Well, I can tell you that the goal of having this post up by the first week of January didn’t happen.  That’s the thing with goals, just because we don’t reach them doesn’t mean we should stop trying or stop setting them.  Setting a goal, then failing to reach it often gets you further than never setting one, to begin with.

Goals are important for a full life and essential for a successful business.  When I first started a business I was asked, “What is your five-year plan?” At the time I didn’t have one but I decided to sit done and right out that plan (you can read it here).

By the End of 2020: My Five Year Plan (Update)

In fact, I just decided to re-read my five-year plan, and I’m doing pretty well.  I’m about halfway there.  My first five year plans goes to the end of 2020.

  • 15,000 Youtube Subscribers.  In review, I’d hoped to be further along than I currently am.  My growth is consistent but flat.  I’m getting close to 6k subscribers.  I need to work harder at that.
  • My Wife and I Want to Restore Old Homes.  Homeownership eluded my wife and me for a long time.  I’m proud to say that in 2017 we were able to buy our first home.  It needed and still needs a lot of work.  I’m not sure having it ready to sell in 2.5 years is still a goal I want to have.  But #achievementunlocked. It also has an awesome shop that has helped my business grow a lot.
  • I want to be a far better craftsman than I am now. I can tell you for a fact I’m much better than I was just two years ago.  I’m proud of how my skills have developed however, it’s not enough.  I am committed to continuous improvement.  There is always a new skill to learn, a better method to complete a task, and a new idea that will change everything.  Be a lifelong learner and never consider yourself to have ‘mastered’ your craft.
  • By 2020 I want to have one or two good apprentices.  This goal has proven to be especially difficult.  I’ve found one good worker (1/3) who wants to learn.  The challenge is being profitable enough to sustain an apprentice (he doesn’t want to work for free).  I am amending this goal.  I’ve found that good subcontractors and friends in the trades are better than employees.  I can hire a few good guys I’ve found to do a job and not have to stress about keeping them paid during slow times.
  • I want a bigger/better truck.  I have achieved this goal, but not in the way I had hoped.  My old, beloved, F-150 blew a head gasket. I was able to successfully use a “liquid fix” for a few months.  Then I was in an accident; a drunk pulled out in front of me.  I now have a 2013 F-150 SuperCrew with the 3.5Ecoboost and 6.5ft bed.  It’s perfect for my work.  I’m very happy with it.
  • Tools – I want all the Tools. This goal will never change.  Specifically, I want to get into the Festool ecosystem of tools.

What are my Goals for 2018?

  1. Save 10% of gross income (10% profit). My net profit for 2018 was only $866.  That means I only took in $866 more dollars than I spent on materials, tools, payroll, and theft taxes.  Sure, I invested a lot of money into the right tools, paid down a lot of business debt etc.  But that’s such a sad little number for a business.  My simple solution? When I get a deposit 10% straight off the top goes into savings, period.  That will also give me a buffer against downturns, illness, and equipment failures.
  2. Operate my business debt free. I achieved this goal this week.  Thanks in a large part to goal one.  I’ve been setting aside money off the top and aggressively paying down business-related expenses.  I’m now working on building up enough working capital to take on any job without “floating” (using lines of credit while working a job and paying it off when paid for that job).
  3. Online passive business income 50% of Salary.  Did you know that my website and youtube channel earns money? Youtube pays me to run ads alongside my business and I often use Amazon Affiliate links for products I recommend.  This brought in a nice little extra but didn’t take off until I started selling woodworking plans on Etsy.  This has exploded my passive income streams and allowing me to really grow and invest in the business.  Notice I’m not saying gross income.  I’m saying my salary.
  4. Sell 10 dog kennels a month. Dog kennels are one of those accidental businesses that fell into my lap.  I’m making about 2-3 a month currently.  I’m working with my web guy to get a store up and running with the goal of selling 10 a month.  The will allow me to focus my business more on custom woodworking.
  5. Specialize in custom woodworking, remodeling, and cabinetry work. Hey, look! One goal works toward the next.  I want to do less “handyman work.”  The handyman work got me to where I’m at today, but I don’t enjoy it like I do the cabinetry and woodworking.  I’m no longer actively offering “handyman services” or advertising them to new customers.  What I’ve decided to do is to offer my hourly handyman services to current and established customers.  The idea is to provide this service to people with whom I’ve already formed a relationship with.

My Shop

One of the most valuable things that is helping me achieve my goals is my shop.  One of the reasons my wife and I bought the house we did was because of the shop space available.  Just to rent a space like this in my area would end up costing more than our current Mortgage payment.  That’s a big deal.  I’m continuously improving this space and making it better every day.

Here is the tour:


I’m convinced: setting goals and failing to meet them gets you further than never setting goals to begin with.  I’m going to work hard to achieve my goals this year, and if I don’t meet all of them it’s OK.  For example, if I only manage to make a 5% profit instead of 10% that is still better than the 1% profit I make this year.  If I only sell 6 kennels a month instead of 10, that’s still double of what I’m currently doing.

continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection – mark twain

What are your goals for 2018?