2022 is over, and if It taught me only one thing, it’s this: it’s “KISS or else.”
KISS stands for Keep It Super Simple. And the “or else” is not something a lot of people talk about, but I have tasted that option this year.
It’s been an amazing year for so many reasons. And it’s been one of the hardest ones, too.
There have been a lot of disappointing moments that unraveled key lessons.
I thought 2022 would be different. For one thing, I expected a year in which the event industry would fully recover.
It did in certain places. It did not in many others. My tribe, where I grew up and matured into an entrepreneur, still suffers from a shortage of events in many locations.
My plan for 2022 was based on the idea of the BOOM – that was not called a boom but was predicted in the book “Apollo’s Arrow.” The TL;DR version – after a big crisis like a pandemic, people tend to spend more money on partying.
So I planned to make $477k in 2022. I fell short and did $430k.
To put things into perspective:
2017 – $110k
2018 – $165k
2019 – $277k
2020 – $305k
2021 – $377k
2022 – $430k
So money-wise it’s the best year ever. But it was hard AF to keep on growing.
It was humbling to get to the point where many coaching clients of mine told me this was their best year ever too. And often, they attributed their success to hard work and to working with me.
I meet some of my clients 4-5 times a week. I shit you not. It’s intense.
We conduct marketing experiments, measure the results, and look for ways to optimize. And then we rinse and repeat again and again and again. Sometimes for years.
The revenue was significant. But what about the expenses?
I started the year still living in Tel Aviv. We moved back to Mei Ami in July and celebrated our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.
So expenses were high during the first seven months of the year.
The hard part was not in finding new clients. This has never been hard for me.
The hard part was not in looking into the numbers in my different businesses and seeing only a 14% increase in sales. The hard part was to get through the days with 18-21 meetings. I got to the border of burnout land and took a quick visit inside. It was not a pretty sight.
I had to take frequent power naps. I had no motivation to create new content. Why bother when you are fully booked (or overbooked)?
I did my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and spend a lot of time with my family, but I have also gained weight. I started to experience social anxiety. I just didn’t want to meet new people or be outside often. It was strange to watch these changes unfold.
I am sharing everything here in transparency, not because I need a piece of advice. I have my therapist for that. I have my MMG for that. I even have my wife for that. I am sharing this because I think you deserve to know.
So many people suffer from all sorts of emotional and mental hurdles. Anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, impulsiveness – all of these are real, but you only notice them in people if you are very close to them and if you listen hard enough.
I think it’s crucial to not glorify success in business to the point where we ignore the fact that people can get ill. They can break. They can live in constant emotional and physical pain.
I guess it was a disappointing year because I had to slow down at some point.
Here is how everything played out
I worked 6 days a week, with 4-6 hours of sleep.
Two days a week were easier – only about 10 meetings.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays were bearable with 12-15 meetings a day.
But Mondays and Thursdays were a bitch. 18-21 meetings – including a few that were an hour long.
Each meeting represented a person (or a few people) who needed me to be at my best, to suggest copy ideas or strategies, to have room in my heart for their own shit.
I listened to my body at one point and started counting the meetings I do in a week, every week, and made changes. I limited the number of people who can join my group offering (KMC), and now I know my limits.
With 15-17 clients, I consider myself fully booked.
At 18-22, I am overbooked.
23-25 is heavily overbooked or HO. When I get to HO, I tend to need more power naps.
I started 2022 by getting to HO and staying there for about 6 months. That was too much. I got down to 15 in early Dec and then decided that I preferred being a bit more overbooked. I am now back up to 24 clients.
Why did I allow myself to become overbooked again?
While coaching 23-25 clients does add stress to my life, I am well supported now by my wife, family, and therapist. I know my limits and plan changes that will come into play in 2023.
When I miss my goals, like growing from 377 to 430 instead of 477, I don’t feel bad about it for long. I have always been an optimist, and I look at the positives.
Growing for six years straight. Quadrupling my income from 105k to 430k. Creating a strong team of designers, copywriters, and developers.
There are a lot of things to be proud of.
Like finally launching my YouTube channel.
But the one thing I am most proud of is getting clarity about what my business is all about.
I am not talking about the purpose or “calling” type of focal points. For years I have used “making this world a prettier place, one business at a time,” which encompasses many values for me, including honesty, generosity, ethical behavior, caring, creating value, adding value, and more. I am talking about the bottom line.
My business – let’s call it Kivi Media – is a coaching business. I offer super coaching services. Super coaching is “coaching plus benefits” – basically my team becomes yours.
I don’t just help you reach clarity, form a plan, and keep you accountable throughout the execution like many, many coaches. I also help you get to where you want to be. In a way, it’s like forming a partnership.
Some of my clients see me as a marketing consultant. Some see me as a coach. I don’t care how they see me, as long as they get what I signed on for – transforming a business into bigger, prettier things that serve the world.
Kivi Media has top-of-funnel offerings that are both free and paid. Stuff like podcasts, blogs (in the plural because my blog is on different websites), online courses, memberships and copywriting services.
We made $116k from top-of offerings, which stand for about 27% of our income this year. This is the income we make that is the most “passive,” although I don’t really count it as truly passive as you need to keep creating content to sustain it (or hire team members).
But it is the scalable part. If the boom ever does happen and the event industry grows significantly, my top-of-funnel will be able to grow and facilitate the needs of many more people.
The middle-of-funnel in my business is the group coaching, or the 3-month coaching offering called Spark. It is definitely a profit maximizer, making $97k this year or about 23%.
The bottom of the funnel is the one-on-one coaching. People hear about it by joining the mid-tier or talking to past clients of the Kivi Media Challenge (KMC). It generated $215k, which represents 50%.
Launching a challenge
I am choosing to continue focusing on super coaching in 2023, despite the fact that it doesn’t scale as easily. As a fully booked coach (who reached the HO level… again), I know that to grow my business, I will need to do something different. I will have to go into a new frontier and establish new rates.
Hence – my insistence on going into the Micro Niche Challenge.
It’s basically a 90-day process where I go into a new micro niche, create a podcast, a Facebook group, an email list and a website, and I sell my first coaching package there. I will document the process in a book, a mastermind group, and within the micro niche podcast. So basically, I will be producing two podcasts at the same time. No biggie – my team is up to the challenge.
Knowing what I know now – that super coaching is our superpower and our focus – means that I am declaring the end of life on our copywriting service.
It will transition out as follows:
I updated its fees to $795 (it used to be $425), and anyone who uses the service will be forced to upgrade to Spark within 3 months.
We will only take new clients into the service during 2023, and after that, we will offer the copywriting service only as a free addition to the coaching offerings.
Super coaching, baby. That’s what I want us to be known for.
We tried to keep Daily Cookie as a stand-alone business (profit center) for 25 months. It did 40-50k each year but with a lot of overhead in hiring, firing, and training. That requires a lot of emotional energy that I choose to divert into super coaching.
Daily Cookie taught us that businesses need copy. And as a super coach it is my duty to provide any type of support my coaching clients actually need.
I am trying to keep things simple. I don’t want to burn out again, and I can see our path toward a seven-figure business in 3-5 years. Even if it takes longer, like 5-7 years, it doesn’t matter that much. I am 44 years young, and I am in this for the ride, not the destination.
A few things will probably happen in 2023.
I will publish a book.
My business will do more than half a mil.
I will focus more on profits (and investing them into our S&P500-centered early retirement fund), so my team will probably stay the same size.
I might hire the first coach that will allow us to get up to 30 clients.
I will probably challenge myself to get into a new niche twice. But if it stresses me out, I will do it only once this year.
And I will definitely focus on my family, be the dad that I envision myself to be, be the man that I need to be, support and provide for my loved ones and prioritize my health (physical and mental).
I promise to keep on challenging myself to grow. I challenged myself 18 times to reach four specific goals, and I love the simplicity of it and the lessons that this lifestyle generates.
So there you have it. 2022, what I have learned, and a few of my goals for 2023.
If any of this resonates with you… if you liked the transparency or have read this far… then be a sport.
Comment on the post that led you here, or share it. Someone might actually thank you for doing it, on top of me thanking you in advance for your time reading this.