2020 is finally here! And before the New Year really kicks in, we’d like to take a moment to thank you, our audience, for staying with us all through the year. We are delighted and humbled that the content we created and the events we organised resonated with you.
It is your valuable comments and feedback that drives us forward in our mission to improve the quality of life of independent professionals. We have a lot more in store for you next year — informational videos, industry reports, webinars, roundtable discussions, and much more.
Before we move onto the next decade, here’s a quick recap of the best of what we had to offer in 2019.
This is the all-new meetup series that we launched in 2019. Every Huddle features a panel of industry experts or successful independent professionals, and they will be discussing and delving deeper into a relevant topic.
With these meetups, we aim to provide a space for our community members to learn, grow their network, and get support from their counterparts. These meetups typically happen at our HQ in Indiranagar, Bangalore.
Here’s a quick review of the best Huddles from 2019:
1. How to build your network and get more clients ft. Anuradha C and Sidharth Chhawchharia
About the speakers
Anuradha is a corporate trainer and a content writer, and she has been freelancing for almost ten years now. She started her career as a Software Engineer with TCS in 1999 and then went on to work for Huawei for another nine years.
Sidharth is a freelance developer, and also, the founder of Stack Pro, an organisation that provides consulting and technology solutions for small and medium enterprises. He started his career as a Technical Analyst at HashedIn in 2015.
- Once you decide to take the plunge, let everyone know that you are on the lookout for projects. Even if it doesn’t get you projects immediately, you may earn a few referrals.
- Get to know the client, establish a rapport with them by having regular conversations. Over-communicate to show that you have a thorough grasp of their problems and challenges.
- Write articles that are incredibly relevant and helpful to your target audience. Your posts are a great way to showcase your expertise, philosophies, and skillset.
You can watch the video of the entire session:
2. How to get started as a freelance designer, ft. Navaneethakrishna Ramanathan and Mallika Tripathy
About the speakers
Navaneeth is a freelance UI/UX designer and also the founder of Alchi Design Studio. He’s been a freelance designer for almost four years now. Before becoming a freelancer, he was part of organisations such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Toboc.com and ThoughtWorks.
Mallika is a Creative Director, Designer, and Illustrator. She started her career with the Ministry of Textiles – NCDPD and then went on to work with the likes of H&M, Gabambo, Adept Media, Myntra, Culture Machine and Skarma before switching to freelancing.
- Instead of working on peanuts for a single project, get the client to increase the scope of work or ask them to them hire you on a retainer. This is an effective way to stop underbidding.
- Send your creatives as a deck. Every iteration should be labelled clearly, i.e., “Round 1 iteration deck”, “Round 2 iteration deck”, and so on. It acts as a reminder and ensures the client will be cautious and precise with their feedback.
- Every week designate a specific time only for pitching clients. It doesn’t matter whether you have other clients in the pipeline. This ensures the momentum is always going.
You can watch the video of the entire session here:
3. Marketing year-in-review: A roundtable ft. Abhash Kumar, Ojal Kulkarni, Mayank Bhatnagar, Nandini Swaminathan, and Shivani Balsa
About the speakers
Abhash heads Community and Marketing at Springworks. He specialises in user acquisition, shaping communities, creating email funnels, and copywriting. Abhash has been in the industry for nine years now, and has worked for BYJU’s and YourStory.
Ojal is part of the National Growth team at Dunzo. Her portfolio includes brand campaigns, sampling activations for the FMCG industry brand monetisation. Prior to Dunzo, she had stints with Marching Ants Marketing LLP and SteppinOut.
Nandini heads marketing for Upbeat Retail, and is an award-winning blogger at sartorialsecrets.com. In the past, she has worked for boutique agencies and companies such as Yahoo and Chumbak.
Shivani takes care of social media and content strategies for Instamojo, end-to-end across channels. Over the last eights years, she has worked for Ogilvy & Mather, SocialOrgane, LiveSpace, and also as an independent social media consultant.
Mayank is currently associated with Amazon, where he leads marketing function for their advertising business in India. Before that, he was with Adobe, where he handled the digital marketing mix portfolio for technical communication products.
- Every brand, as well as every marketer, should be clear of their north-star. This clarity will help stay on track even when 10,000 things are going wrong around you. It will ensure you can deliver on customer’s expectations.
- Empathy is key. Always try to understand where the customer is coming from. At the same time, try to see how you can solve the issue and see what their point of view is.
- Indian brands are still struggling to understand the value they can derive from influencer marketing. They often end up selecting the wrong influencers or do it with misguided objectives. So, it is essential for any brand to identify what is their goal, then figure out who is the right fit and how that balance can be achieved.
- If you’re interested in a career in marketing, try to do a sales job for 6-9 months first. It teaches you humility, and you will learn how to talk to users.
You can watch the full video of the roundtable here:
TapChief Community in conversation with
This again is something we launched this year. It is essentially a live Q&A session (on our Facebook Page) featuring a domain expert. The idea behind it is to enable our community members to learn from the best in the industry.
We, at TapChief, have always believed that getting the right advice at the right time can make all the difference. And this was another step towards that end.
Here’s a brief overview of the top Q&A sessions from 2019:
4. Q&A on financial planning for freelancers with Samant Sikka
About the expert
Samant is the co-founder of Sqrrl Fintech, a digital personal finance platform aimed at making savings and investments delightful for young Indians. He has more than two decades of experience, working for the likes of Franklin Templeton Investments, AIG Global Investments, and Axis Asset Management before founding his own company.
- You can save tax as a freelancer. All tax breaks (such as Section 80 C) are available to you.
- As a freelancer, if you can neatly segregate your cash inflows and outflows in a structured, organised manner, banks will not hesitate to give you a loan.
- Set up an emergency fund. Start building six months of your expenses as a lump sum.
- 100 minus your age should be your exposure in equity; the rest should be in fixed income. For instance, if you’re in your 20s, 80% of your disposable savings should go into equity markets. 20% should go into fixed income.
You can watch the entire session here:
5. Q&A on how to create a strong product culture with Tapojoy Chatterjee
About the expert
Tapojoy is currently the Head of Product – Display and Video Advertisement at Amazon India. He has over ten years of experience and has worked with the likes of ITC and Samsung.
- A successful product manager is like a mini CEO. You have to work a lot in ambiguous domains and ensure each one is taken care of.
- Four core capabilities all product managers must have — (1) the ability to convert ambiguous research data to a more understandable, actionable set of elements, (2) meticulous, the difference between an ordinary product and an extraordinary one lies in the details, (3) you must be willing to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and dive deep if need be, to get something done. (4) the ability to understand customer behaviour on a deeper level.
- Always try to seek different viewpoints from other business leaders who have their own requirements. It could be the sales team, the accounts team — check if the product team can answer or solve for the different questions or viewpoints that they have.
You can watch the entire session here:
It is the online AMA sessions that we started organising in 2018. Every session features a domain expert who will answer questions from TapChief Users. Till date, we have hosted more than 30 AMAs. We’ve had experts from all types domains coming in from product management to freelance writing.
Here’s a recap of some of the best TapChief Sessions from 2019:
6. AMA on building brands and business with Vineet Kanabar
About the expert
Vineet is currently the Head of Marketing at The Viral Fever (TVF). He has over seven years of experience. Before TVF, Vineet worked with the likes of PHD Worldwide, Havas Media, and Bates Young and Rubicam.
- Create a relatable voice for your brand. Ask yourself if it is warm, welcoming, cute, funny, courageous, adventurous. The best experience brands have a distinct voice. Once you work on this, great PR will follow.
- To pitch anything to a brand, especially to get sponsors, you need three things — an authentic story (fiction, non-fiction, animation, book anything), a grasp of the brand’s objectives, and a strong understanding of why/where/how your audience will consume this content.
- Content/product placement does the job of building consideration for the brand in the audience’s mind. However, to measure its impact, brands must look at the entire funnel — from awareness, impressions, search queries, clicks, to post-click performance.
To read the full discussion thread and learn more about brand building, visit the AMA page.
7. AMA on Google Ads Ecosystem and product management with Sunny Mehrotra
About the expert
Sunny is currently the Senior Product Specialist at Google. He has over five years of experience in the field of product management. Prior to Google, he was the product consultant at Indiez and was a Senior Product Manager in Housing.com for three years.
- There are multiple ways to reduce cost per lead for search ads. Create better ad copies, use well-targeted keywords, great landing pages, and adopt smart bidding strategies.
- In case you are getting unwanted clicks on your ads, you should tweak your keywords and audiences. Put up a list of negative keywords across accounts or campaigns to remove unnecessary triggers.
- A useful framework for feature prioritisations is ‘Impact vs Effort 2 by 2’. Plot all features on this map — ‘high-impact but low-effort’ bucket contains all the low hanging must-do activities. ‘Low-impact but high effort’ is always discarded. What to pick from the other two quadrants is entirely a very subjective call.
To read the full discussion thread and learn more product management, visit the AMA page.
8. AMA on building on a startup and raising capital with Sumeet Kapur
About the expert
Sumeet is the founder of Wellcure.com and the co-founder of Inflection Point Ventures, an early-stage investing platform. He started his first venture in the digital education sector and then setup Groupon in India, which later became Nearbuy.com. He served there as a CFO 3 years.
- You need to have a differentiating factor or niche for you to be able to grow in this market or raise funds. Merely focusing on aggressive marketing campaigns will not work.
- You fundraising pitch should include — the problem you are trying to solve, your solution, your business model, the underlying technology, your marketing and sales plan, the competitor analysis, your team, projections and milestones, status and timeline, and a summary and a call to action for investors.
- Learn every aspect of the business and start doing it yourself as small scale. Once you understand the level of effort and expertise required, you will be able to figure out who is the right fit for the job.
To read the full discussion thread and learn more about building a startup and raising capital, visit the AMA page.
Our blog has been the mainstay in our efforts to help professionals learn and understand the nuances of freelancing and self-employment.
From how-to guides, inspiring stories, and to articles on less-talked-about topics such as how to deal with loneliness, we are in the process of making our blog an exhaustive resource for freelancers from around the world.
Here are two of the best blog posts from 2019:
9. How to Be Productive: A Comprehensive Guide for Freelancers
This is one of our best performing blog posts from the last year. After our regular interactions with freelancers, we realised that a lot of them find it hard to stay productive. They have to wear numerous hats, and it becomes hard to stay on top of everything and get things done on time. So, in this post, we listed down a wide range of tips and tools to help freelancers become more productive.
You can read the blog post here.
10. A writer’s inspirational pursuit of freedom and redemption
In this post, we cover the journey of Sriram Hariharan, a technical content writer with over a decade of professional experience. We explore how the mundanity of the 9-5 grind affected him and how he finally decided to leave everything behind and become a freelancer.
We also learn about the challenges he faced along the way and how he managed to overcome it all. On the whole, it is a story of grit, determination, and passion. If you are a budding writer, it is definitely worth a read.
You can read Sriram’s story here.
Thank you for your support once again. We can’t reiterate enough how valuable your comments and feedback are. Please keep them coming in.
We have a lot more in store for you in 2020. So, watch this space. 🙂