2023 Year Review

2023 Year Review

by | 9 min read
Originally posted on newsletter.alexhyett.com
Published:
Updated:

It just so happens that my last newsletter issue of the year falls on New Year’s Eve, so I figured this is a good time to look back on the year and plan what is to come in 2024.

2023

This year has been a busy year for me. I spent most of it creating content on YouTube and on my website. Last month I started a new job which officially marks the end of my creative sabbatical. I am working part-time now, so I am hoping I will still find time to create content and pursue other hobbies.

YouTube

This year has been my first full year on YouTube. I must admit that I have dropped the ball a bit when it comes to uploading videos. This is mostly due to trying to get my new course finished before the end of next month. I completely underestimated how much work is involved in creating a course!

This year I managed to create 27 videos for my channel, which have mostly been at the beginning of the year.

Here is a quick rundown of the stats from this year:

  • Subscribers: +15,400 (16,000 total)
  • Views: 579.7K
  • Watch Time: 30.8K hours

That watch time figure is a pretty amazing. 30,800 hours is the equivalent of 1,283 days or 3.5 years. At least my videos are informative and hopefully people have learnt something from them and don’t feel like they have wasted their time.

My top 5 viewed videos this year have been:

  1. Backend Developer Roadmap - Everything you need to know in 2023 - 94,770 views
  2. Stack vs Heap Memory - Simple Explanation - 75,286 views
  3. Domain Driven Design: What You Need To Know - 42,420 views
  4. SOLID Principles: Do You Really Understand Them? - 40,477 views
  5. Event-Driven Architecture: Explained in 7 Minutes! - 34,118 views

Website

I started the year off with the lofty goal of writing a blog post a day! I managed this for 3 weeks before cutting down to 3 times a week and then once a week. At the moment, it is only my newsletter which is being cross posted to my website, but this is currently hosted on Substack.

This means that any traffic I get from search engines for my newsletters is currently going to newsletter.alexhyett.com instead of alexhyett.com.

Despite this my website has had its best year ever, in terms of traffic.

  • Unique Visitors: 173k
  • Total Visits: 192k
  • Total Page Views: 301k

I have some big plans for my website next year which I will cover in my 2024 section.

Newsletter

I started this newsletter in 2022, but I wasn’t that consistent. This marks the 52nd issue this year and I have successfully managed to get something published every week, which I am quite proud of.

My original plan was to make my newsletter “my main thing”. I really enjoy writing, and it hasn’t been too difficult finding something to write about each week.

However, because I live in the UK, trying to earn money from a newsletter comes with a huge VAT burden thanks to Brexit. It really does feel that the UK is anti-entrepreneur sometimes. I moved my paid plan to Patreon but now that I am working again I haven’t got as much time to dedicate to YouTube to warrant charging a monthly fee.

I don’t particularly like social media and even culled most of my accounts this year. This newsletter has definitely grown slower as a result, but I am OK with that. It has become more of a labour of love, and I am grateful for all of you that read my newsletter each week.

Substack has rubbish analytics unfortunately, so I can’t see total views for the year.

What I can see is that I currently have 1,314 subscribers, my newsletter gets 4,600 views a month and my open rate is currently 38.3%.

2024

I have never been that great for setting goals or New Year’s Resolutions. I occasionally set myself some vague goals that I either fail before the end of January or are completely out of my control.

For 2024 I plan to set myself goals around Health, Wealth and Family. I have had the book Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt (affiliate link) sitting unread on my bookshelf for quite a few years now. It is free to read on Kindle Unlimited as well by the way. I am going to read that this week and set myself some goals that I can measure and achieve.

I have a few goals in mind already to get me started:

Read at least 12 non-fiction books and write up book notes for them - I have a habit of buying more books before I have read the ones I have got. Many times I just read through without taking notes and then promptly forget everything a month later. I have a bunch of unfinished book notes from books I have read that I need to finish , so I am going to limit myself to 12 new non-fiction books starting with the ones I have on my selves.

I haven’t yet decided what these books are going to be yet, but I have these books to read first:

Note: These are affiliate links where I will earn a small percentage and no extra cost to you if you buy through them on the same day.

  1. Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt - obviously starting with this one.
  2. Feel-Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal - I am a big fan of Ali Abdaal’s videos and writing, so I pre-ordered this one when it was announced.
  3. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman - I have had this book on my shelf for a while and I haven’t got round to reading it yet. I think it may have been a gift as I don’t remember buying it.
  4. The Rules of Wealth:A personal code for prosperity and plenty - Richard Templar - There seems to be a lot of these “The Rules of” books by Richard Templar. I am not sure if they are any good, I will let you know!

12 books is just one book a month. It generally takes me a couple of days to read a book if I get into it, so this is definitely achievable. It also gives me time to finish those book notes I have already started.

Be able to do 100 push-ups - I really want to improve my fitness and strength next year without setting a vague goal like lose weight. I can currently do around 20 - 30 push-ups in one go, my plan is to slowly build this up to 100 push-ups before the end of 2024 by increasing the number I do each week.

More conscious spending - I generally think I do pretty well when it comes to finance, but am pretty sure I am spending more in some categories than I realise. This month I have set up Actual Budget on my home server to track all my spending. It will be good to finally see exactly where all my money is going.

Personal Project Goals

It is not just Health, Wealth and Family that I will be setting goals for next year. There are quite a few things I want to do with my website, newsletter and videos that are going to take some time.

Release my course on SOLID - I have spent the last few months putting together a course on SOLID. It has been a lot more work than I thought it would, I hope it goes down well. All going well this should be coming out in February.

Move off of Substack - The only great thing about Substack is the fact it is free. There are some network effects you get from being on Substack, but really it has only contributed to about 10% to my subscriber numbers. The majority of my subscribers come from either YouTube or my website.

Substack isn’t great when it comes to customisation or analytics either. The plan is to redirect everything from newsletter.alexhyett.com/p/ to alexhyett.com/newsletter/ so at least my main website should benefit from the additional search traffic.

I would stay on Substack as it saves me around $50 a month not having to host it myself, but unfortunately Substack has joined Twitter/X in its morally wrong stance on doing business.

Therefore, I am going to move this newsletter to a self-hosted Ghost instance in Q1 next year.

Set up my own PeerTube instance - YouTube are getting more aggressive when it comes to adverts with many people already boycotting the platform. I have already turned off mid-roll ads, but I want to have a way that people can watch my videos without the adverts. If Twitter and Substack are anything to go by then it is better to own your own platform in the long run.

I am also going to go down the same route with my code and my other social media accounts as well.

Donation only platform - I am currently only making $20 a month from the adverts on my website. My plan next year is to go down the donation model in the same way that Maria Popova has done with The Marginalian. Hopefully I will have enough loyal patrons to cover the hosting costs for PeerTube and my newsletter.

Most creators make their money from advertising and sponsorships. The problem is, it ends up dictating what content you create, and it sucks the joy out of creating content. I am going to focus a lot more on content that I want to create rather than what is going to get the most views.

Website redesign - Every few years I get bored with my website and I want to redesign it. I have been using Gatsby for several years now, but it is time for a change. I haven’t been able to update Gatsby to the latest version as they have introduced several breaking changes that I haven’t the time to fix. A lot of the plugins that I use on my website haven’t been updated either. I am currently looking at using Eleventy for my new design next year.

Thank you for reading my newsletter this year and Happy New Year!


👨‍💻 Latest from me

As part of reading Your Best Year Ever I have put together my notes on the book and published them on my website. It is a mix of highlights that I think sum up a section nicely, or I would like to remember and my own personal comments.

Your Best Year Ever - Summary, Notes and Highlights


💬 Quote of the Week

Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.

  • Richard Bach

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