Each year between Christmas and New Year I usually take myself off to a posh hotel and snuggle up to a roaring open fire in a big comfy sofa to sit down and write my plans and goals for the next year. This year, I have a cosy blanket wrapped around my legs in my home office (as the hotels are all closed) and I open my laptop ready to type up my goals. The first part of goal setting is to reflect on the current reality of your life accounts. How many of the goals did I achieve when I look at what I set out to achieve this time last year?
Looking at last years goals and focusing on my achievements is usually my favourite part of the session, but I know this year's reflections are going to be very different. My heart is heavy, I have little motivation, as I work out the percentage of goals completed that I set myself for 2020. My average over the last six years is always more than 80%. This year I ended up achieving just 23% of the goals that I set out in my plan. I can either beat myself up about that or adopt the attitude of “I can’t change it” and move on with my life. I can’t control what happened in the last 12 months and I sure as hell can’t control what will happen in the world for the foreseeable future, but I can change my attitude and I can set some realistic goals for 2021.
My life plan consists of 10 accounts, and my personal goals can be found here. As this is the Adventure Geek website, I thought I would go into a bit more detail about account number 8 – Work. What does 2021 look like for Adventure Geek?
Purpose Statement: Work Account
My work and career is important to me as long as I am being challenged, and that work does not feel like work. The purpose of this account is to keep me on track and make sure that I do not enter the drift stage. My goal for Adventure Geek is simple. If I can get people outside to enjoy the benefits of walking in nature whilst earning a living then I will be happy.
December 31st 2020: The current reality is that AG is surviving this pandemic, just! If Covid has taught me anything, then resilience and diversification is top of the list. 2020 has seen the introduction of map downloads (I hit my goal of x 50 by mid-December) and I am now making some noise in the local area. I have built relationships with East Hunsbury Council, and lots of people know me for the walking side of things. I believe that the “social media / digital marketing Julia” is not how people think of me nowadays. My personal brand identity has shifted. We currently have 140 members signed up (goal was 150), but probably about half of those are on a monthly membership, and the rest are PAYG members. Books, Amazon links and map downloads are building slowly, and I have also reached 762 subscribers on my YouTube Channel.
Specific Adventure Geek Commitments in 2021
So what does 2021 have in store for Adventure Geek? My priority will be to build a residual income. If 2020 has shown me anything it is that I need to diversify if I am going to survive. It doesn't feel right for people to pay me for something they are not receiving. I need to focus on a new revenue stream that does not involve group gathering. Don’t get me wrong, the walking club WILL, continue (I will not be beaten!) but I need to be in a financial position to put people’s membership on hold if we are not allowed to walk as a group — to enable me to do this I need to build a residual income.
Here are my goals for 2021, along with the actions I need to do to make sure that I achieve those goals.
WALKING CLUB MEMBERSHIP: Adventure Geek will increase its membership from 140 (current) to 200 by December 2020. (Target of 5 members a month).
- Increase the walks to 16 a month as a minimum.
- I have been rather lapse on the videos and photos on each walk. (Mainly as I don’t want to take photos of people when they are too close together, but that is just an excuse really). So, photos and videos are an essential ingredient for marketing the walks.
INTRODUCING SELF GUIDED WALK MEMBERSHIP:
With a commitment of uploading a minimum of one map walk a week, I will introduce a monthly membership for those who are interested in walking on their own from 1st February 2021.
- Membership is £5 a month, with a discount to established club members of £3 a month (which is simply added to their existing account).
- A notification via email with the latest walk as they are released. Note: this new membership will not give you access to previous maps it will simply give you access to new maps from the day that you join.
- One free AG passport when you join, where you scratch off the grey panel to reveal the photo challenge image once you have completed a walk. These are also available to purchase separately. Additional passports can be purchased if needed.
- Access to the AG leaderboard, for those who like a bit of friendly competition. There is a small additional charge of £2 a month for the leaderboard (I make no money on this and am just passing on the fee from the software we use).
- To be involved with the AG monthly photo challenge.
- Discount on merchandise and AG adventure walks.
- Discount on the self-guided walking adventures that will be released by March 2021.
Retention of membership is an essential ingredient for any type of club. It is important that the members continue to feel welcomed and feel part of something special.
- To organise at least one pointy map walk a week for members only.
- To organise a min of two “scope/risk assessment” walks twice a month for members only.
- Each member will now receive an AG badge for their hat, jacket or rucksack.
- AG photo challenge – The photo challenge is getting bigger and bigger every month. It creates such a positive vibe when someone posts a photo and I love the fact that everyone comments and says how fab the photo is (even if it is not the best). That is the sort of community that we are creating. I will continue with these challenges during 2021.
- Each week I will send a personalised postcard to at least one AG member as a nice surprise.
- WALK LEADERS – My goal was to train and certify 15 walk leaders by December 31st – tick! I will look to increase these to 25 by the end of 2021. Ideally, we would like to expand our walks into Milton Keynes, Kettering, and Rugby areas. I can only do this with the help of the walk leaders.
- I have implemented a new loyalty system for walk leaders only. Time will tell if this system is fair and if it is financially viable for me as a business.
- Count.It Leaderboard – The leaderboard is ok, but I have not put a lot of attention into it. I am contemplating opening the leaderboard up to the general public, not just members as long as I cover my costs. I feel this may be a valuable marketing avenue for me. I am undecided at the moment.
- Once a month I will have an “Orange” event (Known as EE’s – Enchanted Expedition”. These are chargeable walks at a discount for members but will be locations such as Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace etc. To make the most of the time invested, I will make each EE walk into an overnighter so that I can try out camping gear.
WEBSITE: I spent a lot of time on the website during 2020 and I will invest more time into it during 2021. The store has a better design now and the cart is more obvious for customers. I have pop-ups to get people onto my subscription list which is working well, and I also now have an interactive map for my downloadable walks. For 2021 I will commit to writing one “random thought” blog a week, plus adding two new products to the website, in addition to one new map download. With all the extra content updated and tagged on a regular basis, I believe that this will have a good impact on my web statistics.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY: I will become more involved with the local community which will spread the word about the business. Methods include:-
- BNI – In April 2020 I became president of our BNI chapter. This has given me great exposure to the group, and I have built some very good relationships, but I am looking forward to hanging up the president gloves at the end of March. The idea of just a regular member of the chapter is appealing and will continue to promote my business through this channel.
- Women’s Institute – I am not sure that the WI is ready for Zoom yet. I will continue with WI and just pray that we can get a few face to face meetings throughout 2021.
- Fitbit Group – I launched the Fitbit leaderboard in March 2014. It is sitting there, doing nothing with over 100 members. I keep coming back to the idea of re-igniting this group and changing it to the AG Leaderboard Group. If can get people on board and start them talking about walking, exercise and a bit of competition then at least that benefits my business and my brand. I ran this leaderboard for six years, for no benefit at all – even when I didn’t have a Fitbit. At least now I can justify the time spent.
- Birthdays – Every day, as part of my morning ritual, I will send a happy birthday message to those I am connected to on Facebook, and also send cards in the post to AG members. I will also add the BNI members birthdays to my CRM system.
- Weekly AG Newsletter – I have been writing a newsletter once a week for a long time and now have nearly 2000 subscribers. I need to go through the subs list and remove people who have not opened an email in the last six months. Commitment: I will continue with the weekly newsletter, even if I am on a hike. I need to work hard to make sure that I have consistency in production.
ADVENTURE WALKS: The Adventure Walks such as the Camino, Hadrian’s Wall etc are a good source of income for me, and I love doing them. I get a thrill seeing someone accomplish a trail that they never thought was possible. Rather than adding to an already tight schedule for 2021, I will concentrate my efforts into filling the slots for the walks I have already set!
RESIDUAL INCOME – If I break a leg or become ill, or a pandemic hits the world then I do not have a sustainable business. I need to build a residual income side of the business which does not need me to be as present. Elements include:-
- AMAZON AFFILIATE – I currently make around £60 a month from Amazon affiliate links. I would like to build on this as a residual income, which means adding products to my website each week as well as continuing to build my YouTube channel for hiking gear. Specific commitments include: Treat of the week video on YouTube once a week, including gear reviews in my trip videos, making sure the videos go onto Facebook, IGTV and LinkedIn articles.
- MERCHANDISE – I don’t make much money from clothing and branding, but it is great to see people wearing a branded cap, hoody or jacket. A steady stream of merchandise being sold would help towards the residual income. I will build up the merchandise offering.
- SELF GUIDED WALKS & SELF GUIDED WALK MEMBERSHIP – the downloadable walks have been very popular, averaging around 40 a month (November I did 66 downloads). I will continue with uploading and promoting these. The “testers” side of things is working really well. I have some people who pick up on every little detail which is just brilliant, therefore I know that the products I am sending out to the world are quality and no-one should get lost. The additional “audio” version of the walks needs some attention in 2021, but I think I have a good recipe for success. Details already mentioned above for membership.
- SELF GUIDED ADVENTURES – Working closely with a travel agent, I will produce self-guided adventures, which will include transport/flights and accommodation, guide books, support, kit lists, training plan etc. My goal is to produce one for The Jurassic Way, The South Downs Way, The Cotswolds Way, Hadrian’s Wall and some routes in Turkey throughout 2021.
2021 will be a great year as long as I have the right attitude to make it a success. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If I want different results then I need to diversify and change my attitude. Life planning is such a good exercise to do and helps you build that road map to success. I now have my compass and will try not to drift through 2021.