When I think about the things that have made me successful in the field of SEO over the past 5-6 years, I don’t list my technical knowledge or the proprietary ranking techniques I’ve developed as being the most important contributing factors to Single Grain’s achievements.  Sure, both of these things have played a huge role in my ability to help website owners optimize their online performance – but there’s one element that’s been even more critical to the results I’ve been able to achieve.

Can you guess what this often overlooked skill might be…?  It’s good communication!

More than anything else, learning to communicate well has enabled me to turn my business dreams into a reality.  If that sounds too cheesy to be realistic, consider all of the following different ways in which my communication skills have contributed to my success:
Continue reading The #1 Most Overlooked SEO Skill

Sure – I understand that running a business is difficult.  If you’re a company owner, you likely have hundreds of different items already on your “to do” list – from developing and testing your product to reaching out to consumers using various online and offline marketing strategies and more.

However, if you spend all of your time focused on your own internal affairs and put no energy into consuming the content that others have created, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to learn and develop as an entrepreneur.  To get in the habit of making ongoing education a priority in your business, check out the following blogs, find a few that you like and set a goal to check in with their posts at least once a week for best results.
Continue reading 40 Must Read Blogs for Entrepreneurs

We all like to think that we’re constantly pressed for time, but the reality is that most of us waste this vast resource simply by remaining unaware of how we spend our days.  So if you need to find more time in your day – whether to take on a new fitness program or to make some major progress on a business goal – check out the following 17 tips on how to get more done in less time:
Continue reading 17 Ways to Find More Time in Your Day

Being a business owner is challenging.  Not only do you carry the enormous weight of transforming a vision into reality on your shoulders, you do so while also attempting to balance these business pursuits with your personal life, managing a workforce and handling the financial ramifications of business ownership.

Unfortunately, given all of these competing demands, it can be easy to let bad business habits sneak into your daily life, undetected.  To prevent this from happening, you must be vigilant in guarding against the following business mistakes – all of which can threaten your growing company if left unchecked.
Continue reading Bad Business Habits You Should Give Up ASAP

Welcome to 2013!  I hope you had a relaxing holiday season and that you’re looking forward to a happy and productive new year.

That said, if you’ve set up specific goals for yourself, you’re probably already aware of the huge failure rates that come along with New Year’s Resolutions (just take a look at the empty gym parking lots come February if you don’t believe me).  To help you avoid the common stumbling blocks that throw off would-be self-improvers, I’ve put together this huge list of ways to get motivated.  I hope you find them useful when it comes to sticking with the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Let’s get started!
Continue reading 101 Ways to Get Motivated

If you think about it objectively, entrepreneurship doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Sure, there are cases of well-off people launching successful products or services with no risk to their own financial well-being.  But many of today’s entrepreneurs are those who have put their careers, family lives and personal stability on the line to pursue a business idea that – realistically – has only about a 50% chance of succeeding over five years.

But despite the logical argument to be made that we should all stay home, work our steady jobs and never deviate from the traditional “college-to-career” path, plenty of would-be business people still make the leap from corporate life to their own ventures.

In fact, according to research on entrepreneurship in the US compiled by the Gallup Business Journal, “nearly half of all jobs are in the small-business sector, and small businesses accounted for 65% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.”  Given the uncertainty that this particular path entails, that’s a pretty large number of people willing to take on the risks of entrepreneurship!
Continue reading What Drives an Entrepreneur

Consumers today have more choice than ever when it comes to the vendors and retailers they decide to work with.  Because everything from groceries to clothing to home repair supplies and more can be purchased online, businesses of all sizes must compete against their counterparts around the world in order to maintain their customer bases and overall sales.

So how can your business stand out from others who are offering similar products and services in order to maintain your market share against online and real-world competitors?  Consider any of the following strategies that show your customers you care about them:
Continue reading 7 Ways to Show Your Customers You Care

It’s often said that practice makes perfect, but I couldn’t disagree more.  Practicing a musical instrument using the wrong finger positions won’t make you perfect – it’ll just make you exceptionally good at doing the wrong thing.  Similarly, practicing kickboxing skills using the wrong form won’t make you a great fighter.  If anything, you’ll be lucky to walk away from the gym uninjured…

So instead, I think a better saying would be, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”  If we truly want to get better at something, we need to optimize the way we practice things – basically, we need to be great at getting better.  Here’s what I mean:
Continue reading Be Great at Being Better

How to Regain Control of Your Work/Life Balance

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know how much I love living in San Francisco and participating in its startup culture that values hard work and productivity on projects that have the potential to change the world in some positive way.

Unfortunately, one of the issues that I see all too often in this city is the tendency to become so wrapped up in these exciting work projects that the concept of a fulfilling personal life falls entirely to the wayside.  If you’ve ever found yourself checking email before you’re even out of bed, leaving the office so late that it’s technically the next day or turning down plans with friends to get in a few more hours of work, you already know what I mean!
Continue reading How to Regain Control of Your Work/Life Balance

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of all the articles out there that beat the principles of time management into the ground without even once referring to the importance of proper energy management!

Here’s the deal…

Too many time management practices treat time as if it’s an infinitely manageable resource – as if, by simply scheduling your allotted hours more effectively, you’ll be able to maximize your productivity and get more done than ever before.  But as anybody who’s ever tried to implement a rigorous new schedule just because some nameless, faceless productivity guru recommended it knows, it just isn’t that simple!
Continue reading Manage Your Energy – Not Your Time!