Be bolder and push more ideas to fruition while experimenting regardless of how crazy they might sound at the beginning.
Valery Kurilov is 34 years old. He spent the last 14 years of his life developing a variety of internet projects. He founded SE Ranking in 2013 and brought it to the level it is today by setting his ideas as goals and diligently pushing them to fruition. SE Ranking has always been a profitable project that required no outside investments. Today, the platform offers over 35 tools for SEO and online marketing serving over 200,000 users.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I was managing a different project when the need of a tool to measure ranking became so acute that we’ve decided to develop an internal instrument to cover it. We wanted to have an accurate data and at the moment there literally were no tools that provided correct ranking information. Little by the little the functionality of this internal instrument grew so much that it became a sophisticated platform for online marketers. I realized that it’s a separate and a very exciting project and I took it to the next level. Since then we’ve added over 35 tools to the platform making SE Ranking what it is today – a robust and multi-functional, all-in-one SEO platform for business owners, SEO pros and digital agencies.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day begins with checking emails and replying to the most important messages. Then I go over my weekly planner picking the tasks I’m committing to complete today. To stay efficient I use Trello, Jira and Google Calendar – those are three tools I absolutely can’t live without. I also use reminders on my phone – it’s a very simple but very effective instrument that helps to stay on top of small things that’s easy to forget about. And I also use good old notebooks to keep record of my ideas – it’s much easier to visualize and structure them once they are on the paper.
As the day progresses I go on my meetings with the teams where we are generating new ideas on how we can become better in any sense of the word. Coffee also helps to get through the day – especially the second part of my day when I’m focusing on the tasks that do not require management and are mostly the things I need to do myself – like to develop a prototype, give feedback about a design or something of this kind. Keeping my day divided into two parts help me achieve my goals and divides the day so all goes smoothly but does not fall into routine.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Every idea to me is a goal that I first create in my mind and then transfer to the paper. Once the goal is formalized I dissect it into tasks and disbust them among the team members. It’s very important to set priority making sure that every task has a due date that transforms into a due date for the idea to become a reality and the goal is reached. So the structure is always like this: Idea>>Goal>>Tasks>>Deadlines>>Accomplishment.
What’s one trend that excites you?
If we are talking here about global trends than my first pick would be AI (Artificial Intelligence), electrical cars, autopilots built based on AI. Think about it – only 10 years ago all those things were unheard of and today we are all using it and benefiting from it. I’m sure that’s where our future is heading.
If we are concentrating on the trends specifically in our niche – in online marketing and SEO – then of course I need to mention how sophisticated the search engines became and how much smarter the SEO tools have to be to outsmart the AI behind it. I mean now we can do voice search, search by the image, video content – it’s so fascinating to think about what’s happening behind a simple action of the user searching for the information on Google.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The most important thing – as I already mentioned above – is to make sure that the ideas are pushed over to be an accomplishment, a reached goal by the due date. Even if at the beginning the idea sounds like something completely crazy and unattainable – once put on the paper and broken down to tasks – it all become a lot more feasible and real. I have to admit – not all of the ideas will bring brilliant results – most likely 80% of them will fail. But the 20% of those will become a ground for a further growth making new things possibles. The only person who never fails is the one who does nothing 🙂 So the habit here is to write down the ideas and push them to the end – the evaluation will come next but it’s not possible unless it’s working and produces results.
What advice would you give your younger self?
First I would make myself believe in cryptocurrency and bitcoins – the idea started floating around sometime around 2010 and I was pretty sceptic back then – just like 99% of the population (laughs)…Jokes aside – I would advise myself to be more picky about people I’m doing business with and the specialists I’m hiring. It might sound like a cliche but people are everything. I came to realise that you need to choose the brighters, the pros with experience, and just overall persons you want to spend a lot of time with and build a future with.
I would also advise myself to be bolder and push more ideas to fruition while experimenting regardless of how crazy they might sound at the beginning. At the same time it’s important to focus on quality as even the brightest idea will die if it’s been realized in a very sloppy manner.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Very often I push ideas that no one believes in. In fact I argue a lot because no one sees that it might work or needed. So I have to have faith in myself and my ideas as the confidence is the only power I can use to push it through.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would say you need to have a global goal that you want to reach. A clear vision and a clear plan on how to accomplish it. Every global goal has to be divided into smaller steps and every small step has to have a due date. Those baby steps are the major force behind your big accomplishments – make sure that you are making those steps and are keeping the pace.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’ve built my business around my approach of setting the goals, cutting them into tasks and getting them done. My global goal is not reached yet. However, I have to admit that once one goal is reached the new one appears and that’s what keeps us moving. So one strategy here would be to set goals and hire best people to grow with. Those ideas and those top-quality people are the live stream of our business and driving force behind our milestones.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest fail was probably when I tried to save money and signed up with a cheap email server. As a result, all of our emails went to spam and we had to spend a lot of time recovering from this situation. Namely moving to a new server and working around the clock to get things back to normal. What I’ve learned is to always be careful with the tools and services I’m using choosing the best and the most reputable ones regardless of whether they are pricey or not. At the end you’ll pay a lot more if you’ll try to cheat on yourself and go with a solution that sounds too good to be true.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
First of all – do what you like and what you are knowledgeable about. It’s an absolute must. As the actual business idea – I would go with anything that requires subscription. And not only software or SaaS – it could be anything subscription based – from socks to cosmetics products. One dollar shaving club raised up to billions – think of the opportunities! If you have ideas – come to me – I would love to discuss this business with you (laughs).
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently I bought a book that I liked a lot – Who, by Geoff Smart. It was not $100 – just around $20 but a great spent. I mean the ideas expressed in this book are not new but so nicely structured and presented that it cleared my mind in many ways. I highly recommend it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I think I already went through the tools I’m using. Those are Trello, Jira, Google Calendar and phone reminders that help me to stay on top of small but still very important things. And of course email – I use Mac mail.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I can recommend one of my favorite books – Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life and Business, by Richard Branson. And then the one I’ve mentioned above – Who.
What is your favorite quote?
I repeat this quote a lot – “Do only one task in one time setting”.
- Write your ideas on paper – it’s easier to visualize and structure them that way.
- Set due dates for when you want to see your idea to become a reality – with no set deadline an idea is merely a fantasy of yours.
- Read Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life and Business, by Richard Branson – it’ll set your mind to work in the right direction.
- Be picky about people you are doing business with or hiring as specialists. People are everything – they literally are.
- Have faith in yourself and your ideas iver if no one agrees with you. If you have a clear vision and are confident in yourself – you’ll get a chance to prove the world that you were right from the very beginning.
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