2017 In Review

Post - January 3, 2018

Making a living via content is pretty weird. My job description changes on a yearly basis. Much of what I do is dictated by my personal desires and an equally hefty portion is dictated by public opinion. There’s never a dull moment and that’s why I love it. But one of the downsides is the fact that the internet exists in pockets and those pockets develop a set of expectations I have to contend with. For instance, on Instagram, there are people who follow me and don’t even know I make videos. They found me on Instagram, they enjoy the pictures I post, and they never feel inclined to go any further. Youtube is another good example. Because the YouTube playbook states that you must produce weekly videos in order to be successful, I often hear that my channel is dead and that other woodworkers are eating my lunch. Little do they know I already ate at a different restaurant. Try the ribs, they’re delicious!

While the vast majority of comments and feedback I receive are positive, there are always the Debbie Downers who are there to remind me I’m not doing enough, I’m not doing it frequently enough, and I’m not doing it good enough. As annoying as that might be, I’m not sure I can blame them. They are a product of the pocket they play in. If all you do is watch free videos on YouTube chances are you’ll completely ignore the fact that there are HOURS and HOURS of insanely detailed content available in the Guild. The Guild won’t even be on your radar. But still, these comments can have a cumulative effect on one’s self-conscience. Read enough of them, and you’ll walk away feeling like you’re the laziest woodworker on the planet.

So as something of a mental health exercise, I decided to re-cap 2017 in numbers. What did we actually accomplish this year? Instead of comparing these figures to other people, the smarter thing for me to do is to compare these to my own past performances. So if you’re interested, here’s what we did:

  • 30 FREE videos – 9 of which were projects. That’s approximately 2.5 videos per month. For those who’ve been around TWW for a long time, you know that I was NEVER a weekly video producer. For me, 2.5 videos per month is a healthy and sustainable rate of production and it’s one I’m proud of.
  • 47 Friday Lives – This show isn’t for everyone, but it’s incredibly fun to work directly with my wife while we interact with the community. We don’t do this show to break records, we do it because we love it.
  • 75 Wood Talk Episodes – Wood Talk is the audio podcast I do with my buddies Shannon Rogers and Matt Cremona. If you haven’t heard it, check it out.
  • 426 Instagram/Facebook/Twitter Posts – I’ve been using Instagram for years but in 2017 I really embraced it. It’s one of the few fairly “pure” communities where trolls are the exception and not the rule.
  • 30 Guild Videos – Dining Chair and Jewelry Box (approximately 7 hours of video)
  • 12 Live Guild Meetings – Demonstrations and Q&A with Guild members
  • Launched a major update to the Guild website
  • Raised $17,000 for Woodworkers Fighting Cancer. If this was all I did this year, I think I could rest easy at night.
  • Launched two new products: Planer Brackets and Thread Taps
  • Launched the new Free Tier of the Wood Whisperer Guild with the first FREE project.
  • Travel – I did a few appearances and speaking engagements in Kansas City, in Vegas at AWFS, and at the Powermatic facility in Tennessee.
  • Started a new local Denver meetup as well as a Wood Whisperer Facebook Community that now has over 30,000 members.
  • Added archive of TWW videos to Amazon Prime. Have a FireTV? Just say Wood Whisperer and you’ll find us!
  • Garage Conversion – I almost forgot that I also converted my garage into a full-fledged shop in 2017
  • The Beard – I grew a beard this year. Though I just shaved last night so I guess this one is a swing and a miss.

I think that just about sums it up. I hope you don’t see this as tooting my own horn. It’s really just a personal mental health exercise while also being something of a PSA for folks who feel I’m sitting on my butt all day and ignoring my responsibilities. Ultimately, I’m doing my best to use my time wisely while also devoting as much time as possible to being the best husband and father I can be, which is truly the most important responsibility. I rarely work nights and weekends anymore so I actually have less work time than I ever have.

No matter what you do for a living or how much shop time you get, I recommend taking a moment this week to write down the previous year’s accomplishments and reflect on them. I bet you’ll find you’ve done more than you think. Happy New Year everyone!

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