This is for the people who master their own mixes, and it’s just a simple thought:
You could probably do less EQing.
It’s tempting to get into the mastering side of things with the idea that “I could really improve this.” But, you know what? If you’re the person who mixed the song, odds are good that you were doing something intentional that moved you.
It’s so easy to make a couple of EQ moves and completely wreck everything that you so carefully built. To unwittingly remove something essential. So tread lightly!
Or, to frame it differently: don’t listen first for what isn’t working. Listen for what is working. Reconnect to the emotional connection that you made with the material. And then see if there’s anything that’s working against that that you can change without messing things up. If not, just make it louder and leave it be.
With a light hand — jamie