Six Life Lessons from an Ex Computer Programmer Internet Marketing Geek

As this year is winding down and another one is about to start up, everyone I know and see (including me) is wondering: what worked this year? I'll give you a hint: the same things that always worked like building a list, optimizing paid traffic, buildling relationships and following up with your subscribers, training those subscribers, being in-tune with what your market wants and presenting your irresistible offer in a new and exciting way that gives them what they want and sneaks in what they need!

That's why I want to share what I think are the six most valuable lessons (in both your marketing and your mindset) that have stuck with me over the years that I think will carry you into the next 12 months and then some:

Life Lesson #1: Strategies vs. Tactics. You need to know the difference between strategies (things that always work) and tactics (little tricks you have in your back pocket to use every now and then). How many times have you heard of a business that relied on one single website, or one single Google loophole, and then one day, poof, it was gone? How many times have you seen a marketer get desperate and discount the price of a product just to pay the bills? And then they were lost on how to pay the bills next month!

Life Lesson #2: Decisions. Every decision you make either changes your actions or changes your mindset. Getting angry, becoming a victim, "bitching and moaning" are natural ways you're trying to change your mindset but unfortunately that will lead you down the path of more destructive actions. Instead, turn should-to's into have-to's into want-to's.

Life Lesson #3: Self-Awareness. You really don't work as "hard" or as "fast" as you think you do, and you need downtime. You're not an employee in your own business. It's not about running out the clock the same way it is when someone else is paying you for your time. Alcoholics Anonymous has the term, "Progress not perfection." If you want to get paid as little as an hourly employee then act like one, but if you want to be a productive business owner who works smart (not hard) and leverages their time, then do what other successful people do.

Life Lesson #4: Pick Your Battles. You need the ability to fall on my own sword (a little bit). Apologize when it's necessary and move on when it means you're making progress instead of being weak and surrendering. Bite your tongue and let the other person win if it means more money or more happiness.

Life Lesson #5: Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst. You really need to AUTOMATICALLY backup everything (your desktop and your website), in multiple locations and in multiple ways. So many things aren't valuable, or aren't important, until they're gone, and now you'd pay $10,000 for that one missing file that you could have saved by spending 2 minutes clicking a button. You'll get old someday. You'll die someday. Others around you will die someday. Don't get bogged down by that thought, use it as a tool to focus and get where you need to go.

Life Lesson #6: Life is too Short, So You Need to Be Everywhere. You're probably thinking too small. You need 100+ articles on the internet. You need a blog, a podcast, a Kindle and CreateSpace book, a product for sale, a Facebook account, a fanpage, a Twitter account, a forum username on at least a few popular discussion boards in your niche. You need an email newsletter, multiple optin pages, and all these things need to lead right back to YOU.

Thanks again for being such a loyal reader of my blog. Please comment below and sure, in one sentence or so, share was what your biggest insight of 2012?

Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016Mindset

Comments (50)

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  1. Lynn True says:

    I really have been thinking too small — ready or not, world, here I am!

  2. Robert, loved this post! Great advice for the new year and always! 🙂 One life lesson I have added for myself is to “let go” — let go of people, things, ideas, habits, whatever doesn’t serve me.

    Happy New Year Robert. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for next year. Yay!

    Wishing you health, happiness, peace and prosperity — now and always.

    Sincerely Yours,

  3. Thanks for this list, Robert. A few of these are things that I’ve been thinking on for a few weeks now – particularly needing to be everywhere.

    I have taken a sharp turn in my business recently – not so much in what I’m doing and selling as a whole, but in how I interact with people and get my brand out there.

    Your “Podcast Crusher” was one thing that took me in that direction. 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing this, and I’m looking forward to a lot more great info from you in 2013!

  4. Dan says:

    Your #6- I keep nibbling away at the pieces and add another checkmark toward reaching all those places. I haven’t covered them all but I’m working on it. Facebook eats my lunch… I have to avoid it until most of what I wish to do for the day is done or nothing else gets accomplished. It’s too easy to get sidetracked. Lately everybody and their cousins have started setting up groups. Problem- they ALL want to be your choice for info and training, yet all fall short on meeting that mark. Who’s got time for Tumbler? I need a Lance-like partner for accountability. How did you two meet?
    Thanks for the list.

  5. Stu McLaren says:

    There are lots of nuggets of wisdom in this post but one of my favs was:

    “Bite your tongue and let the other person win if it means more money or more happiness”.

    Too often we want to be right instead of happy.

    I choose happiness (and that also includes the projects I decide to work on).

    Here’s to a great 2013 Robert!

  6. Robin Muff says:

    As always, a well-thought out post and a “meaty” and yet enjoyable read! Especially liked number 5.

    Best wishes for an amazingly good 2013!

  7. Robert, love your creativity! Neat way to wrap up the year and point back to awesome other blog posts. Hard to chose a favorite from you list, but I think mine would be life is too short so be everywhere. In fact, I think that would be a great motto for 2013! Thanks!!

    Appreciate you and all you do! Looking forward to an amazing and successful 2013!

    Theresa 😎

  8. Ray says:

    Great advice right there Rob. I’m making this day forward my best day ever!!!!

  9. Shelley says:

    Sage advice as always Robert. I see strategy as the bigger overall mode of activity and tactics as the smaller action items you take within the strategy. My greatest learning for 2012 was to get serious and really take charge of creating my own success. This post gave me a chance to measure how I am going. Here’s to a powerful 2013.

  10. Amod says:

    The only other guy to Perry Marshall and Glenn Livingstone that I mark and read before deleting…

    Awesome tips, lesson 2 applies to me!

  11. Hi Robert
    What a great post. I don’t know how you do it.

    Here I was catching up on all the things I need to do before the week is out and you persuaded me away from my tasks to write a comment here.

    Just how did you do that!

    Each of those six life lessons apply to me.

    And now I feel the need to add a seventh – keep focussed and shut out distractions!

    Still, if I had done that I wouldn’t have read your post and commented. Maybe those life lessons are merely guidelines which can be broken sometimes.

    What is your take on that?

  12. Don Johnson says:

    Very good information. As one who has bought and tried too many programs that promise a lot, but only give you a part of what is needed to be successful, you offer some great advice on using a strategy to succeed rather than the newest thing. It is time to step back and take a look at what the big plan is for making .

  13. Dipak says:

    Superbly told once again!!!! love your views. It was quite an insight on how we need to be organized to be successfully!!! Wish more such enlightening view in coming months…

  14. susanto says:

    thanks robert, i think that your six life lessons is very good advice for me. Especially life lesson #5 and Life lesson #6

  15. I love ” turn should-to’s into have-to’s into want-to’s and “”Bite your tongue and let the other person win if it means more money or more happiness”.

    Happiness is always more important than being right!
    Thanks for a great big picture!

  16. Gerard "G" says:


    Your posts are always insightful and entertaining. I wish I had more time to try to make something work. Man, I have so much stuff in my back pocket and if only I could pull everything together, I could certainly get something to work, but…

    I will be able to get something rolling one day. Keep on keepin on is all I can do!

    Enjoy your posts!


  17. For each life lesson you give, you save us a day of frustration and wasted time. I just feel refreshed knowing that I can delegate the worry to you guys and now go on vacation for a month!

  18. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Gerard,

    Just think about all the people who “couldn’t” lose weight or stop drinking until their doctor said they had to either stop or die. Or people you know who couldn’t quit smoking for decades until suddenly they were pregnant and had to do it. If your attention is split and you can’t get focused, and you have a time management problem, then it sounds like your situation isn’t desperate enough. What if you “had” to make $10,000 in 30 days to stay out of jail? What if you had some medical emergency and only “had” 2 hours a day to make it work? You’d probably drop most of those projects that are taking up the most time for the least amount of money and get a quite few things finished.

    Just something to think about.

  19. Self-awareness and realizing that everything doesn’t need to be perfect is the lesson that was spot on for me.

    I need to remember that my mindset needs to shift from slow to fast production.
    I need to work on just focusing on getting things out there rather than wondering if it will work.
    Sometimes it feels like its tough to know where to start.

    Thanks for the wonderful post.


  20. Laurie Mills says:

    Hi Robert,
    Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Love the “bite your Tongue” comment (even though it hurts when you do lol) you are dead right with this.
    You can’t jam your thoughts down others throats all the time even if you are right. A little leeway doesn’t really hurt that much.

  21. Kym Robinson says:

    Life is too short – that’s for sure!

    Glad to see you’re still taking names and making waves Robert – here’s to a great 2013!

    Kym 🙂

  22. I could make a comment about each point you made. So, since life is short , why not?

    1. Strategies and tactics… I’m finally learning this one. My new program which I’m rolling out in a few weeks will consists of a number of landing pages, direct mail and a webinar. I’m also going to learn how to use Facebook and Twitter for marketing. I do a touch of Facebook.

    2. Decision… I tell my clients… Not to decide is to decide. You’re deciding to stay right where you are.

    3. Self-awareness… I do my own self-healing every day. Since I live alone the thing I need to work on is taking down-time consciously. By that I mean, downtime does not mean feeling guilty because I’m not doing something on my to-do list… as in posting here… but I want that podcast info!

    4. Pick your battles… this is huge and I’ve been doing pretty good at this. Picking your battles includes personal life as well as business. Don’t let ego get in the way.

    5. Hope for the best, plan for the worst… hmmm, I need to plan more. I hope for and strategize for the best.

    6. Life is short, be everywhere… I want to work on podcasting, twitter and do better with facebook.

    Thanks, Robert. The best of 2013 to you and everyone here!

  23. Tim says:

    Lesson #6 Life is too short….found that one out three years ago when my youngest daughter was killed. She was struck by an automobile at the tender age of 23. What I have learned this year is your podcast Lesson #3 Self Awareness…You need Downtime. This year I have come to understand I do need down time. And it is okay. I have had to learn that in order to stay healthy, actually become more productive, and be happier; I have to take down time and relax.

    back to Lesson #6 You need to be everywhere. I have seen the need for what you are describing and am working in that direction. i just need a good “jumping off point” to bring the whole concept into focus. Thanks for the help this year. Keep up the informative posts.


  24. Daniel Hall says:

    Good stuff here Robert. Thanks.

    I would add one more to the list. At least this is one of many of my life lessons. To use a baseball analogy…

    Don’t Be Afraid To Swing the Bat

    Often folks seem stuck in inaction. Mostly due to a fear of failure.

    I’ve found that failure is often necessary on the road to success. That swinging the bat frequently and fearlessly leads to crucial learning and tweaking that seems to be bring on greater success the next time around.

    Also, the fact that action is taken gives rise to more creative thoughts and solutions which in turn hasten success faster the next “at bat”.

  25. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I agree 1,000,000%. One thing that held me back from putting a book on Kindle (and then on CreateSpace) was I was worried about the ability to change my price, title, cover, and contents of my book later — once I can.

    Funny how that one uncertainty kept me from doing it. People need to realize that it’s easy to change your product, website, membership site… and that you probably will once you put your “best guess” product and sales letter out there and adjust it based on what tests and what sells… it’s not a big deal to change a web page or send another email.

  26. araxy kherlopian says:

    Hi Robert ,

    Thanks for crystallizing the 6 important factors for success. Lessons # 1 and #2 are where i have lagged behind: indecisiveness and unclear about strategies . Analysis/paralysis. Great insight . Happy New Year ! May 2013 bring about more success online and offline in our lives !

  27. Thanks Robert for not just being about passing along information, but about taking immediate action. Your podcast and blog are an instrumental part of any online marketers success.

  28. Carole Lawrence says:

    Life is certainly short. (Just reached my 70th birthday.) Lesson #6 is my best goal for the new year. Got to get out there and make a name for myself. Podcast, articles, fan pages, etc. here I come. Thanks, Robert, for these tips.

  29. Warren says:

    Hi Robert,

    Number 6 is a real challenge. To stay focused and on message across all the social media is really difficult. I find I get caught up in the details of the social media or content creation and never get beyond it.

    Which is why I am going to focus on 2, turning my should into want to’s. Thanks for crystalizing the topics.

    Happy New Year.


  30. Robin Erbert says:

    I can’t tell you just how important it is to listen to the 6 Life Lessons that Robert reveals to us. One can plug along from day to day and accomplish very little. Listen to these lessons and apply them and your life and business will change for such a positive direction that you will be shocked and elated.

    Trust me, just try it and get ready for your dreams to come true.

  31. araxy kherlopian says:

    I think i will print this out as a reminder and refer to the list to stay on focus about what’s really important.

  32. Backup, backup, backup. I use an external hard drive or two and a cloud service.

  33. Robert Plank says:

    Backing up in multiple ways to multiple locations seems tedious but I make it a point to set it up, or make sure a backup ran, on a weekend or holiday so I feel like I’m not taking away from productive time. And, one thing that Lance and I have heard from many of our Backup Creator customers is that they have multiple backup solutions going… an automatic backup on the server levels, automatic backups of just the WordPress account… it might take up a little extra digital space but I’d rather have multiple copies of something I “might” need eventually.

  34. Trent says:

    Regarding Lesson #6 that we need to be everywhere – yes this is a daunting task but I know that Robert’s training courses are always step-by-step and will help anyone needing to achieve their work step-by-step. I am working on mine so I can happily talk about achievements this time next year. Thanks Robert! Happy and Blessed New Year to all of you!

  35. Diane says:

    1. Strategies vs. Tactics … Excellent example = the wise folks who used the “best practices” and sound strategies built website(s) business(s) that survived and/or excelled during the Google Panda update.

    2. Decisions – “Every decision you make either changes your actions or changes your mindset.” Thanks to TMOC and 60-second decisions, I now make them. This year, I will add your “Turn Should-to’s Into Have-to’s Into Want-to’s on my vision board. And a question/recommendation … Have you read the book Complaint Free World? If you work the Challenge associated with this book … give up complaining, it can transform your decisions!

    3. Self Awareness – Healing and success become possible when we are self-aware. I would add this thought from a spiritual leader … the circle of forgiveness is complete when we become self-aware. Perhaps practicing forgiveness is like becoming self-aware … you must have both sides of this coin to be successful. I’ll have to ponder on this one some more! What are your thoughts?

    4. Pick your battles. “Bite your tongue and let the other person win if it means more money or happiness.” My thoughts almost … except I always ask myself this question … Is it better to be right, or be loved?

    5. Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst. It’s comforting and empowering to have a Plan B to fall back on!

    6. Life is too Short, So You Need to Be Everywhere. Young Man … I sincerely thank you for a concise and well thought out list of success building things/actions to strive for! It’s going on my Vision Board too! Since I am almost 60 years old and am attempting to make my life easy and happy, I would add a tool to this life concept that empowers and encourages freedom of movement … Divine Distribution. If we help someone, or pass on the things we no longer need to someone who needs them, we can create a life of true value and wealth for ourselves, and for others!

    Happy New Year Everyone!
    Diane Anderson – Freelance Copy and Travel Writer

  36. William says:

    Thanks Robert for the list of things I missed this year… “What a Reminder” sheesh:)

    Ok, this year wasn’t my greatest year. I did get 102 articles and blog posts out in cyber space.

    And my plans for 2013, is to “Cast A Wide Net” on the “Net” and network with like minded Real People. What does all of that mean anyway?

    Gone are the days of “Leave It to Beaver”, Matt Dillon and his side kick Festus, now we are living in the digital age of that of “Delicious”. What is Delicious? It is a great book marketing site. Save and share from the web, what you like.
    William Cato

    Ok, I am not a poet. Thanks for letting me share.
    P.S. How many products are you planning on rolling out this year?

  37. Jerry McCoy says:

    The 4th and 6th lessons hit home for me.


  38. John Vonhof says:

    Six great ideas we need to be on top of. I identify most with number 2: Decisions. Yes, Every decision you make either changes your actions or changes your mindset.” I agree. When you need to be everywhere (number 6), you need to make the right decisions and know how they affect you and your business. Sometimes we vacillate back and forth on a decision and waste time when we should have simply made the call and moved on. Stop second guessing and decide. Of course, make sure you have everything you need to make an informed decision. Then life with it.

  39. Tim Jensen says:

    My strengths – 3,4, and 5.
    My Weaknesses – 1,2, and 6.

    6 seems daunting. I imagine my best course of action is to just GET GOING! Thanks for the reminder, Robert!


  40. Carol says:

    I have backed up using WordPress and Dropbox. I liked the idea of different locations but someone told me I am creating more work for myself. But I still do it.

    Thanks for encouraging multiple backups in multiple locations.

  41. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the push and reminder about being expansive and sharing everywhere. That’s been my lesson for 2012 and continues to 2013.

  42. Angela Wills says:

    Lots of great advice here Robert. My biggest lesson of 2012 was to focus on what works and give it my all. I know what I need to do for 2013 and it’s a matter of working my plan.

    I like the advice in your post about not being able to work as hard or do as much as we think we can. I always overestimate the time I have and in the new year I really want to get better at being realistic about what I can accomplish! AND… figure out new ways to get more done in less time.

    Thanks for the post!

  43. James Stuart says:

    Hi Robert,

    Life Lesson #3: Self-Awareness resonated with me, made the change instantly mentally and will incorporate it in my agenda. Good Stuff!

  44. Brandi H says:

    Love this way you’re getting comments. I’d say my thing for 2013 is planning, or at least getting better at it.
    It’s hard, slow going without a plan.
    Thanks 🙂
    Brandi H

  45. Steve says:

    Yes, for number six. We do need to be everywhere. Could I add on? It’s about speed. Be everywhere and get there fast. We only have a limited window of opportunity. You said life is short, but, the available window for each opportunity is even shorter.

    Thanks for your post, Robert.

  46. Ron Chamberlain says:

    Great post Robert. #3 and 6 ring true to me and to a lesser degree #1.

    So much time at the computer with not much being completed.

    I’ve started implementing your 4 daily tasks, although not always getting all 4 tasks done. It has helped with productivity quite a bit.

    Have a great New Years Robert!

  47. karen says:

    I have to agree with all of your points. Most important to me are:
    Having down time, this is the time that I refresh and energize myself. This is when I have my best ideas.
    Not gripping, being envious or making excuses…a sure way to attract negative results and is unproductive.
    Thank you.

  48. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Karen,

    I have my best ideas when I am relaxing, asleep, walking, exercising, driving or just away from the computer as well.

    When I was younger I would stay up all night on a regular basis. One time when I was 20 years old I even spent 26 hours at one time in front of the computer.

    I “thought” I was getting a lot accomplished. In reality my mind was playing tricks on me. I’ve since learned better and rarely spent more than 30-90 minutes at the computer without taking a long break and I get a lot more finished during those very focused sessions.

    Just think about all those times you were stuck on a problem for hours, took a break and in 10 minutes of NOT actively thinking about it, you knew what to do.

  49. Jase Wass says:

    Man, I’m trying to get some downtime over the break and you keep hitting me up with emails! Sheesh. Lol.

    Great time to reflect. I keep buying your products and then get caugh up in other projects so my life lesson this year is FOCUS. That way I will be able to tuck item 6.

    Thanks for what you do. Your energy keeps me going on this journey.

    Happy 2013 to you and all the Plank followers.

  50. Nelissar says:

    Yes Robert,
    I find thinking strategically, being able to know when to take some “off” time and putting an automatic backup for every thing I Do as 3 the key points for me here. Too many time s I got fought up in the making creating of things that lost track of time nor leverage therefore no downtime that really le d me to exhaustion a few times this past year. I got my computer and external hard drive stolen – thank god for cloud based backups! So yea, I really appreciate your advice and can definitely relate. Happy focused 2013 to all! Thank you

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