I have learned a lot. Much of it not applicable to Instagram, but just in growing this business. We didn't grow headcount that much this year, but we doubled the size of our business from a revenue perspective, which was amazing. We did it with, by only increasing the OpEx, so our salaries and things like that by 25%. I personally feel like I learned a lot about the value of process and investing in things that you can't necessarily be sure are instantly going to have a payoff.
What that means for what you all do is take it as it is but we, definitely, as a business, as for this year, took a kind of long view on what we wanted to do and the investments that we wanted to make. Those have certainly paid off, but again, those investments weren't instantly. They weren't things that paid off instantly like advertising would or something like that, where you spend a dollar, you get two back.
I think I certainly respect the long view. To that end, doing Drink with James, and watching Instagram and you all's growth and struggles, in general, I think I continue to just be reinforced how difficult it is to build something meaningful, and to build something that grows on its own and is consistently getting larger. We've been doing A Drink with James about how long now? Two and a half years?
Speaker 2: Yes.
James: We’re 130 episodes in two and a half years. It has been a decent amount of work and a pretty slow burn, but every week, we feel the momentum picking up a little bit, a little bit, little by little. Certainly for, as a business, again, it's like this year was our most fun year. We were growing. Things were going well. It felt like the bets that we made were paying off. Behind that year was five years of second-guessing ourselves, of struggle, of barely making ends meet, running out of money, having to move money over from our personal accounts to cover employees' payrolls. There was half a decade of shit.
We had a few months this year, where things felt pretty good. So, I continue to just think that success is mostly your ability to like stay in the game and keep driving and be consistent. Keep trying to evolve, keep trying to change, and push what you're doing. Think that things look a lot different looking back than they do in the moment. I know a lot of you all are probably sitting at the end of this year and feeling potentially disappointed with how much you grew your Instagram, or you didn't get as many brand deals as you wanted, or you meant to re-launch that blog and you didn't do it, or you launched a YouTube channel but you didn't stay consistent.
You might be feeling frustrated by those things, but again, I encourage you to look at the-- take the long view. Look at where you were two, three years ago. Think about where you want to be two, three years from now. Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break for a couple of weeks, then go back to being hard on yourself in the new year. Gaining that insight came from living it, from seeing it through, from dedicating yourself to something. I think there is such value in dedicating yourself fully to something for a long time. It's why I'm a big believer in routines.
Actually, for me, I know a lot of people, their dream is to travel a lot. That's not my dream at all, really. I'd like a routine. I like to wake up at 5:30. I like to exercise for an hour and a half, two hours in the morning. I like to come to work. I like to eat the same things I like to do. I think that that routine, it's like it builds a muscle memory for work. I think that working on something consistently, 10 hours a day, for years and years and years is infinitely valuable and so rewarding, and something that most people don't do.
I think that being in this business, I don't have a choice. I can't just go get another job. So even when things sucked, I had people counting on me. I had to figure it out. I had to figure out a way to stay positive. I had to figure out a way to keep making money so I could pay their salaries. I had to be the cheerleader for the business. There was no one there telling me it was going to be okay. I think that you’re forced to take that long view, or you'll go fucking crazy, because there's always people that are more successful than you. There's always things you could have done that you're not doing.
I don't think that you should never look at the minutia and the day-to-day and stress about what you're doing this week versus last week, but it is valuable. Especially if you're running that Instagram account, you're like the head of that snake, it's valuable to take that longer view sometimes and look at what you've done. Because most people's lives year over year don't change significantly at all. In the history of work, a lot of people would work, every five years they might get a promotion, but other than that, it's just flat, monotonous thing.
I think that our generation, and having access to the internet, that inspires you to say, "No. I don't want that. I want to change. Every year, I want things to be very different." Again, I think there's value in putting your head down and working on something for-- Certainly for me, for half a decade, it's been really valuable. I'm stoked to see what it'll feel like five more years from now. I'm more and more inspired by people who have been doing something for 20, 30 years, just to see the wealth of knowledge that they have. Again, I think living that allows you to have the long view.
- 2018 Lessons, Asking Followers About Content, Posting Times