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The second interview at the BloggerViews series comes from none other than one of the most influential bloggers in India today, Mr. Harsh Agrawal – The Owner and Founder of ShoutDreams and ShoutMeLoud.
Harsh: Hi Rajeesh, Thanks for having me and featuring me as a part of your interview series.
Me: Let us know about you first!!
- Everyone knows about Harsh Agrawal – The ProBlogger and now an Entrepreneur, but tell us about your life before entering Blogging Industry.Hi everyone, and before you start reading Just another interview, let’s get to know each other. I’m Harsh Agrawal, a 25 year Professional Blogger from New Delhi, India.I started my journey to this Digital world with Engineering. I have always been passionate about Internet and always wonder how it works and how people do so much amazing things online. When I was in college, I choose Info. Tech. as my main subject because of my affection toward computers. Initially I was mostly into Linux, Server and learning Networking. Like every other Engineering pass-out, my dream was to have a good job (9-7) in a reputable company. I got placed in Accenture and that was turning point of my life. Having a job in hand gave me enough boosts and I started living the life I wanted to. Though due to recession, Accenture delayed the freshers joining and I started working part time and started with a blog at the same time.I have always been an average guy, who followed the mantra of work hard and party harder since my school days. I was not much into academics books and studies, but there were only few subjects (Networking, Marketing, IT, HR) which actually caught my interest.
Talking about today’s date, I live a dream life which I never imagined. I work from home and have an office set up at home. I get up at 10-11 in the morning and sleep late. I work according to my time and mood and so far it’s working out great. I make my living out of money which I earn from Blogging and consultancy services which I offer to other bloggers.
Back in 2008, when I started with Blogging, online money and making money from websites always sounded like a scam to me and I never knew about AdSense. But later on when I get in depth of Blogging, I was mesmerized and started wondering why Blogging is not a main-stream business In India. Specially, when India is full of creative writers and where only 1-2 members in the family works and rest stays at home, Blogging could be one of the best source of income for those people.
- What clicked you to enter the Blogging World?It was my passion for technology & sharing information that brought my close to blogging. I started a blog with the aim of sharing interesting stuff which I usually surf and find online. I used to be an active stumbler (denharsh1.stumbleupon.com) and always end up finding something new and interesting. Back in those days, Twitter and Facebook was not so popular for marketers and blog was one and only way to spread your words and likes. So, I started my first blog to curate all information I like and that’s how I get into World of Blogging.
- If not a Blogger, what career would you choose?I don’t think now I can think of changing my career as Blogging is one of those best things that happened into my life. But, If I have to change my career and get into something new, it would be photography or I might pursue M.B.A and get into HR. Event management and social media marketing are other field of my interest, but with this hectic Blogging schedule, it’s always impossible to continue enhance your skills on other thing.
- Mention some Probloggers if any, whom you follow or look upto?There are many of them and just to name them, here are most common names which I’m sure most of us are aware of. Like Darren, John Chow, Daniel, Amit Agarwal and many more.
- Tell us the best moment of your Blogging life!Ahh, I wish I can categorize and put any of them as best, because there are many time and many things which set a landmark and added into my lifetime memories.One of the best moment and experience was to attend Wordcamp in 2009 which boosted my confidence and that’s where I understand the power of Blogging. I met with some great and friendly people like Honey Singh, Om Malik, Matt Mulenwag and that was a great moment and one the best place for a blogger to be.Another one is, when I bought my first car from Blogging income that was like Woo moment for me. Though, they are just the monetary stuff, real achievement which I believe is getting Email from some of the readers, who can’t see and they use speech to text and text to speech to communicate. There is one reader in particular, she has been mailing me from years and whenever I see an Email from her, I feel a level of achievement.
- How passionate blogger you are! If offered a Job of CEO at Google, would you leave blogging? (Just for fun). I would definitely go for the job but Blogging would remain there. As I mentioned above, I started blogging because it’s my passion to share things which I like and know. If a job is killing all your interest, do you think it will worth it?
I believe the readers would be eager to know about ShoutMeLoud.com now…
- How, when and why ShoutMeLoud?My career started with a BlogSpot blog and within months I decided to get a custom domain and move to WordPress. When it came to deciding the name, I wanted to get something unique yet catchy. I was mind mapping but could not stick to one name. One day, while going to office, somewhere I saw a picture in which a guy is shouting and that’s where this name (Shout-Me-Loud), came into my mind and I started with it.I started ShoutMeLoud as a Tech blog but later on it turned out to be a Webmaster Blog. Now, I usually talk about Blogging, SEO, WordPress and make money online stuff. Mostly, things which a Blogger need and should know to be better.
- What are the current traffic stats for ShoutMeLoud?All hail Panda, at one time we were at 400,000 PV/month but last year Panda took away most of the traffic and it dropped to 60,000. That’s the time when I get into SEO deeper and started pointing out my mistakes and learned from it.At the time of writing this interview (April, 12), ShoutMeLoud is getting more than 260,000 PV/month. We are quite active on Social media sites and recently ShoutMeLoud Facebook page crossed 10K fans milestone.
- Is ShoutMeLoud.com still the most revenue generating blog in your Blog Networks?Yes, ShoutMeLoud is still one of the top revenue generating blog in my network. On ShoutMeLoud I mostly earn from Affiliates, direct ads and services like Blog consultancy. Your readers might be interested to read How I earn from ShoutMeLoud.
- What is the real target for ShoutMeLoud in the coming future?I’m working in the direction of making ShoutMeLoud as one of the top Weblog in Business blogging and SEO in near future. Though when I say Top, path is going to be really tough and requires lot of effort and one unique idea. But, I’m sure I will live up to expectations of all current readers of ShoutMeLoud.
- ShoutMeLoud was once in the network of rtBlogs. What happened then?Back in 2009, I met Rahul and we thought of sharing our effort to achieve our goals, as we share the same visions. It was our first partnership and first partnership of my life, though it didn’t turned out to be great at the end and we decided to split and move ahead with our plans.
Now let’s move to the most interesting part that all the bloggers dream for and which you have already achieved. “The transformation from Blogger to an Entrepreneur”. Let’s talk about ShoutDreams.
- How was the feeling of the transformation from a Pro Blogger to an Entrepreneur?I don’t consider myself as an Entrepreneur till now as I have not created something that awesome. Maintaining a blog network is not much of a deal and I will achieve this title only many people will earn their bread and butter because of my company. At this time, I have a home-based office and I work from there and most of people who are working and associated with ShoutMeLoud are work from home people.
- How, When and Why ShoutDreams? Tell us more about ShoutDreams, its vision and future.ShoutDreams is created with a vision of giving India a Professional Blog network and setting Blogging as a Business industry in the country.As I see, Blogging as one of the evolving industry globally and in India. You will be surprise to know, most of ghost writers and freelance writers are from India, and my goal is to convert them to start their own Blogging business and make a great living out of it.Have you ever imagines, how is it going to be when 100 of bloggers working together under one roof and that’s my idea behind ShoutDreams. And this is something which I would say “Work in Progress” and it will take time before it will take complete shape.
- Tell us more in detail about each blog in the ShoutDreams Network other than ShoutMeLoud of course!!
- CallingAllGeeks.Org: A Gadget and Tech news oriented blog.
- ShoutMeTech.com: A Web apps blog, where we cover detailed listified posts on interesting tech topics.
- Chromoz.com : An Entertainment and lifestyle blog.
- LetsTalkRelations.com: This blog was started by Ruchi Parikh, who is still one of the most dedicated members of ShoutDreams team. Though, she is no more active much, as she recently got blessed with a baby . This blog is all about relationship advices and dating tips.
- WPHostingDiscount.com: A blog targeted to Webhosting tutorials and mostly related to WordPress Web Hosting.
- How many staff do you have now to maintain all these blogs in ShoutDreams Network?I don’t have an in-house team at the moment and most of the work is outsourced now. Like designing, writing and editing work. Most of my team is virtual and located globally.
- What is your main ambition in life?All, I want is when I’m in my 60’s, I can look back into my life and should get a sense of achievement and should not feel, I missed out something in life.
- Share some tips with newbie bloggers who wish to be as successful as you are today!I will put things in bullet points, so that it will be easier to follow:
- There is no shortcut to success
- Success either comes with hard work or with unique idea in shape.
- If you are planning to take Blogging as full time career, don’t put all the eggs in one basket.
- If you have been planning all this time, it’s time to start giving shape. With time, things will improve and iteration is part of online system. Remember, How Facebook used to look when it started and how it is now. Just start after a good planning.
- Set a principle and checklist for your blog. Treat your blog as your best friend, and always talk about it as something which means a lot to you. If you won’t love and respect your blog, how would others?
- Learn Art of living. To be a good blogger, one needs to be a good human being.
- Set your boundaries for online world. Success has different definition and humbleness is your key to success.
- Instead of finding hundred ways of making money online, first understand one system. If you are using AdSense, learn every tip and trick about it, and this was you can make your income grow by 100-200% easily.