New Year’s Resolutions are pretty worthless, aren’t they?
When was the last time you heard of somebody actually following through on a New Year’s resolution?
PROOF: For 2010, I decided to make my New Year’s resolution as easy as possible, so I knew I’d follow through.
My commitment? To get a massage 1X/month.
This shouldn’t have been hard.
I LOVE massages.
Plus, I even bought an annual membership at a massage studio.
And even then, I still couldn’t keep the commitment.
Imagine being too lazy to get out of your house to go redeem a pre-paid massage once a month!
And I can’t even remember what my resolution was for 2011…
So, for 2012, I figured I’ll try something different…
And assuming your success with New Year’s resolutions is a bit like mine, you might want to consider following my lead…
For 2012, I’ve decided to create a business resolution, rather than a personal resolution.
And here are some ideas I came up with…
10. Build Your Email List
Most websites don’t put enough focus on list-building.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “The money’s in the list…”
That’s only half true. The real money’s in your relationship with your list of email subscribers.
But the first critical step is to build your list.
If you’re not gaining new email subscribers every day, this may be the resolution for you.
9. Email Your List More Often
This one might surprise you, but in my experience, most marketers don’t email their subscribers often enough!
I think people are afraid of getting unsubscribes.
Yes, you will get unsubscribes.
But you’ll also develop a more loyal following, and build a deeper relationship with your audience.
Email more, and you’ll make more money.
8. Build Links to Your Website
I recently had several conversations with small business owners about their 2012 online marketing plans, and most people had the same goal:
To get more traffic from Google.
However, none of these most weren’t doing the 1 thing they need to do to climb up the rankings:
Build more links from other websites to your website.
If you want to rank higher in Google for competitive terms, you need to be consistently building new links… EVERY MONTH.
And importantly, don’t just focus on 1 type of links. You want to build links from a variety of different sources.
7. Create New Blog Content Every Week
Looking back on 2011, creating content consistently was one of the best habits we created in our business.
Writing helped us clarify our thinking on several subjects…
Creating content has helped to position us as experts in our field…
Last but not least, creating content is also good for SEO.
If you want to create content but struggle to get it done, I recommend you create an Editorial Calendar, where you know what you’re going to write about ahead of time, so you’re not stuck.
6. Add a New Traffic Source
Too many internet businesses are dependent on 1 source of traffic.
Don’t make this mistake!
You don’t want to be in the position where you would go out of business if you slapped by Google.
Here’s a short list of traffic sources to consider adding in 2012:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google AdWords search
- Google AdWords content
- Retargeting (remarketing)
- Facebook (advertising and organic)
- Shopping feeds (if you have an e-commerce business)
- Email advertising
- LinkedIn (can be good if you’re B2B)
- Joint ventures and affiliates
- Direct mail
5. Create Continuity Income
How different would your business be if you knew you’d be generating a predictable amount of revenue every month, covering all of your major expenses?
That’s the power of recurring revenue, and most businesses are lacking it.
Get creative: How can YOU incorporate continuity income (e.g. membership programs) into your business model?
4. Hire a Virtual Assistant
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are, you’re too busy.
You don’t have enough time to work on your highest-value projects and keep focused on the big picture.
One of the best things we did in 2011 was hire a virtual assistant.
If you don’t have an assistant, make that your resolution for 2012.
3. Schedule Your Time, In Advance
Mid-way through 2011, I started scheduling my time in advance, and I’ve seen BIG productivity gains.
Here’s how to do it:
On Sunday, take 15-60 minutes to make a list of everything you want or need to accomplish the following week.
Next, prioritize those activities that are either urgent or will have the greatest long-term impact on your business.
Then, write down a succinct list of goals for the week, and post it somewhere. I use Basecamp. You can also print out your list and keep it visible on your desk or on your wall.
And here’s the final, most important step…
Go ahead and pre-schedule time in your calendar for the coming week, so you build in time to get these projects accomplished.
Simple, powerful… It works. Do it!
Make sure you unplug and step away from your business on a regular basis.
Whenever I take time off from your business, I come back with greater perspective and clarity about what needs to be done. And much more energy and optimism.
Here are mini-resolutions to consider:
- Schedule vacation time weeks and months in advance.
- Schedule time during the day and week when you’ll unplug from work and do something fun, like go out to lunch with a friend, go for a hike, play music, etc.
- During the day, if you suddenly find yourself getting tired, step away. Drink water. Take a walk. And don’t be afraid to take a quick power nap. I’ve started doing this every so often and it’s amazing how re-energized you can be after just a 20 minute nap in the afternoon.
And here’s the #1 New Year’s Resolution for entrepreneurs…
This one is MY business resolution for 2012…
To bite off LESS than I can chew…
…to stay focused on my business plan, and not deviate significantly from it for the entire year.
2011 was “The Year of ADD” — we were trying to do too many things at once.
At one point we were literally trying to create 4 businesses at once, which is pure insanity.
Even if you know it’s the right thing to focus… it’s still really hard to stick to the narrow course when you have so many options.
And I’m not alone…
One of the curses of an entrepreneur is we’re too “greedy” with our goal-setting…
I see this all the time in my entrepreneur friends and clients…
Entrepreneurs consistently under-estimate the time and resources it’ll take to get stuff done, because we really think we can do it all…
And it’s usually NOT TRUE!
There simply isn’t enough time in the day.
But once you begin to really focus our time, energy, and resources on your single best opportunity, rather than spreading yourself thin, you’ll notice immediate, positive results.
And, once you start seeing results from narrowing your focus, it’s addictive, so it’s easier to keep focusing.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to FOCUS, here are 2 simple questions to ask yourself…
2 Simple Questions to Find Your Focus
1. What worked in 2011?
What activities, strategies, tactics generated the most customers?
Also important: what did you enjoy doing the most?
2. What didn’t work?
Of all the business projects you took on in 2011, what didn’t work? What failed?
What was frustrating, a waste of time and effort?
And don’t focus on fixing what’s broken. Instead, focus more of your energy on what’s already working.
You’ll grow faster, and you’ll have more fun, too.
Alright, hope that helps!
I’m off to work on my FOCUSED 2012 business plan… and unplug for a couple hours. :)