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2012: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

As I sit here looking at the blank screen Im contemplating what to write about for my yearly update. Like in any business there are always the highs and the lows and for me there have been a mixture of them! In fact I think the last year has been like a rollercoaster ride for me.

So lets have a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2012 and where I hope Socialable will be in 2013.

The lows

Ill start with the lows (and somehow attempt to turn them into a positive! Im a great believer in every cloud has a silver lining!)

I guess it goes without saying that Network Waves has been a major low. And thats putting it mildly! I wish I could say otherwise but thats just not the case. I cant divulge too much (for legal reasons) but suffice to say its parked. Before writing this blog post I re-read last years post and it was really kind of sad reading it as I mentioned Network Waves there and how it had been a nightmare but I had managed (yet again) to raise more investment and we were back again and were planning on launching it in September. Well September has been and gone.

So what went wrong? I ticked a lot of the boxes in terms of creating the right business model. I came up with an idea and concept four years ago (scary, it was so ahead of its time lol) that solved the pain that people had. I created a solid team behind me that bought experience and skills that I didnt have. And I raised substantial investment 3 times!!! I had a launch party that was a huge success (although no product was ready and I had to give people their money back but hey we had a fabulous party! I clearly know how to throw a good party at least:). And to this day I receive emails from people asking me when it will be ready and signing up for more information.

There is nothing more frustrating in business than creating something that you have limited control over and creating a software tool, particularly on a scale as large as Network Waves. I dont think it helped that Im not that technical (I dont count being able to set up a WordPress blog as being technical). We were badly (in fact thats me being incredibly polite) let down on a number of occasions by both sets of developers, both over promising and under delivering, not meeting milestones or the RFP. But also the truth is that I wasnt aware that its actually very common for software developers to not meet timescales, in fact its quite rare when they do!

So apart from having a nightmare with developers and myself not being technical what else caused it to be a major flop? (before it had even launched!) Well honestly I think the development side was a major factor but also because of the continual delays it meant we were eating through our investment which was slowly disappearing. Of course its worth mentioning that whilst this was happening social media was evolving so quickly and a lot of the features we had built in were being created and launched by other people (including Hootsuite, Buffer and many others). So whilst on one hand I was incredibly proud of myself for coming up with these ideas way before anyone else had I was struggling to keep up and needed to come up with some fresh new awesome features but couldnt because all the money was tied up in the existing framework.

Anyway, I could go on, Im presuming youre starting to get the picture. The truth is Im gutted it didnt work. For me it wasnt just about the money that I and my investors have lost but the time and energy as well. Also its heart wrenching coming up with a product that genuinely has huge potential but that just doesnt get off the ground which you cant control.

But and as I said earlier every cloud has a silver lining although this one has been a VERY expensive one it has taught me so much. Ive learnt a lot about investments (raising capital), software tools. Ive met some amazing people along the way that I wouldnt have connected with otherwise. But more importantly in a roundabout way it gave me Socialable.

The Highs

Im often asked how Ive achieved so much success with Socialable, particularly in such a short time-frame. And the truth is that when I set up Socialable it was mainly due to frustration of waiting for Network Waves to launch and the plan at the time was to leverage the traffic etc. to market NW. I never set out to monetise Socialable and only wanted to provide content that got shared. I think that this business model which Im now seeing a lot of people following i.e. create a content website in the hope of ultimately selling it once youve generated a ton of traffic and subscribers is becoming more and more popular.

Bragging time!

Im not sure what it is about us English folk but we dont like to big up our achievements. I find it quite sad and think that we should be doing the opposite and shouting about them! As you know I dont like to follow the pack so with that in mind, here are some pretty awesome stats for how Socialable is doing:

Traffic currently each month I get around 250,000 page views, with some months hitting 300,000. My goal for 2013 is to hit the million mark. Im looking forward to seeing if (*when*) I achieve that goal! (this time last year my traffic was around 90,000 page views a month)

Shares Im truly grateful for everyone who shares my content. Some of my most popular blog posts have achieve a record 90,000 shares.

Comments I love it when you leave a comment and join in the debate or just give feedback and am so thankful for you taking the time to do so. Some of my blog posts have achieved nearly 300 comments.

Highlights

As I said earlier 2012 has certainly been an exciting and interesting year for me! Below Ive listed some of the highlights (in no particular order):

Achieving No 1 on Amazon (Sales & Marketing and Small Business & Entrepreneurship) for my book Using Images that Influence co-authored with Sarah Arrow
Appearing on BBC Radio 5, Mercury FM, The Sunday Times, Social Media Today, Look Magazine, Newspapermilano, The Foreigner , Evan Carmichael
Speaking at several events, one of the highlights was being asked to speak at the Institute of Aviation in Poland last month.
My 8 year old daughter getting the lead role for her school play and delivering a fantastic performance not to mention having to learn 105 lines (I certainly couldnt have done that at that age!)
Being asked to contribute for several books including Zero to Social Media, Dear Entrepreneur
Regular contributor for Birds on the Blog, Windmill Networking
Mentoring some amazing entrepreneurs and helping them on their journey
Being able to run 10 miles (when at the beginning of the year I couldnt even run a mile lol)
Achieving two partners for Socialable (Outbrain and Phinkit)
2013

I cant believe its now 2013. Im not a huge fan of setting New Year resolutions as often the pressure makes me break them! But I do have a vision and goals of where I want to be and what I want to achieve in 2013. Namely (in no particular order):

Working with Sarah Arrow on several books Zero to Targeted Marketing is now available!
Ive been wanting to create a multi author blog for a while and am looking forward to working with some awesome bloggers this year
I love speaking at events and am excited to be doing more of that this year. The first one of which is at Birmingham University later this month
I genuinely love mentoring and working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do and am hoping to be doing a lot more of that
Launching more social media tool kits and a social media training membership site with Sarah Arrow
Increasing my traffic, subscribers and partners
Running a marathon
Im acutely aware that I wouldnt be anywhere without you guys and am so grateful for your support. Thank you so much:).

Wishing you all a fabulous, fun, productive and hugely successful 2013.

What are your goals for 2013? Please do leave a comment and share.

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