Akshay Hallur is the founder of BloggingX, InfoSparkle, and many other online ventures. He is a professional blogger, digital marketer, and a trainer.
He has educated thousands of budding entrepreneurs and businesses to help grow/start their online businesses, through his trainings, blogs, YouTube channel, FB community – Digital Marketing Hackers, and also his podcast.
His blog BloggingX (previously GoBloggingTips) helps aspiring bloggers and businesses to leverage the power of the internet and content marketing to spread their brand message.
As a trainer he has trained many brands and he also has multiple online courses related to blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing, etc.
How did you start out as a marketer?
I started out as a content marketer, back in 2013 (initially it began as a hobby). I used to wonder who the heck creates content on the internet.
Later I came across the fact that bloggers are the people who create content on the internet.
As a kid, I stood up when it comes to essay writing and anything that involved creativity.
So, I thought blogging would be a good hobby.
I signed up for Google Blogger in 2013 (when I was 18ish). Later after failing multiple times (due to short-termism), I moved to WordPress and finally decided to take blogging seriously.
Later, as it turned out, in 2015 I dropped out of my university and took blogging as a full-time profession.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
When beginning with blogging, I tried everything on my own. Although I eventually succeeded, it was a hard way.
I would rather wanted to take someone as my mentor shortcut my way to success.
The hardest struggle for me in the beginning days was to isolate the signal from the noise.
There’s so much information on the Internet, when you’re a beginner it’s difficult to prioritize the strategies end up reading every piece of content start to end (following your school book reading instincts)
I ended up reading tons of theoretical articles without going anywhere for years altogether.
Now on the hindsight, I realize that in any field you need to master only top 4% of the knowledge (mental models) that move mountains for you.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
I earned my first income from Infolinks back in 2013. Back then I was with Google Blogger platform.
Later I earned a couple of hundreds of dollars with AdSense (especially YouTube), and then realized the power of affiliate marketing and eventually selling own products and services to never look back.
In the middle I used to also offer freelance writing services for select clients, but it was for a brief time. Most of the pitches were inbound, I never proactively marketed myself as a freelancer.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Anything that involves creativity and adding value to other people is the most rewarding work for me. While doing any work, if there is no creativity involved my brain runs dry.
Creativity is one driving force for what I do.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
I don’t do freelancing now. I used to do niche freelancing for a brief period of time back in 2017ish.
In freelancing, you need to first select a narrow niche. Riches are in the niches.
There are various ways to earn money online. But the question is what way align with your attributes as a person.
- Consultation in a specific micro-field (like Notion, Asana, Zapier consultant). Huge prospects.
These are quite evergreen fields. Pick one, and hustle hard. Don’t chase shiny objects and think don’t grass is always greener on the other side. Grass is only green if you water it.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would have had a mentor to fast-track my success and save me time to focus on what matters. I would have avoided anything that blocked me from being productive and putting focused efforts on things that work.
How is your typical work day structured?
I’m a manager of my business, so I operate at the macro-level of things. I have a hybrid team of 9-10 and also on-demand freelancers.
I begin my day with some stretches, bath, and 10 mins meditation (trying to up this!).
Later, I will be planning my day by bumping up those todos that matter the most, and start working on them.
I normally work 7 hours a day.
I usually manage my knowledge (huge believer!) and read books late in the evening.
I like to keep my mind free most of the times (except deep work sessions), to make room for creative juice flowing in my head for better strategizing.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
I mainly do SEO, and it has delayed gratification.
Delaying the gratification is very crucial to have for sustainable success. Life’s not always be like – swipe right and bam!
Whatever content you create on your blog or on YouTube, you won’t get user engagement instantly.
The success I have today is the result of the smart work I put in 5 months or years ago.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Previously our brand was GoBloggingTips. It was rebranded to BloggingX for obvious reasons.
I’ve outlined the entire process in this post – https://bloggingx.com/website-migration/
This post is a result of us having systematic SOP, checklists, and having proper process recording mechanisms in place.
In simple words, a lot of things can go wrong while rebranding, especially with SEO.
You need to think holistically while rebranding.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
As a business owner, I don’t tend to have personal rigid deadlines – unless crucial. It blocks your brain of thinking creatively.
Juggling between tasks is quite common in case if you have too much in plate. But it’ll not result in quality work. I used to do this when I was a one-man show handling all my blogs.
When you have projects with competing deadlines, prioritize, and let go one.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I would be focusing more on onpage content (especially semantic and correlational SEO strategy) more for 2020 and beyond.
Also, upgrading the old content is also huge and it has more ROI than publishing new content provided you do it the right way.
Frase is one of the recent SEO tools, I got my hands on and it’s cutting our blog research process by half. That’s good.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
I don’t need to put much effort to keep up with the trends, because over years I’ve developed a damn good filter to only focus on what matters.
I only follow a handful of resources in my industry for all the updates like Detailed, Gaps, Backlinko, DiggityMarketing, AuthorityHacker, etc.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
Not much into freelancing!
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
There’s no one book. People can follow my personal blog – https://akshayhallur.com/ for book notes and resources (more coming up).
When reading books, I urge people to understand themselves first (psychology) and then move up the ladder. Or else, your understanding of the world will be damn limited.
What advice would you share with other Marketer’s who want to become more productive?
- Follow 80-20 rule of task execution
- Practise task batching – do tasks that require the same cognitive setup in batches
- Learn to cut the noise, and focus on core by environmental design.
If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.
All world’s knowledge is not found in one book. Likewise, there’s no one guru that I religiously follow.
I follow Russell Brunson, but do not like his hard selling strategies much. It’s better to have better multiple gurus and pick up the patterns, mix ‘n match, and settle with something that works well for you.
I would settle with something in the middle of Russell Brunson’s and Gary Vee’s marketing strategies (only if you follow them).