Looking Forward to 2010

I’m not really a big New Year’s Resolution guy. I mean, what’s the real difference between last week and this week? All that changed was the calendar.

But in business it’s a little different. When your fiscal year aligns with the calendar year like ours does, it just makes sense to take a step back and evaluate 2009 vs 2008 vs 2007 and then put together a tentative game plan for 2010.

Last year we did a good job of setting realistic goals. We got the new Detailed Image launched. We hired our first employee. We grew a lot in a year when many companies didn’t. We passed the point where we were “ramen profitable” and became very profitable. Essentially everything I had hoped that we would do, we did, plus a lot more good stuff that came from the unexpected.

A few weeks ago we met with our lawyer for our annual meeting. Then earlier this week we had a long team meeting about the past year and the coming year. I couldn’t have been more pleased with how things went.

From a business perspective, I’m really excited for 2010. I think we’ve done a good job of thinking through what our goals are and creating a work environment moving forward that meets everyone’s needs. It really is important to us that everyone involved has work that they are passionate about, a reasonable work load, and the flexibility that they want for their personal lives. Even more so than making a few more bucks. I love that.

Personally though, 2009 wore me out. It went from launching the DI site, to moving into a new apartment, to a whole bunch of trips (bachelor party, vacation, wedding, talk at JMU, etc), to the holiday season. It was a great year, but I think I’d like to slow that stuff down for at least the first half of ’09. I like traveling and keeping a busy social life, but last year was too busy at times. And for me personally, when things get too busy I get stressed out and start to lose out on time at the gym, time to read, time to just relax by myself or with my family/friends/girlfriend. I start looking forward to trips ending more than I look forward to them starting, and that’s not how I want things to be.

It’s interesting how this stuff unfolds. For the first two years after I left my job, it was business 24×7 just trying to survive and not take a job. In 2008 I made a concerted effort to get my personal life back on track a bit. And in 2009 I had to re-focus and get the DI site built so I could do my part in helping us take that next step as a company.

This year should be a little bit of a leveling out. Which I think is natural as a company ages. We’ve got some really really cool stuff to work on. Stuff that excites me and I cannot wait to show the world. My personal life and living situation is the best it’s been since I left my job (maybe ever), so I hope that allows me to just enjoy my work and enjoy my time off. Sometimes I over-extend myself and try to do too much, so this year I’m just going to try to keep it simple.

I’ll probably say “no” a little more than I have in the past. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. It is possible to do a few things really well though. Overextending myself definitely does not make me happy. What does make me happy is running a profitable business, creating jobs, giving back to our community, developing a lot of great personal relationships, having some time to myself, and hopefully having fun doing it all. That’s what I’m shooting for in 2010.

5 comments on Looking Forward to 2010

  1. Tim says:

    First let me start off by saying that I too am welcoming 2010 with open arms, 2009 was possibly the worst year of my adult life. Leading into it sucked, the early part of the year was unbelievably bad, but half way through things turned around a bit and by the end of the year I am quite pleased with the direction my life is going. I’m not extremely happy, but I’m confident things are much closer to that goal then they were a year ago, I’ve learned a ton about myself and without the hardships I would not be doing what I’m currently working on and that would have been a real shame, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been working on project.

    Factor in my portfolio rebounding heavily towards the end of 09 and EXPLODING so far for early January I am very optimistic that 2010 is going to bring some enormously rewarding changes to my life. Moving to a warmer climate, new business launching, stronger will and deeper values on a personal level. While what we experienced was not a great depression, it was by far the worst period of our lives in many ways and we are not clear from the bad times I am VERY confident things are going to get much better for the masses in 2010. My lifestyle and outlook on life will forever be changed because of 09 – it was very humbling and it was exactly what I needed to grow to the next level – I just hope others remember these lessons.

    As much as I agree the change from one year to another means very little to me, it is a new beginning in many ways on a business level and that is enough to get me excited.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks for the honest insight as always Tim. I know 2009 was rocky at times for you but you and your business are on the right track. Humbling is good some times. I know I’ve had my fair share of it these past few years. Looking forward to catching up at Javas later today.

  2. Jay Lin says:

    I’m sure even though 2009 was a crazy year, you probably wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

    It’s all part of becoming who we are. Best of luck in 2010.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Same to you Jay! And you’re right – I’d never trade 2009 (or any year for that matter) for anything. Even 2006, the first year that I left my job, when things were toughest, was (in retrospect) the best thing that could have happened to me.

  3. […] is the first of several key pieces to our 2010 puzzle. I’ll continue to write about them one at a time as they […]

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