The truth about year-end business reviews

Yesterday I posted the 2014 review of my business, The WP Ninjas. I wasn’t the only one sharing these reviews. Over the past few days many have been posting about how their businesses have fared over the past year.

You may find reading about these successes highly motivating. Especially if you haven’t entered the industry just yet. You might be encouraged at the potential of your own venture.

My friend, Matt Medeiros, suggests that this could also be depressing to some in his own year-end review. Maybe you’ve launched your product this year and haven’t seen it take off nearly as well. Perhaps you’ve been working on your business for a few years but still haven’t achieved the numbers everyone else seems to be boasting.

If that’s you then you might be interested to know that there is something missing between the numbers you read in those yearly reviews and your own experience.

It’s context or perhaps what Chris Lema would call the backstory.

Take our product, Ninja Forms, for instance. You may have never heard of the product before and then read our year-end review and think what amazing numbers for a new product.

In reality, Ninja Forms has been around since June of 2011. In our first year we made less than $3,000 in sales. In 2012 we brought in just over $10,000. We barely had a product much less a business.

That first year and half we read the same types of reviews and found ourselves discouraged at our own results. We struggled with our marketing and how to position Ninja Forms in an already saturated market. We experimented with business models. We completely rewrote the plugin. All of this while my partner and I were both working full-time jobs.

Basically, we worked hard and pushed through the dark times. We’re where we are today because we didn’t give up in the face of where we were in 2011.

As you read all of the year-end reviews of businesses with numbers that you wish were yours, remember that each of those reviews probably has a backstory of years of failure and hard work that got them there.

If you’re willing to put in the time and work, fail a lot but never quite, I suspect I’ll be reading your awesome year-end review in the future.