2016 Review – Fails, Wins & Learnings

happy new year 2016. young man handstand on the beach

2016 – wow, what a ride!

Every year, at the start of the year, I set a general theme for the year (where I hang up everywhere in my office). Here’s my review of 2016 – including the Fails, Wins and Learnings from major events.

2016 for me was the year of “Being Uncomfortable”, and boy was it ever… Not to say it wasn’t great though, because it was a fucking AWESOME year.

2016 - very nice!
2016 – very nice!

The reason why I chose the theme of “being uncomfortable” was because I wanted last year to be a year of growth – and often, the times when you grow the most are the times where you’re most uncomfortable.

There were a few big events this year that shaped the path of the year, and moved some goals and priorities around – but as Alex, my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach says: “You either win for you learn”.

So here’s the highlights/ major events, and what I learnt…

Finally decided to give up on corporate contracts. Before 2016, my businesses were always “side-hobbies” that would supplement the nice fat cheque I got from corporate consulting gigs.
In Jan, I woke up and decided no more – giving up the 6 figure salary and focusing on just one of my businesses.

Planning to replace a 200k salary, one month at a time...
Planning to replace a 200k salary, one month at a time…


  • Focus is key.I quickly went from 4 businesses to one (Growth Labz – my Online Marketing Agency). The other businesses I either took a backseat (like my family Tradie business), left to just hang around (couple of websites/ online courses) or closed down (one e-commerce business).
  • Having more time doesn’t equate to more work being done.I had fairly good systems I used to manage the businesses when I was short of time, but having the bulk of my time freed saw me doing lots of grunt work, which I would normally delegate or outsource. I was actually LESS productive for the first couple of months after leaving the corporate gig.To get myself back on track, I had to fall back on a couple of trusty management techniques (MoSCoW work prioritisation and Pomodoro for focus).
  • Follow your passion is bullshit – be passionate about what you’re great at is betterYou know that advice “follow your passion”? I find that for me – that’s BS. What works for me though, is being passionate about RESULTS.I found that if I focused on being passionate about results I got for my clients, and for my own business and bank account – I could work in something longer and have more patience (something I’ve always struggled with).That is why I decided to focus on growing Growth Labz. Not only is it the area I’ve got most experience in (with clients who have been with me for YEARS), but the feeling when a client comes back to me STOKED about the results of a campaign is out of this world.

Had a “business partner” go back on a deal we had, after I had spent 6 months working on his business, implementing more effective marketing & sales systems and new product lines.


Got dealt so many lemons from this partnership I could have opened a national lemonade chain
Got dealt so many lemons from this partnership I could have opened a national lemonade chain


  • Have everything written down on either an email or on paper (yup, I was stupid that I didn’t at least get an agreement/ acknowledgement on at least an email)
  • Roll with the punches, and make lemonade (yup, that’s two cliches rolled up into one).After wasting more than 6 months building someone else’s business, and getting almost nothing in return, I had the choice of running back to corporate contracts (and my comfort zone) or leveraging the experience from that industry to create new deals and find new clients.One of my earliest mentors used to say “we can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose to either be pissed off and annoyed, or we can choose to accept it, deal with it and be happy and grateful for everything we’ve still got”.When I planned to make this year “uncomfortable”, I didn’t really mean for it to be THIS uncomfortable, but this experience taught me so many lessons and I’m super grateful for that.

Hit massive business growth towards back end of the year.

I sometimes feel that the universe sends you MASSIVE signs, and if you listen to them and act on it – great things can happen, and happen FAST.

Shortly after ending the relationship with the business partner, things just started falling into place for Growth Labz.

Strategies and campaigns that yielded mediocre results for 6 months previously went off the charts, and people and relationships formed seemingly out of nowhere (like one client who I had pitched YEARS ago suddenly reaching out to me and coming on board).

I’m not really a rah-rah type of guy, but if this wasn’t a sign from the universe I don’t know what is…


  •  Be more open to gut feel (as in instincts, not the runs)
  • Patience. This is a hard one for me – but a couple of big partnerships, relationships and deals that happened for me this year took months to put together – whereas normally I like to get results NOW. Understanding that sometimes, rushing into things ends badly for both parties and just taking a bit longer can sometimes bring 10x -100x results.

Besides from the business stuff, 2016 was a whole lot of fun though.

With my youngest kid no longer a toddler (and able to understand and communicate better, even if he is still as cheeky), we travelled more as a family – with a cruise, our first road-trip to the snow and multiple short weekend trips.

On the high seas
On the high seas
Use to be jealous of the Milo kids... now I got my own
Use to be jealous of the Milo kids… now I got my own

Oh, and I also got a boys NZ snowboard trip out of the year as well. Not a bad year for travel, and 2017 is looking like it will be WAY more epic.


had to have one selfie shot for this post right?
had to have one selfie shot for this post right?

Theme of 2017: I’ll explain this a bit more in a seperate post (along with the goals of the year), but the theme of 2017 is LESS

Goals that got pushed to 2017:

  • Run a marathon
  • 1k Ocean swim
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition/tournament
  • Surf at least twice a week
  • Have another fight (boxing/ Muay Thai)
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