This post came in slightly late as I was away back in Kuching. As an annual habit, I pen down what happened the year before (so that I can refer back in the future) and as well writing down what I hope to achieve along with a note to myself a year later.
2017 has been a rock solid year, in terms of career and financials, but lacking in the personal front.
Looking back at what I set myself to do, while most of which was not achieved, it was replaced by other “line items”.
- Grow Vulcan Post 20% minimally across the board – our pageviews grew only 11%, but video views grew by 35% and social reach grew by almost 40%.
- Grow Discover SG 50% minimally across the board – this was the worst performing goal – while pageviews grew by 20%, video views and social reach declined almost 80%.
- New market – Philippines – Done! We’ve launched three of our media brands there and are moving into our own office in the next few months.
- Learn how to swim – Nope.
- Get attached – Nope.
- Build a decent financial portfolio – Finally dabbled into the world of investment and did better than expected.
- Travel to new places (ITALY planned!) – So in the end, we went to Taiwan.
- Spend more quality time with mum and sisters – Not bad on this front.
2017 was the year we splitted with YDMG, and moved into our new offices in Singapore and Malaysia. We finally had offices we can call our own. All our metrics exploded this year, we saw our revenue more than 5x this year, profit grew, our headcount grew more than 3x, and we also raised S$1M from a new investor to do a cap table reshuffling + get some growth capital. We won some industry awards, hosted our second content summit which we managed to invite Ms Yeah to come down, and we expanded to Philippines. We are making several investments too which we will announce soon.
Of course, with all the ups, there are definitely downs. As we grew, the challenge now becomes, how do we grow and replicate the same amount of growth in 2018. It’s really really hard to imagine growing another 5x in revenue this year – that would require a huge shift in business modelling, which would then require ground work. As we grew too, we have to plan for career advancements, pay increments and retention for our colleagues. And as the days go by, it will become inevitable that key employees will want to move on – so how do we prepare for that?
In August 2017, I started to look into various investments. 2017 was a good year to invest – stock indexes are in their all time high, and no matter how you invest, the chances of you making money is highly likely, because everything grew by a lot last year.
I bought several stocks in August, and liquidated all of it in December when there was a super mini correction, giving my weak hands a mini scare. I bought shares of Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, JD, NVIDIA, Micron, most of which I made money simply because the stocks were just on a bull run. In just 5 months, I saw a realized return of almost 15% across the portfolio.
In July, I went into crypto too, and bought some ether and bitcoin. As of December, my total return was almost 200%! Crypto exposed me to the greedy nature of human when it comes to investing. The more you win, the more you wont want to sell.
I also dabbled into peer to peer lending, and while the publicized ROI was 9 – 11%, after some personal calculation, taking all the platform fees into account + averaging the time period of each loans, the effective return is about 6.8%. This is if there are no defaults in any of the loans. While this is better than rates given by banks, there are definitely other better performing asset classes. Plus, your money is tied to the companies you lend to.
All in all, my liquid net worth grew by almost 60 – 80% in the year! So that’s definitely a win for me in 2017. Couldn’t get the exact figure because I only started in July / August period. Oh I also bought my first condo in KL. Hopefully that will not be a bad decision that will mess up my financials.
Severely lacking on the personal front, so it has been a, slightly depressive / mechanical year for me D: I think as we grow, we become less expressive and more guarded.
So I wrote down a few things I want to achieve in the near year.
On the financial front, I’d like to build up a decent dividend portfolio made up of REITs – ideally about $200 – $300 in monthly dividend.
On the career front, Philippines remain the key market for us, and if we can start monetizing aggressively this year, that will be really good for us. Hopefully we can have a partial exit from the investments we are making, or a partial exit though movements on our current cap table.
This year will also mark the 10th year I’m in Singapore, and if my financials allow, I’d really like to get that watch that I have been eyeing since the past few years. 🙂
To Jacky on the 31st December 2018, here’s a reminder: Live a little.