When creating content over and over again, it is really easy to get stuck in that rut of telling our audience what they should be doing. Hence, there are a bunch of articles, white papers, and podcasts with titles like “10 Ways to Write Awesome Content” and “The Super-Simple Method to Getting Better Content ROI.” Which can be totally useful.

However, what is arguably even more useful is strategies we should avoid. So, I decided this month’s round-up on content marketing will focus on what not to do.

Who says you have to make the mistake yourself to learn from it? Instead, let’s learn from other people’s mistakes.

this month in content marketing november

7 Popular Blogging Tips That Don’t Always Apply by Larry Alton

It is shocking, I know, but not all tips apply to all situations, brands, or businesses. When giving advice, we tend to make is sound like it will apply to everyone, but you need to remember your situation might be different. In this article on ProBlogger, Larry delves into some of the most common blogging advice (write every day, stay in your niche, when something works stick to it), and discusses when it might not apply.

This information is fantastic advice for newbies, but it also helpful for more experienced content creators who are stuck in a rut.

Read This If: You are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of blogging ‘advice’ out there, or find yourself creating the same type of content over and over again.

7 Deadly Sins of Blog Post Writing by Janice Kersh

This article by Janice Kersh on jeffbullas.com offers helpful tips for newer writers and those who hare experienced, but maybe aren’t seeing the returns they would like. My favorite tip from her post is #6: Trying to Promote Yourself Instead of Your Ideas. Too many writers, particularly for company blogs, see blogging as straight up marketing, when it can also be used to establish your brand as a trusted source of information.

Read This If: You aren’t seeing good results from your blogging. Particularly good for small business owners or brand bloggers trying to establish a voice for their brand.

Danger Ahead: When Content Distribution Is On Auto-Pilot by Clare McDermott

This is actually in interview of Andy Crestodina, the co-founder of Orbit Media, but it is packed with tons things to avoid when it comes to creating and distributing your content. In this interview, he addresses how to avoid putting your content promotion plan on auto-pilot. Which he defines as writing a post, share it on Twitter, share it on Facebook and call it a day.

My favorite quote from the interview is: “The gap between good and great isn’t a quality gap; it’s a promotion gap.”

Read This If: You think you are writing high-quality content, but can’t seem to get the traction or reach all the online experts say you should. Or if the phrase “Just write good content!” has ever been part of your content promotion plan.

5 Things Companies Do That Ruin Storytelling Success by Kathy Klotz

Published on Convince and Convert earlier this month, this article addresses the main mistakes companies make when trying to tell their story. Kathy is a huge proponent of being human, which is a trait many companies struggle with. The most important mistake on her list, in my humble opinion, is “The Perfect Ending”, that is when you wrap up a piece of content by giving the customer an economic benefit, like how your product will save them time or money.

But wait – isn’t that what content should do? Kathy says you should instead be looking to fulfill an emotional need instead.

Read This If: Your brand is struggling to create real, human connections with your audience. Remember, content marketing isn’t just about marketing, it is about creating emotional connections with real people, not just buyer personas.

10 Time Wasters That Limit Your Blogging Productivity (And How to Avoid Them) by Danielle Irigoyen

This article on HubSpot’s marketing blog is a solid read if you are unable to find time to blog. Some people legitimately do not have time to write. Or, it may just be that your time is better spent on other tasks. If that is the case, there is no shame in hiring a good writer or delegating the task to someone who is better suited.

But, if you actually want to write, but can’t find the time, this is a good read. Ask yourself this: how often do you check Facebook for non-work related reasons? Or, how many meetings do you sit in a week that are a complete waste of your time?

Read This If: You want to write more, but can’t seem to find the time.

The Takeaway

The point of focusing on what content creators shouldn’t be doing this month was to get those brain gears turning a little bit. It is pretty easy to get stuck in a rut, particularly if producing content is just one part of your whole job. After a while, you might find yourself churning out the same style of not-terrible content over and over again. It’s not bad, so what is the harm?

There is plenty of boring in the world. Don’t add to it. Instead, I challenge you to create content that is just a little bit more awesome than your last piece.

 

Featured Illustration: Created by Paulo Bobita 

In-Post Image: Shutterstock|retrorocket

Solopreneurs are a powerful and growing force in today’s career landscape. A solopreneur is “a business owner who works and runs his or her business alone.”

Related: The Difference Between a Solopreneur and a Side-Gigger (Infographic)

A solopreneur is also the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer, who started the business, owns the business, runs the business and is responsible for the business’ failure or success.

A solopreneur is not the same as an entrepreneur, however. Both assume risk and build a business, but a solopreneur does it alone.

The entrepreneur engages traditional forms of business-building, including the hiring of employees. But the solopreneur chooses whether to grow the business with contract agreements or outsourced providers rather than the standard model of employer/employee.

The benefits of solopreneurship are better experienced than reported, yet if you’re curious about the lives of these disentangled, high-risk, high-reward captains of their own fate and are considering taking the same plunge, here’s what you can expect.

1. You can be a workaholic if you want to.

Workaholics get a bad rap for all the wrong reasons. If working relentlessly is your thing, then you get to do it, no holds barred. No boss to please. No employees to harass. Just you doing what you love, burnout or not.

2. You get to keep what you make.

Yes, you have to pay taxes. Quite a bit, actually. On the other hand, your business profits are yours alone. You can choose to incorporate as an LLC or an S-corp, but either way, the money your business makes is the money that you make. Invest wisely.

3. You get to hire creatively.

Solopreneurs have help. They hire. They manage. They even get to boss people around, sort of. The process, however, is different. Instead of employing a CFO, the solopreneur might engage the services of an advisor, or purchase accounting SaaS or work with a contractor.

4. You discover the power of automation and outsourcing.

The solopreneur must automate processes and outsource tasks. In the absence of minions to do his or her bidding, a successful solopreneur learns to create streamlined systems that accomplish crucial business tasks.

Related: 4 Differences Between Solopreneurs and an Entrepreneur Working Alone

5. You live to work.

Solopreneurs don’t have to go it alone. They can just as easily shutter their shops and start papering the town with their resumes. They can go right back to the corporate grind. But, why? Work is an adventure — a passionate engagement in the excitement of life. That’s worth living for!

6. You can turn on a dime.

Startups love to pivot. Pivots are a survival tactic. Solopreneurs pivot, too, and they can do so without any accountability to shareholders, stakeholders, board members, employees, investors or even a pet cat. They can pivot like nobody’s business.

7. You choose everything about your business.

It takes a lot of decision-making to run the business. From the carpet’s hue to the company’s slogan, you decide everything. If you’re a sucker for control, you’ve chosen the right line of work.

8. You can create your own schedule.

A 9-to-5, a 5-to-9, or a 9-to-9? What gives? You’re the one in charge. Deciding how, when, where and how long to work is completely up to you. Most solopreneurs, though, don’t choose to binge-watch Netflix, sleep in or loll, poolside. And “creating your own schedule” is just another way to describe the inflexibility and demands of working all the time.

9. You are responsible for your own success.

You have to take big risks if you want big rewards. Solopreneurs internalize this truth. Rather than leave their success to the whimsy of an employer, they choose to take their success firmly in hand.

10. You develop your own vision.

Whose vision do you want to follow? Your own or your employer’s? A solopreneur makes this decision with fierce independence and experiences true fulfillment as a result.

11. You embody your own brand.

Personal branding is the practice of creating and curating your public identity. Since a solopreneur is a business, he or she will find it more important than ever to engage and achieve personal branding.

12. You experience adventure every day.

An adventure is defined as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” That basically sums up solopreneurship. Job security? Not a chance. Steady paycheck? Nope. Benefits? You’re kidding. You live a life of adrenalin-pumping adventure, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Conclusion

Do you notice a common thread running through these 12 awesome things? Each can be tweaked ever so slightly, and ultimately turn into a terror.

In short, your passion for work may morph into a soul-sucking monster. Your high-earning potential may push you into a miserable tax morass. The necessity of making every decision yourself may burden you with a relentless mental strain.

So, the life of a solopreneur is not for anyone. It takes an iron stomach and a clear head to pull off this kind of self-brutalization and insane risk.

What’s more, these risks of soloentrepreneurship are high, and you can completely dispense with any level of normalcy

You hear people complain of their “healthcare,” and you think what health care? Others brag about their four weeks of accrued vacation time, and you smirk about your unlimited vacation time. Conventional cubicle dwellers moan about their mean boss, but you know the meanest boss that ever walked the planet — yourself.

The risks are high. The burdens are great. Yet the experience is transformative.

The few who have tried and succeeded at solopreneurship invariably achieve great things. Whether they continue as solopreneurs, metamorphize into entrepreneurs or leave it all behind them, they know what the solopreneur life is about, and they have the glory stories to tell about it.

What is your experience as a solopreneur?

Related: These 7 Tips Helped Me Avoid Solopreneur Isolation

When I started my company eight years ago, back when I was a student, I had no idea of the learning curve I would face before I might actually make it. Today, as I continue to run my firm as well as speak to and advise other startups, I continually go back to some of the lessons I learned through direct experience (many times, the hard way) and through helping other companies avoid the same mistakes.

Related: How Listening to Your Gut Can Make You a Better Founder

From all the years I’ve been an entrepreneur, a few of those lessons stand out as defining moments in my career. They also represent moments in the trenches when I had to make a significant change, to either my business infrastructure or my personal mindset, in order to advance to the next stage in my company’s growth. Here are 10 of those lessons from my personal experience:

1. If you don’t start delegating as soon as your budget allows it, you will burn out fast.

One of the most important lessons for me as a founder was that you need to spend as much time as possible, as soon as possible, in building teams. You may be able to last a year or so as a one-man show. But if you’re seriously growing your business, you will not be able to wear all of those hats on your own. You can only hoard your cash and keep your overhead low for so long. Start reinvesting into team building and the dividends will multiply.

2. Shoot for goals that are 10 times bigger, and actually believe in them.

A lot of times, it takes just as much effort to close a small deal as a big one. The only barrier is your own thinking. Further, if you build your business plan around a goal that’s ten times larger, and take that much more action, it’s a lot more likely that you will hit and surpass your original goal anyway.

3. Do the stuff you don’t want to do.

In almost every case, the stuff that you least want to do is the stuff that is most important to do. I learned very early on that I needed to suck it up and do those boring/hard/not-fun tasks if I was ever going to move the needle. Even when you delegate what you’re weak at, you still end up with something on your to-do list you don’t want to do. This is what separates the best from the rest.

4. There are some things you shouldn’t do.

I spent a lot of time in the beginning doing tasks that I shouldn’t have been doing simply because I tend to be a taskmaster and perfectionist. Now, each morning, I review my to-do list; and if there is something there that ultimately isn’t necessary and consequential, I either delegate it or eliminate it altogether. Focus on the top two-to-three areas where you can make the most impact on your business.

Related: 7 Management Lessons From a 7-Time CEO

5. Watch out for information overload.

I love to read, and I read a book per week. But I’ve also learned to be careful about overloading myself with too much information. There are a thousand books about everything out there. Find a few really high-quality sources of information that serve you and drill down on them. Read them over and over and immerse yourself in them. Implement what you learn and then move on to your next source. Don’t get lost in the bog of information out there to the point that it keeps you from taking action.

6. Know your ‘why.’

You’ve got to know why you’re doing this, and it can’t just be money. There needs to be a reason beyond financial goals that pushes you to get up and do this every day. Building a company is hard, and lots of obstacles will make you want to give up. You need to have a reason for hanging in there that is much bigger than the problems you are going to face every day.

7. Recognize that many wins were originally far-fetched ideas.

Oftentimes, the idea that you think is least likely to work or is too far-fetched is the idea that becomes your next home run. Whether it’s that potential client that you are unsure about contacting because he or she is out of your league, or that marketing campaign you never thought could work, just do it (while managing your downside) and let results dictate what’s a good idea or not.

8. Measure everything.

The only way to improve anything is to measure it every single day. Why? Measurement brings clarity and awareness.

9. You need only one service/product.

When you are a fledgling company (and especially if you’re an agency), don’t waste time, money and effort trying to offer 20 different services. Sell one service and become the best at it. Down the road, an expansion will be much easier when you have the cash.

10. Keep in touch with everybody.

Always look at every contact as a relationship, and not just a transaction. Keep in touch with as many contacts as possible on a regular basis. Send personal notes, articles you think they’ll enjoy (such as this one!) and holiday greetings. Relationships are critical to long-term success.

Related: Unlikely Lessons From Building a Multi-Million Dollar Social Business