Goals From 2017
Make $100k/yr by 30
Such an arbitrary “goal,” but nonetheless one I wrote down at the beginning of the year. In fact it’s something I always had as a goal in the back of mind since I started working.
With some hard work and definitely some luck mixed in, I was able to make it. What’s funny is earlier in the year, I asked the r/marketing subreddit who made $100k and what was their path and advice. It ended up getting way more comments than I expected.
The comments were pretty inspiring and kind of pointed out I was a little underpaid at where I was at the time. So I used that to make some moves and did two things: 1) turned a lucrative job offer into a raise and 2) got a high paying freelancing client doing paid Facebook Ads.
It was awesome to go back to the community at r/marketing and do an update post and an ask me anything: “I made $130k this year as a B2B Marketer in SaaS. AMA”
Read one book a month
I didn’t quite make this one. I read 7 books and listened to 8 on Audible. I decided I’m not the biggest fan of audiobooks — while entertaining during drives, at the gym, or doing whatever, I just don’t retain as much information. Since I wanted to read a book a month to learn practical knowledge, audiobooks therefore just can’t count towards this goal. So from now on, Audiobooks will be reserved for just fun books.
Kindle (7): 48 Laws of Power, Meditations, Mastery, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Boron Letters, Atomic Habits, Pre-Suasion
Audible (8): Rome’s Last Citizen (2x), Conspiracy, The Obstacle is The Way (2x), Washington: A Life, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Ego Is The Enemy, First Break All The Rules, and Way of the Wolf.
Start tracking habits
I started the year off strong using a pen and planner method, but after a couple months I started to miss a few days tracking, which eventually led me to stop completely.
Toward the end of 2018, I started using a habit tracking app called Done, which was a huge improvement over pen and paper. Reading Atomic Habits also helped me tremendously to stick with my new habits.
Ultimately, I have to mark this goal as a fail, but I’ve made big improvements here that I don’t feel bad about it. I’m pretty confident I’ll stick to my habits and tracking them everyday in 2019.
The only habit I kept up from the beginning of the year was going to the gym. My goal at first was to go 3x a week and then it went to 4x. Due to some injuries, illness, and a vacation to Europe, I didn’t quite meet my goal. I averaged 2.85x per week. Not bad!
Journaling was tough. I was fired up in the beginning of the year, but then I couldn’t keep it up. Again thanks to Atomic Habits, I was able to find a way to integrate journaling into my routine that stuck (December I went to Europe and got sick hence the lower number).
Meditating was something I first tried in 2018. I liked it for a while, but began to feel it wasn’t really doing much for me practically. I picked it back up again, but still have some doubt about how much it helps me in my day-to-day thoughts and feelings. I’m going to test switching from Headspace to Sam Harris’s Waking Up app and see if I can get more value from it.
I hardly ever flossed in my life, but after being told how disgusting I was every night by my girlfriend, I decided to give it a go. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to keep up after I got used to doing it. It was also great to hear a dentist tell me that I’ve been doing a good job flossing — a life first!
Other Things That Happened
Moved into a new apartment
In 2017, Deanna (my girlfriend) and I moved out of our studios and into a one bedroom apartment together. We had to renew our lease in 2018 or leave the building and we decided to stay, but upgrade to a better unit with an awesome and balcony and view.
Facebook ads for MusclePharm
I did a six month freelance project for my most high-profile company yet—MusclePharm. I learned a lot doing paid Facebook ads at ServiceTitan (the company I worked for at the time) after spending over $1.5 million in FB ads.
I learned a lot from this project. For one, I don’t think I’ll freelance again while at a full-time job. While the extra income is very nice, the opportunity cost is very high — most notably less free time and a hit to my performance at my main job. The latter is important because I was in a great position at ST and I could have done better during my time there. I believe freelancing was one of the major factors of my decrease in performance there, which led to me not going as high and far as I could have gone there — earning me more money long term than the freelance project.
Hit the big 3–0 last year. Deanna took me out to a delicious steak dinner, and other than that I didn’t really celebrate too much. She did get me some amazing gifts though — a new Louis Vuitton wallet and some nice Clark Dessert Boots.
Bought a new car
I love cars. Over the years I’ve had two Honda S2000s, a super clean ’96 BMW E36 328is coupe in manual, and an ’09 BMW e92 328i coupe. Then the unthinkable happened.
I got rear ended hard and the ’09 Bimmer was totaled. To make it worse, it was right after I was laid off so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money while my income was uncertain. That’s how I ended up driving a VW Passat for two years.
Then in 2018 I finally got myself a new-to-me car: a ’14 BMW F32 435i coupe in manual with 25k miles. I’ve modded the car a lot so far (with more to come). Finally, I have a car I love getting into and driving again.
Took a quick vacation in Seattle, the first time I’ve ever been there. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited in the US.
First experience managing a direct report
For my career, a big highlight in 2018 was beginning my management experience after being given the responsibility to manage someone. Although it was only for 9 months or so, it was a great experience.
As a sole contributor, your core focus is to do your job and help the company achieve goals. As a team contributor and manager, it’s still your job to help achieve company goals, but it’s also a big part to help another person achieve their goals. And in many ways, that’s more rewarding. I’m excited for more opportunities to grow in a leadership role.
ServiceTitan to Chili Piper
The biggest change in 2018 was my job change from ServiceTitan to Chili Piper. I spent two and a half years at ServiceTitan and I’ve grown tremendously. The company went through two major rounds of funding, a valuation from $300 million to $1.6 billion, and from 115 employees to nearly 600.
When I first joined, the marketing team was six people and when I left it was close to 30. In the beginning, they needed their marketers to be good at and do many different things in marketing. By the time I left, the company could afford to place specialists in each area of marketing.
In my last weeks there, every director-level employee was either fired or quit. The CEO used this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the team. Since I enjoy being more of a generalist, I didn’t quite fit into the team as well anymore. The CEO recognized this and suggested I find an early stage startup to work at.
So I did. I knew about Chili Piper because we used their product at ServiceTitan, and a marketer I respect and look up to recently joined their team. My direct report used to work for him and he introduced me to him. After a couple of interviews, I got an offer.
I’m now thrilled to join Chili Piper, a small start up with around a dozen people who make a suite of tools for marketing and sales people — a demographic I know well since I’m a marketer myself who works closely with sales. This is a welcomed change, because having empathy for your buyers is a huge advantage to success as a marketer and job fulfillment — something I struggled with at ServiceTitan.
Paris and Amsterdam
I found out I was going to Paris two weeks before my departure date. I joined Chili Piper in November during a contest they were running where if we break the most revenue generated in a single month, our founders were taking all of us to Paris.
I saw the number we were at and the one we needed to hit, and I actually didn’t expect us to make it. But we have some absolute monsters on our team and they hit the number. Next thing I knew, I was going to the US Passport Agency in downtown LA one week before departure to rush order a new passport.
I’ve never been to Paris, and it instantly became my favorite city in Europe. The architecture was beautiful and the food everywhere I went was delicious.
I extended my Paris trip to visit my friend in Amsterdam. I’ve been once before so long ago I don’t even remember anything — it felt like I was visiting for the first time.
Amsterdam was also a beautiful place. While it felt much smaller than Paris and it was definitely a touristy place, I still really enjoyed this unique city and my time there.
Why Do a Yearly Review?
I see this yearly review more as a personal exercise of reflection and gratitude. If I don’t take the time to reflect on what I’ve done and memories created, it becomes easy for me to forget and think time is flying by. Before this reflection, I would have said I didn’t do much in 2018 and maybe even ask myself “what am I doing with my life?”
After the reflection, it’s much more clear to see what I’ve done, experiences had, and memories created. It makes me think, “Hey my life isn’t that boring after all,” a mindset easy to give in to with social media. Finally, it’s an exercise in gratitude in appreciating the people in your life, the things in your life, and even the very flow of time itself.
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Getting fired, learning the hard way, finding a new job, vacationing in Barcelona