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Paul Jarvis

State of the Union, 2019

For the fourth year in a row (2018, 2017, 2016), I present to you my state of the union address.

(Not that I think I’m presidential or want to be the leader of anything, I just enjoy this routine of summarizing the previous year and looking at what’s to come.)

What went well in 2018

Writing. Since 2012, I’ve written a weekly article for my list (hey, that’s you) and not missed a Sunday except for planned breaks. My streak is 6 years strong and of all the things I do for my business, this is what I continue to be proud of. All roads – every product, every idea, every book, every break-through – start as words I share with you here.

Book. Although technically I wrote and finished Company of One in 2017, I spent a great deal of time in 2018 working on the things required to release a book – publicity, a course, an audiobook, a podcast, and working with both my American (HMH) and British publishers (Penguin). The pre-order campaign hit #2 on ProductHunt, #1 in several categories on Amazon and has already had a lot of favourable press. I’m really excited to share Company of One with you very, very soon.

Courses. Online teaching still makes up the bulk of my revenue, and I continue to spend a whole lot of time on it (What? There’s no passive income?! OH NOES.). In 2018 I redesigned Creative Class and re-filmed every video in Chimp Essentials.

Software. WPComplete has a steady MRR that Zack and I are pleased with. Fathom is steadily climbing to decent revenue numbers. There are a few more things in the works on the software front too (stay tuned!)

Revenue. I focus entirely on serving the audience I’ve got, and not on trying to build a bigger audience, so naturally my revenue has steadied out over the last few years and  slightly decreased this year. But, it’s enough.

Partnerships. A lot of my business now works because I have stellar people at the helm with me. From Kaleigh on Creative Class, to Zack on WPC, to Jack on other software projects… they all make my work and life easier by being as driven as I am.

What didn’t go well in 2018

Another book. At the beginning of 2018 I wanted to have another book idea finished, have it sold to a publisher, and have already started writing it. I spent months on this, doing research, making notes, and recording interviews. But, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I wasn’t ready to start another book project so soon. I’m hoping the research/interviews can be useful in the future, but if not, that’s ok too—I found that any time I spend talking to really smart and interesting folks about topics I give a shit about is not time wasted. The next book will come, I’m sure of that, but not until it’s ready.

Overwhelm. My life is not often stressful, but I still feel overwhelmed from time to time. I think it’s the result of juggling a lot of projects on the at once, which I enjoy, but can also feel overwhelming at times. Perhaps if any single project brought in enough revenue I could focus on that alone, but like a lot of folks who do what I do, that’s not the case right now. And I also think that if I just had one thing to focus on, I could get bored.

My point of view. I struggled this year with being as bold, brash and brazen as I usually am with my writing and true voice. To be honest, criticism got to me and my skin has gotten thinner in dealing with it. I’ve deleted tweets with political opinions, sworn far less (even though I made a Twitter thread about it) and watered things down a touch. I’m not sure why this happened but I’m trying harder to let my true self back into my work.

What’s ahead for 2019

Less. Each year I try to have a theme that I can dig into and come back to if and when I get lost in work. The technical (2016) helped launch Chimp Essentials, which is now my best selling course. Service (2017) helped me foster a connection with my audience and customers that’s strengthened my business and continues to inform every decision I make. Focus (2018) helped me launch and move so many projects forward, one at a time.

This year, less relates to not feeling like I have to take on everything. I need to get better at delegating what doesn’t make sense for me to take on. I need to take on less responsibility, so the weight of the world doesn’t always feel like it’s squarely on my shoulders, alone.

A focus on less doesn’t mean there will be a lack or void in any area. It simply means that I need to take a dose of my own medicine (from Company of One), and remember that “better” doesn’t always mean “more”.

What’s specifically ahead for 2019?

The bottom line

The world felt pretty fucking dark at times in 2018. From politics in the US, to climate change decisions here in Canada, there wasn’t a whole lot of light. I don’t even know if that darkness will diminish at all this year, but we should all work towards it.

Even if it just means we have a bit more patience with each other, and step back to realize that everyone’s just trying best to cope with and deal with their own shit, exactly like we’re trying to do. That doesn’t mean we should let bad things happen, it just means we should act, live and speak with a bit more grace and empathy.

I have no idea what this new year will bring but I’m glad you’re here with me, because we’re in this together. Sure, I’m just some weirdo who shows up in your inbox every Sunday, but this connects us, even with the tiniest of threads. So I appreciate the attention you give my words each week.

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