Welcome to the Solohacks Academy’s About Page. It’s a truism that the About Page of any website is one of the most read pages. But just because it’s highly visited, there can be a tendency to stuff the About Page with too much long-winded storytelling.
Our back story is going to be short. We’d rather share more of what we believe in, and our list of services we’ve made available on this site. Our attitude and work will speak for itself, we hope.
Who am I?
I’m Shobha Ponnappa, the Founder & CEO of this site. On this site I evangelize content marketing, growth hacking and solopreneurship.
I help solopreneurs by showing them how to use growth hacking in their content marketing, and build their brands and products in ways that use less time, work, effort and mistakes – and produce faster, surer results.
Where have I been before?
I’ve been in digital marketing for 35 years. I have worked with over 125 client brands on the extreme cutting edge of digital technology.
In the first 17 years of my career I held positions with three multinational advertising agencies where I worked on large global clients. I rose in the advertising industry to handle high positions in both Creative and Account Planning, and won numerous national advertising awards.
In the next 6 years, I achieved success and international acclaim as an entrepreneur. I became the founder and head of my own avant garde digital content and brand experience innovations company, where I steered the creation of international web innovation projects for my worldwide clients. I had nearly 200 employees of high caliber.
In the last decade or so, I have been an independent solopreneur – a digital marketing specialist/consultant for mid-to-large sized corporates and disruptive entrepreneurial clients in the US, UK and India.
Why this site?
Which of these career phases of my life did I enjoy the most? I have no hesitation in saying that my solopreneur phase has given me everything I want. I tried out many types of online marketing till I discovered that the one unbeatable way to success is via growth hacking content marketing. I now own both – a supremely satisfying bank balance and a work-life balance that I never even imagined. In short, you could call me a contented content marketing solopreneur!
I have also realized, in hindsight, that I could have made this choice to become a solopreneur at any time of my long career … if only I had not been misled into believing three myths I have now busted!
Solopreneur myths to blow out of your mind
Myth #1: All solopreneurs are essentially introverts, and those who are extroverts will hate the solopreneur life.
Truth: Absolutely not! In fact, we have all got to get rid of the old definitions of introversion and extroversion. Introverts are just those who have more energy for work when they are alone, versus extroverts who have more energy when they work along with others. It’s about energy levels, and not inhibitions. And most people switch between introversion and extroversion all the time, so it’s ideal if you can decipher what activities you like doing alone and what you like doing with others. It’s that simple to honor yourself and your preferences.
Myth #2: A solopreneur business is a small business. It cannot match the brand eminence of a mid-sized company or a large corporation.
Truth: Absolutely not! This myth comes from the popular perception that all solopreneur businesses are owned either by “mompreneurs” or “homepreneurs” or “self-designated-presidents-who are-also-the-bottle-washers”. If solopreneurs think of themselves in such self-limiting ways, that is all they would ever be. Any solopreneur can be as big a brand as his or her biggest dreams will allow. There are tons of automation tools out there now that break the glass boxes into which solopreneurs cage themselves – and believe they are just doomed to be cats instead of tigers. Be lean and mean and challenge the lumbering companies, is what I say!
Myth #3: When a solopreneur business grows up it will become a huge company with lots of employees and live happily ever after.
Truth: Absolutely not! The aim of starting as a solopreneur business is not to begin small, and later grow sideways and large. In fact, if you’ve tasted the satisfaction of going solo and working on your own terms, without anybody to answer to, and still make millions and billions, why would you have to trade it all in to acquire more “assets” that feel like millstones around your neck? A solopreneur can – and should – aim to grow narrow and tall, and not spread wide, to really succeed. Got that one?
Who this site will help
ASPIRANTS who are considering an online solopreneur business. They need grasp. They’ll need to know the strategies for acquiring the mindset, knowledge, skills and roadmaps for success via ingenious content marketing. They’ll need to know the lay of the land, and which business model is right for them. They’ll also need to know why and how others have chosen this path, and come out immensely successful.
AMATEURS who are setting up an online solopreneur business. They need guidance. They’ll need to avail step-by-step knowhow for every aspect of setting up and running their solo businesses … including developing their strategy, branding, web design, content marketing, email marketing, social media, ecommerce, customer experience and marketing automation.
ACHIEVERS who are running an online solopreneur business. They need growth. They’ll need to find solutions for the knots and tangles they are facing along their journeys, plus cutting edge information on trends, technologies and best practices. They’ll need to keep ahead of the curve and their competitors, and grow their businesses exponentially.
A brief explanation of “growth hacking”. What is it really?
The concept of growth hacking was first articulated by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown. They have co-authored the book “Hacking Growth” where they have propounded the idea that businesses of any size, who grow ridiculously fast, have just one single-minded goal: growth. It’s their North Star! They have no other goals. They have no need for any other goals.
Further these businesses, amazingly, achieve growth through their speed of learning. Morgan Brown writes: “What they all do, which goes under appreciated, I think, is that they learn faster than anyone else what it takes to grow, and they use that speed of learning as a massive competitive advantage.”
Is growth hacking only for big businesses? Not at all. In fact, as a solopreneur, “growth hacking” is actually easier, simply because you have to pull no one else along at your speed. There nothing to stop you from clipping ahead, except yourself!
How can growth hacking help content marketing?
Most solopreneurs who have practised content marketing say that it takes as long as 12-24 months to see results. Content marketing, by nature, is a slow build up of your brand authority, your visibility and your audience trust, that helps sell your products for you. In the time that content marketing takes to succeed, the workload for a solopreneur is tough – you have to relentlessly produce truckloads of outstanding “content” that creates your market credibility and differential, and gets you sales and success.
But, slow though it is, unfortunately, content marketing is the only way to make money online. No other kind of marketing works with online audiences, who want to learn to trust you before they buy from you.
With growth hacking, its possible to make “growth” such a powerful motivator and goal for yourself that you speed up your learning, and cut out all the slack that comes from misdirected use of time, effort, money. You harness all the gains of content marketing but cut out all the delays … by learning to get everything right, first time, all the time.
Our user-friendly features on our site
On our site we have free downloadable roadmaps for solopreneurs, who are at various stages of their growth journey … plus purchasable content marketing speed-guides that cover many of the critical stages of content marketing. We also offer a growth hacking content marketing courses and content marketing consultation services.
You can opt to join our vibrant and exclusive Solohacks Academy Community and receive our newsletters.
This site is also being continuously incremented with blog articles, that offer advice, tips, ideas, inspirations and examples. We also have a great resources page and a site map to help you. For your reassurance, please also see our Disclaimer, Disclosure and Privacy Policies.
These books inspired me no end
I hope they will inspire you too. Click on the images to know more about each book.
Have a great day! And do contact us if you need any information as you browse through this site!