So you want to grow your business. I get that. You probably wouldn’t be here if expansion wasn’t on your mind. But while strategies to help you increase your customer base and boost revenue are – on the surface – a good thing, growth alone isn’t enough to support and sustain a company if the right conditions aren’t met.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for businesses that excited about growth to accept – or even create – challenges that they’re not equipped to handle. Continue reading Growth Isn’t Everything: 7 Lessons Learned from 5 Failed Companies

Recently I launched our new email outreach tool called Maishake. What better way than to celebrate than writing a blog post on how to write the perfect outreach email! Because I write for a few Forbes, Inc., & Entrepreneur Magazine I get a lot of cold outreach emails arriving in my inbox (20-30 a day). Some are good, some are bad, and some are very, very bad.

Unfortunately, only a handful of them are what I would classify as “great,” and yet “great” is what you should be aiming to achieve with each and every email you send. To quote Moz, good just isn’t good enough:

To inspire a response, you have to get to “great”.

That’s easier said than done, but I like to think that being on the receiving end of so many outreach messages (and sending a good many myself) has given me a pretty solid idea as to what a “great” outreach email entails. Continue reading How to Craft the Perfect Outreach Email

Guest Post by Ross Simmonds. I’ve known Ross for the last two years. Over the last few years I’ve witnessed Ross do two amazing things : drive massive traffic to Slideshare & How to build a six figure consulting business. I invited Ross to guest post to share his tips on how you can do the same. Take it away Ross:

Today I’m going to show you some of the tactics I used to build a freelance business that last year did more than $250k in revenue.

And this was accomplished without spending any money on advertising through efforts like Adwords, Facebook or LinkedIn. But before I get into that, let me give you a bit of background on myself.

My name is Ross Simmonds and I’m a digital marketing strategist, author and entrepreneur. Over the last few years, I’ve worked with everything from startups to Fortune 500 companies around the world. I’ve recently written a book that includes my top 100 tips for making your first $100K in revenue after I was able to crack the six figure mark the first year I quit my job.

And in this post, I’m going to share with you some of my best tips.

Be aware – This isn’t a blog post filled with the generic advice like ‘add value’ or ‘engage’ with your audience. I’m talking about straight to the point pieces of advice that I wish I knew when I first got started.

Let’s get to it… Continue reading Three Actionable Tactics That Can Help You Make Six Figures As A Freelancer

Guest Post by Dan Scalco. Dan is the Director of Growth at Digitalux and blogs at He specializes in SEO and Conversion Optimization. When he’s not working hard to bring in more leads for his clients, he enjoys fixing up his old motorcycle, playing with his dog Max, and binge-watching documentaries on NetFlix.

When it comes to starting a new business, a little planning goes a long way.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a launch, but laying groundwork prior to that is critical to success in both the short and long term. Luckily it’s possible to build a solid foundation in just a few short days, while avoiding critical new business mistakes. Here’s how to go from floundering to polished in the course of a weekend.

Step One: Validate your idea.

Many businesses fail because they were started on a whim before determining whether there’s a real market for the product or service being offered. Too often, would-be entrepreneurs barrel full-steam ahead to product development or designing fancy business cards. They eventually pay the price when customers don’t come knocking. Continue reading 7 Steps for Launching Your Business This Weekend

Eighteen months ago, I decided to chase my passion by taking a great opportunity with an incredible company (When I Work) in Minnesota. This was a huge change for me, since it followed the sale of the company that had been my life and blood for more than five years.

Unfortunately, this move meant that for those 18 months, I’d be living away from my wife (FYI: it sucks) and I’d have quite a bit of time to kill.

I’m the kind of guy that needs to keep busy, so by December 2014, after almost a year of doing pretty much nothing else except going to work (and skydiving on the weekends), I began to get really antsy. The need to be doing something a little different got my creative juices flowing, and I started to think up and work on some new ideas.

The first project I really got my teeth into was the growth hacking eBook I wrote with my good friend Rob Wormley: 100 Days of Growth. Now my latest ebook on Content Marketing is up for pre-oder.

Getting the book to completion took around 50 hours each (of my time and Rob’s time), including a whole bunch of time spent testing new marketing tactics.

However, as “that guy” that always needs to be doing something to keep busy, I’m also not the kind of guy to do things halfway. Once I put my mind to something, I work my ass off until it’s finished. This meant that, between my day job and my work on 100 Days of Growth, I spent 6 months working more than 13 hours a day, 6 days a week.

It was tough going, but thankfully, our efforts paid off. The book has been a great success and sold over 10,000 copies, which has given me a ton of confidence as I move forward with other new projects. This is the story of how I did it… Continue reading What I Learned from Working 13.3 Hours a Day, 6 Days a Week

Chilling in your car on the way to the office? Killing time while you hit the treadmill at the gym?

Forget music or audiobooks! Use your time wisely to improve your business skill set or expand your mind with any of the following 35 must-listen podcasts for entrepreneurs:

Mixergy, “How Brian Scudamore Built a $150M Empire with $700 and a Pickup Truck

The Mixergy series is another good source of inspirational interviews with successful business owners. If you’re new to the site, start with the Brian Scudamore episode for the fascinating story of Brian’s history founding 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Continue reading 35 Must-Listen Podcast Episodes for Entrepreneurs

It’s a big day for me soon… it’s going to be the 10th anniversary of my digital content creation career.

In that time, I’ve built up blogs and content strategies for more than 47 companies and written and published more than 700 articles (which, between them, have received around 10 million views). On that note, I want to say a huge, huge thank you to every single one of you who has ever read, shared, or commented on my work – I wouldn’t be here today without your support.

However, as exciting as the last decade has been, I’m not going to lie to you: it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve always pushed myself very hard and for a period, I was working 13.3 hours a day, 6 days a week.

That said, while I wouldn’t change the memories I’ve made and the things I’ve seen and done through my work for the world, if I knew what I know now, I’d most certainly go back and do some things a little differently.

Stay with me, and I’m going to talk you through the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from the last 10 years of publishing digital content… Continue reading 15 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Publishing Content

You’re a good writer – should you start a freelancing service?  But you’ve also had a great idea for an app – would it be better to invest your time and money there?  Or maybe you’ve been frustrated with Dropbox and see the opportunity to disrupt the marketplace with a cloud storage competitor.  Should you pursue this idea, even if it means leaving your job and exposing yourself to a tremendous amount of risk with no certain rewards?

Having too many business ideas might seem like a great problem to have, but in reality, it can be just as challenging as having no ideas to work on at all.  When you have too many ideas, you run the very real risk of “analysis paralysis” preventing you from moving forward with any of them.

The key then becomes how you evaluate and validate each of your ideas.  If you find yourself struggling with more good ideas than you know what to do with, the following framework will help you clarify your personal mission and find the business idea that best suits this purpose. Continue reading What To Do When You Have Too Many Ideas

You didn’t learn to ride a bicycle on your first attempt, and chances are the first dish you cooked left something to be desired.  We all make mistakes when trying new things – and building a business is certainly no exception. But just because mistakes are bound to happen doesn’t mean that you can’t educate yourself on common pitfalls in order to avoid as many of them as possible.  Below are 17 common mistakes made by new entrepreneurs, including a few examples from my own experiences.  Take these lessons to heart, as applying them to your new business venture can save you time, money and hassle.

Continue reading 17 Mistakes Every New Entrepreneur Makes

I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but the digital marketing space has been blowing up with talk about “growth hacking.”  From Neil Patel’s “Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking” to the entire Growth Hackers website, it’s clear that the term is making a strong case for being awarded the “Marketing Buzzword of 2014.”

But let me add my voice to the conversation.  In my opinion, the first rule of growth hacking should be… don’t talk about growth hacking! Continue reading The First Rule of Growth Hacking