A lookbehind at 2021 and lookahead for 2022

Main Thread 4 min read

I've been writing these post for the last four years. There are a way for me to reflect upon last year and set goals for the new year.

I like to keep them terse and fun. Hence the reference to regular expressions and use of emojis.

2021 Goals

✅ Expand Shift as a business

This one really gets two checkboxes. Shift definitely expanded as a business in 2021, not only in revenue, but also size. Shift grew 30% in 2021 despite no Laravel release. In doing so, it finally crossed $1,000,000 in revenue.

I increased Jess' monthly retainer. She's also partnering with me on recent projects, like the Workbench desktop app. I recently contracted Saurabh Mahajan for additional work as Jess' focus has shifted (no pun). Although not necessarily employees, they do represent a growing Shift team.

❌ Expand knowledge base

I didn't expand my knowledge base in 2021. At least not the way in which I wanted to. The goal was to read more, a carryover from 2019 goals, and learn Spanish. While I did attempt both, I by no means succeeded.

Any spare time I had was spent taking care of Izzy, working on investments, woodworking, or sleeping. All but the latter being other goals for 2021. I'll carry this goal over one more time. If I don't achieve it in 2022, it clearly is no longer a priority.

✅ Increase woodworking

Another solid checkbox for woodworking. In 2021 I built 6 coffee tables, 3 dining tables, 2 end tables, and a cutting board. All of which was from lumber I had or took to the raw log to the sawmill.

I enjoy woodworking. To me it's a craft much like programming. It allows me to use my skill to achieve a vision. Unlike programming though, it's finite.

While I don't do it for the money, I do sell the pieces. Most of the profit goes into Izzy's college fund. Some of it I use to buy new tools for the next project.

✅ Diversify investments

In 2021 I diversified my investments dramatically. Previously, the bulk of my investments were in the stock market. Now I have about 10% in crypto. Anytime there is a dip in BTC or ETH, I buy more. I also buy some of the staked coins for the interest.

We also purchased a rental property. While we have a long-term vision to use the property ourselves, we plan to rent it for the next several years. Renting will should lessen our initial investment. But ultimately it's an asset, not so much an investment.

✅ Increase family time

Another big checkbox for 2021. Ashley went back to work from maternity leave in February. The remainder of the year Izzy enrolled in Daddy Daycare. I watched her between her daytime naps. During which I did my best to work through my task list for Shift.

We are looking into actual daycare for 2022. Covid restrictions has delayed enrollment. In the meantime, the grandparents have helped by watching her one day a week.

Since there was neither a Laravel release this year, nor conferences in person conferences, I did have more free time. However, as much as I enjoy spending time with Izzy, I don't want to neglect Shift. After all, Shift is what affords me the flexibility to spend time with Izzy.

2022 Goals

Looking ahead to 2022, I will carry over one goal and tweak some others. The overall theme is preparation.

Focus Shift

Over the last few years I have been expanding Shift. This year, instead of adding new products or services, I want to focus the existing ones.

I think Shift has reached a critical mass. Possibly even beyond it. I also think 2022 (or 2023) may peak Shift. As such, I want to focus on Shift's products and services which are used most. Then, cut the rest. This way I'll be ready to turn the correct dials as things transition.

Expand knowledge base

Again goal has carried over twice now. So, the realistic goal for 2022 is to read (or listen to) 10 books. In addition, I want to learn enough Spanish so I can communicate effectively when we take our vacations to Mexico.

Retirement fund

Since I am self-employed, I don't have much in a traditional 401(k). As such, I am responsible for funding my own retirement.

Given my other investments, I haven't been too worried about this. However, with each passing year, I want to start planning for the longer term. This goal is to create a new, separate investment fund. Ideally seeding it with a few years salary to prepare for retirement.


I'll turn 40 in 2022. This sounds like a big milestone. It is just a number though. The only reason I mention it is to mark the beginning of a transitional period. One where my time and focus is spent more on life and family.

This period might be 5 or 10 years. My goals will align with this transition. Ideally making it shorter. In addition, I will make fewer goals. As the ultimate goal is to transition from work to life.