Become a Writer Today

How to Go Viral on Medium with Amardeep Parmar

April 25, 2022 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
How to Go Viral on Medium with Amardeep Parmar
Show Notes Transcript

Amardeep Parmar is a content creator and a prolific Medium writer. 

Within around two years, he built up approximately 60,000 followers. One of his articles went viral, he's got millions of views, and he's featured in top-tier publications online like Wired and Morning Brew. 

Amar's experience shows that if you feel like it's too late to start online writing or it's too hard to build an online portfolio and stand apart, you can still do it. It is possible to start writing today and have readers and followers tomorrow.

Amar talks about balancing creativity with a scientific approach to the writing process. And he describes how he picks his topics, plans and edits them, and then prepares them for publication. 

Amar also talks about why he set up his podcast and describes how he turns content from the podcast into articles. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • Amar's viral Medium article
  • The writing process
  • Tools that Amar uses when writing
  • Planning out future articles
  • Repurposing podcast content
  • How Amar balances all of his projects

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Amardeep: Now what I’m trying to do is make sure that I’m writing some pieces just because that’s what I truly believe rather than worrying too much about “Will this headline do well?” or “Will that headline do well?” So I’ve got a kind of a mix of some content which is I think this is gonna do really well and other content which is just I just really believe in this idea and maybe I can’t come up with a headline that really hits the reader.

(intro)

Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: What does it take to go viral on Medium and what will going viral mean for your writing career? And is it something you should even try? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins. Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast. 

So I started writing on Medium back in 2016 and I joined the Medium Partner Program when they launched it. I’ve used Medium on and off to publish various non-fiction articles, self-help articles, personal development, and so on. I also earned quite a bit of money from the Medium Partner Program over the years. I eventually stopped using Medium because my own website, Become a Writer Today, started getting traffic and I found time is better spent working on that site than publishing content on Medium. 

That said, I still really recommend Medium to new non-fiction writers for a couple of different reasons. The first reason is it gets you into the habit of publishing your work. Even if nobody reads it, you published something and that can help you build an online portfolio and you can learn from people not reading it. 

The second reason why I recommend publishing on Medium is it has an audience built-in. When you start a blog, it can take a year or two before it gains any traction before you get any readers. But when you start publishing on Medium, you might start getting readers almost right away and, within a couple of months, if you’re publishing a couple of articles a week, you definitely will have followers, readers, and fans of your work. So it’s a great way to get practice in public and to connect with a potential will-be audience. 

The third reason why I recommend writing on Medium is you can use Medium as a way of building a profile and also generating leads for your writing business. What do I mean by leads? Well, if you’re writing a book, you still need leads, you still need leads who are going to turn into readers. If you’re creating digital products or courses, you still need leads who are going to join your email list. A lot of those people will be on Medium. So if you want to build an audience, ask some of that audience to join your email list by giving away a freebie or a magnet or an opt-in. 

You’ll notice I didn’t really mention money as the key reason to write on Medium. While you can earn some money by joining the Medium Partner Program, the algorithm has fluctuated a lot over the years and while some writers or top-tier writers can earn five figures a month from the Medium Partner Program, it’s harder today to stand out on Medium and also to earn a good living from it. So instead of considering it your sole source of income, if you’re a freelance writer, perhaps just consider it as one potential income stream but not necessarily quit-your-job money. 

Now, this week, I had a chance to catch up with Amardeep Parmar. Amar is a content creator and he’s a prolific Medium writer. But I wanted to talk to Amar because he started relatively recently on Medium, approximately two years ago, and within the course of about two years, he was able to build up approximately 60,000 followers. One of his articles went viral, he’s got millions of views, and he’s been featured in top-tier publications online like Wired and Morning Brew. In other words, Amar’s experience shows that if you feel like it’s too late to start online writing, it’s too late because it’s too hard to build an online portfolio and stand apart now, you can still do it. It’s still possible to start writing today and to potentially have readers and followers tomorrow.

My key takeaway from talking to Amar is how he balances creativity with a scientific approach to the writing process. And he describes how he picks his topics, how he plans them, edits them, and then prepares them for publication. He also talks about the importance of creative side projects. Amar is actually the host of two different podcasts too. I don’t know how he does it. I struggle to find time for this podcast and also for managing my sites and writing. But Amar talks about why he set up his podcast and he describes how he turns content from the podcast into articles. And, no, he doesn’t just copy and paste the transcripts. 

Now, if you enjoy this week’s interview with Amar, please consider leaving a review for the show on iTunes. More reviews and more ratings will help more people find the Become a Writer Today Podcast. You could also consider sharing the show with another writerly friend on Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening. And if you’ve got feedback or you’ve got suggestions for guests for the show or topics you’d like me to cover, I’m on Twitter, @bryanjcollins.

Now, the time of recording this interview is coming up towards the end of 2021 so I’m publishing this in 2022 but I’m planning guests for the rest of the year so please do get in touch if you have suggestions or topics that you’d like me to cover. 

Some areas I’m interested in covering at the moment include NFTs for creators, running a content business, and content publishing. I’m also interested in covering topics like search engine optimization. If you’re more interested in topics like self-publishing and writing fiction, I’ve interviewed a number of authors over the past years so you may enjoy diving into the back catalogue. 

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Amar and we start by going through his writing background, what prompted him, what was his inciting incident to write on Medium. 

Bryan: Welcome to the show, Amar.

Amardeep: Thank you, Bryan. It’s great to be here.

Bryan: You interviewed me for your podcast a while ago so it’s great to catch up for this podcast. I was curious about your background, because I was reading your bio on your site and you started writing online relatively recently. Would you be able to describe that to listeners?

Amardeep: Yeah, sure. So, I only started writing in January 2020 so it’s less than two years at the moment. And it was originally just meant to be a New Year’s resolution. So I’d been reading on Medium for about six months and I was commenting on articles and trying to engage in the community and what I found is that people were responding to me, I was getting different comments and that engagement. 

And then I thought, well, maybe I could write my own articles. I honestly didn’t believe that anybody would ever read any of my articles. It was something for me, because I thought I’m reading all of these different articles and different ideas and what I wanted to do is synthesize that into my own argument and to work out what I believe myself. 

And my second ever article on Medium went viral so I think it got 100,000 views. And, from there, it kind of made me believe in myself and believe that this could go somewhere. And even then, I think until maybe this time last year, so in December 2020, I didn’t ever believe that I could take it full time. It was something I was doing on the side for a bit of fun and it was a nice ride to take. 

But I didn’t have that self-confidence to think maybe I can make a career of this. But then, as we got into the early parts of 2021, there were so many opportunities coming in and I was having to send them down. I guess that left a bit of a sick feeling where somebody’s like, well, I wanted to do that but I’m not doing it. Why am I not doing that? 

In March, I had this realization where, in the longer term, I could only do two out of three things. So I could either — there’s social life, my consulting job, or everything I was doing on the side with the writing and the editing. And during the pandemic, I kind of sacrificed social life because I couldn’t do very much anyway but, long term, I didn’t want to do that. So the battle was between writing online and side hustles and my consulting job and writing won and I haven’t regretted it since.

Bryan: Had you a background in writing prior to writing online?

Amardeep: No, not at all. So, in consulting, I only really wrote emails and technical documentation. So I had a blog maybe five years ago but I only wrote about five articles and I spent most of my time fiddling around with the colors and things like — procrastinating, basically. So, I had no real experience in writing or publishing. I just honestly thought it would be a hobby, I didn’t think anybody would care what I had to say, and it’s kind of very surreal to see how many people have now read my articles and reached out to me.

Bryan: When I first set up my site, I spent hours tweaking the colors and fonts of the WordPress theme so don’t worry, you’re not alone doing that. What was the article that went viral?

Amardeep: That first viral article was “4 Japanese Concepts to Transform the State of Mind” and it was based in my decade in karate. So I did like karate for many years, I was in the UK national squad, I went to Japan to train. And it was one of those ideas I thought hadn’t been used very much and wasn’t very saturated yet but it could add a lot of value to people’s lives. It was me — I think sometimes as well I write the articles that I need myself so sometimes you need reminding of different principles that you believe but you don’t always put into place. 

So, that article was partly me doing that, me trying to re-center myself back to these mindsets that I really believed in to make sure that I understood them well that I could then apply them to my own life too.

Bryan: This is your article about ikigai. I think I’ve read about ikigai and watched TED Talks and seen various viral Instagram images about the concept. Would you be able to describe what ikigai is and your take on it?

Amardeep: Yeah, so ikigai was actually a later viral article.

Bryan: Oh, I’m sorry, I must be mispronouncing it.

Amardeep: Yeah, it says ikigai. The Japanese concepts was in January last year, which was Shoshin, Fudoshin, Zanshin, and the other one, and then ikigai was in I think about May time that I wrote about that and what I found is like, as you said, Ikigai is used so often in talks and in Instagram but most people use a distorted image of it because what happened is that when Héctor García wrote a book about it, there was somebody who created an image which has got the four Venn — it’s a Venn diagram with four circles and most people associate ikigai with that diagram and it’s to do with like what you enjoy, what you can make money from, how you can serve the world. But it’s actually got nothing to do with ikigai itself. That’s a separate concept, which was created by a Spanish philosopher.

And in the article which I break down ikigai, which also went viral, it talks about how I put the two diagrams side by side and you can see that ikigai that most people think is ikigai is actually some completely different theory of purpose by a Spanish philosopher, Andrés Zuzunaga. So ikigai itself has actually nothing to do with money or to do with work and that’s kind of a very western lens that people have put on it.

The idea behind ikigai is what are your reasons to live and it could be that you get out of bed in the morning because of your family, it could be because of a pet, it could be because of like your hobbies, whereas the Western version of ikigai that many people know is very much career focused. And that was the kind of misconception that I broke down there.

And I think that article did so well is because the distorted version is so popularized, there were many people who saw the title, which was “Ikigai: The Most Misunderstood Way to Happiness,” then people were like, “Wait, have I misunderstood this?” It triggers that sense of doubt. And why it was successful is because I actually knew what I was talking about. So there was no clickbait in the headline because I actually wrote down where the misconception comes from and then what the real version of ikigai is and how that could add value to people’s lives.

Bryan: It’s quite a complex concept to write in one of your first articles. Did it take you long to write the article?

Amardeep: Yeah, I think I’ve iterated it a few times since then and sometimes it’s almost — when you get an idea down first, that’s when it’s really fresh in your mind so I think one of the struggles with that is because I’m challenging what people think, to make sure that it’s not patronizing as well. I think it took a long time the framing of the words to make it clear that if people agreed with this aspect that they weren’t actually understanding the terminology it was intended for, but in order to do that in a way that’s not like patronizing or not putting down the reader and I think it took a long time over the crafting of the wording to make sure that it had that accepting tone and was making sure that it was helping people rather than just kind of calling them names or calling them unintelligent for not understanding what the real meaning is.

Bryan: So, just so I understand it correctly, because I think I made the mistake that you’ve described, is your ikigai writing at the moment, because you describe sacrificing some other professional projects, or is it something more personal?

Amardeep: I think as well like people often think ikigai needing to be bonding, where it doesn’t need to be. So it could just be something that you love in your day, that brings you a bit of joy. So, for example, my morning cup of coffee could be my ikigai, could be part of my ikigai, because I sit there in the morning with my feet on the sofa and just think like today’s gonna be a good day and that gives me joy. And writing gives me joy as well. 

But one thing I’ve noticed is that, since I’ve made it my professional career, some of that enjoyment has sucked away a little bit and that’s why I think it’s really important that I then did the podcast too, because the podcast is a little bit less pressure than my writing, then I’m really enjoying the podcasting side of things and that’s given me a lot of joy. And I think that’s important for people listening is that if they’re taking a hobby, such as writing, and they love it where they take it full time, to make sure that they don’t make their joy dependent on that because that can lead to so much stress and anxiety. 

And I feel like I enjoy writing more now because I’m not dependent on it. Even if that’s my main source of income, I still have other things I’m doing too. And that allows me to enjoy it more and find that happiness in writing again, which I lost, I think, for a bit of time earlier this year where I felt under so much pressure to make something that was good.

Bryan: Yeah, I’ve earned a living from writing on and off for the last few years and there are certain parts of writing that I really enjoy but there are other types of writing that are more just to keep the business going or things that I have to do that’s probably less enjoyable. So, I can kinda empathize with what you’re saying about the value of side projects and that’s probably one of the reasons why I set up this podcast. 

I mean, arguably, it’s not writing but when we get to talk to people like you about this concept, which is fascinating to me, and it’s different to writing, it’s kind of probably less introverted than sitting down and looking at the blank page. What does your writing process look like today?

Amardeep: Yeah, I think it’s evolved a lot, especially in the last few months. because it’s a strange concept, because when I had a full-time job, I think I spent more time on each article than I do today and I think that’s partly down to greater confidence that I have now in my own abilities but what I tend to do is I’ve got a list of different headlines that I want to write.

What I often do is sometimes write a first draft of the article or write my ideas around that concept into a draft and even if I didn’t publish it at that time, it’s just getting that spark of inspiration down so I can record it and look at it later. Then what I’ll often do is then have a separate instance where I then flesh it out and make it into a proper article and, from there, then go into the editing process.

And, for me, I think most of my success is down to the editing process. In particular, in my earlier days, where I would write an article, I have the first draft done and then, section by section, I’d go through and rewrite it, especially the introduction. So I spend a long time on the introduction to really try and get that emphasis and the drama in it, to try to encourage people to continue reading on further.

And what I often found is that the first time I got something down, especially something like ikigai, for example, which is quite a complex concept, it made sense to me but it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to the reader. And that’s what my second edit was all about is how can I reframe this in a way that’s understandable to everybody? So I say that’s a big part of my writing process today. 

And I think I also lost my way a little bit early in the year. So now I’m trying to do is make sure that I’m writing some pieces just because that’s what I truly believe, rather than worrying too much about will this headline do well or will that headline do well. So I’ve got kind of a mix of some content which is, I think this is gonna do really well and other content, which is just I just really believe in this idea and maybe I can’t come up with a headline that really hits the reader but I want to write it anyway and that’s good for my soul in a way so I want to have a bit of that balance.

Bryan: Do you write your articles on any specific apps or do you just open up the Medium browser and start from there?

Amardeep: Yeah, I just generally write in the Medium browser itself. I use a few apps in order to edit. So one that I use is called the Hemingway App and what that does is it highlights when you’ve used complex sentences or sentences that might be quite hard to read. It also gives you a reading grade. So, generally, I think what I try to aim for is between six and eight for the reading grade and I think especially for online writing, people can sometimes try to be really impressive with big words and big sentences but for the average reader, you just want the information to be digestible and I always think that it’s less about trying to impress a reader with your wordplay or your like vocabulary but more can you impress them with the idea and the clarity of the idea. And this is where, for example, I try to avoid having too many longer sentences in a row. I try to have a flow where I have maybe a short sentence followed by a longer sentence then a shorter one or making sure that there’s a difference in the flow and how dynamic it is as a reader experience. 

So I use Hemingway App to kind of expose that where if I have a paragraph which has only short sentences, then I look at is does this need to be like this? Is this creating impact? Or is it overdoing it and it’s potentially frustrating the reader? So I look at things like that. 

Another app I use is Grammarly just to make sure of the basic grammar checks, but sometimes I also disagree with Grammarly so Grammarly does give you suggestions and I do think part of the growth as a writer is knowing when to break the rules. Because sometimes you don’t want something that’s pristine and perfect because it can lack character. So I always thought this example of using the word “that” where lots of people say don’t use the word that because it’s inefficient. 

But if you’re trying to take a reader and experience, it’s not always about efficiency, it’s about does that create the structure of the sentence that you want? And sometimes it does. So I think that’s one thing I’ve done more in recent times is use these different tools but not be wedded to them, not be like a slave to them. I use them as suggestions and then kind of make my own gut feel based on how does this read? Is this giving the impact I’d like it to give?

Bryan: That’s where a question of style comes into play. So you can have something that’s polished but has no personality but sometimes you may want to break grammar rules knowingly so it’s more engaging for the reader.

Amardeep: Yeah. I think it’s important to know the grammar rules in the first place because that’s the only way you can know how to break them effectively.

Bryan: You mentioned a few minutes ago about balancing writing something that you feel is gonna do well on Medium versus writing something that you want to write about. So do you have like a file or a document of topics that you want to cover? Like what does your process look like for planning out future articles that you’d like to address?

Amardeep: Yeah, so I think, generally, each week, I tried to write in a few different topics and I also write about the podcast content as well, which, for me, is a nice, easy article in a way because I had the conversation so I’m just recalling my conversation. But I tend to have like a — I’ve got a long list of different headlines in Notion at the moment which I then look at but sometimes my list becomes so long that I then stop looking at it and it kind of defeats the object. 

So now I have on like a small card some of the titles that I feel really passionate about at the time and then I try to map them to certain days so I can to write this article in this day and it’s part of my schedule so it’s more likely to happen. Whereas I could almost use as an exercise in procrastination by creating so many different titles but then not actually writing those articles. So I kind of do a hybrid thing in that way where I do have a bank of articles but then I’ll select a few which I want to write in the near future and keep them separately on a card, like a pen and paper card in front of me in my desk, that I then try to assign to specific days so that I can make sure that those actually happen. And, again, if I get to that day and I decide I’m not really feeling this article, I’ll pick a different one instead. So I try not to force myself to write.

Bryan: Do you have outlines and notes for individual articles? 

Amardeep: Yeah. So what I like to do is, if I’ve got a title, then I kind of see it as a nice way to get something off my to-do list. Well, I break it down into different parts writing the article, one would just be like get the brain dump down. And the brain dump will just be, “I’ve got the idea in my head and I just wanna save and I can think about it in like five minutes or ten minutes and those will then be my notes I then use to flesh out the entire article. 

But I can sometimes do a few of those in a day. So it depends on I guess how I feel. If I’m in that kind of creative mode where the editing side is obviously more cognitively difficult in some ways, I can leave that for a different day and I can spend a day or a few hours just writing down a bunch of ideas and first drafts which maybe are only a couple hundred words, but it gives me the structure to then later on when I’m more focused to expand upon that.

Bryan: Yeah, like returning to outlines and then it might take me three or four gos before I write the article, just populating the outline. Sometimes I’ll just use bullet points. I’ve used index cards in the past as well. I guess I’m always looking for ways to change the process. Like you, I mean, I started on Medium but I stopped publishing content on Medium — well, I was still writing the article — because the algorithm changed, that was one reason, and then also just my own site started getting more traffic so it made more sense to work on that. 

But I’m wondering how do you feel about the way Medium has changed over the past year or two? Because I’ve talked to a few writers who have said that it’s harder to break through now with Medium and that it’s harder to earn in the Medium Partner Program compared to a few years ago. And I still recommend to nonfiction writers with no audience to join the Medium Partner Program as soon as they get 100 followers or whatever the criteria are, because it’s easier than trying to build a website, at least from scratch.

Amardeep: Yeah, I think I completely agree with that. I still believe that Medium is the best place for people to write online, especially as a beginner. And like you said, it’s the same kind of thing I’m going through at the moment is about, I’m now like trying to beef up my own website because now that I have a reputation, then I can drive people to the website. But when you’re starting from scratch, it’s very hard to do that. And I think one of the really good things about Medium for beginners is that because the UI interface, especially for the editor, is so simple, it means you don’t have to worry about all the stuff you would have to worry about with a website, like getting a domain, getting hosting, getting colors, getting it to look good, all that kind of stuff. You just need to think about the writing. 

And I think especially for beginners, that’s a really good first step is focusing on that. And then in terms of income, I think it kind of yo-yos a bit. Like generally I’ve done pretty well on Medium compared to a lot of people, I think, and like I’m on I think 60,000 followers in two years. But as you said, I know that I can’t rely on that, I can’t rely on Medium earning well and there’s been some particularly bad months and I kind of go through these peaks and troughs. So for my own resilience aspect, I’m really making sure that I use Medium as a lead generator and I think that’s something which people or writers need to think about if they’re using Medium is to not kind of have a few good months and think, “Oh, I’ve made it. I can just use Medium for my income for the rest of my life.” It’s never gonna work like that. It’s trying to think strategically about, “Okay, I’m on Medium, I’m trying to build up credibility in a specific niche, I need to build my email list, so that if my Medium doesn’t do so well or if something else goes wrong with the algorithm changes, then at least I’ve got that audience who I can then sell other digital products to or potentially they can buy my book,” or whatever you’re working on. 

And I think that’s one of the problems I see is that I probably had earlier in the year, this view like that I could make huge amounts on Medium and it doesn’t always go up with, right? But now I’m thinking more strategically about a Medium, it’s just a place where I’ve got credibility, whatever I make it on there is really a bonus because of the clients I’ve gained from Medium, that’s what’s really paying my bills.

Bryan: The clients that you found on Medium, are you ghostwriting for them or providing some sort of coaching or consultancy service?

Amardeep: It’s a mix of both. So I’ve gained freelance clients where people contact me because of Medium, but I’ve also gained people who want me to work for them in terms of like their online courses or editing for them and those kind of services. And it’s kind of a strange one for me because it’s only maybe the last three or four months where I’ve been particularly thinking about that. Before then, it was just people just contacting me where I wasn’t even offering anything. I had nothing on my website saying I’m offering these services. 

And I guess that’s the beauty of having an audience on Medium is that you get these opportunities that you don’t expect. But if somebody listening has got a more like full out business plan, then the traffic that I got on Medium, they could have used to a much greater extent. So, for example, I didn’t have a freebie for my email list until about two months ago. And I think in 2020, I had like nearly a million views but I didn’t really set up an email list, which was a very bad mistake from an online business perspective. 

So that’s why I kind of advice people to do as well is they can just get started on Medium and use that as your traffic source. But once you start to gain traction, then think about that long term and create your email list and make sure that you’ve got an audience that you can own. Because, as you said, with Medium, you just never know. It’s like any other social media platform, you might have good months but you can also have bad months.

Bryan: Yeah, I would agree with that. It’s good to create multiple streams of income if you’re a writer rather than relying on book sales or clients or, in this case, solely on Medium. You also mentioned previously about writing up some of your podcast interviews as articles. So would you be able to describe how that works so listeners could understand what’s the best way to repurpose or reuse podcast content?

Amardeep: Yeah. So there’s two podcasts at the moment, there’s my own podcast, Mindful & Driven, and there’s the Entrepreneur’s Handbook Podcast, and I think with the podcasts articles I’ve done with my own podcast, they were experiments, in a way, and I think I’ve learned a lot from that and what I’m gonna do is actually rewrite a lot of them and change the titles because I think, in the early stages, I had this idea that it was more about offering something to my guests, I could say it’s my guests, when I write something about you, which will then create that feeling of goodwill and hopefully encourage them to come on.

But a lot of these articles didn’t perform very well because I just said it’s difficult to repurpose that content in a way that’s valuable so what I want to do with that is I’m gonna rewrite some of these articles and really flesh them out a bit more and go into a lot of depth in the concepts rather than I think what I made the mistake of doing is focusing too much on the person and the readers don’t necessarily care about the person as much as the ideas that that person has. So it’s giving credit to the person who said the ideas in the podcast but not overusing their examples and really fleshing out to make it really focused instead. And I think with Entrepreneur’s Handbook one, I’ve done a better job of doing that.

So for the Entrepreneur’s Handbook it’s a bit easier because it’s “Here’s how you can make money” basically. So what I can do from that is take the key concept from that person’s interview. So, last week I had on the guy who wrote a business book bestseller which is The Unfair Advantage and while I’m talking about the conversation we had in the interview, I mainly actually talked about his underlying idea, which is the unfair advantage and about how that can make people more successful in business. 

Bryan: Yeah. 

Amardeep: And that’s why I think is probably my advice for people who have got podcasts and they want to make articles out of it is focus on the underlying concept. So give credit to the person who’s given you the idea but don’t just retell the podcast. Make sure that you’re structuring it in a way that’s how you would for an article rather than a podcast summary, because I think a lot of people see.

Bryan: Yeah, I think there’s a misconception with podcasts that if you take the transcript and post that as a blog post, it’s gonna bring in lots of traffic or readers. 

Amardeep: Oh, yeah. 

Bryan: And the reality is, I mean, you should still do the transcript for accessibility and t give listeners who really like to dive in a chance to pull out extracts, but it’s not gonna bring in loads of traffic. You do need to pick a topic and write it up as an actual article, if you want to get that traffic and take advantage of your podcast. You don’t have to do that but just don’t expect pasting the transcript from wherever or Descript into your site to immediately do it for you. 

Amardeep: Exactly, yeah. Completely agree. 

Bryan: So you’re currently managing two podcasts. How do you find balancing those with your own writing?

Amardeep: I think it’s been difficult because the podcast is this shiny new thing so what I’ve done now is I’ve outsourced the editing for the podcast and that frees up a lot of my time, which has been really refreshing for me creatively in my writing because now after each podcast, all I actually need to do is to do the recording and then I have a quick check over it and make sure everything’s okay. 

So each podcast maybe only takes me about 2 hours of work, 2-1/2 hours maybe, whereas before it was taking me maybe 7 or 8 hours because I was learning how to edit and then do all the editing myself. So I found that’s a lot easier and I think, for people listening, it’s not expensive to do that either. You might need to train somebody up a little bit and get — the early weeks will be a bit difficult because you need to help them to do it in the way that you like, but I would just say like you have to work how much is your time worth because if you can outsource it for $10 or $15 an hour, isn’t that better than you spending 5 hours on that rather than something where you can do something creatively that you really enjoy that could potentially make much more money.

Bryan: Ideally, they’re also going to fix things that you might not necessarily watch out for. So, for example, the audio levels could differ between you and the interviewee and, you know, they may normalize those levels.

Amardeep: Yeah.

Bryan: Which is important for listeners, but I guess if you’re focused on the actual content, it might be something that a new podcaster could overlook. You’ve also been featured in publications like Wired and Morning Brew. Did those publications pick up your articles on Medium?

Amardeep: Yeah. So they contacted me because of Medium so what Morning Brew did is my most successful article, I think it’s got nearly half a million views now, “20 Realistic Micro-Habits to Live Better Every Day,” and I just saw a massive spike in my views one day and I think it was 50,00 views in one day and then I worked backwards and realized that Morning Brew had picked up and recommended it so Morning Brew I think have got a million or so email subscribes, so I think with that, it was just a case of like that piece of content I really believed in and made sure that I spent a long time on that, probably spent a couple weeks writing that and going back and editing it again so then when it got picked up by Morning Brew, it’s massive validation.

Bryan: Yeah. For those who aren’t familiar, Morning Brew is a daily newsletter about news from Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Amardeep: Yeah. And then with Wired magazine, they emailed me because of — they read one of my Medium articles about quitting my job and they asked me if they could interview me because they said liked the way I had expressed my ideas and it was a bit different to what other people have said so that was really cool for me as somebody who has only been writing for 2 years to have these kind of major outlets pick up my work and it just felt very validating and there’s been a few others like that where I’ve been shocked when these people have reached out to me.

Bryan: Yeah, it’s also encouraging because it shows people who are thinking about writing online that it’s not too late, you know, you could still find readers and get picked up relatively easily if you exercise a bit of consistency and you’re kinda committed to improving at your craft.

Amardeep: Yeah, and for people listening, if they want to write but they’ve never tried it before, look at my story, like I had no experience whatsoever, I’ve done a few blogs 5 years ago that nobody read and got 5 views, but I was able to understand readers and then grow in a very fast way. So who’s to say that you can’t do that? Like you shouldn’t set your expectations so high but then also you shouldn’t believe that you can’t do it, like just try it out. If you don’t try it out, you’re never gonna know how good you could be.

Bryan: Yeah, I’ve lost count of the amount of things I’ve tried that didn’t work, but when something does work, it is really encouraging. Amar, where can people read your work or learn more about you?

Amardeep: My main website now is mindfuldriven.com so you can put in the show notes but I think the best way is if you sign with my newsletter from my website, then every week I will send you my content so there’s the podcast which is on YouTube, and, again, the links are on my website, and then also the articles I publish, so I find the easiest way is if people signed up to my newsletter through my website, they would then get all my updates each week.

Bryan: Thank you.

Amardeep: Thanks for having me. 

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