Why I took a sales job?

A few months ago, I wanted to become a full-time freelance writer. And I had become one. While I freelanced, an opportunity knocked on my front door: a sales position.

I thought about it.

Six years ago, I read an article in a local news magazine.

It was about startups. And it’s focused on how small investments and hard work can produce excellent results. Specifically, the story of Flipkart has grabbed my attention. Flipkart started as an online bookstore with a capital of four lakh rupees. And now, it has become the leader of Indian e-commerce.

I realized then, no matter how small my influence is, or how much less money I have, I can do something unforgettable. And I never stopped believing in myself. I’m sure I can do things that I can proudly chant to myself when I’m old—on the verge of death.

But that was it. Nothing changed since I read that article. I have graduated; and, took a QA analyst job. Life moved on to the direction where the wind blew.

With a tedious QA job in hand, I started writing. In the initial stages, writing is a way of expressing myself. Putting my debilitating thoughts and dilemmas—that I have come across in life—into words made me feel better.

Afterward, my expenses increased, and my salary was not enough. So, I looked around for freelancing opportunities in software quality analysis. But I had no luck. That too I did have no automated testing skill. But it was in good demand.

Then I tried for opportunities to write blog posts and articles. The stroke of luck hugged me. I was able to find good clients who respected my work.

I left behind my QA profession, in which, I’m hell bored, for the reasons I can’t reveal you. And I had become a full-time freelance writer.

After two months, an opportunity knocked on my door. It presented two options:  Technical writer or Sales rep. I chose the latter.

Why?

At the moment, it uninspired me to write tiresome blog posts, which consisted of some vague and uninteresting topics. Moreover, I wanted to enhance my communication and presentational skills. And sales is something I perceived that would fit my goals and needs.

And I attempted. After a moderately lousy interview and a two-week long await, I landed the job offer. I was flabbergasted and felt happy.

Now, after a few weeks of working as a Customer Principal, I’m loving my job.

Moreover, my hearts tells me, “One day you will become an Entrepreneur. Remeber, if you can’t sell, you can never achieve your dream of becoming an Entrepreneur. Maybe that dream becomes a reality after 30 years. But be prepared to face the hardships along the way.”

hardwork + results

Hard Work + Results

I am often wrong about many things. I try to understand things from my experiences and beliefs. One such misconception I had is: hard work always brings results. I don’t say everybody believes that. But a lot of us do. I did, in the past.

I, however, changed my view on hard work and results. They often go hand in hand, but not every time.

I have been following the football world cup. If you are American, pardon me, its soccer world cup.

32 teams qualify for the event. And, in the end, only one team wins the world cup. All the remaining teams put a lot of effort and hard work. If they don’t win, does that mean they have not done the hard work? Absolutely not. Luck, I hate to mention it, skills and timing, all play a role, believe it or not.

What I’m saying is, hard work is only a factor, maybe a major one, but that is not the whole picture.

I have to remember that the next time when I’ve worked hard and didn’t get what I wanted, I don’t have to beat myself up.

Thoughts On Arjun Tendulkar’s Selection

He is the son of Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest cricketer, and batsman of all time.

Now, the skepticism is that Arjun is selected in the Indian Under 19 team only because of his father, and many say it’s nepotism that single-handedly helped him to get into the squad.

Do you think that it is possible without talent, dedication, and passion to get into the national team? And, that too to be in the team of cricket loving nation.

OK, let’s say, Arjun has been given a free pass. How many of them can he get?

If he has failed, how could he handle the trolls and media?

He has already faced a lot of adverse criticism. Why put more pressure on him?

Yes, there are supporters of Arjun too.

But, why one has to be so skeptical?

Is your MLA the perfect guy ever in the ruling? Bother about the leaders who rule you and the nation, not about a guy being selected in the U19 team.

Why not think about the things that do affect your life? Why you have to rant about nepotism on social media?

On the other side, the question is, can he deliver for his team? The answer presents itself at the end of the Sri Lankan tour.

“Arjun bowled very nicely in the nets to the England team. He swung the ball in to the right-handers and away from the left-handers. He has good control and bowled very well.”

That is what Paul Farbrace―assistant coach of England Cricket Team―had to say about Arjun Tendulkar―when Arjun was in the practice camp in England.

And, in the last nine matches he has played, he took 18 wickets.

So, why doesn’t he deserve a chance?

We love AB de Villiers hitting sixes even when it is against our nation. So, leave the skepticism behind.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the game.

Inspiration comes in from many directions. It’s funny at times.

Today, I watched Love, Simon―a movie about a gay teenager who struggles to reveal his sexual orientation, and someone else pulls the trigger. He doesn’t deny what he is. But, it was hard to go through the events that follow through the revelation. Anyhow, he keeps on going and finds his saddle.

And, that inspired me.

I know, happy endings do not happen all the time in real life. However, it gave me hope that if I keep trying I can beat the hurdles.

Why I needed inspiration in the first place?

I’m a freelance writer and a blockchain enthusiast. I take up projects that require me to write on cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

A day before yesterday, I ended a contract with a client. The pay was low. The same day, I had struck up a deal with a startup. The next day, however, the deal was taken back by the client.

Now, I got one client in my hand.

And, my UpWork―a freelancing platform―account was permanently suspended. The reason UpWork gave me was that I created a duplicate account. And, I was clueless as I never had two accounts created.

Till that moment, UpWork is my only gateway to find clients.

Back in days when my UpWork account was all fine, I decided to try other platforms. None of them are close to UpWork in terms of finding clients.

Now, I’m left with one client, and my magical UpWork is gone.

From two days, I was hustling to find new work. And, I’m having my darkest moments.

I gotta pay bills, and I haven’t yet figured out how to generate revenue.

Love, Simon gave me the inspiration. And, I can tell, If I can go through this hard time, I will become a better person: stronger and braver to take risks.

Life is a Long Road

Life is a long road
Don’t go off track
Be Prepared
Be Brave
Take risk,
Have faith when you’re lost
Make Life a Game
Make the Game interesting
Craft it into a fairytale;
If not,
Make it a story at least

Life is a Long Road
Refuel
Don’t give up when you Ran Out
There’s something around the corner
Just keep moving
Doesn’t matter how slow you move
Cause you’re not Racing
You’ll win the Struggles
Just make it to the next corner

Drip.Com — the Savior of Newbie Bloggers

For email subscription management, there are hundreds of services available. Only a few can do the job — especially for newbies.

Bloggers like me stay in touch with our audience through email newsletters. And we often give visitors a free ebook or a guide for their email id.

I looked for a subscription management service and stumbled on MailChimp — probably because it’s popular. It’s free up to 2k subscribers. Sounded good to me and I signed up for the free tier.

In search of a better solution, I also got my hands on ConvertKit, the problem: it doesn’t have a free tier. Same goes with Infusionsoft; but, it has far more features though.

Don’t get confused here.

Free trial — a particular period for which you can use the service for free.

Free tier — the service would be free forever until you reach certain limits.

I installed a WordPress site on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It doesn’t matter where you host your site as long as it suits your needs.

MailChimp didn’t provide a native plugin for WordPress. That means to place popups and forms on my blog I had to touch the code. But I was little afraid I would screw it up.

Well, I did screw up many times before.

I found, however, a third-party plugin that supports MailChimp integration with WordPress.

With the help of that plugin, I placed a newsletter sign up form in the sider bar and at the bottom using the widget option.

And I planned a popup that would come across the bottom-right corner. For that, I got my hands a little dirty with the code. But it was easy though.

When checked, the pop-up gave problems: Sometimes it wasn’t at all showing up, and the other times the close button on the popup wasn’t working.

I spent few hours on that issue, and I couldn’t resolve it.

After two days, I googled, “email marketing providers,” and clicked on the first link. That is from wpbeginner.

I checked the first one, Constant Contact, on their list. And it wasn’t convincing as it didn’t provide a free tier.

The second one was Drip. And the description said it is the most beginner friendly service and has a WordPress plugin.

I checked it out.

Here’s what drip offers:

  • Free up to 100 subscribers
  • Every feature will be available
  • Unlimited email sending
  • Charges start from $41 per month if you exceed the free limit
  • Yes, you must file a credit card to sign up

Let’s look back at MailChimp free tier:

  • Free up to 2k subscribers
  • You can only send 300 emails per month, you have to buy extra.
  • Not all features will be available: Like automation, rules.
  • The forms are not intuitive like those of Drip.

For me, Drip is the real deal.

I installed the Drip native plugin for WordPress. And placed a popup box in the right-bottom corner. It worked so far very smooth with no glitches.

Also, the Drip interface felt so lovely to work on.

I spent two hours on Drip, and I was able to set up a popup and a few campaigns. It felt so easy. Trust me, and try it; you would also feel it comfortable and fast to set up.

Concluding Thoughts

I don’t know how Drip would compete when you compare its premium plans with the other services.

Drip is, however, to my knowledge, is the best one for newbies. You can manage it yourself. And the best part, you don’t need to spend a ton of time.

If you have found something free that is better than Drip’s free tier, please let me know. I’d be happy to use it.

It’s Easy to Feel Overwhelming, Just Do Your Work

I wanted to write about cryptocurrencies. And I started researching to find a topic. But the content available on the web is overwhelming. Many people have explained and detailed what I want to write about.

And I asked myself:

  1. Can I do better than them?
  2. Would my writing matter?
  3. Do I have what it takes?

Seriously, asking myself these questions doesn’t do any good.

Why?

I don't need to compete. I have to develop uniqueness. That's what matters.Click To Tweet

Anyone who wants to start out as a singer, writer, or even an engineer who wants to let his thoughts out to the world would feel the same way. But you have to get out and do the work – and should improve yourself over time.

Remember, Albert Einstein did not find the mass-energy equation E = mc2 in a day or two. Put the doubts in attic. Start doing the work you love.

Confusion vs. Confidence

I went forward
And backward.

I Listened to people, I wasn’t just blind
I questioned without trying
I concluded without hard work

Confused,
Is it worthy of my time?
Will I become a victim of free advice?

Screw that
I will try what makes sense
I will do what I believe in

Screw success
I wanna live a life I enjoy

Why I Started a Blog?

I often write something up and would throw it in a dark corner of my hard disk. I wasn’t serious about the craft until April 2017.

One morning in the summer, I woke up at 5 AM and could not go back to sleep. I took my Android phone and wrote 200 words.  And I published that piece on Medium. From that point, I wrote now and then. Medium became my base for posting the work for over a year. But, I wanted something more.

Why I can’t stick to Medium?

Medium is excellent, comfortable, elegant, and smooth. However, It didn’t have many variations and bored the hell out of me. I wanted a separate blog where I can tweak anything as I want.

I’m a computer science graduate, however,  had never done serious programming. Jumped from Java to Haskell to Python, took salesforce classes and abandoned it in three weeks. The learning was futile. So, having no skill or money to hire a full-stack web developer, I had to turn to a Content Management System (CMS). With that also, I ran around WordPress, didn’t settled on it as I could not find a perfect free theme, and hovered around Joomla and Drupal. After all, I concluded WordPress is the only one that can do the job for me.

Now I needed a hosting service and looked into SiteGround, BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, and few others. Their WordPress hosting plans did not feel worthy of the price tag. Or they needed an upfront commitment for a minimum of one year. Having no idea whether I would keep writing on the blog, I couldn’t afford them. Moreover, I hated the cost of an SSL certificate. It was cheaper for a Certificate Authority to issue one. But the third party vendors try to bang the bucks out of customers. Anyhow, Let’s Encrypt provides free SSL certificates.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) give free credits and trials of their services. These cloud services, however, are not as easy as you could manage hosting on GoDaddy. And the technical support costs extra, which if I pay, doesn’t make sense not choosing a service like SiteGround. I believed I could manage a public cloud like AWS on my own, and they’re not new to me. I experimented with both GCP and AWS before.

AWS is stingy to give freebies for newcomers. So, I signed up for GCP with a new email id and got 300 USD credit that is valid for 12 months. I spun up a pre-built Bitnami WordPress image. It saved time and frustration I would have faced if I had poorly configured the servers and network. However, I played around with the server through CLI (Command Line Interface) to set up SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. It was not a difficult task though.

What can I do now?

I had spent few hours to pick a theme and selected the one you’re looking at right now. If I feel the appearance of the blog sloppy, I have free servers and hundreds of free themes to tweak. I can change pretty much anything. Now, the boring pig would never come across my way.

First Rejection

A month back I submitted a personal essay to The Sun magazine. And it didn’t go through. I was disappointed, not just because of the rejection, but I didn’t get helpful feedback. The replay was,

We’re sorry to say that this submission isn’t right for The Sun. This isn’t a reflection on your writing. The selection process is highly subjective, something of a mystery even to us. There’s no telling what we’ll fall in love with, what we’ll let get away.

Writing is hard work, and writers merit some acknowledgment. This note doesn’t speak to that need. Please know, however, that we’ve read your work and appreciate your interest in the magazine.

We wish you the best in placing your writing elsewhere.

Then I did the guesswork that populated few thoughts.

  • The story is not a good fit for the magazine
  • My writing was crappy
  • There is not enough meaning to convey
  • The piece was not edited well

And so on. I was confused, and a hundred thoughts ran through my mind; negative to positive. If I had got a reply with proper feedback, that would have helped me a lot.

The world, however, isn’t fair. Anyway, it is under no obligation to be so. Why would an editor spend time on a piece he was uninterested in? I had to move on.

This was my first rejection. Also, I had submitted a poem to the Shooter Literary magazine and another one to the Poetry Foundation. The former one, however, was well past the deadline as of now. I had no reply, and I have to take it as a no.