Growth Hacking Interview Series #92: Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha is a blogger, vlogger, wordpress speed optimization expert and music lover.
How did you start out as a marketer?
Initially I started out as a blogger, but later when I started giving more time to blogging then I realized that putting all of my eggs in one basket isn't the solution to build a proper income stream so I started digital marketing.
I even did a part time job for the same for an Indian startup for some while and then I realized the true scope of this field.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
The hardest struggle is consistency, when you are out there to deliver a one shot project or one thing, then it's very easy to get the job done. You follow a fixed approach and get the work done and then walk away.
But when it comes to delivering consistent results over a long period of time, then things start getting harder as that's the kind of work that requires you to constantly rethink your strategy again and again and work on new action plans in order to get the job done and on time!
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
I run a website speed optimization service: Cacheable.co and when we started we gave a lot of free website optimizations to people for a month and then the good word about us spread out and back in August 2012 we had the first earning from a customer who wanted their website's speed boosted up!
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Currently apart from being a blogger, freelancer and digital marketer; the main focus is on Vlogging and we focus a lot on our video content. The most rewarding about these things is that I get to create a lot.
I have an artistic urge since beginning and wherever I get to express myself I use that medium, whether it's writing, video creation and for a while I was even doing logo designing for a lot of time!
The creative process and the joy of seeing the final product live is almost the same level of excitement as giving birth! (and yeah it's as painful as that but the moments after that are amazing!)
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
Apart from freelancing the main goal should be on building your own brand. If you are a reputed freelancer on a third party site, all of your testimonials and work samples reside there.
Try to get your own project website done, showcase every little or big thing that you have done and that's the way to go for freelancers.
If you aren't hell bent on becoming a freelancer then create your own stuff, it can be blogs, micro-niche blogs, YouTube channel, wordpress plugin, a product or even a service and try to funnel all your effort in one direction, towards making your brand more visible and more profitable by the end of the day.
Because if it ain't paying, then it's not worth doing! It's the 21st century here and time is of the essence.
Immediate results and instant money won't come your way, butt if you have been at something for a considerable time and still not generating profits then you need to rethink your course of action.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would start earlier, I started when I was 17. Given the chance I would start even more early, as early movers always have the greatest advantage in any field.
Also I would hesitate less. In my initial years I hesitated a lot and always thought of keeping backup options in forms of job placements and other things.
I would have believed in what I was doing a little more and the greatest thing is to form a team. A single person can only do so much, the faster you form a team and work with them the sooner you can scale up in whatever you aspire to do!
How is your typical work day structured?
I sleep around 1 AM and wake up at 7 am. After waking up I reply to emails on my phone while doing other day to day activities ( you know what I mean 😛 ).
Once I have had breakfast, I head over to different places (including the house of my relatives) with my camera gear and everything and the products I am about to review for the day.
I try to push out one video every day, or one blog post so all of the effort goes into shooting as much as possible.
By 2PM I am either editing the footage I took or writing a blog post. By 4-5 PM whatever I did for the day goes live on my website or YouTube channel.
The good thing about having your own content is that placing links and things like affiliate marketing and sponsored content opportunities open up when you own something of your own that gains a good standing!
And in the midst of all these I constantly have an awesome music playlist going on, and I can't stress how much the kind of music you listen to can make your day more productive and keep you on your toes!
4-5 PM I wind down a little and check out my social networks. Personally I find social networking to be a big time consumer and in case you can do without checking your Facebook and Instagram updates every few minutes then go for it!
I tend to watch videos by other creators too at this time as it's very important to keep in touch with the latest in industry. More often than not I am working on other people's projects too.
So right now I am working for videos and promotional material for a plugin called SchemaNinja so that takes up the rest of my time.
As for social life most of it is limited to meeting my friends on few weekends and attending press conferences and launches.
I really want to stress out that people shouldn't forget to always have interaction with others, in our race to do more and achieve more we often forget that we are human beings and social interaction is something that's must for our mental well being.
It might sound too preachy but it's a dire situation for most entrepreneurs and people who follow a digital lifestyle to manage things because there's no upper limit for how much is too much.
We keep putting in effort and don't know when to step back and relax and enjoy a little of the life that we have.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
Back when I started major reliance was on Google's AdSense program for our revenues. In December 2011 my AdSense account got deactivated and this fuelled a period of intense doubt and almost no earnings.
I didn't give up on blogging and reappealed against the AdSense ban for more than 18+ times.
In the period of 1.5 years I kept on experimenting and then I had started freelancing and working for others in order to have a significant income source apart from Ad revenues!
Then after 1.5 years and constant reappeals I got my AdSense back and since then I never sat idle.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
My action plan would involve these things:
Make the company more approachable: People should know whom to approach and who's accountable for what in a company, so in case they have some query or questions they would know who to ask rather than spread bad information about the company and it's non responsive support system.
In order to maintain a good public image any company should have happy customers/users. If the core user group is unhappy then there's no point of even doing business for new users in an environment like that!
Have a direct connect with the customers: Look at Apple, they are so successful as a brand only because the brand itself evokes a very strong emotion in its consumers. People don't just use their products, it becomes part of their life.
Make people's lives easier in any way possible and evoke certain human emotions in them. A brand without a direct heart to heart connect isn't a brand.
The users should associate a specific feeling to what you are doing, what they feel about your company is what matters in the long term as this translates to more preference for your services and products!
Let the users spread the word: The best marketing is one where you don't have to spend even a dime. As one of my great entrepreneur friends once said, “Everyone is fighting a price war. Fight for quality.”
Don't cheapen your prices just because it's competitive out there. Focus on quality and user retention, everything else falls into place as one happy user means a lot of other opportunities for the people around him/her.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
Back in first quarter of 2015 we were working on a big event called as The Startup Mashup and that was the time when I had few other freelance projects too in hand.
It was tough to slog out 11+ hours daily in an office and then go back home to work on client websites, but that period taught me a lot about how to manage things.
The main thing I learnt is that getting it done is better than getting it done perfectly!
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
A lot actually.
Influencer marketing is nothing new but if you develop deep relationships with industry experts then you receive the added halo effect of their networks and influence in your work too.
Getting your work noticed and shared by the right people counts a lot in today's fast paced age where everybody is competing for limited attention spans of people.
In terms of SEO, using Private Blog networks and parasite website development is something that has caught up my interest and I try to read more and learn more about these things these days!
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
The best way to do this is to connect with the right people. Having the right people in your networks increases your chances of finding new useful information.
Apart from this the best way is to constantly practice, sitting idle on what you already know will never work.
Risks are something that you need to take and every once in a while take up a project that you know nothing about.
Either you will do a lot of research and get it done or you will have a field day learning new stuff and most probably getting to know a lot of things in the process, though it won't necessarily lead to completion of that project!
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
I designed the whole website for TheStartupMashup.com for their event. For a low level coder like me this was very significant. Sadly enough that version of the website no longer exists for you guys to see!
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
The one book I would recommend to every marketer is “Who Moved my Cheese”. Read it once and you would know why I recommended it in the first place!
What advice would you share with other Marketers who want to become more productive?
Automation is the way to go. You can't work 24×7 as that would lead to burn out. You need to set up systems in place which earn you passive income and that can be done via micro-niche blogging, affiliate marketing etc.
Though it would take a lot of time in the early stages but once you are done then all it would require is constant tweaking and evaluation, that's something every marketer can take out the time for!
The second thing would be to read a lot, and then do a lot. Soak up new information and connect various things and pieces of information to create new things. Rehashed content, strategies etc. won't work always.
Constant innovation is the only guaranteed way to success.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
I would recommend Kulwant Nagi from BloggingCage.com as the guy knows what to do and promotes what he does in a very inspirational way so as to motivate others and not intimidate them through his achievements!