2011 Annual Preview

As we look forward to the future, having goals in mind both helps us focus and helps us measure our progress. I’ve included goals here for travel, work, learning, and much much more.

I’m writing this during the week between Christmas and New Years Eve 2010, from Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. I plan to revisit my goals regularly throughout the year, but not to update this original article. At year’s end I’ll compare the Preview and a Review of the year 2011.

In the last week of 2010, I completed my 2010 Personal Annual Review. I outlined the year calendar, travel, goals, and more. In 2009 I had not set formal, measurable goals, but I had many clear objectives. The reflection was very valuable and I learned a lot. I saw too, the value of laying down a plan for the near future has tremendous value. So here is my preview (or plan) for the coming year;

Objectives

  • Enjoy!
  • Learn!
  • Work!
  • Travel!

Theme : Year of Refinement

My goal for 2011 is to bring me more abundance and to refine my life as a Location Independent Professional (LIP). I feel strongly that location independence is a fantastic fit for me, this is proven. I like the freedom of choice it offers and I’ve built the discipline to capitalize on the many opportunities it presents.

Now I want to expand on how to do it more efficiently and in a manner more fulfilling. I want to travel smarter (i.e. cheaper), save more (goal of buying a condo – see more info below), build more business (evolve on the utilization and rate of 2010 but more-so to network better to find more opportunities to choose from), and to express more gratitude.

I want to read more, think more, and act more on gratitude. This will include more gratitude in personal relationships as well as more formal commitments like volunteering opportunities.

Calendar

To frame the events of the year, here are some locations I plan to visit;

Travel 2011 (Flights Booked as of January 1, 2011)

  • Aruba (Again)
  • Venezuela – In Transit
  • Brazil (Again) – January 18th
    • Rio
      • Portuguese Intensive classes
      • Carneval. Woo + Hoo!
    • Sao Paolo – March 16th
      • (Tentative deal to) Work in-office for world-class interactive designers. Woohoo again!
  • Peru – April 18th
    • Hike Macchu Pichu
    • Skiing?

2011 (Other Travel goals)

  • Love Brasil? Stay not just 3, but 6 months
  • Then…? Options…
    1. More Latin America?
    2. Mediterranean loop (Croatia around to Tunisia)
    3. S. E. Asia?

Goals

Goal Overview

I set objectives and goals in the important areas of my life; Business, Writing, Promotions & Marketing, Family & Friends, Financial (Earning, Giving, Saving), Learning, Health & Sport, Spirituality, Travel, Coaching & Support, Volunteering, …& Fun!

SMART Goals

The objectives are the passion and the fuel toward growth and goals are my measurable way to reach the objectives. I once attended a training session on creating SMART goals; a strategy to clarify what I want, plan for how to get it, and maximize the returns gained.

SMART goals are;

  • Specific – The goal should identify a specific action or event that will take place. Answers the question:Who and What?
  • Measurable – Include in the specific goal statement the measurements to be used to determine that the results or outcomes expected have been achieved. It answers the question: How
  • Attainable – Goals should challenge people to do their best, but they need also be achievable
  • Relevant /Rigorous – Goals need to pertain directly to the performance challenge being managed.
  • Time Bound – Enough time to achieve the goal And Not too much time, which can affect project performance. It answers the question: When?

Goal Categories

To help me review my goals at a glance, I’m starting each bullet item with a category. This will help me plan.

  • SMART – ONE-TIME*
  • SMART – WEEKLY*
  • SMART – MONTHLY*
  • SMART – QUARTERLY*
  • SMART – ONE-TIME – RESEARCH – This goal will likely turn into several goals, after a bit of research and planning is done.
  • STRETCH – These need not be smart. They are lofty goals where reaching for them is notably more important than attaining the end result.

* These time-based categories refer to either doing the goal, or simply checking in on the goal.

Goal Details

Business

I am the Principal of Rivello Multimedia Consulting. Offer four core services in software development; Architecture, Development, Consulting, and Training. I will continue with those.

My income is active; an hour worked is an hour paid. I know that passive-income (earned ‘while I sleep’) will offer me more freedom and opportunity. I would like to diversify more of my income to be passive. Currently, I post pay-per view training videos with online training companies, as well as write a successful blog (this one) which runs off ad-revenue. I would like to expand that idea and develop other ideas like it. I want to explore more in this area. Developing a product (e.g. iPhone App) is another passive-income opportunity. Owning a product is a high-risk investment. I’m keeping my eyes open for that as well.

I would like to explore finding more ways to do business. Currently I offer services and write articles. I’m open to the business, financial, and personal benefits of creating a product, reusable templates for website products, etc…

I want to merge my N&T interests with business. RMC can stay as is, but I’m open to write/speak/consult about travel and lifestyle design. I’ll explore that. Documenting my journey now will be good later for memories and writing reference; journal? photos? Hmmm….

I typically offer my services in two capacities; I engage as an individual joining my client’s team or I build and lead a team to complete a client project. I am a salesman in both cases and in the latter I own the project, project manage, team manage, handle the client, and lead develop. I would like to explore offsetting more of these responsibilities to others. Instead of building a team of designers and developers, I’d also like to find a project manager / client-liaison.

  1. ONE-TIME: Make a role description outlining my ideal responsibilities in RMC. Include exceptions (i.e. not-project management, not art)
  2. ONE-TIME: Make a mission statement(s) (Think holistically; RMC vs N&T vs Personal)
  3. ONE-TIME: Set goal of X weeks at Y hours-per-week working. List purpose of the rest of time (vacation, travel&accommodations-setup, free-time, learning)
  4. RESEARCH: Generate More Passive Income
    • Set contact goals and ‘pitch’ goals for training (lynda.com, http://www.totaltraining.com/, and ad-revenue based site-ideas.
    • Other ways?
  5. ONE-TIME: Contact 3 freelance project managers to blue-sky (brainstorm) what they could do for me. Develop a role-description for my own use and consider this when pitching to clients.
  6. ONE-TIME: Speak or write (paid or unpaid) on a non-technical issue; travel, LIP, lifestyle design, etc..
  7. RESEARCH: In addition to RMC-services consider offering ‘products’.
    • Think of some things I can create once and sell with minimal customization
    • Possibilities:
      • Create a ‘hostal website template’ and sell it (quick turnaround) to hostel clients. For pay or barter.
      • Create a ‘scuba website template’ and sell it (quick turnaround) to scuba shop clients. For pay or barter.
  8. ONE-TIME: Make a list of top technologies/job-qualities I want to look for in a prospective job.  e.g. PushButton, Scrum, etc..

Writing

In 2010 I began a 5-article series for Adobe’s EDGE magazine on Flash game development. The assignment was profitable, good for promotion, and very interesting (as I chose the writing topics myself). Each article requires about 16 hours of time for editorial content and 40 hours for how-to content (which includes a sample programming project). My current assignment ends in January 2011. I would like to pitch ideas for more assignments. I have written about the programming sub-topics of Robotlegs and PushButton (two core focuses of my services), so I’m less keen to write ‘how-to’ articles. In the interest of time, perhaps editorial content is better for me.

In 2004 or so, I set goals for activity within my industry; conference presentations and technical writing. There was a time when it felt like the next step was to write a book chapter or book within my field; software. However, after some investigation it felt a bit like publishers do you a favor (paying you little so you can get promotion). This realization shifted my focus to write about something else. I’m still interested to evolve a book out of my interests in lifestyle design, mindfulness, and travel.

I’m also keen to build my blog business (like this website). I know that regular, relevant, interesting posts are needed. In 2011 I would like to blog more with the specific goal to build my audience.

RMC

  1. ONE-TIME: Pitch to EDGE to write more content. Possibilities
    • Add five more articles in the Flash Gaming series (What topics?)
    • Each EDGE issue: Review of free, online Flash Games
    • Each EDGE issue: Interview creator of one free, online Flash Game
  2. ONE-TIME: [Set goals for N&T blog – 12 articles, 6 original, and 6 outsourced]

N&T

  1. RESEARCH: Explore “Location Independent Professional” as a personal brand/identity. A voice to write from. An audience to write for.
  2. MONTHLY: Increase N&T twitter followers from X to Y
  3. MONTHLY: Increase N&T monthly traffic from X visits to Y visits
  4. ONE-TIME: Pitch a book to a publisher
  5. RESEARCH: Write Syndicated Column? – Pitch to a list of venues; print & online on a list of topics; Travel, LIP, Tech? Paid or good-exposure.

Promotions & Marketing

I own and operate many websites. Some for whimsy, some for site-creation practice, some for promotion, and some for revenue. My core business lives on RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com. I would like to consolidate my site and blog for a more cohesive presentation and update my blog more regularly to encourage readership.

I would also like to bring in more offers for business. Currently I find new projects and I am found for new projects. The former requires active-time, the second (once setup) requires only passive-time. I will do research on how to market myself more effectively to bring in more offers.

  1. ONE-TIME: Add a ‘So What is N&T About’ post on N&T and direct newbies there. Make it simple.
  2. ONE-TIME: Find PR reps that could help promote RMC.
  3. ONE-TIME: Migrate location of my blog from (http://www.blog.rivello.org/) to (http://www.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/blog/). DONE
  4. ONE-TIME: Redesign and re-theme new blog to match core website (http://www.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com). DONE
  5. MONTHLY: Triple the incoming offers of business for RMC. First find a solution how, then implement that solution.
  6. MONTHLY: Publish 1 portfolio post upon completion of each RMC client project
  7. MONTHLY: Publish 12 posts (1 per month) to new blog;
    • 6 editorial – review of and commentary of a game, product, api, website, etc…
    • 6 original – Update on my API’s, demo project, sample templates, helpful hints for programmers, etc…

Family & Friends

In 2010, I hosted two family trips. My mom visited me in Ecuador, and later, my sister and her fiancee did too. Its not always easy to imagine what my non-traditional life is like. So it was cool to show my family more about my day-to-day. My mom and I spent more time together than we had during past holiday visits. We had a great time. Living far from them for 10 years and traveling extensively as well, I don’t see my family as much as I would like. Its a compromise for sure. Rather than only view ‘going back home’ as the way to see them, I’d love to host more family this year too.

I met an amazing array of new friends in the past year. Some were backpackers, some were locals. I spent time with some friends who visited me too.

I spend a great deal of my time by myself as well. At times I am lonely too. I would like to make a more concerted effort to socialize.

  1. ONE-TIME: Host 2 family trips
  2. ONE-TIME: Visit family for 1 two-week trip
  3. ONE-TIME: Host 2 friends
  4. ONE-TIME: Host 2 CouchSurfers
  5. RESEARCH: [TBD, Goal about socializing more]

Financial (Earning)

Blah…..

  1. MONTHLY: Raise the value of my services by 25%
  2. MONTHLY: Book at 1/3+ of my contract-jobs as flat rate (more risk, more profit) rather than hourly

Financial (Saving)

When I began full-time travel I had many unknowns to explore. With my current level of experience I know that budgeting effectively, I can greatly increase my income and decrease my expenses for a greater end-year net.

In 2010, I saved for taxes (of course) as well as maximized my retirement savings. But did not set goals beyond that. I would like to put more concrete goals around saving. My gross income is broken into business expenses and income. My income will be broken down as shown in the chart.

I have no plans to find a permanent residence this year, but I like the idea of buying a property. I’d like to purchase land for investment or a condo to rent-out for passive income.

  1. ONE-TIME: Structure an income budget (see chart) and stick with it.
  2. ONE-TIME: Structure a monthly living budget. TBD.
  3. RESEARCH: Write a an appraisal and prospectus for 3 types of properties I may buy to fuel further thought;
    • Condo in Buenos Aires (Urban, Spanish, on-site work opportunities)
    • Tropical Latin (Rural, Spanish, Beach)
    • Tropical Asian (Rural/Urban, Beach)

Financial (Giving)

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. – Albert Camus

  1. RESEARCH: Evaluate and find a core charity that resonates with me. Must be 501(c)(3) and have a web presence. Perhaps focusing on technology, teaching, art, hmm….(TBD). Done. Sponsored 2 Children Monthly at Children.org.
  2. ONGOING: Develop a per-country tipping standard upon arrival and use it. Research what is relevant rather than defaulting to either the high 20% (US standard) or low 0% (oops I forgot traveler’s-standard).
  3. QUARTERLY: Increase my Kiva.org lending kitty from $233 to $1000 by year-end. Done. Increased to about $1088.
  4. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to one charity in each country I live in (2+ months)
  5. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to core charity. Done. See #1.

Learning

I read a vast amount this year; paper-books, e-books, and online content. I surely read more for pleasure than any previous year of my life. The readiness of information is mind-boggling. I can google anything of interest, travel there, and live it. My kindle downloads a book anywhere in the world on any subject; first chapter free. Its ridiculous. I read mostly non-fiction and mostly self-help. I’d like to branch out to read some fiction.

I wanted to take cooking classes in every country. That goal was a miss. But the classes I did take I loved. It was not only a forum to learn kitchen skills, but also a rare opportunity to talk with a local for hours at a time.

I’m very fortunate that I love my work. Within software development there are countless technologies, specializations, and jobs within that specialization. I’ve focused on just the Adobe Flash Platform and even within that the granularity is vast. Last year I learned the frameworks; PushButtonEngine game architecture and Robotlegs application architecture. Both served me well on paying gigs. This year I’d like to build my experience on them and also to build my related reputation.

  1. MONTHLY: Read 12 books by year-end
  2. ONE-TIME: Present at a conference on Robotlegs by year-end
  3. ONE-TIME: Present at a conference on PBE by year-end
  4. ONE-TIME: Complete 30 Portuguese lessons from The Pimsleur Language Program by January 20th(I completed 20 Pimsleur lessons, then too 5 weeks of class in Rio.)
  5. ONE-TIME: Complete 4 weeks of group Portuguese classes in Brazil by April 18th. Done. I started at week 4 at Casa Do Camino, thanks to Spanish experience and Pimsleur audio lessons. I then studied for 6 weeks at Casa Do Caminho.
  6. ONE-TIME: Be able and comfortable to converse in Portuguese for 1 hour with a native speaker by April 18th. Done. I practiced for 6 weeks after taking classes and can converse well.
  7. BONUS: While not planned at year’s start, I also studied Italian for 4 weeks of group classes in Alghero, Sardinia, Italy. I then studied Italian for 2 weeks of group classes in Rome, Italy. Done. As of years end my best languages in order are now English (of course), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, then French.

 

Health & Sport

I have set and met many health and sport goals in the past 10 years. I ran dozens of 5k/10k races, completed the Mayors Midnite Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, climbed an 8-hour volcano, and hiked 2 day solo in Chile.

I improved my confidence and skills in Scuba. I completed my certifications in both Nitrox and PADI Rescue Diving and I logged about 40 (no idea really) more dives. Learning more about sea-life would give me a better appreciation.

In 2010 I led an occasionally active life. I swam, ran, hiked, and walked when the opportunity arose. I had no regular regimen to speak of. I cooked most of my meals and ate healthfully often. I would like to target some specific goals this year.

  1. ONE-TIME: Build a weekly diet & exercise routine by February 14th.
    • A Conscious diet
    • Daily workout
    • Weekly activity objectives
  2. WEEKLY: Now ‘do’ the Diet & Exercise routine
  3. ONE-TIME: Memorize the common names and photos of the top 50 Caribbean fishes and creatures.
  4. ONE-TIME: Get IKO certified as a kite-surfer.

Spirituality

I enjoy learning about Zen, meditation, life-balance, and mindfulness. From 2004 to 2006 I regularly attended meditation classes. I have lost this as a regular practice, and miss its benefits of relaxation, focus, and clarity. Its not quiet that I feel like something is ‘missing’ without this practice, but having practiced regularly before, I’m excited for the increased alertness, perspective, patience, and peace that comes with it. I would like to continue exploring these topics and to establish a regular meditation routine.

  1. ONE-TIME: Read 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life. and build a daily routine by February 14th.
  2. ONGOING: Seek local yoga and meditation classes during travel
  3. MONTHLY: Attend 6 classes
  4. ONE-TIME: First visit to acupuncturist
  5. ONE-TIME: First visit to reiki practitioner

Travel

Should a goal be to ‘see every country in the world by my 40th birthday’? This type of goal sounds enticing. What traveler wouldn’t want to say they’ve seen at all, at least a peek at it all! I’m moving from ticking off another country to goals that fulfill my objectives more closely. So for now, I’m not setting such an aggressive goal. However travel of some structured sort is a passion, an objective, and a goal.

In 2010 I lived in (2+ months) five in new countries; Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and visited 3 others; Aruba, Curacao (in Transit), and Bonaire.

  1. QUARTERLY: ‘Live’ (stay 90 days or length of visa) in 6+ new countries
  2. ONE-TIME: Go to the airport with bags packed and no destination in mind; and fly.
  3. RESEARCH: Think About This More… (Come on, this should be EASY for me….)

Life Assessment

I’m interested in life-assessment coursework such as the uber-popular book The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?. In some ways I’m working a program like that on my own, but I could learn volumes from an established program like these.

  1. RESEARCH: I’ll keep this in mind.

Coaching & Support

I would like to employ more support. Build a network, community, whatever that helps refuel and inspire me, is an outlet for me to share and help others, and also to offload some responsibilities to others to meet my goals.

RESEARCH: Possibilities

  • More brainstorming, dreamscaping, and ‘checking-in’ with family and friends
  • Literary Agent
  • Speaker Services Network
  • Talent Agency for development consulting
  • “Evangelist” Represent a technology or a product at conferences, online, etc…
  • Coaching
  • Find people who have higher standards than normal, to me to influence, inspire, and push me
  • Look for PR people to promote me
    • Promote myself as LIP at conferences
    • Promote myself as LIP w/ flash-centric-audience articles
    • Promote myself in entrepreneur/tech/lifestyle mags

I will setup a regular schedule to meet to review my progress with my coach of 3 years to refine goals.

  1. BI-MONTHLY: Meet bimonthly with my current life-coach to review past progress and refine future goals.
  2. ONE-TIME: Build a list of characteristics in an ideal mentor and mentoring relationship. Seek a mentor (online?).
  3. ONE-TIME: Find (or be found) by a mentee who wants to make the transition to professional living and travel as a location independent. Assist him/her. Explore that.

Volunteering

I would like volunteer more time this year.

  1. ONE-TIME: Touch base with Adobe Youth Voices Volunteering and get a list of opportunities.
  2. RESEARCH: Find 2+ venues to volunteer and do it!

Fun!

With a little less formula to the goal-setting, here goes the final section…

Making mistakes in Spanish that get me in trouble, nodding ‘yes’ when I really mean ‘I have no idea what you are saying’, swimming in the ocean at sunset, going Scuba diving with a flashlight at mid-nite, mixing caiparinhas and cooking grilled swordfish on a Tuesday afternoon with a group of backpackers, explaining NFL football to the Dutch, laughing hysterically while faltering through Kite-surfing lessons – This year has been tons of fun. I want to push myself into the odd, uncomfortable situations, with whimsey and just see what happens. Its comfortably uncomfortable and I enjoy the improvisation.

Part of my profession is to play, design, and develop video games. I miss playing Xbox360 and PlayStation3 as I don’t have those consoles while traveling. But I want to make more time to play games.

  1. FUN!: Make and take bets and dares with new friends. Not a measurable goal, and that’s A.O.K.
  2. FUN!: Don’t take myself too seriously. I catch myself breaking this one all the time. I’m aware of it, but sometimes only after the fact.
  3. FUN!: Once a month, simply google ‘Best iPhone Game’ and ‘Best Casual Game’. Buy/download 2 leading choices and play them.

TIMELINE

I drafted these goals on paper between Christmas and New Years Eve 2010. I migrated them to this blog post on January 1, 2011. I will vet them (too many goals?, too few goals?, appropriate goals to capture my objectives?), ensure all goals are SMART (see above) and revise the post by January 15th. At this point they will set.

My objectives, and thus my goals may change over the course of the year. They are plastic. My intention is to change them only out self-improvement and not out of doubt or fear. My dream is not meet only the dreams here exactly as is. Instead this is a template by which I can help measure progress during the year, and then again at year-end.

  • http://www.onewayroad.com.br Aline Godoy

    Very inspiring Sam!
    I always set my own goals for the year and depending on how life goes that might change in the course of the year. But that’s okay, sometimes is for the best!
    Beijos, Bonito!

  • Aleesa

    Yes thanks for sharing – very inspiring . This is way more in-depth than my goals have been in years, a nice reminder to be more specific :) Love your retirement and charity income sections! You’re awesome.

  • Brian T

    Brilliant. Very well thought out. I have been struggling with a way to plan to ahead and really get the most out of life and you’ve clarified how to do it. And I’m a Tim Ferriss fan and you are as adventurous and curious as he is! Enjoy your year, and thanks for the inspiration!