2012 Year in Review


One of my favorite photos from this year. View from Bryant park.

Last week I gave you a worksheet to help you review your year and see what went right and what went wrong. If you haven’t had a chance to do it, I highly suggest you take the time to fill it out. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.

I went ahead and filled mine out and saw areas that went well and others that didn’t go so well. I also noticed that when it came time to write down things I needed to do less of or eliminate, I wrote a couple of the same things as last year. That’s definitely not good. I wouldn’t have really noticed it unless I did the worksheet.

It’s a wake up call to really get control of that area. I don’t want to write the same exact thing one year from now!

Last year I filled out my worksheet and posted the whole thing here. This year I’ll do it a little differently and just highlight some things.

I’m going to follow Chris Guillebeau’s style and ask myself

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go well?

What went well

Get Busy Living

The blog has grown this year and I’m still blogging! I have not lost interest in blogging and that’s a great thing. I knew if I wanted to start a blog that matters, I’d need to find a topic I enjoy writing and I did. Two year birthday is almost coming up and I feel like I haven’t hit my peak yet with this blog.

What’s more important are the emails I get from people who get inspired by what I write. It’s great to know that I can help out in some way.

I also get a lot emails looking for help. As I wrote this year, many take that advice and do nothing with it and it can be frustrating. However, some have taken that advice, taken action, and turned it into something positive. That’s awesome.

(And if you’ve emailed me this year about help, I’d love to hear an update from you!)

Feedback from the ebook continues to be tremendous as well. Lots of people love it and it gets them to start making positive changes. One memorable feedback about it said that my ebook told her what she nearly paid $400 to a career counselor for.

I also formatted the book for Kindle because I wanted to try and get the ebook out to a different audience. Sales have been enough to buy a movie ticket, but making money wasn’t the goal of it. I made it free for five days (the max at the time) earlier this year and got about 800 downloads. Not too bad.

I went to Blog World New York in June. It was my first ever conference so I was naturally nervous but excited. Had a great time and got to meet many online faces. Eleanor went along and we had a great time sightseeing around New York during our free time.

This week I’ll be going to Las Vegas for my second conference! It’s New Media Expo, which is the new name for Blog World. Maybe I’ll hit the jackpot while I’m out there. πŸ™‚

Finally I got a couple national media mentions for the first time. A blog post I wrote called “How badly do you want it” was mentioned at the beginning of a blog post on the NYTimes.com called “You Probably Don’t Care Enough About Your Goals”.

Then I had answered a reporter’s question on HARO about making money and emailed back and forth answering her questions. Was not sure if and when her article would run. Another app developer told me he saw my article at the bookstore. I went that day to look for it and found it!


It’s a small mention but still happy to see it in U.S. News & World Report.


One of my main goals this year was to travel. I just got married last October and since we weren’t doing the long distance thing any more (her in Taipei and me in Florida) I wanted to make sure we went on some trips.

We did a pretty good job of it! We started the year going to back to Taipei to visit her parents and so she could vote in the Taiwan election. We had to wait for her immigration documents to be approved so she could come back in after leaving. When it arrived, we booked the tickets, and left the week after. First time booking on short notice, but prices weren’t too outrageous.

Our two biggest new destinations this year were to California and Costa Rica. We both have always wanted to drive the Pacific Coast Highway. We started in Los Angeles and made our way to San Francisco with a few stops along the way. It truly is worth the drive! We then spent five days in San Francisco since Eleanor had never been there. We saw all the sights, ate some great food, and saw great friends.

One of the best things about the trip was that nine out of ten nights the hotel rooms were free. All coming from my new favorite hobby travel hacking.

This was the year I got to put together all my new travel hacking knowledge and credit card points and put it to use.

Next Februrary we’re heading off on a trip I’ve been looking forward to since July. That’s when I spent about six hours researching itineraries to book a trip I hadn’t even planned on making. I wrote a post about it so I won’t talk about it too much again. I’m still amazed it all cost 260K points and about $400 for the both of us to fly first and business class. Looking forward to going to Sydney, Hong Kong (changed from Bali) and flying in the A380 private suites on one flight! (read my post to find out how I booked this)

In October we went to the Arenal Volcano area in Costa Rica for five days because last year I bought a Groupon to take advantage of 20x bonus points for my Chase credit card. The package included white water rafting, rapelling, zip lining, hotel, and all meals. I had never done rappelling or zip lining and it was a rush if not a bit scary if I looked down. We had a great time though and happy we bought that Groupon.

Costa Rica

Also I finally got the chance to go to Hawaii in August. I went with my mom and her husband, while Eleanor headed back to Taipei. My mom wanted to go and I was happy to go along as a travel planner. We hit Honolulu, Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island in 10 days. I now know why so many people love it there. I’m so ready to go back.

Spending money on experiences is definitely worth the memories. In five years, I won’t remember what I bought this year, but I will remember the trips we took.


One of my big goals this year was to create a course about app development because I’ve gotten so many questions since I released Photo 365 about how to develop an app. I’m very happy with how App Academy turned out. I have students in the course now and have gotten great feedback. I haven’t done a big launch yet because I wanted to make sure everything was running smooth first. Since it is, I’ll be looking to get the word out more about it.

If you’re wanting to develop an app in 2013, let me teach you everything I know!

I now have three apps (if I don’t count free and paid apps separately) for sale: Gratitude Journal 365, Life Quotes, and Photo 365. All doing good but with room to improve.

In 2013, I’ll be looking to develop way more apps and even start developing games.

What didn’t go so well this year

Developing apps

It took awhile to find a follow up to Photo 365. Even when I got the idea, I was slow to get it started. I could have had some more urgency. I’m also not too happy with how long it took to develop it. With Photo 365, I was okay that it took seven months since it was my first. Gratitude 365 took about the same amount of time. I much rather be quicker from idea to App store and will find ways to do that.

Also some updates I want for Photo 365 to make it better didn’t happen. My developers ran into problem trying to add it and when they have worked it’s been slow. I’m going to start looking for other options because it just takes way too long to get a quality update done. The same for Gratitude 365. It’s frustrating and It’s not acceptable anymore.

I had quite the experience dealing with another developer who claimed I ripped off her idea. I wrote a detailed post showing I had nothing to hide. The support I got was amazing. I never heard anything else from her, but that’s what I expected.

Entreprneur ADD

In 2011, I just focused on developing my first app and growing my blog. Pretty simple and I did a good job with both.

In 2012, I started having so many more ideas that I wanted to work on. Early in the year I tried to do as many as I could handle, but then realized that was not a good idea. I just didn’t have enough time to do everything. Also I couldn’t dedicate enough time to do each well enough.

So I had to be selective. I put aside projects like creating an iPad magazine, starting a podcast, writing a book for the Kindle to name a few to focus on developing my apps, maintaining my blog, and creating App Academy.

I still want to do all those other things, but I had chose to set them aside for now.

Bad habits

One thing I wrote down last year I needed to do less of or completely eliminate was multitasking. I should not be writing this post, taking a break to check my email and any new Facebook updates. Bad bad bad. I knew last year I needed to stop doing it, but I slipped back into old habits this year.

I know doing that kills my productivity and focus. So that’s the #1 bad habit I need to tackle in 2013.

I also have this bad sweet tooth that has gotten out of control. I’ve never been addicted to drugs, but I see the same patterns when it comes to sugar. I have a hard time saying no and even when I tell myself I don’t want it, I’ll make an excuse to have it. I think the longest I went without any processed sugar was a week this year. Not good at all.

It not only affects my weight, but also how I feel throughout the day. I need to find a way to control it.

This blog

At the beginning of the year I was posting once a week regularly. I was in a good groove. Towards the end of this year I found myself posting less because of time working on other things. I’m not the fastest writer and I edit a lot to get a post just right. So I do wish I could write posts in 30 minutes and be done but that’s not how it is.

I began posting once every two weeks. One time I went three weeks between posts. That’s not what I want to be doing.

I enjoy writing and look to being back on a more regular schedule this next year.


The way I can sum up this year is to call it a sophomore slump. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll know what that means. If not, let me explain.

A rookie might have a tremendous first year as a professional. They exceeded expectations. So the second year they and others expect them to do as well, if not do better from the year before. However that’s not always the case. Sometimes they struggle the second year. They might not have a bad year statistically, and it’s still a good year, but just not as good as the year before.

2011 was a breakout year for me. Just one of those years I’ll never forget. I went from stuck and confused to having direction in my life. I wanted to make 2012 even better and believed it would be. Reviewing my year now I didn’t achieve as much as I would have like. I had my ups and downs. It’s totally my fault and that’s why I like doing an annual review so I make sure I won’t make the same mistakes next year.

I look forward to working harder in 2013 and constantly be reviewing my progress every week and month.

I want to be here a year from now writing about all the amazing things I achieved in 2013.

Enough about me…what about you?

Let us know a few things that went well for you and if you like a few things that didn’t.


Happy new year to each and every one of you! I wish you an epic 2013!


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32 responses to 2012 Year in Review

  1. i’m glad you’re not tired of blogging because I do like your blog! You two are a cute couple. Have probably mentioned that before. I went to Hawaii for one day on a layover and was able to at least get a tweet up in! I’ve had an awesome end of year (though, pretty uneventful rest of year) which includes finding out I’m a contestant to Prosperity’s Kitchen, my scholarship getting approved for $100 Change, and winning 4-Hour Chef and Seth Godin’s latest book. Great entrepreneur Christmas presents even though I haven’t been celebrating Christmas lately!

    • Thank you Janet! She’s the cute one. I’m just the average looking one. πŸ™‚ I’m so happy you won a scholarship from the $100 Change! I know you’re going to have an even better 2013 and I’ll be following along.

  2. Ok brother, It’s the new year and time for both of us to make some strides and get busy to move forward. I hope that this is the year that you can do this full time and hope to meet you at Blog World or some other event over coffee. May you and yours have the best year ever and keep posting.
    Fortune Favors the Bold and the other side of fear is freedom

    • Thanks Paul. I agree. This year is the year of laser focus. No more excuses. No more wishing we had done things better one year from now. We can do it!

  3. Awesome read! And your lady is hot!

  4. Good analogy on sophomore slump. Hope you get some good app wins in 2013!

    I may go through such a slump in 2013. I want to just relax more as I’m retired, darnit! πŸ™‚


    • Thank you Sam! Congrats on your 2012. Lots of great things happened for you and I’m sure 2013 will be even more relaxing. πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations on so many of your accomplishments. Wish you have an even more promising 2013!

  6. Love your recaps Benny. I was wondering whate ever happened to that other person who claimed you ripped her off. funny how she never said anything after that.

    I made the mistake of spreading myself to thin last year. One of my goals besides my business goals is to spend time with my family and kids. something i could not do before we left our corporate life behind. This coming year, i am working family time into my plan.

    My new directive for the year is “create”. in other words, stop consuming and create more.
    Hope you had a great new year.

    We rode bikes at midnight in our french town and hung out with a Dutch and Germany family . Boy can they drink.

    Got to go, i need to create.. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Annie! I know that feeling too. I spread myself too thin with all these things I wanted to do but got nothing done. Hope you do get to spend much more time with your kids. They grow up way too fast!

      I bet they can drink hahahaha. After one beer I’m done! I’m getting old. πŸ™‚

  7. Happy New Year! Love the Annual review worksheet. I really feel so positive from reading your posts. Also, love that you are yourself and not trying to be anything but that.
    I want to let anyone know that if they are considering making an app, you need to get the course that Benny has. It was the best money I ever spent. It really has much more info to it than I expected.I have no developing experience what so ever. I really feel fortunate to have found this to help me make my app. Really excited to see what happens. Great job with the app course Benny. May you and your wife have a great beginning to the new year and much success to you:)

    • Thank you so much for that Mindy! Please do not hesitate if you have any questions and do keep me updated with your progress! Hope your 2013 is everything you make it to be.

  8. I’m an older person, and I didn’t think I could do it, but I actually started a blog! There isn’t much to it, so before I tell my family, I want to keep adding substance to it before I show it off. I look up to the way you do your blog because you seem to come up with good topics (I loved what you wrote about the 600 pound person, and teaching about change). Keep up the good work. Maybe one day my blog will be inspirational to others.

    • Hey Francis! Congrats on starting a blog. I’m glad I’m a model for your blog. I do the same thing. I look to other blogs for ideas and inspiration. Keep it up and write write write!

  9. I saw things didn’t go as expected with developing apps. Don’t get your hopes down even if your app took longer to make I am sure that in the end when it will become popular all of this wouldn’t matter so much!
    Awesome Review and Awesome Comments! Happy New Year to everyone!

  10. Hers to an even better 2013, Benny!

  11. Sounds like it was a great year. Congrats on the media mention!

  12. Benny – I just also wrote my 2012 recap and 2013 outlook post on IEC. Last year was a great year for me, in the sense that I was able to write my very first eBook and although I am nowhere near in the sales area I want to be, getting my eBook out there was a huge accomplishment for me. I know that as I continue to concentrate on ‘being everywhere’ as Pat always says, my books sales will pick up.

    Holy cow though, man! Because I was so busy last year with my book, blogging was kind of on the back burner and I didn’t get to write on the blog as much as I wanted. I wasn;t able to do too much Blog reading either. Today, as I was going back through my favorite blogs of 2011 that I was active on, about 60-80% of those blogs are either non-working domains or just not active anymore. I guess only the fittest survive! πŸ™‚

    Hey, I just have to say, man! I am truly amazed at your success your Apps! Holy cow Benny! I had no idea you were having that kind of success online, man. I will definitely take you up on the App course when it’s ready. Definitely want to learn from your secret sauce. One of my goals this year is to definitely get my first iPhone App out on on the Market and I think I have my idea already. Just need to fine tune it a bit.

    Hey. sounds like you had an amazing 2012 when it comes to the traveling arena! Better than being stuck in an office like me having to ask for permission to take days off! But Im working on it man and I definitely will be joining your ranks very soon.

    I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be an awesome year for me!

  13. First of all congrats for your wedding and best wishes for your happy married life.
    Now what you have write about blogging I like the thing you said you did not stop blogging/writing this is great. As I have seen many blogger who leave writing just because they start thinking what to write rather then start writing there are hell lots of topic’s which need to be discuss which you can use in blogging.

  14. A great way to put the last year into perspective Benny. It allows one to avoid making the same of errors of judgement this year.

  15. completed my degree ;D moved in another town and started a new life (kind of ;D ). good year.

  16. Hey Benny – it’s been awhile. Glad to see the year went well for you. I’ve got the same problem overextending myself also. Never enough time in the day to do everything that I want!

    You and the wifey are looking great though. I’m looking forward to seeing what the end result of app academy looks like!

    • Yes it’s been awhile Paul! Hope all is well with you and school. I believe all entrepreneurs have that same problem. LOL. Hope 2013 is a great year for you! Let me know of any big news that comes your way this year.

  17. I think the key is writing down your analysis of the year. Then you can track progress. It is like writing down your goals and tracking how far you are managing to acheive them. It is the power of positive feedback.