How a trek changed my startup life

It was June 2014. I had trekked for 8 hours that day in Mccleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh (India).
As always, it felt great to reach on that peak with limited supplies and oxygen.

I was happy to add another trek to my travel diary.

A little background before the trek :

I was 23 at the time and had done one startup in college which was main motivation for entrepreneurship.

At the moment, I was doing an IT job and running a startup company (used to work in the nights)
I had been on the startup (which was a website) 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.
That was probably because that was my first serious hit at entrepreneurship.

Start of the trek :

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 extreme 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 bucks in his college life .

I was awed and angry too. Here I was trying so hard to build the next big thing and this guy just did a lot of good stuff already in college.

The night after the trek:

We had finally achieved what we came for and I was very happy. To be honest, I was happy that for that the last 2 days I did not have to think about work at all.

I was hell tired that night (you can imagine trekking up for five hours and climbing down 4 hours on the same day)

I wanted to sleep but could not.

Something kept my mind awake. I had stressed too much about the startup.

I had done all I could including 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, not of entrepreneurship.

Slowly, I realised how interested I was in marketing. In digital marketing to be precise.

After the trek

I returned to my IT job but with a different plan in mind. I wanted to run a marketing business now. Helping clients with marketing.

I took an unannounced leave for 15 days (my office people were about to fire me), and started reading up about digital marketing.

I gave myself some topics to read and finish in 15 days.

And that’s when I was ready.

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.

But something was different. I was so passionate about learning more about digital marketing.

I taught myself everyday. And loved it. I slowly felt myself inclined about marketing of startups and started learning more.

I quit my job ( ran away actually) on 22 November 2014 and it is 12 months and 6 days now.

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 by the end of next year, I aim to the be the CEO of the best digital marketing agency for startups across the globe. I believe it’s possible!

And yes, I would never let go of trekking and travel :)

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