I used to hate marketing to the moon and back

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

This story will remain with me forever.

I remember growing up seeing sales guys knocking our doors to sell things like Books, detergents, pens & more. I used to hate this to the core. I told myself that I’d never become this guy as when I grow up.

I guess that kid hated it way too much that he’s doing exactly that, years later.

If you’re reading this, you might want to know how marketing chose a kid who hated it to the core.

It almost feels like destiny

When it was the time to choose streams in high school, I purposefully chose science, so that I don’t get to even remotely be associated with marketing in present or future.

In the course of learning some software development skills, I had a friend who introduced me to blogspot in late 2011. I got fascinated by it, created one for myself & same day published a blog post fully copied from a news site.

The title read, “Instagram banned in Iran”. I remember as if it was yesterday.

Fast forward a couple of months.

I was able to generate 30,000 pageviews a month. No ads. No income, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Yeah! Now, I feel like a dinosaur when I say I come from an era when pageviews were the most important KPI.

It wasn’t marketing for me, yet!

When I started blogging, it wasn’t marketing for me. I had no idea how to put this to use & how to make a career out of it.

I kept on doing it & I started getting noticed on Google+, when it was at it’s prime (Yeah! I’m that old)

Soon I got a couple of offers for writing on blogs. That was cloud 9 moment for a 21 year old. A full time job, two freelancing clients, what else would a 21 year old need?

My blog was doing good on itself & I was fully focusing on freelancing & my job (notice the chronology of my priority)

And then I hit ceiling.

The blogs I was writing for wasn’t growing. The founders were talking about discoverability on search, in short they used to call it ‘SEO’. I triggered the curiosity & started learning about it.

That was first exposure of marketing.

The turning point

I continued juggling between job & freelancing for a while.

Fast forward 2017. By this time, I was making more by freelancing than my job. It was the perfect time to quit the job & fully focus on freelancing & my blogs.

By now, I knew the basics of marketing, my SEO was strong enough to get discovered on search engines (which I did). This was the time I take off.

I had connection who’d love to have me & I tapped into it.

5 years since I quit my full time job

I quit my job on 25th May 2017 & it’s been 1867 days since I’m self-employed & there isn’t an ounce of regret in me.

I’ve made myself thousands of dollars, endless time to spend on whatever the hell I like, founded business & blog, failed those & stood back up, got a job at an exciting startup, quit that again, now making six figure freelancing & planning a startup of my own.

After spending nearly 12 years doing all kind of crazy stuff, what did I learn about marketing (& why did I not quit)?

  1. Once into marketing, you can’t quit. It challenges you every single day.
  2. Marketing is about knowing your audience. Once you do, it’s a walk in the park. Marketing is also about attention. Create anything that’s ethical & legal to get your audience’s attention. Once you have it, redirect them to your profile or landing page that will make money for you even in your sleep.
  3. Social media is for promoting yourself, not your service, not your business. It’s to put the message out in front of your audience, that you exist.
  4. Unless you’re paying for ads, never talk directly about the products/service you’re selling.
  5. The content you create doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related about the product/service you’re trying to sell. If you’re a fitness expert, don’t talk about fitness, talk about what hinders staying fit.
  6. Most of your customers aren’t ready to make a purchase, your marketing efforts should acknowledge this & create content that put you in front of them once they’re ready for the purchase.

How am I doing as a marketer?

I don’t really consider myself a marketer, I’m a content writer who’s decently good at understanding the target audience & say/write what they want to listen/read — that’s it.

With this engraved in my mind, I don’t think I can do anything but good.

I have applied the same to my cold emailing/DMing & this works out well for me. I’ve landed one of the highest paying clients till date using a sales pitch of 11 words long. It was direct, precise & exactly what the client wanted to hear.

How to get started as a marketer?

Opportunities are endless. Making a $10k a month is a joke considering the opportunities. Sure, you’ll have to build credibility that will make you worth that much.

All those unpaid years where I wrote on various platforms has made me worth any amount of money I ask. Not boasting, but it’s a fact that the work you put in, doesn’t go in vain, down the line.

Marketing is a very vast land to cover in one post. However, for those who wish to build a career in marketing, there are steps that you can follow. You can start you career at $0 & at a very basic level.

If you want to get started as a marketer, here’s an action plan that you can use:

  1. Pick anything that you like. It can be as easy as lying around (just kidding)
  2. See what’s the market you can tap into. Think in terms of number of people who can pay attention to what you say, let alone pay money.
  3. If the number is significant (which in most cases will be significant. Internet has over 5.8 billion people), start identifying the problems those people have that resonates with you.
  4. Start creating content around those problems that tickles those problems & probably gives them a solution to fix it.
  5. If you don’t have a solution (yet!) curate the solution that already exists. For example, curate list of tools a SaaS founder can use for various needs. Begin with categories like marketing, web hosting, analytics, accounting & more. This is a multi-million dollar business idea in itself (check out Appsumo & Pitchground) — You don’t need to sign up for any course for curating, do you? Just be aware of what you’re audience needs & find a content accordingly.

Sustaining & growing your career in any field is matter of keeping up with the trends of marketing. Even though the principles of marketing remains the same, the way you execute is continuously evolving.

Final thoughts

Considering the hate I had for marketing & the fact that I’m into marketing since 12 years, I think I hate millions (read billions) of dollars to the core ;)

Jokes apart.

Starting a career (or marketing your product/service) in marketing has its root in the fact that how well you know your product & audience. I can’t emphasize enough on this. This small fact has helped me revive my failed career & truly become self-employed (& to employe)

I’ve rebuilt social presence, my blogs, do the same for freelance clients & other side projects.

Did you know: I’ve created this Notion template for those who want to leverage the power of content marketing. This can be someone who wants to make a career out of blogging or a founder who wants to promote their business by blogging about it.

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Shubham Davey

Shubham Davey

Content Writer for SaaS founders | Writing since 2011 | Tech Enthusiast | 2.2 M views on Quora | https://shubhamdavey.com/links | Hit Follow ⤵