On the 1st of December 2021, ShoutMeLoud had its 13th anniversary, and I wanted to share my journey that could help you and others to take up niche blogging as a serious career choice. I’m revealing a lot of my secrets in this write-up.
This is going to be long, yet interesting…
So grab a cup of coffee ☕️ and join me for this ride…
In this story, you will learn how a back-bencher turned his fetal accident into the opportunity of a lifetime.
A Little About Me: Who is Harsh Agrawal?
The best place to learn about me is by reading ShoutMeLoud about page.
This is me :
I’m an accidental blogger and an engineer by education.
13 years back, I never imagined that I would live a boss-free life and will be addressing audiences at international forums such as Affiliate Summit West (Vegas), Indian affiliate Summit (Delhi), MBSummit (Milan), InOrbit (Slovenia), and many more.
I have dedicated my good 13+ years to learning the nuances of digital marketing and helping numerous individuals and brands around the globe to grow in the field of online marketing. Helping others grow has always been my biggest driving force, and this story will tell you about the important time period of this journey.
Getting back to my educational background, I completed engineering (Bachelor of Technology) in the I.T. stream (Hindustan college of science and technology), and by the end of my final year; I was placed in one of the most reputed I.T. Companies: Accenture.
However, destiny had something else planned for me, and you will discover it in the upcoming part of this story…
My Blogging Journey: How it all started
The first three months of blogging:
I started blogging as a passion project in September 2008 and started writing about technology hacks. I began my blogging journey on the BlogSpot platform. I was very interested in gadgets and computer security, and my first blog was about technology.
I started with the domain name virgintech.blogspot, and at the end of three months I was getting appreciation from my readers and I thought of becoming more serious and investing more time in my blog. By that time, I was unaware of the money-making possibilities of a mere blog.
I bought Web-hosting and a domain name from Dreamhost hosting and migrated my BlogSpot blog to WordPress. As I was just passed out of college and had no access to a credit card for buying the domain name and hosting, I took the help of a friend and borrowed his credit card.
Moving to WordPress turned out to be a great decision, as it put ShoutMeLoud into the world map of bloggers who were blogging on the WordPress platform. At that time WordPress was not as popular as it is now, and since it was one of the fastest growing yet misunderstood blogging platforms, I took the opportunity to help other bloggers to learn and master WordPress.
How did an accident change my life?
On June 28th, 2009, I had a terrible accident that changed my life forever. The doctors told me I could never walk again, and I nearly lost all hope and faith for a good life.
It devastated me for days, but when I saw my parents crying, the strange realization of “Am I the only one with the problem?” changed the course of my life.
This is where I had a strange realization that I’m not the only one with the problem, and this is where I should focus on how I can make things better for me and for people around me.
I was only 22, but this powerful realization has given new strength and direction to my life which is continued until now.
Since I had nothing else to do in those bedridden months, I dedicated myself entirely to blogging and SEO. I spent almost 14 hours a day in front of my laptop, most of the time writing and learning new things.
Those seven months of being stuck in bed changed everything in my life and gave me a new direction. I read as much as I could and implemented them on my website. That non-stop incremental growth made me a learning machine. More on it later…
Anyhoo, a note of gratitude to the excellent surgeon, I ultimately could walk and run again after that life-changing accident.
Selecting a domain name + Hosting
By the end of three months, I was aware of the importance of branding. Initially, I was thinking of some domain name with a keyword containing ‘Tech” but choose “Shout-Me-Loud” for its uniqueness and for better branding.
For hosting, right now, ShoutMeLoud is hosted on Kinsta.
Here are tips for choosing a domain name:
How ShoutMeLoud discover its niche?
Initially, I wrote about the tech stuff that I discovered because of my curious attutude. Later on, when I discovered that blogging could make money, I was blown away by this idea.
I was wondering why nobody told me that I could follow my passion and make money. That’s where I made a mission that I will let others know about blogging and how they can follow their passion and live a boss-free life.
Life has much more to offer than working for someone and living paycheck to paycheck.
This is where I started sharing everything I was learning about blogging and started sharing my experience of making money from blogging.
Since all content was based on my learning experience and experiments, soon ShoutMeLoud visitors started liking it, and that’s how ShoutMeLoud found its niche.
My First Income from blogging:
As I mentioned, I started blogging out of passion and my love for writing.
I did not understand what AdSense was or what SEO was when I started. I was a hobby blogger, and with time I learned about AdSense and other advertising programs. Before that I learned SEO by reading lots of blogs and experimenting every day.
I still remember my first $10, which I earned via helping a 45-year-old Australian guy with his WordPress issue. That was my first online income, and that’s how I discovered PayPal which enables anyone to receive payment globally. Later on, I added AdSense, and in the first month, I made $40, which I still consider a remarkable start.
The thing really took off, when I learned about affiliate marketing and made my first $47 via affiliate marketing. That sale opened my eyes to the possibilities of earning money via blogging, and I realized that it is possible to live a dream life via blogging.
Hobby Blogger to A Professional blogging:
Back in March of 2009, I left my full-time job for 6 months, and I took up professional blogging as my full-time career.
It was not a straightforward decision, and convincing my family was not easy, but I took my chance and selected what I liked.
By that time, I started making decent money that could take care of my daily needs.
I should let you know that I’m not a planned guy. Instead, I’m more of a go-with-the-flow kinda person.
Partnership with another Blogger:
Around January of 2011, I partnered with Rahul Bansal, a Pune-based blogger, to take blogging to the next level. Since we both have a similar vision for empowering the youth with online money-making/Digital marketing, we thought of doing this together.
Later, things didn’t turn up as expected, so I shifted back to Delhi to start my venture. I learned a lot from Rahul, and I greatly admire this gentleman.
ShoutMeet – Effort to Spread Professional Niche Blogging Idea
My dream and vision now are to make blogging a full-time business and help individuals around the globe to master the art of niche blogging.
I was quite open to helping others and met many of the pro-bloggers of India before they started their journey. Guided them with the right mindset, and I’m happy to see many of them growing to become their boss.
In 2015, ShoutMeLoud also organized a road show where me and my team (Sharat Nikhil and others), traveled across India (Delhi to Kanyakumari), and hosted multiple bloggers’ meet. The rationale behind this was to help bloggers and individuals around the small cities network with fellow bloggers and learn the possibilities of blogging and digital marketing. With the help of ambassadors, we hosted more than 14 bloggers’ meets (non-profit) in various cities.
More helpful resources for budding individuals:
By 2016, I was looking for something new. I was happy with how ShoutMeLoud was growing, but I wanted to do more and help more people. This is where I started creating info products. I realized that e-Books could be a great learning platform for many individuals.
In the span of the first 1-2 years, I published an eBook which is a condensed form of everything I know. At the time of updating this journey, some of the books that one can get from the ShoutMeLoud store are:
- The Handbook to Affiliate Marketing
- Million dollar niche blog business
- The Google AdSense Master Handbook
That was my first experience of launching my products, and my readers loved it. Many of them learned the art of making money from niche blogs using these books, and they demanded more. They wanted me to guide them more, and I was not shy about helping anyone who was willing to learn.
This is where the idea of ShoutUniversity came into my mind. I launched a video course where I started sharing everything I knew about affiliate marketing and blogging with the members of this online course. The format was to give instant access to the course + a monthly team call to help my students tackle the challenges of niche blogging + learn what’s working in today’s time.
As you read this in 2022, my team and I are doing everything to help ShoutUniversity members grow and excel in niche blogging.
Many people have asked me how I manage multiple high-quality niche blogs. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. However, I pick the topic of the blog based on my interest area, so it never gets boring. I don’t do it for money, I believe money is the by-poduct of your passion.
Whenever I hire someone (Editor, Writer, Designer), I ensure they are working because they are passionate about what they are doing.
When anyone sets up a company, finding the right-team is the biggest challange. Your foundation determines the future of your organisation.
Moreover, these days there is no requirement to have a physical office. The distributed team works best for people like us who are in the creative field and need a fluid working style.
It has its own pros and cons, but so far, I enjoyed working with my remote team. We have about 3-4 members who work on various aspects of the ShoutDreams Blog network.
Earning from Niche Blogging:
This is the most exciting part of my blogging life. If I had gone ahead with my 9-6 job, I would be making $40-50k per year.
With blogging and other online activities, I have managed to make more than a million dollars in a year.
Moreover, by the end, I’m my boss and work as I wish. I hope one day, you also end up living this kind of life. I never imagined blogging could offer so much, and I feel I’m just getting started.
My Awards: Dose of Inspiraration
Being a backbencher, awards are not something I look forward to. TBH, I’m not an award kind of guy, but when ShoutMeLoud won the best blog awards numerous times, it definitely made me realize that I’m onto creating something big.
However, my most immense joy came after receiving the “entrepreneurship award” from the same college, “Hindustan College of Science and Technology,” where I have spent four years of my life.
Traveling the world – Trip to Antarctica
One of the perks of being your own boss is; that you can travel anytime you like, and work from anywhere. This has helped me to travel all parts of the world including Antarctica.
As a kid, I always wondered, “how’s life going to be in Antarctica?”.
In December 2017, I got a chance to visit Antarctica.
This was the trip of a lifetime, as I truly felt like an alien when I was in Antarctica.
I wonder, “Would this be possible without that accident and blogging”?
The biggest challenge as a blogger:
The last 14 years have been incredible, but it also comes with a significant price. This section is more of a suggestion if you take a route as a blogger, freelancer, or someone working from home.
Our work style requires minimum social interaction, less physical movement, and no cheerleaders, and this has its advantage and significant disadvantages. So you need to find a balance to ensure you add enough social interaction in the form of YouTube interviews, Podcast interviews, social meet up in your community and joining some interest groups like ToastMaster.
You must create a system that illuminates motivation and inspiration all the time to help you keep moving forward.
What’s Next for ShoutMeLoud?
We will keep evolving as a blog to teach blogging, SEO, and how you start, grow, and monetize your brand. I will keep you updated on what’s going to happen or when that happens.
ShoutMeLoud is not a business for me, it is a home. I spend time here because I know people who visit, ShoutMeLoud will add something meaningful to their life.
How can you connect with me?
Many of you might now know this, but I’m an introvert. It is because of ShoutMeLoud, I found my inner voice, and I’m able to express myself with clear intent.
I’m not super active on social media, but I do share some stuff occasionally. These are the platforms where you can connect with me:
- @denharsh on Linkedin (Mostly business stuff)
- @denharsh on Twitter (Mostly for chit-chat)
- @denharsh on Instagram (A glimpse of my blogging life)
This post was written because many people wanted to know a little background about me and about ShoutMeLoud.
For further reading: After 2191 days of blogging, all I can say – Blogging is incredible ( Anniversary post)
Subscribe on YouTube