The Importance of Leveling Up One Day at a Time

I am talking to my book guy in a couple hours and we’re going to review the book I’m writing right now called Level Up.

Every single thing that you do, whether you’re just choosing a business name with a name business generator that provides unique, memorable, and long-lasting ideas, starting a new business from scratch, or coming up with the idea, you have to validate it. You have to do some customer development as well. Maybe you’ll go to LegalZoom and get the right documents in place and get your operating agreement in place.

You have all those things you need to learn, and then after you figure out how to start a business, you need to learn how to actually get customers and build a repeatable process.

Basically, you’re just leveling up over time.

The Fatal Error Every New Entrepreneur Makes…

A lot of times, aspiring entrepreneurs will look to established entrepreneurs for inspiration. And they’ll see that everything is perfect on Instagram. Everyone is doing well. Everybody is killing it. They have nice cars. They have such nice lives. Meanwhile, you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Related Content: Instagram Stories: How Brands Can Benefit from this New Feature

Sometimes, you can look at that stuff and get very envious. This happens to all entrepreneurs. The thing they don’t realize is that this type of comparison is pointless, and actually hurtful. You can’t really compare your chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 25, right?

Growth Everywhere Instagram

So don’t just look at the present day success and the fruits of their labor—think about the labor itself. When I look at the entrepreneurs that have had multiple businesses or multiple bestsellers, they put in the work at the very beginning to get to where they are.

What It Takes to Really Become Successful

To give you an example, the billionaire Chuck Feeney (a great guy, by the way), pretty much the father of duty-free shopping, amassed an $8 billion fortune. He was once one of the top 10 richest guys in the world. And he’s well known for giving all that money away, before Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or any of those other philanthropists started doing it.

Chuck Feeney


Here’s what’s interesting. In the book about his life, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, the first half doesn’t mention his philanthropy at all. Instead, it talks about how cutthroat things could be in the duty-free world, how he had to fight tooth and nail to get to where he got.

What Chuck Feeney is known for today, his incredible philanthropy, came after all that leveling up he had to do to get to where he was as a business owner.

The moral of the story? No one becomes an overnight success, much less a self-made billionaire. You can’t just look at Instagram pics and think to yourself, “Oh man, I can’t wait to get to that point. I wish I was there right now.”  You have to put in the time.

Stop Looking for Shortcuts

You also have to realize that you can’t try to take shortcuts all the time because shortcuts don’t work. Most people who come to me are the people who are looking for shortcuts. They’ll email me or send me a random message. And I’m like, “Dude, you just have to put in the time.” It’s not like anybody else around you is that much smarter than you. They just put in more hours than you have. 

You just have to be patient, and you have to focus on beating the current level that you’re at, and then level up to the next thing.

Tony Hsieh of Zappos tells his team, “We’re honestly just trying to get 1% better every single day.” So take it one day at a time. You don’t have to try to do too much in one day. Just think about the 3 to 4-year journey, then the 10-year journey.

Whatever it is that you’re looking for, just be patient and focus on the concept of leveling up. That’s all you need to do. You just need to put in time for each level, learn a lot, take the experience, and then go to the next thing. It’s basic stuff that we’re all taught, but I think we all forget from time to time because we all go into auto-pilot around our daily tasks.

Learn More: My Biggest SEO Mistakes – And the Lessons I Learned

What are the mistakes I made in the last few years? Sometimes, I’m trying to do too many things at once. This year, I’m trying to say no to more things so I can focus on growing and leveling up the things that I already have. Because I want to play the ultimate game of philanthropy.

Whether you think of business as a game or you think of it as just gaining more experience, you need to level up.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Why You Should Double Down on What Works and Ignore the Rest

Let’s talk about why you should double down on what’s working and ignore all the noise around you.

The Next Shiny Object Syndrome

With marketing or any kind of business, you’re always interested in looking at the next thing. I was just actually looking at a thread in an online entrepreneur’s forum yesterday, a Facebook Group, and one person brought up a good point. She said:

As entrepreneurs, how do you control yourselves from moving onto the next shiny object?

I think a lot of entrepreneurs are on the ADHD spectrum, myself included. They always want to start new things. There’s a shiny object here, another one over there, and look at that one right there!

It’s the next, big opportunity that excites us. I think that’s how we all are.

From a marketing perspective, when you look at your business, I think it’s important to look at what has been working for you and double down on that.

I’ve seen some people trying to jump on these new channels whenever they pop up. They’re on Snapchat. They’re on Instagram. Whenever the next big social media channel pops up, they’ll be on it like gravy. It’s fine when you’ve nailed down one thing and maxed it out, but a lot of people are just trying too many things at once.

Related Content: The Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

I’ve certainly fallen victim to next-shiny-thing syndrome in the past. I’ve reeled it in a little bit over the years. Now, from a marketing perspective and a lead-gen perspective, I only think about what’s actually working for Single Grain.

What’s Working for Single Grain

It’s always been one thing: content. It’s always been about adding value and educating people. Whether it’s through podcasts or videos or blog posts, content has always moved the needle.

Single Grain blog

It’s the same thing for SEO. You have to look at all the content you’ve been writing. Right now, we’re increasing our traffic by just upgrading our content. Again, it’s all about education. What can we do to continue to educate people and double down on the types of content that are working? Then we say to ourselves, “X type of content has clearly been working. Now let’s layer paid advertising on top.”

That is, in effect, doubling down on something instead of trying to do all this other crazy stuff. You could think about making funnels and things like that down the road. That’s also educating people, but first you have to think about what works for you.

Content Is Still King

I always like going back to the example of Apple in the early days. They just focused on the personal computer they had, the first Mac. They doubled down on that first product of theirs for years and years until Apple was finally a household name.


From a marketing perspective, look at what’s really been crushing it for you. At Treehousewhere I used to work, YouTube Ads did really well for us. We went all in on that and then we started diversifying into other forms of marketing.

Learn More: A Step-by-Step Checklist For a Successful YouTube Ad Campaign

The important takeaway is that you shouldn’t be guesstimating anything. Look at the numbers and the data and make good, sound decisions based off of that. The mistake a lot of smart people still make is they don’t look at what’s actually working and try to double or triple down on it.

How Successful People Became Successful

When Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were asked, “What leads to your success?” they both had the same answer: focus.

I find that whenever I start focusing more on the agency, things just blow up in terms of growth. This year, we’ll probably do 2.5 to 3x more business than we did last year, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. I think it’s just going to continue to stack. And it’s because I’ve decided to focus on what works: content that educates our best leads.

So double down on what works for you. Look at your analytics. Look at your search console. Look at how your paid advertising is doing. Look at what truly is providing the most impact.

I would even say take it one step further and ask yourself: How much is a lead actually worth to you? How much is a customer actually worth to you? If you can figure out that number then the sky’s the limit because then you’ll know exactly how much to pay for advertising to acquire the optimal number of new customers each month.

For us, it’s all about educating with our content.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

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Nathan Latka

Hey everybody, today I have Nathan Latka on the show. He is the former Founder and CEO of Heyo, which helps create fan pages, Facebook contests, and mobile-optimized landing pages, and is the host of a top podcast called, appropriately enough, The Top.

In today’s show we talk about how Nathan was able to build a successful business at such a young age, how he started out by cold calling people to sell Facebook fan pages at $700 a page, the reasons webinars don’t work for most people (but why they work for him), and how he grew Heyo to $5 million in revenue before selling it to a top competitor.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Nathan Latka Drove $4.5M+ in Sales Via Webinars with His ‘10x Partner Rule’ TRANSCRIPT

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Today I’m going to tell you some of the things I’ve learned after interviewing 70 entrepreneurs. In the last year and a half, I’ve talked to people who have founded multi-million dollar companies, billion dollar companies, and even people like Ron Klien who invented the magnetic credit card stripe. It’s been really humbling to talk to these people.

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