Five Smart Things You Can Still Do in 2009

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Copyblogger is about to go on our annual holiday hiatus. We’ll be taking a break from posting while we catch up, get rested, and get excited about what we’ve got in store for you in 2010.

You may be taking a little time off yourself. Or you may still be going into the office, but the last week of the year is often a time when routine tasks slow down or stop altogether.

So what’s the smartest, most productive use you could make of the next seven days?

Here are five ideas that will let you take what some people think of as “dead time” and use it to jump start your year in 2010. Doing any or all of these will get you energized and excited for the year to come.

1. Create a quick product

The biggest obstacle most bloggers face when they want to make money is they don’t have anything to sell.

And the biggest obstacle to creating something to sell is that it seems overwhelming. We feel like we’ve got to distill everything we know into a 400-page ebook or 30-hour marathon audio course.

That’s why I was so impressed by a recent post from Dave Navarro about creating a product over a weekend, and his follow up post on
how to know if it’s the right time to create a product.

If you’ve got even one or two slow days coming over the next week, take Dave’s advice and create a small, low-cost product. It doesn’t matter if you have four blog subscribers, three of whom are related to you.

A few people may buy it, and that’s great. They’ll tell others about it, and that will start attracting the targeted audience you need in the future (generating more sales).

More importantly, it will elevate you in people’s eyes as a solution producer and not just a blogger. Big difference.

2. Write a series

If the idea of creating a product is still too scary, put it on your calendar for January. And instead, every day for the next seven days, write a post for a series for your blog or email newsletter.

What should your series be about? It should be about the most compelling, thorny problem your audience regularly faces that you’re passionate about fixing.

Solve some problems worth solving. Don’t wimp or waffle around, and don’t sell yourself short. Give your audience real answers they can start using right away.

3. Reconnect with your favorite bloggers

Sometimes the “social” in social media threatens to eat every minute we’ve got to give.

If you find yourself with a little down time next week, spend a few minutes and reach out to some of your favorite bloggers in your topic. You know, the ones you haven’t had any time to read in the last six months.

Read through their last 4 or 5 posts. Look through their archives or popular posts. Make some intelligent comments. If something useful presents itself, link to them in your series.

4. Create some audacious goals

I know, I know, nothing is more boring than telling you to set goals around this time of year.

But here’s the thing. Wildly exciting goals lead to wildly exciting results. (Not always, or even often, the precise results you visualized. Don’t let that worry you.)

Some time before December 31st, take an hour and write down the most perfect imaginable day for yourself. Where you wake up (and with whom), what you see, what you have for breakfast, what you do and where you go and how you do it. How you feel about everything you’re doing and seeing. How you look. What you smell and hear.

Use every ounce of writing skill you’ve got to make this description vivid. Sell yourself on it.

And try not to be too “realistic.” Let your dreams soar a little.

Then set a reminder in your calendar to take a look at this “perfect day” once every three months in 2010. Each time you revisit it, re-copy what you’ve written, making any tweaks you want to.

I promise you, in December next year, you’ll be a little spooked by some of the “unrealistic” things you wrote down this year, and how much more realistic they’ve become.

5. Sign up for some high-quality (free) education

If you haven’t joined us yet for Copyblogger’s free Internet Marketing for Smart People e-newsletter, you should sign up for it now. It starts with a 20-part course on some of the most important building blocks to marketing your product or service online.

The newsletter will give you the marketing tips and techniques that work in the real world, including the smartest strategies for marketing with social media. And we do it without the annoying sleaze and hype you see from too many other “gurus.”

If you’re planning on putting one (or all) of these into action by December 31, let us know in the comments! (And then come back on January 1 and let us know how you did.)

About the Author: Sonia Simone is Senior Editor of Copyblogger and the founder of Remarkable Communication.

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Comments

  1. Hey Sonia,

    If a itty-bitty product solves a itty-bitty problem, then it has value. It might not be huge, but that small problem still needs solving – and your low-cost product fills that need.

    Thanks for sharing Dave Navarro’s links. I too was in the mindset that a product needs to be a gigantosaraus rex.

    This opened up my mind to the possibility of solving small–but real–problems with mini-products. And the side-effect of positioning yourself as a solution provider rather than simply blogger. Even if you don’t get much sales, you push your intent and message (and thus the perception of you) in that direction.

    Awesome. I’m on it.

    Thanks again (and too Dave too of course) and have a happy holidays,
    Oleg

  2. Ahh, a rest well deserved. Happy holidays to everyone @copyblogger

  3. Sonia,

    I read your blog posts immediately, you always have something relevant to say.

    I too have found that re-writing goals on a regular basis, whether it is daily, weekly or quarterly has a unique and wonderful power over your subconscious. Anyone who uses this method will find they accomplish more and larger goals than they can imagine.

    Thanks for reminding me and validating that I am on the right path.

    To everyone’s online success in 2010.

    Mark

    PS I am going to share these insights on my blog with my readers.

  4. These are all great. I especially like the 5th one. Learning something new is a great thing to do with doown time.

    How about a 6th one: Both literally and figuratively, clean up your office.

    If your a messy person, like I claim not to be, then taking the time to clean up your office, your hard drive, your address book, etc., can both increase productivity and by finding the remnants of ideas and projects started and not finished, and you know there are some, stimulate great ideas to kick off the new year.

    It’s also a good idea to step back and clean up the virtual office in your mind. What exactly was accomplished in the last 12 months? What did you learn, like, wish you had done better? What went really well? What was important and what not so much? Take the quiet time to sort through the past and focus your efforts for the future.

  5. I love these! I’ve been spending this slower time reconnecting with fellow bloggers on a more personal (human) level… and I can’t say enough good things about that!

    Also, my audacious goal is to leverage the power of social media to achieve Peace on Earth. You did say “audacious,” right? ;)

  6. Sonia,

    Doing some quality reading is a very good point!

    I am with you and second #5. – Mike

  7. Excellent ideas to get me in motion on creating something to sell. That is my major goal for 2010. Thanks for the kick in the pants! Merry Holidays & Happy 2010!

  8. Sonia,

    I’m working on my Editorial Calendar and getting excited about the possibilities and opportunities on the horizon.

    Creating a quick product is the #1 thing on my list, too. I want to create a special report to offer to my subscribers and expand on that report to create my first ebook. I need to get going on accomplishing that goal.

    From the beginning of December, I’ve been implementing these ideas you’ve listed. I’m tweaking and reinforcing for a better return on my investment of time, money and effort! :-)

    Things are finally coming into focus . . . clarity is a wonderful thing!

    Happy Holidays!

  9. I’m gonna see if I can do all five. I need direction and focus; 2010 needs to be my best year ever and it’s my job to make that happen.

  10. ‘Some time before December 31st, take an hour and write down the most perfect imaginable day for yourself. Where you wake up (and with whom), what you see, what you have for breakfast, what you do and where you go and how you do it. How you feel about everything you’re doing and seeing. How you look. What you smell and hear.

    Use every ounce of writing skill you’ve got to make this description vivid. Sell yourself on it.’

    Bravo Sonia. This tip is more like for real writers and not just for blogging.
    The whole post is again very useful.

  11. Great list, Sonia! And great links from Dave as well.

    I love New Years. The shaking of the annual Etch-a-Sketch is always inspiring, and I’ve never looked forward to a new calendar more.

    I’m ready for January, with most of my content already written. I will start on product development shortly. For the rest of this year, I plan to read, read, read. I have King’s Under the Dome (with one Sequoia’s worth of pages), plus an awesome stack of classic copywriting and marketing books I can’t wait to devour.

    Happy holidays to all the Copyblogger crew and community! It’s been an awesome year!

  12. Thanks, those tips are definitely going to help me through the holidays.

    I’m planning to still blog when I have time, but there have been a TON of problems with a video that I’m making, not allowing me time to think up new ideas. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to do that later in the holidays, but not now.

    Writing a series definitely protects against that and keeps readers coming back. I’ll be sure to incorporate it today!

  13. Perfect, when brilliant minds think alike. I tweak my perfect day every 90 days. Why you ask? Because as I grow and things improve my idea of perfect changes. Make sure you keep it fresh and you respond to what is showing up in your life with gratitude. When you do that you get more of what you want.

    Merry Christmas

  14. @Michele, that “perfect day” exercise has been transformational for me. I felt a little dopey doing it, but now I’m a believer.

    @Iris, awesome, keep moving!

    @James, that’s a really good one. I just did a major cleanup, not just of the surfaces, but the systems. It’s so helpful.

    @Joel, all right! All five! Let us know how you do with ‘em.

  15. Creating a “quick” product is a GREAT adjective to use to make things more appealing and get me into action. I am going to start using this all of the time :-)

    I will make a “quick” dinner
    I will go for a “quick” jog
    I can do a “quick” load of laundry
    Let me “quickly” iron that top

    Oh yeah, this is going to be a useful word to incorporate into my self-talk!

  16. Great post.

    There’s always time to do these things, but I’d rather prefer doing it slow and provide quality, instead of making a quick ebook and making it crappy.

    Looking forward to see what copyblogger has to offer in 2010.

  17. Sonia, have you been looking over my shoulder today? I read Dave’s post about two hours ago. I’ve started product #1, and have ideas lined up for products #2 through #5.

    It’s liberating to think small and fast, instead of laboring to create a “gigantosaurus rex” (love that!).

  18. Sonia,

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been reconnecting with all my favorite bloggers, which is definitely been a good thing.

    Not only that, but I encouraged myself to start my blog NOW, rather than wait till 2010 when I was planning to start it. Sure, it may not be perfect, and sure, I may be stuck with a free host for now, but you know what? I’m happy I started it when I did. It’ll give me a perfect little ‘push’ into 2010.

    Great post, once again. =)

  19. Sonia

    Fabulous! As a visual thinker I draw that picture in my head each day of the perfect day but never wrote it down. the end of a year is aways such a time to reflect upon the events of that year but this year, no looking back on what was, only looking forward to what will be.

    Enjoy the time off … I will be burning the midnight oil so that next year, I get the week off!

  20. nice tips for newbie in internet marketing and make money online like me, now i have extra ideas to start it in the next year

    thank Sonia for sharing your insights

  21. I was busy on your number 3 suggestion when I came across this post :)

    Congrats on keeping the momentum building in 2009!

  22. I’ve been a big fan of Sonia’s for some time now – joined “Teaching Sells” because I enjoyed her posts so much. And that was before I knew she had pink hair. The ideas in this post will help me focus on what I really want to do in 2010. As a newbie I have been flitting here and there, testing the water to see what interests me and how I can best make money.

    Quick Product – I find that if I don’t understand something, it helps me if I research it thoroughly and then teach it to someone else. For me, preparation for teaching clarifies and focuses the information, turning it into useful knowledge. You’d be surprised how much French I’ve learnt since I started teaching it. I shall use this item to sort out a couple of problems I have and then pass the solutions on.

    Series – Currently engaged on a couple. My problem is not the writing – it’s getting the sites set up to which I can point the series. Working on that this week.

    Bloggers – yup! and Twitter – I shall set myself a daily target. Without broadband social media is very time-consuming but our mayor promises we will have broadband by the end of January. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

    Audacious goals – I probably need to be told to be realistic. Audacity comes naturally especially since I read “Think and Grow Rich”. Why didn’t I know all this stuff when I was younger?

    Free education – Am learning as much as I can and as fast as I can. My secondary goal here is to keep the synapses firing.

    Don’t give up. You really don’t know what’s around the next corner. The quality you need most in life and on the internet is persistence. So, 2010, bring it on, we’re ready for anything you may throw at us, good or bad but more good than bad, please.

  23. Think the better way to change our blog is reconnect with our favorite blog. Sometime it can make me have some idea behind their old post.

  24. Thanks for the great advice. I don’t have a product to sell, I don’t have enough articles for my blog (i cannot even start a email newsletter because of that). I will start to think about a product now. Thanks

  25. Really inspiring! Ill let you know how it goes…

  26. Flyss, great story! I’m glad things are looking up for you — family does mean more than anything else. I thank God everyday for my family during these tough times.

    I’m ready for 2010, too. And, I’m determined not to give up . . . I’m committed to taking action and moving forward.

  27. From my point of view the best for 2010 is to think back to 2008 and what you have put on your list for 2009.

    If there are some action items not achieved yet – put the on the list for 2010 again and try harder :-)

  28. Flyss, thanks for sharing your story! Thinking great thoughts for you for 2010. :)

  29. Not bad but I am just wondering if it can turn my holiday season into something really business-like. :)

  30. Alinsson Mullins :

    Thanks for this insight! This is definitely some valuable information that I will use before 2010 and the rest of the year.

  31. I love the idea of creating products to elevate others’ perception of you beyond just a blogger. I think it’s true that if you have a product, it adds some sense of credibility . . . it’s it’s good of course.

    Also, I just (re)discovered iTunes University. Some great free education. Just audited a class from Stanford and I highly recommend it.

  32. Thanks very much for these tips. Have a happy and prosperous New Year to all.

    :)

  33. A nice collection of last minute (2009) ideas – a little something for everyone. And, we could use these ideas any time of the New Year, too!
    Not everyone can come up with a new product to market, or can produce a series of articles on a topic, but everyone can improve their social media life by making new blogging friends or re-connecting.
    Making goals for the new year is a timely idea.
    And sharing free educational courses is a generous gift, befitting the season.
    Enjoyed your post. Thank you.

  34. TO:

    To Sonia and the staff at CopyBlogger. Take a well deserved break and rest up for 2010. All of your regular readers are counting on you to provide us with inspiration, support and advice in the coming year. I know you make my days a little brighter. I especially enjoy the way you seem to effortlessly connect with so many different types of readers. That is a gift not many people have.

    Steve Benedict

  35. I can’t wait to really delve in to all copyblogger has! I am especially looking forward to writing a series and creating audacious goals!

  36. Creating the product to 1. inform, 2. create an ‘expert’ perception of me, 3. prove to me that I can do it. These all make more realistic reasons than to make my millions selling the product.

    I know too many SWEET bloggers who don’t post. Difficult for me to interact with them when their last post was spring of 2009. Write, baby, write.

  37. I have such a love/hate relationship with the new year every year. I’m not a huge fan of new years resolutions since I feel that when we want to make a change we should consider any particular day to be the best day, and not just the 1st of the year.

    I like this post because you’re letting us know the smart things we can still do this year.

    Most people tell us the 5 smart things to do in the new year. No sense in waiting.

  38. I think people give up too quick on the year they are in (2009) and start thinking about what they want to achieve next year, seems like all the goals start coming out at the start of December these days! Even in the 2 days that we have left this year there is a mountain that you could achieve if you really put your mind to it! What is the point of taking ages to set a ton of goals if you are just going to give up on them all by the end of Jan? I think like you say people should focus a little more on there here and now :)

  39. @Marshall & @Niall, I agree, I think most people just figure they’ll throw December out altogether. :)

  40. Well, here goes:

    1. Still needs some formatting, but the first week of January I’ll be launching my $9 mini-product “(6 Steps to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love) Step 3: Finding Practical Passion” (um, yeah, step 3; I’ll get the other five done later)

    2. Seven parts plus intro: 7 Writing Imperatives (http://www.notwhatimeant.com/category/style/7_writing_imperatives/)

    3. Reconnected with the folks on Tom Peters’ blog, said hello to John Moore’s Brand Autopsy, been getting around a bit and have tools set up to keep it up.

    4. My perfect day, which is totally viable for 2010: http://www.somedaybox.com/now/#perfect-day-2010 (I wrote it out by hand, but wanted it online too)

    5. Hey, I’m already subscribed to IMSP, so I was ahead of the game.

  41. Nice work Joel!

  42. Well I think goal setting is important, if you really take goals seriously. The issue with most people is that they start off with audacious goals in the beginning of the year and give up too early.

    It already early in 2010, but its not too late to set goals for the year and get really serious about them!

  43. Sonia,

    Great post. I’ve done 2, 3, 4 and 5. Well, it wasn’t free. I signed up for Nick Usbourne’s Million dollar secrets to online copywriting. It’s worth paying for it too. I’m not sure about a product in a weekend. Seems a bit ambitious to me.