With the start of a new year, I always like to write out a few major goals to focus my attention on. As with my 2017 and 2016 goals articles, it’s a great way to keep me accountable. While things may change throughout the year, I like looking back and seeing if I did indeed accomplish what I set out to.
Video School Online Goals
With 2017 being our best year ever, it’s incredible to think we can continue to grow at an even faster pace if we continue to put out high quality and consistent content that truly helps people. Here are goals specific to the VSO brand, site, and social media outlets.
Capitalize on a New Work Space
By mid-February, I should have a completely new space to work in, with a better video production setup that is always there ready for me to jump in and start recording. Not only do I want to create more content, I also want to create better content.
Re-investing my the business by building out my dream office space should have some sort of return on investment.
To be more specific…
A Weekly Show
To be honest, I am not 100% sure what this looks like. I do know that while I’ve always been consistent at posting YouTube videos on a weekly basis, they have never been on a specific day at a specific time. There has never truly been consistency from one video to the next. Inspired by other YouTubers with weekly or even daily shows, I want to come up with something that attracts more subscribers and interactions with the channel.
Ideas include something related to photo/video production and gear or even personal finance tips, one of my passions. I’ve been throwing out the idea of doing a Finance Fridays series, which could be a fun way to end the week and be able to create content I’m becoming more and more interested in.
150,000 Subscribers on YouTube
We did not hit our goal of 100k subscribers in 2017. But that doesn’t mean we won’t hit our goal of 150k in 2018. With a weekly show, I think this is more likely to happen.
How else will we achieve this goal?
- Better calls to action in our videos – I rarely ask people to subscribe, silly!
- Better engagement by replying to comments and messages
- Partnering with other YouTubers and influencers to reach new audiences
- Clear branding across all our videos
Monthly Challenges and Bootcamps
The annual Photography Masterclass Photo Competition is always one of the highlights of the year. And I always tell students that I want to do more contests throughout the year – or challenges or bootcamps – something to create more engagement.
Sam Shimizu-Jones, Will Carnahan, and I are doing a complete redo of the Photography Masterclass, our best-selling course. Along with this, we want to create monthly challenges for students of the course and perhaps open it up to anyone interested.
100,000 Site Visitors in a Month
While we weren’t averaging 50,000 visitors per month like my 2017 goal, we did almost hit 50k, and are averaging just around there for the last few months of the year. With the increase in quality articles being written each week, and better navigation for actually finding content, I think 2018 has the ability to make a huge jump to 100k.
Alexa Ranking: Top 25k in the U.S. & Top 50k in the World
This may be a stretch because as you get closer to the top, the competition gets thicker. But heck, let’s aim for the stars. I also know that the Alexa ranking doesn’t really mean that much. It’s just a number that doesn’t really show the true popularity or value of a site. But it’s still fun to look at.
Expand the VSO Team
It’s time that we get more people on board helping to grow Video School Online. At the very least, I need a full time assistant to do the following:
- assist in responding to all Udemy questions, reviews, and assignments
- respond to YouTube comments and messages
- respond to comments and messages on social media
- organize and manage my increasingly time-consuming email inbox
By doing this, not only will students have a better experience, but it gives me more of an opportunity to create more & better content.
I’d also love to expand the face of VSO beyond just me. Having a fellow instructor step into creating YouTube videos and other social media content would be a great way to grow.
Online Course Goals
While online courses are the bread and butter, our main focus here at VSO, I like to separate these goals from the VSO brand stuff.
Photography Masterclass 2.0
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 4 years since releasing the Photography Masterclass 1.0. This is the course that put VSO on the map of Udemy best sellers. With almost 150,000 students, it is by far our most popular course.
The though of redoing a course that already has a 4.5-star rating and almost 10,000 reviews is daunting.
Sam and I know that we can make it better. Bringing our buddy Will on board will help. So one of the first goals of 2018 is to produce our biggest and best course ever. Along with the course content, we’re planning to have monthly challenges that truly help students become better at photography.
You can look forward to seeing the launch of this course in April.
1,000 Video School Online Members
Early in 2017, we changed the way we sell courses on VideoSchoolOnline.com. Previously, we split our video, photo, and business courses into separate monthly packages. Talk about confusing for a customer.
In the middle of the year, we switched to an all-you-can-consume membership model for just $9 per month. Combined with students still enrolled in the other bundles, we did reach our 300-member goal for 2017. Now it’s time to step it up.
Premium Membership Content
While the $9 price point is an incredible deal for the content you get as a member, I’d love to include some sort of other premium content exclusive to members.
Live office hours is the first thing that came to mind. With a new office that has a video camera set up for live streaming, this wouldn’t be too hard for me, and could be of great benefit to the students.
Do you have any other ideas?
Work with More Experts to Expand Our Catalogue
One of my our goals at VSO is to have courses on any kind of application related to creative photo, video, and design skills. But I’m not an expert in all of these applications, and that’s why I’ve partnered with a number of people to bring you courses on Adobe InDesign, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer (coming soon), and more.
I still have a list of courses that I know my students want that includes:
- Final Cut Pro X
- Adobe Illustrator
- Sony Vegas
- DaVinci Resolve
So if you know any of these applications, and want to partner on a course, just let me know!
Okay, I said it.
That’s our goal.
Now, I’m not sure if this is going to happen this year. And based off our growth from the past couple of years, I doubt we’ll jump to that number. This year we served over 500,000 students on Udemy.
Clearly, the next goal is 1 million.
Of course, it’s not just about the number, though. It’s about the individual. Every life we touch is special. And hopefully as a student, you feel like you get individualized, special attention from us.
To be honest, 2017 was a bit of a meh year in terms of my personal goals. Of course, I can’t complain. Life was pretty spectacular. But it felt busy. It felt like a grind at some points. And to be completely transparent and honest with you and myself, I also felt a little lost in terms of personal growth.
I believe most of my personal happiness can be found in contentment – being content where I am and living in the present. So in that sense, I don’t like setting any sort of lofty goals because it feels like without achieving those goals, life will be incomplete.
On the flip side, I have a personality that thrives on setting and achieving goals – obviously from doing these goal lists every year. So writing down a few ideas I have for 2018 can better help me achieve them.
Physical Fitness Goals
I know when I haven’t exercised in too long. I get irritable. I feel off. I don’t feel content. So making sure that I stay active every week is important. Here are a few goals that I want to do in 2018:
- Cycle 1,000 Miles – This definitely shouldn’t be that hard for me. In 2017, I came close but was lazy for a few weeks at a time. This is the basis of my exercise regimen.
- Climb Mountains – Two years ago, I summited Mount Baldy, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. This year, I’m going to summit Mt. San Gorgonio, the highest summit in Southern California. Perhaps, should write down that I’ll summit Mount San Jacinto, another of the highest peaks in So-Cal too!
- Ride a Century – A 100-mile ride would make completing my 1,000-mile goal above much easier. Through training alone, I should hit that above goal within a few months. Having a century ride as a goal will give me something to work towards, and keep me invested in getting on the saddle each week.
Mental Fitness Goals
Maybe even more important than my physical goals should be my mental goal of being more content with life. I used to do morning meditations every day in 2015, but stopped in 2016/2017 for some reason. It was a great way to start the day, and be a better person to everyone around me.
For a while in 2017, I was doing weekly yoga with my wife. This was a great way to destress and stretch my body and mind. I should do this again with her.
Being of Service
There’s definitely a hole in my life when it comes to service. Throughout high school and college, doing community service was how I spent a lot of my free time. And it’s something that has gotten lost as I’ve started my career and then launched my own company.
In 2018, I pledge to seek out service opportunities (at least 1 per quarter) in my area to give back and be with people and places in need.
Make a Documentary!
My last short documentary – Strongest I’ll Ever Be – was such a fun project to work on. It also was meaningful to share the story of Anthony Carbajal, a photographer with ALS living his life to the fullest.
While so much of my time has gone to teaching skills, I’ve stopped spending as much time actually using my skills to tell stories through documentary – my passion.
I will make another short documentary in 2018. What prevents me from doing this more often is waiting for a story to come to me that inspires me. I plan to do research and find a story in the first 3 months of 2018 that I can pursue throughout the year.
I also promise to not be too picky on the subject. Just pick something that sounds interesting, and go with it! Discover a good story through the process!
Appreciate & Love Life
As I ended last year’s list of goals, I want to be content with all of my blessings and appreciate my life. Even if I don’t achieve anything above, that’s okay. As long as I life a life of love and try my hardest to make the world a better place each and every day, things will work out.
Thank you for taking the time to read these goals.
What are your goals this year?
Do you have any advice for me?