My 2018 Year in Review And How It’s Done

My 2018 Year In Review

My 2018 Year In ReviewAt the start of each new year, I take time to review the year that has gone by. In 2018, I took the whole of Christmas off work to spend with my family, so my planning for 2019 started well into January. And as my friend and productivity ninja Grace Marshall says, that’s ok.

In this blog post, I wanted to start by sharing my process for doing my annual review.

I then want to share my thoughts on my own experiences in 2018. I hope you find it interesting as you reflect on your own plans, learning, goals and aspirations, but if you don’t — just remember this article is essentially an exercise for me, not you. Your own annual review will be much more interesting for you! 🙂

Why have an annual review?

Why do I conduct an annual review? What’s the point of it?

Well, as a driven personality type, it’s all too easy for me to forget the progress I’ve made — the achievements I experienced, the wins I had — and only focus on achieving the next big goal. I need to be kinder to myself and remember I’m doing the best I can.

As a positive sort of chap, without a reminder, it’s also far too easy for me to forget the pain I experienced and repeat the mistakes I made. I want to learn from my mistakes and make less of them. A review helps me do this.

If you’re a similar personality to me then you might benefit from doing an annual review too.

The process for my year in review

Like most things that are important to me in my personal and professional life, I have a process for my year in review. This process helps make sure I’m consistent with the steps I take to review my year, and, really importantly, reduces my procrastination to getting started.

My process includes:-

  • Reviewing my monthly highlights (which, in turn, are pulled from my daily journals. You can find more about my journaling routine in this interview with Chris Ducker I did on how to journal for business growth)
  • Reviewing my life plan and noting achievements and challenges
  • Review and update my “to NOT do list” (read more about why you should create a to NOT do list)
  • Review and update my three words for the year (a process I learned from Chris Brogan’s 3 Words routine)
  • Block out calendar time for important events and projects in the year ahead

During this process, I’ll ask myself questions such as:-

  • What did I achieve in the past year and what did I enjoy?
  • What am I going to achieve and what am I going to enjoy?
  • What can I work on in the next year that makes me smile?
  • How can I organise my work and my life to do the things that cause me to smile?

So what did my 2018 year in review look like?

Travel and experiences

I had a stand-out year in terms of travel and experiences!

I drove in an autonomous Tesla (the experience of the car driving itself is an odd one) and experienced “ludicrous mode” (0-60mph in 2.2 seconds)

Richard Tubb with a Tesla

My wife, Claire, and I had dinner with my business hero David Allen and his wife Kathryn in Amsterdam

David Allen and Richard Tubb

Claire and I attended another WWE Wrestlemania, this time in New Orleans

Wrestlemania in New Orleans

I played Pac-Man on an original arcade machine with Continuum CEO Michael George

Michael George and Richard Tubb playing Pac-Man

I visited my cousin Steven and his family in Boston, MA

Richard Tubb and Steve Waite

I enjoyed my first ever fish meal

Richard Tubb eating fish meal

I ate my first ever seafood thanks to IT Glue VP Luis Giraldo and Greystone CEO Peter Melby

Richard Tubb, Luis Giraldo and Peter Melby

I was driven around a track at high speed by a professional driver in a Mercedes Benz S Class

I hosted a live video event from the studios at the London Stock Exchange

Richard Tubb at London Stock Exchange

I delivered the keynote presentation at MSPCon in Paris, France and did some sightseeing alongside mon ami Pascal Fintoni

Richard Tubb presenting at MSPCon.Paris 18

According to TripIt (read more on why I use TripIt – all your travel plans in one place) in 2018 I took 26 trips to 25 cities in 6 countries, travelled 183,272 miles and, most importantly, spent 91 days on the road. That’s 3 months I was away from home.

I’m really pleased with how I balanced travel this past year, making sure I learned from previous years mistakes when I became run-down, and blocking out plenty of rest and recovery time after trips. I was kinder to myself and didn’t expect be on full form in between trips.

Reducing my travel

With that said, that sort of travel schedule takes its toll on physical health, mental health, productivity and relationships and so I’ve already started saying no to events and speaking opportunities for 2019.

As a result, expect to see me at far fewer MSP events in 2019.

You can see the events I will be attending or speaking at by viewing my join me on the road diary.


Since I sold my Managed Service Provider (MSP) business in 2011, my work has always involved helping IT businesses to grow.

How I define helping IT businesses changed in 2018.

I cut back on the one-on-one coaching work I did with my MSPs and focused on delivering content that could reach more business owners.

Writing articles

As well as writing the articles featured on my own site, I also contributed a number of guest articles for the Auvik blog, ChannelPro NetworkHarmony PSA blog, SaneboxSmarterMSP, Youpreneur and many other sources.

I recorded the regular “What’s Going On” segment with my good friend Karl Palachuk for the Auvik Frankly MSP Podcast.

However, the real success story of 2018 for me was my Podcast, TubbTalk.

TubbTalk Podcast

Thanks to the efforts of Team Tubb, we nailed the process for organising, recording, editing and publishing our Podcast. I now rock up, record an interview, and the team does the rest. This has meant we’ve consistently published an episode of the Podcast every Sunday evening for a year.

In amongst those episodes, I set myself a goal of interviewing seven of my all-time business heroes in 2018. These are business leaders, authors and speakers who have literally changed my life with their wisdom and guidance.

TubbTalk #50 - David Allen of Getting Things DoneI managed to interview six of my seven heroes! Those episodes included:-

The seventh name on that list of my heroes I want to interview? That would be Tim Ferriss. If anyone can introduce me to Mr Ferriss, please do so!

With the publishing of episode #50 of TubbTalk, I made the decision to put the Podcast on short-term hiatus while we paused to consider how to make things even better.
So, in 2019 we’ll be moving the Podcast to a series-based format (think 12-20 themed episodes) with a sponsor partner to help cover the costs of recording and publishing. If you’re an vendor interested in being the sponsor of the most popular Podcast in MSP, get in touch.

The Tech Tribe Community

Nigel Moore and Richard Tubb

As well as moving away from one-on-one coaching work, in the latter part of 2018, I also became a part of Nigel Moore’s online MSP community,  The Tech Tribe.

Like myself, Nigel is a former MSP owner who now helps other MSPs to grow.

Nigel and I have become good friends, and he kindly invited me to join his community, and add value where I felt I could.

After a few weeks lurking in the community, I was blown away. I say this without exaggeration – If I were to build an MSP community, I would want it to look like The Tech Tribe.

So, rather than re-invent the wheel, going forward, I’ll be making The Tech Tribe my home and becoming a “Tribal Elder” in that community.

Expect to see me answering MSP questions in the forum, recording videos and delivering workshops on a day-to-day basis there.

If you’re an MSP and want to work with me, then I’d recommend you join The Tech Tribe.

Working with others

Colleagues on Tap in NewcastleTalking of community, 2018 was the year I really embraced co-working.

Working alone can be a lonely pursuit, so co-working enables me to spend time around other business owners to have a cuppa, discuss our challenges, or even just put in our headphones and get on with work knowing you’re in good company.

I reached out to do plenty of co-working with local business owners here in the North East via Colleagues on Tap.

Similar groups probably exist wherever you are in the world. Why not check them out?

For my own happiness and energy, I’m going to continue to look for opportunities to co-work with my peers in 2019.

Website and Branding

Richard Tubb - Comic Book Background2018 was the year that my website and brand got a long overdue overhaul!

Thanks to a team involving the wonderful Col Gray, Claire Jenks, Laura Pearman and Ahmed Khalifa, we migrated this website across to host WPEngine with a brand new look and feel.

This included new photography, and I can’t express how much I value photographer Laura Pearman’s work with her quirky headshots (read the full story here).

Consistent branding is important. I never realised how much so until I went through a rebranding process myself.

Going forwards into 2019, I’m partnering with FreedomWP to ensure the website continues to grow and evolve to meet visitors needs.


In 2018 I spoke at a lot of business events!

Those who know me well know that speaking in front of audiences is something that scares the wits out of me, causes me sleepless nights and plenty of angst.

2018 was the year that I (finally!) became confident in my abilities as a public speaker.

This culminated in me presenting at MSPCon in Paris in December, where I had to deliver the keynote address to an audience to whom English was their 2nd language.

That presentation went really well and the feedback blew me away! I’m very proud to have played a small part in establishing what I hope will become a thriving MSP community in France.

That community has already suggested I return and deliver a new presentation in 2019, spoken in French. Sacré bleu!

The nerves around public speaking may never go away, but I’m finally comfortable calling myself a professional speaker.

Using video

I also forced myself to record more video content towards the tail end of 2018. Recording video is so powerful at helping you establish rapport with your audience, and I’ll be stepping up to do more in 2019.

Appearing on a magazine cover

Finally, thanks to the folks at Zedsphere who asked me to feature in their first issue of Zed magazine. There’s nothing like seeing your ugly mug on a magazine cover to remind you are making an impact, and friends and mercilessly teasing you to remind you not to let it go to your head. 🙂

Zed Magazine with Richard Tubb


Standing DeskI’m always experimenting with the tools I use to work with, and 2018 was no exception.

Using a standing desk

The biggest change for my working day was in starting to use a standing desk.

Combined with a new Fitbit Charge 2 and the Pomodoro technique (25 mins on, 5 mins off) a standing desk increased my movement, gave me more energy and made me much more productive. A win all around!

My Favourite Friday Favourites

I continued to share my experimentation with apps, gadgets and tools via my Friday Favourite blog series.

Some of my best-received Friday Favourites of 2018 that I’m still using every day now were:-

Moving to the challenger banks

On a personal level, I moved my finances from one of the old, dinosaur banking establishments to challenger bank, Starling Bank.

I wish I’d done this much sooner. Everything about banking with Starling is easier and more friendly than the old banks. Being somebody who travels a lot and needs to manage my life on the move, I can’t now imagine living without the likes of Starling Bank, Curve (which combines all your Debit and Credit Cards into one card) and Monzo.


In March 2018, my best pal and one of my oldest friends, Matthew Cleary, passed away.

Losing a friend

Matt and I grew up together in Birmingham as huge fans of Pro-Wrestling. My wife, Claire, Matt and I were due to get together to attend Wrestlemania in New Orleans just two weeks after Matt unexpectedly passed away.

Richard Tubb and Matt Cleary

I was so touched that my friend, Jill Bate, contacted the co-owner of Progress Wrestling, Jim Smallman, to share the sad news.

Jim gave a lovely tribute to Matt at the first Progress Wrestlemania-weekend show.

Matt’s passing hit me hard, but that time of sadness reminded me of the importance of friendship. My friends helped me come to terms with Matt’s passing and celebrate his life, rather than dwell on his loss.

So I organised for all my Wrestling buddies to get together in Birmingham for a weekend of local Wrestling shows we called the Matthew Cleary Wrestlepalooza Weekend Festival of Friendship.

The Matthew Cleary Wrestlepalooza Weekend Festival of Friendship

I think Matt would have enjoyed it. 🙂


Thanks to my friend Polly Brennan, I also put together a resiliency plan that reminds me that if I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, being unkind to myself or any of the red flags that can be signs of poor mental health, that I’ve got uplifting activities I can do to change my mood, and friends I can call on for support.

As fellow “generally happy and friendly and funny guy” Chris Brogan says on why he writes about Depression, it’s good to hear the phrase “I’m on your team” from friends.

Living in the North East

In September 2018, I celebrate 2 years of being married to Claire and just over 2 years of living and working in the North East.

Getting married and moving to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne remains the best decision I’ve ever made. I absolutely love my life in the Toon, my friends and my family here!

Finding a new hobby

One of my challenges for 2019 is to find a new hobby.

I love reading, movies, comic books and retro gaming, but the common thread amongst those activities is that they don’t involve a lot of movement!

In 2018 I tried archery and in 2019 I want to try to find a new hobby that gets me moving. Suggestions on potential new hobbies are welcome.

Archery in Newcastle

Becoming a Godfather

Finally, on a very happy note, in 2018 my good friends Lee & Becky asked me to be godparent to their newborn twin sons, Isaac & Joshua.

Richard, Lee, Isaac and Joshua

My lovely Goddaughter, Georgina, turns 21 in 2019.

So, I could not have been prouder than to be asked to play a part in these two lovely boys lives as they grow up, and I look forward to helping them celebrate their 21st birthdays in 2039!


As with every year, 2018 was full of great experiences, wins, losses, challenges, uplifting news and sad news.

It’s not until you make time to reflect on what you’ve experienced that you really appreciate what you’ve learned.

Each year, I look back on the year I’ve experienced, and as I plan my year ahead I ask myself…

  • What did I achieve in the past year and what did I enjoy?
  • What am I going to achieve and what am I going to enjoy?
  • What can I work on in the next year that makes me smile?
  • How can I organise my work and my life to do the things that cause me to smile?
What can I work on in the next year that makes me smile? Click to Tweet

What is 2019 going to look like for you? Leave a comment below or get in touch and let me know. 🙂

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  • Richard Tubb2019-01-21 14:13:10

    Thanks so much for the kind feedback, Kathy, and for our friendship. You're appreciated! Here's to a brilliant 2019 for us both! :-)

  • Kathryn Dishman-Baird2019-01-21 11:25:02

    Love this review Richard, 2018 was definitely a year to remember for you - in both good and sad ways. I know 2019 is going to be an amazing one for you with lots of new experiences. I'm super happy to your friend and experience it with you!

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