“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
– Margaret J. Wheatley, Writer & Behavior Management Consultant
Like many businesses and blogs out there, this is the time to reflect on 2014. That is why you might be seeing an influx of self-reflecting blog posts or articles in your social media stream. I certainly have seen my share of these types of stories.
Now it is my turn to reflect on Milestone Rides’ accomplishments this year. There were many highlights, things that worked, and lessons learned along the way. Let us dive into them, shall we?
Let us start with some goodness! There were many highlights to point out, so I’ll just list them out here.
- Rode with Russ & Laura of Path Less Pedaled through the Verdugo Mountains
- Presented a Bicycle Touring 101 session at Stan’s Bicycle Shop
- Became a League Certified Instructor for a nationally recognized organization, the League of American Bicyclists
- Met & interviewed Darren Alff of Bicycle Touring Pro
- Quit my full-time job to focus on Milestone Rides
- Completed Adventure Cycling Association’s Leadership Training Course
- Taken trips to Ojai, Joshua Tree, New England, San Diego, and of course, our monster trip down the Pacific Coast
- Attended Interbike trade show
- Attended the National Bicycle Tourism Conference for the 2nd year in a row (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Sold my house
- Started video blogging (vlogging)
- Started the first Los Angeles Self-Supported Bicycle Touring MeetUp Group
Whew! That’s a huge list if I don’t say so myself! Sprinkled in there were 2 personal accomplishments that I am very proud of: Quitting my full-time job and selling my house. These 2 things were huge pivotal points in my life. Quitting my job meant I can now work on something I truly love and that’s providing content for Milestone Rides to become a resource and inspiration for people who are thinking about bicycle touring. Selling my house frees up my income, so I can live a debt free life and not worry about getting a full-time job to supplement my passion.
What I am Doing Right
I believe that getting out of one’s comfort zone means that we are growing. Because I am always trying to look for that uncomfortable feeling, I had many “firsts” this year:
- First live presentation on bicycle touring
- First multi-week trip
- First time bike touring in another country
- First time bike touring in New England to see fall foliage
- First Interbike trade show
- First video blog
- First MeetUp group
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve evolved the site from a personal blog to a website that provides more valuable information for potential bike tourists. I transitioned into something that is serious by registering Milestone Rides as a business with our local agency here. I am trying to be more strategic and add value for all of you out there. I certainly hope you noticed the difference.
In case you’re wondering, the overall vision is this:
Milestone Rides’ Vision: We look to fulfill people’s bicycle touring dreams by providing them with all the resources and inspiration to accomplish this dream. We will do this with integrity and passion. We will remain curious and be open to all new suggestions and recommendations. We want to tell the best stories possible.
With the positives, we also have negatives for the year. I don’t look at negatives as something bad, but really opportunities to do something better in the future.
With that, here are a few things that didn’t work out for me.
- Stickers – I ordered a batch of stickers for promotional purpose. Unfortunately, they were small and I didn’t have a strategy around the stickers. I will make sure I am clear about the strategy for my next order.
- Weekly Round Up – I used to publish out a list of stories every week that I shared over my other social media channel. I have since halted that as it was time-consuming and I wasn’t getting any significant traffic for the pages.
- Amazon store – Not a lot of traffic going through my Amazon store. It was more of a detractor when I was trying to get into Interbike.
- Give Me 3’ Tshirts – What I thought would be a gold mine when my “Keep Calm & Give Me 3’” meme was well-received, but that did not translate to high sales for my hi-vis dry fit shirts.
- Premature replacement of my drive-train – I had mentioned this on my 5000 mile review of my Salsa Vaya, not cleaning my drive-train costed me some coin as I needed to replace the entire thing with the exception of the derailleurs.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
– Chinese Proverb
Looking Forward to 2015
Truthfully, when I started Milestone Rides, it was meant to be a blog about the adventures of my brother-in-law and me. As I gained more experience and got more involved in the industry, I wanted to provide more value to my readers and shift the focus away from us and onto what we can do to help.
One year later, I am satisfied that I am able to captivate the attention of 1200 people every month and maintain a healthy list of email subscribers (If you haven’t done so, make sure to sign-up for my weekly newsletter for more exclusive content). I look forward to the next year and hope to see extreme growth.
With growth in the new year, I hope to begin monetizing with products and exposing myself to paying opportunities. At this point, I’ll end my reflection and dive into goals in my next post.
Until then, let me know what you’ve done this year. Did you do something uncomfortable to shake things up in your own life? Did you take that trip you’ve always wanted to? Please share your responses below in the comments.