2009 – Goals & Plans

'Achieving Goals' by tochris So it’s the end of another year. As such, I wanted to take a minute and put my plans & goals for 2008 out there.  I’ve not done this one before, but thought I give it a go this year.  Much has changed and I have some directions that I want to follow in 2009 that I neglected in years past.

Writing – Blogging

I’m planning on making a return to a regular blogging schedule after a bit more than a year of a more random approach.  The reason for this was partially work related, but also from a lack of direction in the Fall/Winter of 2007/2008.  This will include the review of a couple other blogs I have – see if I still have the passion & interest to continue those, or if I should end up selling them off.

Writing – eBooks, Newsletters

Ah… yes, there were two aspects to the writing bug this time around. I also am planning to move forward with some eBook projects and a possible Newsletter in 2009.  I’m not sure when exactly this will take place, but will be working on the planning in January.  The eBook topics will relate to personal branding, the social web, information technology (& social media), and probably how many of these relate to the enterprise. I’m thinking hard on these lately.


Social Media Breakfast – Twin Cities (@SMBMSP on Twitter) has been a great success here in the Minneapolis & St. Paul area, and I plan to continue evolving our local version.  It will remain a low or no-cost event. In addition to this fun monthly event, I’m planning on working some one-off special events and possibly an annual event.  Whether those are a summit, retreat, or un-conference style I’m not sure yet, but I do have a few concept ideas that I want to expand on.  I’ve found that I really enjoy helping people connect, and thereby connecting their business or career needs with resources in the local community.

Online Income

2009 is the year I get serious about increasing online income.  By focusing energies on new ideas and business models for my consulting services I plan to make the transition this year from a senior technologist role to a business & customer communications role. The end result will probably be something different, but that’s the fun of a dynamic, fast-paced industry… it’s constantly changing.


The next few weeks of this year is also the time I’m going to be taking to reassess my career direction. Am I really pursuing the dream, or have allowed myself to get sidetracked and mired in the mechanics of the mundane, again? This is a crucial piece of the puzzle, as it feeds into everything else.  Without direction, none of has have a clue as to where we’re going.

So what’s your plan for this year?

Photo credit: tochris

Interesting how people plan for the new year

I’m catching up on feeds and have run across a number of posts and articles on personal plans, goals, or predictions for 2009.  It’s a good exercise, and one that I’m working on for this week as well.

However, I’m amazed (nay, dismayed) at the number of people who either do not understand what a goal should be or at the goal that they’re fixated on. Especially in relation to blogging.  There are a number of great posts around outlining what people are planning to do, but I’d like to see folks really focus their energies when writing them.

For example, I’ve seen a number of people taking about increasing their blog posting schedule, or about getting 100, 200, 300 RSS readers, or hitting 1,000,000 page-views.  This doesn’t tell me what they’re purpose is, however.  It doesn’t tell me why I should come back tomorrow to read a post. It doesn’t tell new readers why they should spend time reading their blogs.  This is simply a lack of understanding of what makes a good blog – in short, numbers don’t count. It’s about the quality of information rather than the numbers of clicks you can run through Google AdSense.

Another theme I’ve seen in some of these planning post for the new year are more lower-level task specific items rather than broad visionary goals for an individual. New or casual bloggers who are interested in growing their blog should look at things that bring value to themselves and their readers.  An example of this would be something like "Revise and rejuvenate my blog’s theme to reflect it’s focus, and for easier reading" would be better than simply wanting to "get a new blog logo".

These more far-reaching goals help us stretch outside our comfort zones for the year.  It gives us something to strive for, something to attain… hence "goals".  I hope more folks take the time and really go through a good personal growth exercise for 2009. It doesn’t have to take long, and if a person allows themselves an hour or two to really think about what they want to accomplish in one year – and what just may be possible in one years time, they may surprise themselves and really accomplish more than they think they can.

So good luck to you on your goal quest for 2009! Watch for my 2009 goals post in the next day or so.

Moleskine Notebooks – Going analog for the fun of writing

Moleskine Pocket Ruled Notebook - Black Try as I might, I couldn’t find the post that I thought I wrote about Moleskines some time ago.  I think it was about a year ago a couple of online friends and I had a chance to finally meet and talk in person.  It was a local version of LifeCamp, and it was Jason DeBoer-Moran (@newcoventry on Twitter) and Thomas Knoll (@thomasknoll on Twitter) along with a few more folks looking to organize and prioritize our lives these days.

One of the biggest take-away’s for me from that first meetup with my  now-good friends was the importance of keeping track of thoughts and ideas.  While these guys had been doing this for some time, it was a new initiative for me to keep something close to hand to quickly capture those moments of inspiration.  The best device to record this information seemed to be a simple notebook.

However, I wanted to find something that was as rewarding to write in as the thoughts I was trying to capture.  This is where the Moleskine comes in.  Sure, lots of folks are turning back to these traditional mobile information gathering notebooks – to the point of it being cliche.  The thing is though, I really enjoy these notebooks. They seem to reward the writer with a great feeling when writing in them.

For me in particular, these notebooks bring a sense of permanence to the things I’m writing. They bring a connection to the past, and offer a way to tap into the legacy of pen & paper in a way that the average ringed notebook found at your local big box discount store for 99¢ simply can’t. If you’re looking for it, a Moleskine can’t be beat for bringing another dimension to note taking or journaling. Give it a try for your next journal and see if it helps to inspire and capture the ideas, stories, and things that you’re trying to save.

Personal Branding Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 2

Personal Branding Magazine Personal Branding Gold Rush – That’s the theme of the upcoming issue of Personal Branding Magazine to be released on November 1st, 2008.

From publisher Dan Schawbel:

Volume 2, Issue 2 is a call to action. Now is the time for building your personal eBrand. Laggards will be lost in a Google cloud of dust, while early adopters will rank #1 for their name. Stop watching everyone else steal your gold (your THUNDER) and get involved today. Many people are scared to develop an online presence, yet it’s the only way you can safeguard your brand and have “job security.” This issue will highlight Gary Vaynerchuk, who will passionately force you to get involved in the GOLD RUSH. As you read each page, you will gather the knowledge needed to not let these opportunities pass you by.

Check out the interviews with, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Allen, Keith Ferrazzi, Robert Cialdini, and 26 additional informative and entertaining articles.

Not sure about a subscription yet? Check out the sample issue available right now at http://www.personalbrandingsample.com

Personal Branding in a Down Economy

How have you positioned yourself? Have you been building your brand? How are you prepared to take advantage of opportunities in a down economy?

While you listen to the gloom and doom of the mainstream media, naysayers, and general pessimists, remember that only you have control of your career. Just like leaving your financial future in someone else’s hands, doing so with your career is a recipe for disappointment or worse.

Perhaps your position at your company is secure, and you don’t have to worry much. Perhaps it’s anything but secure. Either way, the realities of today dictate that one takes a more proactive approach to staying relevant to your industry, and maintaining visibility in your market.

The great part is that both these things are quite easily accessible to everyone. All you have to do is take the initiative and begin. Sure true training courses by “certified” learning facilities cost real dollars and take up real business hours. However there are other alternatives – search them out on the web. You may already be doing this on a daily basis online or through RSS feeds.

The bigger part, though, is to be making sure to gain visibility in your market. To do that, you’ll need to explore the avenues of “web 2.0” and social media. The tools are plentiful, easy to use, and low to no cost. Most of the ones that give you the most value are going to be the no-cost options, with only your time as an investment.

The time investment is creating and maintaining your presence. It could be one site or network, or it could me many. The more involved you are in sharing information and ideas, the more likely you’ll be to gain both mindshare and authority within your market and industry.

The important thing about working towards this goal, is to make yourself more marketable, more appealing to potential employers and clients. So it’s important that you give examples of your expertise as much as possible. Don’t worry about giving away shared knowledge, every industry has a shared knowledge pool at every level of experience. You need to demonstrate that base knowledge and build upon it. Showing what makes you stand out in the process.

The demand for quality, well-rounded, experienced people never diminishes. The more polished your skills are, and the more people know about them, the more valuable & desirable you become to any organization. And you need to have those qualities visible to the public to take advantage of that next opportunity.

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