Ever since I started building my online presence and navidm.com, mid June 2013, I take some time in December to reflect over the year, my goals and what’s to come next year.

Last year on New Years Eve, I wrote a very popular (and emotional Facebook post which also became a blog post) about how I turned my worst year ever into personal growth.

A lot has happened since then… and I really mean A LOT!

Now that it’s the end of 2014, I wanted to write a proper annual review post and I will focus on a few simple questions:

  • What went well this year?
  • What did not go well this year?
  • What are my big plans for 2015?

Let’s get into it… this is NOT your average annual review post. This is a rather EPIC annual review of almost 8,000 words, and probably the most important post I’ve written all year.

What Went Well This Year?

Successfully created The Branding Summit – The #1 Personal Branding Conference

If I told you how many hours that went into creating and making my online event, The Branding Summit into such a massive success, you would think I’m crazy. And to some extent I am… in a good way of course 😉

This is the FIRST main project I started in my life that I actually went through with to the very end… and the results I got shows it too. I devoted myself to “master” how to successfully create, promote and profit from a virtual summit.

It wasn’t easy…  in fact it was probably the most difficult and challenging thing I ever put my mind to. I probably spent way over 1000 hours all together preparing for The Branding Summit and studying successful virtual summits in other markets to learn everything I could.

As I’m writing this annual review from Thailand in a 5 star hotel suite, it sure was worth every single second I spent on it.

Not clear sky, but still super hot out by the big swimming pool so I can do laps!
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Not clear sky, but still super hot out by the big swimming pool so I can do laps!

But all the success I had, wouldn’t have been possible without connecting and building amazing relationships with extraordinary people before I needed them.

I had some speakers that went out of their way to promote The Branding Summit, and that helped with sales and to get more people to sign up to my list.

Here are some of the highlights if you’re interested:

  • Close to 200 sales (you can just imagine what 200 sales can do for your business and brand if you put out a quality product or service… it’s MASSIVE for a first launch!)
  • Added about 3000 new email subscribers for free (now I have over 4000 in total, approaching 5000 soon)
  • The Branding Summit was a direct reason why I was able to quit my job and move abroad sooner than I first expected (keep reading for more details on when and how I actually quit my job and my travels).
  • The business I get because of The Branding Summit is just insane. I added several thousands of dollars plus many more clients and partnerships to come because of it.
  • Joint venture partnerships with some of the speakers – I’m super excited to promote some amazing products that I love to my community in 2015… I got some really good stuff coming.
  • Built a small but very passionate community of raving fans that love what I do – This is something I’m extremely proud over, and I honestly think the people in my private Facebook group for The Branding Summit All Access Pass rock… you are all amazing!

Connecting with extraordinary people

I have done this extremely well from the very beginning, but I took things to the next level in 2014.

So what did I do?

I launched my podcast, The Lifestyle Architects in April 2014 and interviewed close to 50 amazing entrepreneurs, authors and world-changers (a few episodes will get published in 2015, since I took a small break from the podcast to focus on The Branding Summit). I didn’t just want to be another podcast interview they did, but rather aim to be the best and most valuable interview they’ve done to date.

podcast channel artwork
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On many occasions I have had people in my audience telling me that they would actually pay for such content, and that online courses they paid 100’s if not 1000’s of dollars for didn’t provide as much valuable information.

I just wanted to let you know that you are providing top notch content with your interviews. I actually learn more from your questions and your guest’s answers than from any other paid courses I took so far. Keep up the great work! Thanks, man! 

– René Von Gunten, Swiss Nutritioneer

That’s also how the idea for my online event, The Branding Summit initially was born. Since then, I interviewed over 80 world-leading online entrepreneurs from summer time until I finally launched my virtual summit November 17.

I knew that I had a skill (which I practiced over and over again) in bringing out the best information from someone during a 60-90 minute interview. And if I could do that and package it together rather than just doing stand alone interviews, I also had a gut feeling that people would pay for this information.

But the work actually starts before I even reach out for an interview. I try to add as much value as possible to the experts I interview beforehand (genuine of course!), by leaving thoughtful comments on their blogs, sharing their content, leaving a review on their book or even purchasing their product to show my support and appreciation for their hard work.

If I don’t have established the relationship before I reach out to them, I give them a sincere compliment in my first email how they helped me (and even better the results I got because of their advice), and now that I have some credibility, it’s not that hard to get most people on for an interview (I still want to get Tim Ferriss, Neil Strauss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and hopefully getting an interview with Ramit Sethi soon).

If you’re not doing interviews (I do video interviews which is far more powerful than just audio!) with successful people yet, you should consider doing that to connect with influencers in your field. It’s the best relationship builder I found (other than in-person events of course).

Build relationships with people before you actually need them! Click to tweet!

Here are some of the people that crossed my path in 2014 that impacted me the most:

(I interviewed a lot of amazing people this year, and had conversations with even more on Skype video chat, Facebook, Twitter etc., so if you’re not mentioned here, you still mean the world to me and impacted my journey in some way, THANK YOU!)

Jan Koch

Jan Koch
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I honestly don’t know what I would do without Jan sometimes. He lives in Germany, and we have never met in person (yet), but I’m proud to consider him one of my best friends.

We met inside Internet Business Mastery Academy in 2013, and we have supported each other ever since, both through success and tough times.

Here’s a few highlights:

  • I’ve seen Jan quit his job and make way more in his business than he did at his day job. Just amazing!
  • Jan has seen me quit my job and earn more than ever before with my virtual summit.
  • Jan creates pretty much all of the awesome graphics you see on my site. THANK YOU!
  • I’m currently coaching Jan so he can rock his own virtual summit, The WP Summit in 2015 and make it a massive success. Super exciting!

Gion-Per (Beecoding)

Gion Per
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If it wasn’t for Gion-Per I wouldn’t be here today… and I really mean that! I own him A LOT and I am extremely grateful that I found him while browsing website footers late 2013. I haven’t looked back since, and I wouldn’t even consider working with a different designer/developer than him.

Gion-Per is the man behind navidm.com, thebrandingsummit.com and everything else when it comes to design and development for my brand.

He is not only my designer, but also a very good friend, and he pushed me when I needed it the most and wanted to give up many times.

I’m exciting to take our partnership to the next level in 2015 and possibly release something very cool that will simplify for many online entrepreneurs with their virtual summits and much more. Stay tuned for more info!

If you’re interested in taking your business and brand to the next level, and want to invest in premium website design that converts, then just email me at navid@navidm.com and I will personally connect you to my designer.

Robert Greene

Robert Greene
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I always wanted to interview Robert Greene ever since I read Mastery, which is one of the most impactful books I’ve read in my life.

The interview I did with him is the most powerful interview for me personally I’ve done out of about 150 so far… and that says quite a lot!

I’m so thankful that Robert took his time to do the interview with me, and to this date, almost 23,000 people have watched the interview on YouTube (and growing) and a few 1000 have listened to on iTunes.

I hope to be able to interview Robert again some time in 2015 if possible. That would totally rock and I know that you would love that too!

No moment is wasted if you learn the lessons contained in every experience. Click to tweet!

Cal Newport

I really enjoyed the interview I did with Cal on “how to be so good they can’t ignore you”. It’s one of the best interview’s I’ve ever done.

Be sure to pick up his book under the same name, it’s well worth a read.

Many people have asked me why I take the time (sometimes 20-30 hours) to write epic guides based on some of the in-depth interviews I do and publish them on my site and/or as downloads. Other than providing massive value to my audience, I also build a stronger relationship with the guest since he/she feels that I did something extraordinary with their interview and that their time was worthwhile. In other words, it’s a fantastic way to stand out!

Here’s what Cal Newport himself had to say about the epic guide I wrote based on our interview:

Thanks Navid! It sounds great and I appreciate the epic post in support of the show…this is one of the best summaries of my ideas that I have seen.

Todd Herman

Todd Herman
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Todd Herman is one of those rare individuals you can learn so much from by just studying what he does… and I really identify with everything he is all about, probably because of our mutual background in sports.

He has been the mental game coach to professional and olympic athletes for many years. Todd helps athletes boost their performance and improve their confidence so they can achieve their goals.

The interview we did for my podcast is one of the most popular to date, and that’s really no surprise. Todd always over-delivers, and I personally got a ton out of the interview we did as well… maybe not right away but as I reflect, and look back, there’s so many things I can implement in order to take both my business and life to the next level!

I hope that we will be able to meet when I come to NYC in 2015, and maybe even do another interview since some people in my audience has requested that I bring Todd back on again.

Here’s one of the best things a listener has ever said about an interview I’ve done:

Hi Navid, HUGE THANKS for this incredible interview! I was so fortunate to listen to Todd at some big live event and was swept off my feet with his wisdom. I was hoping Todd had some course I could purchase to follow but it appears that he is more into personal coaching instead. So I was searching for his videos. Then I found this great interview on YouTube that you did with him. Actually, this interview with him that you did may actually be the very best interview with Todd that is publicly available! This whole interview is fantastic! HUGE THANKS!

In this interview you, Navid, mention that you were afraid or something to start these interview series. I just want to say: don’t hesitate or doubt even for a second. Continue your awesome work!

I’ll be checking out what else you have on your site! Keep up the great work! 🙂

– Olga

Charles Ngo

speaker_Charles Ngo
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Charles Ngo is one of the most inspiring, extraordinary people I know. He is an affiliate marketing superstar who made millions of dollars online, traveling the world and living the dream.

But Charles is also the most productive and focused person I know, and very down to earth. I’ve learned a ton from his blog and our occasional Facebook chats here and there other than the interviews of course. He shares his experiences in a 90 minute epic interview here.

This interview was so good, and well received by my audience that I invited him back on for The Branding Summit to talk more about his personal brand.

I can’t wait to see what Charles has coming in 2015… all I’m sure of is that he will keep over-delivering to his audience.

Nick Reese

Nick Reese
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Two of my absolute favorite interviews I did this year were with Nick Reese.

I know many people will agree that everything that Nick shared is super valuable, no fluff, actionable information you can apply right away to take your business and brand to the next level.

In the first one for my podcast, we talked all about premium positioning and in the second one for The Branding Summit, I interviewed Nick on “how to create your ideal customer avatar”.

Despite being incredibly busy with his new startup, BroadbandNow.com, Nick took his time to do two hour long (possibly even slightly longer) interviews with me this year. And not only that, he stayed on the call after we finished the interview and gave me specific advice how I could improve different aspects of my business.

I also recommend that you take a look at Nick’s amazing website… it’s just outstanding, one of the most incredible designs I’ve seen in a long time in the online space.

He even invited me as a guest to his home in Nashville that I will try to take him up on when I’m in the USA. Thanks for all that you do, Nick… you’re an inspiration to me and many other people!

Here’s what Nick Reese himself said about our interview:

Hey man, just a quick note to say thanks for being an awesome interviewer.

Was just re-listening to our interview together and it was magic

Keep putting out a great stuff and let me know how I can help further what you’re up to.

Natalie Sisson

Natalie Sisson
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I don’t remember exactly how I came across Natalie’s amazing work the first time, but I connected with her online almost from the very beginning, and we have since become good friends. I even met her in person in May this year when she was in Stockholm for a few days.

I took her awesome 30 day blog challenge in October 2013, wrote 40,000+ words in about 21 days and managed to find my writing voice a lot more.

Natalie’s #1 Amazon bestselling book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur has also been very impactful, especially now that I quit my job and will be traveling a lot more, living abroad and running my online business on the go.

She was an amazing guest on my podcast, and a featured speaker on the Branding Summit. I believe Natalie was the speaker that drove the most traffic and potentially even optins to my summit which I really appreciate.

I can’t wait to promote The Freedom Plan next year to my audience and meet up in San Diego.

Andreea Matei

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Andreea has been one of my biggest supporters in 2014, helping me promote The Branding Summit like crazy. I really appreciate her for this and hope to help her even more in 2015 when I get a chance.

Andreea taught an awesome Creative Live course on publicity and I knew I had to have her on as a featured speaker on The Branding Summit as well.. she over-delivered and my audience loved it.

Thank you for all the inspiration and support this year. I hope to see you in San Diego in 2015!

Amber Vilhauer

Amber Vilhauer