Double Down: The Year 2013 in Review

January 11, 2014 , 24 Comments

With another year gone (surprisingly quickly, I might add) it’s once again time to look back and extract the most valuable lessons from the past 12 months. As every year, things went differently than expected. At times it was challenging, at times thrilling and at times frustrating – but certainly never boring. In today’s post, I want to extract the most important and most valuable lessons from everything that happened in 2013.

Did my big gamble from the year before pay off? Did I end up losing all my money again? Am I getting any closer to achieving my overly ambitious goals?

Read on to find out…

[thrive_borderless type=’custom_code’]


[thrive_toggle color=’white’ title=’View Video Summary’]

In 2013, my gamble from the year before paid off. I managed to build a sustainable business that generates sales and makes happy customers on a regular basis, without having to rely on bargain-bin pricing or the continuous launching of new products. With proof that this concept works, I doubled down and invested almost every penny I earned back into the business, expanding our team and taking on bigger and more ambitious projects.

Take-away: the evergreen marketing idea is paying off. Also: invest in what you know (your own business, assuming it is already profitable) before worrying about diversification.

More importantly, I doubled down on my philosophy of the Grind by focusing first and foremost on developing skills. While all the numbers for my business in 2013 look good, the biggest win lies in the skills and experience myself and my team members gained. We challenged ourselves with difficult tasks that tested and developed our skills and we are now far more capable than we were 12 months ago.

Take-away: focusing on developing skills (in yourself and people who work for you) and growing those skills through practical application (learning-by-doing) is the fastest way I know to move a business forward.

I also realized something about plans and goals: it’s not unusual to change direction and abandon parts of a plan. In fact, I believe this is a sign of good planning, rather than bad planning. Well laid out plans and clear goals take you in a direction and give you clarity. Sometimes this clarity lets you recognize that a change of direction is the best thing for your business.

Take-away: make plans, but don’t worry when you are almost inevitably led in different directions than you originally set out for.[/thrive_toggle]

Most Important Posts of 2013

  • Get Your Product to Market – this post contains everything you need to know about one of the most important principles for building a business and steering it towards success (without wasting too much time).
  • Breakthrough Productivity – content that many viewers agree I should have charged for. If you’ve ever wanted to get more done in less time and if you want to know how to become exceptionally good at what you do, don’t miss this.
  • Lifestyle Business with Dan Andrews – my favorite podcast episode so far. Entertaining and full of eye-opening insights from our brilliant guest for this episode.
  • How to Create a High Conversion Sales Video – the most brutally detailed post about how I construct sales message, using my highest converting video as an example. Not an easy piece to digest, but if you do the marketing in your business and you’re serious about your craft, you’ll get a lot out of this.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’m looking forward to sharing another year of this entrepreneurial journey with you.

Shane's Signature

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

​Related Articles

  • happy new year to you Shane, i have been following you on & off since “hybrid connect”.

    About to start my journey in business, i must say that your words have been profound to me in filling in some of the cracks in my own understanding of things,
    via your podcasts.

    Which has come to show me

    A: Listen to product creators that you like for golden nuggets of wisdom.
    B: Investment in yourself is more than just products, skills are needed.

    stephen f.k findlay

    • Thanks for your comment, Stephen! Best of luck for your entrepreneurial journey. :)

  • Hi,
    All the best for 2014 for you, Shane. Thanks for sharing your insights. Followed you in 2013 and appreciate your input. Carry on!

  • Hi Shane
    Talking about productivity:
    Thought that (if you haven’t seen this yet) you might find it interesting.

    Your posts and products have helped me a lot.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Lula! I actually recently started using iDoneThis with our team and it has been a valuable addition. :)

  • You are the most thoughtful and one of the sharpest guys in this space. Really enjoy hearing your analysis and learning from you. Thanks for everything. Congrats on a great 2013 and happy new year, Shane. Make it another great one.
    – Eric

  • Hey Shane,

    Just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year (somewhat belated), and hope you’re off to a great start in 2014!

    Have been a fan of your products, especially Hybrid Connect and WP Sharely…LOVE the concept of WP Sharely, really helped drive social engagement unlike any other method!!

    Looking forward to more great posts on IM Impact…wish you all the success this year as well :D


    • Thank you, Baggio! Happy New Year to you as well. :)

      Awesome to know that WP Sharely is working well for you too.

  • Nice video as always Shane… I’ve been following Imimpact for a few years and honestly I have to say that this is one of the best blogs I’ve ever subscribed to.

    Have a great 2014 :D


    • Thank you very much, Tung! That’s high praise and I will do my best to keep living up to it.

  • Frohes Neues Shane :)

    Hope you’ll achieve everything you want to in 2014.

    All my best,

    • Thank you, Sandra!

      Everything I want? Unlikely. The world would be a very different place, if I achieved everything I want. But I have no doubt I’ll take big strides towards my goals in 2014 and I hope you’ll do the same. :)

  • Actually, I think the most important thing I saw on your site in 2013 was on how to avoid overload and shiny object syndrome.

    I’m currently working on doing videos and video interviews, so I will be revisiting your “How to Create a High Converting Sales Video” post. Who knows, maybe that will be the most important thing (for me) in 2014.

    • Thanks for your comment, Howard. I remember this was an important turning point for me as well, when I finally got over information overload and all the distractions out there. Congrats on this development!

  • Hey Shane,
    Happy New Year! Thanks as always for the insights you provide. Always useful for everyone. The video sales will come in handy I am sure. Plus the productivity one.


  • Hi Shane,

    Thanks for sharing another insightful reflection for the past year. Having bought a couple of your awesome products, I have been following you for a couple of years now and am always looking forward to your non-salesy weekly email.

    The thing I respect you the most is your authencity and generosity in sharing insightful information without the usual hard selling like what most online marketers do once you get on their lists.

    Keep up the good work and may you have another great year in 2014!


    • Thank you very much, Giakling! I wish you an awesome 2014!

  • Thank you for you very encouraging video post. In 2012 I spent 60K learning what I don’t after spending over 30,000 hours in SEO fulltime since 2001. 2013 was learning more about WordPress and what you can do with it. I am looking forward learning more about Thrive Themes too.

    • Thanks for your comment, John! I hope your education will pay off in 2014. :)

  • Congrats on a great year Shane and thank you for giving me the opportunity to come on your show!

    • Thanks, Dan!

      Loved having you on the show. Your podcast is the only one I tune in on from time to time, even when I’m insanely busy. You guys bring the heat! :)

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    ​Develop the Ultimate Entrepreneurial Superpower: Productivity!

    ​Countless "wantrepreneurs" fail to achieve their business goals - not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a lack of productive, effective implementation. Don't be one of them.