Three New Year Business Resolutions You Should Steal

business resolutions

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist

I’ve watched a volley of Youtube videos about making New Year’s business resolutions and realized they’re…

A) too complex and cumbersome to follow through
B) too focused on specific measures which you can’t control

Without further ado and blahblah, let’s kick-off 2017 with a bang of viable online actions:

1) Set goals you can truly influence

I have good online friends who are going to self-publish their debut novels this year. Their aim is to hit at least 10,000 book sales, which sounds like a reasonable goal for a newbie.

But there’s one problemo.

You can write the best book, have the best editor work on it and launch with the best marketing and STILL bomb. Why? Maybe the timing is bad, or maybe your topic isn’t relevant as you thought it was. Exact and big goals are nearly impossible to pull off because there are a lot of things beyond your control.

Unless you’re a Jedi-turning-Sith, you can’t make people buy your stuff, only encourage it.

Check out the goals below to differentiate between controllable and beyond-your-influence:

  • Writing the best evergreen article on e-mail marketing VERSUS aiming to get 100,000 views on it
  • Launching a well-edited e-book on freelance work VERSUS selling it 10,000 times
  • Reaching out to 50 customers in a day VERSUS getting 50 customers in a day

You get the idea.

My goals for this year are to publish three well-written and edited sci-fi novels, relaunch my website and focus on personal brand building on Medium and Instagram by bi-weekly posting high-quality content. I don’t include the numbers of subscribers, sales and views because I can’t control them.

Set yourself goals that you can nearly 100% control. Everything else is going to flush your confidence.

2) Aim, fire, forget

The web has democratized product creation and shipping. If you launch a ‘bad’ website, you can rework it ASAP. If you self-publish a book and customers tear it apart because of factual errors and writing mistakes, revise it, or take it down and relaunch it. You will likely never die from screwing up online, no matter how much your lizard brain wants you to think so.

2016 was the year I over-procrastinated. I wanted to launch three books and launched ONE. I wanted a new blog theme and rework my site and failed to do both. I wanted to level up my consulting clients and I didn’t.

The bloody reason? I overthought.

I believed that pondering the problems would lead to a solution that I could implement. Foolish me.

If you don’t get the customers you want, if you don’t make the sales you need, over-thinking won’t help you. The web world and its customers are too complex to solve via your limited brain resource.

Action and direct feedback are your real salvation.

You need to ship ideas and products to receive feedback you can work with.

You need to showcase your work on different networks and ask the people who enjoy the success you want.

If you have a sales page and wonder why only few people act on it, don’t over-think it. Rephrase your call to action, include better client testimonials and/or change the freaking color of your buy button from red to orange and see what happens.

Hence the aim, fire, forget approach:

  • You aim (figure out what do you want—write & sell a book, create a membership site or sell products?)
  • You fire (you launch your e-book, product or course)
  • You forget (meaning you fix your current project but also focus on the next launch)

Even if you e-book gets ignored and your course collects digital dust, you either change the product or launch something new and better. Failing is dirt cheap in web, and will be even cheaper in the new year.

3) Dominate your diversification

I’ve written a post about three drastic marketing changes, arguing that a portfolio on a popular platform like Facebook or Instagram brings you more customers than a portfolio on your very own page. Well, call it kick by karma or a dent by destiny, but my reliance on a single source punished me.

Instagram, which has become my visual online portfolio for illustration work, had disabled my account in December 2016. When I typed in instagram/marsdorian, every single artwork had disappeared, and so had every comment I’ve ever written on friends’ accounts.

It was as if I never existed in the first place.

When I tried to log in again, the app told me they took down my account for violating the terms of service. Worse, they didn’t tell why or which upload caused the shutdown.

They crossed me out without a clue.

For the majority of the night, I pestered technical support which was notoriously difficult to work with as they were known for ignoring complaints. Eventually, I ended up sending them verification codes that I had to draw on a physical paper and photograph with my head.

24 hours later, a guy from customer support confirmed my account was back online. No one ever told me why it was ever taken down in the first place.

During that period I’ve learned that I’m nothing but a number to a big social network. With hundreds of millions, if not billions, of followers, you’re a tiny percentage easy to ignore.

I’ve googled similar cases and found wedding photographers with 50+K followers who lost their accounts forever. The number one customer acquisition tool got wiped out on a whim, killing their biz.

Ungh.

To avoid that from happening, I’m reworking my income sources for 2017.

Here’s my current basic diversification:

  • Book sales from Amazon (single marketplace, but only one part of my income)
  • Illustration customer acquisition via my website’s portfolio, Instagram and my personal networks
  • Design commission work through my German web network
  • Article writing for popular blogs like *cough* Mark Schaefer *cough* etc.

I have at least four ways of income, all originating from diverse sources. So if a social network like Instagram disables me for good, I won’t face career extinction.

Dominate your diversification.

So that’s my take. What business resolutions are in store for you in the coming year?

mars dorianMars Dorian draws funky illustrations and pens sci-fi thrillers for the Internet Generation. His latest novel is available on Amazon for just $2.99! Consider his artwork for your next project: http://www.marsdorian.com

Original illustration by the author.

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  • Lori Gosselin

    Hi Mars,
    I like your approach to 2017! Aim, fire, forget. It’s fun to have a lot of things cooking as the year begins! There is real power in diversification. This year I plan to publish a book about community building and a children’s’ book 😮 Both are heavily populating my schedule for the first two months of the year, as I move them both forward.

    To support those two projects, and to support the intention of reviving my blog to it’s hey day of great conversation, I’m watching TED talks (instead of time-wasting movies) and reading two books every two weeks – a fiction for inspiration, and a non-fiction, for, yes, a different kind of inspiration. Life is short, no? There is no time to waste.

    A wonderful 2017 to you Mars! I hope your four avenues bring much prosperity and happiness to you.
    Lori

  • Katarina Andersson

    Great approach, so many really do talk about their goals and resolutions and often that makes my feel intimidated, as setting goals like x number new clients, x number new followers and leads etc…Often I feel I will never reach such goals…So I like your way of thinking here. 🙂

  • Hey Katarina, I tried that for the last years, and it never worked. Getting specific goals beyond your influence (e.g. I’m selling at least 10K copies) is likely to fail, and when it does, you confidence evaporates and thus lowers productivity. I’m going to try the ‘new’ approach now and will see if actually brings me better result. In any case, I’ll write another post about the experiment.

  • Hey Lori, good plans.

    I’m going to ‘steal’ your reading goal–one fiction book and one non-fiction to mix the (inspirational) storytelling with the education. Sometimes, those goals converge, like with the biography about Elon Musk. Grrreat stories and educational lessons.

    I, too, wish you much success with your community building book and other ventures.

  • Lori Gosselin

    Yes, exactly! I’m going to look for some inspiring biographies. I so enjoyed reading Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s Memoirs. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

  • Katarina Andersson

    Hi Mars, cool, I agree with you…I will take your example and try something similar. Normally, I am not good at setting goals as they in the end, as you say, are never reached and you just feel like a loser afterwards. Then I also find it a bit stressful with all these people all the time asking you which your goals are and if you have your to-do list ready… AS a translator and wine writer/social media strategizing for local wineries…when a translation comes in or you need to suddenly go to a winery, your to do-list is just poof…so I prefer to have some weekly things I know I need to do, but without writing down that they have to be done for ex. at 10 am on the Tuesday. As long as it gets done, even if at 4pm on the Friday…that all right…Looking forward to your next article.

  • Organizein Losangeles

    Good Job, excellent article, i loved it the way that you explained,

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