Would you believe it if I told you that I have been procrastinating for 3 years straight?
I had a dream, but it was lost somewhere in transition. It was 2013 when I announced that I would be launching an online course for bloggers (Shout University).
And every time I thought of starting this dream, the fear of it not being perfect stopped me from doing it.
On one side of my life, I was doing pretty OK. But deep down I knew that I was not fulfilling something that I promised to the world and, more importantly, to myself.
And it’s not easy to wake up everyday with the same unfulfilled dream. Even worse is knowing that I’m not even making any kind of serious effort to make it happen.
Finally, 2 months ago, I decided to get out of my slumber & turn my dream into reality.
Today, Shout University become a reality.
I’m sure it’s not the first of its kind as there are many other online and offline blogging courses out there. However, I know that in time, this will be a unique online university to learn about every aspect of blogging. Whether it’s WordPress, SEO, Social Media marketing, AdSense, affiliate marketing, or anything else that a blogger needs to get started and get moving, they can find it here. I will spare you the details about ShoutUniversity here as I will be writing about it in detail on ShoutMeLoud.
For now, I want to share some of the interesting things, many of my learnings & mistakes that I have made on the path of turning this dream into a reality.
Some of these things may sound a little funny as I tried many ways to stop distractions & find more time for myself.
Things I did to fulfill my goal:
Removed the contact form from ShoutMeLoud
Yah… I actually did it to lower down the number of emails I was receiving. Here is how ShoutMeLoud’s contact page looks at the moment of this writing:
Changed my mobile number
I might have pissed off many of my relatives & friends due to this, but I’m glad I changed my number. I had to do it because the amount of calls I was getting every day from PR agencies was a major distraction.
Trust me, live a week without your phone & you will feel like a free bird. I sure did.
Lived in Bali for 2 weeks
This sounded crazy to my friends, but Me & Shallu moved to Bali for 2 weeks. It was more than a holiday because we actually worked from there! It turned out to be very productive because there were no distractions, no daily chores & I could focus on clearing my backlog.
But don’t think of me as a total workaholic because I also did a lot of fun stuff there too. I visited one of the coolest beach clubs called Potato Head in Bali. I also did my second scuba dive (& this time I swam with Manta Rays)!
I put my GoPro to good use & recorded my first underwater video. Here is the edited version of that video:
One funny thing is that I didn’t have a selfie stick to hold my GoPro. So I made a pretty awesome make-shift arrangement. The term we use in India (especially among engineers) is ‘Jugaad’ or “hack” in English.
Meeting with Eric
This is another major incident that happened when I was in Bali. I got an email from a guy named Eric who was looking for a part-time job & was offering his expertise to ShoutMeLoud.
Coincidentally, he was also in Bali at the same time.
The reason I am mentioning my meeting with Eric is because he also played a major role in the launch of Shout University. What’s interesting is that in our meeting, we talked less about work & more about his experiences of meditation & being a Digital Nomad. He also did a Vipassana retreat a few months back & from him, I learned that there are many different forms of Vipassana.
Here is a selfie with Eric that I took in Bali:
Stopped drinking & smoking
Quitting smoking & drinking was my 25th birthday dream & it took about 5 years to finally make it real. After 7 days of noble silence at my Vipassana course, I could see a lot of things about me had already changed for the better. I was very committed to not doing anything which would cause harm to anyone either directly or indirectly. This commitment also applied to my own body.
I believe this is why it became easier to quit the things which were not adding value to my life. I really want to write about my learnings & experiences of my Vipassana retreat. I will do it soon.
For now, let’s review all of the major incidents which made me fulfill my unfulfilled dream.
I remember when I called Sharat in May & we decided to finally launch Shout University in the coming months.
While we started working diligently for this project, we were not sure when it was actually going to come to fruition. This has happened in the past because we just lose track of the project & it never goes live. This time we decided to assign a date for the launch & no matter what, we have to make the launch happen on that date.
In fact, before actually launching the site, I added a coming soon page with a countdown timer. This also helped us to get initial leads. Here is how the website looked before the launch:
While we were nearing the launch of the project, we realized we would be out of time if we tried to launch all of the modules at once. So, what we did is we focused all of our efforts on launching the project with 2 modules out of the planned 5. It’s good enough to keep our students busy for at least one month.
And one month gives us enough time for us to ship out our other modules. More over, it makes more sense to do this from an initial learning standpoint.
The Launch Date: Hustle & more hustle
The launch date was major chaos as a lot of stuff was still “pending”. More than that, that’s the day we learned that we can’t use Stripe on more than one URL (that’s what the Stripe people told me). So we decided to use PayPal + Instamojo for payment integration.
While the PayPal integration was straightforward, the Instamojo integration was a problem due to the lack of any integration between Instamojo & OptimizePress (our membership software). Initially, we though we would create an account manually for our students, but it didn’t make any sense. Being a user I know how important it is to get instant access when signing up for anything online.
Well this is where Truelancer’s CEO, Dipesh Garg, helped us by creating a script that automated the whole process of creating an account once the payment is made.
I believe I owe him a treat for this one.
Well the whole integration thing took a good 2 hours of my time & finally we went live as planned at 9.00 P.M. on the 30th of June. This is how our course page looked on that first day:
Well, I wish I could say my job is done, but that would be wrong. I definitely feel accomplished but the real work has just started. This is the intro video I recorded for our newly born project:
I have faith that Shout University will help many users around the globe to come online & learn about blogging.
Since blogging has changed my life for good, I’m sure it can do the same for you & many others.