On a trip to McLeodGanj, I closed a startup, and opened another....

On a trip to McLeodGanj, I closed a startup, and opened another. Here’s how. | by Shivankit Arora.


It was June 2014, and I had almost spent 8 hours that day, trekking through in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.

The supplies were limited, and so was the oxygen, but it felt great, as I was happy to add another trek to my travel diary.

I was 23 at the time and had worked on one startup in college, which had driven me to the road of entrepreneurship. Even though, at that particular moment, I was holding down an IT job by day, I was still running a startup at night, post-work.

I had been on this startup for about 10 months and nothing seemed to be working. My “million dollar idea” seemed worthless with every passing day. At the end of the day, I would just find myself updating my website, writing posts, doing social media and nagging my interns about their work.

What I did not realise at the time was that although I had not achieved anything financially through the startup, I had already learnt a lot about marketing, managing time, managing people and managing quite a bit of stress.

I had no idea that this trip was going to change my life.

While taking the bus from Delhi, I was travelling with a friend’s friend. He told me about his freelancing experience in design and how he made some good money during his college, through that. I was in awe, and to be very honest, a little envious of his ability to do well for himself while being in college, when here I was still trying to figure myself out, after graduating and having a 9 to  job.

Getting back to the trek, I was tired, and wanted to sleep, but instead ended up staying awake and thinking about my startup – of which I hadn’t thought of in the past 2 days. I had done all I could – building it every day, meeting investors, hiring new people and trying a million new things every weekend.

The old “never give up ” phrase did not appeal to me here.

I was ready to let go. I was ready to let go of this project, I realized. Not of entrepreneurship, as a whole, of course, but I went on to ponder on a different field of interest. After a while, I settled on marketing – digital marketing, to be precise.

Post my travel, I returned to my IT job, but I had a plan – wherein I wanted to setup a whole new shop, to help people and companies, market themselves in a better way.

I took an unannounced leave for 15 days, and started reading anything and everything I could find about Digital Marketing.I gave myself some topics to read and finish in the days to come, in order to prepare myself with what I was about to dive into.

I got my first project. A client from UK. Want to know how much they paid me? $5 for a website SEO audit.

I was on cloud 9. Yes I was. It felt so good to have made a sale.After that, I did several other small projects under $20.

The best part was, I found myself so passionate about learning more about digital marketing, that I discovered something new everyday and loved it.

I quit my job on 22 November 2014 and it has been 12 months and 6 days now, since then.

I run a successful digital marketing agency- MarketingMasala.com with a team of 6, clients from 3 continents (no, they are much better than $5 clients).

And yes, I would never let go of trekking and travel. 🙂

This article was adapted from this Medium post written by Shivankit Arora.




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