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Wow, it’s been a whopping fast 2014. It feels like 2014 just whizzed past me and I found myself in 2015. Know that feeling? A few people around me said that too!
The year 2014 been a wonderful time where I took to travels, for business and pleasure, to a few different countries. Thought I’ll summarize my key events in 2014 first, before I go on to my 2015 resolutions.
Melbourne and Sydney!
In Sep 2014, I joined Derek Gehl at his Mastermind Group in Melbourne, Australia. That was the first time I met the members face-to-face in the Mastermind Group including Kat Jarman and Mr Smith, just to name a few.
On the last day of the business trip, since we ended the Mastermind session early (participants had flights to catch), some of us hanged out at an alfresco cafe by the beach. Steve Mcknight (author of Australia’s best selling property book – From 0 To 130 Properties in 3.5 Years) also joined us that day.
Of course, I had to sneak in a 1 week getaway to Sydney and Melbourne before the Mastermind meeting starts. It is my first time in Sydney and Melbourne despite living in a country relatively close to Australia (I live in Singapore).
This reminds me of my first trip ever to Australia in 2008, when I flew to Darwin on a C130 to participate in a multilateral military exercise Pitch Black ’08. I was still serving in The Republic of Singapore Air Force back then and I went there as a Air Traffic Control Coordinator for the RSAF F16 Fighter Squadron. The boys loved to chase team members down and tape them up. It’s our way of having fun. Well…it’s fun watching people get tied up, but when it’s my turn….
Getaway to Penang
In early Nov 2014, I took my family on a short vacation to Penang, Malaysia. Penang is a very old city and many would have heard of George Town. The place is well-known for its rich history and local food, not to forget wall paintings along the old streets.
At Penang’s 175 year old Burmese Temple (Wat Chaiyamangkalaram Temple) lies the reclining Buddha, and there’s a machine in front of the Buddha where you can get your future predicted. To get a divination, you’ll need to pray to the reclining Buddha and ask one (1) question about your future. Then slot a 50 cent coin into the divination machine. The machine will respond with a number. Take a numbered slip corresponding to your given number located next to the machine. As I’m still single, I asked the Buddha about my love life in the near future. And this was the divination I received from the reclining Buddha:
Looks like Lady luck is shining on me. But Cupid is not going to be stopping by anytime soon. LOL. The good news is that my luck for other things is good.
Edible Bird Nest Industry Conference 2014
In late Nov 2014, I went on a business trip to attend the Edible Bird Nest Industry Conference 2014 jointly held by the Department of Veterinary Services, Malaysia and University of Putra Malaysia (UPM). My motive was to learn more about the future of this industry and to connect with other industry players in the region.
Bird nest is a very interesting commodity. It is the white gold of Southeast Asia and can be consumed. Yes you heard it right, it’s edible bird nest. The Chinese would be rather familiar with this. Not just any nest from any bird species can be consumed. It is the nest of a particular kind of swiftlet called Aerodramus Fuciphagus. The swiftlet makes the nest using its saliva which is rich in protein and amino acids. The bird nests have been consumed by Asians, in particular the Chinese, for more than a millennium.
Studies have shown that it has anti-aging properties and some companies have used the bird nest extract in end consumer beauty and nutraceutical products. This is a billion-dollar industry.
At the conference, I met up with well-known online swiftlet blogger Pak Harry, who gave a talk about swiftlet farming. His speech was well-received. It was also nice to meet fellow Singaporeans there. Associate Professor Lim Kah Meng from Singapore also gave his talk about the benefits of bird nest extract.
The Big Fiesta Trip To Taiwan
Next came my big trip to Taiwan in Dec 2014, a 16 day trip along the western coast of the country. We landed on Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and took a high speed train from Taoyuan to Kaohsiung. Then for the next 16 days, we traveled across the country northwards, stopping at cities and places of interests. A friend told me that I should blog about my travels and all the details. I’m thinking about it so this may become a reality. It may be worthwhile to write about my travels to help others who are intending to visit the country. I’ll just need to find time and sit down to blog about it when the trip is still fresh in my memory.
Here’s my big trip itinerary:
It was a free and easy trip so there’s no tour guide and no rush for time. We took our time to visit each place, and try to avoid hordes of other tourists at the popular destinations as far as possible.
My sister and I tried to take a single jump shot at Alishan Train Station. Look how super uncoordinated it was. We were trying to get a shot with both of our feet up at the highest point, so my sister and I had to jump at the same time while the photographer (my aunt) had to snap a picture using the Samsung Note 4 at that precise moment.
After the N-th try, we finally got it! I didn’t quite like the photo because my tummy is showing. 😀 But I would rather take this than to try another N times.
I took this photo of a Turkish ice-cream vendor in Danshui, Taiwan. He looks a lot like Sylvester Stallone, don’t you think?
Someone came by to buy icecream. If you had bought Turkish ice-cream before, you would know that the ice-cream man is going to give you a hard time before handing over the ice-cream. The pedestrian passing by stopped to look out of curiosity. Soon there was a crowd. Our Stallone decided to entertain the crowd.
I was pretending to be exiting the train station on one of the wall paintings at Pier 2, Kaohsiung.
If you are in Taiwan, you definitely need to visit the night markets. There are many night markets throughout Taiwan, big and small. Each major city would have at least 1 night market that you can visit. It’s always packed with people.
2014 had been fun! It passed too quickly, but I’m glad I’ve captured many beautiful memories of it. Now for some serious work in 2015…
My New Year Resolutions in 2015
My goals till the end of 2015 are:
- Lose weight – drop my weight from current 83KG (183 pounds) to a nice 70 KG (154 pounds)
- Travel to East Europe
- Bring value to my readers on this website
1. Losing Weight
When I ceased my service with the military back in 2011, my weight was hovering around 75 KG (165 pounds). I am happy that I could live my life the way I wanted and work from home. But the side effects of it are the constant sitting in front of the computer and the lack of exercise. My weight just increased gradually in the next 3 years hitting a new level at 80KG (176 pounds). The Taiwan trip added another 3 KG to my weight, so now I’m at the 83KG mark. My tummy is just getting bigger, my sister says I looked as if I’m 5 months pregnant! It rings a bell in my head and I know I needed to do something to lose weight.
A lot of people have tried to lose weight, most people failed and some succeeded. I don’t know yet if I would be able to make it back to 70KG. But it is in my year’s resolution to get there.
I have signed up for a program to lose weight and have seen many successful cases of people who have tried the program. Who knows if it is another gimmick, but I’m going to take the plunge. This is my commitment for the new year.
I’m not going to reveal the program just yet, and I’ve got 3 months to test it. And if it does help, I will post another blog on it “My Quest to Losing Weight” or something.
2. Travel to East Europe
It’s been a few years since my co-worker asked me if I would like to join the group for traveling. They are planning to visit Eastern Europe in mid-2015 and I’m planning to join them. The itinerary is not fixed yet but we will most likely be visiting Hungary, Czech and Slovakia. If time allows, we may also go to Vienna, Austria.
This time when I travel, I’ll like to keep a running online record of the places we went, with photos and maybe videos. It depends on how well connected we will be while traveling. I’m dreaming up a way so that I could, perhaps update our trip live on the blog as we go. That way, I don’t have to be spending the nights during our travel to write the blog or spend days creating the content when I get home. I’ve found myself never writing about the trips I’ve gone to once I’m back home, except for some reviews of the hotels and hostels I’ve stayed in as well as a few places of interests on TripAdvisor.
For me to truly blog about the places I am going to visit, I have to do it real time. So I need to set up a system such that whenever I snap some photos, record a video, it gets posted on a WordPress website, with a few captions and description about the photo and video. Then, if I think of something I want to say, I can blog about it on-the-go. At the end of the day, I would have created the posts on my travel blog effortlessly. A final quick touch up at night would suffice. In this way, I won’t have to think about writing the travel blog when I am back. (A great time saver!)
The system also need to be simple and allow me to work offline when I am at places without good Internet connection. When I’m back online, at the hotel or somewhere with better Internet connection, it’ll automatically upload the photos and videos to the blog.
I’m going to do some research on the tools out there that I can put together. So this is my second resolution: To be a LIVE blogger to blog about my travels on-the-go when I am traveling in East Europe this year.
3. Bring value to my readers on this website
Alright, this is the huge resolution, one that will influence this website and the readers here. So I need to be very precise in saying about what’s upcoming for this site.
Topics Covered in 2015
I haven’t been doing much on this website in 2014. Much of my time was spent building and nurturing a virtual team on Odesk.com to manage content and marketing on my clients’ websites. The virtual team now comprise of 14 people, including myself. I’m the leader for the team and there’s 3 other team managers within the team who help me oversee day-to-day tasks in 3 areas – Content creation, Content publishing and Content marketing. Today, they helped me to manage content on 90 websites collectively for all my clients.
A. Topics on Outsourcing
I’ve spent considerable amount of time learning how to avoid hiring the wrong people and how to overcome challenges of keeping the right people in the team. So I’ve learnt quite a bit on how to find the right people to be in your virtual team, how to train them and how to manage a team virtually when none of the team members ever met face-to-face! Some of the team members have worked with me for more than a year. It’s quite a feat, considering that most teams turnaround in less than 6 months.
In 2015, I’m going to share my experiences on outsourcing work to a virtual team online. I hope this will benefit entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises, who can take this knowledge and create virtual teams of their own. A virtual team, when trained and managed well, can run seamlessly later on with little effort of the outsourcer (that’s you) and it is a lot more flexible to run a virtual team than an office. There are less overheads and because it is a virtual team, you can quickly add or replace someone in your team whenever you find something is lacking.
B. Topics on Search Engine Optimization
And not just on outsourcing, I’ve also spent A LOT of time on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Won’t call myself a guru yet; these titles should go to Rand Fishkin of Moz.com, Barry Schwartz of SERoundTable.com, Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand.com and many others who have contributed tremendously in the SEO community.
Of course, not to forget Matt Cutts, the chief webpam team at Google.com. I watch his Google Webmaster videos on Youtube. It’s not so much about learning what to do from Matt, it’s more about learning what to avoid doing for SEO, and he’s really been a great help at that.
C. Topics on Setting Up Your First Site Using WordPress
When I started learning about Internet marketing back in late 2011, my initial focus was on learning how to create a website using WordPress. It’s a skill anyone with basic computer knowledge can learn. If you think that creating a website is difficult and should be left to developers or web companies to create one for you, then you are wrong. I used to think like you but once I learn about WordPress, it’s like striking lottery. Now I don’t have to take out few thousand dollars to get someone to create my sites.
So one of the focus area in 2015 that I would like to do is to share with people who would like to set up their first website how to set up one. In 2013, I had done a 4 part series on creating websites using WordPress, it needs some revamp now so I’ll be working on that.
In summary, my focus topics that I’ll be sharing on my blog are as follows:
- Outsourcing (So that Internet marketers who are overworked can find relief through outsourcing effectively)
- SEO (My motive is to engage the SEO community more frequently and discuss strategies with the community)
- WordPress (So that people who wish to set up their first website can find value in those tutorials)
I’m going to publish at least 1-2 posts per week and 1 news feed each week.
The posts would be in the form of :
- Tutorials and guides on learning about something related to the topics above,
- Reviews of software products or services I’ve use that would solve internet marketers’ problem more efficiently/effectively
- Answers to common problems faced by Internet marketers with step-by-step guides on how to solve them.
A news feed would be a summary of the key recent news that happened in the week, released every Friday.
I’ve seen so much thin content on the web. Whenever we search for solution to a common problem, most of the webpages are just regurgitation of each other. I’m rather frustrated at times as well (when I’m looking for an answer myself) that the content is very thin and assume you have the technical background on how to resolve the issue. Most of these solutions only offer the “what”, but few really delve into the “how”, which is what we need. I remembered once spending one and a half day trying to find the solution as to why I was unable to link my site to Google Webmaster Tools. It was a simple fix but yet there was no simple answer when I searched for it.
I intend to publish the workable solutions that I have painstakingly learn and put them together so that anyone with the same issues can find the fix and fix the problem quickly. Hence, my guides have to contain step-by-step instructions, with video if it helps, to show people how they can resolve the issue once and for all after watching the video or guide. It has to be simple enough so that someone without technical or programming background can easily understand and execute.
This is my value proposition on the website.
Earnings and Website stats
I’m also inspired by Matthew Woodward. Internet entrepreneurs are usually hush-hush about their income and what goes on within their website. Matthew publishes his income every month and his website’s analytics data. No wonder that he is now a very successful internet marketer!
I’m not sure if I’m ready to publish my earnings yet, just like Matthew, maybe I will on a later date. This website has not been monetized since the start of its creation. I’m going to use this website as a test and once I get the earnings going, I’ll decide again if I want to release it.
So here’s my 2015 resolutions. What’s yours? 🙂