At my last quasi-regular job (permalance editor at an online publication specializing in love- and relationship-related content), the end of the year was always marked by a mad scramble to throw together an assortment of “best of” and “top 10″ lists. Top 10 Love Songs of 2010. Top 10 Love Trends of the Decade. Best WTF Love-Related Moments. Best Sex Scenes. You get the picture.
As commonplace and cliche as they’ve become, everyone loves a good list. Even me. Especially me. Because when I was drawing together my Top 10 Bookmark-Worthy Blog Posts of 2011, I quickly noticed that almost all of them were lists.
A list of lists. How meta.
But even if you’ve grown weary of listicles, I hope you’ll find this one useful. It contains blog posts — all published in 2011 — that I keep returning to… posts I found so useful I couldn’t help bookmarking them for future use. They were just that full of awesome resources and easily-executable tips.
Together, they comprise a handy-dandy resource manual for building a better, stronger business.
So assuming your entrepreneurial muscles could use some flexing…
1. 50 Questions to Ask Yourself After 6 Months of Freelancing. Whenever I think I’ve found the perfect work/life balance, something inside me shifts, and I find myself growing in a completely new direction. Shifts like these have led to me moving from editorial to marketing. They have led to me going full-time freelance. They have led to my career coaching certification, ghostwriting, and yoga. By this point, I’ve learned that it’s always good to reevaluate your goals. Which is why I love Laura Spencer’s collection of questions you should ask yourself after six months of freelancing. Though I’d take it further. I’d ask yourself these questions every six months, or even every month, from now into eternity.
2. 12 Ways to Turn Your Old, Dusty Blog Archive into Cold, Hard Cash. Carol Tice is the queen of the idea-heavy listicle. Here, as a guest poster on the always-educational Copyblogger, she suggests 12 ways to diversify… using content you’ve already created. How’s that for efficiency? From teleclasses to ebooks, she offers up information products and services to fit any comfort level. Because in an age of shrinking freelance budgets, one can’t survive by writing listicles alone.
3. 109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media. It would be so awesome if Ellen invited me onto her show to dance awkwardly together to the latest LMFAO song and chat about my career coaching business. But Ellen likely doesn’t know who the hell I am. And that’s okay. I haven’t really done a damn thing to grab her attention. This Copyblogger post offers up 109 ways to grab Ellen’s attention. Or get local newspaper coverage. Or end up as the guest of honor on a radio show. Now what’s your excuse?
4. 40 Questions You Need to Ask Every Copywriting Client. Let’s put aside fame and fortune for the moment. We’re supposed to be making money here. Land those projects, yo! But wait. Be careful. Don’t say yes to everyone. And don’t even say yes to the best possible clients without first nailing down all the details. What do you need to know before signing that contract? Again, Carol Tice has the answers. Or the questions, rather. 40 of ‘em. From “When do you need this project completed?” to “Who is your target audience?”
5. 110 Ideas to Get More Freelance Work and Generate New Client Leads. Okay. Carol’s not the only one who can whip up a mean listicle. Over at FreelanceSwitch, blogging buddy Susan Johnston provides some major lead-generating inspiration. Because as we recently discussed, no matter how hot your business is, those slow periods will pop up, and you will need to get back to hustling your little booty off.
6. How to Failproof Your Business. Ohmygod. A non-listicle. Let’s hold it together, people. So I may have just broken the rules of this list. This link doesn’t exactly point to a blog post. Rather, it’s a landing page for a video series created by Dave Navarro and Naomi Dunford. I have to include it, though. Out of all the content I’ve come across this past year, this video series has been one of the most educational. In fact, it’s so fantastic, I can’t believe it’s free. From how to build a list to how to close, this series has been a big part of my recent success. And I wish the same success for you, too. So watch it, punks.
7. 45 Kick-Ass Resources for Online Entrepreneurs. A list of resources within a list of list-y resources. Now we’re really meta. But this list is a good one, and contains some of my own favorite resources, including a couple that are heavily featured on this very list.
9. Life Cycle of a Book. This one’s a little different from the other posts on this list, but I was absolutely delighted with it when I first saw it, and I think it’s a must see/read for any reader of my blog who’s interesting in someday writing a book. This series of videos (fine; I did it again) takes the viewer through the life cycle of a book (obvs), from the very first draft through to publicity (by both publishing house and author). It’s a great way to learn about the entire publishing process (writer, agent, editorial, production, etc.), and there’s even a pretty infographic you can download and hang up. Check it.
10. Are Your Supposed Weaknesses Actually Your Strength? Finally, I took a look through my analytics to find out which Freelancedom post was the most popular this year. I was surprised by the result. This post of mine is more inspirational than applicable. And it even includes homework! But maybe y’all love stories of vengeance and redemption. Or maybe it gave you hope. Or maybe — just maybe — you found it helpful to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. We tend to see the worst in ourselves. Other people? They see the best.
Did I miss anything so holy-shit awesome that you sorta want to key my car? Leave a link in the comments, and let us know why it deserves a spot on this last. Thanks y’all!