2013 Annual Review: Looking Forward!


Hi, everyone—the 2013 Annual Review continues! All posts will be open for comments from readers.

In this post: looking forward to next year.

But first! On Monday I published a roundup (not sent by email) of the first batch of posts from readers who are also doing Annual Reviews. We’ll update this one with many more links, and it’s not too late to get yours in.

And also! I’m hosting a party in Portland on Saturday night. If you’re in town or can get here, you’re more than welcome. Join the guest list here.

OK, on to 2014 plans…


I asked a trusted friend for advice on next year, and they said, “I think you need to play a bigger game.”

Yeah … I’ve been working on that. That is indeed the plan.

Below are some of my goals in a few different categories. Watch this space to see how I do!

2014 Business Goals (General)

This year my business goals are a bit different.

Instead of focusing on income, I’m focusing on product development. As long as I meet a minimum income threshold, I’ll devote my energy toward creating more sustainability in the projects instead of making more money. (These two activities are hardly exclusive, but the point is that I’ll be working more on building out the business instead of maximizing income.)

Goal: Build Unconventional Guides to a portfolio of 8-12 products that sell every day.

That’s my general, rough standard of success in the online store: if every product is selling at least once a day on average. Some products do much better than others, of course, but I’m interested in diversification and—again—sustainability.

Goal: Create a new online course for the new book.

I only created one course in 2013, Adventure Capital, and while it was modestly successful, it was also fairly specialized. I hope to make another one for next fall, with a much wider distribution and target market.

Goal: Regularly invest in the business. Raise the quality standard by choosing to work with strong partners and improving more consistently.

Goal: Relaunch and grow the Travel Hacking Cartel.

We’ve served more than 12,000 members so far, but I’d like to double that in the next year or two.

2014 Business Goals (Events)

My events aren’t really businesses, at least not WDS (I don’t take a salary of any kind from it). Nevertheless, they require a great deal of “work time” and attention, so I’ll include the goals for them here.

Goal: Host at least 2,800 people for the main weekend of WDS, and grow the event through a series of external “academies” that take place before and after the weekend

Note: we haven’t actually announced anything just yet about how this will work. We’ll always inform our attendees first, so if you haven’t got your ticket to attend yet … don’t wait! The next sale will be in late January or early February.

Goal: Begin the new, Pioneer Nation event well for at least 400 people

I outlined the initial plans for Pioneer Nation in this post. I’ll have more to say about it soon, but we’re still taking early bird sign-ups for the next week or two. Feel free to join us!

2014 Travel Goals

Well, this is easy in some ways: mission accomplished! Achievement unlocked!

Unless the powers that be invent some new countries (a phenomenon that is very rare), I don’t have to worry about getting to the middle of the South Pacific of Central Africa for a while. Nevertheless, travel remains a big part of my life, so I plan to keep running around the world as long as I can.

Goal: Visit at least 20 countries (this year was only 15 for the first time in many years)

Goal: Meet with readers in at least 40 cities, mostly during the new tour (more on that below)

Goal: Requalify for AA EXP, Hyatt Diamond, and Starwood Platinum status (I’m still a travel hacker, after all)

Book! Tour! More!

How do you get so many things done when you’re speaking in thirty or more cities in a few months? I’m not sure, but I think I actually work better that way. This year I had no tour to keep me busy, and as mentioned I feel like I accomplished much less than usual.

Anyway, next fall I’ll be excited to hit the road again.

Goal: publish new book (September 9, 2014) and set out on a mini-quest to bring the message everywhere.

In fact, once August comes around, I expect the next six months minimum will be spent fully focused on everything associated with the new book, course, and tour. I’m psyched!

Theme of the Year: TBD

In years past I’ve always had a word or theme that guides all of the goals and the overall focus. I don’t have a word or theme for this next year yet, and I’m OK with that. Perhaps it will arrive as I pursue these things—I’ve certainly got plenty to work on.

Special Note to Readers

As the holidays wind down, I’d be remiss if I failed to thank all of you for reading AONC and caring about this little part of the world.

Many of our readers are doing amazing things, and I’m always humbled to hear stories of how our shared worlds connected. However that was, and wherever you are, thank you so much! The best is yet to come.

This blog exists because of you, and I hope to continue improving in 2014 and beyond.

That’s a Wrap

Yeah! 2014 on the way (bitches)!

As we all look forward to the new year, feel free to share your own lessons or comments with other readers.

(And one final reminder: we’ll be adding new links to the roundup post next week, so if you’re doing your own review, be sure to link to one here so our system will see it.)


2013 Annual Review: Introduction & Invitation
2013 Annual Review: Looking Back
2013 Annual Review: Travel Roundup
2013 Annual Review: Lessons In Independent Work
2013 Annual Review: Reader Roundup


Image: Artis

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  • Lucy Chen says:

    Thank you for sharing your goals with us, Chris. I look forward to your new products.

    My main goal for 2014 is making and selling my paintings. Simple. 🙂

  • kabamba says:

    In 2013, I learned in a very practical way that once you begin to begin to desire to pursue any creative work of art, it is too late to begin fussing about whether you or not you are talented to do what your heart desires.

  • Mike Rudd says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for all you share on here Chris! Truly an inspiration! I did my first Annual Review last year and my goals and themes for this year and it was pretty amazing as I kept track of stuff throughout the year all of the unbelievable things I got to do and accomplish both for myself and the world.
    Cheers to all for a great 2014!

  • Ratana says:

    Thanks as always for all your great work. Perhaps your theme for the year is “Transition,” or “Reframe” – as it seems you’re looking at all aspects of your work from a different angle than you have before. Just my two cents.

    As for me, looking forward to a year of “Expansion” – in my own entrepreneurial and creative pursuits.

    All the best to you & your readers for a phenomenal 2014!

  • Alison at Diamond-Cut Life says:

    I’m doing an annual review, too, about being rich in what matters — in all aspects of our lives, from physical and financial health to spiritual health. I used your approach as a jumping-off point to create questions to ask ourselves about whether we became “richer” in 2013, or not. For example, do our loved ones trust us more than they did at the beginning of the year, or do they trust us less?

    Feel free to take a look. I feel richer than ever in what matters, and want to support others on the same path.

  • Mike Hrostoski says:

    I learned this year (and am still learning) about the importance of setting boundaries and saying no. It’s very easy to take on too much in this community where everyone wants to support you, push you, and inspire you. It’s really easy to overdose on awesome.

    I also learned that hearing Chris say the word “bitches” in a blog makes me grin from ear to ear.

  • Devi Clark says:

    My theme for 2013 was breakthrough and it guided me to stop putting off making contacts that were important, which led to me running a telesummit which tripled my subscribers and grew my reputation and client list.
    But just as i have done all that, so my aims have refocused on a new project that feels for the first time like it is my life’s work. So far I only have some ideas of how to do it and who else to involve. Elements are crystal clear and others are completely foggy.

    I think this year theme is about coming out, not as gay (I happen not to be) but as fully invested in my new project and who that shows me to be. To own it fully. To live it.
    So, the project is known as ‘Outsiders’ based on a book I am writing called ‘The Outsiders Manifesto: The Journey from Misfit to Pioneer.’ As well as the book I want to create a movement with a safe space for people to share their story and find the strengths in the very parts of themselves that they normally hide to fit in. I have felt like an outsider my whole life but it brings me creativity and motivation as I see things my own way. What would be possible if we all felt free from judgment (especially our own).

  • Robb Hillman says:

    I have done year end reviews before, but after reading your post I decided to make it a more formal affair. My goal this year is less about the goals themselves and more about creating a foundation to helping me assess and achieve my goals year after year. I’m pretty excited about it!

    It is a multi-post series, but here is a link to the first step:

  • Byron Friday says:

    Chris, I was a bit overwhelmed this morning. This post gave me the shot in the arm that I needed. Thank you very much.

  • Sophie Ouellet says:

    Chris, I am inspired by your goals. My. online business is at its infancy. Even worse, after a year of basically unsuccessful blogging by my own standard so I am doing a major overhaul, almost starting from scratch. I am a big believer in baby steps. And yet, your goals, because they are very concrete, helps me gain a sense of direction. What I just wrote might look cryptic. However, I was born with cerebral palsy and believe that from my experience, I can help people who are aging, ill., etc. Be self-sufficient aa long as possible. Huge challenge. But I believe that nothing is impossible when one is willing to be patient, persistent, and flexible when needed. I hope my little blob will inspire someone like your posts inspired me. “Dream big”, even though your road to success seems non-existent!

  • Sonia M. says:

    I’ve been doing a very informal annual review since 2009, but never wrote anything down, I see the relevance and usefulness of your approach.

    I’m actually taking a short break from my 2014 review. For some reason, this exercise fills me with anxiety. I have to admit, I tend to be “anal”, wanting/needing extremely detailed instructions to help me with any given task – the first time I do them. Afterwards, I feel more confident doing it.

    I’ve attempted many “year reviews” (third of a year; half year) this year, but never managed to complete it. Having a “real” deadline is forcing me to finish this even if it kills me.

    Why am I literally forcing myself to do this? To have a more focused year. It’s really easy to go all over the place or make choices that steer you away from what you really want if you’re not 100% clear. And even when we are, sometimes life gets really “noisy” and we get lost in the chatter.

    Lastly, the type of resistance I currently feel shows me I’m in the right direction. If it wasn’t for Stephen Pressfield, the Monster of Resistance would have killed me 2 hours ago.

    Chris, thank you for your sense of community and your willingness to share.

  • Sam Hunter says:

    Chris and the team – thanks for a wonderful evening! I relocated to Portland just two weeks ago, and was thrilled to meet some great people last night. Happy new year to you!

  • Tal Gur says:

    2013 was a year of transition for me. After close to 4 years of non-stop world travel and location independent living, my partner and I made a home in the picturesque seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island.

    Here’s my full 2013 Annual Review:

  • 1FORhunger says:

    This is great, I need to prioritize my travel goals more. Chris’ breakdown of the goals and explanations are simply amazing!

  • Luella says:

    What a remarkable story! Medical Care as &qilt;unteloectual property"? The "the latest symbol of the decline of our health care." in a long line of others…

  • Edmond Taylor says:

    Our goals should make us happy, not prove something to someone, and come from the soul.

  • Rob Chaves says:

    Reviewing and planning new achievements from year to year, I always try to delete at least some points from my list. And although this year is not over yet, it is clear that it has become quite difficult. But still, I managed to implement some of my ideas and marketing strategies for several of my projects.

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