It's now 2009 - are you clear about what you need to do this year to take your business to the next level?
When I started IM 10 years ago I remember thinking that it would be a matter of months before I was making enough to quit my day job.
Well, even though it was easier to make money online in some respects back then - it took me almost 3 years before I realised how to make money in any decent way and not just dribbles of $20 here an there in bursts.
Time goes really quickly and while I learned a lot about IM in those first 3 years, I never really did have a proper plan or any real reason for expecting to make good money other than that I considered myself fairly intelligent and willing to work hard.
It turns out that intelligence and hard work aren't pre-requisits to making money, so the lack of a clear plan was enough to keep me spinning my wheels.
When I speak to most people starting out they're in the same mindset I was at the time and the thought of making money is what's driving their actions, but when you look at the activities they're doing - they really have no rational basis for the expectations they have about what they're looking to make.
Article marketing is a classic example - it's very much a throw them up and see what sticks activity on its own, but when used 'on' a business it can really make a difference.
With many niches you can simply reverse engineer what's already working and make a plan, so it doesn't have to be complicated - but having some form of plan is almost essential (luck will always get some people there whatever they do to reduce their chances).
So, while you're thinking about how great 2009 will be - take a look at what you did in 2008 and ask yourself - Was I walking the talk? Did I actually DO the things required to get me to my goals or did I do a lot more thinking than doing.
Here's a few things that have helped me:
1 - Having a clear outcome in mind.
That sounds simple but I actually used to spend a lot of time on things I never planned to do (especially when visiting the WSO section ) So just being clear what you're trying to achieve and only doing things which support that can be huge.
2 - Making sure that each new project in some way is supported by those you've done before.
It's MUCH easier to get new projects off the ground when they build on things you've done before. This means things like not diversifying away from what's working so far that you're starting from scratch with every new web site. If you can point traffic, readers, customers from existing sites to the new one, you can make money right away every time you launch.
3 - Leverage
This is what's going to take most people to the next level of income.
Working with other people, outsourcing, using existing material where appropriate - these things can ramp up your effectiveness way more than any extra hard work you could do yourself.
4 - Hard Work.
Ok, it's not actually 'required' necessarily, but hey when you look at how you spend your time, if more of it is watching tv than working on your business - you're in the wrong business or you're not actually in business.
I'm pretty lazy but when I get my business running the way I like it, working doesn't feel like work so it works well on all levels.
Take a look at the place where you do your work - does it make you feel productive and motivated? (maybe some new year decorating is in order) You may even want to create a home-office if you don't have one, and for some people renting office space can change their mindset and remove them from distractions enough to make it very worthwhile.
5 - Get out of the house.
Whether you're going for a walk to get some fresh air and endorphins or going to a seminar to meet other like-minded people and get motivated, far too many people sit at home doing IM and end up thinking that it's the be-all and end-all.
It's just an activity - it's not YOU.
It's just an avenue of activity - it's not everything. Offline marketing should play a part in your business.
Build a business that you love telling people about and that they'll want to support you in. Don't make your business all about Adsense or generic stuff you're not really bothered about - or if you do, put it into a larger context (supporting a charity, helping elderly family members etc...) so that your business means something more than how much money you make.
Whatever you do - DO IT!!!
Have a great 2009