Sourav Ghosh on Helping Entrepreneurs with Digital Marketing Branding
Sourav Ghosh was set to become a top engineer in India. Despite his potential to achieve corporate success, Sourav knew there was more to life.
I am so glad that you agreed to this interview, Sourav! You have a powerful story I am interested in learning more about. So, let’s get started!
You were born and raised in India. What was life like for you and your parents, and what did you want to become when you grew up?
Our life was like every average middle class Indians living in suburbia. My Parents kept working hard and making sacrifices so that they could give me good education to help me get a good job.
I was deeply loved by my family. Been always good in studies, as I thought that was the only way to live a good life and put an end to parents’ struggles.
My parents wanted me to become an Engineer or Doctor, or someone with a safe and secure career with a respectable position in the society.
I pretended to wish the same. But deep inside I always wanted to be free, live life in my own way, and make a difference to the world in someway or another.
Were your parents Entrepreneurs, and when did you discover Entrepreneurship, and how did that influence you?
Not just my parents, but none of my ancestors ever had been an Entrepreneur, as far as I know.
I don’t know whether you’ll believe me on this or not, actually my parents or people around me were not even familiar with the term ‘Entrepreneur’ when I decided to become one.
They understood it as ‘business’ and considered it as a career path only taken by people with inherited family businesses or people who couldn’t get a good job.
I was informed about Entrepreneurship during my schooling at Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission (IX – X standard), but I never paid attention, as I was too busy running the rat race back then.
I rediscovered Entrepreneurship on 13th January 2007 when I watched a Bollywood movie Guru, based on the life of legendary Indian Entrepreneur Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance.
I immediately felt that I was meant to become an Entrepreneur. I was very much pumped up but I didn’t know how to get started.
But as I asked, and the universe answered. A friend of mine took me to a seminar next day that introduced me to Network Marketing for the very first time and my journey as an Entrepreneur started.
You wanted to study hard to escape a life of struggle that your parents had. When did you realize you needed to make yourself happy instead?
Ah! This realization was the turning point of my life.
My forced devotion to study touched madness during XI-XII when I was studying day and night to get into India’s premier technical institutes. I knew that’s all my parents wanted. I knew that all I could do to live a meaningful life.
But I also knew deep down that I didn’t want to walk on this path. I was dying inside bit by bit. But I suppressed my inner voice.
Things became tougher when I joined Engineering college. I used to get bored listening to lectures that didn’t interest me. I used to feel suffocated inside the classroom waiting to get out and breath.
I was on the verge of breakdown, when Universe presented to me that bollywood movie and Network Marketing on two consecutive days. Life has never been same since then.
Sitting in that seminar hall, I let my inner voice guide me for the first time. Then gradually when I started studying personal growth materials, I started realizing the importance of making myself happy first.
Actually deciding to make myself happy first, enabled me to make my parents, love (now wife) happy in the long run too.
When did you discover network marketing, what did you think about it, and what were the first couple years like?
As mentioned earlier, I discovered Network Marketing at the age of 19 (I even remember the exact date – 14th January 2007), when I was in 2nd year of Engineering. Just 1 day earlier ‘Guru’ movie inspired me to become an Entrepreneur, and next day life presented me with an opportunity to become an Entrepreneur.
I was super excited about it! I felt in my gut that this was something I was meant to do. On that day, my 19 year old self thought Network Marketing as a ticket to escape the trap of academics and job, become a leader inspiring others to live a good life.
Network Marketing was the perfect industry for me to get started, as my family ( or I) didn’t have big money to invest. Neither did I have any business background or MBA degree.
To be very honest, I didn’t earn at all in first couple of years. I was excited opening up, learning new things, talking to new people, making new friends and giving presentations here and there. I didn’t know much about Network Marketing back then. Even those who were training me were amateurs like me.
But talking to so many people regularly gradually turning me into a great public speaker. I had this skill from childhood but somehow that got buried in books. Network Marketing reignited that spark again.
I was also diving deep into Personal growth. What started with You Can Win by Shiv Khera, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma and Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; led me into the habit (or you can call addiction) to learn more about life, success, achievements, human potential, science of mind and many more fascinating subjects. The ore I was learning, the more I realized how little I knew about the Universe!
First few years had fair share of drama too! One by one my uplines started leaving. Those who introduced me to Network Marketing, tried their best to make me leave this industry and get my focus back on studies.
I was getting in touch with one senior leader after another, and after few months they were giving up too. At last, I had only our company founder above me as upline. That actually helped me to take charge of my group and seek help from industry veterans to learn what Network Marketing really was.
Many people when they join MLM have a “lottery-ticket” approach to it. Can you explain this, and why you didn’t fall for this trap yourself?
Simply because most people are lazy and want something for nothing. Okay! There I said it – bitter truth. Most people are looking for a magic scheme where they’ll invest a small amount or nothing, and then do little or no work and then magically get rich.
With such expectation, either they get cheated by scams pretending to be MLM or fail in legitimate Network Marketing companies that require serious effort.
And then they start bad mouthing this industry, spamming ‘Frustrated MLM Quitters’ forum with their sad stories of how they lost their fortune in this industry and took the crusade to wipe MLM from mother earth.
Because admitting ‘I was wrong’ / ‘My approach to MLM was wrong’ / ‘My expectation from MLM was wrong’ / ‘I didn’t take time to learn about this industry’ was tough. Putting the blame onto others, was the easier escape route.
I didn’t fall into this trap, because I knew what it took to succeed via traditional academics path. One has to study for more than 20+ years to get a job.
Then again only a few manage to get a job that would support their dream lifestyle and make them fulfilled. Even after that one would get fixed salary and little or no increments to may be end up rich after retirement.
Network Marketing was offering more income, more freedom and more fulfillment; and I knew that couldn’t be earned in fluke.
Another reason I could avoid the trap, because I read so many good books on this industry and success in general, that I had clear idea of what it took to succeed in any field.
Most East Indians are very leery of MLM, network marketing, and Direct Sales. Why is that, and how do you educate them that it’s not a Ponzi or Pyramid Scheme?
Most Indians were and may be still are misinformed about Network Marketing / MLM / Direct Sales. Majority of people talking about MLM here, are those who either know nothing about it or failed in this industry.
Somehow the successful Network Marketers here don’t realize the need to educate common people and spread awareness about this industry.
Very few successful leaders actually take time to create positive generic contents to elevate public perception about this industry.
Companies are also reluctant to impart industry education, rather they focus on motivating their distributors to worship & promote the company.
Govt. didn’t have any clear guidelines either to distinguish between legitimate Direct Selling companies and illegal money circulation here, until we got Direct Selling Guidelines 2016 this year. Utilizing this loophole, many illegal schemes robbed people off in the name of MLM.
On the other side, many legitimate company officials & distributors faced legal troubles from this confusion. Both created bad press over the years for this industry.
In fact, this condition inspired me to start my initiative MLM Eye Opener to educate people about this industry.
Over 7+years journey as a distributors, I was spending more time teaching people outside my group or even my company about this industry.
Finally made a shift to becoming an unbiased industry consultant and educator to focus more on teaching about this industry.
The way I’ve been educating my tribe to differentiate between legitimate Direct Selling companies & illegal schemes, is by emphasizing on earning commission from product sales instead of recruiting effort.
Over the years I’ve taught many people to read the red flags and report a scam. On the other hand, recognize a legitimate company and build sustainable Network Marketing business with it.
I love your statement on your blog, “most people are afraid of “failure” which is nothing but learning opportunities disguised as challenges.” Very wise words. How can we embrace “failures?”
Reading about failures of countless legendary successful people of all time and every industry, gave me a great perspective.
I realized that successful people actually failed many more times than average people. I noticed how they took lessons from each failure and made an improved attempt next time. That helped me to embrace my failures.
In fact, looking back I can say that my failures were much better teachers than my victories. My failures made me wiser, humbler, kinder and more patient human being.
I focused all my efforts on my MLM also, as you did, and now you recommend multiple streams of income. What do you do now, and what do you recommend other network marketers do?
I focused all my efforts on my single MLM business right from the age of 19. I never took a job. I never tried to monetize my other passions. I always kept postponing doing other things I wanted, after I’d reach certain level in my MLM company.
And when I messed up my MLM business after 7 years, I was broke. Just when I was meant to prove to the world what an amazing decision I’ve taken 7 years back leaving traditional path and becoming Entrepreneur, I had nothing to show in my bank account.
My biggest dream – to get married to the girl I was in love with from childhood, got ruined. Not only I didn’t have any other sources of income, but neither did she. As I brought her along with me in my MLM.
Just when I should have supported my parents financially, I had to ask for their support again to start from scratch again. It was the toughest period of my life.
At that point I realized the importance of having multiple sources of income. I took a commitment to never let my income stop ever again.
I made a list of my skills, my passions, things I was good at, things I wanted to learn and do. Then I started doing it all. I made my website the hub of my online empire. I was already consulting people, helping them to improve their personal, professional, online lives & Network Marketing business.
I started doing it professionally and charging money for it. I learned Digital Marketing to boost my Network Marketing business. But my friends from other industries were seeing great results from my tips.
So I started working as a Digital Marketing Freelancer also. Started with 5$ gigs on Fiverr. But my 7+ years of business & communication experience in Network Marketing, helped me to grow superfast.
Within months, I had more clients than I could handle personally. I started bringing in other Digital Marketing professional friends to work on my client projects. Clients kept loving our work and kept sending more clients & testimonials.
Now we have an ever expanding team of talented Digital Marketing professionals and we are providing all kinds of Digital Marketing services to global clientele.
Interestingly, we are doing all this without any registered company name, physical office, or a single salaried employee.
Network Marketing experience helped me to structure my business in such unique way, that allow teammates to work flexibly and clients to get services at reasonable cost, cutting the need to waste money on physical establishment and time on commute.
I earn a small amount from Google adsense and Affiliate programs as well. I add value through the free contents share on my blog and various social channels.
So when I share a product / service I love, and my tribe buys, I earn. But I am very strict about referring only products / services that would be of huge value to my tribe.
I won’t recommend other Network Marketers to model what I’ve done. Rather I’d recommend them to build multiple sources of income based on their skills, interests, passions.
I’d recommend a passionate software engineer to continue his job and pursue MLM side by side. After few years, may be launch his own software / app capitalising the business & marketing experience acquired from MLM.
During the whole time, continuing to share his journey & learning experiences via blog, videos, social media, building a tribe and building his personal brand.
And then may be creating an online course on something from his expertise or writing a book. Possibilities are limitless! Multiple avenues can help each others too. Just like your MLM team of 10,000 can be a great ready-made audience for your newly launched book, your 1 million new newsletter subscribers from your latest best seller book can be a huge prospect list for your MLM business.
Do I need to tell more?
You have a powerful blog! How old is it, how many articles are on it, and what is your daily traffic like?
I started blogging in 2009 I guess. Started with Blogspot. Then bought a domain and had a static website that kept improving every few months.
Finally made a shift to Self-hosted WordPress few years back and brought everything together. That was the best thing that has happened to my website / blog.
I will recommend everyone to start with Self-hosted WordPress platform from Day 1, if you have any professional plan with your website/blog.
Never counted (how many posts I have). So far I haven’t maintained any editorial calendar or something. I published post when I had the urge to write something that would add value to my tribe. My daily traffic would be around 1,000 visitors I guess.
At this moment, I get most of my business leads from my overall online presence & have hard time to handle that flow.
We are scaling up gradually and planning to increase traffic, only after being ready to handle increasing project flow.
What do you think about Neil Patel and “Shout Me Loud” blogs. Do they inspire you or do you think differently?
I love both of these blogs! Wish I could meet Neil and Harsh in person and tell them how much difference they had made in my life. Everything I am doing online today, I owe a lot to both of these blogs.
In fact that’s an example I share to new bloggers to make them understand that impact of blogging. Neil, Harsh and pro bloggers like them provide such valuable contents via their blog posts, that I ( & many like me) could learn Digital Marketing for FREE and earn a fortune implementing those lessons transforming businesses of my global clientele.
How does a blogger get quality backlinks fast without buying them?
By creating more unique value packed content that other bloggers / publishers would love to link in their online content.
You offer a lot of services on your blog. Which is the favorite thing you like to do for clients?
My most favorite thing is to give my client’s business a complete Digital makeover, not only by transforming his web assets but also educating him to utilize Digital media properly.
What is your favorite book right now and why?
Right now, I am reading most materials from Abraham Hicks. Abraham Hicks’ teaching of ‘Law of Attraction’ transformed every area of my life. My life shifted from struggling to achieve things to effortlessly manifest my desires.
What are your goals for 2017?
My goals for 2017 is to become the best house husband I can be to support my wife’s new job. And side by side to organize my entire business model in a way, so that it can generate revenue even without my involvement so that I can focus more on creating more value packed free contents for my tribe.
What is your favorite quote and why?
Can’t think of one quote right now. But you can bet it will be some quote from Abraham Hicks.
Rather let me end this interview with the wisdom I am leading my current life with : “Let go and trust the flow of life.”
Thank you so much for this interview, Sourav!
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