Welcome to my annual review and reflection for 2022.
What is this?
Each year I like to take some time around December or January to look back over the year that just passed and work out what went well and what didn’t.
As much as I often can’t be bothered doing this process, I try to take the time because it’s always so insightful. Going by previous reviews, I’m sure I’ll discover that a lot more happened than I remembered, that there was some great wins and that I also overcame some serious obstacles.
That’s why these kinds of reviews/reflections are so great to do and why I recommend you do one too.
This year, instead of following my own system for an annual review, I’m following my friend Charlie Gilkey’s (author of Start Finishing) worksheet for an annual personal and business reflection. You can hear Charlie talk about it on his podcast here or download the worksheet here.
At a glance it looks pretty similar my own system, but I wanted to follow someone else’s to see if there is anything new or that I’ve overlooked.
I’ve downloaded the worksheet already, but instead of filling it out I’ll be writing my responses here to share with you.
I’m going to be very open and honest about the good and the bad. No sugar coating here, this is what really happened with Bootcamp Ideas this year.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Q1. Looking over the last year, what are 3 things you are most proud of?
1. The birth of our second child
In February we welcomed our second child into the world. It was an AWEsome home birth with one of our best friends as our midwife. I took a couple of months off from the business following her birth to just be with my family during this time. I’m so grateful that I was able to do that.
2. Integrating Human Design in my life and work
This year is my third year learning about Human Design and how it all works. So far my exploration has been mostly in how it shows up in my own life along and my relationships with my wife and kids. In the second half of 2022 I also completed a 3-month cohort type course with Erin Claire Jones that set me up with the skills to read other’s charts too. I’m excited to start sharing what I’m learning in the hopes it helps others.
3. 4-day work week
Despite various challenges (which I’ll go into a bit later) I stuck to a 3- or 4-day work week for the entire year. I’m super proud of holding that boundary and not falling into the myth of ‘working harder/longer will fix my problems’. Did I notice a difference? Yes. By taking Friday’s off each Monday I actually felt recharged, even if the previous week had been hectic. Getting the whole of Friday with my kids meant I could plan adventures or just while away the day at the playground or beach.
1. Turned BootCraft’s membership trend around
The main way that Bootcamp Ideas makes money is through selling subscriptions to our membership site, BootCraft, which is a huge library of group fitness workouts and ideas I created. During 2020 and 2021 I was proud that we were able to keep membership numbers stable despite the fitness industry being hit hard. It seems though that the effects were maybe just delayed. Early 2022 the numbers started plummeting with very few new sign ups. Cue panic! I spent most of this year trying to get that ship righted which it now seems to be. Whether that was anything I did though or whether it’s just a sign of the fitness industry stabilising, I can’t say. Either way, I’m stoked.
This graph show new members joining BootCraft each month. It doesn’t show members leaving (which spiked early 2022 – right when new member numbers went down – talk about a double whammy). I’ve included total member numbers in green text so you can follow along.
Overall, since 2020 memberships are down 17% but I’m hopeful 2023 will be the year of rebuilding those numbers.
2. Planning and batching content
In 2021 I experimented with some different ways to deliver content to you (like the BCI Boost) and I had someone help me create the content for the BootCraft social media accounts. The problem with both of these was that I was still creating a lot of new content each week, which as much as I fricken love writing, is getting harder to do working with 2 kids under 5 (and working from home) and now with wife starting her own business too. Towards the end of the year I started experimenting with something I used to do a lot which is batching my content creation. That is, I make a bunch of content over a few days and schedule it out. I’m really happy with how it went and am looking forward to using it more in 2023.
3. Got help from a marketing coach
With my business not doing so great, a friend mentioned that the Victorian Chamber of Commerce were offering business mentoring subsidised by the government. This meant you could pick from a list of approved business coaches/mentors and the government would pay the bill for you. I was able to get 16 hours with a marketing coach for free through the program. It was a big eye opener in many ways and made me realise that I needed to take a step back and re-envision what Bootcamp Ideas could be for trainers. That was the positive, there was also some downside which I’ll mention below.
Q2. Looking over the last year, what 3 things most challenged you?
1. My turn to have COVID
I won’t spend too much time on this as I think we’ve probably all experienced it now, but for me the most challenging part was the fatigue afterwards. I would just run out of steam in the afternoons for weeks after having it. This meant I had to really pair back on activities and be selective about what I did put my energy into.
2. Cost of living
In our house we’re big believers in frugal and minimalist living. We don’t spend money on frivolous things. Instead we’ve focused on living in an area we love and picking a lifestyle we enjoy. But even so, combine a diminishing income with the ever increasing cost of groceries (and everything else) and adding a second child, and this year was challenging at times. Nevertheless, I’ve been bolstered by remembering that my parents and grandparents have been through much worse and it’s been a great opportunity to work on my money mindset.
3. Loss of a cherished community
I hesitate to bring this up, but I promised to be open and honest at the start of this. I am going to be a bit vague because the point is not the why, but the experience it led to. Here goes: Due to certain government mandated restrictions I was unable to continue with a community service group that I had spent the past 4.5 years with. This disconnection hit me really hard and I ended up at the doctors seeking what’s called a Mental Health Treatment Plan here in Australia. Like all challenging things though, there was some good lessons in it. It made me realise that I had been overly relying on this community to fill my bucket and in doing so had neglected other friend and family based communities. After coming through my funk, I used this time to invest in those and build them up. I’m also happy to report that with restrictions ending I’m back with the community group again and with what I hope is a more balanced approach.
1. Lost my assistant
In late 2019 I hired an assistant. She was one of the readers of this blog, run her own group fitness business and a regular at various programs I’ve run. She was an absolute life saver during the pandemic and together we implemented a lot of things that had been sitting on my todo list for a long time. But early 2022 I was struggling to pay her and when she was offered a full-time job she understandably jumped at it.
I had to do a lot of mindset work to not feel like an utter failure during this time, I had broken a lot of personal promises to myself when it comes to hiring people like maintaining great communication and paying them first. It also happened quite suddenly so I had to spend a month rearranging things to be able to incorporate her work load back into mine which meant delaying a bunch of projects.
2. Gah, that marketing coach
Having someone pull apart your 10+ year business is tough! I often clashed with the marketing coach on reasons why I had done things a certain way. It felt at times she was pushing me into a more cookie-cutter style of online business where as I’ve always been interested in finding new ways to do things. I stuck it out though with the attitude of ‘I don’t have to apply everything she recommends, I can take what resonates and leave the rest.’
There was also a good lesson around ‘you get what you pay for’ in this. I often felt like a lot of time was wasted on our calls with the same things being rehashed or changed. Because I wasn’t paying her directly, she wasn’t really on the hook to give me a return on my investment. If I had employed a marketing coach myself, I would expect to make more from the coaching than what I had spent.
3. Business finances
I’ve already gone over this a few times, but it was a struggle. I’m glad I read Profit First in 2021 and implemented that into my business as it meant I always had enough for taxes and bills, but they business oftern struggled to pay our familiy enough. This is sometimes I want to fix in 2023.
Q3. Looking over the last year, what have been your Top 3 lessons learned or reaffirmed?
1. Rest is key for me
I’ve always been more of a sprinter than a marathon runner. So while I can get a lot done in a short period of time, down time is really important for me. The times I felt most in flow with work this year was when I was able do things in bursts, then have some time to rest. More coffee is not the answer (I keep forgetting that).
2. Change in workouts and ‘work-ins’
As I get older (I’m 35 as I write this) I’m noticing that the same workout programming isn’t working for me like it used too. Young kids in my life means less sleep than I’d like and, at times, more stress. I’ve noticed a big difference in my energy by incorporating workouts with more focus on breath and positioning. With stress also comes a need for emotional and mental flexibility and adaptability. I’ve been dedicating more time to my mental health – not just self-care – but using tools, systems and people to help keep it strong.
3. Kids and our values
In 2023 my oldest turned 4. I’ve really noticed how she learns from watching my wife and I do things in life (not by us repeating ourselves 1 million and 2 times). This brought on a great discussion with my wife about our values and whether we are still in alignment with them or whether we’ve ended up doing somethings because ‘everyone else is’. This has really helped me with staying true to those heart felt values which sometimes leads down a harder or more awkward path.
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one (product) basket
Oh my gosh. I’ve always brought in revenue to my businesses through multiple channels, but somewhere over the past few years I forgot about that. BootCraft has been such a success that I ended up over-relying on it for income. When that income faltered this year it put us all in a bad position. This was a good lesson to re-learn and I’m excited to share what new products I have for you this year soon. I love giving away resources for free but I need to make money too. This year I want to work out how to feel financially rewarded for my time and effort and still feel generous to all of you.
2. Systems are key to freeing up your time
Losing my assistant meant that I had to get really selective about how I spent my time working. At first I was a bit all over the place, but as the year continued I started getting smarter with my systems. Towards the end of the year I realised I want to set up a system for literally everything, so that’s on the cards for 2023. The more systems I created, the fewer things I had to keep track of in my head.
3. Do marketing your way (but have a way)
One of the embarrassing things about working with the marketing coach was realising that I no longer had a good marketing system in place in my business. I had a bunch of ways I was marketing, but no real system to tie it all together. While I’m not keen on her system because it doesn’t suit my style, it has given me a kick up the bum to get a better system in place.
Q4. Looking over the past year, who have been the key members of your success pack? How did they support you?
1. My wife, Zoe
What can I say, she’s the bees knees. Despite giving birth early in the year and then having a small human attached to her, she has been an unending source of support and belief in me. Always encouraging me to pursue the things in life that are meaningful to me (even if that’s the harder path) and an absolute rock to help me stay grounded.
2. My Mum
Mum has been a fantastic support and Granny this year. Cooking meals for us when we’re passing through Melbourne and coming down to stay and help us out with the kids. I feel very lucky to have a mum like her.
3. New friend, ‘M’
I had some black dog moments this year. I feel we all have while reeling from a pandemic and life going back to ‘normal’. I try to be honest with those around me about how I’m feeling rather than just responding by saying ‘good’. During one of these periods I mentioned it to a new male friend, M, (always a very vulnerable feeling thing to do) and he followed up later with a message to catch up more regularly. I’m very grateful he did that and for the friendship that’s formed since.
1. My Assistant
Even though I only had her with me the first third of the year. Her help in managing the day-to-day for BootCraft and her contributions to the Bootcamp Ideas blog were invaluable for that time.
2. Jessi Schlegel and Niki J. Torres
Jessi and Niki have been working freelance writers for Bootcamp Ideas over the past 12+ months. We would meet every 2 or 3 months on Zoom where they would give me feedback and help me see Bootcamp Ideas with fresh ideas.
3. The Master Crafters
The Master Crafters are a group of trainers who regularly contribute their workout ideas to BootCraft. But more than that, they’re people I know I can ask for their opinion and input on new ideas too. I’m very grateful for their many contributions this year.
Q5. What are your Top 3 goals for next year?
Keep working out pain-free and improve my recovery with more aerobic and anerobic training.’Keep working out pain-free and improve my recovery with more aerobic and anerobic training.
2. Screen-free downtime
I’d like to find a project that involves making something with my hands.
3. Quality family time
More mini-adventures and projects to do together.
1. The New Bootcamp Ideas
Continue the reimagining of Bootcamp Ideas, starting with a new course on email newsletters.
2. Human Design Coaching
I’d love to regularly help other business owners incorporate Human Design into the way they work.
3. Better Systems
I would like to identify what is needing a system in my business and to start creating them.
How will I achieve this?
As this article is getting lengthy I’m going to break it into two parts.
This first part is all of my reflections from last year. Part 2 will be questions about planning out how I can achieve my goals. Things like changes I’ll need to make, smaller projects that will need to be completed and who I’ll enlist to support me.
The latter I can see will be very important. I noticed in doing these first few questions that I have some great members of the community who support me but I don’t have many peers. This is something else I’d love to work on.
I’ll post that next week and send an email out.
Be sure to read on for my favourite tools, shows, podcasts and more from 2022.
Other Things I Liked in 2022
I initially started using this super piece of software as an easy, low-cost way to get transcripts of my podcast. And then they added a feature for videos too which made creating videos a breeze. The thing I love about Descript is that you don’t edit the audio or video file, you edit the words in the transcript and it updates the audio or video. Seriously amazing. Can’t wait to use it more next year.
Stolen Focus by Johann Hari
Johann is back (I recommended his book Lost Connections a few years ago) with a book that dives into why our attention span sucks. He covers many angles including technology, social media, food, exercise and education. A great insightful read that will inspire you to change a few things.
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
I started reading this book years ago and it really triggered me so I stopped. It brought up a lot of frustrations around my work. This year I felt the urge to pick it up again and loved it. It goes to show that sometimes a book needs to come to you at the right time.
The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
This late entry I came across after watching Stutz on Netflix (check it out if you haven’t already). I’ve been using ‘The Tools’ to quickly change my mindset when I’m getting stuck. Highly recommend and a great one for clients trying to build healthy habits too.
My favourite show of the year has to be Severance. I’m a big Adam Scott fan anyway, but I loved the mystery, sets and writing of this one. Can’t wait for season 2.
I also really enjoyed the final season of Shetland, The White Lotus, Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart, We Crashed and Ted Lasso (finally got around to watching it).
In 2022 I listened most to a Human Design podcast called That Projector Life this year. It’s very niche but I enjoyed listening to a fellow projector talk about business and life.
Thank you, dear reader, for being a part of my and Bootcamp Ideas’ 2022.
I hope you got something valuable out of one of my emails or posts and that you will continue to in 2023.
I’ll be back next week with my goals and plans for 2023 by answering the remaining questions in the annual reflection worksheet. As readers of Bootcamp Ideas these plans will of course involve you so be sure to check back next week!
In the meantime, answer me this:
What was one lesson you learned, challenge you faced or thing you were proud of in 2022?
Share in the comments below.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.