Sayantan started his career as a salesman and is now a content marketer and a content strategist. He is a certified graphologist who claims that he’d be a detective if not a writer and a marketer. After completing his three masters including in finance/accounting and human resources, one night Sayantan started writing and has been continuing with it till date. He says that writing has saved his life and he has embraced it as a part of himself. His approach of listening to his inner voice and following that, perfectly matched with the liberty that comes along with freelancing. A continuous learner, he promises to make a difference in life every day and to live each day with zero regrets.
Read Sayantan’s motivational story here:
Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?
Hey, this is Sayantan. I’m a content marketer and content strategist working with businesses that want to take their content marketing effort to the next level.
I’m from Kolkata, West Bengal. I have started my career as a door-to-door salesman selling books on the streets. After that, I have played many roles in my career before becoming a full-time writer and marketer.
Writing happened to me when I was at a terrible place in my life. Rather writing saved me from all the worldly worries and realities of life. It gave me hope, made me believe I could be something. I call writing my first love. I often joke with my wife that you’re my second wife, my first is writing.
I live with my beautiful wife and our cute pug Sophie. My parents, my brother & his wife live nearby. We often get together and have fun.
My childhood is not something every child would like to have. If anything I wanted to change in my past, it’s my childhood. I had a terrible childhood where I only remember how I was told that ‘I’m not good enough’. I was a brilliant child as every child always is.
Even if I don’t like to remember my childhood often, it made me a better man. It made me realize the value of not complaining and picking yourself up from the pit and be someone you always knew you could be. The pursuit is on, and I’m loving it.
Tell us about your educational background? Why did you choose to do B.Com and study the field of finance and human resource management?
I have done three masters. I have chosen finance/accounting & human resources because one is about numbers and another is about people. Numbers and people have been my fascination. If you’d ever ask me what I would have been if I would have not become a writer & marketer, I’d be a detective. That’s why I pursued Graphology and NLP. Many don’t know that I’m a certified graphologist.
What was the trigger for you to shift to “Writing”? Talk to us about your love for writing?
When I remember how I came to writing, better to say – how writing came to me, I have goosebumps, still.
It was a wintry night. I was just rejected by my ex-girlfriend. The cherry on the top was I lost my consulting job immediately after that. I didn’t have money to pay the rent. I didn’t have food to eat. I didn’t know what to do. The tears trickled down my cheeks.
I sat with my laptop. I opened a doc. I wrote, wrote, and wrote. The entire night I sat on my bed and wrote. 35 pages. That’s the start.
I have never left writing since then. Every day, the more I write, the more I fall in love. Writing didn’t only save my life. It made me who I am today.
When did you decide to build a business around marketing? What excites you the most about content marketing?
It’s the year 2012. Back then I used to write for fun. One day, I decided to send an email to a UK Publisher. I wrote that I wanted to write for them.
Within a day, he wrote back – ‘Your writing sucks’.
It didn’t suck at writing the way he mentioned. But after receiving that email, I promised myself that I will become a full-time writer one day.
That’s how I started.
The beginning wasn’t easy, but I learned the ropes. After a few years of working as a full-time writer, I started to learn marketing. Now, I’m so passionate about writing & marketing, that I can’t spend a day without learning something about these two.
Content marketing is about understanding both the art and science behind how businesses work. I would say content is more about science and marketing is more about art. Often we confuse these two and fall apart.
Content is more science because it can be used to intrigue people. You can use words to speak to the psychology of people. While marketing is more art because it’s all about being human and understanding emotions, how people make decisions, how you can empathize, and how you become committed to serving your target audience.
When I talk about content marketing, it has nothing to do with creative writing. Content marketing is completely a different ballgame.
Why did you opt for freelancing? When did you start freelancing? Did you plan it or how it happened?
If you go through the ‘The Four Tendencies’ of Gretchen Rubin, you’d see that there’s a category called ‘rebel’. I went through the ‘Four Tendencies Quiz’ and I found that I fit the ‘rebel’ category perfectly.
I never feel obliged to listen to any internal or external pressure or dominance. I listen to who I am, and I follow that. It has a good part and a bad part. The good part is as I follow my nature, I have become quite good at what I do (it’s not beating my own drums because I know that there’s a lot to learn still). The bad part is that I get bored with routines, structures, and expectations.
That’s exactly why I chose to freelance. I love my autonomy so much that it’s not easy to let go of. I got a few opportunities here and there for full-time employment but either they didn’t like my autonomy or I didn’t like their treatment.
Talk to us about, how to build and use your network effectively as a freelancer?
I don’t really build my network. Rather I have a small circle of people I trust and care for. I have a knack of looking deep into people. If I talk to anyone, I understand who that person is. It may sound fascinating. But this has been one of my uncanny abilities to look behind people’s eyeballs and see who they really are with the information I have at hand.
So, networking isn’t easy for me since I get to know the intentions of the person immediately. If I like someone (I believe in Ayn Rand’s objectivism – it means if I like someone s/he must deserve it), I will do whatever I can to help her/him. But if it becomes exploitation eventually, I say ‘no’ directly.
As a freelancer, I don’t build my network, I make sure my work speaks for me.
Instead of building their network, every freelancer should follow Jay Abraham’s ‘The Strategy of Preeminence’ (Googling it will help you find the meaning and how it works). I believe the network builds itself when you become true to yourself and when you do your work with love & empathy.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I never face writer’s block. I don’t know why people get mad about it.
Do you ever face talker’s block, why would you then face writer’s block?
I work in two cycles – work cycle and recovery cycle. Freelancers who don’t take their recovery seriously suffer from blocks during their work-time.
What according to you is the best or worst thing about freelancing?
The best thing about freelancing is that there is no limit to earning. You can literally earn as much as you like. Though people judge freelancers through how much they earn, it’s never about how much they earn, it’s about how much they choose to earn and still live a great life.
The worst thing about freelancing is that people near you would still judge you for being a freelancer. They will tell you – ‘Get a real job’. But I’m the living proof that freelancing is the best thing that anyone can do. It’s my best career decision ever.
What is the one thing you hate about clients? What can they do to make your life better?
I don’t hate anything about my clients.
What I hate is when people treat content pieces like onions in the vegetable market.
‘You need to deliver 5000 words a day. We pay you chicken feed. But we have regular work.’
Do they even know how writing works?
I doubt they would ever succeed in content marketing in the long run. Until you put in the science of content, the art of marketing, and the empathy into every piece you produce, you’re never going to succeed in content marketing.
What is your best work to date? Why do you think is the best?
I’m the best work I have ever created to date. I don’t think anything that I create could ever be better than who I am becoming. I am a work-in-progress. I am a continuous learner. Every time I sit to work, I give my best shot. I never believe the phrase – ‘Be the best version of yourself’ or “Create the master-piece’, because we never know what would happen to the thing we sit to create. I’m at peace with the phrase – ‘Be the most progressive version of yourself.’
What are your mission and vision? How do you want history to look at you?
I love Dr. Jordan Peterson. He talks about having a vision for yourself. Often it starts with being abstract and vague about who you want to be. I have that kind of vision too. I want to see myself writing books and impacting people from the stages. I don’t know how I will reach there. But I will. If everything works out in my favor.
I want to be like Dr. Jordan Peterson, Robert Greene, Jay Abraham. Ramit Sethi, Robin Sharma, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Seth Godin, and many, many more.
I will be freelancing all my life – writing, marketing, speaking, consulting.
I don’t see that history can look at me with the truth. It never did. It never will.
Even if any day history reluctantly remembers me, the truth isn’t going to change. I’m just the tiny dust in a tiny blue planet. If I’m not there tomorrow, the Universe doesn’t care. So, I value my life, but I don’t think I’m as important as I want others to perceive me.
As you look back, do you feel satisfied with yourself or do you think you missed something?
I can’t change the past. It’s wise not to carry it on my shoulder. I’d rather take care of my present. Make sure that I have fewer death-bed regrets rather than being worried about my past or anxious about my future. You see, I’m a stoic. I only think about what I control and don’t worry about things that are not in my hands. It’s not easy. But I practice diligently.
So, I’m content that I reached wherever I am. But I have a long way to go. I don’t regret if I die today because death isn’t in my hands. But if I live this day, I will make sure that it makes a difference in my life and in the lives of people (and pet/s) that trust me, love me, and make my experience wonderful on earth.
Sayantan can be reached out on Refrens, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you are a freelancer and looking for a way to reach out to more potential clients, read our article on “How To Write a Perfect Cold Email?” to close more leads by being efficient at cold emailing technique.