When I was in my struggling days of blogging back in 2008-2009, I remember one guy who helped many like me to get into blogging through his blog, ShoutMeLoud. Yes, I am talking about Harsh Agrawal and this is one of the much-awaited interviews of Harsh Agrawal that I am going to publish on this interview column.
Without him, I think any list of Top Bloggers in India is incomplete. I truly admire Harsh for his dedication, passion & courage to take quit his full-time job with Accenture back in 2008-2009, which is not at all an easy decision. Personally, I know how exactly it feels working on such an amazing Software company back in 2009.
From then to now, it’s a long journey for Harsh Agrawal and in this interview, I have asked him so interesting questions which you will find very much helpful to learn & enhance your knowledge for blogging. In fact, Harsh liked the questions too and it’s a huge moment for me.
Harsh Agrawal Interview (ShoutMeLoud.com)
Harsh started his journey from Google Blogger and then move to WordPress blogging and become the Top Indian Blogger. In the last 10 years, he has inspired a lot of people to get into blogging and create a passive & active income source through blogging. Let’s explore his amazing journey in his own words.
Q. I will not ask who is Harsh Agrawal, for obvious reasons 🙂 Rather, I will ask what Harsh Agrawal is doing in 2020.
I like reinventing myself so that I could make an impact. After every few years of hard work, I usually take 1-2 step back to see my life from 3000 Ft. above, learn new things, and then implement them into my life. The major part of 2019 was a learning ground for me, and with the beginning of 2020, I have implemented all my new learnings into day to day activity.
In 2020, my focus is to inspire more youngsters for blogging and helping them achieve their blogging goals with the help of ShoutUniversity. On Self-development, I worked on making most out of my day, without getting tired, and being present with my family when needed.
Q. If you have to compare between Harsh from 10 years back Vs Harsh now, what are the similarities and how you are different now?
The last decade has helped me to become the kind of person I always wanted to be. Since I was a child, I always liked learning and helping others. ShoutMeLoud has given me this opportunity to do all this.
When I look back, here is how I have evolved in the last 10 years:
- Still enjoy writing 🙂
- Still curious and believe there is so much to explore
- Still adventurous
- Still enjoy meeting new people from different walks of life
- Still admire Art and music.
- Able to understand people better now
- Could say no without hurting someone’s feeling including mine
- Taking care of health pro-actively
- Have become more optimistic in life.
Q. I doubt anyone entered into blogging doesn’t know you. How does it feel to you?
It adds a sense of responsibility in whatever I do in my life. The comments and tweets from my fans help me stay focused. Like it or not, as someone who has worked all his life from home, being your own motivator is challenging. It would not have been possible without the uplifting comments I receive from my fans and readers.
Q. When everyone is admiring you like this, do you feel any pressure or responsibility? And how do you handle that?
The feeling that a lot of upcoming bloggers are following the footsteps, I do think twice at times to not influence people in the wrong way.
Q. How do you handle such a huge fan base? Do they have access to talk to you or get a response from you?
When the question is right, a lot of them get access to me. I also meet a lot of bloggers, from time to time. I do try to keep the communication channel minimal so that I could focus on my work, which has a wider impact.
Q. Please tell us about Blogging in 2007 Vs Blogging in 2020. What is the future of blogging when we can see Visual media & Voice searches are growing rapidly?
Blogging has evolved, and it will continue to evolve with technology. There is a major shift happening, and it is due to how users are consuming information.
- Who would have thought of something like Google Home or Alexa answering to the user’s query?
- Who would have thought that rather than paper books, people will use Kindle or Audible to consume content?
These changes are nothing but evolution, and as a blogger, creator we should slowly and steadily adapt the new medium of information delivery. Often bloggers miss out that their biggest competition is evolving themselves with technology.
Q. Right now are you managing alone or with your team? What are your future blogging plans?
Right now, I’m working with freelancers and Consultants. I’m always in the lookout of self-driven and passionate people to join the ShoutDreams team.
At a time, I focus on doing just one thing, and these days it is making ShoutUniversity the best course for bloggers. I’m also putting my secret of success, productivity techniques, mindset so that individuals could use them as a starting point, and save years of time.
Q. These days even a 12-year-old kid is also doing great in blogging. What would be your advice to them?
You are on the right path to self-development. Don’t get distracted by the shiny objects. Spend time honing your skills, and create daily. There is no substitute for consistency.
Q. If someone wants to drop out of school & colleges to pursue blogging, what is your view or any advice to them?
If you want to, do it. You should not have to regret that you did not try something that you wanted. However, take a step back, and ask:
Is it something that I really want or I want because I just heard it from someone?
Do blog while you are at school/college, see if this is something that aligns with your goal. 2-3 months of consistent blogging could help you see if it could be a career for you or not.
Q. As the internet is spreading massively in India, do you see a good freelancing option for job seekers?
The gig economy is bound to grow, and we have seen the disruption already. Countries like India, Brazil, Philippines are going to get the maximum benefits because of the shift in the way people work.
Freelancing is definitely going to grow, however do master 1-2 skills, and constantly add more knowledge in the skillset you have picked. Spending 1 hour of learning daily, would make you irreplaceable.
I read in many places that Indian bloggers are quoting a low price and are devaluing this market. I am not sure how true is that and what can be done to make freelancing a powerful way to make money.
Q. How frequently you connect with fellow bloggers in different meetups?
I attend 2-4 bloggers meet, event in a year. I usually go to an event when it is happening at a place, where I have never been. There are community events like WordCamp that I try to be at.
I don’t attend all the events unless I’m speaking or if there is a speaker I would like to hear and meet in person. There are also some practical events like DMSS Bali, Brighton SEO that I enjoy attending a lot.
Q. How do you manage your time and what are the technology or gadgets you are using daily?
A few years back, I was not much into planning, and rather just showing up, and doing my thing. Lately, as I expanded my family (Personal and professional), I realize it is of utmost importance for me to: Spend quality time at work, and quantity time with family.
So, these days I do plan my week, months in advance. Here are a few tools and techniques I use to plan my life:
- ToDoist: For task management.
- Rescue time: For monitoring my time spent. It has helped me a lot, and I have written in-depth about this here.
- 5-minute journal: My Daily gratitude journal and I define my top 3 things to do for the day. That’s how I start my day.
- Focus time: I follow the Pomodoro technique to manage my time. Focused on one task at a time. Sometime my single focus time could go as long as 2-3 hours.
My Gadgets list:
- Macbook pro 15”
- iMac 27” (Use it for video editing mostly)
- iPhone 11 pro
- DJI Pocket
- Sony A7 III
For my health & to stay in my A-game:
- Yoga: To stay in my A-game, I need more energy and clarity. Yoga keeps me physically fit, and I’m blessed with a great Yogi, who is my Yoga guru.
- Meditation: I practice meditation daily, and it keeps me in-tune with my reality. I also practice a technique called Vipassana, which is a 10-day meditation retreat. This is something I highly recommend to anyone looking to taste the world of meditation. If you are just starting out, you can use this app called Wakingup.
- Mindfulness: I practice being present in everything I do. Be it watering the plant, walking, writing or even when I am not doing anything, I try to be mindful. This helps me stay energetic throughout the day. A beginner who wishes to learn more about mindfulness could start with The miracle of mindfulness book.
- Herman Miller Embody chair: Since I spend a significant amount of time sitting, this chair has been my companion from the past 7-8 years.
Q. What is the importance of social media and which platform is giving you the maximum return? Please share some tips if possible.
I do try new social media platforms for blog marketing, and it is part of post promotion strategies. Even though social media platform doesn’t drive significant traffic like SEO or email-marketing does, but it helps in engagement, brand building, and connecting with Shouters in real-time.
- I find Twitter and Instagram, really good for engagement.
- For sharing knowledge and impact, YouTube is solid.
As of 2020, it is important to be more visually appealing. Use some tools like Canva, Adobe spark to create stunning social media images.
Use a tool like SocialPilot or AgoraPulse to maintain a social media calendar, so that you are seen by the brand on a regular basis. I’m a big fan of AgoraPulse (It is a little costlier for entry or mid-level blogs), but it adds a lot of value with features like social media calendar, social listening to name a few.
Bonus tip: Integrate Facebook and Google Ads pixels on your website. You can promote your content to people who have visited your website using paid ads. Such retargeted ads are cheaper and generate great results.
Q. Some final words to motivate a new blogger to be consistent.
A few things:
1. On Entertainment: “Make your work, your source of entertainment”.
2. On setting goals: Take time to reflect on why you are blogging. Set realistic goals such as:
- In 3 months, I would write 2 “Expert round up posts”
- Every day I would spend 45 minutes on writing
- By December of this year, I would like to have 1 million page views a month.
- Every month, I would grow my email list by 500 users.
Just set the goals that come in your mind and stick it to a place where you spend most of your time. Now, every day do one thing that would help you reach near to your set goals.
3. Avoid distractions: Avoid distractions of any sort. Do remember, the world is running on an attention economy, and once you understand the concept, you could use it for your advantage.
4. Work and play: You have one life to live, so live every day as if, this is the only day you have to live as the best self of yours.
So, how exactly you find this amazing discussion with Harsh Agrawal? Feel free to write a comment below and share your emotions or feeling after reading this interview. Or do you have any further questions to ask Harsh Agrawal?
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