Lessons and Greatest Moments of 2012

2012 for me was the Year of Transition and Change.

In this post I’ll share with you some of the highlights, challenges and an overview of the numbers in our business this year. This is the first time I’ve actually shared some of this stuff. Please let me know in the comments what you think and maybe we’ll make it a tradition.

Here are some of the big moments of 2012:

  • We completely relaunched and redesigned our flagship coaching program: Trailblazer. I tore all the content down and redesigned everything from the ground up. I’m really proud of what we did with it and what our Trailblazers have accomplished this year.
  • In the process we created a brand new way of marketing Trailblazer through content-based monthly webinars. Previously our business was 100% launch driven. It feels so amazing to have removed the stress of constantly trying to launch things.
  • We hired another team member, Dustin, who’s completely transformed our business in so many incredible ways. We’re creating a family here at PTE that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.
  • We rebranded from Illuminated Mind to Paid to Exist. Then a month later we decided to move all our systems from Aweber/1shoppingcart/37signals to Ontraport (aff link). Not sure if we’re completely insane or totally genius.
  • I stopped doing one-on-one coaching this year almost entirely. It feels amazing to have a wide open schedule every single week.
  • Launched a live mastermind event in Portland, our first of many offline gatherings to come.
  • Created the Job Escape Kit and launched it to a small number of presell buyers. Started preparing for official release in 2013.

However, this year wasn’t without challenges. We learned the hard way that things often take much longer than we’d like and that sometimes transitions are rough.

For instance…

  • It took us a while to get adjusted to the “launchless life.” There were several months where we just squeaked by to meet our operating expenses for the month. This was frustrating to say the least. But it was still better than rollercoaster launching any day. Next year we’ll focus more on recurring revenue.
  • The rebranding was supposed to take a month. It took three.
  • The move to an all new system was supposed to take a month. It took three.
  • Creating the beta release of the Job Escape Kit was supposed to take a month… you get the picture. :)

All in all I must say however that despite this year not being the year of mind-blowing growth, it’s been a beautiful year. We’ve grown closer together as a team. We’ve laid the foundation internally with a more aligned brand and system to do great things in the coming year (I’ll talk more about that in the next post).

And of course, that which is inmost is destined to become outmost. I know all of this core cultivation will yield in due time.

Here’s what our business looked like by the numbers:

  • Subscribers: 34,397
  • Revenue: $202,635
  • Monthly unique visitors: 60,000
  • Products launched: 2
  • Biggest launch: $72,000
  • Largest source of income: Trailblazer

I’m looking forward to growth next year, with more savings, and making more stuff with more ease and a sense of flow.

In the next post, I’ll talk about what we’ve got planned for 2013 and what to expect from us next year. It’s going to be a really fun year. :)

How about you? What was your biggest lesson or accomplishment of 2012?

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Scott StephensKalwayBenHannahAndrew Ross Long (@DrewRLong) Recent comment authors
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It’s hard to believe that all that happened in one year. The big launch of Trailblazer in February seems like ages ago.

Sounds like you had a great year. Hope 2013 is just as kind to you.

Colleen Conger

Wow Jonathan, that’s a heap of accomplishments in 2012! I “discovered” you back in April, 2012 when you were still Illuminated Mind. It was also at that point when I discovered the world of blogging. It’s been a mind bender (in a good way) to say the least. I feel like I’ve found a new set of soul mates as I’ve read your (and your guests) blog posts.

I’m excited to see what 2013 brings for you and the team/family of Paid to Exist. I’ll be right here cheering you on along the journey.


Brendan Baker

Great post!

Thanks for sharing the numbers as well. It’s good to get an insight into this.I haven’t heard of Office Pilot but I’ll need to check it out.

I’m looking forward to seeing where you take things in 2013! All the best.



Seems to me you’ve accomplished a lot.
And I think with 2 products launch only, you made a lot of profit.
Imagine only 3 more products.

Wish you the best guys for 2013.


Jonathan, Great post, man! It’s been an amazing year working here. I think the most rewarding part has been working with a team and community that shares such empowering beliefs. Thanks to everyone for that! This year has been an amazing adventure. Rebranding and then totally rebuilding the systems we use to run the business, in addition to continuing our normal operations, was an incredible accomplishment (especially with 4 employees)! To also create something as immense and powerful as The Job Escape Kit is a testament to the power of creating a business based on passion. Can’t wait to see… Read more »


Wow, what a year Jonathan. Congratulations to you and your whole team for having the courage to transform your business and still bring in some very healthy revenue!

Was fantastic to finally meet you in 2012, and very apt that it was in the year that I managed to ditch the day job :)


[…] annual reviews I enjoyed included ones by Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike, Jonathan Mead of Paid to Exist, and Lis of Last Year’s […]


Nice, sounds like a good year for you guys. Thanks for sharing numbers, it’s always nice to see those stats.

2012 was a head spin for me… I managed to scrape through financially on my freelance earnings while making some massive achievements in other areas in life, which I just didn’t seem to be able to make significant from.

2013 will be about bridging that gap and learning how to build more reliable incomes doing the things I love.

Tal Gur

Well done Jonathan. I thought the rebranding was pure genius. Keep the great work.


[…] Paid to Exist Jonathan Mead not only changed designs, he changed domains. The destination once known as […]

R.C. Thornton

Very nice, I really like the way you present your ventures with transparency…makes it easier for us to learn from!


Jonathan, I’ve been with you since 2008 I think which is *ages* in internet years and back when your site looked pretty old school (because 2008 was) and you were blogging more about spirituality. I have loved seeing the evolution. Excited to see what’s in store for you in 2013.

Andrew Ross Long (@DrewRLong)

Hey, greetings from a fellow Portlander!
I would say the rebranding was worth it; your site design is impeccable.Life’s too short for bad design :)
Thanks for this post, I just found you and plan to continue following.

All the best,


Thank you for being open about your successes and challenges, and congrats on achieving so much in a year! My biggest accomplishment for 2012 was making the leap into working full-time on my site at the end of the year. Still very much finding my feet but the next 12 months are going to be interesting, to say the least… :)

Looking forward to hearing what you have planned for 2013.


Wow Jonathan, some awesome achievements. My biggest lesson probably was that I wasn’t taking my business seriously enough and was just sitting there hoping things would happen, now that I realized that and am taking consistent action every day things are improving alot.



I’m curious, as to what you think of the statistic that 85% of people do no achieve their new year resolution? How do you think people can do things differently?

Scott Stephens

That’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished! Your site is a huge inspiration to me. I really appreciate you sharing intimate details of your process as well. It is so encouraging to hear about the mistakes as well as the successes.

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