The Top 10 Bookmark-Worthy Blog Posts of 2011

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.

8. 50 Ways to Get a Freelance Gig. Oh Carol. We have to stop meeting this way. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, I’ll spell it out for you: Subscribe to Carol’s blog. That is all.

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!

Related: Merry Christmas! My 12 Favorite Freelance Tools and Resources

Even Coaches Need Coaches: 4 Experts I Love To Bits

I believe that, in order to succeed, you should always be learning… even after you yourself have achieved expert status (a dubiously subjective term in itself).

Which is why I still take classes when I can, devour self-help books like I devour Peppermint Patties, and continue to seek out new wisdom from around the web.

In fact, when I went through a career coaching certification program back in 2009, I requested my own career coach. Her input was invaluable as I worked on creating a business that played to my strengths.

Since then, I’ve come across a handful of experts I just can’t get enough of… people who excel in areas I’m weak in… people who rock the house at what they do.

So. While I can help you create a strong query letter,  guide you through the ins and outs of the publishing world, and give you the kick in the ass you need to get the publishing career you want, I should probably point you in the direction of those who shine in the areas where I can still use a bit of help.

So as long as you pinkie swear that you’ll come back to me for all the word nerd wisdom you need, I’ll reveal the top 4 experts I love to bits. (Seriously. No clicking through until you pinkie swear.)

1. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger

I launched Freelancedom after becoming a full-time freelancer back in 2007. I didn’t know much about blogging at the time (unless you count the angsty ramblings I posted to LiveJournal), so I searched the web for an expert and found Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. He taught me everything I know about creating online content, and even wrote the book on blogging.

I continue to read his blog and follow him on Twitter, and was thrilled to see that he recently released the book on blogging… for your business. If you’re hard at work building your own freelance business, I suggest you pick up a copy of the brand spanking new ProBlogger’s Guide to Blogging for Your Business.

2. Jenny Foss of JobJenny

I can’t quite remember where I first came across Jenny Foss of JobJenny (On Twitter? On a friend’s blog?), but I was instantly smitten. I loved her sass and her style and her larger-than-life personality. I ate up her every bit of irreverent wisdom, and featured her in my newsletter approximately five trillion times.

I even hired her to redo my resume (one of my weak spots), at which point she created something so amazing I almost wanted to make out with myself. I urged my husband to hire her as well and, with his new resume, he was hired on the spot, and for more than what he had asked for. I urge you to pick up a copy of her ebook, To Whom It May Concern: Or, How To Stop Sucking at Your Job Search.

3. + 4. Dave Navarro (The Launch Coach) and Naomi Dunford (IttyBiz)

I’m listing these two together because I fell pretty hard for them simultaneously, when watching their How To Failproof Your Business video series. I’ve since taken one of Dave’s business workshops (so. effing. good.), and recently bought Dave and Naomi’s How to Launch the **** Out of Your Ebook. Their advice is always solid and specific… exactly what you need when you’re moving from beginner to AWESOME.

So who are your favorite experts? As awesome as you are, who do you turn to when you hit a roadblock?

P.S. A few years ago, I experimented with GoogleAdSense here on Freelancedom. Google made it easy to execute, but I didn’t like the way those ads cluttered up my page, and I really didn’t love how untargeted they were. So I took them down. But I’m working on making my blog a more integrated part of my business plan, and that plan involves advertising income. So this post includes affiliate links, and you can now find affiliate ads for all my favorite experts in the sidebar. I’m going to promise you now: I will never throw up an ad for someone I am not batshit crazy for. This blog is all about giving you the resources you need.