I'll be honest, 2023 was the worst year of my life.
In January I spent a week in the ICU with Izzy. We were back again in February. I got Covid in March, 3 days before speaking at Laracon India. I had to cancel. In April, I got hit with an unexpected tax bill. In May and June, I lost a majority of the investment fund I had grown. By July, our best option was to demolish our rental property.
Throughout the year I was continually sick from daycare "crud". I'm sleep deprived as Emma is not the sleeper Izzy is. Combined with the life blows above, I always feel drained. The self-inflected blows also shook my confidence. I try to be an optimistic, ambitious person. But this year has left me feeling not myself. Which feeds the cycle.
Needless to say, I didn't achieve many of my goals for 2023. I'll go through them briefly.
❌ Peak Shift
While Shift did grow, it was around 25%. That's 15% less than previous years. In fairness, I did sunset the Shifty Coders Slack group and Workbench desktop app. These only accounted for a few percent of revenue. But still a few percent.
Missing Laracon India also hurt growth. It was not only an opportunity to speak directly to my target audience, but an untapped market. Also being among peers helps keep Shift top of mind of gives me fresh insights.
➖ Rebuild Rental
As noted, we decided to demolish the rental. After two years of battling insurance, searching for contractors, and waiting on the permits it finally became clear demolishing the home was our best option. While still a loss, we would lose more attempting to rebuild. I'm giving myself a scratch here as, well, it's done.
❌ Expand knowledge base
Between being sick and sleep deprived, I rarely had energy for learning. Any extra time or energy I had was spent maintaining Shift or woodworking projects. Even that I rarely made any progress - meaning my hobby became a stressor.
➖ Tone up
For a brief stretch between August and October I worked out. It felt good. I lost a few pounds and toned my upper body. However, as above, sickness and lack of sleep made it hard to keep the routine. I'm giving myself another scratch here and will carry this over into 2024.
Over the years, I've distilled my goals into three main categories: business, personal, and family. The theme for 2024 is revival.
Grow new side-project
In the last quarter of 2023 I embarked on a new side-project. For years I thought Shift would be my last big programming project. I didn't see the need to make something else. But I saw an opportunity to improve developers lives in another market. Which is something I enjoy. So I'm launching another service (SaaS) and will try to grow it in 2024.
There's also an element of regaining confidence lost in 2023. Being able to reproduce success in a completely different market would have big meaning. And, any generated revenue would also help rebuild financial losses from 2023.
I'm going to carry this over as my personal goal into 2024. Working out made me feel good and boosts confidence. I just need to keep the routine.
I've missed travel. Another reason missing India was a hard blow. With Covid and having two kids, travel hasn't been an option the last few years. However, the girls are getting old enough now to travel. At least on some classic family road trips. So I'd like to do a few of those and maybe a bigger trip towards the end of the year.