I always really enjoy reading or watching other people's yearly goals and year in review posts and videos, but I never made one myself before. This year I want to start doing that, and if I enjoy doing it, I will probably make it a recurring thing.

There is no apparent goal I have in mind for writing this post; it is more about forcing myself to write down what I want to achieve this year and, more importantly, why. If I can't think of solid arguments for a goal, then that's probably a good signal I'm doing it for other reasons.

I always divide my goals into two sections, personal and business. I further break them down into subsections for the different parts of my career/business and my personal life.

Business

I divided the business category into thee subcategories: general business goals, side project goals, and personal brand goals. Since I'm a one-person company, they are all pretty closely related and related to each other. For example, doing things that strengthen my personal brand might result in more clients and higher hourly rates.

General

Goal 1: Increase my freelance rate by 20% by the end of the year

I became self-employed five years ago and started at a low hourly rate. I have almost doubled my hourly rate in the five years since, and I'm still rarely getting told my price is too high.

My client business is now reasonably established. I have a steady stream of new client inquiries and enough savings to last me a long time. I feel confident I can be more aggressive in raising my rates this year.

Goal 2: Create a downloadable digital product

Freelancing means your income is tied to the hours you work, which limits your earning potential. You can't work more than 24 hours per day, and there are only so many clients willing to put up with higher and higher rates (although, as I said in my previous goal, I have not gotten close to that yet).

I want to create a digital product that allows me to earn semi-passive income where I put in the work once and keep making money when I'm not actively working on it.

I'm not sure what type of digital product it's going to be. It could be a course, eBook, or website template.

Side projects

Goal 1 & 2: Launch New MVP + Get 10 Paying Customers

At the end of last year, I started work on a new SaaS project I'm very excited about that I believe has a lot of potential in a growing market.

I have since gotten so busy with client work that I haven't had much time for it. This year I want to launch the MVP and acquire ten paying clients for it.

Goal 3: Launch Screely Pro

Screely is a product I launched in 2018 that continues to get a lot of monthly visitors. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to work on it for a long time, only shipping some small new features and fixes here and there. I've also not tried very hard to monetize it.

This year, I want to add many more customization options and create a (paid) Pro tier to access all customization features.

Personal Brand

Goal 1: Write 18 blog posts

Writing blog posts helps make me a better writer, think more deeply about topics, and reach and meet many interesting people.

Last year, I only wrote eight blog posts; this year, I'm aiming for 18.

Goal 2: Write three guest posts

My blog doesn't have an impressive reach and doesn't rank very well in Google for the topics I write about. Writing for more well-known publications helps you reach many people, helps your personal brand, and often has a strict editorial process that sharpens my writing skills.

Last year I had the pleasure of writing for some big-name publications like CSS Tricks, Smashing Magazine, and UX Collective. This year I plan to write three more guest posts.

Goal 3: Create a new personal website

My current personal website is quite outdated. I have worked on many exciting client projects that aren't listed, and I'd like to do a redesign as well.

This year I'm planning on redoing my personal website from scratch. Since I'm free to choose whatever I want to work with on my personal website, I always choose new exciting technologies that I want to work with. Last time I used Gatsby and powered it all by Ghost CMS in headless mode. This year I'll create a brand new design and rebuild it using different technologies.

This blog will remain unchanged and keep running on Ghost CMS.

Goal 4: Create 12 youtube videos

I've always hated being on cameras. Ever since I was a teenager, I tried to avoid being in photos. Being on video scares me even more as English isn't my native language, and you can tell it from my accent.

Wanting to overcome this fear and seeing how great youtube is for other people's businesses, I have decided that I'm forcing myself to start a youtube channel this year.

I already have some video ideas and will likely combine youtube with other things I plan on doing anyway, like redoing my personal website and creating screencasts of me going through the entire process of designing and building my new personal website.

Goal 5: Stream 10 hours on Twitch

Twitch keeps getting bigger and bigger, and I believe it will keep growing a lot more. I don't plan to become a famous streamer, but I want to experiment with the platform. Therefore I'm aiming to stream on Twitch for at least 10 hours this year.

Personal

With my business goals out of the way, I want to achieve this in my personal life this year.

Goal 1: Spend less time in feeds

I spent much of my time procrastinating on websites with a feed that provides a never-ending source of new content, like Hacker News and Reddit, for example. I waste too much time and mindlessly open them whenever I am facing a difficult problem or some downtime.

I want to become more deliberate in using these websites by blocking them or only using them during set hours. I have set up screen time limits and other limitations to achieve this goal.

Goal 2: Try at least three new hobbies

Apart from working out, I don't have many hobbies that don't involve screens. I want to try out at least three new hobbies this year that do not include screens and that I can't turn into a side hustle.

I have written down a list of interesting hobbies such as mountain biking, playing the piano, home automation, and flying drones and will dedicate some time to try these out and see how much I enjoy them.

Education

These are things I'd like to learn this year. Although they are personal goals, they overlap with my business goals as learning skills could also help me become more knowledgable at work.

Goal 1: Improve my Thai language skills

I took a Thai language course last year and have gotten to B2 proficiency. After the class ended, I didn't dedicate much time to learning Thai anymore, and I struggled with unguided learning now that I didn't have teachers and books anymore.

This year I plan to finish two more books of the same Thai language course I did before and immerse myself more in the language with books, TV shows, and movies.

Goal 2: Do a machine learning course

I'm a huge believer in the potential of machine learning and believe this technology will become very widespread. That's why I want to take a machine learning course this year to learn more about the technology and how I can use it.

Goal 3: Build an iOS app

Apart from some college projects, I have spent my entire career developing for the web. Although I love web development and don't plan to leave it any time soon, I want to experiment with creating a native iOS app at least once to make me a more well-rounded developer.

Some personal goals are omitted for privacy reasons as these are centered around money and relationships.

That's it

These are the 2021 goals that I will be working towards achieving this year. I'm already looking forward to reviewing this a the end of the year to see how I progressed.

I'm curious, what are your goals for this year and what's your motivation for setting that goal? Drop me a note at [email protected]