10 Things I Rocked at in 2013 (And How You Can Rock Them Too)

So even though #10 in my last post stated I need to be more humble, after telling you about all of my shortcomings as a business owner this year, I’ve gotta come back and talk about the positives as well.

After all, I’ve got a reputation to uphold! I can’t be a total shlub, right? Is that a word? My spell check tells me it isn’t.

Anyways.

Previously I’ve stated that this past year has seen Location 180 as a business more than double in revenue, and considering my overhead is very low, we’ve been pretty darn profitable too.

So to do this despite all the things I sucked at, there must be something good going on too.

This year essentially just built on what I’ve built over the previous few. I traveled just as much if not more, honed in the types of posts I wrote on Location 180, and continued to build out Location Rebel to be the absolute best community of it’s kind.

1) I Aways Made Time for Fun

This year I did a lot of fun stuff. I got in 75 rounds of golf, traveled to 8 countries, and numerous other cool spots in the United States. How did I do this? I simply made it a priority.

I used to have a rule that I would always choose fun over work.  Even when I was building my business, if a cool opportunity came up, whenever possible I gave that the priority. While I’ve realized this can’t always be the case, this year I still definitely placed a premium on fun – and more than any other year, I did a lot of the things I like to do.

How You Can Rock It Too:

Everyone complains about not having enough time or money to have fun or do the stuff they like to do. This is complete BS. It’s all about prioritization, and sometimes a little creativity. Don’t have the money for golf? Go to a local park and make up your own course. Can’t take off for Thailand for Pad Thai? Grab a recipe and try making it yourself.

If you find yourself “not having time” for fun. Schedule it. Seriously put it the stuff you always push to the side on the calendar at least a few times a week. You’ll be less stressed, and enjoy life more if you remember why you’re working so hard in the first place.

2) I Increased Affiliate Revenue – While Still Serving Readers

If you’re just starting a blog, you’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing.  It can be one the best and easiest ways to start making money. You love a product and think your audience might as well? Sweet, add an affiliate link and you get paid if they buy it.

There are some shady ways to do this, but I tried to go the opposite route. I created really in depth tutorials and guides for how to do something specific. When appropriate, I used affiliate links to any of the products or services I mentioned.

Examples of this:

I provided really helpful content for the people using it, and I made thousands of dollars more for myself than I would have otherwise.

How you can rock it too:

Make a list of all the products or services you use, then do a little research to see if they have affiliate programs.  From there, if you actually want to make money with your links, do one o two things:

  1. Create a detailed review of why you love the product and how it’s changed your life
  2. Create a tutorial for how to solve a common problem and weave affiliate links into it.

I’m personally more of a fan of the latter, as it can provide value to people, even if they don’t want to buy a product.  No matter if your blog is just starting out or is a decade old, this can be a great way to create a win/win situation for you and your readers.

3) I Continued Working with People I Love

Life is too short to work with people that you don’t like. So whether it was my incredible community manager Liz, my consulting partner Derek, or the WDS and Pioneer Nation team – I surrounded myself with good people who have a shared vision for what I want to accomplish.

How you can rock it to:

The most important aspect of this, which is often overlooked, is to know what you want. If you don’t know what kind of business you’re trying to build, then chances are you’ll end up surrounding yourself with the wrong people.

Know what you want, and then from there choose to hang around people who have similar goals and full get what it is you’re trying to do.

4) I helped other people achieve their goals

Want to know the secret to business and entrepreneurship, as well as the secret to making lots of money? It’s pretty simple: help other people get what they want.

If you can do that, the money will come, I promise.

This year I did a really good job of helping people get what they wanted. For some that was the ability to travel. Others to leave their job. Some just wanted a business that gave them more freedom.

Between Location 180 posts and Location Rebel, we’ve had dozens if not hundreds of people reach their goals this year. This is probably the most fulfilling part of what I do – and also my favorite.

By devoting the vast majority of my time to helping others solve their problems, I’ve been able to live the lifestyle that I’ve always wanted. Pretty cool.

How You Can Rock It Too:

The best way to do this, is to start thinking like a problem solver. What are you good at that other people aren’t? What problems do you see that you could develop a solution to?

For more information on this, check out “How to Come Up With an Incredible Business Idea (And Validate It)” 

5) I Was Smart About My Strategic Promotions

I usually do two big promotions a year for Location Rebel, and and a couple of other smaller affiliate promotions as well.

This worked really well for me in 2013.

For Location Rebel I essentially follow the same formula. I come up with the best offer I can think of and I make it available for 48 hours. This doesn’t necessarily mean a reduced price, but rather bonus content you wouldn’t always get. I send 4-5 emails leading up to the promotion detailing what’s new in the community, but more importantly, highlighting the success of others (which is something I want to do much more of next year).

It has legitimate scarcity, inspires people to take action, and often the biggest success stories come from people who joined during that time.

On occasion I’ve also done similar things for friend’s products, but those especially have to add value to my audience regardless of whether or not they want to buy anything.

How you can rock it to:

Plan.

Any product launch or sale that I’ve done when I’ve just thrown something up there and hoped for the best as been mediocre at best, and completely bombed at worst.  If you have a strategy and plan for your promotion, make it interesting, and do your best to be helpful in the process – good things will happen.

6) I’ve Been Very Self Aware with My Shortcomings

I honestly feel that one of the things I did best this year, was be aware of the things I wasn’t so good at. This is really difficult for a lot of people, and often it’s easier just to turn a blind eye and pretend like you’re perfect. It’s when you recognize where you’re lacking that you can grow and do better in the future. Monday’s post was an example of this, and one that I’ve been thinking a lot about all week.

I think it’s also important to be aware of why you feel certain things are shortcomings. For instance I wrote a lot about how I felt lazy last year, but when you look at how much I accomplished, maybe I wasn’t that lazy – I just feel like I was because I know I could do better. By recognizing these feelings, it will allow me to more accurately assess my effort level moving forward.

How you can rock it to:

Do an annual review.  Mine includes a travel review, things I did well, things I didn’t do well, and things I’d like to do in the new year. Other people do things differently, and if you look around the internet right now, there’s no shortage of review posts you can mimic.

The important thing to do is to sit back and think about where you are, where you’ve been, and what you wish you’d done a better job of. Those are the ones that are really telling and should be acted on moving forward.

7) I Improved My Photography

So part of this huge golf goal I’ve created for myself, is documenting the hell out of it. On every top course I play, I take hundreds of photographs. This has meant a lot of time processing, editing, and learning what works and what doesn’t.

While I’m still no Ansel Adams, the quality of many of my photos has definitely gotten better.

How you can rock it to:

You have a camera phone right? Take more photos. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, and you certainly don’t need a big fancy DSLR, you just need to take more photos. You’ll begin to get an eye for what looks good, what doesn’t, and if you look back a few after a few months of deliberate practice, the difference will be astounding.

Diamante Dunes

8) I Did a Good Job Inspiring Confidence

More so than any other year, I did a good job inspiring confidence in others.  When you’re considering starting a business, leaving a job, or making any other kind of drastic change if you can’t develop confidence in your decisions, you’re going to face quite the uphill battle.

I’ve seen so many evolutions this year. People who were terrified and clueless, who 6 months later have thrived and completely changed their lives. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all on them and their work ethic, but often through emails or Location Rebel I was able to let people know they aren’t alone and that many others have gone through a similar transition.

How you can rock it to:

Sometimes people just need encouragement. The best thing you can do to aid in that is to not make it about you. If someone is going through a tough period, don’t talk about yourself. Don’t be selfish. Spend some time talking to them about their problems. The secret is that to build confidence and create change, often all that needs to happen is to have someone who’s willing to listen for awhile. Don’t be afraid to be that person.

 9) I Played a Lot of Golf

Now I suppose this could fall under the category of “making time for fun” but this was a big deal for me. One of my published goals in 2012 was to play 75 rounds of golf. I think I got in around 40. This year I’ll have played around 80.

For years I’ve really wanted to get better. But I simply never played enough to do it.

I shot an 85 for the first time ever this year, and even had an 82, which I’m particularly proud of.

To actually see improvement and feel like I’m getting better is a big deal for me. So often these days we get too caught up with life to actually practice anything. It’s almost like if you don’t learn something new by the age of 20, you never will. So it’s cool to prove this wrong.

How you can rock it to:

Chances are golf isn’t your thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for a hobby you’re excited about. There were two things I did that allowed me to play more

The first is I set a lofty goal around the hobby and actually set out to accomplish it – naturally this resulted in me playing a lot more than I might have otherwise.

Second, and probably, more important is I recognized when I was done with work for the day. Many days I experimented with only working until noon. This left all afternoon to do anything I wanted.  If you can schedule or plan for something similar, a whole new world of activities opens up.

10) I Did the Stuff Most People Just Talk About Doing

For the last couple years my Twitter byline has stated “Currently doing the stuff most people just talk about doing.” It may not be the best marketing line ever, but I keep it there because it serves as a reminder to keep pushing my comfort zone and doing things that are interesting enough to write about.

This year I visited 7 countries in 3 weeks. I drove around the country doing nothing but playing amazing golf courses. I helped throw a giant party for 3,000 people. I boarded 42 flights.

I did everything I wanted to do, while helping more and more people to do the same.

And you know what, in the end that’s all that matters.

So 2013, you’ve been incredible. Sure there were some things I could have done better, but there are always things you can do better. 

How can you rock it too?

Focus on the good, be aware of the bad, and do shit that makes you happy. That’s the key.

Here’s to a fantastic new year, and thank you so much for reading my ramblings. There is another review post or two, but after that there will be some fun stuff in the works over here.

We have a new social media blueprint for Location Rebel members that’s on the horizon, I have a new product that will be released early in the new year that I’m pretty stoked on and I’m toying with the idea of doing a little experiment on the blog for the month of January – so keep you’re eyes peeled, and if you want all the details make sure you’re on our mailing list.

Financial Samurai December 19, 2013 at 8:41 am

Shooting low 80s is tough! What did you get your handicap down to and from?

I used to love golf, but the lowest I got was 9.8. It stopped becoming fun b/c every shot was vital. I had to get on in regulation and two put or else. The best fun in golf is when one is a high teens handicapper imo.

What was the average round you think you paid?

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Bill February 26, 2014 at 4:49 am

Awesome article man. I was in a sad mood and this article makes me feel better.

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Ragnar December 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Impressive list, I would love to improve my photography list as well. Seems like I get new ideas for how to improve all the time these days, now that I’ve started actually taken some initiative.

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Troy Swezey December 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

Thank you for #4 Sean. Inspired by your writings and your Bali Sentosa Villas: MTV Cribs Style video ( youtu.be/ k2gFLBhGu-g ) I got off my a**, put in the time and am making money online and completely location independently. I plan to be unemployed by early spring. Keep an eye out for MY Cool Offices in 2014.

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Chas December 23, 2013 at 4:17 am

“The important thing to do is to sit back and think about where you are, where you’ve been, and what you wish you’d done a better job of. Those are the ones that are really telling and should be acted on moving forward.” Thank you for that, Sean. I really needed to read that message, now.

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Jim December 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Great article Sean, thanks for sharing. The tenth one was the coolest in my opinion. I’ve always thought of myself as the type to try and do the things that people only talk about, it’s hard to do!

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Nathan December 27, 2013 at 12:52 am

a great list Sean – I also just posted an article on my blog about the best and worst of this year – really find it helps to share your life and take reasonability for your actions.

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