As 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past year, talk about the good, the bad and highlight some of GW’s best content through words, pictures and video. Scroll at your leisure.
» You might want to read last year’s Best of Gentleman Within 2020.
GENTLEMAN WITHIN: YEAR IN REVIEW 2021
If I had to summarize 2021 for Gentleman Within in one word, it’s ‘disappointed.’ Disappointed in myself for not doing many of the things I set out to do last year and the year before and the year before that.
Honestly, I have no excuses and I’m owning up to all of it.
What am I so disappointed about?
For starters, there are projects from 3 years ago that I’ve still not completed. For example, I had planned to put together an ebook on Getting Started with Style that has yet to see the light of day.
I’ve also had plans to write guest posts for other menswear blogs and lifestyle websites ever since 2017-2018 that are largely still in draft status. And there’s also a big announcement I’ve been mentioning for years now that has regretfully been pushed back time and time again.
The bottom line is, I’ve made promises to myself and to others that have gone unfulfilled. I’ve disappointed myself and others in the process.
A Content Creator must create
My content production has been at all time lows since I started the blog. When people ask what I do for work, I tell them that I’m a Content Creator; that I create content for a living. But if I’m not really creating content, am I even worthy of that title?
I didn’t create much at all this year as you will see later on By the Numbers. I thought last year was unfortunate, but this year saw a bottomless spiral into some dark places personally. When I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did…going deeper and darker than last year.
My priorities were elsewhere. I was getting lost in things that weren’t the best use of my time. I was unmotivated, lazy and lacked focus. I knew what I needed to do, but didn’t actually do it. I tried to tell myself that it’s okay, that I have time and that I can start fresh next week. But weeks became months and months made a year pass by once again without much to show for.
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Last year I went through some personal struggles and while I bounced back towards the end of 2020, the underlying issues were still there and I fell back into continual stagnation.
I went several months without publishing a blog post or YT video multiple times during the year. The more time I spent away from creating content, the harder it became for me to get back into it.
As they say, objects in motion tend to stay in motion and it works the same way for objects that are stuck. And for the better part of the year, extending back to when Covid first started, I was stuck.
The key to consistency
I’ve realized that most of the time when I do things, I do it with great zeal and intensity in short bursts that sometimes produces a lot of work, but in an unsustainable way. One person can only do so much.
And so a primary focus of mine for 2022 is on being much more consistent in my actions. A way for me to find this consistency is through outsourcing work. For the first time, I started hiring writers for the blog. This I believe can unlock that consistency I’m seeking.
By the Numbers
Numbers never tell the whole story, but it’s interesting to see my production and growth over the years or lack thereof.
- 25 Blog Posts compared to 57 last year
- 6 YouTube Videos & 4 YT #shorts compared to 32 last year
- 25 Instagram Posts compared to 46 last year
- 20.5k subscribers on YouTube compared to 16k subscribers last year
- 10.8k followers on Instagram compared to 10.5k last year
- 60.9k followers on Pinterest compared to 42k last year
- 2.9k page likes on Facebook compared to 2.7k last year
- 1k followers on Twitter compared to 1k last year
- 140 followers on TikTok
- 5 years of GW (2nd consecutive year without a write up)
If last year was a down year for the blog, then this year was downright ugly. My output was more than cut in half from 57 published articles down to 25.
However, a silver lining is that traffic to the blog has remained relatively consistent year-round. This is testament to the strength of evergreen content which is content that remains relevant regardless of the season or time-frame.
My YouTube production plummeted into the abyss in 2021. This marks 4 consecutive years of declining production on the channel. 2018 had 72 posted videos, 2019 had 44 posted videos and 2020 had 32 posted videos.
This year I only posted 6 videos and 4 #shorts. I don’t like to make guarantees, but I will most certainly publish more than 6 videos in 2022. The only reason the channel is still growing is because many of the videos I create are search friendly. And so people are continually stumbling across my channel as they’re searching for specific reviews or outfit ideas.
If you only follow me on Instagram then you might’ve thought that I had met my demise. Out of all my platforms, I spent the least amount of time on Instagram. In fact, I barely even scrolled through GW’s home feed.
I’m content not consuming content on Instagram. I’ve always found it a trap. It’s a place where the comparison game is easy to wreak havoc on your mind and so I don’t even let it on my radar.
Personally, I think Instagram messed up. Over the past several years the powers that be made it virtually impossible for creators to grow organically. Sure, they are pushing Reels hard and may reintroduce the chronological feed again, but it’s too little too late.
Platforms like TikTok have taken most of the attention away, especially with the ease in which any random person or TikTok can go viral and send a flood of millions of eyeballs their way. It looks like Instagram will be playing catch up in 2022. I still plan to post next year, but it may be more Reels than anything else.
Pinterest has continued to be a steady grower for me in 2021. I went from 42k followers to nearly 70k followers. Even with the consistent Pinterest growth, the traffic it generates has stagnated and began to decline. I suspect this is due to Pinterest’s new algorithm or people’s overall search behavior changing.
That said, the ROI I get from Pinterest is better than any other social platform other than YouTube and so I’ll continue to create ‘pin’ worthy graphics to include with my content.
Anytime I have new content on the blog or YT channel, I publish it to GW’s Facebook page. Other than that though, I don’t spend much time on it. There’s not much engagement and it barely drives any traffic to the blog. It’s simply not worth it to invest anymore time on platforms that aren’t contributing to the bottom line.
Another year of abysmal Twitter growth. Still hovering around 1k followers, there’s no reason for me to dedicate anymore time than I already do to posting there. I don’t spend any time scrolling through my Twitter feed, it’s a pretty irrelevant platform for GW at this point.
I’ve been on TikTok, repurposing content in the past, but haven’t really dedicated much time or effort into it. There’s certainly an opportunity to continue growing the brand, especially with a younger demographic on TikTok. Currently I don’t have any engagement and so in 2021, I’d like to post more often and see if I can grow an audience.
Similar with Instagram, I have zero interest in consuming any TikTok content. The algorithm is way too good and I know that I’ll get sucked in and waste hours of my time that I’ll never get back.
Top 3 Articles
Here are 3 of my favorite or most liked articles published to the blog for 2021. You can expect to see more of these types of articles from GW in 2022.
1. Clarks Desert Boot Review (7 Years Later)
The Clarks brand has been around since 1825, believe it or not. Since its inception, their desert boot has become a men’s style stalwart, but the question is whether or not the iconic Clarks Desert Boot truly stands the test of time.
This comprehensive, long-term Clarks Desert Boot review, covers the history of Clarks, explains the difference between chukkas and desert boots, delves into the style & design, the quality & craftsmanship, comfort & durability and how they’ve held up over the past 7 years.
2. How to Develop a Growth Mindset (Set Yourself Up for Life Success)
Growth mindset is a term coined by American Psychologist Carol Dweck in her 2007 book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success“. With this mindset we can navigate life and ultimately find success.
This article explores the benefits of having a growth mindset, everyday examples and most importantly, practical tips on how to develop one.
3. Best Bourbon Brands Under $100 (7 Wonderful Whiskeys)
As we wind our way into the cold months of the year, I find myself reaching increasingly towards a warming, darker cup of spirits instead of my usual clear summer sprightly drink; namely, for a whiskey and at that, probably a bourbon.
Bourbon is the only true American contribution to the wonderful world of booze. A distinct form of whiskey, it is barrel-aged and must be produced at least 51% from corn.
It has been distilled in this country, where it was created, since the 18th century and although it is associated with the South (particularly Kentucky) we can now easily find bourbons from all over the country.
Top 3 Photos
Here are my 3 favorite photos posted to the GW Instagram page in 2021.
1. A Weekend with Bernie
Who can forget the winter mittens and memes that overtook the internet at the start of the year. Of course I had to hop on that trend and create one myself.
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2. A Couple of Reminders
A myriad of words worth striving for, now more than ever.
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3. A New Normal
Earlier this summer, there was a few months that everything almost felt normal again and I was able to get a short trip in. This photo was taken at the Valley of Fire State Park just outside of Las Vegas.
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INSTAGRAM BEST NINE
Keeping with tradition, the IG Best Nine.
Top 3 Videos
It was slim pickings this year. With only a handful of videos to choose from, here’s my top 3.
1. 25 Best Minimalist Wallets for Men
- 1.7k likes
- 136,308 views
- Uploaded: 4/22/21
This one surprised me. In the 8 months since I uploaded, this video has easily become my most viewed on the channel. Who knew there was so much interest in slim wallets? If you’re in the market for one, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out!
2. Fresh Summer Outfits for Short Men
- 157 likes
- 3,115 views
- Uploaded: 6/5/21
I still enjoy putting together lookbook videos providing style inspiration. I’m looking forward to creating more of these in 2022 as it’s some of the most requested type of content from my audience.
3. 9 Quick & Casual Outfit Ideas #shorts
- 32 likes
- 810 views
- Uploaded: 12/17/21
Ah, #shorts…YouTube’s answer to TikTok and Reels. It’s funny how they all unashamedly copy each other. No idea’s original, but if it works…it works. Be ready to see more YT shorts from me in 2022.
The Big Announcement That Never Happened
This one is on me. I have no excuses. What started in 2019, still has yet to see the light of day due to no one else other than myself. I promised a big announcement and failed to follow through.
It’s better off that I don’t say anything at all, unless I can deliver. At the end of the day, talk is cheap and I must prove that I can do whatever I set out to do through my actions alone.
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All I do know is that I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in; able to earn a living creating content. I have been able to build a small audience and I don’t want to take that attention for granted. It’s on me to get the job done and ultimately, I will.
Wrapping Things Up
Goodbye 2021. It may not have been what I expected or wanted, but there’s no time to despair or continue kicking myself for not following through. The only thing that I can do now is set my eyes on 2022 and do my absolute best to ensure that I am not throwing away my shot.
As always, the reason that I do these year-end writeups is because 1. it’s a open diary for myself and 2. I want to be able to inspire others who are in a similar boat, by delving into my mind a bit, to see the process. In the end, if I can help a fellow creator out then that’s a win win.
Cheers & Happy New Year to you and yours! Now hurry up and make a resolution or not. Regardless, I send my best wishes to you in 2022 — hoping that you make it the best and most stylish one yet.
Gentleman Within Founder & Creative Director
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