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Looking back on 2018: My First Year Blogging

It’s the end of 2018 and just like last year I’m doing some retrospective thinking by writing a summary of what 2018 has been like. The end of 2018 means MDW is one year old, and time has definitely flown by me fast.

If I was completely honest, I don’t remember a lot of the details right off the bat as I’m writing this sentence out, which is another reason why I like to write these end of year review posts, because it makes me recall everything I’ve done.

2017 was marked with the focus on family, but 2018 was a year focused on myself. Looking back on it now, it was a bit of a self-indulgent year where I didn’t really feel responsible for anyone but myself for most of the year.

WinnieMD MDW
Short trip to Macau, because…well why not.

My parents are healthy (for the most part), my sister and her family are healthy and there were no financial burdens for anyone. A.K.A I was in a very fortunate position to do whatever I wanted.

…and I wanted to travel. (nothing new there)

I went on a handful of trips to China since I got my one year multi-entry visa and that was great fun because I never visited China unless it was long haul trips to the major cities before. It wasn’t worth going to just “explore” the country with one-time entry visas before this.

I also got to cross off a few things on my bucket list this year, which was awesome. One of them was seeing a Quokka in real life and taking a selfie with one, which I did in the first quarter of the year in Perth.

The world’s friendliest animal 🙂

My trip to Perth was amazing, and I would definitely go again to just chill, relax and recharge my batteries. I also would like to explore the nearby areas outside Perth City, so maybe 2019?

Just like every year since graduating University, the year was filled with trips, travel and adventure with a lot of work and hustle in-between. But this year I did something a little different. I brought my work with me during my USA, Sydney and Thailand trips this year.

I thought I would try it out since I see travelling and being semi-nomadic as a permanent feature in my future, and I honestly don’t want to keep pausing my projects whenever I’m not in Hong Kong.

Working while I was in USA was a complete fail, since the number one reason I went was to celebrate my nephew’s first birthday. Once the gift of jet lag wore off and I couldn’t squeeze a few hours of work before everyone was awake…I pretty much did zero work for the whole one month I was there.

winniemd 2018 review
I might look more excited than the birthday boy, but I assure you he was giggling away in that photo

Balancing work on my Sydney and Thailand trip on the other hand was more successful. Which I’m happy about. Admittedly I wasn’t working at the same level compared to when I’m back home, but progress didn’t stop and I managed to get what I set out to do, done.

I don’t think I will ever be able to work at the level I do in Hong Kong when I’m travelling. It’s not realistic. There’s 24 hours in a day and there’s only so much energy and focus I have to give.

So being able to keep work going at a rate I’m happy with while still enjoying my trips is good enough for me. But that has got me thinking a lot about my progress in general the past few months.

MDW Winnie MD
Work in the Airbnb at Sydney

It’s been 4 years since I started my life by design journey and it’s taken me down many paths. I’ve lost count of the number of setbacks, bumps along the road and hurdles I’ve had to jump over. There has also been many break throughs and memorable milestones reached.

But I think 2018 marked a big mental and emotional change for me because no matter what setback or achievement came my way, I didn’t experience the same emotional response like before.

I use to second guess myself every time something went wrong and I would easily get a confidence boost when something went exactly the way I planned it. The sense of doubt might last only a few minutes and the confidence might only last a little longer, but my state of mind was easily influenced nevertheless.

2018 was a bit different. Things no longer phased me as much and I think I can say it’s a sign of emotional and mental maturity. (One step closer to reaching my ultimate goal of 360 balance in life.)

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Setbacks and challenges were instantly dealt with confidence that whatever it was, I could sort it out. Achievements and successes didn’t go to my head, instead I was able to quietly appreciate it and then move on to the next task.

I’m pretty proud of this change in me.

I’ve written about delaying things and procrastinating on decisions in the past because I didn’t have the confidence to take action in a timely manner. I suppose I can say I’ve learnt to stop doing that. This has helped with making progress this year.

A lot of that progress has happened in MDW. It has been continuously changing since day 1 with design, look, user interface or just content and structure. There hasn’t been a big makeover, just constant and continuous changes being made to improve it everyday.

WinnieMD MDW blog post
Click to read the full post on how to stop delaying decisions in life

2019 will be no different, I already have a bunch of things I want to do with MDW. Some really exciting projects that I cannot wait to share with you once the time is right!

The creation of MDW quickly led me to helping others with 1-on-1 consultations. At first it was just random emails being sent my way for advice, but these emails soon took up too much time and I decided to offer it as a service for anyone serious about their own life by design journey or pursuit for passive income .

I honestly didn’t think too much of it, I just threw it out there for the world to know and whatever happened. happened.

To my surprise, the world responded and people came for my advice. I had a lot of hesitations in the beginning. I gave myself the room to reject or decline people just incase I didn’t feel like I was the right person to help them.

But this was the second big mental change that happened this year.

The more people trusted me the more reassured I felt I was doing the right thing in life. The shift happened rather rapidly. Once people came back and started telling me my advice actually helped or worked, was when I felt a profound sense of reassurance.

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It also felt really good to help people. I can honestly say it gives me a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and happiness I don’t get from anything else.

This new found feeling of fulfilment got me to quickly get caught up in the idea of helping people 1-on-1 through the internet. To the point where I momentarily lost sight of the big picture, which was to build a life on passive income.

And having video chats or voice calls online wasn’t exactly passive.

So I quickly refocused myself back to passive income endeavours. I still accept people asking for help and I always welcome an email looking for my two cents, but it’s no longer my main focus. Instead I’m looking to merge the two things together.

One of my favourite photos of the year, taken in Macau

Helping people and genuinely connecting with individuals on a personal level but doing so without needing to trap myself into an active income lifestyle.

That will the main theme for 2019. I don’t want to jinx things, but I think I have some cool ideas to make it happen in the upcoming years. 🙂

While I’m talking about work, I’m very grateful to say my publishing business is still running on auto-pilot, providing me a very stable income every month. My books are pretty much set in stone on the platform unless there is a BIG BIG change to the algorithm.

Which I have kept myself up-to-date with, since, one, I need to keep my Kindle publishing course relevant and effective, but, two, I need to make sure my passive income stream is safe and secure.

Click the image to check out my course

Affiliate marketing this year has improved, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. If you’ve read my 2019 goal page then you’ll know my affiliate income is very turbulent and unstable. The amount I make is pretty much a surprise every month.

I can’t predict it and I’m not at the point where I feel like I can actively control it. I hope to change that in 2019. It would mean my affiliate marketing skills are improving and that I understand the methods to be successful within the industry.

I launched my Kindle publishing course during the second half of this year after seeing a lot of interest in the single video lessons I initially launched. The sales from individual video lessons have dropped dramatically once I did this, but my full course sales have increased which is great.

I get a steady stream of income from my course sales every month and it’s been very stable. I should be happy about this, but I’m not because I see a big flaw in user behaviour.

Do I look happy? side note: J seems to have a habit of taking photos of me while I’m eating…

Many people are buying the course and not doing anything with the knowledge I’m giving them.

On the surface it seems fine. I’m still getting paid, but I want MDW to grow and that means I need people to actually use the course and experience success for themselves to start spreading the news for me. That’s just not happening right now.

I’m not sure what the actual problem is because no one has asked for a refund and I haven’t received any complaints from anyone.

But when I log into my dashboard to see the majority only go over the material once, which is not enough to learn or understand the material.

A few will even login just the one time!

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Currently only around 20- 25% of all the people who have bought the full course are regularly signing in, watching the lessons multiple times and sending me e-mails when they need help.

25% for a paid, premium product is LOW.

But then I read a piece about the link between price and consumer behaviour. It basically said, people don’t value things that are not expensive and don’t see a rush or “need” to use the product properly because it didn’t “cost” them much.

The result is a bunch of people buying my course on the whim because they feel like they have nothing to lose, the low cost of my course means they don’t have a huge incentive or urge to actually use it.

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At this moment in time, I haven’t changed the price of my course. It’s still $70 because I honestly believe Kindle publishing is an entry level online business for anyone and everyone to get into. And if I believe in this then the price to educate yourself should be as inclusive as possible. (the idea is that the person a Kindle publishing business will help the most will be able to afford the course and get the education they need)

HOWEVER, saying that, something has got to change.

I don’t write on this blog just to pass time and I didn’t launch my course for people to not use it. I genuinely want people to get something out of what I do. So I’ll need to figure a solution to this low engagement rate in 2019.

Needless to say, there’s a lot I hope to complete in 2019 and the coming few years when it comes to work and building my passive income streams. But I’m also very grateful for the changes that have taken place in 2018 and all the situations that came about to make these changes happen.

Financially, there hasn’t been big changes. My expenses are still roundabout the same and my income also averages out the same from the previous year. So there’s not much to say on that front.

I am however very grateful to have been able to treat my parents to a few trips to China and the trip to USA in 2018. Their health is slowly but gradually deteriorating, which does worry me and make me want to provide more for them, while I can.

The folks enjoying a concert on our Mother’s Day long weekend

Dad’s knees are acting up and there seems to be no solution and only treatments to give him temporary relief. But his knee was the main reason why I bought him a business class ticket on the trip to New York.

15 hours in economy class is just too much for his knee and I wanted him to have the option to stretch his leg out fully if he needed to. I bought that ticket 100% out of pocket.

No air miles or special discount offer. na-da.

I’m pretty proud of myself for doing that because I know my dad wouldn’t buy it for himself and if it ever got too much for his knee to fly…Well, he just simply wouldn’t fly.

And I don’t want him missing out on his grandson’s life.

My mum’s health is in better shape (as good as it will be for her age), but she’s been giving me subtle signs letting me know she wants to fly business as well. (I don’t blame her, who wouldn’t)

So I suppose the next time we have a long haul flight to USA, the folks will be flying business.

But that won’t happen in 2019. because *drumroll*

My sister is pregnant with her second child and will be living in Hong Kong for a good 6 months for the birth. Which means, I am Hong Kong bound again for 2019.

Yup, it’s all hands on deck with a 18 month old toddler and a new born. (I need to prepare my biceps for all the lifting…)

WinnieMD MDW blog post image of baby Lucas
such wisdom at a tender age

If you read my 2017 review post, then you’ll know I’ve pretty much done everything I said I will in 2018 except one thing.

My physical health.

2017 was rough on me physically with the lack of sleep and sore muscles from nanny duty, taking care of baby Lucas. I had told myself I would get into better shape in 2018, but that didn’t happen.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty disappointed in myself.

I, for what ever reason, didn’t feel the urgency to do something about my health. But the last 3 months of 2018 has changed all that.

My pelvic bone got misaligned. Not from trauma or doing some sort of extreme sport. My pelvis went out of place simply because I was walking a lot everyday for a few weeks.

Walking guys. I got injured from walking!

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I’m not lying.

I got it pushed back in place and the doc pretty much said my torso is longer than average and so it’s naturally prone to injury. I need to strengthen my back muscles if I want to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Which, I already knew I needed to work on my back muscles a long long time ago because of my horrible posture.

Basically 2018 was a big wake up call for my health. And I’m hoping this feeling of urgency and needing to do something will see some results in 2019.

This wake up call has also sprung a mini quarter-life crisis episode a few weeks ago.

Guys. I feel old.

I know I’m not. But I feel it.

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There’s just so much I want to do in life and a few years ago I still felt like I had plenty of time to do them all. But one misaligned pelvic bone along with my parent’s health issues and I’m feeling time is against me.

Rationally, I know this is crazy talk. But emotionally, I can’t help but hear some truth among the crazy.

But I remember reading a quote somewhere that said

“People often overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what can happen in a decade.”

For now, I keep repeating that quote to myself because I think it speaks a lot of truth. A lot has changed in 4 years, let alone 10 and in the past 4 I’ve managed to do many, MANY things I am very proud of. 2018 was no different.

This was taken 5 years ago…I think I have the fountain of youth in me…But let’s not jinx it.

And many of those things wouldn’t have been possible without the support from my awesome, beautiful girlfriend of 4 years. Yup that’s right, every change I’ve experienced, every set back, every breakthrough,I’ve had since day one, she was there with me through thick and thin.

I am eternally thankful to have her by my side. I am also super excited for the both of us because she has officially quit her corporate life and joined the life by design movement. (though I will still be HK bound for the first half of 2019)

She hated her job and “career” before she even started it, so seeing her take this big step to creating a life she wants is immensely exciting and happy for me. I know it won’t be an easy transition at first, but I also know she won’t regret it in the end either.

Walking a difficult path alone isn’t impossible, but having someone by your side makes it a whole lot easier.

So to sum it all up, 2019 is going to be hectic. It’s going to push me to new limits and I will have many highs and many lows. By the end of it, I may feel none the closer to the big vision I have in life. But ask me again in 2029 and I’ll most likely have made my vision into reality.

Good things need to be shared
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