Happy New Year: 2021 Plans and 2020 Recap

Happy New Year: 2021 Plans and 2020 Recap

This is not the type of post that I’ve typically done in the past.

I loathe the idea of waiting until an arbitrary date to start doing the things you want to do…

That said, a fresh page on the calendar is a good chance to reasses where you’ve been and where you;’re going, so why not at least give it a look.

(Just don’t hesitate to do the same on any given day of the year!)

But first, a rant!

As anyone who has spent even a solitary second on social media knows, the big trend from last year was to talk about how bad 2020 was.

And there were certainly bad things about it.

Namely, the unprecedented transfer of freedom and autonomy that apparently millions of Americans were happy to participate in to be given the illusion of safety.

I mean… seriously.

I’ll give them (whoever they actually are…) one thing, they pulled of a masterful act of mass persuasion with this whole pandemic thing.

As a marketer, it was very impressive.

None of it was for good (evil might be a better word for it!) but it was impressive.

Anyway, there’s lots more that could be said about this, but there’s one big takeaway for me:

If you want 2021 to be better than 2020, stop living your life in fear.

Stop letting government officials who don’t care about you run your life (are you really going to let your Governor/Mayor/whoever tell you how many people you can have in your home for the holidays? IN YOUR HOME!)

If believe that masks will keep you healthy, by all means, continue to wear them.

It should be your choice.

But if you’re wearing a mask just to avoid controversy, or just to get along…

It’s time to stop.

This mask thing will not go away until people start pushing back.

There’s no real enforcement. The only enforcement is social pressure.

Will some businesses ask you to leave? Yes they will.

The point is, 2021 won’t get better from this (or any) standpoint unless you make it better.

I have even more memes, but that’s enough for now!

I’ll close this section with a couple of links that I find relevant (YMMV):



Ok, back to business…

For those who are still with me, back to the whole point of this post.

2020 Recap

All things considered, 2020 was a pretty decent year. Here are some things that happened:

The Good

  • I finished my master’s degree in Divinity from Liberty University.
  • I was ordained by my church.
  • (More on the implications of these first 2 items to come this year…)
  • My copywriting business paid me a moderate salary all year long (though there’s still lots of room to grow here)
  • Parker played in his first golf tournaments!
  • I got certified for fitness by Titleist Performance Institute and nutrition by Precision Nutrition (and recertified my CSCS with NSCA).
  • I did more music performances than any other year to date.
  • Our family took 2 vacations to the beach this year as well as a long trip to Florida and Georgia…
  • The 2nd vacation was to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary!

If I can think of more, I’ll add them later.

The Not As Good

  • Despite paying myself a salary, I’m still not where I want to be financially.
  • I lost a sizable retainer late in the year.
  • I feel like my copywriting business was controlling my life more than the other way around.
  • This took more time away from my family and music than I prefer (not as much golf, and more holing myself up in my office to push through work).
  • Homewise, we’re still in the same place we’ve been for the last 5 years.
  • I didn’t do much of anything with songwriting or music production.

2021 Goals

While it’s tempting to be vague about this, I know that my goals need to be S.M.A.R.T., or it’s all a big waste of time. While these aren’t all my goals, they are the ones I’m willing to share publicly! After this, I’ll go into some of my ideas and tools for making these things happen.

  1. Get at least 2 copywriting retainer clients worth NLT $3k per month*
    *Of course, this is an outcome-based goal, meaning I don’t have control over what the clients do. The thing I have control over is the process I take to try and make this happen. More on that later.
  2. Write AT LEAST 2 songs a month.
    That is really a bare minimum. It’s silly to call myself a singer/songwriter when I’m not writing any songs. I love making beats, but these songs really need to be things that I can record, release, and play at my gigs.
  3. Bodyweight to 215lbs by 42nd birthday.
    There are a variety of reasons for this. It represents a decrease of somewhere between 10-15 pounds (depending on the day!), but this would be a good place for my weight to be at my current body composition.

2021 Plans

So the goals above only represent a small selection of things that I want to get done, but I know that I need to start somewhere!

A lot of things come from goal #1. That is the financial baseline that allows me to do the other things that I intend to accomplish.

That brings me to the first tool I plan to use (and my first affiliate link…)

Flaming Camel?!?

Shiv Shetti’s Flaming Camel Program (and yes, that is an affiliate link, but it’s a naked affiliate link because you’d need to tell him that I sent you.)

I’m going to say something about this program that is in NO WAY throwing shade at any other program I’ve participated in…

I’ve long struggled with prospecting. As a copywriter, I wondered how to find the clients that would be willinag and able to pay for effective copy.

Lots of other people have figured this out, but I couldn’t crack the code.

This program has the single-best method for actually identifying solid potential clients.

But not only that, it has a great process for approaching them as well.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m only at the point where I’m searching for clients to approach, so I can’t share any results (because I don’t have any!)

This course is a significant investment, but should be easily recoupable.

Here’s the referral link again, be sure to tell him that I sent you!

Get Organized

Especially toward the end of the year, I feel like some of my activities (specifically my business), really took over my life.

As silly as it sounds, golf is my bellwether for this.

My oldest son is becoming an avid golfer, and my dad has long been an avid golfer, so for a lot of late 2019 and a decent part of 2020, we played multiple times per week.

I still got my work done, and spent time with them.

But toward the end of the year, that changed. I found myself telling them that I couldn’t go (or couldn’t take Parker).

A big part of that is the fact that I reactively responded to whatever was happening in other people’s businesses.

I experimented with time blocking, but didn’t stick with it enough.

Once the financial piece is in place, this is the key to unlocking all my other achievements (and honestly, it’s the key to the financial piece as well).

Maybe I’m just too old, but I can’t go to completely digital solutions.

I do use Google Calendar, but I need paper.

So I bought this planner (Amazon Affiliate Link): The Phoenix Planner.

I like this because it’s a 12-week model (like the 12 Week Year [affiliate link]}, and is heavily based around goals.

I need to write these things down (and I think that’s true for most people), because there’s just something more real about putting pen to paper.

Anyway, I’ve failed with paper planners before too, but I’m, giving it another shot this year!


It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that music is extremely important to me.

And it kills me that I’ve barely written anything new in the last couple of years.

Every new year finds me resolved to do more with my music career, but somehow it quickly falls to the wayside.

This year can be different for 2 reasons:

  1. I already have more gigs on the calendar than ever before
  2. I’m signed up for some programs to give me guidance and accountability.

Here they are:

  • Monthly.com course featuring Ryan Tedder (Another affiliate link!)
    I’m pretty pumped about this. If you’re not familiar, Ryan Tedder is from the group OneRepublic, and he’s written hit songs with/for HUGE artists like Ed Sheeran, Adele, Beyonce, J. Lo, Maroon 5 and more. This course shows his process and has assignments to go along. Starts Monday!
  • Getty Hymn Writing Collective
    My church was generous enough to purchase this for me. In addition to my individual music career, I really want to write some songs that are good enough for my church to sing. This happens starting in February.
  • Nashville Artist Development University
    This is an overall artist development program that I got connected with to help me with all aspects of my music business.

Words for 2021

I always thought this was an interesting concept, so here are some words that I intend to guide my 2021:

Intentional – This means I will be more intentional with my time and schedule. That’s the purpose of the journal, and I really don’t want my work to take over my life. I will also be more intentional in my connection with my family.

Development – Especially as in “artist development” but also “business development”. Growth will happen. Intentional growth.


So that about wraps it up for this January 1.

Maybe I’ll do periodic checkins (public checkins that is!)

So what about you? What are your plans for 2021?

Leave a comment below!

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