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Advice from a Digital Marketer | How to Start a Freelance Career in Social Media Marketing in 2020

.. You know the rest. So a lot of you Are under a lot of pressure right now and facing a lot of anxiety because of The jobs scenario in the country, A lot of you – have lost your jobs or some of Them are on indefinite leave, don’t know when you’re going back and it can cause A lot of problems – and there are so many people at this moment, looking for work, From home jobs, freelance opportunities and jobs that basically won’t put them Out of a job with a scenario like this Well, I’m here to help There is an industry Right now, which is the best to be a part of That industry, is Digital Marketing.

Digital marketing is so vast. There are so many careers within this industry. I myself Work in a digital marketing agency in Mangalore called Alter Marketing. Management as a Social Media Specialist, Now digital marketing itself is so vast. It gives you a world of opportunities, and not just with regard to salary. All Brands all companies right now are on the digital sphere, because you’re on it And they’re not going to stop anytime soon.

So what are you waiting for? Get Into the digital field, right away, Now, keeping this in mind Alter Answers is Here to help you out What we thought is we’ll help you explore, learn and find the Right opportunities within digital marketing and to do that, what we’re Going to do is we’re going to spend an entire week sharing with you tips, tricks Amazing resources and even conversations we have had with experts in the industry, Who learned without having an educational background in that field? So Imagine how much help it is going to give you.

So what we’re going to do is Basically help you tell you where to start how to start, And where do we start now? We’re going to start with one of my favorite careers within digital Marketing industry, which is Social Media Marketing, If you don’t know how Important of a career social media marketing is right. Now I have attached a Link in the description please go and read, it and you’ll definitely know So to Talk about social media marketing.

I have with us a social media, marketer who’s Name is Rachit Hegde. He is a Facebook Certified Lead Trainer. He’s a Facebook Ad specialist and a lead generation specialist: He is the Co-Founder of The Small Business Project, which is based in Mumbai and he’s an Expert in something called as Performance Marketing, which is basically designing. Setting up and running ads for various companies, including healthcare, fitness As well as events, Fun fact-, if you’ve known the biggest TEDx event that Happened in Asia, which is TEDx Gateway, which happened in Mumbai, The Digital marketing, social media marketing, especially was done by Rachit and his Team Now it is amazing that we’re getting to talk to someone like this, but the Best thing about him is that he started out not after he went through a lot of Courses He started out first when he was an engineering student and he was in Charge of a battle of the bands event in his college and he wanted to promote it.

And he used Facebook and social media management practices to do it, which makes it very, very interesting and I’m sure, you’re very interested to find out how He started out So guys join me in saying Hello, Rachit, Hey Disha. What’s up How Are you doing I’m doing great? How are you doing I’m keeping well? Thank you. Okay, so thank you so much for joining us today. It’s great to have you here, The Pleasure is mine Disha.

I know it is Rachit. I know it is Anyway, I’m going to get straight to the first question, So I Know that you don’t have a background in marketing, You are an engineer by Profession and yet you choose social media marketing as a career. So what Exactly influenced you to choose it as a career or get into the field of social Media Well, first and foremost, I, like I like people I like dealing with people, And I’m very fond of technology and along the way, I think I like being Backstage working on a product or service and seeing it come to life, and I Think, somewhere along the way, you know a bridge between technology, people and Marketing got me into digital marketing.

We you Know the story about you, starting out your first gig as a social media. Marketer was when you were handling battle of the bands. Can you Tell me something about that Yeah, so I think it was. It was about six.. Six years. Ago I think it was my fourth year in college, the third or fourth year in College – I don’t remember, but I was actually made to organize an event. Called the Battle of the Bands, You know the logistics, putting it together and Also, the marketing and we were tight at tight with budgets back then right and We wanted to see how we could make do with the resources in the best possible Way – and I remember back then about six years ago, I spent like a hundred or 200 Rupees on on Facebook Ads – and you know I saw some numbers come up, so I think that Was a curious start into digital? For me, That’s really good to know, and I’m glad that you started out that Way, it’s a fun story to tell as well.

You spent a lot of time learning digital Marketing and social media marketing, so can you tell us what? How exactly did you Learn the tools and develop the skills to become a social media, marketer Well, To learn courses, there are multiple courses available online, Free and paid Depending on what you want to go for it depending, if you have a budget or not, I Think going through those courses and actually applying it and working on A portfolio because that makes a big difference.

Fortunately, for me, I reached Out to a couple of friends who were starting out their own businesses and Also people who had taken up to their family businesses So that way for me, I Got a chance to experiment and explore and try out whatever I was Learning on these different, you know these different businesses and that Became my portfolio right, It would be difficult for me to go. Get a client Because I would not have any credibility, but this way you know I was doing as Much as you know, these people got their work done at no cost or probably free It was actually a bigger favor for me to have a portfolio to present to people.

Beyond that, Let me ask you a more basic question: Because a lot of people don’t really know what a portfolio is and how Important it actually is, so if you can tell us what a portfolio is and how Exactly you built your portfolio a little more specifically, if you could Do that for us All right, so a portfolio could be very specific based On which vertical of digital marketing you want to go to because, like I said, Digital marketing is a large, you know it’s a large field, it has its own Verticals within it, You could be a person specializing in Facebook ads in Search engine optimization in affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, You Could also be building websites in general, which is your basic web Development right – and it depends where you want to showcase your, how you want to showcase your portfolio but, more importantly, where a portfolio Stands out is if you are able to showcase how you were able to present or You know showcase a growth of a business.

You associated a partner with from point A to point B during the time you are, you know you helped and worked on it. Right so that gives a better vision or sense of better standard for people. Wanting to understand what a portfolio is supposed to look like, So just to simplify, basically a portfolio, is you know your practice? It’s like a practice pitch. You create a lot Of things based on your experience and then you have it to show for your Clients in the future right Yeah best practice, because also you need to show The right kind of portfolio going forward, For example, if I have a Portfolio, for example, of of ten different kinds of businesses and if two Or three of them could be portfolios of real estate and, if I’m not too keen on Working on the real estate side, although I might have worked on it, it’s not Something I’d necessarily want to show as my portfolio, So I’ve heard that you Went to a lot of friends when you started out to get their portfolio, I mean to build your portfolio, you kind of went to them and asked if you could do Their website is that true Yeah, it worked both ways.

They said: “, hey, you’re, Doing this, your jobless, why don’t you do this?”? I said “, Yeah, great” and also I requested People, if I could try out what I was learning on their Businesses, because I was also certain that it was going to work and also it It didn’t come to all these people at a cost, so they were willing to Experiment also, So it was a win-win situation. Both ways.So portfolio is really really important when you are starting out as a social media marketer.

Yes, it goes. It holds much higher weightage than any certifications you get online. They don’t Matter: Okay, so now you’ve been in the industry for a while. Now can you tell me How long it actually takes for a freelancer to make money out of working As social media marketer as a freelance Well honestly, since I got into Digital marketing, my first three months, I think, was a lot of learning on pure Basics and it and I kept learning I I started taking projects three months.

I Mean three months into the learning phase. So if you ask me, I think I Actually started, you know making my first buck as a freelancer, probably five Months after I began my learning process, It could have begun earlier too, and This is something I would like to share you. I don’t think anyone needs to be in A hurry to earn that quick buck, because the way I look at it there are enough Businesses around us, everybody needs marketing, it’s not a big deal.

If you go Out there and actually get a client, I mean it’s really nice, but you know it’s Not too difficult What actually matters is getting the right kind of client by Showcasing the right kind of work. So if you actually end up working on yourself, Understanding tools and processes better in digital and are able to build your Portfolio well and then go and get a client that that would be a normal flow.

But if you ask me six months, I think it took me six months. I could have done it. Earlier I just chose not to That’s nice, but for people who are looking for something more specific. How much would someone with your experience make in a month just to be just to know how much that would be Sure as a freelancer, you know You can a freelancer can bill a client or a brand at you know: 20,000 Rupees a Month to 50,000 Rupees a month, even a lakh, a Month, so it depends on how much work you can handle if you can Handle two or three clients who are paying you about 40,000 Rupees a month.

Yeah, you can learn about a lakh and 40,000 Rupees a month as a freelancer, but then Again, you know, being a freelancer. Has your pros and cons, I mean you’re, a Single man team, which is going to be difficult because you can’t you know Take days off you’re going to be, you can’t handle the crisis of three Clients at the same time, so it has its pros and cons, but yeah I mean it. Depends on the individual, so anything between like say, even if you charge Three different clients: ten thousand rupees each.

You can start with at least At a thirty thousand rupees a month, So as a freelancer, you can make 30,000 a month. That’s really good! Ok, so now to get into something more Serious Now, once you developed the tools and you developed the skills to be a Social media marketer. How? And where did you find the clients? Because you know They’re not like sitting there waiting for you. How did you find your clients To be honest, with you most of my clients, I found that at a party My First client I found out at the bar quite literally and most of them, but When that that’s quite true right, I think for me personally, personal Connections has worked a lot because if you’ve done work for somebody and you Know, there’s a very and if they’re happy, there’s a very high chance that they Will refer you to their peers in their network because again, if you refer Someone good you know it’s a pat on the back as well right, because a good Referral goes a long way.

Apart from that, I did. I did use different Facebook Groups I mean everyone should be aware that every city town has some localized Facebook group or the other right where people are probably wanting something to Sell wanting a service or wanting help or whatever Every city has it a Bangalore has it Bombay, has it Bangalore, has even more localized groups for every Area like in Indranagar will have their own groups right so tapping into these Groups and not selling your products right, You want to be offering value.

People will post a question or a problem on their group. Go there help them out. Get on a call with them solve that problem. For them you never Know I mean if you manage to build a trust which I think, for me at least, has Been the biggest in a factor, because if you, if you give someone value, they are Able to trust you and they would like to work with you in the long run and then Referrals come So word of mouth is the best way to you know to get across your clients, but to make a start, you have a lot of Facebook groups that you know where People inquire and also there are there are freelance platforms: upwork.

Com Freelancer.Com are platforms, they are very competitive. You need to be, you know, Good at closing your deal to be able to get your projects on on these platforms. Because it’s a bidding, it’s a bidding way. It’s a way. You bid for a particular Project and at the same time, it is how you communicate to them to actually land Your gig, so these things matter on on platforms like this, but why I choose to Prefer, like you know, a Facebook group over and up work personally, and this is What’s worked for me is because, if I, if I establish a connection over a Facebook, Group – I don’t know it’s just that I feel there’s a friendly approach already, if Someone’s on Upwork or on freelancer.

Com, the chances of them There, on that platform for a one-time, gig is very high right On any of the Other blogs, you could look at having associating on a longer period of time. But it’s not entirely true, because you know what if I I recently did a gig on Upwork where the client said: hey, listen, I’m calling you the next time. I’r Launching this, so you know it depends on your rapport with the client Okay, so I guess, like you know, it was very interesting that you said that you Started with you know, socializing with people and that’s how you found your Clients – but I guess now, with the lockdown pandemic social distancing, that would Be impossible, So the best bet would be Facebook groups and freelancing websites & job sites, like you said, so that’s really helpful.

Thank you and The next question I have for you is, you know: a lot of people say that having a Mentor in a certain industry that you’re entering having a mentor is a Great thing, because they’ll help you, because they have experience in that Field, so do you think that having a mentor is you know, is required for Someone who’s starting out. It’s a tricky question. I can speak for myself. I don’t think it’s important to have a mentor.

I don’t think it’s important to Be confined to one person for all your advice and needs. I think it’s important To have an open mind, get your information and resources and You know advice from different people, irrespective of the kind of expertise or Industry they come from because you never know where you can find value and Pickup some information and work on it. Having said that, I do come across you.

Know I mean I’m sure we all do come across times where we, you know, we Glorify a certain personality or a person, and we are enamored by the kind Of work they do, and you know we go crazy about that. Right and it’s normal to feel that way, and I feel that too, at times with Certain people and the point is I’m aware of it, and I also choose not to be Attached to that – and I think that’s important Literally a few days ago, I was Sitting with a eight-year-old, you know helping the eight-year-old on on Something on the computer on a tool and that eight-year-old taught me a tool.

I Was really searching for on the internet for a long time right and specifically For my system requirements and I said wow thank you, you made my life a lot. Easier right, So I think anyone who can give you some kind of direction. Irrespective of who they are where they’re from they are your mentor, but Don’t restrict to one That is the best thing I have heard today. I think that we can learn Anything and everything from the people we meet from the books, we read whatever and everything and that’s really good advice.

So you know the life of a Freelancer is really glorified on social media. You know how they tell you that You know you can sit by the beach and you know you have Your laptop and you can work, and you have couples traveling the world and making Money as freelancers, so I just want to know what is the reality behind this What is your experience been like as a freelancer About working and sipping Margaritas by the beach Did you do that I have, but then you know it’s One day in your life, you’re, probably one day in your year, I mean it’s not every Day I mean you have to work, you have to be realistic.

You have to be practical, Right Yeah, there have been a few days like that and I can count the number of Days or probably 2 or 3 days in the entire yeah, but but no you know Especially the freelancer life is over-glorified on Instagram. It is I mean there are two sides: there are true and false sides to it. You have your freedom, So you can literally do what you want. Yes, but the whole flashy cars and you Know big pools the spontaneous traveling, I think a lot of it isn’t actually what It is, I do know, a couple of people who lead such lives and are very good at it.

But I also do know that a majority of people, you know, don’t actually lead Lives like that, so if you ask me, Instagram is Instagram because it’s Supposed to look good people put out their best pictures, That’s very true, okay, so now that we know what your opinion is on that, can you tell me what a day in the life of a social media marketer is a day in your life A day in My life yeah, I mean it’s, I mean just like every other job has its Own challenges and is probably hectic in its own way for us, it’s a lot of screen.

Time right I mean it’s a lot of phone times, a lot of communication and all of That, especially if you’re working on a brand where things are being launched, Posts need to be live, ads need to be live, there’s a lot of coordination and Communication right, so I begin my day by you know literally going over my tasks. Lists and things I need to be done. Normally, I have a preset set of calls. That I have scheduled for the day, which I have to Take make and that’s normally set over the weekend.

I make sure I set my calls. Ahead but then, during the rest of the time, it’s making sure things are going. All right finances are in check, clients are happy, marketing strategies are in Place coordinating with the team and every day is this probably something new A new problem to solve so there’s no definite way how the day goes. But yeah, that’s in a nutshell: that’s how it is, But you enjoy this life that you’re leading as a social media marketer I do I enjoy.

There is some method in the madness here Nice. So is there any book or you know, Resource you would recommend for someone who’s, starting out as a social media. Marketer, because I myself am very interested in the topic. And if I want to Learn usually I pick up a book or two to read about it. I am better with reading books, so is there any book or resource you would recommend You know for a person Starting out on social media and digital marketing, books are a great point to go.

For if you want to understand something in principle, the only way the only Reason is because I feel oh, and this is what I genuinely feel Digital is so dynamic, and technology updates itself so fast that if someone Has to write something down: publish a book. Go for printing, get it on the Shelves I mean that’s a lot of time. Things are redundant, they Are not updated anymore right, so I think, on the Digital side, I personally read a lot of blogs.

I read at least a minimum of 5 to 10 blogs. Every day – and I have to I read from marketing land from social media today, From social media marketing world from SEM Rush has a couple of nice blogs. Written Neil Patel writes nice stuff. Of course everyone knows These are Some of the blogs, because blogs are written more spontaneously and updated Then and there so as opposed to books Books have that principle defined.

I am But if you want to something that you want something, that’s updated, I guess Podcasts or blogs are more up-to-date. Is there any podcast that you listen to? You know religiously, I’m a person that gets bored too Quickly, I need to consume information too, and keep moving over there’s One there’s business voice is a nice podcast, but of course it’s more the business Side of things There’s an interesting podcast by Sean Ellis.

The person who Wrote who wrote the book Hacking Growth? Oh by the way you asked about the book. You asked for books right, so here’s a book called hacking growth by Sean Ellis Which is which is nice Sean has also also has a podcast, I’m not sure what It’s called, I think we can figure it out and we can put it here by But it’s it’s! It’s it’s! It’s a podcast by Sean Ellis and that’s really. Interesting for those looking at scaling startups understanding how the process The behind the stage and the behind the scenes of scaling and growing these Businesses, so that’s that’s an interesting one.

I I’m not getting the Name but yeah, I’m sure we can plug this. I will find it and I will link it here in the article, so they can go and hear the podcast Okay. So now, looking at the scenario you have had experience in this field, based on your experience and the current Scenario, what advice would you give someone who would like to start out as a Social media marketer Still a great time. There are enough businesses that are out There needing these services so yeah, it’s a great time to be getting into Social media, marketing or digital marketing any of these verticals – I don’t Think the person should look at you know making a quick buck, because there’s no Shortcut to it, Learning the tools, well, understanding them.

Experimenting, you know that that’s that’s a process. Someone needs to look Into a look into, and not look at one of these, how do you become a millionaire Overnight schemes, that’s not you, so you know, keep growing I mean, I don’t think, there’s anyone who’s an expert in this field. The industry is so dynamic, there’s so much to learn so yeah, I’m just you know. Adding this to it, what advice would you give your younger self? So when you Started out, if you know, based on whatever you have learned so far, is there Anything you would go back and tell your younger self, you know advice, you would Give your younger self basically! So it depends.

This question: are you asking me Before I did engineering after I did engineering Coz its two different answers, Say after you did Engineering After I did engineering. So after I did Engineering I applied with the two companies. Actually I applied with the Minimalist from Bombay I applied with Facebook, Singapore, Both of which I I got To quite a decent part of the interview I think, for Facebook it was the top Something thirty or something like that for the Singapore role and I think for Minimalist was the reason why I made my first trip to to Mumbai in the first Place – and we had an – I had an interview, I think, with Chirag of minimalist at that Time, I think my objective was to to find a job if I was going to be associated With companies with good visions – and you know, were here for the long run, Otherwise, I would want to choose a freelance route or an agency route that Was my objective? So if I had to do anything differently, that’s going to be Hard because I don’t think I couldn’t I would do it, I’m happy with the way we Are progressing Of course, my there are more micro level decisions.

I would have made differently. Probably I would not have signed off for signed off on certain clients. I would Not have taken on certain work because a lot of clients can slow you down. You Know and hamper your growth so that way, I think I would have avoided certain Certain clients, So now for those who are listening and reading right now, if you could give a few steps to start out as a social media marketer that would make it easy for them to transition and to get into the industry.

What would Those steps be The first first step is to learn, learn, study some courses, There enough courses, free courses online – you can put yourself through a paid Course or you could do a free course, but but then it depends on you know if you Have the bandwidth to go through a structured course and if it suits Your budget, that’s that’s a route you can take If you and soon after doing This course, or while you’re doing this course, it’s important to at least get Yourself, two clients or two prospects, or you know your uncle’s father’s friends.

Business and work on it experiment on it, so you can learn while you’re. You know, While you’re working on it, because you don’t want to be Experimenting on a person who has just given you a business and paid you and You know goof it up right If you do it well, that’s a different case, but you Know, that’s you would want to not. You would not want to get into that kind of A situation Once you finish your learning process finish your portfolio.

Building process and then decide if you want to get into a job, freelance or Start your own business, Each of them have a beautiful career path and you Know and they’re each nice in their own way. It depends if you want to work with An agency or if you want to work with a brand, if you want to freelance yourself Or if you want to build a team together and offer the same services to other People or if you have a product in mind and if you understand digital marketing, You can always sell that product using these skills right, but then you know it Again, I’m going I’m just going back to the first point of having to learn while There are so many courses paid courses out there, it’s not necessary to actually Buy a paid course there’s enough resources for free and, having said that, I mean I mean, and this is despite saying that, because we have our own course too- And and and we follow a very structured approach of how A person can learn Facebook and Instagram ads effectively and also we Teach them how and where to get clients, and you know about proposals and all of That right, So it depends what you want at the end of the day and how well you Are determined to be learning, and that would that that would be a decent start.

Saying, that your course that you launched recently in that course you’re. Basically sharing All of these things that you learnt over the years and you’re making it easy for The people who want to learn so that they can apply it very easily Yeah completely Because I didn’t know a lot of things, I didn’t work at an agency. I didn’t work. I Didn’t have a freelancer to guide me. I figured it out myself.

I compared Business models with other business models, with brands with with the Marketers, I I learned from a lot of different marketers, because one thing in Digital marketing people need to understand, is it’s okay, Learning a digital learning, digital marketing from a course from an Institute because they are teaching your basics, they’re teaching your Fundamentals, but when you learn from another marketer and I’m not just Putting myself on a pedestal, yeah, I’m just generally giving you my perspective.

If you learn from a marketer, you get a different point of view because It’s it’s at the end of the day, the job is very similar to like say a doctor. Right, If you and I have the same illness and we go to two different doctors – those Two doc doctors are going to have a different approach and give it and start And give us different prescriptions right and it’s the same thing with Marketing as well, you might have your approach and I might have my approach.

And they can be completely different and it’s okay to be completely different. But At the end of the day, you want to be learning from people who have tried. Tested those you know the and have tried, tested methods and learn from them. So Which is why I mean we are putting, in a few case, studies we’re putting in examples we’re telling people what to do, what not to do and also tell them what they can do.

Beyond learning it like how they can find a living for themselves, So whoever is reading right now, if you want to know more about Rachit’s course, we will be linking it below in The description, so you can definitely check it out, So I guess Rachit that would be the end of you know the questions that I have for now. I have too many of Them, but I’m still restricted to that much now. Thank you. So much You’ve been amazing.

The advice you gave is very practical and I know that it’s going to Help people who want to start out so thank you so much for doing this. Thank You for taking the time out and joining us on Alter Answers. Thank you, Disha. I was happy answering all these questions. I wish you guys all the best you guys Are doing some really nice stuff? Thank you so much Talk to you soon, then Byee


 

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