Rafi Chowdhury is the founder of Chowdhury’s Digital and an investor. He enjoys writing about chess, artificial intelligence, and psychology. In his free time, he plays basketball and chess, bikes, and raises homing pigeons
How did you start out as a marketer?
My fraternity brother launched his personal website about music. I was so amazed by the idea of having a personal website showcasing what I do, that I hired another college student to make me a WordPress blog where I wrote about my passion, chess. Soon, I was trying all sorts of tricks trying to drive traffic to my site.
I started hiring people on Fiverr and spending money on gigs to try to drive more traffic to my site. Eventually, I learned how to do it myself and then started reaching out to small business owners and offering them internet marketing services. I soon made a company and was in business.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
The unrealistic expectations business owners had about what internet marketing can do for them. They call markets “the computer guy” and expected marketers to print money for them on autopilot. In reality, that was not exactly how it worked. So, I had to spend a lot of time and the energy just to explain to clients what they could realistically expect from online marketing and that it was not an exact science.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
I do not recommend you do this, but my first clients came from me applying to jobs, going into the interview, and convincing the hiring manager that I could do the job at half the cost as a consultant. It worked like magic when I moved the business to Los Angeles due to the sheer volume of companies in the city who were needing this kind of help.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Just being able to provide unique and creative solutions to complex problems is what I the most. At the end of the day, most of what I do is market research and consumer psychology, both of which I love a lot!
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
Become an EXPERT at doing keyword research and SEO. Make a simple WordPress blog. Find something you are super passionate about that does not have a lot of things on the web. Start writing the most thorough and comprehensive content you can find on the topics you come up with vias keyword research. Within 2 years, you will have a blog that will bring you revenue opportunities for a lifetime.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would have gone straight to the PhD program in experimental psychology and continue my research in human consciousness.
How is your typical work day structured?
I work from 7 am until about 4 pm Monday to Friday. In the evening, I study and do research and sometimes I write.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
Yup. Creating my blog and getting traffic to it. Took super long.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Here is my process: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/10-tips-for-how-to-build-your-startup-s-brand-from-scratch/
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I am very interested in understanding the role AI will play in our lifetime. I think by 2050, we will have quite sophisticated AI among us who will help us with lots of daily mundane and perhaps even more complicated tasks. For example, you will be able to ask Siri or Alexa for advice on complicated things in life such as who you should marry or what city you should live in, or what career field you should choose and expect to get a reply that will be more insightful than your own insights or anyone else’s, for that matter.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
I read www.quicksprout.com and www.backlinko.com and talk to marketers / interview them.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
Influencer Spotlight was a PR firm I built in just one month with a couple of friends. Within 4 months, we got 25 entrepreneurs featured on more than 30 major publications and did over $100k in sales. I love how bootstrapped the business was and how quickly we made it profitable.
You literally just have to talk to people. Soon, you will realize that the pain points are. Then, just come up with a solution. You can even sell the solution to them before you even build it!
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
Influence by Robert Cialdini
What advice would you share with other Marketer’s who want to become more productive?
Focus on the thing you love to do and are really good at. Go wherever in the world you need to in order to get what you want if your career is truly your number one priority/passion. Location and who you hang out with matters the most. The rest is persistence and discipline.
If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.
Neil Patel is a good one to follow for general online marketing advice. Brian Dean is best for SEO. Jay Shetty is good if you want to focus on branding / Facebook.