It’s amazing how fast a year goes by. In my first Personal Performance Review, I reviewed key parts of my life from 1988 to 2019.
Today, I’ll be doing a quick review of 2020, which will be focused on:
- What did I accomplish this year?
- What did I struggle with this year?
- What did I learn?
If this is your first time here, every year (after my birthday) I take time to reflect on my life and personal performance. This is a summary of my personal progress in life and not advice for how you should live yours. I have “borrowed” this format from James Clear and encourage you to do the same to evaluate your own life year after year.
1. What did I accomplish this year?
This year I’ve had some incredible growth for both my personal life and my business.
Establishing a ‘Base’
As a digital nomad, I am often moving from one location to another every few months.
While many people say I am “living their dreams,” there are many challenges that come with a nomadic lifestyle; such as:
- Finding new friends / good connections / healthy communities
- Physical fatigue from over-traveling
- Low productivity during periods of relocation
- Lack of emotional and personal support
- Impact of global disasters (e.g., Coronavirus)
One thing I wanted to achieve this year was to find a place to establish a base.
And guess what?
I found the perfect location to do just that in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
For years, I had heard that Chiang Mai was the digital nomad capital of Asia.
Unfortunately, I was neither interested in or attracted to Thailand for most of my travels. I avoided coming here since I had more interest in places like Japan, Indonesia, and China.
Fast forward to the pre-Coronavirus crisis, and I find myself traveling from Indonesia to Thailand to begin a new chapter of my life.
When I took a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I was instantly in love with the city.
There was a special vibe with Chiang Mai the moment I stepped off the train. Over my past 6+ months of living here, I have slowly fallen in love with this city for the following reasons:
- Punspace is officially my favorite co-working space
- Wi-Fi is stable and reliable, with an average speed of 20mbps
- Local people are so friendly and supportive
- Other digital nomads living here are very inspiring
- Landscape and scenery around the city is breathtaking
I’m really excited about my new life here in Chiang Mai, especially because I have the stability to focus on my personal projects and the ability to grow my business.
Improving my fitness
From 2014 to 2018, I was in the best shape of my life.
Since I was cycling from country to country, I remained in good health and good shape.
However, I returned to Canada in July 2018 with my bicycle, which marked the end of my epic cycle tour in Asia.
I felt a little depressed for the following year because I didn’t realize just how important cycling was for my overall health and wellness.
Right now, I’m a hefty 97.6 kgs or 215 lbs.
Compare this to my years of cycling when I was a constant 84 kgs or 185 lbs.
To ovrecome my depression and get life back to a healthier stay, I’ve signed up for a gym, enrolled in a Muay Thai school until March 2021, and surrounded myself with motivating people to stay fit.
If you’re interested in keeping tabs on my progress over this next year, I advise you to sign up for my newsletter.
Earning $10,000 per month
The growth of my business has been a top priority for me over this past year.
In fact, you may have noticed that I didn’t publish many articles this year, and that’s because I’ve been focused on developing new systems for my business.
While I haven’t hit my $10,000 per month goal, I’m getting very, very close.
“Jef, why the heck did you blur out your Income Performance Report?”
Honestly? The full report isn’t ready yet because I want to give you a detailed breakdown of my achievements, struggles, and growth as I learn and test ways to make money.
In the meantime, here’s a quick sample of what’s inside.
I’ve taken a massive shift for my income sources. Since becoming a freelance copywriter in 2016, I was heavily dependent on Upwork to find clients and make money.
I’m grateful for Upwork because:
- I’ve been able to kick start my copywriting career
- I’ve tested my skills and became a top-rated freelancer
- I’ve earned more than $60k+ on their platform
However, I am not completely satisfied with Upwork because:
- Finding quality clients is challenging and wastes a lot of time
- Upwork takes thousands of dollars per year in fees
- Clients on this platform often want low rates, forcing you to compete on prices
In December 2019, I decided to rely less on Upwork and more on marketing strategies that promote my business and build long-term relationships with quality clients.
If you want more depth on my success and failures in making money, click here to access my Income Performance Report.
2. What did I struggle with this year?
Aside from Coronavirus screwing up the entire world, there were a few personal struggles that I’m slowly learning to overcome.
I’ve made promises to myself and my growing supporters to write more about my life, travels, and business.
Sadly, I’ve been so inconsistent with my writing that I didn’t even come close to achieving last year’s goal of writing 100 articles in my name.
The truth is, I’ve been feeling anxious and overwhelmed about growing my copywriting business.
There is a constant battle between writing for myself (and you) versus writing for my clients (and future clients).
As you can probably guess, writing for my clients (and future clients) is winning the war within me.
However, that’s for good reason.
Without financial stability, it isn’t easy to focus on and deliver quality articles on all the topics I want to cover:
What’s my solution to writing more consistently?
Keep reading to find out!
Publishing my first book
I still haven’t written my first book, and this is a HIGHLY requested demand from my audience (and probably you).
The fact is, I haven’t fully established my financial base as an entrepreneur, so it is difficult to reallocate time and energy toward writing a book.
Perhaps I could put 16+ semi-decent 1000-word articles into a series of chapters that make sense. But, I have an OCD personality type that’s preventing me from whipping up a book like this.
Plus, I want to publish a book I can be proud of and deliver real value to you and my readers.
So this is just going to have to wait until I feel so overwhelmed by pressure and urgency to do it.
Staying on task
I hate myself for this, but I struggle to stay focused on a single task and see it through to completion.
I have about 7 to 19 different book ideas.
Some are creative, non-fiction style, while others are educational, fact-based stories.
When I was living in Japan, one of my mentors pointed out one of my flaws. He said:
Jef, you are 99% inspiration and only 1% perspiration. If you want to achieve anything in life, you need to be 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
Those words stuck in my head ever since they were told to me.
Today, I probably have an unstable balance between 70% perspiration and 30% inspiration.
On my good days and months, I can crank out some amazing things for my clients.
On my bad days and months, I screw around on one too many projects, and I don’t get anything accomplished.
I’ll explain my plan to overcome this flaw next.
3. What did I learn?
I’ve spent the past week reflecting on my life over the past year, and here are the two most important things I discovered:
Accountability is the key
Everything in this year’s Personal Performance Review revolves around the theme of turning inspirational ideas into actionable outcomes.
As a digital nomad, I am totally free to live whatever life I choose and desire. At the same time, I am also responsible for the projects and clients I choose to commit myself to.
However, the biggest challenge is following through with everything I say I want to do and actually doing it.
So, I’ve decided to make accountability my biggest focus this next year.
If you want to join me on this journey, I encourage you to apply to The Accountability Club.
The Accountability Club is dedicated to aspiring, fast-growing freelancers and entrepreneurs struggle to turn creative ideas into actionable results for our clients and ourselves.
It follows a simple belief system that can help you achieve results both for your personal and professional goals if followed by all members.
If you’re like me and need more accountability in your life, I highly recommend that you submit an application.
I’m giving away free membership for a year to the first 10 founding members.
Each founding member will be hand-selected by me, so be sure to fill out the application form to the best of your ability.
If you don’t qualify as a founding member, no worries! As I build and grow The Accountability Club, my goal is to open it up to more people in early 2021.
Productivity requires the right tools
For most of my professional career, I have relied on Google to keep myself ‘organized.’
Now, I put organized in parenthesis because it was just a bunch of folders to coordinate my projects, documents, sheets, and ideas.
When it came to projects and client jobs, I’d write things down in a notebook or update my Google calendar (if it was urgent).
However, I never had an all-in-one tool to keep my projects, goals, and dreams aligned.
I’ve tried Trello, Asana, and other project management apps.
Each of these was okay, and I tried to build a more productive lifestyle with Trello for a few months.
Unfortunately, nothing did the trick.
That is until I found ClickUp.
Clickup’s slogan is impressive: One app to replace them all.
I was hooked from the get-go and decided to give it a try.
After my first hour of using it and setting things up, I knew immediately that this was the app/software to coordinate and organize all my personal and business projects.
From to-do lists to goal tracking, I’ve been able to sort outline my projects and ideas to set out an actionable plan to get them all done.
Whether or not you need an app like this, right now, I will be exploring ways to use ClickUp to make my life more productive and profitable.
Quality relationships are priceless
In case you don’t know me very well, I’m a bit of a loner, introvert, or solitary person.
I used to think that I thrive doing things on my own, but I am beginning to see that it is the people around me that enable me to achieve great things.
While there are so many people I need to thank for their help and support for guiding me to the life I have today, there are a few people that come to mind right now that I wish to acknowledge and show my gratitude (in no particular order):
- Tabah Ardiyanto – You have been my most faithful friend during my time in Indonesia, and I wish you nothing but success in your family, business, and life.
- Noe C. Setiawan – I’ve loved the creative journey we shared, and I’m inspired to one day put more of my face in front of the camera. I wish you nothing but glory in your pursuits as a Multimedia Producer.
- Reysan Hidaya – You’ve been like a little brother to me and made my experiences in Indonesia memorable. I will never forget all you’ve done for me and hope to see you excel at your new YouTube project.
- Prastika Bakti Permana – You have given me the confidence and courage to use my camera, and I will always look up to you for your photography and design skills. As you embark on your new marriage and business, I anticipate nothing but success for you!
- Robert Marousseev & Tamsyn Graanoogst – Thank you for becoming such trusted friends and colleagues. I never thought I would discover such amazing friends while living here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’m excited for more adventure in the future and helping you grow your incredible business.
- Danny Lim – You’ve been a massive source of inspiration in improving my physique and business performance. Other than the short time I’ve known you, there’s still so much to learn and accomplish with you at my side (literally, lol)!
- Jacob McMillen – You have been a mentor that has helped put my entire copywriting business into perspective. Since joining Write Minds, I have found the support and ability to bring my copywriting business goals to fruition (i.e., especially to earn $10,000+ per month).
- Steven MacDonald – I can’t express enough how grateful and blessed I am to be working with you these past few months. Your experience and expertise in digital marketing have sparked a new light and direction in my career. I’m excited to explore the future and what we can accomplish next together.
- Andy Seth & Shaye Moessner – Our projects together in early 2020 was a gift that elevated my copywriting business to a whole new level. It’s a blessing to have worked with a company whose core philosophy is to do good.
(To anyone I mentioned above, if you want to change your link, please send me an email!)
Of course, these are just a few of the many people who have made an impact on my life over the past year.
While I’m not sure what’s in store for the next year, I can say that I have the tools, the ability, and the people to help me get to my goals.
I wish you all much success and wish you the best in your endeavors, both personally and professionally.
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