food, eating, and fitness. I stepped up my cardio on the stationary bike from 10–12 minutes to 30 minutes and removed strength training. I wanted to focus my on circuit training routines and mix in interval training. The results have been amazing, I’ve actually gained weight but clothes fit me better.
Unfortunately, over the last year I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries: Calf strain, a torn tendon/cartilage in my left ankle that I thought was a mild ankle sprain, stress fracture in my right foot, and a knee issue over the last two months that has been extremely frustrating. Because of this, my weight bounced around a lot which I vowed not to let happen again. This was really tough on me emotionally and it’s been tough all year to get in a real rhythm work out wise and basketball wise. My lower back pains have come back in a large way because of injuries too.
That said, I think this really has been a blessing in disguise because I’ve slowly cut a lot out of my diet (outside of cheat days, obviously!). I’m a foodie and I love cooking, but my biggest downfall is my sweet tooth. Slowly, I’ve cut this WAY back and I’m continuing to do this. (P.s. friends, don’t lie to me, tell it like it is. call me out if you see me cheating). Not being able to work out really makes you realize how food is 80% of your health and fitness. I already knew this, but, it really brings light to it. It forced me to put things in check.
For the last few weeks I’ve gotten back in the gym and out on the basketball court. It has felt AMAZING. I almost passed out during a workout, but, it feels nice to push myself again. I started shooting around and feeling like I haven’t regressed too far is really refreshing too. It’s going to take work a lot of work, mostly related to back issues, but, it’s all about taking things day-by-day, week-by-week. The pain is there with every work out, with every day I wake up, but, it’s motivating me more than ever. But one of my favorite quotes from this inspirational video I’ve watched explains it all:
If you quit now, you’ll never be where you want to be. You’re already in pain, get a reward from it.
I’ve learned a lot about my body but listening to it and understanding the effects about what goes into it. Fitness wise, I want to take a big leap in 2016. Health wise I want to cut out a lot of excess. Some of this is a working plan that is in progress and some of it is hard goals.
My intentions for 2016:
After taking time to relax and reflect over the holidays, I wanted to set my intention for 2016 and I figured it all out. This year will be about growth, strength, and progress. I want to keep growing Visible Factors and it’s about respect and achievements, not for the number of clients we have. It’s because of the work we do and the companies we’ve grown. Because, of the clients and partners that truly enjoy working with us.
I will launch of initial portfolio of sites and start getting them off the ground and a couple of those include commerce elements. We won’t know until we try, but, we’re going to try, test, and iterate.
I will get the data product moving forward. We have an initial set of screens and data pulls put together, but, it’s now time to turn it into a working product. I’m very excited about this and will be carving time against it weekly. (Anyone know of an Armenian or Eastern European Dev shop?)
Real Estate is intriguing to me and making an initial investment here is important. This will be just a start, but, I am dying to do this more than I ever have.
I will become the fittest and healthiest I have ever been. I still am now more than I have ever been, but, I want to take it a few more steps forward. My goal is to lose the excess fat I’ve been holding on to. I will truly be cutting out the excess in the diet and getting my work outs really dialed in. No shortcuts this year. By the end of the year, I want to be the best at basketball I’ve ever been, it’s a sport I’ve loved since I was 5 years old and always will.
I’ve started writing again and having the confidence to put stuff out there has been hard because I’ve been away from that consistently for so long. Along with that, towards the end of the year I started speaking at conferences which I want to do a lot more of in 2016.
Everything I do moving forward will be driven by the intentions I’ve set for myself and whether or not it fits in my core values. Sticking to my values and my intentions this year will be the only way I will truly grow, become stronger than ever, and see the progress I want to see. Success is in my future and it can be in yours too, no matter what it means to you, if you truly dedicate yourself to it.
Let’s get it.