I worked in process development back in my corporate days. What is process development? Basically, I figure out how to make a million of something. In other words, it’s about taking something someone has developed in a lab and putting in a process to make a lot of it. The buzzword is “scale-up.” For example, there’s a new formula for Downy that was developed in the lab with beakers and test tubes. We want to figure out how to make it at the plant, which may mean new tanks, new pumps, and mixers.
2017 was a year of scale-up for me. Before, it was throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. This year, it was cleaning up all the stuff that fell to the floor and putting frames around the stuff that stuck. 2018 will be picking out stuff that’s more sticky, pre-treating the wall with glue, and adding more glue to the stuff before throwing it against the wall.
With that vivid imagery in your head, here are my top happenings and accomplishments over the 2017.
In the business category:
- Revenue was up 55.7% compared to 2016, on growth of the flagship The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Cleaner and launching the Flairosol lineup of sprayers.
- I updated The Bucko Store (thebucko.com), in the hopes of selling directly to customers in addition to selling on the Amazon platform. It’s now on Shopify and I’ve set up email marketing for my customers and newsletter subscribers. That’s still a work in progress.
- I hired a great virtual assistant. It’s not easy finding a great one, but having her has really helped the business grow. It also is hard to make sure I do my job in making her successful, but I think I’m getting there.
- Investments were up 19%. And exactly 0% of that is in Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies (the subject of another blog post I’m sure). The S&P 500 was up 20%, so I trailed that a bit, but I think the S&P was one of the top performing indexes this year I guess I did OK. I also contributed to my Roth and SEP IRAs again because I have earned income!
In the Life/Travel category:
- I added Oregon to my states visited list. Portland has a great food truck scene! I’m now down to 8 states that I need to visit: Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
- I was a digital nomad for a month in May when I was between apartment leases. I traveled to Milwaukee, Ft. Lauderdale for the Seller’s Summit conference hosted by Steve Chou of My Wife Quit Her Job, and made a return trip to Cincinnati, my old stomping grounds. I also stayed in a couple of AirBnb’s in Marina Del Ray and Redondo Beach just to check things out. Here are selfies of me with Steve Chou and Jen Chou (the wife who quit her job):
- Got to see Team USA win the World Baseball Classic at Dodger stadium.
The biggest accomplishment of 2017 was making the picture on my “vision board” come true. I have a beautiful picture of me on Manhattan Beach right after sunset (photo credit to Anna Wu) that I’ve been using as my vision board since 2013.
In June of 2017, I moved to a small apartment in Hermosa Beach, CA (one beach down from Manhattan) a block away from the ocean. In fact, I’m trying up this post from the “beach office” right now. It’s really hard not to wake up and feel happy in this environment.
And onward to 2018. First off, I need a new vision board picture! It’ll probably be something like a bigger place with an even better view. Other goals for 2018 will be to take advantage of all that “scale” that I will be building and increase revenues and profits with new products and new channels. The big milestone will be to get to the point of making more than my corporate salary would have gotten me, with less stress and more flexibility.
Best of luck to all of you as well!