Motivation

2018: Year of the Affiliate | My Goals for the Next 12 Months

At the beginning of every year, I like to take a moment to reflect on everything that went down throughout the previous 12 months — and of course, everything that will occur in the coming year. This goes for anything that is related to my personal brand, positive and negative. It's important to focus on what's working for my business, and possibly more importantly, what's not working.

Looking back on 2017, let's begin with the positive. To put simply, 2017 was my best year yet. I introduced all kinds of new projects and ideas, which in turn allowed me to have my most financially successful year to date.

My Patreon campaign received its own dedicated website, allowing patrons to easily access exclusive content. While I couldn't move forward with my original plan of requiring patrons to log in via the website, I think the outcome turned out to be the better route to take. At some point, I even introduced the Patrons Showcase, which can be a great way for patrons to get their work seen by others. To learn more about my Patreon website and its features, click here.

Di Franco University... Let's talk about it. Yes, the website is still live and filled with a ton of useful content. From original articles to in-depth courses, Di Franco University saw a significant overhaul about halfway through the year — giving it a fresh new look and overall easier navigation. The website has certainly come a long way since its debut.

However, there is something missing with Di Franco University. It's not quite the website I originally envisioned. I have no plans of axing it any time soon, as it's a website that I care greatly about, but it's something I want to think about as 2018 progresses. In other words, I would love to see Di Franco University grow. It's just going to take some more time.

Websites aside for a moment, let's focus on my YouTube content. I made it a goal of mine in 2017 to form additional partnerships with major brands that I enjoy. Thankfully, I was introduced to some amazing opportunities before the year wrapped up — including review offers from Razer and Energizer.

Oh, and I was even on TV! Iceland Foods, a popular food retailer in the UK, chose to feature one of my Christmas videos in a TV advertisement during the holidays. Considering this is my first TV ad, I was very excited. You can watch the ad here.

Let's talk tech.

Remember "Project 4K" that I mentioned in last year's post? I'm happy to say that everything went according to plan. I bought myself a Samsung 65-inch 4K TV, brand new audio equipment, and even some new furniture. Okay, so this doesn't exactly pertain to my business, but it's still something I am very proud of. As someone who enjoys watching movies and playing video games regularly, this kind of upgrade was a big deal.

And finally, I cannot forget to mention one of my favorite things that I accomplished in 2017. For the first time in over ten years, I built a custom gaming PC. This is something I found myself talking about for quite a while now, but never actually acted on it. But yes, it finally happened, and was it a process! Check out all my parts on Kit.

So, with 2017 officially behind us, let's turn our focus to 2018 and my goals for the next 12 months. I do have a lot in store. The sooner I begin to execute these ideas, the better.

Taking Affiliate Networks to the Next Level

My name is David, and I am addicted to affiliate networks. There, I said it. I have always been fascinated by the idea of "selling" something and making a commission off the end sale. But then again, for anyone who watches my videos regularly, this shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, I have been part of the Amazon Associates program for as long as I can remember.

Actually, I belong to a variety of affiliate networks. It's exactly why I feature a Resources page on this very website. It's my job to provide the information that can help others and possibly get paid in return — provided someone signs up using any of my affiliate links. It's a basic idea, really. Still, I would love to see this idea executed on a grander scale.

I plan on building my affiliate networks using a simple method — be everywhere. Whether it be Amazon or Wix, I want it to be known that I am partnered with brands that I enjoy. And that's important. It's critical that I only endorse brands that I use myself. Affiliate networks are not just there to earn revenue. They pave the way for amazing opportunities that can allow you to grow as a content creator, marketer, etc.

And speaking of that...

Twitch is Life

Did you know that I have been streaming almost daily on Twitch? Hey, I didn't build my gaming PC for nothing. Now that the holidays are over, I plan on putting a lot of my time into growing my Twitch channel. As of this post, I currently have over 2,100 followers. It's my goal to surpass 10,000 followers by the year's end. I think I can manage that. But of course, growth doesn't happen over night.

Because I am now a Twitch affiliate, that alone has motivated me to really take things seriously. Soon I will be putting together a much more functional streaming setup in my bedroom — one that allows for broadcasting from not only my gaming PC, but a variety of gaming consoles as well. I'm excited to show everyone the final result in future videos.

If you're not already following me on Twitch, please feel free to do so here. I am in the process of building a truly amazing community, and I would love for you to be a part of it. Interacting with the chat room is important to me, so stop on by and say hello!

"Project Wix"

I consider myself to be well-versed with two of my favorite content management systems, Squarespace and WordPress. Both have been great to me, as each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. However, I recently decided that it was time to try something new, which brought me to finally wanting to give Wix a fair try. And wow...

Where have I been all these years? The more I use Wix, the more impressed I become. Not only does the platform offer a ton of different content widgets to use, but the design tools are extremely flexible — far more flexible than anything I've experienced with other platforms. Naturally, this recently discovered excitement of mine cannot be ignored. That's where "Project Wix" comes in.

I'm not exactly ready to discuss details just yet, but I am making it a primary goal of mine in 2018 to create a Wix resources website that can help fellow creators build quality websites, grow their brands, and gain the kind of exposure they deserve.

Of course, "Project Wix" will tie in directly with my Wix affiliation, so I am looking to make this a win-win for everyone involved. I will share details as they surface in time.

Scaling Back on YouTube

Wait, what's this? Shouldn't a goal involve growing and not the opposite? Yes, of course, but there comes a time in your workload where you need to step back and look at everything you have going on. Sometimes certain projects can take up too much of your time and interfere with other work you could be getting done. For me lately, this could not be further from the truth.

As of this week, I am indeed scaling back on the amount of YouTube content I publish. I have come to the conclusion that I need more time in the day to get other things done. This is especially true with my website related work. I take a lot of pride in creating websites and exploring different marketing techniques. In order for me to grow in those areas, YouTube is going to have to take a back seat — but only on certain days.

In no way is my YouTube content going anywhere. The vlogs will continue to be published on their usual days, along with the occasional tech review or unboxing going live randomly throughout the week. Going this route also gives me more time to actually plan videos that represent higher production value. I am by no means looking to become an expert, but I'm definitely interested in seeing what my creativity is capable of.

And Everything Else...

Moving forward, those are my primary goals for 2018. Obviously this doesn't include everything that I would like to accomplish this year, but I think it's a solid start. As a self-employed content creator, you can never tell what the future holds. That's one of my favorite things that comes with the territory of content creation. I am free to do what I choose.

Now that I've told you about my goals, what are some things that you would like to accomplish for the new year? Feel free to make a list in the comments below. Your goals could help inspire others to better themselves.

Here's to another great year of original content!

2017: Year of Community

I suppose it's that time of the year when I talk about the 12 months ahead and the plans I have in store for my career in content creation. It's certainly going to be an exciting year, as I already have a few things in mind. But first, before we get into things, let's back up a bit and go over a few highlights that went down throughout 2016.

Last year saw some pretty interesting changes that had a significant impact on how I presented myself, particularly in regards to my personal brand. Personal branding, I feel, has always been my strong suit. It allows me to be myself, while at the same time remain transparent for anyone who takes an interest in my work.

Introducing Di Franco University in February was the biggest and most monumental change for my brand in 2016. Having taken an interest in blogging again, I wanted to have a website dedicated to publishing articles that can help fellow content creators improve in their work. From choosing the right DSLR for YouTube videos to multitasking on the iPad, Di Franco University now offers a plethora of content covering a variety of topics.

The introduction of Di Franco University also brought major changes for Brand Rockt, BluResource and Squarespace Summit, three platforms that I rolled out a within the last few years. Because the content was similar to what I was looking to do with my latest project at the time, I decided to merge it all with Di Franco University, and brand it as The Vault.

I don't talk about it often, but The Vault is always there if you are ever interested in reading some of my legacy posts. It's broken down into three categories: Brand Rockt | BluResource | Squarespace Summit

The rest of 2016 brought the traditional changes, including an annual redesign of my personal website. My Patreon campaign saw its best year yet. And of course, as usual, I brought the YouTube community together and created A YouTube Holiday 2016 — a collaboration video made to celebrate the holidays.

Speaking of community, let's fast-forward to present day and talk about what's in store for the new year. Firstly, I'm referring to 2017 as Year of Community, and for good reason. I have some big projects that I'm excited to talk about. 

Enroll at Di Franco University

Di Franco University has been my pride and joy for nearly one year now. Since its introduction, the website has seen a handful of noticeable changes — including new categories of content, a free eBook that can be downloaded when signing up for my newsletter, as well as a few visual enhancements to keep things feeling fresh. But I'm still just getting started.

At some point in 2017, Di Franco University will be receiving a massive overhaul in not only appearance, but especially functionality and focus. My end goal is to take all the content that I have published and curate it into an educational format that inspires others to make something based on what they learn.

Di Franco University's overhaul will also introduce a community page that will act as a forum for promoting projects and requesting feedback. Going this route could introduce some nice value for the community to benefit from. After all, it's not easy to get your work noticed nowadays. Platforms like YouTube are just so saturated to the point where it's difficult to stand out. But having a dedicated community of like-minded individuals, I think, could go far.

Of course, everything I just mentioned would be completely free to access. While some platforms may charge for the same kind of convenience, I prefer to give everything away at no cost. 

So, when are these changes happening? Honestly, it's hard to say. This overhaul isn't something I want to rush through, so I am being careful to take my time. Like anything I create, you will know details as they become available.

Taking Patreon to the Next Level

As a self-employed content creator, I can say with 100% confidence that Patreon has changed my life. It quite literally has. In an industry where advertising revenue isn't what it used to be, Patreon has been enabling me to create original video content and share it with my YouTube subscribers — all while living my life without having to worry about what's next.

Patreon, for those new to the crowdfunding scene, is a platform driven by the community that allows creators to get paid for their hard work. Whether the creator is making video content or looking to advance their art career, it's the kind of platform that simply cannot be ignored. I am forever grateful for everything that Patreon and the community have done for me.

My Patreon campaign saw a ton of success in 2016, but I want to make things even better in 2017. Eventually I am looking to launch a new Squarespace website, one that is completely dedicated to my Patreon campaign and accessible only by patrons. This would be made possible by taking advantage of Patreon's "Login with Patreon" button.

The website will offer several conveniences for patrons, including the ability to easily find all the patrons-only vlogs in one place — rather than having to search around on my official Patreon page, which is currently not the most user friendly experience.

I'm not sure when this new website will be going live, but I am hoping to get started soon. Stay tuned for details, as I'm sure patrons will enjoy what's on the horizon.

Major Partnerships with Brands

Partnernering with brands is something I have always taken great pride in. Perhaps it's my interest in marketing, or simply the fact that I enjoy connecting with others through the means of promoting a product or service. I've been doing this since the early days of YouTube, and I have no plans of stopping any time soon.

2017 is going to bring some significant opportunities with brands that I have talked about in the past, two of which are already in progress. I plan on making separate announcements as these partnerships become public.

If you're interested in learning more about the brands that I work with, I encourage you to keep an eye on this blog. It also doesn't hurt to watch my weekend vlogs on Mondays, which act as a behind-the-scenes series as to what's going on in my life.

Project 4K

Setting aside business talk for a bit, let's talk about home theater. As someone who is obsessed with presentation, I tend to get quite passionate when it comes to watching movies and playing video games. Escaping from reality and letting your imagination go wild is something I feel everybody needs to do now and then.

There's one problem, however. My idea of a quality presentation at the moment is staring at a 46-inch 1080p TV. What is this, 1996? Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but you get my point. I am a proud tech geek, which makes me embarrassed to say that I have yet to own a 4K TV. Sure, I have a beautiful 31-inch 4K monitor in my office, but that doesn't count — at least in my eyes. So, it's time to go big.

My living room, throughout the next few months, will be seeing some drastic changes.  This includes a 65-inch 4K TV, a brand new AV receiver, two floor standing speakers, a wall-mounted center channel speaker, and even an AV rack that will hold everything — including the Nintendo Switch, which is releasing in March. Oh, and some new living room furniture, too.

Now of course, not everything is going to change over night. That's just wishful thinking. My first major purchase will be my 4K TV. I have yet to decide on a specific model, but you can bet I will be uploading an unboxing video to YouTube. And the same goes for an in-depth home theater tour video, which will detail all the equipment I buy. 

I'm so hyped to see the outcome!

And Everything Else... 

If the above goals are anything to go by, I clearly have my work cut out for me. 2017 feels like it's going to be a great year. I'm excited to see the kinds of opportunities and changes and I am presented with.

Happy New Year, everyone! If you have an idea that you'd like to see become reality, then make it happen. Only you have control over your future.