This site is owned and operated by Rahul Agarwal
Bargaon, Odisha 770016, India
At 22 I run multiple successful blogs, I am a serial startup entrepreneur and content marketing super-freak.
I have helped boost rankings and revenue for companies like Samsung, Bigrock, and many others. I regularly write about starting up SEO, and marketing on Entrepreneur and YourStory.
Currently, I am consulting 3 startups on growth hacking, SEO, and digital marketing. I am also working on launching my SEO Master and Badass Blogger online course, crash testing my ideas with an affiliate marketing blog and working on ‘The Next Big Thing’ in content marketing.
My Story So Far
I enter NIT Rourkela. I had great hopes. Everyone must be doing amazing things here. After all, this is the 2nd top rated college in the country. To give you a prospective that’s the equivalent of Stanford. (Colleges just below the Ivy League) All the allumnus are heading the MNCs and top companies in the country. But my excitement didn’t last long. I found out that I am smarter than a lot of people around here. That was a huge disappointment. For me, it was never about getting a trophy degree.
So I did what made sense at the time. I dropped out without a plan. I haven’t gotten the kind of success like Mark and Bill and Steve. But my peers are yet to graduate. And I am making more than most of them will in five years. More importantly, I am doing what I love. And I have learned far more than I ever could have in college. Today, I can choose which company to work with because I don’t need a job.
The Techie in College
As I said, college was boring. But it took me 4 semesters to be convinced that I am ready. But instead of wasting my time doing nothing (Apart from the classes that failed to stimulate or challenge me). I spent the time reading books, success literature, biographies, aught myself how to design websites. I started interacting and networking with people. And before long I was picking up freelance website designing projects and I was doing well enough to pay my own tuition fees. I also built a blog and took it from 0 to 70,000 visits/month. I later sold the blog on flippa for $21,101.
My First Job & Big Clients
Before I dropped out I had the experience of building and scaling a blog, designing websites, and handling clients. After I dropped out I talked myself into a job at Tangence Digital, a renowned digital marketing agency.
I worked there for 9 months. During that time I handled 2 big projects and produced amazing results for Samsung India and BigRock. I owe the bulk of my SEO knowledge to the work I did during this period and my mentor Sanjay Kumar Negi.
My first startup failure – My real life B-school
After 9 months of intense work, I had learned a lot. But there was not enough challenge anymore. So I decided to switch gears and start my own food-tech startup. Long story short, the startup was a disaster. It folded in less than 6 months and I had burnt out everything and I went completely broke in the process. But had it not been for that failed startup, I would not know 10% of what I know about business today.
In one line I learned that-
Ideas don’t make money, execution does. And the grandest of ideas are worthless if they can not survive.
We would not know who Elon Musk is, if Tesla had not raised money one week before bankruptcy.
My advice is
If you really wanna learn how to do business, build one. If you succeed you succeed, but if you fail you’ll have learned far more than B-School can ever teach you.
Going Broke and Coming Back
After the first startup failed, I was left with nothing but my skills. So I started picking up freelance web designing and SEO projects. Delivered a couple of really successful projects for my clients Connie Inukai and Rafi Chowdhury, created a custom WordPress automation plugin for a client and scaled to a team of six.
Here are their testimonials
Testimonial from Rafi Chowdhury
Testimonial from Connie Inukai
I clawed my way back from being broke to doing well. And as things started getting comfortable I realized that ‘comfortable’ just isn’t my thing.
Back to Start-up Mode
I went back to startup mode. Partnered up with someone and created the ButterlyYours Day Planner. It was a day planner with Stephen R. Covey’s 4 quadrants.
The idea was to help people prioritize their day but in a funny way. The product was meant to appeal to the younger business people and startups. I used some really awesome gorilla marketing strategies. I even wrote about this on Entrepreneur.com. We sold a few hundred units. But the startup folded in a matter of months. Because
it was just a cool idea. Sort of a great gag gift. But it could never have become a viable business.
- Business success is not just about cool ideas: but cool ideas turned into products that a lot of people would be willing to pay for.
- I just ain’t the person to market physical products: I realized it the hard way that marketing a physical product is a completely different ball-game. And that I can not be good at everything.
- I partnered with the wrong guy: Even when we were playing against I was persevering. I thought I would see it through with my tenacity. But my partner was a risk avert. I was just too aggressive for him. We disagreed and fought over everything. I just could not take it. After failing miserably to sell a product that you put your heart and soul into, the last thing you want is to come back and have a fight with your co-founder because he thinks I am a hot-head and take too much risk. I mean if this doesn’t work we lose everything anyways.
A ‘Not So Great’ Opportunity – Growth Hacking at Outgrow
As I was planning what to do next after ButterlyYours Randy Raees the CEO of Outgrow.co reached out to me and we started talking about a possible job at Outgrow. I really liked the product, the idea, and the vision of the company. I still believe it’s a grand vision. We were in talks for 3 weeks before I decided to come onboard
My work as a growth hacker included
- Finding out SEO and Content Marketing opportunities (Golden Nuggets)
- OnPage and Off page SEO
- Creating, publishing and promoting high impact content
- Product testing, Customer & Marketing centric UI Testing
These were things that I could do in my sleep. I even did an in-depth research and created an infographic on KissMetrics SEO Strategy titled: How Kissmetrics Gets $16.4M Worth of Traffic..For Free? and a superb, lengthy piece on content marketing strategies titled: 15 Unique Content Marketing Hacks from Experts.
It just wasn’t meant to be
You are good at what you do.
We are just not a good fit right now
Why I am happy that it didn’t work out:
I really respect Pratham as a person. And I really wanted it to work out but a few things happened which make me feel glad that things didn’t work out-
- Recently, when I was checking outgrow’s blog I saw that my author profile has been deleted and the writing credits for the articles have been replaced by Pratham’s name. I find that shady to say the least.
- He imposed sneaky deductions on my settlement amount after I left the job. When I asked for the exact breakup of the deductions he connected me to someone in the HR department. Whose answer was- I have no idea about the break-ups or the calculation, my job is to credit the amount that I am told.
- I spent 3 weeks researching every aspect of HubSpot’s marketing strategy, but the article never saw the light of the day and all that effort went down the drain.
- Even after all this, I thought I must have been wrong. He was a bit explicit in his dissatisfaction and compared my work to someone else’s. Turns out the guy who he was praising just quit the company last week. About two months after I did.
- The worst part is- they still don’t have the MVP. Their landing page still has fake ‘dummy testimonials’, and no content marketer is working with them anymore.
As Kris Carr famously said,
You can’t please everyone. When you’re too focused on living up to other people’s standards, you aren’t spending enough time raising your own.
Risking it all, All over again-
Because things were not working out, I decided to quit Outgrow. And before long I was really brewing something awesome. I met my current business partner and we have created an awesome tech platform. It’s a hush-hush thing right now. But more on that soon. But just to give you a sneak-peek. It’s something like Canva.
Whats-up Right Now?
Currently, I am also consulting 3 startups on digital marketing and SEO
- Instaspaces: A platform to book nearby meeting rooms online.
It’s a startup with an awesome idea of allowing people to seamlessly book meeting rooms, conference rooms etc. People can book places for business on very short notice and at hourly/daily/weekly basis as per their requirements. What stands out about Instaspaces is the Founder Nakul Kapoor’s commitment to providing top class service to every customer.
- TechNegi: A tech ‘How-to’ blog.
- ThisWorksBodyWraps: An ItWorks body wraps distributor.
Jackie Hall is an ItWorks distributor who had been a double-diamond and then she stopped working because of personal issues. Now she is back and starting over from scratch and she needs someone to help manage her digital marketing efforts.
If you are expecting an about page dazzling with success stories and a dozen testimonials, I am sorry to have disappointed you. But that’s life. It hasn’t been all roses. In fact, I have fought my way through my fair share of thorns and I have some roses. But I never gave it and I never will. And if you have the right talents, it’s just a matter of time before you get there.
The secret is to hang in there till you succeed.
And what’s next?
What’s the deal with SJARahul.com?
If you look back, here are the things I have done so far
- Achieved crunch SEO targets for big time clients like Samsung and Bigrock in record time and in very high competition niches.
- Developed digital marketing strategies for businesses.
- Growth hacked for startups.
- Built Fully SEO optimized websites from scratch.
- Building & selling blogs from 0 to 70K visitors per month in 4 months.
- Planned, designed and Implemented high-conversion high conversion websites and custom sales funnels.
- Writing about growth hacking, marketing, and entrepreneurship in top publications like Entrepreneur.com and YourStory.com.
So when it comes to building a successful online business from nothing and then scaling and selling it. I have been there done that. And with all my project experiences I uniquely understand the three crucial elements of a successful online business-
- People (understanding what they want and how to sell to them)
Because I did hire people but mostly it was just me. And now I am bringing all my experience together to build SJARahul.com
This website is only about 2 things-
- DIY for wannabe SEOs: Business owners, bloggers and others who are new to SEO can use the blog, giveaways and paid DIY courses to teach themselves SEO.
- Don’t have the time to go through the learning curve before you can get results?
No problem! Partner with me and you get access to me and team to do SEO and get results for you so that you can spend your time doing other important things. Like running your business!
And when I say SEO, I don’t mean just higher rankings on Google or more traffic… I mean traffic of wallet out, ready-to-buy visitors that you can count in as revenue.
For those who wanna build an online business: The plan with the DIY course is to give you and other entrepreneurs and small business owners the step-by-step method to –
- Find out what you can offer and who your target audience is
- Create your own product from scratch.
- Help with everything building a website – Choosing a domain, hosting, theme, branding…
- Supercharging your website for SEO
- Creating optimized landing pages and email sequences and sales funnels to attract the right audience, build trust and value and turn them into paying customers.
The process of starting an online business is really daunting and navigating around without the right guidance can give you nightmares. I am just trying to use my experience and make the whole process easier for you.
More when the course is ready.
Till then, you can hop-on and join my email list.