2023 Year in Review (And Plans for 2024)

Set better goals using the concept of “10x Is Easier Than 2x”

Hi friend!

I hope everyone’s had some time to rest and relax over this holiday season.

I’ve been taking some time out of the digital world to rest, reflect and spend time with family and friends.

This week’s issue of the newsletter will be a little bit different.

With less than 2 days before 2023 comes to a close, I thought I would share my 2023 reflections and a couple of my “10x is better than 2x” goals for 2024 with you instead.

It’s slightly longer than usual, so you might want to make yourself a cup of tea 🍵 

💡 Today at a glance

  • The Art and Science of Annual Reflections and Reviews.

  • My reflection and review of 2023 — What went well and what could have been better.

  • My part-time solopreneurship plans for 2024 (using the 10x is easier than 2x concept from Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy)

The Art and Science of Annual Reflections and Reviews

I love journalling and doing an annual reflection of the year that has passed.

It’s a habit I formed since my late teens, and I’ve been doing it for the last 15+ years.

The “Art”

I think the practice of doing annual reflections is an “art” — there is no right or wrong way to reflect on your year.

There are millions of templates, methods, frameworks, tools etc. that you can use. Over the years I’ve just come up with an annual reflection and planning system that works for me in Notion. This includes a set of self-reflection questions that I journal on as part of the process.

Here are a few of my favourite “North Star” questions that I love to thinking about and journal on during December:

  1. How have I taken care of myself physically, mentally & emotionally?

  2. What people or experiences have drained my energy and what gave me more energy?

  3. What were my biggest wins or major milestones for the year? What I’m most proud from this year? (This can be for each area of your life)

  4. What were my biggest challenge(s) and how did I rise to the challenge to overcome them? (This can be for each area of your life)

  5. What were my greatest sources of happiness this year?

The “Science”

There are a lot of mental health benefits for doing an annual reflection and review process.

Here are just 3 benefits that I personally experience from doing this for the last 15+ years.

  1. Self-reflection helps us understand ourselves better. Our dreams, goals, challenges, what makes us happy etc.

  2. It shifts our perspective on life. We don’t spend enough time on a day-to-day basis to stop and reflect. When we do, we can change how we view ourselves, our relationships, our life experiences or the world around us.

  3. Understanding our highs and lows for the year helps us adjust our goals and life for the following year. It’s a more systematic approach to building a life you love.

My 2023 year in review

365 days ago, if you asked me if I knew I would be sitting where I am right now (in a different country), writing my 13th issue of the Slow Digest newsletter… the answer would have been no.

2023 was definitely a year of many highs, lows and big life changes.

On a personal front, this includes moving countries, taking on photography clients and travelling more

In terms of my professional career, I was recovering from burnout, gain some autonomy and flexibility to try a few side-way senior roles and built a bunch of valuable skills along the way — teaching, running an in-house training program, starting up a in-house mentorship program, leadership coaching, project management, to list a few.

I won’t dive into every goal or plan I had for 2023 (we would be sitting here for hours, and no one wants that!).

I’ll focus this 2023 reflection and review on my part-time solopreneurship journey. And I’m approaching this from the perspective of “building in public” and sharing some behind the scenes of my “slowpreneurship” journey.

Things I’m happy about

From Jan 1, 2023 to Dec 29, 2023:

📩 Sent 12 issues of the Slow Digest Newsletter! This issue is my 13th!

I anxiously hit send on the first issue of the newsletter on 30th September 2023.

Since then it’s grown to 210 subscribers, with an average open rate of of 55.9% 😲

I had a goal of starting a newsletter in 2023, but I would never have thought I would end the year with that kind of numbers! I’m truly grateful that so many of you let me into your inbox weekly 🙏

So far it’s been downloaded by 130+ people and I’m still getting people reaching out on X / Twitter to let me know that they’ve enjoyed the guide and shared how it’s helped them!

That’s music to my ears. It’s has made the hours I invested in writing the guide, getting it beta-read and then re-written based on feedback, totally worth it!

That was a super fun eBook project. I got to use my photography from Vienna and share my passion for travel and writing in the eBook collaboration.

🎍 Created and launched my first solo paid product The Writer’s Hub OS in Notion mini-course

I didn’t have a sales or revenue goal.

Instead the goal was to focus on building new skills and getting feedback from early supporters of the product to make it the best product I could. I learned so much from the process (I even shared my lessons here).

The $610+ in revenue from this product has shift my mindset about the power of entrepreneurship.

A heartfelt thank you to so many of your who supported it from the early days 💚

✖️ Twitter / X follower count grew from 688 to 1365

I know, I know. Follower count is a vanity metrics. But I’m still grateful for the increase in interest in what I’m writing and sharing online.

🛠️ Landed my first Notion coaching and consulting client!

This was unexpected and definitely the most exciting thing that happened in my 2023 solopreneurship journey.

I’m super excited to work with them to deliver on a custom Notion workspace set-up. And I’m also excited to get back into coaching and teaching (that was one of the favourite parts of my management role as a pharmacist), in this case it will be around Notion and workflow design.

🌐 Cultivated some awesome relationships and made new friends through Build In Public Mastery and Ship 30 for 30

Through these two courses, I met a lot of new people and got out of my comfort zone. It pushed me to think differently about entrepreneurship.

I especially resonated with Kevon’s community-led entreprenuership model of “building in public”.

3 Things I Could Have Done Better in 2023

1. Develop sales and marketing skills (without being sale-sy)

With my background of working as a pharmacist in public health, running a business, sales and marketing is outside my circle of competence or comfort.

But if I’m to take being a part-time solopreneur seriously, this is an area I need to develop further.

2. Be more time effective when it comes to being on social media

There were times this year that I felt I was on social media too much. And it felt draining.

In the new year, I want to find a better balance between using social media, doing deep work and connecting with people 1:1.

3. Be less of a “build in private” perfectionist and more of a “build in public” conversationalist

Build in public mastery was truly one of the best investments I made in my entrepreneur journey in 2023.

If I practiced the “build in public” approach more when I was working on the Ultimate Guide and Mini-Course, they would probably have been launched sooner!

When I took this approach in the last few months of 2023, I really enjoyed this new approach to building products and seeing the “audience” as collaborators in my work.

What Are My Plans For 2024?

I recently came across the book and concept “10x Is Easier Than 2x” by Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy. '

And I’m sold on this idea.

“Achieving 10X growth is exponentially easier than striving for 2X growth. Most find this idea confusing at first because simply imagining 10X growth causes them to think they need to do 10X more work to achieve it. However, being a 10X entrepreneur is nothing like what most people think.”

Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy

This ties in really well with the Slow Productivity approach to life and work.

You can’t 10x everything, which means you have to be very intentional about what you choose to “10x”.

Once you decide those vital few things that you want to 10x, then you have to shift your mindset toward identifying actions that truely make an impact.

Ask yourself, “what are the 20% of actions that will give you 80% of the results?”

So in light of this, I’ve narrowed my two soloprenuership goals that I want to focus on in 2024.

1. Grow my newsletter to 2000 subscribers.

2. Build a part-time Slow Productivity / Notion coaching and consulting service that generates $12k revenue by the end of the year.

If you’re interested in how I’m thinking about accomplishing these goals, hit reply and I’m more than happy to share!

Reflecting on the year that passed and planning for your new year is a life-changing exercise. I highly recommend it.

If you want to get even more out of it, share your review and plans with a partner, trusted friend or a tiny circle of friends. It’s a great way to bounce ideas and set yourself up for your best year ever.

📢 Shout Out!

Instead of my usual Build In Public section, in the spirit of the festive holidays, I want to give a big shout out to King instead!

I’m so grateful to have known King since the early days of my X / Twitter and online writing journey. We’ve bounced ideas off each other and kept each other accountable through our highs and lows.

He’s my PKM buddy and go-to Obsidian and Zettelkasten guru.

It’s been great to watch King build in public. From launching his Obsidian Zettelkasten Starter Guide to launching his SUPER Zettelkasten Workshop.

If you want to dive into Zettelkasten, don't miss the chance to join King for a Small Group 4-part workshop starting on Jan 9th.

Enrollment doors close on Jan 1, 2024.

That’s it!

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year 🧨 

Hit reply and let me know what you’re up to in 2024? — I would love to hear and see how I can help you.

See you in 2024!

CK

📚️ Favourite books for 2023

I read 38 books this year.

Instead of a weekly roundup of interesting things, I thought today I’ll share 3 of my favourite books I read in 2023, and a couple of sentences why.

  1. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. I loved the powerful insights from the renowned surgeon on what it means to live a good life until the very end. I even wrote an atomic essay book review if you’re interested.

  2. Tranquillity by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam. Laura is one of the few females I know who write in the productivity space. I always enjoy her approach and in this book she shares simple but proven strategies to help you experience tranquility by Tuesday.

  3. The Minimalist Entrepreneur by Sahil Lavingia. I’m a bit of a minimalist in my approach to life and work, so this title was an instant hook for me. The Gumroad founder, Sahil, shared a lot of his life and business lessons that I really resonated with. Plus it was a pretty easy read. Highly recommend.

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