Obviously, everywhere you look this week, people are offering advice about what to do differently in 2012.
What to focus on. What habits to cultivate. What to stop doing. What to do more of.
Productivity, health, getting enough sleep, flossing your teeth.
I thought I’d join the fun and ask some of the brightest people I know — namely our brilliant Copywriter guest writers (plus a few friends of the blog) — to share their favorite “Pro Tip” for the new year.
So why read this list instead of a hundred others?
Because these are people who have built something worth having. They aren’t just talking about success, they’re creating it.
Some of them have “big name” blogs and some are well on their way, but they all have something to teach you. So without further ado:
31 smart ways to have an absolutely amazing 2012
Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
Don’t mistake busy-ness for effectiveness. Work on what matters, and don’t just be a whirlwind of activity. If you’re a blogger and you’re not creating content, you’re not doing what’s most important.
Chris Brogan, ChrisBrogan.com
This is the big year for video. If you haven’t jumped in, jump in this year. If you’re in, but still “phoning it in,” get in deeper. Make great video and make it matter to your business. Good lighting and good sound aren’t expensive, and editing does actually matter. Make this the big year for video for you and your business, and watch the rewards come to you.
Susan Daffron, The Book Consultant
Step away from the computer. Your best writing ideas rarely arrive when you’re sitting at your desk. Take time for yourself and have fun with the people (and pets!) you love.
Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics
The insane way to getting things done, is to try and reach your goals all by yourself. As the African proverb says: “If you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go with a group.”
Jonathan Fields, JonathanFields.com
To stay sane, productive and creative, pulse and refuel. Ninety minutes of intense focused work, then 10 to 30 minutes of any activities that completely removes you from work. Meditate, Walk, exercise, listen to music, eat great food. This allows the part of your brain responsible for problem-solving, attention and creativity to refuel and helps stoke self-regulation — aka willpower — that keeps the mean-nasties and distraction at bay.
Chris Garrett, Authority Blogger
One thing I learned from 2011 is that you can’t do this on your own. You have to network and connect, you need to collaborate. Another key lesson I am taking into 2012 is to implement. Take your ideas and test them, and don’t concern yourself with achieving perfection. Treat your projects as experiments not exams!
Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing
It’s easy to want to go for a broader reader base as your blog gets more traction and it’s usually the worst thing to do. Be fanatical about upleveling the people keeping your lights on and it’ll work out much better for you in both the short and long term.
Jeff Goins, Jeff Goins Writer
When it comes to content marketing, the secret to success is helping people. Want to sell something? Teach. Need help networking? Serve. This business is all about earning permission and building trust; be over-the-top generous and see if people don’t notice you.
Jennifer Gresham, Everyday Bright
There are two kinds of mentors: those that help us develop a needed skill and those that help us cultivate the life we want to live. The former requires depth of experience, the latter breadth of experience. No matter how smart, talented, or successful you are, make sure you have at least one of each.
Chris Guillebeau, ChrisGuillebeau.com
To be awesome in 2012, ask what the world truly needs that you can genuinely provide. Then, spend some time every day for the rest of the year building that thing. Better get to work: you only have 361 days left.
Amy Harrison, Harrison Amy Copywriting
When you get overwhelmed by other peoples’ projects, step away and write. Whether jotting down ideas, or creating a blog post, just stuff everyone else and build your own bank of content bit by bit. Keep producing, publishing and testing and you won’t go far wrong.
Derek Halpern, Social Triggers
In 2012, stop promoting your silly social media profiles, and instead, build your email list (that’s what real businesses do right now, and it works beautifully). You might think your readers and customers are different, but they aren’t. They read email just like everyone else.
Lewis Howes, LewisHowes.com
In order to go big in 2012 with your business you’ll need to focus on three main things. First, overcoming your fear of failure — this will allow you to move forward with the things necessary to breakthrough. Second, staying focused — too many times we paralyze ourselves simply by lack of focus. Third, being consistent. Those who consistently take action win in the end.
Josh Kaufman, The Personal MBA
Change the structure of your environment to support your goals. Behavioral change is easy when you STOP relying on willpower and START making small decisions to change the world around you. By making it impossible to do things you don’t want to do, and brain-dead easy to do things you want to do, you’ll get more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
Jennifer Louden, Teach Now
Identify an “ouch” spot in your business, like “How to engage students in my e-course?” or “How to format my newsletter?” Ask yourself, “What could I learn today that would help?” It’s so tempting to believe there is something wrong with you or your business when you get stuck, to forget that while you are surely an scintillating expert in your subject, you probably aren’t such a fount of knowledge in all that it takes to get your great work out in the world. Zero in on what you need to know right now, and get into action today.
Ali Luke, Aliventures
Get a friend to help edit your work, especially if you’re working on a paid product (such as an ebook) or a crucial part of your blog (such as a sales page). It’s incredibly hard to spot your own typos and clunky sections – a fresh pair of eyes makes a huge difference.
Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick one or two places that really matter- your blog and Twitter, say, and stick with them through thick and thin. Worry about the other places a lot less. You can’t be “everywhere,” and the ones who try never succeed.
Jon Morrow, Boost Blog Traffic
Instead of just setting goals for this year, also set sacrifices. Here’s the idea: your life is already too full, and if you’re going to add anything, first you have to take something out. So, decide what you will sacrifice. Is it your family? TV time? Perfectionism? Sleep? Job security? For every goal, choose one sacrifice.
Erika Napoletano, Redhead Writing
The question I get asked the most is “How do I expand my audience and reach more people?” The answer is to be yourself. It’s entirely too much work to be someone else and people can see through it in an instant. Be you, be true, have an opinion. Opinions start conversations — being wishy washy sends people running. Which do you think will help you build a following faster?
Amber Naslund, The hidden startup …
Have a day without calls or meetings where you can control your own pace and work on projects that motivate you. Workaholism isn’t impressive, and it doesn’t make you a rockstar or a martyr. It makes you burn out fast and hard. If you want a shot at kicking ass in 2012, recommit some time in your professional schedule to improvise or reset.
Sean Platt, Ghostwriter Dad
Every writer should be taking advantage of the Kindle, even if you don’t plan on making a full living through publishing. Many writers think self-publishing isn’t worth it since the dollars are low unless your sales rank is high. And while that’s true, front end dollars aren’t the only reason to publish. Using Amazon to publish your eBooks is one of the best sources of lead gen in the world, and smart writers should take advantage of the opportunity.
Roberta Rosenberg, MGP Direct
Read your copy aloud in a natural speed and cadence. It’s the fastest way to identify typos, weird tense changes, inconsistencies, run-on sentences, and non-conversational language. (Even faster tip? If you run out of breath reading a sentence aloud, it’s too long. Shorten it.)
Pamela Slim, Escape from Cubicle Nation
When building your business this year, remember that skill, competence and results are built by thousands of tiny actions taken on a daily basis. Once your main goals for the year are set, break your week, and day, into a handful of tasks so small they are almost insulting. Then execute for 365 days. Your results will be so much stronger than a string of all-nighters followed by 3 months of recuperation.
Stanford Smith, Pushing Social
Make your own rules and challenge the “best practices.” Remember it’s your business, your blog, your organization and you have to live with the results. No one ever made a difference by selling themselves short or preaching from the middle of the pack.
Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie
If there’s a key word for me in 2012, it’s going to be this one: Precision. There’s so little these days separating the business winners and losers, and we need to find every little advantage we can grab. We need precision — in our decision-making, in the quality of our products, and, most importantly, in our processes. How can we get this precision? The best way I know is to do something very analog in this digital world — talk to your customers. They’ll tell you everything you’ll need to know to get it.
Carol Tice, Make A Living Writing
Just ignore the negativity out there. Put your head down, make your plans, and market your ass off. There will be loads of opportunity out there for anyone who can offer something that helps people.
Johnny B. Truant, JohnnyBTruant.com
If you’re serious about producing something that’s unique, meaningful, and truly yours, do yourself a favor and pick up Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. You can read it in an afternoon. Most of what’s stopping you from getting what you need to get done is you, and the sooner you see exactly how that’s happening, the sooner you can start making your mark.
Andrea Vahl, AndreaVahl.com
Create an editorial calendar for Facebook so you don’t have to wonder what to post every day. Schedule at least 1-2 posts per day and make sure you are building in posts to promote your business (sales posts should be no more than 10-20% of your overall content). Maybe Monday is a helpful link in the morning and a social question in the afternoon. Tuesday could be a featured fan and then a hot tip. You get the idea.
DJ Waldow, Waldow Social
Whatever you do, however you feel, remember to smile and laugh every single day. If you are not having fun, why bother?
Pamela Wilson, Big Brand System
A writer I knew once was blocked
The blank white page sat and mocked
He took a short nap then
Filled out a mind map
And the exit for words was unlocked
Dan Zarrella, DanZarrella.com
Don’t be fooled by unicorns and rainbows myths about social media. Demand real data and science to prove every piece of advice you hear.
What’s your Pro Tip?
What’s your very best advice for how Copyblogger readers can have an incredible 2012? (If it’s a tip you need to implement yourself, that’s fine too!)
Let us know about it in the comments.
About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Share your favorite pro tips for fabulous success with her on twitter.