This year I delegated almost everything in my 3 companies. I no longer have a day-to-day role.
I ordered my dream car, we broke ground on our cabin, and life was pretty great as a Dad. It was a jam packed year.
I wanted to take some time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and everything that happened in between. For more context on who I am and what I do, start here or view my businesses here.
The Highlights – What Went Well
This year I celebrated turning 31, my wife and I celebrated 4 years of marriage, and our son turned 1. Below are the highlights of some good things that happened in business and my life.
A big theme for me this year was setting the foundation to delegate my day-to-day duties across all of my companies. Our boutique hotel, The Ludwig has had a General Manager in place for years and Shepherd is being lead by my co-founder Joemer. That always left Peel for me to run.
Near the end of 2021, I decided to hire a General Manager for Peel. I found the perfect person, they start the first week of 2022. With this GM hire, I will no longer have a day-to-day role in any of my companies. I will be free'd up to look at the big picture across all ventures and take on some new projects.
I delegated my email inbox for the first time ever. I spent less than 10 minutes on email per day on average. I experimented with delegating a ton of stuff this year, which created a snowball effect for me getting the confidence to delegate the running of Peel. Experiments like delegating my inbox were quite fun!
We hit our target profit for the year at Peel. While we didn't grow a ton, we ran a tight ship and weathered the iOS 14.5 update. We're still a nice small business making cool products and enjoying solid profits.
Ludwig had its most profitable year to date.
Shepherd grew from 6 employees to 50! In our first full-year in business we grew immensely. We started it in 2020. For those that don't know, Shepherd is a headhunter agency for finding top overseas talent. We find amazingly talented employees that cost 80% less than US equivalents. I'm so proud of this company – it's a win-win for clients to save money, find great hard working staff, and then on the flip side the Filipinos we source LOVE working for cool US companies remotely.
Shepherd is on track to be my biggest source of income. We're building something special that I'm incredibly proud of.
Joemer, my co-founder in Shepherd has been doing an amazing job as General Manager. Before Shepherd he worked as an employee at my other companies for nearly 5 years doing random operational stuff. Since founding Shepherd together, he's grown into a leader. It's been so rewarding to help mentor him a bit but also give him the space to build the team on his own. I'm looking forward to getting together with him and our whole team in The Philippines in 2022.
We were able to hire a new General Manager for Ludwig. The outgoing GM decided the position wasn't a good fit for them. I was thankful for a quick transition. This new new GM is better suited to run things.
My wife and I donated 10% of our income to a bunch of charities this year. We helped out single mothers, funded a couple of wells with Charity Water, donated to fight sex trafficking in Cambodia (my cousin heads up an awesome organization there), local charities in Dallas that fight hunger and homelessness, and finally we donated directly to the Philippine relief from the devastation caused by Typhoon Rai.
I grew my personal income by 40% from last year.
I re-launched needwant.com to be the umbrella for all of my businesses. I also re-launched my personal site marshallhaas.com (the site you're reading). I built both on Webflow myself. For not being a developer I'm quite proud of those!
We purchased 2.5 acres of land in Broken Bow to build our cabin.
Construction on the cabin started mid-way through the year. We expect to finish the cabin in late Spring 2022. It's a 2,600 sqft 3 bedroom 2.5 bath modern house that my wife and I designed together. What once started as 50/50 business/passion project has morphed into something closer to 25% good business / 75% passion project. My wife and I are having a blast with it. We plan to rent it out as a luxury getaway once we finish it.
I was able to sell a 2nd plot of land we acquired for $55k more than I paid for it 9 months later. So far its paid off to be an active investor in the area we're building the cabin in. With this deal we've already had a positive ROI on the cabin project!
Jaimie took on an interior design project for an NBA All-Star. I'm really proud of her – she has such a great style that's being recognized. In 2022 I think she will be pausing client work to work on our projects.
In addition to investing into the stock market and crypto regularly ,I made some other investments:
- I invested into Tiny's acquisition fund.
- I'm now a tiny owner of Aeropress as part of Tiny's acquisition
- I invested into a self storage facility via Nick Huber's fund.
We renovated our backyard into a little oasis.
This year I leaned into my love of cars. I've been a life-long car guy, but have repressed that passion for years to invest in assets instead. This year I went wild.
- We pre-ordered a Tesla Model X for Jaimie. It will get delivered in 2022.
- I spec'd and ordered a Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD. I've always wanted a Lambo since I was a kid. It will get delivered in 2022
- While I wait for the Huracan I bought a Porsche GT4.
Jaimie and I got the opportunity to build our dream home in a neighborhood we've had our eye on for years. We signed the contract at the end of the year. We will break ground in February 2022.
I renovated our garage – new floor and storage everywhere.
My son Finn turned 1 in September. I've had a blast becoming a father this year. Entering the toddler phase has so far been a blast and much easier than taking care of newborn. Lots of laughs, playtime, and getting him to yell "Dadaaaaa" Jaimie and I love taking Finn on walks and hikes in Broken Bow.
I kept in shape by hitting the gym 48 times. Not amazing, but I'll take it. I plan to up that to 100 workouts in 2022.
After traveling full-time for 5 months in 2019, then being cooped up for 2020, Jaimie and I were itching to travel as much as we could this year. Looking at this list we did a lot.
Here's everywhere we went in 2021:
- Broken Bow – we visited 6 time for fun and to do cabin build stuff. This is clearly a favorite place for us and a good reason we're building our cabin there.
- Miami Beach, Florida – we visited with my cousin and his kids. We got home right before the winter apocalypse in Texas.
- St. Louis, MO – 3 separate visits to check on The Ludwig business, for a friends wedding, and just for fun.
- Cancun, Mexico – Jaimie and I took Finn for our first out of country trip with him. We stayed at an all-inclusive hotel to relax.
- Seaside, Florida – rented a house with my cousin, his family, and kids.
- San Diego, California – I went with a buddy for 48hrs to buy the Porsche GT4 and golf at Torrey Pines.
- New York City & Tulum Mexico – Jaimie and I got our first kid-free vacation since Finn was born so we went all out. We did 3 nights in NYC then flew directly to Tulum Mexico for 5 nights. It was heavenly.
What Didn't Go Well This Year
It wasn't all fun, blue skies, toys, and relaxation. There were some rough spots along the way.
Jaimie, Finn, and I all got Covid in January 2021. Finn was only 3 months old, but handled it like a champ. On top of that, Jaimie's parents were visiting us and also caught it. They live full-time in Nicaragua but ended up getting stuck staying with us longer than everyone anticipated. Ultimately we all recovered well without any complications.
Due to travel restrictions I wasn't able to visit Joemer and our growing team in the Philippines. The whole team is based there, so it was a bummer not to get to visit everyone.
I sold 3 of 4 rental properties I bought in 2020. You're probably wondering why this is in the "what went wrong" section. While these were good investments if viewed purely as a % return (15-20% cashflow), they ended up being a horrible return based on the amount of time I had invested. I track my time closely, which showed me the time investment wasn't worth it. I sold them and am working on selling the last property in 2022.
Peel got hit with a bullshit lawsuit about "accessibility". We were able to get the case dropped, but not until spending nearly $20,000 in lawyer fees to defend ourselves. There's no way to get that money back either.
in January Peel's Facebook Ads account was disabled for nearly 2 weeks, costing us a ton of money. It was disabled without warning, and ultimate for a bullshit IP claim. After doing some DEEP investigating that involved my cold emailing the head of Warner Bros IP department, I was able to prove our innocence. It took a ton of time, but I got our account reinstated.
Then, right before Christmas, Facebook disabled it again! It was for the same original IP claim, and due to everyone being on hoiday, it took 10 days to get it turned back on. So frustrating.
The backyard renovation was a nightmare. While the finished product looks amazing, the process was god-awful. The company we hired is now out of business and I understand why. I had to babysit the whole thing even though there was a construction manager and project manager to oversee the whole thing. There were many situations that got extremely heated between me and them. Just to paint a picture, they had to re-do the concrete FOUR times... my blood pressure probably has a noticeable spike for 2 months.
Labor shortages is making it difficult to find good staff for The Ludwig in St. Louis. We've upped our pay offering by 30-40% and still no one wants to work.
My wife Jaimie felt overworked with taking on too many interior design projects. With juggling being a mom and wife, it was too much. We aim to be more balanced in 2022 as a family.
I completely and utterly failed to complete any of the content projects I said I would do. In 2022 and being free'd up from daily duties in my companies, I now have no excuses.
The first company we hired to do the cabin dropped out. This is probably going to be a good thing, but we were set to start, and then in the final hours before signing the contract the company said they weren't a good fit for us. They are more of a spec builder, whereas we need full custom, so ultimately it was for the best. This delayed us a ton though. The silver lining is we found a builder we're really happy with thus far, however the project is now going to cost $150,000 more than we anticipated.
Things I've Loved
I thought it would be fun to recommend a few things I've discovered and loved in 2021.
Loom – I've used Loom to create little screen recordings for my team in order to quickly document things I want to delegate. It's free, and then their paid tier is only $10/month.
Sim Racing – with the theme of leaning into my love of cars, I built an entire rig for simulation racing. I got the Fanataec DD1 hub, wheel, inverted pedals, Sparco seat, Rseat rig, and 49" G9 curved ultrawide. Race any car on any race track in the world with ultra realism. What's not to love! I like Project Cars, Assetto Corsa Competizione, and I'm going to dive into iRacing.
Webflow – I spent a lot of time learning Webflow to build sites for NEED/WANT, my blog, and Shepherd. I'm hooked on the tool.
Being a Dad – It's the hardest and yet most rewarding thing I've ever done. I love that little guy so much.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – This show just finished it's 11th season and is a top comedy pick for me. It's from Larry David, the guy that created Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld. Needless to say it's hilarious.
What's Next – What I'm Looking Forward To In 2022
I'm going to put a big focus on content creation in 2022. It's the one goal I've always failed at each year. By being more free'd up going into next year, I want to go hard. I'm going to create several courses, a lot of Twitter threads, and hopefully more writing on this blog. First up, I plan to do a free course at Shepherd about how to hire your first virtual assistant.
Less busyness, being more present, more reading & quality time with my wife.
Stepping back from Peel. My goal is to have Carin, the new General Manager successfully take over in 2022. By mid January she should be up to speed on most everything.
I hired a growth person to help take Shepherd to the next level.
Looking forward to completing the cabin. We have a lot to pick out still – tiles, bathroom fixtures, all furnishings, and all lighting still.
Going into 2022 I'm feeling blessed and excited for what's to come.
You should follow me on Twitter, I'm @marshal or subscribe to my newsletter here.