Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#680: Experiencing Content Creation Burnout? 5 Powerful Strategies I Swear By

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#680: Experiencing Content Creation Burnout? 5 Powerful Strategies I Swear By

AMY PORTERFIELD: Well hello there! Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Amy Porterfield here and as always I am delighted that you're here with me today! 

Now, I know I always say this but I am especially excited about today's episode because it's all about getting ready for the New Year. There's just something exciting about starting over and reevaluating, tweaking, shifting, streamlining. I must admit, I'm a little bit of a planning junkie. I say that proudly, because I think my planning abilities have gotten me to some big successes, but sometimes I love to just stay in that planning mode because I feel so comfortable there, so this is kind of a dangerous area for me. I've got to get in and get out quickly. 

With that, I thought “Why not make an episode about streamlining your planning phase, so that you get all your goals set, you're ready for the New Year and then you can start out just running, really just putting things to action right away in the New Year.” So that's what this episode is all about. 

When I was planning this episode I started to wonder how other people actually get things done and how they plan and set their goals. By other people, I really mean those that I admire and those that I personally know are getting really big results in their online marketing businesses. So what I did is instead of just wonder I reached out and asked these people. 

Specifically, I asked Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn, Melanie Duncan, Chris Ducker and Michael Stelzner how they plan for the New Year. How they set goals, how they get things in motion. That's what I'm most excited about this episode. It's extra special. Not only am I going to share my best planning tips with you today but I’m also going to share with you personal planning tips from these pros. Because they recorded their planning tips especially for this episode, you get to hear it in their own words, which makes it even better! 

During this episode, I want you to take this time to really focus on your business. My hope for you is that you actually take these tips and strategies and put them to action right away. If you're listening to this podcast before the New Year, it's obviously a great time to start planning for the New Year. However, if you happen to stumble upon this episode well into the New Year, it is never too late to plan and get more strategic about your business. Don't let the time of year hold you back. Document your goals and start working toward them. 

Let's go ahead and dive in to Goal Setting Tip #1. 

Goal Setting Tip #1 is to get very specific. You've heard this before, but it's actually easier said than done. Before I get into the specifics of getting very specific, I want you to do a quick exercise. Maybe not now, but at least jot down this exercise so that you can do it after this episode. 

That is to grab a piece of paper–we're going old school–grab a piece of paper, fold it in half, and on one half of the paper I want you to write what's great or what worked. On the other half of the paper, I want you to write what needs to improve or what didn't work. 

And I want you just to do a brain dump. A full flood of every idea that comes to you all about the last 12 months. I want you to really focus on what worked for you, what got you excited, what did you love to do, what did your customers love, what made you money? Ultimately we've got to focus on the revenue in order to have a really successful year. So what worked for you? That goes all in that first column. 

And then I want you to really focus on what didn't work. What were the failures? We all have them. What didn't work, what was really frustrating to you, what stopped you from moving forward, and–this is something most of us don't really reflect on–what should we stop doing? 

When I actually answered that question, “what should we stop doing in my business?” I freed up a bunch of time and cleared out a lot of stress for me and my team. So what should you NOT be doing anymore come the New Year? 

One thing I'm not a big fan of when I'm doing my goal setting is I'm not a fan of reinventing the wheel every single year. Meaning I don't have big plans to create a bunch of new programs and products for the New Year. And the reason for this is because I already have three programs that are selling really well. I have FBinfluence, 

FB Ads Insider, and Facebook Marketing Profit Lab, and they all did really well this year. 

So instead of creating new programs, I realized what I need to do is focus on updating them more. I need to focus on making them  better  and  streamlining  them  and making the member's area for each of the programs more user-friendly to enhance the new member experience, and I need to focus on marketing smarter. Because if they already work this year, I can make them work even better next year. I can make the programs better, the content better, the marketing better. So for me, because I had such a good year this year, I need to repeat what I've done but then just make those experiences even better for me–and my clients, of course. 

That doesn't mean that you won't see new content from me this coming year. I have plans to at least create one new workshop and then I have plans for a huge boatload of free content. Because, again, I did this “what worked/what didn't work?” And what worked really well this year are my free webinars, my free content that I put out there. I get so many emails from people that are just thanking me for putting out great free content that they could really use right away and get results! 

My free content not only builds loyalty with my customers and my potential customers but it gets my name out there. It attracts new fans and followers. Free content is something I really need to focus on for the New Year. I need to do more of it than I even did this year. 

Now, getting back to you and your business, I want you to get clear on what worked, what didn't, and also what are you really enjoying doing right now? Because that, the feelings of what you're doing, the emotions behind it, are really going to play a part in what you succeed in. 

Before you start writing down goals for all the new things you want to create for the New Year, I want you to first focus on enhancing, improving and optimizing what already worked for you this year. There are so many people you still have not reached out there that really could value from your knowledge, your content, your programs, your products and services. 

I want you to make what you already have done BETTER and focus on getting it out there in a bigger way. And then of course, build in some room for new content, new programs, but first focus on what's already working and make it better. 

I thought it would be valuable for you to hear what's on my 2014 planning and goals- setting document. I think your goals should fit on one page. Meaning, if you have pages and pages of notes and goals and details for the New Year, you are likely not going to focus on all of them. Keep it simple and concise. 

Here's some detail from mine. 

The first thing on my list is all of my revenue projections. How much money I'm going to make and where is that money coming from? Before you say “Amy, maybe you shouldn't put so much focus on making money, and revenue maybe shouldn't be at the top,” I have a whole different perspective about making money. That's because I am great friends with a guy named Stu McLaren. 

Stu's in my mastermind. He's the owner of WishList, creator and owner of WishList. And what Stu did for me is he really changed my perception about making money. He has this great quote, he says “Money is a leverage tool for impacting more lives than we could ever reach on a personal level.” I love that! Because this year was the first year that I was able to make a really big donation, and it felt INCREDIBLE. 

I made a donation to Stu's charity where he builds schools in Africa for underprivileged kids, and it was such a great feeling to know that I could give back. All this hard work of creating these programs, products and services and churning out all this free content and traveling around the world speaking, it's all so very important to support my family and save for our son's college and put food on the table and pay our mortgage. That part? Really important. 

But being able to take that one step further and giving back in such a big way just really made things even more exciting for me. I never really experienced that feeling until this year, and I just wanted to share that. That's why putting revenue at the top is so important to me because I know I can contribute more to other people's lives what I'm doing well in my business. As long as I'm creating content that I know is the best content that I can create, and will help people build their businesses online, then that's really, truly what it's all about. 

Revenue is at the top of my goal setting list. Basically, I have it broken out in terms of how much money I'm going to make with each–I call them “funnels.” One funnel might be the Profit Lab, Facebook Marketing Profit Lab. I'm doing the program two times in 2014, and so I have projected revenue for both. 

And then I'm also going to do some affiliate partnership, so I'm going to promote other people's programs that I believe in. B-School, Marie Forleo's B-School is one of those programs. I'm only going to do a few. I've selected just a few that I know are life- changing to people. And B-School is one of those. I'll link to it in my show notes. It's one of the best programs out there to help you build your online business from start to finish, really. It covers so much. So I built in some programs that I believe in. 

In addition to that–so I have B-School, I have the Profit Lab, and I also have a launch of my Facebook ads program. I recently updated the entire program. So every single video in FB Ads Insider has been updated. Because I have plans to update that pretty regularly, I'm going to do a promotion just to my email list all about that program. I have that built in to my revenue. 

In addition to that, I've built funnels inside InfusionSoft, which is the tool  I use to build my email list and send out emails and also my shopping cart and all that good stuff. Infusionsoft is truly my tool of choice for all of that. And I've built out some funnels in there, so when you join my email list you get a free giveaway, a four-part video series of how to build your email list with social media. 

And then through time I send these new subscribers information about my other programs. I've got a funnel working for me on auto-pilot, meaning when I'm sleeping it's still working, and I have that all built into InfusionSoft. So I have revenue coming from that every single day. 

As long as I focus on list-building, really building trust and affinity with my audience, then those funnels will work on auto-pilot for me. Good stuff, right? 

Now, I'll tell you this. These goals that I've set, and the funnels that I've put in place, meaning where the money's going to come from, I probably couldn't have done that so precisely two years ago. It's taken me a few years to really understand what works, what doesn't work, what I should repeat, what I should get rid of, and how much money I can expect to bring in per funnel that I've created or project or campaign or whatever you want to call it. 

Now I have a pretty good sense, although, you know, some of it's a guestimate of course, but I have a pretty educated guess of what I can produce with all of these programs. For you it might not be as specific, but you can at least put down a revenue projection for each of the programs you have, or the programs you plan to create. I encourage you to really get specific here as much as possible. 

My next section is all about contribution. I want to make an even bigger contribution next year, so that means I've got to do even better next year than I did this year. That's one thing that really pushes me forward. Another way that I feel like I can contribute in the New Year is to connect more with my prospects and my customers and past customers and my peers, people that I communicate with daily online, but I never really get to see in real life. 

And so we've created a thank you letter a day campaign. What we're going to do is next year we're going to send a thank you letter every single day, and we're doing it Monday- Friday. I told my team we can take the weekends off. But every single work day, we're sending out a thank you letter. I'm talking snail mail, you know me, a little old school. 

I like to actually write the letter, make it personal, put a stamp on it, and send it out. The reason we're doing this, I felt like this year I didn't connect with my clients, and my audience as much as I'd like to. I put my head down, I was focusing on these big projects, I was probably a little more stressed than I'd like to admit, and I really want to show my gratitude and get out there and thank those people that have allowed me to create a business that I love. I know I couldn't do this without my customers and my audience. So we're doing a thank you letter a day. 

And what I've done is I've actually created a schedule for my team. So week one of every month is my week, where I write the thank you letters. Week two it might be Rebecca. Week 3, Izma. Week 4, Trivinia. So I've got three people on my team that are pretty regular. They're going to actually get involved as well, because they're in the trenches. They're getting all those customer support emails, they're working with my clients, so they have an intimate relationship with them as well. It's going to be a team effort, but we're doing a thank you letter a day. I'm really excited about it. I think it will ground me and really remind me why I'm doing all of this. 

One more thing in the contribution section is I'm going to focus on wowing my customers. When I see an opportunity to go above and beyond, I'm going to do so. I've given my team permission to do so as well, meaning maybe one day we're sending flowers to someone, or another day I'm just picking up the phone and calling a customer. These are probably a little bit more rare because they cost money and they take time, but I want to be realistic about it. We all know that we're going above and beyond to wow our customers in order to connect with them at a deeper level. 

My next section–so we've got revenue, and then contribution. And my next section is podcast perfection. The reason why this is its own section is because I've now gone 

through a full year of podcasting. I usually do two a month. And I LOVE podcasting! I've gotten so much great feedback about it and emails and letters and all that good stuff, so I know it's working well, but I haven't put as much focus on the podcast as I would like. Other projects have torn me away from it, and so I want to get really specific. 

If you want to get very specific about something in your business, one area, make it its own category for your goal setting document. Really focus on it. For me, I have the number of downloads I'd like to get for each podcast, which is considerably higher than I'm getting now, so I was really specific with that number. 

Also, I want to be one month in advance of all my podcasts. Meaning, if I'm recording this podcast now, I don't want it to come out for another month. I really got to get ahead of it because it creates less stress for my team! 

In addition to that, I want to create video campaigns for my podcast. This might not be for every podcast, but one thing that I saw worked really well this year when I did it, is I create, let's say, a 2-minute video telling people about the podcast I have that just came out. Meaning, “Hey guys, Amy Porterfield here! I've got this brand new podcast all about planning for the New Year! You don't want to miss it because I've got some special guests and we're going to cover this and cover that…” So it's literally a video of me on camera telling people about the podcast. 

The reason I'm doing that is I think it creates a special, personal connection. I love to use video on Facebook and YouTube of course. You can use video on Twitter and Pinterest as well. And I think it would be cool to add a really short video at the top of my show notes. So if people do want to watch a quick video–I'm talking one to two minutes–they can get a good sense of what the podcast is all about. It's just one more way of connecting with my audience. 

We'll see how that goes, but my plan is to at least do one a month so that I can incorporate a little bit of video with my podcast production. 

And then the final section–so again, revenue, contribution, podcast perfection and then focused foundation strategies. That's what I call this last section, focused foundation strategies. This is where I'm very specific. 

In the New Year, every single Thursday I'm going to be sending out an email. It's not technically a newsletter but it's something that has value in it, a tip, a strategy, just something that I can teach people or maybe I'm promoting something, but I give a 

little bit of context behind it so people can get excited. Whatever it might be, I think it's really important that you email your list, no matter the size of your list, email your list once a week. They need to hear from you! 

I once heard Brendan Burchard, who's also a really amazing internet  marketer, teacher, trainer, and he said that your open rates go down considerably if you're not reaching out to your list consistently at least once a week. He was talking about the fact that when you don't reach out to these people and it's gone, let's say, 30 days they haven't heard from you, they're less likely to open an email, so what you want to do is make sure you're staying top of mind and giving really, really valuable content. Not selling, promoting all the time, but giving valuable content that they'll see as highly valuable and they'll wanna open your email every single time it comes out. 

For me, it's a Thursday email, and what I need to do is batch that. So on my calendar already, my team has helped me create slots of time, and I'll talk about that in a minute, but slots of time where I write all of our emails for the month. I sit down and that's all I'm doing on one day is just writing those emails. If I can batch this stuff, it means I actually get it done and I'm not rushing last minute. When I rush last minute, it's not my best work, so I'm going to start batching these emails. 

Also, I've changed things–sorry, I'm getting into so much detail, but I think it helps you to see my thought process behind how I've structured my actual year and what I'm going to be doing and what I'm not going to be doing, so you can actually have the same thought process for your business. 

So for the focus foundation strategies, another one is I'm going to write one what I call an “Epic Blog Post” a month. But just ONE. That's very different than a lot of my peers who are writing one a day, almost, or a few a week. It's just not in my nature to write tons of blog posts every single month. 

But I know that my blog posts have been really well received, and they're appreciated by my audience. So instead of writing a bunch of quick ones, I'm willing to write one really valuable, like a mini training once a month. And so I've blocked time to actually write this training. Rebecca's going to help me do some research for each of the blog posts. The first one coming out in January is How to Grow your Facebook Fan Base With Quality Fans That Will Turn Into Leads Which Will Turn Into Buyers. We've already started working on that first big epic blog post. One a month. 

And I'm no longer going to take guest blog posters. I'm just going to focus on getting that one blog post out a month, plus of course we do have a few mini posts that are 

going to come out. I can't help myself. So a few other ones. And then of course the two podcasts a month. So we've got it covered. Every week something's coming out. 

In addition, I have a specific number of how many people I want to add to my email list, so that means I got to get really specific on list building and what I'm going to do with that. And then I've actually built in time each month to update my programs. This was something new for me. 

Last year–this year, I guess–I really struggled with keeping all my programs updated because Facebook changes so much. And what I realized is I just hadn't booked time to update the program. Every month, I'm going to spend a little time updating each program as needed so that at any given time, the program is very timely and relevant and updated. 

For this month, we're spending the entire month updating FBinfluence, so by the end of the year, FBinfluence is going to be brand new. FB Ads is totally brand new, and Facebook Profit Lab, because I only do it two times a year, I've built in time to make sure that is updated before it goes live. 

As you can see, I have a really big schedule of what needs to get done in the New Year, but it's very specific. There's not a lot of new programs coming out, but the programs I have are going to be even better. I've also booked time to get some of this stuff done. Looking at this, it's a lot, definitely, but because I know what's coming down the pipeline I know what I need to plan for. 

Looking at this, this means I can't do a bunch of speaking events in the New Year because I won't be able to actually focus on my revenue generating projects, my contribution projects, growing my podcast and getting my programs updated regularly. There's definitely some things I just can't do. I thought I would break down my goal setting document so you can see what's in that. Now you can focus on what you want to include in yours. 

Before we move into the next planning tip, I thought it would be a good time to hear from one of our special guests. Pat Flynn has a short but powerful strategy that will help lead us into our next goal-setting tip. Let's hear from Pat. 

Pat: Hey, what's up? This is Pat Flynn from, and my goal setting tip for YOU consists of three simple phrases. Write it down, break it down, and take it down. Write it down, break it down, and take it down. Let's talk about each of those really quick. 

The first one is it's really important to write down what your goal is. Actually picking up a pen or pencil and writing it on a white board or piece of paper. When you do that, consciously, you can see what your goal is and you have something to work towards, because we all have a lot of goals in our heads. When it's our head, it's not clear, because there's all this other stuff in there. But when you can pull out and extract that goal and see it on paper, it gives you something to work towards. You actually look at it. You wrote it down yourself and it gives you something to strive for right there. 

Secondly, break down. What I mean is, take that big goal you just wrote down and break it into mini goals. A lot of little mini goals that will help you reach that big goal, because that big goal can be very intimidating. And that big goal can lead us to procrastinate because we don't know what those next steps are, or we can see that it's something that we're going to achieve not now, but in the future. We can wait just a couple more days, or another month, or another year, before actually making progress toward it. 

But when you can take that big goal and break it down into little goals, into little tasks, and things that you can complete, it really helps you as far as motivation and understanding exactly what your next steps are. And I'm telling you, when you actually write those things down, too, and you complete those goals, and you check them off the list or you scratch them off the paper, you can see progress being made, and that is incredibly motivating to help you achieve that big goal. 

Lastly, take it down. You've written it down, you've breaken it down, now just take it down. Take it down that list task by task, but more than that, just crush it. Take those goals and those mini goals and just KILL them, because that's what you need to do to reach your goals. Take it down. 

Amy: So there you have it. Write it down, break it down, take it down. 

That's a perfect strategy that leads us into tip #2, which is stack your goals. What I mean by stacking your goals is to create your big picture goals and then create a stack of mini goals that will get you to your big goals. I just went over my big goals. You just heard, basically, big picture what my business is going to look like next year. 

What I need to do from there, there's a little bit more work that needs to be done, I need to stack my goals, make those mini goals so they'll lead up to the big goals. 

If I have a goal to grow my email list by 50,000 in the New Year, that means I need some mini goals to get there. Meaning what campaigns am I going to do that will help me grow my email list? What free content am I going to create, like my free webinars? What free webinars can I create that will help me grow my email list? There's mini goals that need to be built inside those big picture goals in order for me to get there. 

I have some more help with this tip, because the idea of these mini goals seem to be a hot topic with my special guests. So let's listen to what Chris Ducker has to say about creating your goals. 

Chris: Hey everyone! It's Chris here from, and Amy was more than gracious in inviting me to be part of what will no doubt become one of her most popular episodes for her podcast on the topic of setting goals and planning your year ahead and that sort of type of thing. 

My tip to sort of put into the mix here is actually half tip, half story, and I'll take you back to very late on in 2009 where I was a very stressed out overworked entrepreneur and working probably on average around 12-14 hours a day, spending very little time with my family, and obviously building my business quite successfully but spending absolutely no real time away from it. 

What I did is over that Christmas period I planned my 2010 out very, very strategically and I had one major goal. This for me is the biggest tip here, is have one MAJOR goal for the year ahead, and then break that goal down into individual mini goals. 

These can be monthly, they can be quarterly, hell they can even be weekly if you want. But what I had in place for that 2010 year is I wanted to become a virtual CEO. I wanted to be almost completely removed from my business on a day-to-day business so I could live my life with a little bit more of a freedom-based approach and not have to go into the office and not end up working all those horribly long days. 

What I did in 2010 with that goal is I broke it down into monthly goals, so January, for example, I was getting myself out of email hell, and taking myself out of email threads that I shouldn't have been in as a business owner, and that sort of type of thing. 

February, I started to hire people to replace me in a number of different areas in my business that I was sort of injecting myself in, as the micromanaging entrepreneur that I was. 

And March, I started to spend more time away from the training floor. April, I started to spend more time away from the Operations floor. 

And slowly but surely as the course of 2010 went by, I did remove myself from the business and actually I hit my goal of becoming that virtual CEO a month early and I did so in November instead of December and it was a great, great feeling. 

My tip here, really, above and beyond everything else is to set that big goal up for the whole year. What it is, it doesn't really matter. It could be starting a new business, it could be launching a speaking career, it could be producing a new product for a new service for your following online. It doesn't really matter. 

But create that one big goal and start breaking it down into mini-goals that you then achieve on a regular basis as the year goes by. It will make you feel good, it will make you feel as if you're achieving something every month, every quarter, whatever the case may be, and ultimately you should go ahead and achieve that main goal over the year as well. 

Thank you very much for listening to me and I wish you all the best in 2014! I'm sure it's going to be an amazingly successful year for you. And to Amy, I wish you more continued success, and thank you very much for allowing me to be part of this episode. 

Amy: As you can see, although he didn't use the word “stacking,” Chris is definitely a fan of the stacking effect, where you stack the mini-goals to get to the big picture goals. With that, I love how he had a focus each month. 

Imagine if you declared a big picture goal and then created 12 mini goals, one for each month, where you really focused on that specific mini goal for 30 days to get it dialed in. Because when you try to focus on, let's say, 10 mini goals at once, there's definitely going to be some goals that just won't get your attention. But if you streamline it and you have one mini-goal per month, imagine what you can do with that. It's a pretty cool way to ensure you stay on track. 

Here's a bonus tip for you. And this one's definitely, again, easier said than done. If you want to ensure you meet your goals, you must get VERY protective of your time. I want you to get very deliberate on how you spend your time. Everyone I know that's highly successful, including all of these special guests I have on the show today, are very deliberate about how they spend their time. I can promise you that many of them say no more often than they say “yes.” 

This year, I read the book Rework. If you haven't read Rework, you've got to pick it up before the New Year! This book could change your business! I'm going to reference it a few times throughout this episode, but this first reference is all about saying no by default. 

This is page 153 if you want to check it out, but I'm just going to read you a tiny little excerpt. It says “It's so easy to say yes. Yes to another feature, yes to an overly optimistic deadline, yes to a mediocre design. Soon, that stack of things you've said yes to grows so tall you can't even see the things you should really be doing. 

Start getting into the habit of saying no, even to many of your best ideas. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no, but you often wind up regretting saying yes.” 

I know I can relate completely, and my team's constantly encouraging me to say no on different things that come my way. And it's very, very difficult. I don't want to let people down, I don't want to seem like I'm not approachable, so I often say yes. But then honestly I regret saying yes. So this was such an important topic for me to focus on. 

Again, be very, very protective of your time. You're going to set all these mini-goals, you need to block out your calendar. What it might look like for you is you choose a day of the week where you do your appointments, your interviews, your calls. Only one day a week. 

Meaning, the four other days of the work week? You are not doing anything but working on the projects that are on your goal-setting list. Getting diligent like that and blocking out time on your calendar can help immensely. 

I have time blocked out for creating my epic blog post or creating the notes for my podcast. I also have time for recording the podcast and updating my programs. All of this, if you looked at my calendar for 2014, is already blocked off. Crazy, right? Not my usual style, but the reason I did that and why I got ready for 2014 in that way, is I really felt the pain of it this year, meaning I was doing way too much last minute, I was stressed, I spent way too much time away from my family because of my lack of planning. 

Now, this year, my team has really helped me get it all dialed in. I have a virtual assistant and she helped me block all of that time. I definitely encourage you to look into it, at least a few hours a week, with a virtual assistant. You can hire a VA for just a 

few hours to help you block out all of those different mini-goals that you set for yourself and that will ensure that you actually reach those big, scary goals that you've set. 

Speaking of big, scary goals, I want to jump into one more guest strategy here, and this next one is from Melanie Duncan. Not only is she going to talk about big, scary goals, listen to what she says about three types of goals that everyone should set. 

Melanie: Hi, this is Melanie Duncan of and co-founder of the Online Edge Academy, and I'm thrilled to be here today to share with you one of my top goal setting tips. It actually is extremely simple. It starts with setting smaller goals. 

If you go out there and you read a lot of goal-setting books or listen to goal-setting audios, most of htem will tell you to set these really big, ambitious goals. But what happens when you set really big goals? Usually the next morning when you wake up and look at that goal again it's very intimidating, so much so that a lot of times we procrastinate and we avoid that goal and working towards it altogether. 

What I've started to do is set easily attainable goals, things that I know I'm going to be able to hit no question, and when I do hit them I feel fantastic! In fact, I feel so great that I normally go on to conquer even bigger and better things. The reason this works so well is because instead of feeling bad about not doing what I wanted to set out and accomplish, instead of getting mad at myself or frustrated, I hit my goal and that allows me to feel motivated and positive and proud of myself. So even though I plan on the back of my mind probably going above and beyond the current goal I have set, it allows me to have a positive experience around setting my goals and to feel good about what I'm accomplishing instead of being disappointed in hitting these goals that honestly were probably unrealistic to start out with. 

You know, a friend of mine, James Wedmore–a friend of Amy's as well–he says you should always set three types of goals. The super-easy goal that no question you're going to hit, the average level goal that's a little bit challenging but still very doable, and then he calls it the “hairy scary” goal–the goal that's really, really far out there, but it's going to push you to above and beyond outside your comfort zone. 

If you still want to set those hairy scary goals, instead of just hitting those, or just setting those, make sure you do it in three stages. That way, you're going to hit at least one of those goals and feel positive about the experience, and go on to do bigger and even better things! 

I hope this information has really served you, and will help you to accomplish even more of your goals in the future. 

Amy: One thing Melanie touched on here is the emotion behind the goal. You really got to think “How does this goal make you feel?” How does it make you feel when you set the goal and how will it make you feel when you actually reach the goal? Emotions and feelings have a lot to do with your success or lack of success in reaching your goal, both in personal and business settings. 

That leads us perfectly to goal setting tip #3, and this one is all about mind set. 

Stay with me here, because some of you might just want the nuts and bolts. “What should I do? Give me specific action items sand I'll run with it!” But if we didn't focus on the mindset of goal setting, we will really miss a huge opportunity to be successful in actually reaching our goals. When I talk mindset, what I really mean in specifics for those of you that want an action item, is that I want you to declare a word or a theme for the New Year. 

This is something that a lot of my peers do. My good friend, Mari Smith, she always chooses a word for the year. I saw her do this many years ago, and I started to do it–I actually choose a phrase for the year. But it's something that really puts my intentions out there and in focus. For me, mine is “work less, contribute more.” And that theme, or that phrase, is very specific to the emotions I felt this year. 

Two things: One, I felt like I worked way too many hours and spent more time than I'd like to admit away from my family. And also, I contributed this year in a big way, which made me feel really good. So there was a feeling I didn't love and a feeling I did love, and I kind of put those together. 

My goal this year, and for my team, is for us to actually work less but contribute more. And the way we're going to contribute more is to work smarter, be more efficient, more streamlined, more optimized. The way we're doing that is we're actually setting these big goals, breaking them down into mini goals and then getting them on my calendar. So, actually scheduling them. 

Tony Robbins had this phrase–when I worked with him, he always said it. “If you do not schedule it, it is not real.” And I firmly believe that! If it's floating around in your head or if it's just an idea that you've written down somewhere, it is not real yet. When it's on a calendar and has a due date, that thing's real. Scheduling it to make it real is really how I'm going to reach all of these goals that I've set. 

So back to that theme–work less, contribute more–the reason why this really hit home for me and why I'm focusing on this in the New Year is again back to the book Rework. Page 25, I think we all need to read it. I’m going to read you a really short excerpt that I think all of you can relate to. 

It says “Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil, they pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It's considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. No amount of work is too much work. 

Not only is being a workaholic unnecessary, it's stupid. Working more doesn't mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.” 

I love that, and it really–it was like “ooh, that hurt” when I heard it, because I was wearing my “work ethic” as a badge of honor. When I worked at Tony Robbins, there were many, many nights that I never went home. And I wore that as a badge of honor because quite honestly at the end I was a little bit miserable because I didn't have my freedom to do what I wanted, and so I just said ‘Yeah, but it's worth it. I mean, I work so hard, I spent all night at the office!” Really, what that just meant is I just worked more. And that is no fun for anyone. 

If you're building an online business, especially if you're coming out from being managed by other people and you're becoming your own boss and building your own business, the last thing you want to do is become a workaholic. So when I read that, that's when my theme for the year really became clear. I don't want to wear a badge of honor and be that workaholic. 

But because I plan to work less, another thing that I found in the book Rework was that I needed reasons to stop doing what I was doing that just wasn't producing good results. 

On page 100, it's all about reasons to quit, and they have this list of questions you should ask for each project that you put on your goal setting document. Everything that you want to include there, I want you to literally ask these questions for each big- picture project. That is… 

  1. Why are you doing this? 
  2. What problem are you solving? 
  3. Is this actually useful? 
  4. Are you adding value? Really think about that one, are you truly adding value? 
  5. Will this change behavior? 
  6. Is there an easier way to do this? 
  7. What could you be doing instead?  And is it really worth it? 

These questions will help you decide if that big picture goal is really supposed to be on that document for you. Is it really resonating with you? 

And also you can use these questions for those mini-goals as well. These are very important questions. If you just decide what you shouldn't be doing, I can almost bet that you're going to make more money next year. Taking away where you're wasting the time is really a valuable exercise in order to see bigger results in your business. 

So, how do you personally figure out your word, your theme for the New Year? Ask yourself, what's important to you? What did you struggle with most this year and what did you accomplish this year? What did you really love doing? What do you want to do more of? These are questions that will help you focus on that word or that theme. 

Speaking of a word or a theme for the New Year, Mike Stelzner and his personal planning tip for this episode, he took this to a new level. Take a listen to what he had to share. 

Mike: Hey there, Mike Stelzner, host of The Social Media Marketing Podcast! My tip has to do with coming up with a company vision statement. This is a really good time to do this as you approach the beginning of the New Year. 

I'm going to read to you the one that we put together for Social Media Examiner and talk to you a little bit about how it works. So first, let me read it. “Social Media Examiner is the world's largest and most respected provider of social media marketing content. We are known for our popular articles, reports, podcasts, webinars, summits, in-person events and our active community. We constantly strive for excellence in all we do.” 

This was written about a year ago, and at that time, these statements were not all factually true. For example, our podcast was only a few months old. We definitely weren't known for it. So the point of it here is you want to come up with a statement 

that is something you can strive for. Something that you hope to achieve. And I can say with a great deal of confidence that we have achieved this. 

Literally what I do in my office is I have this thing printed out and taped on the wall. So every time I get into my desk, I see what our vision statement is for 2013. We're working on preparing our vision statement for 2014, but it should be very simple. It should be a couple of sentences sand it should be something that you're  not necessarily there yet. 

I hope this quick tip provides value to you. Go ahead and put your corporate vision statement together and let your whole team know about it. Make sure everyone's on the same page. If you have a team, talk it through. Put together something that makes a lot of sense. 

My name again, Michael Stelzner from the Social Media Marketing podcast. 

Amy: Speaking of Mike Stelzner, he does an event, Social Media Marketing World, every year, once a year in San Diego, and it is FANTASTIC. I'm often asked “Amy, if I could choose just one or two events to attend each year, what  would  you recommend?” Hands down I would recommend Social Media Marketing World. 

I'm going to speak much, much less in 2014, and the reason being, as I already mentioned, I've got all these big goals. I've got to put my head down and actually get to work. But I would never miss Social Media Marketing World, and as long as Mike keeps inviting me to speak, I'm going to be there for sure, because this event is stellar! 

I mean, he puts so much effort and time and resources into the planning to create this experience that people talk about all year. It's just incredible! Plus, the list of experts he has lined up to speak–that list is pretty dang impressive. I cannot wait to sit in all those sessions and meet people. He has these special outings for networking that we can do. I won't give it away, because he told me recently what he has planned and I was so excited, but I don't think he went public with the special little thing he's planned, so I won't say it here. 

But definitely, I'm going to link to Social Media Marketing World in the show notes because he has a discount going on, so you can actually check that out. If you're planning on what you want to spend money on, what event you want you want to spend money on in the New Year, definitely check out Social Media Marketing World. 

Now, back to Mike's vision statement. I love the idea of creating this word or this theme, but I also can appreciate the value of a vision statement. Creating one you can actually work toward. Meaning, you might not be there just yet, but it's important because if you create a vision statement that you have to work toward, it pushes you beyond your comfort zone. 

Speaking of comfort zone, I thought I would end this episode with Michael Hyatt's strategy for goal setting. This one will really push you in ways that will make you uncomfortable, but will set you up to win. Take a listen: 

Michael: Hi! This is Michael Hyatt from Amy asked me if I would share one goal setting tip with you, and so I thought of this. Say your goals outside your own comfort zone. This has really, really worked for me, and if you think about it in your own life, probably as you look back over the goals that you've accomplished that were really significant, and really meaningful to you, when you began they were outside of your comfort zone. You were uncomfortable. 

In short, this is where the growth happens. This is where the solutions are. This is where the fulfillment resides. The really important stuff happens outside  of  your comfort zone. 

But how could make sure that your goals are set high enough but not TOO high? I look for three indicators. 

#1, Uncertainty. I want to be a little bit uncertain about how I'm going to accomplish it. But if I know I'm going to accomplish a goal at the outset, what's the point? I already know how to do it. I've probably already done it. But I want something that makes me feel a little bit uncertain. Rather than running away from that feeling, I want to embrace it and lean into it. 

Second indicator–fear. I've spent a lot of my life trying to avoid fear, and most people do. But I think that for us, most of the time it's an indicator that we're getting close. It's almost like a Geiger counter or a radar system that points true north and helps us go in the direction we must go, because that's where there's  risk,  where  there's something at stake, and the fear and guide us to the goals that we ought to be pursuing. 

Third indicator–a sense of inadequacy. Almost always when I'm looking at a goal that I know in my hear I've got to achieve, that I've got to reach for, I feel inadequate. I don't feel like I've got the resources. I don't feel like I've got the skills, maybe the education. 

But that's okay. If you're out to accomplish significant things in your life, you're going to need clarity, you're going to need courage, and you're going to need commitment. 

But that's a lesson for another time. Right now you need the uncertainty, the fear, and the sense of inadequacy. That will let you know that you're pursuing goals that are in the right area. They're outside of your comfort zone. That's what's going to make them worth pursuing. 

Amy: That man is just so good. Uncertainty, fear and sense of inadequacy. Three ingredients to help you formulate those hairy, scary goals that Melanie Duncan talked about earlier. and I have to admit, after hearing Michael's tip here, I actually had to go back and rework some of my goals because I was playing it a little bit too safe. He pushed me to step out of my comfort zone for sure, and I have to admit it feels a little bit scary. 

But that's how it's supposed to feel, right? So, big thank you to all of my special guests for contributing to this episode. This episode just wouldn't have been the same without him, so big shout out to all of you. Thank you so much for taking the time to send in your goal setting and planning tips. 

There you have it. As I said at the beginning, I hope you take this time to really focus on your business and actually take these tips sand strategies and put them to action. That's where the real magic happens. I hope these goal setting and planning tips have reached you just at the right time, so you can plan a highly successful year that's exactly by your own design and on your terms. 

Don't forget to check out the show notes, because all the links I talked about in the show can be found at and I've included some main tips from our guest speakers and links to their website so you can check out more from all of our guests. 

Also, if you like this podcast, I'd really appreciate if you would take just a few minutes and leave a review for me on iTunes. That way, I'll be able to reach even more people with my episodes. Just go to and it will take you to the page that you can click to launch iTunes and leave a review. It would mean the world to me, so thank you so very much in advance! 

Again, thanks for being here. I hope you've enjoyed this episode as much as I have, and I'll see you next time.