Every year since 02014, I’ve published an honest and public review of the year. Instead of posting 365 updates on social media, you get a digest of what went on in my life in one serving. The reader is invested in a particular role: you keep me real and accountable by reading this. For that, I am deeply grateful.
This review is divided into six sections. We’ll start with Business, dive into numbers with Finance, get intimate with Personal, enter my brain in Mind, touch my internals in Body, and then see my impact on the world in the Planet section.
You can browse a preview of this post as a Web Story.
Ready for an 2.853-word-long monster read? I am!
Up And To The Right
The business grew 52% in 02020 and is now over the 02013 numbers and close to what it was making in 02014.
I never had so many clients in a single year (13). Client satisfaction is way up: 52% of the revenue came from repeating engagements from 5 loyal clients.
Betting On Coaching Paid Off
At the end of last year, I chose to position myself exclusively as a trainer and coach and set out to find new customers.
The new positioning paid off, and I am now growing a business based much more on teaching than consulting. My top seller at the moment is what I call Open Training.
Not Just Teaching
Some clients have still asked me to develop audits and even to help run their marketing department. This is not teaching, but I approach it as such, trying to make any interaction a learning opportunity.
Less Money Per Client
My average invoice per client in the consulting day was 3 times bigger than the average invoice as a trainer and coach.
To fix this, I am both increasing my teaching rates and actively seeking more clients. That said, I am happy to continue serving legacy clients at a low hourly fee, the lowest I ever offered.
More Personal Satisfaction
I have a dreamy relationship with my clients. I am glad to serve them. They are happy to hire me. A lot of them want to extend our engagements.
This has magnified my personal satisfaction, and since I am the one doing the work, that’s all that matters.
It’s been another excellent year for the website. Google liked the redesign and my new content. +55% growth for organic traffic, with a slight negative adjustment in time spent and bounce rate.
Advertising revenue halved in 02020 and represented around 5% of my overall income. For such a lousy year for education, these are not bad results.
Since we didn’t publish many contents this year, yearly traffic is precisely the same. We had the same amount of user sessions and -9% page views.
An Internship At La Fabbrica della Realtà
Anna is my first intern since I went freelancing, and she is becoming essential to my business. After a few initial months, she is now an integral part of my content production pipeline, and she’s getting involved in client acquisition and marketing too.
OUT as YOU
In 02020, I realized that it’s fundamental that I am out to my clients as a gay entrepreneur & trainer. This informs them of the value I can bring to my engagements. OUT as YOU is coming back.
How Did I Perform Against The 02019 Business Goals?
In 02019, I set some goals. Let’s see how that worked out.
- Aggressive Acquisition: I acquired 9 new clients. Mission accomplished.
- Keep Up the Trend: I started growing in Q4 of 02019. I almost kept up the growth trend, but my Q1 and Q2 were weak.
- Open Up and Grow: I communicated like crazy, ran free webinars for hundreds of participants, and opened up to many new opportunities. Check!
- Going to Conferences: this was a lousy year for having social goals.
- Campaigns: I ran a successful campaign in Q2 at the start of the pandemic. I will run more in 02021.
- I Enjoy Helping People Communicate Better: Mission accomplished, I helped many people and many clients.
- Go Back to 2016 Without Depending on a Single Client: I grew 52% vs. the 400% growth needed to reach this goal. I didn’t hit it but got closer.
Customer relationships that bring mutual satisfaction and value should be transformed into yearly commitments.
Increase Average Invoice Per Client
I know my clients are getting a lot of satisfaction and value from me. They will have to pay accordingly in the new year.
Acquire More Clients
I still have space for a few more clients. I will push to acquire the right type of company and individuals that I can best support. I will probably run some more paid ad campaigns, but my core effort will be SEO. A further refinement of the website is needed.
Be Exactly Who You Are
In 02020, I came out as gay to my professional network. In 02021, I will revive OUT as YOU. Follow my newsletter if you want to keep informed about this or any further development.
What A Strange Year
Being invested in anti-cyclical assets (gold) and risky cyclical assets (stocks), I expected to lose money or come out even this year. Instead, these are the numbers for this year.
My assets grew only 1% due to some tactical sales that I had to cover for the poor financials in 02019.
Here is the split:
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Asked For A Mortgage
Yes. Looking for a new home has been the subject of this review since 02018. We might finally be close to making this happen. For this reason, I have been in dialogue with banks for much of the year.
I might be very much in debt very soon. This will completely revolutionize my financial picture. I will probably need to make some strategic sales if all goes to plan and enter into a 20+ year mortgage.
How Did I Perform Against The 02019 Financial Goals?
Here’s what happened:
- Stay the Course, Feed the Portfolios: I couldn’t feed the portfolios, but I stayed the course.
- Where to Live: I am nearly there. Wish me luck.
- No New Cars in 02020: check!
- Sorry, Not Buying New Cars Anymore: I am having a horrible experience with Mazda Deutschland on my new MX-5. Their behavior is insulting, and I am not touching that f%%%ing brand ever again in my life. If you want to know more, I am happy to vent in private.
House Owner With Debt
Renting and having a significant financial reserve is much different from owning and having a debt pile. I am heading into ownership with my eyes open. It’s not a financial decision, per se. It’s a personal choice. And I bet it’s the right one.
I would like to keep my Permanent Portfolio and a bit of my risky Growth Portfolio. The rest will probably need to be significantly reduced due to homeownership.
House Owners Car
Since I am looking for a house with a garden in Brandenburg’s less connected parts, I will need a practical car to ship around people and objects. I would love to get a small Japanese bus or a fast wagon or an oldtimer with lots of space.
The Year That Rocked Our Certainties
I won’t remember 02020 as a horrible year. But it has provided challenges from a personal point of view. It’s been the year of self-reliance when you cooked all your meals and organized all your workouts.
I missed the entropy that mixes things in life. I was left in charge of deciding if I was happy or sad, calm, or agitated.
One Memorable Trip
I only traveled once this year. And I enjoyed every second of this trip. I took the long way from Berlin to Tuscany with the 911. I visited family and friends. In between, I drove my favorite roads and stopped at my favorite restaurants. It’s the template of what a great trip can be, and I will do many more like that when the pandemic is over.
More Satisfaction, But Also Uncertainty
I got more satisfaction from work this year, but I also got more anxious about work. Two distinct sources I can determine. First, I am under pressure from the bank to deliver a high-profit year. I am used to measuring my success in revenue, not profit. This different metric put me off balance. Secondly, the uncertain economic climate meant that my services as a trainer and coach were not always seen as a priority by my clients.
Fortunately, I quickly adapted to teaching remote productivity and virtual presentations, but this rush to produce new content and new value took a toll.
It’s been a terrible year for dating. I have nothing to report.
How Did I Perform Against The 02019 Personal Goals?
These were last year’s goals:
- The Year of the New Home: we’re nearly there.
- More Driving: I drove less. 40% less than last year for a total of 14.472 Km. I also did just one track day.
- Keep Dating: I tried.
- Vacations: this needs to be postponed to simpler times.
Matteo The Homeowner
I hope to start 02021 as a homeowner. I will devote a lot of my personal time to moving, setting up the new spaces, organizing renovations, and getting furniture. I know this will be exhausting and will be the main goal for the new year.
I hope to spend more happy time behind the wheel in the new year. This year wasn’t the right one for traveling around.
A Constant Test
This year has tested my resilience, my adaptability, my self-reliance. It has been a test of the “worrying muscle.” A certain degree of fear is vital (wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid indoor spaces, stay away from crowds), worrying about your loved ones is caring, but too much worry can also be paralyzing,
In early March, as the pandemic was still scarcely understood in Europe, I was filled with anger: why were we doing nothing? Didn’t we realize the danger?!?
In late March, I started feeling the pain of social distancing. The isolation. This feeling changed into connected independence…
My core value is freedom. This year has strangely impacted me. The lack of social contact and of freedom to move has made me more self-sufficient. This self-reliance did not produce isolation but compelled me to look for more connections, local or remote. This has left me with a new sensation of connected independence that could stay with me much beyond this pandemic.
Daily Meditation, But Only In The Morning
I meditated most mornings of the year for 20 minutes, but I never got to the afternoon meditation.
Ended a Therapy, Got More Anxious
This year I also ended my third therapy: right timing, Matteo. I’ve had quite a bit of cabin fever. I’ve had a fair amount of anxiety, especially around looking for houses and land. And I’ve needed help more than usual.
At times I felt isolated. But most of the time, I felt more connected with my community here in Berlin, in Rome, in New York, in Lausanne.
Good GTD Discipline
I continued being quite disciplined in following my Getting Things Done routine. I also implemented a few new tools. I dropped Evernote in favor of Notion, and I am trying out SuperHuman for email.
During Q4, I started journaling. I’ve settled for the Five-Minute-Journal, and I am pretty happy to have this morning and night routine where I reflect on myself and the day.
I’ve tried to keep my relationship with tarot cards as close as possible. Still, I am only occasionally drawing cards and doing readings.
Lots of podcasts and TV-Shows. Some movies. Too few books this year.
It was a great year: I broadcasted live for the first time on my social channels, run around 30 webinars, published my whole presentation course on my YouTube channel.
I also managed to publish 8 original articles this year and send 10 “monthly” newsletters.
I still have a problematic relationship with my devices. Still, I managed to switch on my phone only after meditating in the morning most days of the year. I also retire it around 10pm every night, way before I got to sleep.
Yearly usage stats are unavailable courtesy of Apple. Tim, move your ass and provide us with an annual screentime wrap-up report!
How did I perform?
Last year I set these goals:
- A Good Balance: this I’ve kept, even though the challenges
- More Consistent Daily Meditation: once a day, consistent
- GTD Keeps Me Sane: it continues to do so
- Powerful Thoughts: polarizing thoughts are still troubling me.
Meditation, Journaling, Being Present, Letting Go
These are the primary resources that can keep me sane in 2021. I want to shorten this review, so please leave a comment or write to me if you want to know more.
More Video, More Live, Same Articles
In 02021, I want to release more videos, create more opportunities to go live, and continue writing at least 8 articles a year.
My first e-book is also coming in 02021, and I should be able to publish two.
My reading routine took a big break in ’20. I will re-introduce spaces for long-form reading in the new year.
One Flu, No Covid-19
I started 2020 with altitude sickness combined with the flu. That’s the major illness that I had to endure this year. I got it while traveling, and no, it wasn’t Covid-19.
Bad Sleep, Again
I don’t have any data, but anecdotally I can report that my sleep was less than optimal. I had both sleep onset issues, but I also often woke up in the middle of the night and remained awake for more extended periods.
I exercised a lot this year. At the gym, outdoors, at home. I bought a pull-up bar and a few resistance bands to create a minimalistic home gym. My training proceeded – whenever legally possible – with Nico at Spree Crossfit.
Finally Gained Weight
Lockdown can have some advantages: I had no excuses and increased my (clean) caloric intake in the past months. The results show: I am closing to my 72 Kg goal. To put this figure into perspective: I weighed around 50Kg around 20 years of age. My weight was as low as 58 in 2011. In the past 10 years, my average is about 66.
And Gained Strength
Together with the weight, I am gaining a lot of strength. I’ve seen constant increases in all the main lifts. I am especially pleased with increasing my deadlift and with the continuous progress on the bench press. Squats and overhead presses lag somewhat behind but are also progressing.
How Does This Match With My Goals?
In 02019, I wished to:
- Continue: and continue, I did.
- Track Sleep: I didn’t find a device that would provide accurate data. After some trials, I stopped obsessing about it and gave up on sleep tracking.
The routine seems to work. Can’t wait for the gym to open again to go back to training with weights.
Sleep More Consistently
My wish is to find out the sources of inadequate sleep and get into a better routine.
My CO2 In 02020
According to the German ministry of environment’s estimation tool, I produced around 14 tonnes of CO2. That’s 36% less than last year.
The most significant contributor is home heating and electricity. Transportation and other sources of consumption follow. Not flying this year has helped keep my mobility CO2 in check.
My Offset for 02020
As per last year, I’ve offset double the amount of CO2 I’ve produced using the official UN offset platform.
My Carbon Outlook
My Carbon Outlook is somewhat bad for the new year. My heating and electricity contribution depends significantly on the kind of house I will be living in. And I also plan to travel as soon as possible.
I’ve already switched to a mostly vegetarian diet. I am at a loss: where to further reduce my emissions? If you know how, please let me know in the comments.
Thank you, 02020. I am more resilient, more connected, and more successful, thanks to you. Thank you for all the tests, all the complicated lifestyle changes, and all the scary moments. I have a stronger and growing business, a possible future home, a great community of friends, a lot of health and strength. But that’s enough, 02020. Let ’21 take over. I hope it’s more gentle than you ever were.