In my research phase before launching MPW I stumbled upon a few awesome blog posts that really helped provide some clarity around general WordPress knowledge.
These posts were from Harsh Agrawal, founder of ShoutMeLoud.
I decided to take a deeper look into Harsh and his journey, and was fortunate enough to connect with him around his awesome story, and the thousands upon thousands of aspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs he helps every day.
In today’s digital world of endless online opportunities, Harsh has found his niche in educating global bloggers in building their online audience.
So much information on today’s post, so take notes!
Take us back to December of 2008…What made you take the leap in launching ShoutMeLoud, and what was the driving force?
I started blogging because I felt compelled to do so. I was working at Convergys for money, but I was blogging because it used to complete me.
If memory serves me right, it was the zest to write & help others that made me convert a BlogSpot blog into a self-hosted WordPress blog.
It was this desire to help that made me borrow a credit card from a friend and buy a hosting package & my own domain name.
How many times in our lives do we do something just because we love it? It’s alright not to make money or not have anything to brag about!
ShoutMeLoud was created purely out of love & passion.
Tell us about the transition from hobby and “just having fun” to serious blogger with a clear vision of becoming your own boss.
It was an interesting period as I was going through an unplanned transition.
While blogging was giving me the complete peace of mind I sought, I also started earning handsomely from my blog.
In fact, I was earning more from my blog than I was from my day job.
The biggest turning point in my life came in June 2009.
This is when I had to pick between continuing to blog or joining a popular MNC called “Accenture”.
I listened to my heart & the rest is history.
Most people launch a presence online and then focus on content and building traffic.
When should he/she start incorporating real revenue generating strategies?
Unlike old days, online presence is directly proportional to your overall revenue & growth. These days, one should have a business plan before launching their blog.
For the people who are launching with a plan, monetizing from day one is not an issue as long as the ads are not hampering the quality & credibility.
What’s the biggest beginner mistake you see bloggers make?
Focusing on everything but the content.
Most bloggers start blogging because they have something to share with the world.
Sooner or later their focus shifts more into changing the look of their website or getting into technical things which can always be done by other people.
A blogger should always remember that their biggest power is the content & they should focus on what they are best at.
The initial days are a golden period for any blogger because they have the liberty to make countless mistakes.
If you make the most out of your initial days to hone the basics, you will enjoy the fruit of your labor for many years to come.
Can you speak to your online revenue path, and how your Affiliate relationships lead the way?
I started with AdSense & Affiliate marketing at the same time.
While AdSense was helping me to generate recurring income (Good for stability), affiliate marketing was helping me to increase the overall revenue.
Many of you might not be aware of it, but one of the USP’s of ShoutMeLoud is the transparency report.
Every month we share whatever we have learned in the month along with all income & expenses resource.
Speak to how you went about growing your email list and how valuable of an asset this is to your business.
Email is the best way for me to connect with readers.
I use AWeber & ConvertKit as ShoutMeLoud’s email marketing platforms.
Some of the best features about these services are the levels of personalization.
Something as simple as using the subscriber’s first name in the email makes the subscriber feel like they are part of the tribe.
This keeps the communications running smooth.
One of the reasons ShoutMeLoud is so popular is because of word of mouth marketing.
This popularity came as a direct result of our well researched articles & email marketing campaign.
These days I’m working on segmenting the email list to make it more targeted & I hope the next time we talk, I will have some data to share with you.
Building an online audience doesn’t happen overnight, so what advice would you give those with anxious visions of leaving their 9-5.
Invest in yourself.
Those who wish to leave their job for their passion, or even just make money online, need to be stronger than what they are now.
Being your own boss comes with its own side-effects; one of them is learning how to do everything on your own.
Being your own boss will work out the best when you are mentally & physically ready to go into battle with yourself for the next few years.
Here are a few tips that will help those who wish to quit their job:
- Become a learner & leave your ego at the door.
- Have a mentor, or at least have an idol that motivates you.
- Focus on mental health as you are more likely to suffer from conditions like ADD, OCD & an overwhelming addiction to the internet. This may sound unrealistic, but it happens to many who work online. Practice mindfulness, go for a spiritual retreat, and always keep an internet off-day.
- Learn time management & be a damn good manager!
- Start using the right tools from day one.
- Hire people to work for you. If you have no clue about how who to hire, learn about virtual assistants. Do remember “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
What do you envision for ShoutMeLoud in the next few years?
For the next few years, I want to continue my focus on growing & nurturing the ShoutMeLoud community.
At the same time, we are building a structured course on blogging under the name: Shout University (pro.shoutmeloud.com).
I wish to make it a complete certification program with courses on AdSense, email marketing, social media marketing, and other online marketing topics.
This will enable many to learn about how to build their online career.
One of my dreams is to sponsor talented people for their higher studies.
If things go right, we will be doing this in the coming years.
You have impacted and reached individuals on a global scale, that’s amazing! Did you ever think that would be the case?
It definitely feels good when you are recognized for your work and when somebody says that I have motivated & inspired them to do something unique.
Deep down, I know there is still a lot to be done.
What advice you would give Harsh the beginner Blogger?
Improvise on every idea that you hear & read. Spend initial days by honing your skills.
Connect with Harsh…