You and I are heading towards 2017, and the best time to prepare for an awesome year is right now. I dove through dozens of books, hundreds of videos and thousands of blog posts in 2016, and this is what I’ve learned:
#1: Massive action is the most natural state of action.
#2: Structuring each day of the week gives you more control over what you do.
#3: Sometimes opportunities come to you when you stop obsessing over them.
#4: As you don’t give up on yourself, you’ll be fine even if the world gives up on you.
#5: Every minute you spend self-criticizing is another minute that you can’t get closer to your dreams. Life is too short for self-criticism.
#6: Your story plays a big impact in how people view you, how many products you sell, and the power of word of mouth marketing for your brand.
#7: Before you grow your email list, you need to create a system for generating revenue for that email list so your other efforts aren’t in vain.
#8: Do anything you can to move forward each day.
#9: The less resistance there is between you and your work, the more you will accomplish.
#10: All pleasures are temporary. The impact you have on others is permanent.
#11: If you aren’t using Instagram then you are really missing out.
#12: If you ever get written up on a website like The Huffington Post, and you want to be a contributor, ask the person who mentioned you in the article to introduce you to the editor.
#13: If you are remarkable, the opportunities will come knocking on your door instead of the other way around.
#14: You need an arsenal of products and an emailing plan that ties them all together to get more sales from your email list.
#15: Reading 10+ books every year is doable if you do a little reading each day. If you read 30 pages per day, you end up reading 900 pages each month. Combine that with audiobooks and you’ll read more than 10 books per month in no time.
#16: It doesn’t matter how many books you read. While more is usually better, what matters is implementing what you learned from those books.
#17: Having hundreds of millions of users doesn’t make you safe. I never expected Twitter to shut down Vine, and I never expected the people at Blab to shut down their service (although Blab is concentrating its efforts to come out with a better Blab 2.0).
#18: We make decisions about people before a word is said. Within most lengthy interviews, the decision is made within five minutes and the rest of the interview is verification of that decision.
#19: We don’t like being told we are wrong. Don’t tell people they are wrong. Craft a different story that resonates with the audience without telling them they are wrong.
#20: It’s better to share a message in one sentence than it is to share the same message in two sentences. Value your readers’ time.
#21: There are so many times during which you can acquire more knowledge such as during a drive, while doing your grocery store shopping, while waiting on the train, and a long ride to your vacation destination. Audiobooks and podcast episodes make learning much easier.
#22: When reading a book, rush through it and underline the important stuff. Most of the books can be condensed into 20 pages. You want to get the important insights out of each book you read, not the same stuff you’ve been reading in all of the other books. If you commit to reading 10+ books each month about your niche, some things will sound familiar within the future books you read.
#23: The moment you stop giving yourself goals for the day and week is the moment your motivation will start to wane. If you don’t give yourself goals for the day, you’ll feel lost for some of it.
#24: Launching a podcast is a great way to connect with other influencers in your niche.
#25: Don’t be afraid to ask anyone for a favor that benefits both of you. If you told me in January that I would have interviewed Seth Godin, Neil Patel, and many others by the end of the year, I would have thought you were crazy.
#26: Going back to the other lesson, I would have given you a stranger look for telling me that I would start a podcast in the first place. I denied myself the chance for two years. Then, before I could think about what was happening, I sent emails to influencers as if I already had a podcast. Once some of these influencers wanted me to interview them, I was committed.
#27: The more freelancers you hire, the more motivated you will be to make more revenue.
#28: Get into other people’s networks because you never know what opportunities await you.
#29: Face-to-face is still the best way to communicate with people.
#30: To produce the same effect online, you need to communicate with that person for a few months. While it takes a few months to produce the same effect of a face-to-face conversation, it is possible to create that level of connection on the web.
#31: Never stop learning new things.
#32: Don’t repeat the same things if they aren’t helping you to move forward.
#33: Twitter automated DMs work for acquiring more leads. Some people will get annoyed, but others will click through and become subscribers.
#34: If you are the smartest person in the room, you need to be in a different room.
#35: Always overestimate the amount of effort you need to apply to accomplish any given goal.
#36: If you keep producing content without investing a heavy amount of time towards marketing that content, you will be the world’s greatest secret.
#37: The social media landscape is very different from when I first started. I wish Twitter could go back to its prime sooner, but if I were starting today, I’d still start with Twitter. It’s been easier for me to meet remarkable people on Twitter than any other social network.
#38: Instagram is a close second though.
#39: Do one new thing every day.
#40: For each minute you spend doing something, you lose 60 seconds that could have went to something else. Use your time wisely.
#41: Market conditions won’t improve until you change the way you think.
#42: Taking action is a natural response to having passion for your work.
#43: Do multiple podcasts once the first podcast performs well.
#44: Advertisers must never be your primary source of income.
#45: Blogging doesn’t make you stand out anymore. Blogger is the crowd. For every 2,000 bloggers there is one podcaster.
#46: Create content calendars so you know exactly what you will produce each day of any given month of the year.
#47: The last slide in a presentation is critical. That’s when you promote yourself.
#48: If you are looking for a new shirt, you can custom make a shirt on Zazzle that features your SnapChat QR Code. That way, people can take a picture of your shirt and then automatically follow you on SnapChat.
#49: Growth hacking is as simple as changing your mindset.
#50: In a world dominated by Siri, Cortana, and other built-in virtual assistants, having an FAQ page is more important than ever since people ask those virtual assistants QUESTIONS about their niche.
#51: Retention is more important than acquisition.
#52: If you want to be a blogger with 100K visitors per month, hang out with the bloggers who get 100K visitors per month.
#53: Analyze the entire lifecycle of your customers and optimize each phase of that lifecycle.
#54: It helps to know the event organizer if you want to land the speaking gig.
#55: Info overload costs 25% of our time.
#56: Your brain needs energy but energy is not infinite. While I always understood the brain’s impact on the body, hearing it described in that manner made me realize my need to acquire more energy.
#57: Like eager puppies, new emails beg for attention. I always knew that new emails grabbed our attention, but this was a metaphor that had to make the list. I came across the metaphor in Ned Hallowell’s book Driven To Distraction At Work.
#58: Most of us pay continuous partial attention. Focus is the hidden driver of excellence.
#59: Viewing problems as games (or for my generation, video games) makes it easier for you to solve those problems. Part of my success was when I drew the connection between building a business and playing video games.
#60: You get better by dwelling in your success, so stop focusing on what went wrong.
#61: Happiness is wanting what you have.
#62: Challenge your brain to do different things. For instance, I recently started writing with my left hand. Now I’m decent and getting a little better.
#63: Reading helps you sleep faster. Guess when I start reading.
#64: It is in giving that we receive. People feel better about themselves when they donate money than when they make money.
#65: Write down 10 ideas every day.
#66: When David Letterman was still hosting The Late Show, the room’s temperature was strategically lowered to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, Letterman’s voice sounded more crisp and the audience was more attentive. That’s knowing your environment!
#67: If we don’t create and control the environment, we are control by the environment we dwell in.
#68: It is important to adjust your leadership based on your followers’ readiness.
#69: If you want to say certain things at a meeting or behave at a certain way, carry an index card with you that tells you what to do during the situation.
#70: Ask yourself active questions (not passive questions) every day (i.e. Did I do my best). These questions need to reinforce your commitment.
#71: Ask yourself “Am I getting better” multiple times each day.
#72: We become more fatigued as we are forced to make more decisions.
#73: Marginal motivation produces marginal results.
#74: If you change your behavior, you change the behavior of the people around you.
#75: For SEO, you must do the greatest amount of work and initially anticipate the least return.
#76: The best way to create a successful blog or website is to focus on the user experience.
#77: Think about the buying process and use that knowledge to write blog posts adding value based on specific stages of the buying process.
#78: Write a guest post on an authority site that links back to one of your blog posts. Then, repeatedly link to that guest post in your other writing to increase the link juice of that guest post. It’s easier to rank guest posts on authority sites high, and by doing so, the blog post you linked within the guest post will get a lot of traffic.
#79: Bullet points are easy for us to read. Use them more often.
#80: If you want to like someone, play a mental trick on yourself and think of that person as a long lost friend from 20 years ago. It works…even for an 18-year-old.
#81: Your eyes are grenades that have the power to detonate people’s emotions. Profound eye contact signals trust. I wish I could take credit for the prior description of eyes, but that goes to Leil Lowndes who wrote How To Talk To Anyone.
#82: Posture is associated with success. Practice good posture each time you walk through a door to turn it into a habit.
#83: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
#84: Work ethic isn’t just a duty. It’s also spiritual.
#85: If you write notes but forget to write how you will take action based on those notes, you are taking notes wrong.
#86: Launch stacking makes each launch better than the last.
#87: To get more revenue, you can increase the number of your customers, increase the amount of revenue per transaction, and increase the quality of transactions.
#88: Focus on increasing your opt-in rate instead of whether you’re slightly below or above average. Getting slightly above average only makes you slightly better than everyone else. With the slightly better mindset, it is IMPOSSIBLE to dominate your niche in any way, shape, or form. The only person you should ever compete with is you.
#89: The data you obtain from a survey to your audience will help you create a high demand lead magnet.
#90: Email swaps (cross promotion to respective email lists) are a great way to get hundreds of new subscribers in a single day. Just make sure you only conduct email swaps with people in your niche.
#91: If your emails don’t look good on an iPhone (or any smartphone), you are missing out on a big chunk of traffic from your email list.
#92: Create two different versions of the same autoresponder. Split test virtually every part of your business to see what converts better.
#93: Offering a bonus related to an affiliate product you are promoting will result in more affiliate sales.
#94: 64% of people will open your email based on the subject line.
#95: AIDA = Attention, Interest, Desire (emotion), and Action.
#96: Some companies give their employees the same type of email address. If you can detect which pattern is used, you can contact anyone on the list. For instance, several high schools use the model of the last name followed by the first initial of the first name. If Joe Schmo went to Schmoville High School, the email address would be email@example.com. With this pattern detected, you know someone’s email address just by knowing the person’s name. Well-known magazines like Inc, Huffington Post, and many other magazines and brands follow a rule of this nature when assigning email addresses to employees.
#97: Instagram’s API rules make schedule pictures annoying, but it’s worth the effort. I schedule my Instagram pictures for a certain time and date. HootSuite then notifies me on my iPhone letting me know that now is the time to manually post the picture. Then I do so.
#98: Life is always better with an optimistic worldview than with a pessimistic worldview.
#99: Some would say the way I got into The Huffington Post and Inc Magazine was pure luck (people contacted me out of the blue about both opportunities). That “pure luck” was seven years of work (more than a third of my life) leading up to those respective moments.
#100: Reflecting on the lessons you learned is a great way to remember them in the first place.
Drops mic until 2017
This is my final blog post of 2016. I’ll come back to this blog post on occasion in 2017, so this has been for both of us. I appreciate you being a part of my journey in 2016, and I look forward to serving you in 2017 as well.
What have you learned in 2016? Did any of the lessons on this list strike a chord with you?