Ok So I dropped out from NIT Rourkela 2 years ago and recently, (6 months before my peers would even complete their B.Tech) I had held a job that the ‘dream job people’ with ‘THE BEST SALARIES’ in NIT Rourkela envy.
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 deep researched 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 t\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was checking outgrow’s blog I saw that my author profile has been deleted and the writing credits for the articles have been replaced by Pratham’s name.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.
Things were good
That was the first time I joined a coworking space. The 91SpringBoard Hub in Gurgaon (Obviously paid for by the company). The company had no hierarchy. I worked directly with the CEO. There were no working hours. I could work as and when I liked. And from where ever I liked. I didn’t have to go to the office. I only met the boss once a month (Usually at the airport between his flights). Targets were discussed and agreed upon on Sunday and we had to deliver on Saturday. It just couldn’t have been better.
My parents finally accepted that I knew what I was doing, and stopped bothering me about dropping out. Especially because my package was higher that my jiju (brother-in-law) who had a legitimate and complete B.Tech, six years of experience as a developer and holds a top level post in an MNC.
Without getting into the exact numbers, I was getting paid really well, and mom was all happy to talk about what I was doing. Finally! Answering the typical ‘ladka karta kya hai’ (what does your son do) question from the rest of the world. She was as happy as she can be and she even started talking about my future plans (if you know what I mean). I was like- ‘Mom, have you completely lost it? I am just 22. Don’t even think about it for the next 10 years’.
Anyways, I was happy that they were happy. And then the first salary came. For the first time in months, I had six figures in my account. No worries to pay the bills anymore! Phew!
But they were not great
When I took the job my core expertise was SEO with experience in driving and managing large-scale SEO campaigns. Best put to use on a website that has 300,000 visitors a month and wants to go to 1000,000/month. But Outgrow was different. When I joined, it was an absolute startup with no digital footprint and a product release that’s months away. (I was told weeks during the interview). How do you market a product with not even the MVP ready? Purely on speculations. At that time it was a very new question to me. I tried coming up with and implementing a few growth hacks. I fumbled more than once. And with high salary comes high expectations. There was an expectation mismatch. My 2 years of experience of driving large-scale campaigns for already successful companies was totally useless. The boss was patient but the feeling of being an under-deliverer was killing my motivation. Breaking my confidence. It turned into a vicious loop of trying, failing and feeling under-confident and worthless.
It was all as good as it can be on paper, but it just didn’t work out.
Here are the last words from the boss
You are good at what you do, we are just not the right match right now
Living to fight another day
I kept my place at the co-working space, picked up a consulting gig and started hunting for the next big thing that I will be working on- Soon enough, I found something really revolutionary. And now I am back to being an entrepreneur. Building something amazing with a technical genius as my co-founder. We are already in ‘product launching soon’ status. My work, the progress and the product that I am building, makes me happier than I have ever been. More on that some other time.
It’s not always about the size of the paycheck
- The product that I was marketing is really amazing- I truly believe that interactive content is the future of content marketing. And Outgrow is one of the few players in the space with a truly mass-market product. I truly hope that it achieves the success that we had dreamt and planned for.
- The working conditions were the best I can ask for – no hours, no boss, no need to come to the office at all and the best co-working space to work from.
- The perks and the salary were top-line
It was the perfect equation
But I did not enjoy the work. I was doing work that was not exactly my strength. It was similar but it was new. So I was naturally slippery. Looking back I realize I just had to keep fighting. It was just a matter of ‘milking it out’. But at that point with that kind of salary, there was no scope for slipping.
The biggest difference between job and entrepreneurship is
The facts don’t change, and my abilities don’t change. I fucked-up just as many times with this as my job. But as I am running the show, When I fuck-up I can give myself the time and the motivation to figure out and fix what’s wrong.
My tip for a happy professional life
If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you don’t have to suck it up. Jumping off the ship without a plan might seem crazy but trust me you can do better that you think. If you are already thinking about quitting, you are already doing something that many people never do. Thinking beyond your problems to see what you really want.
I can’t say that things always work out. But there is one thing I am 100% sure about- when it’s your decision, you will do everything in your power to make it right. That’s when things are most likely to work out.