Inside the mind of a Freelancer is a section where we interview top Indian freelancers and deconstruct their thoughts to help you take the plunge, make better decisions and live a better life.
Being a Digital marketer myself, I have always been interested in the lives of people who do the same work as I do. That’s how I came across Pardeep Goyal.
Pardeep Goyal is a digital marketer, growth consultant and content planner for early stage startups. If you are a regular follower of the Indian startup ecosystem, you would find it hard to not take notice of Pardeep.
My first interaction with Pardeep was through his free newsletter. As a part of his newsletter, I received an email which was a wealth of information. I thanked him for the content he writes and extended my support.
Ideally, anyone would have thanked you for the compliment and let it pass. But instead, Pardeep took the effort to read through my blog and gave me feedback on it. And the best part is he didn’t stop there, he also went one step forward to motivate me.
So, to clarify, the reason why I planned to interview him is not because he is polite or extremely famous or not even because he has a great story to tell.
The main reason behind me approaching him to do an interview with us is his worldview — the way he looks at life and his definition of success.
1. Hi Pardeep, can you talk a bit about your background and the work that you do?
I used to work for an IT company. Somewhere along the journey, I lost interest. I was taken over by thoughts of freedom from my boring job. And my colleagues could sense that there was something wrong. I spoke to my manager and worked from home for a few days, but my problem persisted: I was unhappy with my job.
Shortly after that, I quit my well-paying IT job and built two startups. Both of them failed. Right now I run an online blog called CashOverflow which has attained full profitability.
My goal with CashOverflow is to help 1000 people by end of 2017, who want to start an online business under the budget of Rs. 5000. I believe in getting more results with fewer efforts.
2. Where do you work from and what’s your daily routine like?
Mostly, I work from my home. I am also a person who enjoys traveling a lot. I used to travel solo before marriage. Now, my wife and I travel together and document our journey in the TravelBuffer blog. So now and then I travel to a new country and work remotely.
With respect to daily routines, I used to I wake up when I felt like and ended up working late nights. But now I wake up early, at around 6 and work till 4:00 PM. This not only helps me concentrate better but also frees up the rest of the day to spend time with my family.
Consciously, I have eliminated all the things that consume my time and replaced them with new habits that help me grow. These habits help me to be laser focused — I read more than 24 books in a year, I stopped reading newspapers and read only a few selective blogs and I also don’t watch TV anymore.
3. Why do you like being your own boss?
I spend four to five hours daily with my son. I play with him, shout with him, fight with him and explore new things with him. There is more to learn from children than to stuff our mind with textbook knowledge (garbage).
I have always dreamed of this life. I wanted to stay close to my family, and now I’m living my dream. Earlier, I worked for my company; now, I work for my family.
Also simple things like going out for shopping on weekdays when it’s not crowded or even avoiding the frustrating traffic jams. These little things save my time and energy, which I spend on creative pursuits.
The part I love the most is that I don’t have to live by rules defined by someone. I decide what’s good for me, and I decide on the skills that I want to refine — negotiation or writing or even getting better at spreadsheets.
4. Since you are a person who is extremely open about the money you make, can you share your income report with us?
Being a frugal guy, the only place I spend my money on is my business. I can survive with two pairs of clothes and I also have no interest in buying latest gadgets and cars.
I share my income report because I love discussions on personal finance, making money, saving money, credit cards and stock investments. As a side note, 80% of my savings are invested in stocks.
So money is the secondary benefit. And I have shared my detailed income report on a blog that I wrote. You can read it here.
The truth is, financially, I am poorer than many of my friends because I quit my startup job and intentionally avoided consulting. But money does not explain success to me. Even though money is a must to have for survival and luxury. Once you figure out a way to set up your survival needs, you will care a lot more about creating value and a lot less about money.
5. What are the dark sides of freelancing/ solopreneurship?
Plans change all the time. Every month, we plan something great, but the world doesn’t work according to our plans. We can’t avoid the frustration, but we can learn how to handle it.
You are on your own. Most times when you doubt your own judgments, you won’t find anyone to help you out. Even if you have mentors, you can’t ask for directions all the time.
Constant self-doubt. After continuous failures(even be momentary ones), you will start feeling like you aren’t worthy of anything. Persistence and perseverance are keys to tackling such a situation.
Tight deadlines and trouble sleeping. When you have tight deadlines, the chaos often messes up your sleep schedule. I recall the time when my bad sleep patterns began to affect my productivity, so I started waking up at the same time every day irrespective of my sleep time. This routine helped me to automatically adjust my sleep timings as well.
Relationships suffer if you don’t learn to separate work and family. Even when you sit with your family, you might subconsciously think about your work, or your difficulties in hiring, or how tough your customer is. This can break you since for most of us office and home is the same.
The lack of a social life. When you are busy building your product or chasing your next customer, you would lose count of the number of get-together’s and the night out with friends you are missing.
6. What would you say to the ones who are afraid to take the leap?
Ask yourself the below questions before you take the leap.
Why do you wanna quit? Is it because you hate your work or do you want to pursue your passion, or do you want to become your own boss?
Do you have a backup plan for your backup plan?
Calculate your expenses per month and work out how long you can survive without a salary. You will always need more than you calculate. So as a rule have a runway for 2 years if you are planning for 1.
How much do I need to support the family in the future? Do you have the basic things like health care, your child’s education covered?
If you quit your job to follow your passion and fail miserably after two years of dedicated work, how will you feel? If you feel terrified, then reconsider your decision. But if you feel that you are willing to bear the pain of failure and take it is a learning experience, then work towards it.
7. Any blog recommendations for our readers
Read the blogs and books which are meaningful to your current level. Reading an SEO blog when you don’t even a website is a waste of your time & energy. Look for the advice that you can apply to your life/business right away. Books are for developing mindset and blogs are for learning tactics.
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