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We've heard a lot about resolutions and goal setting this week.  This is the time of year where everyone is reflecting, basking in the glow of their successes and lamenting their failures.

Focusing on the positive is always a good thing — like when I asked our Experts Speak blogging panelists to tell us about their biggest business breakthroughs in 2011.

Some people are busy setting goals for the coming year, while others like me are simply picking 3 words to live by in 2012.

But what of our mistakes that we made in the past year?

Is it best to leave them alone, hoping not to repeat them in 2012?

Or is it better to look them squarely in the eye and learn some business and life lessons in the process?

I'm choosing to bare my soul here and reveal to you the mistakes that cost me in 2011.

Spotlighting Mistakes:  Putting Focus on the Negative?

I'm sure all my Personal Development buddies are cringing as they read the first part of my post.  

I can just hear them saying, “NO, Bob… Focus on the positive, on all your accomplishments this past year!”

And there were quite a few to celebrate.

But here's the thing about mistakes.

They are only negative if we don't learn something from them.

Failures are never truly failures, unless you give up and stop trying.

So with this in mind, here are my 3 biggest screwups this past year.

My Biggest Screwups in 2011

We all make mistakes.  Nothing to be ashamed of.

So then why do we squirm in our seats when asked to reveal them?

Here are my biggest mistakes in 2011… and most importantly, what I learned from them.

1.  I Allowed Fear To Get in the Way of Doing Webinars

Webinars are huge right now.  They are a great way to get noticed, show your leadership and build credibility.

Yet for some reason, the technology involved in the process has intimidated me to the point that I never pursued it.

I knew I should, but I kept procrastinating and making excuses.

Finally, in late December I participated in my first webinar, together with Ken Pickard, VaNessa Duplessie, Mavis Nong, and Sandy Moore.

It was a bonus we all offered as part of the Top 50 MLM Blogs Competition.

And you know what?

It wasn't the best webinar ever!

Not due to our content — it was great — but because we had huge audio tech issues.  

But in the end, we delivered what we promised and I learned a bunch in the process.  And it wasn't nearly as scary and I thought it would be.

What I learned:  If fear is standing in your way of doing something, find people who've already done it and ask them to work with you.  

I know that Ken, VaNessa and Mavis have all done webinars before, and I was grateful to have them with me on my first webinar.

2.  I Didn't Pay Enough Attention to My Analytics

My focus this past year has been on… well, FOCUS!  

Rather, focused productivity.

I decided early in 2011 that I would go all out to improve my blog popularity.

I did all the right things, but I became a bit obsessed with putting out my 2-3 posts each week, no matter what.

What did I forget?

I neglected to keep a closer eye on my analytics!

  • Where was my traffic coming from?
  • Where were my leads coming from?
  • Who was sharing my posts?

Nope, I just kept writing and writing, focused on my goal — and this was a mistake.  

If I had bothered to take a periodic peek, I would have seen that Facebook was huge for me in driving traffic and getting leads, while the other social media venues were not as great.

If I had looked, I would have known to hit Facebook harder, driving even more people to my blog.

Or, I could have seen where I needed to improve.

What I learned:  Never, ever get into a car with no steering wheel!  It would be incredibly dangerous.  Just as dangerous (in business) is to work blindly without knowing how you're doing.  This year, I will dedicate time to reviewing what's working and what's not.

3.  I Failed to Develop a Better Relationship with My List

I admit it.  There were times this past year when I got so focussed and so busy that I neglected my list.

Can you imagine?

My most valuable business “asset” and I failed to nurture it.

I'm on the lists of many of the most successful marketers online, and one thing they have in common is that they all — without exception– work very hard at developing a relationship with people on their list.

Somehow, I failed to make this a priority in 2011.

What I learned:  Because I failed to keep in regular touch with my list members, I became more of a stranger than a friend.  This year, I pledge to be far better at building a strong, positive relationship with members of my list, offering value above all else.


There you have them — my 3 biggest mistakes in 2011 — and thank God for them!

You see, mistakes are more than just things you did wrong.  They represent a HUGE POTENTIAL for learning to do things better in the future.

After all, you now know what doesn't work, right?

What Were Your Biggest Mistakes in 2011?

So what about you?  Did you make any big mistakes this past year?

More importantly, what did you learn from them?


    38 replies to "My Biggest Screwups in 2011"

    • Lottie

      Hello there Bob
      I really liked your great blog post on My Biggest Screwups in 2011. Very interesting subject, regards for posting .

      • Bob

        Glad you found it useful, Lottie.

    • Sandy

      Hi Bob,

      Everyone makes mistakes. it`s true! We are human.

      But the great lesson from these is, make mistakes and learn for the future.
      it`s not easy, because we all hate mistakes, we all hate negative criticism, but we all can learn from mistakes.

      Thanks for sharing your mistakes, your plan, your information. it`s inspiring for me and all the others here.

      Wish you all the best. with greetings from Germany.
      nice weekend for all. Sandy 🙂

      • Bob

        Thanks, Sandy… appreciate the kind words.

        We can all learn from our mistakes, in life and in business. It’s how we can focus on efforts in the future.

        So what was your biggest mistake in 2011, Sandy? Maybe we can all learn from you as well.

    • Oliver Tausend

      Hi Bob,

      I always love it when people share their mistakes frankly because it shows them as a human being and not a machine which is good. So thank you for that.

      Well, by biggest mistakes that I neglected applying one of my strenghts which is following up with people. I got caught up in avoiding strategies such as optimizing blog posts etc. I realized that I was self-sabotaging my success at the beginning of the second half of last year.

      What I learned from that is that self-sabotage doesn’t necessarily result from our weaknesses but from neglecting our strenghts.

      Be blessed


      • Bob

        How true, Oliver. Many times we just need to go back to basics and what’s worked in the past.

        I’ve also experienced this. Thanks so much for sharing this with our community. We can all learn from one another!

    • Nicholle Olores

      Great thoughts ahead Bob! Congrats for your Mistakes. It is better got mistakes and learn than to pretend that everything is going to be alright and fine even if things seems awfully tough. I got mistakes last year and from that mistakes I had learned and realized things what is right or wrong or what is for me or not. The more mistakes you have the more you learn I always stay in tune with this. Thanks a lot Bob for this wonderful insights and experienced from you this is such a very inspirational piece.

    • Nicky

      This post really made me smile Bob because 2 out of 3 of these I did (or rather didn’t do) too…. !!

      My biggest bloopers of 2011 were definitely not being consistent enough and therefore not managing my time enough, but also being “persuaded” by the gurus to do something that may not have been in my best interests to do right there and then.

      For example I created my first product – an e-book (woohoo!) but then the night before I was going on holiday for 2 weeks I was doing my very first webinar EVER, on my own, trying to launch it, at midnight my time, just because it was part of an incentive (Info Blueprint!!). I had some technical issues too, and had only 9 people on the call, but it was definitely an experience!!

      I then forced myself to do them weekly and partnered up with a colleague and am getting more relaxed about them all the time!

      Great post !

    • Martin

      Hi Bob, I am impressed with the way you analyzed your year. I have also been doing my own review and believe 2012 will be a great year for my Internet business. Still putting the details together so I will not be in the position to share currently. Will however share it with you another time.

      I wish you a great year in 2012 hoping that you will be able to overcome your previous setbacks

    • Eugene

      Hi Bob!
      You mentioned one very good thing – it’s good to analyse. You should analyse everything – your traffic, visitors, growth in order to see how you can improve your blog or whether something should be changed.

    • Sonia

      Hey Bob, I love the honest and humility in this post. It’s something we all need to do to help get past hurdles in our lives. Sometimes taking a long look at ourselves and what we need to improve is the best way to get over it and make things happen. My mistakes were not building my list and starting on my ebook when I knew what I wanted to write about.

      This year I want to focus on what I need to get down so I can cross it off my list and create more lists to achieve my goals. Posts like this make you remember that we aren’t alone in fears and mistakes and thank god we are all human. Bob, you’re a brilliant writer and a great thinker. Thanks for this post!

    • Cat Alexandra

      Dear Bob,

      What a helpful article.

      I have to say my biggest mistake of 2011 was not getting started SOONER in all I do today. I didn’t really start to take blogging seriously til around August/September of last year.

      You have just given me some great insight into 3 things that I should be sure to mind this year! I’m big on learning from others so I don’t have to recreate mistakes for myself…some things in life are much better to experience vicariously! 😉

      Thanks for the the insight and your honesty regarding your own process! I know 2012 is going to be a great year for you!


      • Bob

        Hey Cat,

        Glad that my mistakes have provided you with some insights in your year going forward. That’s what it’s all about, paying it forward.

        I have a plaque on my desk that reads, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly make them all yourself.”

        That’s one of the reasons I wrote this post — transparency, sure. Humility – absolutely. But it was my sincere hope that by revealing my mistakes I could help others avoid doing the same. Looks like its worked that way for you.

        Thanks so much for contributing here!

    • Kevin Lau

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for this post! It’s very inspiring. Screwups are good reminders that we need to develop ourselves every now and then. The best thing about screwups are the lessons that we’ll learn from them. A lot of breakthroughs in this world are results of hundreds if not thousands of screwups.

      Have a great day!

      • Bob

        Very true, Kevin. And by revealing them to others, we help in an indirect way — by serving as examples what NOT to do!

        In that spirit, spill the beans Kevin — what were YOUR biggest screwups in 2011? 🙂

    • Stacy

      Hi Bob,

      Congratulations on looking at your mistakes in such a way that you are able to learn and grow from them! My biggest mistake was taking too long to start building my list. Now I don’t remember what my reservations were at the time but I’m glad that I finally did it!


      • Bob

        Glad you broke through that barrier in building your list, Stacy. That’s a big need, for sure.

        Thanks for letting us know and reminding us that sometimes what seem like good reasons not do something are just superficial barriers we put on ourselves.

        Appreciate your insights, Stacy!

    • Mavis Nong

      Hey Bob,

      Well done for sharing your mistakes with us. We all make them. The question is, what do we do when we identify them? The key is to learn from them and turn them into positives, as you’re doing here.

      You were great on the webinar. No one would have thought you hadn’t done one before.

      The biggest mistake I made in 2011, was promoting other people’s products heavily instead of mustering up the courage to create my own. Well, I started fixing that towards the end of last year 🙂

      All the very best for 2012,

      • Bob

        Definitely true, Mavis… mistakes are universal. But its only if you let them stop you that they cause a problem in your life.

        Kudos to you for making 2011 the year that you created your first products. I’ve learned a lot from your blogging about the process and it’s where I am headed next!

    • Mike Morgan

      Nice one Bob!
      Agree totally we can be suckered into plowing ahead because of a pledge we made to ourselves about achieving certain production targets without analyzing whether it is bringing any measurable benefit.

      I find that by focusing on creating a post over a period of days from concept to publication I am a lot happier with the result. (This is just me, personally)

      This also gives me the opportunity to add optimized screenshots, images, tweets or whatever and to proof, rewrite and proof again and to really give thought to keyword research and creating clickable titles. I am certain this has led to a lot more social shares and certainly the growth in visits to our site has been substantial since I decided to go down this route.

      And yes, technically webinars scare the hell out of me too…

      Thanks for the great post!
      All the best

      • Bob

        As bloggers we all focus on being consistent with posting as often as possible. But I have noticed that some bloggers who post less often, but publish longer, more fact-packed posts (less “fluff”) have just as popular blogs (if not more popular) with a huge following. So if it’s working for you, Mike…. go for it!

        As for webinars, maybe try doing them with someone else who has had some prior experience. Worked for me!

    • Gracie

      Great sharing..It really help a lot I hope you will continue share great more info..

      • Bob

        Certainly will, Gracie… stay tuned!

    • Roger Reed

      Hey Bob! Thanks for being transparent with us all. I as a new marketer can surely learn from your “mistakes” Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

      • Bob

        Hey Roger… glad you like the post, as my hope was that by sharing my mistakes I could help others shorten their learning curve.

        Seems like it had that effect! Thanks for sharing your comment!

    • Keri


      Thank you for sharing your list. Like you, I did not hop on the webinar wagon. But I did get to my analytics on occasion and my list relationships are on the incline.

      I’m working feverishly to catch up on getting my “back of the house” in order — So many little details I let slip because I over-commited on occasion and my eye left the eight ball.

      For 2011 I chose a theme word: Refresh.

      For 2012 I chose a theme phrase: Build With Balance.

      Hope this exchange provides a path to communication where we can compare notes as 2012 turns into 2013… 🙂


      • Bob

        Build with Balance….. love that Keri. But curious about exactly what you mean by “balance”.

        Are you talking about balance in your life or balance in your marketing?

        • Keri

          Sort of both. Not leaving myself off the priority list.


          Me + work = balance. (I’m a marketer and also building my brand awareness)

    • Ilka Flood

      Hi Bob,

      First of, I think you did very well in your first webinar. I enjoyed it and I took a lot of notes. So thank you very much for inviting me!

      As for #2 and #3 I think a lot of us fall short. The thing is as long as we realize this, acknowledge it and make the necessary changes it is all good.

      “Our most profitable lessons are learned from failure, not success.” ~Frank Davidson

      Here’s to an amazing 2012!


      • Bob

        Hi Ilka, thanks for your supporting words. And I’m really glad you got a lot out of the webinar.. it had some tech issues but there were some great gold nuggets shared, for sure.

        An amazing 2012? I totally believe it! Let’s make it happen!

    • Ryan Biddulph

      Hi Bob,

      *Ditto* on 2 and 3, with a strong emphasis on “ditto” 😉

      I ignored metrics, pretty much. Just yesterday something dawned on me. Most of my team members share an appreciation of prosperity laws. So I switched the theme of my blog a bit. I noted this because my awareness expanded, I stepped back, and saw patterns developing among my pledges.

      I also paid zero attention to numbers visiting, shares on networks, etc. Same deal. I was focused on creating value but ignored the patterns developing. Now I test a bit more while creating value.

      As for #3 I went back and forth. Ignoring, then pushing a bit too hard with forced daily emails. Both were the product of total attachment to outcomes. I provided real value with the mailings but there was a forced, “I hope I get more team members” energy associated with the mailings too. So now it’s 1 email a week, a bit longer, more thorough, and value-packed. Feels so much better to me, which will lead to better results.

      Thanks for sharing Bob 🙂


      • Bob

        Hey Ryan….. looks like you are finding what works for you and your list. That’s what matters.

        I hear all sorts of advice on this. Email daily, email weekly, even email twice a day. In the end, we need to find out own comfort zone with this. And I also believe that our readers will tell us what works for them.

        If you are emailing daily and not putting the kind of value into each email that you should, your list members will tell you, by unsubscribing.

        We all get unsubscribes, but if you see a spike it may mean that something isn’t right.

        Thanks for sharing your story for 2011, Ryan. What’s in store for the New Year?

    • Adrienne

      Hey Bob!

      I didn’t cringe either and you KNOW we are shaking our heads thinking some of the very same things.

      So the webinar last month was your first? I was very impressed then, you did great. Okay here goes. I’ve yet to do a webinar for the same reasons. I don’t know why I’m such a wuss about it but I am. Just like I am petrified to get up in front of people and speak. I’ll walk up to anyone, anything, anyplace and start a conversation and keep the darn thing going even if I’m the only one talking. But get up in front of an audience, I freeze, hyperventilate and even throw up. I guess I feel ridiculous to do a webinar because I know I’ll stumble over my words. Heck, you’ve heard me in my video tutorials. I can’t even think of the right terminology to say a good bit of the time. I stumble all over my words and I know people must be shaking their heads at me. Okay, I let that cat out of the bag thank you very much.

      The other mistake I made was not focusing more on building my business. I have my hands in a few different things so I’ve been nurturing them all without really doing what was needed to take my business to the next level. I’ve been dragging my feet but the last week of December I had a very serious talk with myself and my goals for this year are to move full steam ahead. I have everything mapped out and I’m working on that as we speak. I have no doubt my entire business will turn around this year. So I guess I could say my focus will be more on that instead of everything else.

      Those are my main mistakes for 2011 and like you, as long as we learn from them and move forward than we are on the right track. That webinar thing, still cringing over that but we’ll see what the year unfolds for me. Everything else, you couldn’t stop me if you tried.

      Thanks for opening up and sharing with us Bob. You make us all want to be better people. Thank you so much for all you do for the blogging community and for me. You are my inspiration to keep doing and being better.


    • VaNessa Duplessie

      Hi Bob,
      I had NO idea that you had never done a webinar of your own before – even with another person. You were great! I had done webinars for other industries but in 2011 I started doing them for myself. Very powerful breakthrough for me in 2011.

      As for mistakes…where to start! And like you said a mistake is just something to learn from and do better with next time. It doesn’t mean you are bad or a failure or anything like that.

      One area that feel I made a mistake on was not testing enough and tweaking. I have been fast to implement and I truly believe that taking action and doing something well even if it isn’t “perfect” is the way to go but I struggle to go back and adjust and tweak and test to see if I can make a sales page better or redo a video for more traction. I plan to do more of that in 2012.

      I also didn’t get really serious about wanting my blog to be prominent and well read until it was about 18 months old. In the middle of 2011 I got serious. I wish I would have started collaborating and tribe-ing sooner. But hey — at least I’m doing it now!

      And I guess my number three would be my own LACK of focus. I have some many wonderful ideas I want to do them all. This distracted me in 2011. I started keeping an idea notebook in the last quarter of 2011 and this has helped with my “Idea Overwhelm”. Focus on 1 thing at a time and keep ideas for the “what’s next list”.

      Those are two areas I’m now starting 2012 strong and focused.

      2012 – your first week is complete – we’re here to rock!


    • bilal

      oh … your lesson is very fruitful to your readers like me …. great post

    • Alecia Stringer

      Great tips! It takes advance marketers to take action this way.

    • Jayne Kopp

      HI Bob, congrats on your mistakes! 🙂 Well, what I really mean is that you recognized them and know what to do to improve in these areas next year.

      I actually didn’t cringe at all, I think a huge area of personal development… or whatever development is looking for mistakes and seeing them as ‘opportunities to improve’ … although I do like the way you caught the attention of your readers! 🙂

      I, like you have not nurtured the relationship with my lists either although I have paid fairly decent attention to analytics but likely not until half way through last year.

      Webinars are something my coach is always on at me about too so to be honest we have fairly similar shortfalls and frankly I think it’s ok.

      We have a nice new slate now so we can incorporate some of these extra activities into the coming months. It’s all part of the growing I think Bob. Without mistakes or admitting to them, we’d never see the need to do things differently and we’d be doing the same things over and over and getting the same results.

      All the best this year Bob.


    • Roberta Budvietas

      Wow what great lessons. And in 2012 based on this I think you will experience even greater learnings

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