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Takeaway Lessons from 2010, the Good, the Bad, and the Great!

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs:

We are getting ready to dive into 2011 and it's a good time to take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year and start setting new goals for next year. With that in mind, the question I asked our experts this week….

What was your big takeaway lesson from 2010
– either good or bad?

I think you'll find the answers this week surprising and interesting, and hopefully they inspire you going into the new year.

Connie Ragen Green of says:

My big takeaway lesson from 2010 is that we all need to publish our writing online. It has never been easier to self-publish, and there are a variety of ways to do this. During this year I self-published a full length book, Huge Profits With A Tiny List, using Amazon's Create Space service. It is completely free to do this. I also published this book for the Kindle. In addition, I created an audio book on CD that is available on Amazon.

Next year I plan to write and publish a variety of audio books, short reports, and another full length book. My goal is to publish something new every month in 2011 by repurposing what I have already written or recorded as an audio.

Take a close look at what you have already written or recorded, such as articles, podcasts, and blog posts, and then get that information published so that it reaches people from around the world who do not yet know you. This works in any niche, and will bring you opportunities that you may not ever have otherwise.

Lynn TerryLynn Terry of Clicknewz! says:

This is certainly not a new concept, or something I haven't considered through years before, but the one thing that stood out to me most throughout 2010 was this:

Expanding on what you already have is much more profitable and productive, than starting something new. Selling more of a report you've already published is easier than creating a new product to sell. Getting more traffic to the pages you've already published is easier than writing new content and getting it to rank well.

Basically, do more of what's already working. Expand on the assets you already have, taking them to maximum profit potential. Improve conversions, increase rankings, look for new ways to reach your market. This is much easier (and smarter!) than creating more products/pages/etc… with everything only operating at less than it's best.

It's the easiest way to earn more, in less time and with less effort.

Susanne Myers of says:

“What was your big takeaway lesson from 2010 – either good or bad?”

I actually had two big takeaway lessons in 2010. The first one was to get rid of some of the clutter (both physical and emotionally) so I can focus on the important stuff that's making me money. The second was to get products launched regularly.


I went back to having an actual desk this past year instead of just working on a laptop from the kitchen table or the living room couch. This has a couple of advantages for me.

1) I have a place to keep my books, to-do lists and I have a big whiteboard as part of my desks that helps me stay focused.
2) I'm less distracted by other stuff going on around me and I'm mentally “ready to get some work done” as soon as I sit down at my desk.

I also sold my interest in a pretty profitable website. I still believe in the site, but it was taking away a lot of my focus. I kept finding myself thinking about the site instead of working on one of my other projects. It was just time to let it go. I'm amazed at how much progress I've made on things like Affiliate Niche Packs and my link building courses since then.

Launching Products

Launching new products or even new websites can be a bit scary. What if people don't like it? What if it just isn't good enough. I'm sure I'm not the only one that struggles with this kind of stuff (in fact I know because I've talked to a few others about this). Here's the thing I learned this year – I've got to jump in and do it anyway. Sure, not everyone will like everything I do and there will always be some that will complain about something. But the important thing to keep in mind is that for every person that doesn't like what you're doing, there will be dozens of others who will greatly benefit from it. I learned this year to focus on the positive replies and just get stuff finished and out there. One of the beauties of running an online business is that you can always go back and edit / improve things later on.

Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D. of says:

For me, the Big Biz Lesson of 2010 was finally bringing my Southern personality into my business.

This all started when I began to use the short audio posting service, AudioBoo. One day, after I had almost finished recording a piece on what my favorite Southern fast food restaurant was doing with their marketing, I ended with “Bye y'all!” The following day, since my next audio wasn't about anything Southern, I just ended with a plain good-bye and immediately got emails and social media posts asking, “Where's the Bye y'all?”

So, from that day on, I began to inject more and more of my Southern personality into my marketing…in my blog posts, into my social media communications, into my newsletter and into my videos.

And it's paid off…in increased visibility for me and in a persona that is recognizable, memorable and fun for my customers and clients. So don't be afraid to bring the “real you” into your marketing. You'll have more fun and your customers and clients will love it!

Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of says:

Focus. Focus. Focus! Like everyone I know, I love the bright shiny object.

I'm insatiably curious so I always want to know what “she” is doing or what “he” is selling – and how. Add to that my love of creating products and I
found myself totally overwhelmed with things to do!

So in 2010 I pared down my product line from more than 50 – to just 8 “lead” products. And I can tell you – it's much easier AND much more profitable
promoting only 8 products, instead of 50! (Hmmm, wonder what would happen if I only had 4 to promote?)

My advice: Look for ways to do less. You'll be able to promote more easily, track fewer things, and end that frantic activity that is overwhelming you!

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

For me, this is a tough one to answer. This year has been rough in a number of ways. It's been a series of highs and lows for me with a lot of life and business lessons learned along the way.

And, of course, everyone else's answers were so great. They covered pretty much everything I was thinking.

It's funny that several of the expert's answers above do not have to do with actual marketing. They have to do with ‘mind stuff' like focus, perfection, overwhelm.

In reading the answers, it made me think again about perfection and fear — the two ugly sisters. So, I dug out a video that I recorded earlier this year.

I watched it again, and it hit home. Sometimes I think “Gosh I'm smart!” lol.

I hope it helps you in the new year, too.

If you like the video, you are welcome to post it on your blog, too.

Grab the Embed code here.

I have a few other lessons that I learned (or re-learned) this year. But those will be posted separately. 🙂 I don't want to take the focus away from the great answers above!

It’s Your Turn.


So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What was your biggest lesson that you learned this year? I’d love to hear your comments!

Nicole Dean

PS. I have created brandable ebooks from several of the previous Expert Brief columns that you can use to earn commissions by giving them away.

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Leigha Baer, Charleston Internet Marketing Consultant

    I absolutely, positively LOVE this post Nichole! Very inspiring and I just can’t share it in enough places. What great info!

  • Val

    Definitely focus. This is both the good and the bad. I saw how being spread out or taking too many VA clients hurt my business. Then I directly saw how focusing brought in instant profits.

    2011 is all about keeping my focus 🙂

  • Mary

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Nicole: imperfect yet profitable in 2011! I let the 2 sis’s get me good in 2010 and I am starting over in 2011. The underlying lie of ‘Who do you think you are to do that?’ has got to be thwarted! I can be someone who does something profitable and beneficial in 2011, who finishes just one thing I’ve started.

    What each of the other accomplished ladies shared are gems I will hold onto and keep close to me throughout this coming year. It will be good to post again at this same time on your blog next year – a future testimonial: Do what’s suggested…Claim the results…

    Best for now,

  • Kim Roach

    Hey Nicole!

    I love your Expert Briefs 🙂

    I’ve been going through the archives and reading all of those as well.

    But I especially love today’s topic!

    Some of my biggest breakthrough’s this year have included:

    Video Sales Letters – Video sales letters have increased my conversion rate from 2-3% to 8-10%.

    As you can probably imagine – this makes a HUGE difference in your business when you can quickly create a high-converting sales process.

    The best part is that you don’t have to be a world-class copywriter to create killer video sales letters. In fact, I pretty much stink at traditional sales letters. But, I have found a very effective formula for creating highly-converting video sales letters. And I use the same formula every time I create a new one.

    Plus, their super quick to create. I can whip out a video sales letter in a couple of days where a traditional sales letter would take weeks.

    So you can instantly start bringing your products to market much faster.

    Speed of Implemention is another key that has transformed my business in 2010.

    In business, especially online, speed of implementation is the name of the game.

    It’s so easy to read and read and read and learn and learn and learn but if you
    don’t implement and take massive action – nothing happens.

    Even the wrong actions are better than taking no action 😉

    Because you learn insanely valuable lessons simply by taking action.

    No one is going to give you a perfect business plan or the exact steps that you need to take. This is not like a job where someone tells you exactly what you need to do each day.

    You are in charge of your own success.

    No one else was going to make it happen for me so I was going to do whatever
    it took to make things work.

    And that often means doing things BEFORE you’re comfortable doing them.

    Whether it be doing your first webinar, your first live video, approaching your first joint venture partner, etc…

    It’s gonna be scary at first 😉

    But the more you do it – the more comfortable you become.

    As I often tell my subscribers – ‘The biggest growth in your business lies OUTSIDE of your comfort zone.’

    Another big key I learned in 2010 was to focus exclusively on the high-leverage activities in my business.

    This is kind of like the 80/20 rule.

    And for me, the high-leverage tasks in my business include:

    Creating Killer Content
    Writing Emails to my subscribers, customers, and affiliates.
    Recruiting Affiliates
    Integration Marketing
    Forum Marketing / Free WSO’s
    Warrior Forum Banner Ads
    Interviews / Webinars
    Testing for Maximum Conversion

    These are the sort of activities that are going to have the MOST impact on my business.

    But as we all know, it’s very easy to get tied up in the minutia of business.

    It takes a lot of work and laser-focus to stay zoned in on the high-leverage

    And the other big breakthrough for me has been creating a 100% Instant
    Commission Affiliate Program.

    We released a product about 3 weeks ago and we’ve already had 853 affiliates
    sign up to promote.

    But the surprising thing is that I’ve done VERY little active recruiting on my side.

    Most of it has been incredibly organic – which surprised even me.


    There were certainly a few key ingredients that played into that.

    First, the affiliate program was seamlessly integrated into the sales process so that customers we’re invited to join the affiliate program as soon as they purchased.

    This alone has 40% of our customers signing up as affiliates.

    Plus, in addition to that we’re giving 100% instant commissions – paid straight
    to their PayPal – which is a HUGE benefit to affiliates.

    Lots of people get confused and they think you’re giving away the farm.

    But nothing could be further from the truth!

    As long as you’re building a proper sales funnel, 100% commissions is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.

    I wish I’d done it a LOT sooner.

    The front-end product acts as a lead generator.

    So now you have affiliates sending you massive amounts of traffic and building your list for you.

    And if you set it up correctly – affiliates will send you all the traffic you could ever want.


    This got crazy long.

    2010 has been an exciting year…

    But I must say – I’m hungry for more and can’t wait for 2011!

    Thanks so much for all that you do Nicole.



    • Susanne Myers

      Hi Kim,

      just had to reply… you made some really excellent points here and your figures on video sales letters are very interesting. It’s definitely going on my “to-do” list for this year.

      I’m with you on stepping out of the comfort zone and taking action, even if it seems a little scary at first. Every single time I’ve done this my business has gone through a major growth spurt. This year, I’m jumping out of that zone 🙂


    • Loretta

      WOW! I haven’t done any video sales letters because I never watch them, I prefer to read the text versions personally, but those numbers are really hard to ignore. Making a note to check that out a little more in depth in the new year 😉

  • Sinea Pies

    My big takeaway for 2010 is that we all need one another. As we write, comment and share innovative ideas, we all win! We cannot do it on our own.

    My second biggest is, sometimes you have to let go of a pet project in order to concentrate on the fields that are bringing in a harvest. I launched my writing at and though I have enjoyed it, the revenues were not there. As I develop my own blog and introduce a new one very soon, I have to take paid positions or assignments that will drive traffic to my site. So, my first venture had to go by the wayside.

  • Loretta

    2010 is such a blur for me, where did it all go? I spent a lot of time in a medicated fog this past year, I think, with some health and wellness issues. That kind of stunk a little and it definitely had a down effect on my business in that I wasn’t setting goals, and therefore wasn’t achieving any goals.

    For quite awhile I was just kind of floating along, day to day, trying to get basic tasks taken care of. In turn that made me realize that it would have been a good idea to have a better outsourcing structure in place ahead of time, so that on the days I was not at my desk making the dollars I could have had a team working for me without having any frustrations.

    The actual “bad” part of 2010 was that I didn’t meet my overall annual goals for growth or for income, but even that leads to the “good” part of re-evaluating what those were so that I can do better in 2011. Starting it all off by attending NAMS this month and in August and writing up an outline for two affiliate sites to add some passive style income to my portfolio.

  • Lisa Wells

    2010 was my risk-taking year… I took a huge risk – I changed my business model, invested lots of $$ in a program, created products and programs – the whole enchilada. It didn’t quite pan out like I would have liked. Reality set in so I changed my business model back to what was working and now business is taking off again.

    But that’s what I love about this business, we can change it to whatever we want and if it works, great. If it doesn’t, then we can change it again to make it work.

    For 2011, I hired a business coach for the entire year. I believe this will help me a lot with my focus, trying new things (January we have to create a video and omg I am really putting it off), leveraging, and streamlining.

    Susanne, I did the laptop-on-the-coach for a couple of months and everything started hurting from sitting all slouchy so I moved back to the office too 🙂

  • Lisa

    Wow, this is an awesome post with some great insight. I can completely relate to Lynn when she says it’s easier to expand on what you already have going on. If I’m not making much money with one blog then why start another? This will be my main focus in 2011. To increase earnings with what I already have going and to stay focused {read: do NOT start another project until I have bought current ones to their fullest}!

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