2014 is here. It’s time for new year’s resolutions. Most of which, we might all agree, are far less resolute than the word implies. The new year is as good a time as any to make those big changes which will make our lives richer and more meaningful. Thing is, the intricate routes we so optimistically plot for ourselves often prove more complicated than we thought. We deviate from the prescribed course, and chalk it all up to yet another instance of failure.
“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” In a way, Doc Brown was right. We don’t need roads. We don’t need specific routes. What we need is a sense of direction and a simple means to remember which direction we really want to go.
Enter the 3 Words idea. Every year, you think about what you want to achieve – where you want to end up in 12 months – and you come up with three words to keep you on tack. When the road disappears beneath you, your three words are your internal compass.
I’ve been doing this for a couple years on my now defunct and dusty personal blog. Each time I come up with my new words, I reflect on the previous year’s words to see how I did. And, just so you don’t think I’m some kind of guy who’s been doing this for years, 2014 is just my third year doing it.
2013 – SUPPORT, DRIVE, PRINT
These were my three words for 2013. I wanted to do more to SUPPORT the gearheads of the world. It’s one thing to publish entertaining automotive content, but I wanted to do more impactful work. Maybe didn’t achieve as much to this end as I’d hoped, but Team GBXM did grow by 100% to four people and we did grow our subscriber list from zero to about 150, so there’s a lot of support – going both ways – to be thankful for.
Plans changed, and though I intended DRIVE to mean I would get my old Galant VR4 race car project back on the road, I ended up selling it. Still like the idea of drive being the combination of responsibility & action, which were two of my words from 2011.
PRINT is pretty obvious. As soon as we had monthly digital issues, people started asking where to get printed copies. Our move into print was accelerated more than I had imagined. Our total printed sales volume for 2013 is still less than 10% of all our subscribers, but I’m pleased to say the printed product is very close to being what you might expect to purchase at the newsstand.
MY 2014 WORDS – PRINT, PROCESS, NON-PROFIT
PRINT | As much as I love the way our printed issues have been turning out in the second half of 2013, there’s one thing about them which makes me a little crazy – they cost over US$20 apiece shipped. The quality we get through our provider – Blurb.com – is excellent, but in 2014, I’m going to be looking into new ways to bring the per issue cost down as much as I can.
One way to do this might be to order 1,000 printed copies at a time. In fact, I’m fairly confident that would drop the price by a LOT. Problem is, we’d need something like 1,000 times more people wanting printed issues each month. This is a big challenge for us, but it’s also something I’ve been promising all year.
PROCESS | I’m a big goals, kinda guy, but even being a big goals kinda guy doesn’t mean I’m always successful. In fact, despite my best efforts, it often feels like I’m bolting it all together at midnight so I can drive it to work in the morning if you know what I mean. For 2014, I want to focus on simple processes I can stick to on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
For example, instead of setting a goal of writing one original article (as in all, original, like this one, and not an interview, maybe something researched or otherwise in-depth) each month, I’m going to try a process of making an extra hour two nights each week to sit down and write, to try to make the significant interesting and relevant. We’ll see where this leads over the course of the year.
NON-PROFIT | The one thing I want GBXM|united to do more than anything else is show you how being an automotive enthusiast is much more than just “playing with cars.” Business exists to make a profit, yet, but GBXM exists to make a difference. We’re at the point now where GBXM could be a full-time job for some of us. Unfortunately, we need about 10,000 subscribers at our current price (US$15/yr) before we can think about quitting our day jobs. That’s 9,863 more than we have right now.
Fortunately, since the plan – from the very beginning – has been to grow, hire an additional team member to spend his or her days talking to gearheads about cars or attending events, grow some more, hire, grow, hire, and so on, always reinvesting profits back into the business (so we can sponsor events, teams, contests, maybe get a couple gearheads on a plane to the other side of the world each year), non-profit status is actually a good idea. Maybe we can get a couple grants or something. Regardless, our first focus is making a difference in gearheads’ lives.
Print, process, non-profit. Those are my words for 2014. As life does its thing this year, getting all complicated and whatnot, I’m going to be keeping these in mind – a better (read: less expensive) print product, more efficient use of time (so I can focus more on quality), and non-profit status for the business. Three words to help keep me on track as the year progresses. Simple enough, right?
What are your three words for 2014?