What Is a Day in the Life of a Business Advisor Like?

What a day is like in the life of a business advisor primarily depends on the category of the business advisor.

There are different categories of business advisors out there depending on the type of business engagement (and their availability):

  • Industry experts who offer advisory services as an added value proposition
  • Business advisors employed full-time (or working as full-time contractors for 3/6/9 months)
  • Full-time advisors who juggle with a portfolio of customers

The first group of advisors have a different day job (managers, executives, founders, investors) and work with a small group of advisory clients. Their day-to-day is mostly consumed with developing their skills through practice.

A portion of their time goes into R&D, advisory calls, research. Depending on their availability, this could be 1–2 hours a day or even an hour every three days.

Full-time advisors working with a single contractor do what an external consultant/auditor would do—analyze the areas of work they specialize at (and sell). This will depend on the type of business advisor.

Business advisors working with multiple clients full-time may be employing assistants for organizational and research tasks. It makes sense should you need to monitor metrics and dashboards or keep in touch with different people for various reasons.

Even if they don’t, they normally have a packed schedule with research, analysis, documentation, reporting, coordination tasks, some internal (around their own work), and some in collaboration with executives and departments they should collaborate with. The more enterprise-grade the organization, the higher the importance for strict documentation, slide decks, or following administrative protocol in a different fashion.

You can easily distinguish a reliable business advisor from the others by looking at what they focus much of their energy on—if they are constantly working on gaining experience, continuous learning, and gathering as many resources as needed, you would know they can be trusted.

How Can You Apply Productivity Techniques in Content Production?

I’ve been compiling productivity techniques for a while now and most of them are applicable in content production as well.


Pomodoro revolves around 25–5 blocks—25 minutes at 100% focus (no interruptions) 5-minute breaks, run a few rounds, and take a longer break.

If you break down your content process into different sections or headlines, you can focus on one or two sections at a time, before you move to the next step.

Getting Things Done

GTD is a more comprehensive and complex process, but it’s handy while gathering ideas, compiling sources, stumbling upon quotes, etc.

You can still arrange your entire weekly schedule around GTD and become extremely productive in both writing and editing.

The 1–3–5 List

The 1–3–5 list is another handy productivity technique around a single top priority task a day, 3 mid-level, and 5 quick wins.

First off, you can arrange your daily agenda this way. Get the most time-consuming task done first (be it long writing or other non-writing activities that eat up your time) and arrange the rest.

Or consider a new piece the biggest task, and adding quotes or sources or media as the 5 quick wins.

Bucket Lists

I use this one as my main content production source.

Buckets represent ideas, sources, content topics, sample headlines across different categories (topics you cover) or activities (my blog, guest articles, podcast episodes, video titles).

My team fills up the buckets with a minimum threshold—say, 20 ideas per bucket.

When I’ve got some time, I focus on one of the buckets, pick 2 or 3 titles that resonate with me at the time, and push them in a single batch.

Don’t Break the Chain

Don’t break the chain is another technique by Seinfeld which is fairly simple—set a schedule and be consistent. Once you’ve reached 20, 30, 50 concurrent weeks or so, it’s really hard to dodge one and procrastinate as you’ll fail your own record.

All in all, there are lots of techniques you can use to produce high-quality content on a regular basis.

Integrating these productivity techniques into your content production will make your process more efficient, effective, and fulfilling.

By setting clear goals, effectively planning, using technology to your advantage, minimizing distractions, and focusing on quality, you’ll achieve greater productivity and success in your creative endeavours.

Remember, your approach to content creation can evolve and improve continually, leading to more impactful and engaging work that resonates with your audience.

Should You Have Separate Social Accounts For Your Businesses?

Keeping separate social accounts for your businesses would be best unless you already have established an influencer brand.

If Ronaldo or Mark Cuban or Obama decides to write about skateboarding or run a separate video gaming channel, millions of users will get hooked, because they *love* their brands already, they respect them; they want to become them, follow their lead, get their attention.

Call them “superfans”.

Once you cross a certain popularity threshold, you can do almost anything you can fathom.

For us, mere mortals, keeping readers engaged (if available at all) is a ton of hard work. This is why you stand a better chance by separating your specialties into two properties, maintaining each of them as a standalone account.

It would incur some overhead for maintaining 2x the number of social accounts. Also, you won’t be able to link to both properties if you speak, guest post, join interviews. But, it’s still a better plan until you become a celebrity.

Maintaining separate social media accounts for different businesses is a strategic decision that offers numerous benefits, including targeted communication, clearer branding, better analytics, and improved crisis management.

It allows businesses to connect more effectively with their respective audiences and to build strong, independent brand identities.

While it demands more resources and careful management, the potential advantages in terms of customer engagement and brand differentiation make it a worthwhile consideration for entrepreneurs with multiple business ventures.

Why Do Small Businesses Use Overseas SEO Agencies?

Location does matter only if you are running a brick and mortar store or want to position yourself in a local market (speaking a language different from English).

In any other case, the actual location of the SEO service provider is irrelevant.

Different vendors across the world can handle targeting an international business with an English website. With that in mind, there are different considerations that small business owners keep into account when choosing among several SEO agencies.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Among SEO Agencies

  • Price – US, UK, Australian-based vendors tend to be more expensive due to the higher cost of living and average salaries on-site. That’s often a leading factor for smaller businesses with modest budgets.
  • Outreach – many offshore vendors employ large team handling business outreach. If you buy a new domain name with a public WHOIS register, you’ll likely receive 20+ logo and website design or SEO offers within the first week. It’s an entire business model that offshore vendors often exploit.
  • Sales pitch – some low-cost offshore vendors aren’t completely honest with their intentions. They often promise to rank you on “the first page of Google” without even knowing your business. While this can happen for “the best cockroach exhibition for teenagers in the Chicago downtown area”, I’ll argue how possible it is for “real estate” or “business loan” terms.
  • Black hat packages – some offshore vendors don’t shy from using a portfolio of black hat SEO tools and hacks that tend to rank the site fairly high in a short amount of time. If the SMB owner agrees on a short trial and finds themselves ranking well, they may be unaware of the shady techniques that may get them delisted and keep paying in the long run.
  • Marketing – verifying the credibility of a random digital service provider is often tricky. This is why some testimonials, reviews, or even portfolio items may not actually be managed by the vendor. But an inexperienced small business owner may skip the due diligence anyway.

Most of those points have a generally negative connotation as compared to local providers.

Ways to Find SEO Agencies

In reality, it’s actually possible to find capable and the best SEO agencies anywhere around the world.

Some of our US and UK-born partners have moved to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, India running businesses locally with external funding and modern processes. Also, finding talent in densely populated areas may be slightly easier if you’re paying a premium.

It’s not unlikely for an Indian or Pakistani team to employ several reputable contributors to HuffPost, Forbes, Entrepreneur India or other reputable outlets – along with some local high DA sites and numerous blogs. It’s also a viable business model that may work well without getting too much sales stuff there.

Moreover, small business owners use different mediums for finding a vendor. Browsing classifieds websites, Facebook groups or online blog posts may outline a list of different skilled vendors, including some that are offshore.

As a rule of thumb, I’d always recommend doing the right due diligence of these SEO agencies and their former case studies. Reaching out to existing long-term clients may be a good strategy as well. Contacting a reliable local SEO consultant who can verify their techniques and testify for the quality of their work could be a good safety measure as well.

When navigated correctly, the partnership with an SEO agency can be a strategic move for small businesses aiming to enhance their online presence and reach a global audience.

What Types of Music Work Best When In A Creative Zone?

I’m pretty sure it’s a personal preference for the most part, but I have a couple of suggestions for the types of music work best when in a creative zone.

While you’re in the creative zone — coming up with the content, editing for better readability, gathering stats — avoid lyrics. Lyrics are generally distracting unless you’re listening to a very, very familiar song and can ignore them.

You’ll end up listening to the song. This will inevitably slow you down, and you may miss some opportunities.

During the publishing phase, considering you’re posting in different networks or groups, or scheduling a list of posts in Buffer, aim for a good, rhythmic song or a playlist. Repetitive tempo will help you follow the same pace.

I mainly listen to different types of metal (alternative, thrash, sometimes melodic death/black) but I switch to house/trance for my creative work. Some of my peers rely on jazz or classical music, though I find it distracting as it’s less repetitive and more nuanced.

Ultimately, personal preference, volume control, and familiarity are key factors in choosing music that complements rather than competes with the creative process. Experimentation and adaptability are essential in harnessing the full potential of music as a catalyst for creativity.

What Are Some Amazing Gift Ideas For Your Business Partners and Employees?

gift ideas for your business partners and employees

What gift ideas for your business partners and employees do you currently have? I’m really fond of backpacks.

A hosting company I worked for as a brand ambassador branded a nice camouflage Dakine backpack for a Christmas party, which I believe also contained a pack of Converse sneakers.

I still remember both and really appreciated the gifts.

A tech event I presented at 4 months ago gave me another backpack with a hammock inside. A couple of years ago I received a microcontroller from a local company competing with Arduino/Raspberry Pi. I was totally stoked with these types of gifts and the local innovation competing with the big players.

While traveling to ~100 conferences, I’ve seen all sorts of swag that looked neat.

  • Power banks were impressive at first but they are slightly more common nowadays.
  • USB sticks as wrist chains always feel neat. If you find a waterproof one, this makes a great summer accessory.
  • Water bottles.
  • Swiss-Army knives.
  • Eco notebooks with sticky notes inside.

How I Leverage My Smartphone for Different Work Activities

Other than calls and messaging, I try to leverage my phone for different work activities.

  • Tethering is one of the obvious go-to actions when I’m working from a coffee shop. This process is a VPN for security purposes which also lets me connect to our intranet (accessible from a static IP). I run a VPN for security purposes which also lets me connect to our intranet (accessible from a static IP).
  • Our project management and version control systems are accessible through mobile. Even when I’m wrapping up a meeting, I can add a new partner or a freelancer to our accounts – or even create a new email account from my phone, invite them to Asana and add them as collaborators on GitHub or Bitbucket.
  • Occasionally, I need to review some server logs or restart a service in a private VPS. I’ve added my private keys in JuiceSSH which lets me connect and interact with any remote server I’m authorized on (and do whatever I’d do from a laptop).
  • I have a portable external bluetooth keyboard that I use if I need to use my phone and don’t fancy carrying a bag.
  • Some of our remote freelancers are hired through Upwork for accounting/invoicing reasons. I can message with them through the app, increase their contract quotas, update their hourly rates and so on.
  • We use Google Hangouts or Zoom for video meetings with partners or clients. Both apps work just fine on mobile – I can schedule a meeting, send invites, and host the video conference through my phone.
  • I have a smartwatch connected to my phone. It receives notifications from my messaging apps. When I’m driving, I can respond with a voice message that’s translated to text and sent as a reply.
  • I manage our family budget with a smartphone app as well. That gets synced to a spreadsheet and lives in the cloud – so I can review reports from my laptop twice a month.
  • Over the weekend, I usually listen to business podcasts, read Amazon Kindle books, or listen to Audible books as well.
  • I have a couple of smart gadgets at home that I could control remotely. That comes handy in the winter when I can turn on our AC/heaters when I’m leaving the office and make sure that I’m not freezing once I get home.

Overall, I’m trying to port most of my notebook work to my smartphone as a backup plan. I can write blog posts or edit Google Docs files on the go, chat with my teammates or clients, schedule calls and do everything else that a smartphone could do.

How Can A Techie Startup Founder Sell Product Online?

How can a techie startup founder sell his product online? Since hiring costs too much (not suitable in too early stage), then what else?

Great startup founders are obsessed with their businesses.

This obsession leads to deep market understanding and a willingness to take calculated risks. Their commitment sets the organizational tone, inspiring employees and attracting investors.

As uncomfortable as it may be for you, closing the first customers is your job. Unless you have a co-founder who is strong in sales and/or marketing.

There are four common complaints I hear when discussing this with technical founders:

Lack Of Time

You are the lead developer of your product. And you want to be laser focused on implementing the latest and greatest features. This is a given.

However, there’s no sense in doing that if you have no customers. Prioritizing sales is just as important.

Moreover, talking to real-world prospects can reveal a whole lot more about their actual needs, features that would make sense, UX challenges you have to avoid, competitors they currently use to get the job done.

Lack Of Sales Skills

Not everyone is born a salesman.

But guess what — customers often don’t want to talk to traditional salespeople.

They need a no-BS overview of what you are working on and why they need to buy it.

Sure, you may miss an opportunity or two that a professional sales person would close. But an external sales professional won’t necessarily know the ins and outs of your product, what truly makes it shiny and how you came up with this brilliant idea.

Let alone the fact that you’ve committed your life to realize your dream. This makes for a compelling reason to listen.

Lack Of A Compelling Pitch

This one may need some structure. But you already have most of the answers anyway.

Ask yourself several questions a prospect would indirectly ask for while considering your product:

  • What is the main reason they should use it?
  • What pain point it solves effectively?
  • What is the best audience that would benefit the most?
  • How it differentiates from the other competitors?

Given the right price point and a seamless adoption, aggregating your answers within the pitch would make a great initial offer.

Lack Of A Sales Workflow

There isn’t a single place you can sell your product.

Cold calls and emails work in most cases. But there is so much more to being able to offer your product to your ideal customers.

Attending industry events is the best thing for meeting prospects on-site. Being able to present gives you some competitive advantage.

Participating in relevant groups of forums would do the job, too.

As a tech person, you should be able to monitor for relevant keywords or phrases online — places like Google Alerts, social media, forums or communities. A simple crawler would find the relevant conversations you can chime in organically. Plus, there are existing tools that make this happen.

At the end of the day, you should be able to sell your own product. Otherwise, you won’t truly understand the main objections your ideal customers face. If this is really outside of your comfort zone, a sales co-founder may be something seriously worth considering.

How To Reject Sales Proposals While Keeping Your Door Open

Generally, most of the cold emails and calls we receive (dozens every month) are automated and provide no value for us whatsoever.

Some of the remaining exceptions are just not a good fit for us. And every 3–4 months we receive an interesting one that may be worth pursuing.

Whenever we want to politely put a business conversation on hold, we take a different approach depending on whether:

  • We want to keep the business contact with the sales representative, or
  • Potentially work with the business at some point in time.

How to Reject Sales Proposals

Reject Sales Proposals but Keep the Sales Contact Handy

I’ve had several calls with salespeople who had joined a new startup that wasn’t of interest to us. But they had some former background in successful companies. They came with a great track record and tons of valuable testimonials on LinkedIn.

In that case, I jump on a call and let the sales rep know that it’s not a good fit for us at that point of time. If they react adequately, I suggest them to connect on LinkedIn and Twitter and add them to a separate list where I can monitor their career growth forward.

Contact the business later on

Some businesses are simply not a great alternative for us at the time.

This could be handled in different ways:

  • “Sounds like a great product/service, but we’re not there yet. Let’s keep in touch and see if a possible venture would make sense at a later point of time.”
  • “The solution sounds like something that we could use. We don’t have enough resources right now that would utilize the new product. Let’s touch base in 3–6 months and see if that would work.”
  • “Your product seems to be solving a serious business problem. We’re still growing and we can’t leverage its full potential at that price point. Let me subscribe for your email list and keep your contacts handy in case you create a more affordable plan or whenever we can utilize your current offering.”
  • “This solution isn’t quite compatible with our workflow. I’d be happy to keep in touch with you in case you are working on other verticals that could solve our problems.”
  • “We genuinely like your brand/team culture and would be pleased to work with you at some point of time. Right now I don’t see a great match. Maybe we could start with exchanging some guest posts or a webinar and see if we could collaborate on something else?”

We’re always direct and honest about our workflow and where we are at that point in time. Wasting time doesn’t work well if we’re sending mixed signals – hence we’re exploring other possible ventures that may be a good fit before reverting to the initial conversation.

Upwork’s IPO Impact On Freelancers Who Use Their Platform

As a former freelancer, I’d generated over $60K back in the day. As a company owner, we’ve already invested 6 figures through Upwork.

Upwork's IPO Impact On Freelancers Who Use Their Platform
A Screengrab of Upwork Homepage

Increase The Profit Margins

While the long-term strategy of Upwork may shift, going public will mean stricter compliance reported to investors and finding opportunities to increase the profit margins (and profit as a whole).

The easiest way to do this is increasing the lifetime value of each customer or freelancer.

According to Upwork – Wikipedia:

Upwork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients. Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it one of the largest freelancer marketplaces along with Fiverr.

There’s a fine balance between:

  • Sufficient engagement (number of available jobs for freelancers and enough quality applications in a short period of time for clients)
  • Scalable infrastructure and minimal overhead (the ability to keep expanding and keeping costs down, both on hardware and headcount)


What Upwork Has Done So Far For Clients And Freelancers

Upwork has already made certain adjustments in order to support high-profile clients and successful freelancers. Some of which adjustments include the following:

  • Signing up is pretty rough for certain countries, especially across Asia.
  • The first $500 per client are taxed with 20% by Upwork.
  • “Rising talent” is a prominent feature for freelancers who aced a few jobs, and get a slight boost for additional job prospects on the platform.
  • The minimum hourly fee was boosted to $3,33 several years ago. This may see low, but for comparison, the average salary in Bangladesh is ~$60/month, and it goes as low as $20 or so.
  • Long-term contracts incur lower overhead for Upwork. That’s why a freelancer accumulating over $10K for a client is charged just 5% onward, a tempting offer for ongoing contracts and hiring.
  • Reputable companies often get additional recommendations for hiring help and recommendations with an account manager from Upwork. Another incentive for keeping investments on the platform.

So, reasonable move forward is establishing stronger constraints for freelancers, possibly reducing their number to increase the average quality. There are far too many bot agencies sending proposals for every single job, radically reducing customer satisfaction.

Additional perks for companies who outsource their development entirely, probably with dedicated account managers.

Move Up The Ladder

There are plenty of low-cost freelance networks out there, and a few high tier like Toptal. My guess is that Upwork will move up the ladder, reducing their overhead and increasing the satisfaction of their enterprise-grade customers.