January 2021 Review

This is my first monthly review. This is a document about how my month has gone financially, mentally and physically.

It’s something I can look back on in years to come, and it’s for those of you that are interested in following my journey to build a media company from scratch.

This review will go over the challenges, the successes and the things I have learned throughout the month. It also goes over the business as a whole and how things are moving forward… or backwards.

Why?

Why am I doing this? Does anyone really care?

I am doing this to help those that are looking to start their own micro media company. When I first started out doing this back in late 2019, I had nobody to learn from, nobody to ask questions and nobody to guide me through the process. I look back at that point and wish I had a creator to motivate me, heck, I even want that now!

The many people who are documenting their brands/websites, don’t ever seem to show their projects, or their problems. It’s always the “good” they show, and I feel as if making your own business has been glamourised throughout the years. Nobody is just going to come and give you £1,000,000 to start a business, nobody tells you how hard it is, and nobody (as far as I know) has documented their journey to starting a small media company.

So, I am doing this to help those who want to the same goal as me. I don’t want a “multi-million dollar business”. I simply want to run my own media company with a team of 3 – 5 that creates a profitable business by creating content about the things I/they love.

And if I can help inspire a few of you to do the same, then that’s a bonus.

After writing this article, it actually feels like a form of meditation at the end of the month which lets me look over the good and the bad. There’s something therapeutic about writing this every month.

January Quick Statistics (Retro Dodo)

  • Website Visits: 789,000
  • YouTube Views: 450,000
  • New Facebook Fans: 1,100
  • New Instagram Fans: 1,400
  • New Email Sign Ups: 279

Business Successes

pokemon cards nostalgic

January is tough for media businesses, which you’ll understand why in the next section. But what I’m proud of this month is a number of things.

First of all, content flow. This is something that throughout the last 12 months I have really struggled with. The flow of content comes in waves for me, when in reality I need to keep a constant flow. Not only does this keep me in check it also helps the community consume natural states of content.

This month has had superb content flow on all platforms. Articles have been constantly updated and uploaded. YouTube videos, have been at least weekly with a new series launched called “The Rarest & Most Valuable” which I find adds value to the brand’s channel

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have had a nice amount of engagement, and RetroDodo’s Retrospect Podcast has grown in popularity due to talking with popular guests.

This good ammount of momentum is mandatory for incremental growth throughout 2021, and it’s something I need to keep doing instead of making it a “one off” month.

It demands a lot of time and effort, but all good things do.

Secondly, freelance has been fairly good this month. Monthly recurring work and some one-offs which I charge a premium for. This work isn’t mandatory for me as I like to focus on my own projects, but in a pandemic I’d be stupid to let work fall through my hands.

I still say to myself that I don’t want to turn my businesses into an “agency” where client work is a large source of income. I’ve just never liked doing creative work for others, the constant back and fourth with small changes drives me mad. Over the last 3 – 6 months I’ve turned down tens of thousands of pounds worth of work, and even “CEO” titled job opportunities because it’s just not for me.

Business Challenges

RetroDodo Janaury 2021 Stats

January is never a good month for most media businesses which rely heavily on advertising revenue. Typically your RPM (revenue per thousand views/hits) in these months drop by up to 50%. This is because in the last quarter of the year advertisers pay more to be seen, because they want to sell more in the Christmas period.

So advertisers spend less in the first quarter because customers spend less. It’s a simple but brutal circle.

In Nov/Dec I was seeing highs of $17 RPM, now in January I have seen as low as $4, which is a huge drop in revenue, and the only way to balance it, is with more traffic.

january youtube stats
YouTube Statistics

But this is a new threat for me, last year I had tiny amounts of traffic, without any ads placed, so seeing these dips is something I have to plan for every single year.

YouTube has been pretty bad this month, even with good content flow. Many videos just aren’t getting the views or engagement needed in order for YouTube to help push it out to viewers.

I could write a whole article about why I no longer trust YouTube as a trustworthy revenue stream, but this isn’t the time or place. YouTube’s algorithm changes every few weeks, taking money from peoples pockets that have worked hard to grow an audience, but I just have to adapt and try new things.

YouTube views and revenue is down by 30-40%, but affiliate commissions are up significantly which has evened it out. Lucky for me a couple product review videos have down well, which gives me 3 – 5% commission.

Due to the increase in site traffic there has also been an increase in affiliate commission, it’s been one of the best months ever for affiliate marketing.

Mental Health

24/01/21

This month my mental health has been reasonably good, I can control it, and any bad thoughts I acknowledge and let slip.

Last year I was all over the place with dark days that consumed every bit of motivation I had, but I told myself this year to learn from the bad thoughts and truly understand them.

Being bottled up in a tiny flat takes a toll on my mind, but daily walks eases that stress and lets my mind relax, even if it is just 45 minutes a day.

A quote that has really help me this month, and one I read in a book called Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty is:

This too shall pass.

The bad thoughts/times will pass, so relax, but so will the good times, so appreciate it while you have those good thoughts/times.

Physical Health

brandon walking
3/1/21

Last year my physical health was up and down, this was very much determined by when and if the gyms were open. I shouldn’t have to rely on that in all honesty but I’ve always enjoyed lifting weights, and that equipment is only attainable at a gym (bench’s, bars etc).

But I want this year to be different, and to rely on myself to help my own physical health instead of a gym.

I told myself I would do small, long term changes. Cutting out the crap, walking as much as I can and making meal portions smaller.

I can have that treat on the weekends should I want something sweet or naughty and its not out of bounds but I need to earn it. So I started meal prepping, walking 4km and trying to run as much as possible on that 4km walk.

3/1/21

I never used to run. Never. I hated it, but I have managed to run almost 2km, four days a week, which for me is a huge achievement. I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but it’s needed.

Although i’m still not healthy in physical health, every day i’m getting a little bit healthier, which in the long term will hopefully give some physical changes.

I also find pushing myself with the run most days helps with my mental health too. I have read many books that have mentioned a cognitive link between physical health and mental health so trialing this helps me understand that more.

As of writing this I actually hurt my foot running the other day so have had to take a few days rest, but I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Heck, I’m a 100KG man trying to run for the first time in about 10 years.

What Have I Learned?

My mantra over the last two years has been keep moving forward. This helps me keep focused and on track, but something I have learned is that to keep moving forward a schedule and routine must be in place for that to work.

A routine for the self employed can sometimes be all over the place, especially when you have contacts from all over the world, it never seems to “stop”.

That’s one of the best and worst things about running your own business, but for me, a routine has helped. Being slightly stricter with myself and knowing what I’m doing in the week ahead helps me, a lot.

Next Month’s Goals

  • Increase YouTube Views
  • Keep The Content Flow
  • Keep Walking/Running 4 – 5 Days A Week
  • Read 2 – 3 Books
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