Marketing

Building an audience with Ramli John

Ramli describes how we built the audience for his growth marketing podcast

March 3, 2021

Ramli John is a growth marketing consultant, host of the Growth Marketing Today podcast as well as the Product-Led podcast. He's also the author of the upcoming book Eureka.

In this episode, Ramli and Mohammed talk about how Canadian freelancers can build an audience as a way to get new clients.

Short on time? Skip to the parts you're most interested in.

[03:41] Getting started as a freelancer

[06:38] Creating content as a blogger

[07:15] Launching a podcast

[08:26] The motivation behind the podcast

[12:11] Perks of hosting a podcast

[17:29] Tips for growing your audience

[21:06] Attracting clients with your podcast

[24:09] Making your podcast your resume

[26:53] Ramli's tips for building your audience

[29:37] Standing out in a saturated market

If you enjoyed the conversation, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe to Freelance Canada on Apple Podcasts or listen to it wherever you get your podcast. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the episode.

Psst... Looking to accelerate the growth of your freelance business?

Subscribe to Freelance Canada newsletter.

Every Tuesday, you'll get an email with detailed notes, actionable tips, and book recommendations about the topic discussed in the episode.

Plus, to help you get started, we'll provide you with three downloadable cheat sheets when you sign up.

Thank you! You're now subscribed to Freelance Canada.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Ramli: Feeling good, man.

Mohammed: Awesome. So, as we get into today, how about we get started by understanding what is it that you do?

Ramli: Thanks for having me on. My name is Ramli John and I’m a growth marketing consultant, really focused on product-led growth businesses and helping them deliver a better user onboarding experience so that they become lifelong customers. It’s such a critical point for a lot of businesses. That first experience is something that you can’t take away, right? And I also host two podcasts. I’ve been hosting Growth Marketing Today for three and a half years now, and [the] Product-Led Podcast just started like eight, nine months ago. So, super keen on podcasting and, yeah.

Mohammed: And how did you get started in terms of onboarding? I mean, that’s so niche. So, what was it that drove you to that specific segment of the whole product experience?

Ramli: Yeah, just — there was this — it’s such a — I call it the ugly duckling of growth. It’s just so ignored often because people think about focusing on acquisition and getting more users or signups and then the other side with [the] product is thinking about releasing features and just my experience with marketing and leading marketing teams is that it’s one of the biggest levers for growth. So, you’re getting a ton of signups and if they don’t — not just convert but like it’s a lever for retention.

Like we’re finding — like somebody from HubSpot, his name is Dan Wolchonok, he did a study where just improving their week 1 onboarding retention by 15 percent resulted in like a week 10 27 percent bump into their not just revenue but also retention. So, it is like this magic place that people ignore, forget about, but personally, myself, like that’s something I found in some of the client work I’ve done where they’re asking, “Ramli, spend some ads, get us more users,” and then I’m like, “Okay, cool. When you guys sign up, you guys are happy?” Then I looked at their backend and they’re not experiencing value or they’re not even using the product.

They’re happy that they’re getting sign-ups but I’m like, “Hey, man, I’m glad you’re happy [with] my work but these people are not really sticking around. I think this is a problem that you need to consider,” and I feel like a lot of companies are not realizing that it’s a big problem. But also, in my experience, I started as a developer and then got into growth marketing so it’s kind of like this middle ground where I’m tapping into my product development side and also this marketing side that really comes together, and trying to help people, companies improve their user onboarding.

Once you find that niche, you double down, you create space in that and people, if they’re looking for somebody in that space, they find you.

Mohammed: And have you always been doing this on a freelance basis or when did that transition happen?

Ramli: Yeah, it was about a year and a half ago and I know you’ve had other people on this podcast where they talk about finding a niche and I was doing growth marketing consulting where people want content, you got me. If you want keyword research, I’ll do that. You want me to do some Facebook and social ads? Sure, I’ll do that.

But just looking at Josh Garofalo that you had on the show, Val Geisler, and other people, they’re talking about like once you find that niche, you double down, you create space in that and people, if they’re looking for somebody in that space, they find you. So, yeah, that was about a year and a half ago where, like I got the niche down and narrowed down what I’m doing so that I can, first of all, save my energy because I’m all over the place, but, secondly, so that people can start referring me for this one thing that I can be good at.

Mohammed: And I guess I’m trying to think back and seeing you go from being a developer to focusing on the user onboarding aspect of it and assuming you were working at a company full time but, at some point, you decided you’re going to do this on your own and become self-employed, what drove that change for you?

Ramli: Yeah, I quit my job to start a company. And, I had enough savings. It was not a freelance job. It was this startup, this tech thing, moved to Waterloo where all these tech things were happening. Did that for about a year and it ended up not working out and as the co-founder at that point, I was building this tech, and I made this big mistake of building it and hoping people would come and it’s just such a big mistake when I realized, hey, man, I should learn this one piece about building a company that I’m not really good at which is growth and customer development and doing user research so that’s what really triggered me.

So, I started writing and blogging about it. It’s funny enough, we’re talking about building [an] audience. That’s how I got my first contract. [It] was while I was building the startup, I was blogging about lean startup and customer development and it got to the point where I got invited to speak at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco just based on my blog. I’m like, “What the heck? How did you guys find out about me?”

Like I was volunteering for like the — they call it the Lean Startup Machine where it’s like this workshop that people did and I wrote a blog, I was speaking about it, and that event in San Francisco got me my first consulting gig where they’re like, “Oh, you too were talking about this, we’d love to get your help about customer development and content for us.” So that’s how I got started with being self-employed. It wasn’t like, “Oh, I’m gonna be self-employed,” it just kind of led there naturally.

Mohammed: Right. And so once you had that initial client, was it just like client after client or were you just like, “Okay, the job is done. Thanks,” and then you just went back and continued blogging? What happened?

Ramli: Yeah, I kept blogging and it was — you’re right, it was more referral. They referred me to somebody else and then I went back to Toronto and then I started meeting up with folks and those people introduced me to somebody else. That’s like been the main way that I’ve found gigs is through building an audience through content or podcasting and second is through just mainly referrals and word of mouth.

Mohammed: And when did the transition from blogging to podcasting [come] about?

Ramli: Yeah, it was — funny enough, like at that point, I was like lean startup consulting, customer development and then this whole buzz around growth marketing or growth hacking started, in 2015, 2016. Sean Ellis coined the term and Brian Balfour, he’s the VP of Growth previously at HubSpot wrote this post about building a growth machine. I was like, “Man, this is so cool. I’d love to learn more about this.” And, for me, one of the best ways that I learn is just talking to people and that’s what’s the best way to learn about something than talking to people who are experts [in] their field?

So, that’s essentially what got me started into podcasting. It wasn’t to create content. I was doing it for selfish reasons. This is for me to learn about this topic that I don’t know as much about and I know people who, in Toronto, that knew more about it and really just opened up doors to [talk] to really smart marketing folks. You were on the podcast, you talked about positioning and messaging and those kinds of things are things that I just loved hearing about and learning about.

My North Star for every episode is: Did I learn something new? Did I learn something new about marketing? Did I learn something that I didn’t learn about?

Mohammed: And through all of this, I mean, through blogging, through podcasting, was the motivation always that you’re going to have this audience and you’re going to have all these clients or you’re going to be publishing a book or having even more podcasts? I guess what has been the motivation behind all of it?

Ramli: That’s so funny you say that. That was not — like that all happened naturally. I started this podcast and I think that’s the problem with some folks, they build this podcast, they’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna become like Joe Rogan and get bought up by Spotify and become this,” or like, “I’m this expert in this field,” but it starts very, very hard and grinding. And, for me, the motivation then, it still is — my North Star for every episode is: Did I learn something new? Did I learn something new about marketing? Did I learn something that I didn’t learn about?

I’ve had people on the podcast talk about [things] like TikTok advertising and marketing. I don’t know TikTok; I’m not like a pre-millennial whatever or that age group, but this person just knows TikTok and they were just talking about that. I didn’t know about positioning as much before I talked to April Dunford. That is my main motivator, it’s, “Did I learn something new?” and the audience and the referrals and the sponsorship and building this — it just happened along the way that surprised me.

Mohammed: And you mentioned that it was a grind building that audience. Can you tell me what have been some of those pain points when you’ve been building or at least getting that audience?

Ramli: Yeah. I think this is a lesson that I learned and I’m happy that my metric of success or my success, North Star, was what I learned, because, like very early on, like, if anything — and unless you have a big audience already, usually when you launch something, it’ll start very slow. Like you’re 10 downloads, 15 downloads, or if you’re a YouTuber, like 15 views or 50 views or something like — you start a blog, you’re like, “Oh, man, it’s only my mom and myself reading this blog.”

I think that’s the mentality, it’s like, dang it, like it’s not getting immediate results and that’s when the grind kicks in and like you start questioning yourself, is this worth it? Am I building this out? And I saw this analytics company that came out with this — YouTube analytics company, I forgot what they’re called, but they said that it takes about 151 videos published before you get your first 1,000 subscribers.

Mohammed: Whoa.

Ramli: So it was like, whoa. People don’t realize [that] if you’re publishing one video a week, that’s three years that could take 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers. But I think that’s the lesson learned is that it does take a while but once — there’s this moment where things just click and you just — people just start talking about it and it’s not something that you can — I don’t know if you can growth hack it.

There’s a point where like, “Yeah, I love that podcast,” or, “I love that YouTube show,” or, “I love that blog.” It just happens, the point where more people know about it that you realize, “Oh, damn, how the heck did I get here? How do these people know me and mention the podcast or the show?”

Mohammed: I guess as I digest all of this and I’m also reflecting at, it’s like, yep, I’ve been running Freelance Canada now for, I think it’s been three months, I suppose, or something of that sort and it’s just been like, “Why aren’t we at like hundreds of thousands of listeners? Give me the hundred thousand listeners right now. I know there [are] a lot more freelancers.” But, at the same time, I also recognize my strategy behind Freelance Canada is a bit different and it’s very intentional in that sense. So, that’s also good.

But going back to you, you mentioned that you started off blogging, you started creating this content, you got invited to a conference. At the conference, that led you to another gig. At some point, you started growth marketing around 2015-ish or so and that podcast itself has just been a long grind. How has building all of this audience created opportunities for you? I mean, getting a gig is one, speaking at a conference is another. What other opportunities have come up since?

Ramli: Yeah, the other big thing that’s come up is just meeting people — and I don’t want to — say there [are] people that you look up to and then you’re like, “Damn, I’m talking to this person one on one,” like, for me, it’s when I had a chance to talk to Rand Fishkin from Moz, like just one on one for an hour and just talking to like G. Laudi, I know some of their rates, some of these folks’ hourly rates [are] not cheap. I think that’s opened up doors.

It’s just — not just that initial point of contact and this is the one lesson that I learned is that the magic in the podcast is building that relationship with your guests and really like, at that point, like the door is open for you to ask help from each other or to make intros to each other. Like, for example, with Rand, he sent me an email saying, “Hey, Ramli, I wanna introduce you to this guy.” I’m like, “What the heck, Rand’s introducing me to this guy.” Like that’s not something that you would have if you already have that.

And just going back to the opportunities, like that’s actually how I got one of my contracts worth like 30 grand Canadian. It’s like 10, 15 episodes in, one of my guests introduced me to some folks from CXL and they’re like, “They’re looking for some help here,” and I’m like, “What the heck?” They reached out to me. So like this is one thing that I didn’t realize would happen with podcasts, especially when in an intimate setting that’s one on one like this, is that you’re actually building trust and relationship with your guests instead of just like, “Oh, let’s build the listeners.”

There’s this magic that happens on the other side with the audience, with your guests itself that you’re now building this network and trust that, once you release this episode, people start looking at you as like, “Oh, Ramli is at the same level as those guests.” I’m like, “No, I’m not,” but that’s what they’re seeing. So, that’s just — I didn’t realize it would happen. There’s something special about being one on one for an hour with somebody on call.

It’s hard to figure out how funny like Mohammed is, like how his personality is, but when you’re on a call, like I hear your voice, like I hear your reactions and like, “Yeah, this guy’s great. This guy tells funny jokes. He gets competition going.”

Mohammed: Right. And what was it about that client, that it’s just like, “Hey, we know you’ve done 15 episodes, we’d love to hire you”? How did that come about?

Ramli: Yeah, it was just — it just came naturally, like, “Oh, you have experience in this field, you’ve done some teaching, we need some help with that,” and just when you’re having a conversation, it naturally comes up like where they found out what you’re doing and what you’re about and they’re also trying to form this impression about you. “Do I like this guy or not?”

Because they're not going to refer to somebody they don’t like, right? “I got this guy — this guy is so annoying!” They’re not gonna refer that guy. Like they’re trying to figure out like, “Is this guy real?” And that’s what happened. It was like they — I guess they liked me enough to refer me to them. And your personality comes out. Like there’s something — when you’re on Twitter, when you’re on LinkedIn, when you’re on email, it’s hard to figure out how funny like Mohammed is, like how —

Mohammed: I’m hilarious, by the way.

Ramli: — how his personality is, but when you’re on a call, like I hear your voice, like I hear your reactions and like, “Yeah, this guy’s great. This guy tells funny jokes. He gets competition going.” So that’s really how it started, it’s just that relationship and personality that comes through in the episodes.

Mohammed: And when they came to you, were you just like, “Yeah, I’ll charge you $10,000,” or what was it? Fifteen? Ten?

Ramli: Yeah, they already had some kind of rate in mind so I was like, “What the heck?” In truth, this is one of the biggest contracts that I’ve had in one shot but it was much smaller than that in the beginning but if all — like they were happy with the first work and then they came through in another work. Yeah, I’m glad that they gave that number out.

I’m not — that’s one of the things that I need to work on is negotiation. What’s his name? Shoot, I’m losing my mind. There’s another copywriter that Josh Garofalo works with that released a course around sales and like selling for consultants, but, yeah, I’m glad they just gave me a number because I would have probably sold myself short.

Mohammed: Oh, wow. So, I suppose now it’s been five years that you’ve been blogging, you’ve been podcasting, you’ve got a second podcast now as well too, and then now you also have a book coming out, if I’m allowed to say that or not?

Ramli: Yeah, no, it should be already out. It should be already announced by the time this episode comes out.

Mohammed: Perfect. Awesome. So, all this time that you’ve been doing it it’s one thing to just show up and keep doing it and maybe that’s all it is that’s needed. I suppose what are some techniques that you’ve also used over the years to help you grow that audience further?

Ramli: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that’s helped grown this audience is like — I don’t want to call it piggybacking or like riding the wave but whether it’s blogging, I’ve heard — I’m not that big with blogging anymore but like one of the things that content writers do is do like an expert roundup where they have experts. Like we have quotes from 10 experts, then they build it together into one massive post, like CXL does this a lot, like cxl.com with their blog where they get experts to give like a quote. That’s really, really great because then, once it’s out, experts want publicity.

That’s the thing, it’s like once you have your name out there, you’re building your personal brand; you do want to put yourself out there. And the other thing with podcasting that makes it natural is that when guests get on the show and they love the episode, they share it. They share it with their network. They share it [in] their email. Like some of my biggest download rates are when the guests shared it on their email list. Like when I had Hiten Shah on the podcast, Growth Marketing Today, he included a link in his newsletter that he sends out every week —

Mohammed: Nice.

Ramli: — and that newsletter is sent to like, I don’t know, like —

Mohammed: Thousands and thousands.

Ramli: Thousands, yeah, and one of my friends was like, “Dude, you’re on Hiten Shah’s newsletter.” I’m like, “What the heck? I didn’t see it.” I’m subscribed but I don’t read it totally. I was like, “Oh, cool.” That did really well. So, I think once — that’s been one of the biggest drivers for audience growth is just how can I tap into other people’s networks that are bigger than mine and really like I’m giving them space to build they’re — to share what they want to share, whether they have a book or a startup, but also, at the same time, they’re helping me attach my brand to whatever they’re working on as well. So, I think that’s been the biggest one is just really asking guests to share it and, yeah.

Podcasters do swap episodes where you come on my show, I come on your show so that you’re tapping into other podcast shows’ experience.

Mohammed: Right.

Ramli: The other thing that’s been happening and this just happened recently is podcasters do swap episodes where you come on my show, I come on your show so that you’re tapping into other podcast shows’ experience. So that’s something that I’m noticing is this like podcasts episode swapping. It’s something that I’ve tried two or three times but I haven’t seen results yet because it just started.

Mohammed: I mean, in a way, is that what we’re doing? Would this be episode swapping or would this be a bit different? Because it wasn’t planned out that way.

Ramli: No, it wasn’t planned out that way. I think it’s more like something that I can offer but if there was another freelancing podcast and you were like, “Hey, I’m Freelance Canada,” and then they’re like, “Okay, we’re Creative Freelancers Canada,” then you could swap episodes where you can talk about creativity on their podcast then they can come on your show to talk about how to become a more creative freelancer.

Mohammed: Right, right.

Ramli: Yeah, so that’s probably more, yeah, structured because like now you’re intentionally tapping into each other’s audiences to grow the show.

Mohammed: I listen to Growth Marketing Today — well, not today, but that’s the name of the podcast, but I’ve been listening to it for I guess like a couple of years now, at least. I mean, the first time we met, I was like, yeah, I listened to this episode on the way there and you’re just staring at me like, “Oh, okay.” I mean, aside from having peers who are fans of the show, I suppose, is that also part of the mentality that some of the potential clients also come in with when they want to work with you? What’s that been like?

Ramli: That’s such a good question. And I think that’s the magic of — I keep saying magic but that’s the beauty of building our audiences. Yeah, like when clients come to me, they kind of Google the heck out of me. Like they want to know like, “Is this guy a scam artist or is he legit?” And it’s like, “Oh, he has a podcast about growth marketing and he’s doing stuff about growth marketing,” it’s like, “Oh, dang, he’s had April Dunford and Hiten Shah and Rand Fishkin, this guy might be legit.” It does help build that credibility around you that you’re writing about it, you’re talking about it, you’re podcasting about the topic.

Mohammed: Right, right.

Ramli: And that’s one thing — I don’t know — I don’t have like data to say that it closes more deals easily but I’m finding if they have listened to a few episodes and read some of my posts in the past, then it does — the competition is a lot easier than coming in cold, like, “Who are you, Ramli? What do you do? Prove it. Prove what you do.” And that conversation is like, “Oh, this sounds like an interview,” versus like it’s more like, “How can I help you now that you already know about me and what I do?”

I know they’re gonna Google me, that’s the world we live in now. It’s like they do a referral but they’ve already Googled me in advance and they know like, “Okay, this is what he does about…”

Mohammed: Right, right. So, have you seen a shift in more inbound versus you doing outreach or looking for clients in that sense?

Ramli: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think that’s inbound, but also a big piece is referrals. I think when people introduce me to other people and then those people either have heard about the podcast or have listened to some of the episodes or not but they’re gonna — I know they’re gonna Google me, that’s the world we live in now. It’s like they do a referral but they’ve already Googled me in advance and they know like, “Okay, this is what he does about…” But it was fascinating when we met at that conference and you’re like, “Oh, this guy. Hey, Ramli, I listened to this episode.”

I was like, “What?” Like for me, it’s still a surprise whenever I hear somebody — meet somebody face to face for the first time and they say they’ve heard my podcast or listened to it. It just — you know, that’s — I don’t know if it’s me where I’m like, “Oh, man.” It hasn’t gone into my head, you know? It hasn’t gotten to like, “Yeah, dang, I’m it. I’m a big shot. I’m Mr. Big Shot.” It’s still, for me, like a moment of delight whenever I meet somebody who’s listened to the podcast and just a few episodes. But, yeah, it’s been a great ride so far.

Mohammed: I suppose, as you say all of this, to me, it’s almost as if your podcast has become your resume in a sense, right? Where it’s like, “Why would I look at this person’s LinkedIn when I can just pretty much look through your website and be like, oh, my God, he’s interviewed all these people and look at all these episodes for all these years so, obviously, this person is a subject matter expert on this specific thing that we need help with.” So, at that point, they’ve already decided that they want to work with you. It’s just a matter of like, I guess cost or scope, I suppose. Would you say that’s right?

Ramli: Yeah, that — I never saw it that way. Yeah, that’s a very insightful observation that I think the podcast becomes the resume, like you’re — especially, and this is something that I’ve been trying, it’s like there were some episodes where maybe you don’t do a guest, where it’s you talking about a topic, where like — that’s what I see with GrowthTLDR with Kieran Flanagan, VP of marketing of HubSpot, and Scott Tousley from HubSpot as well.

They have this episode podcast where they have guests but also some episodes that it’s just them talking about like growth tactics where you’re showing your expertise and that’s something that I’ve tried out with Wes Bush with The Product-Led Podcast and those episodes have done very well, actually, interestingly enough. I guess you need to get to the point where you've already built up some audience and then you can release episodes where it’s just you talking about a topic. Another one that does it is Kevin Indig.

He’s like the SEO guy from G2 where he has a podcast called Tech Bound where he interviews people but every week when he doesn’t have one, he releases an episode about the latest updates on SEO. Google’s been updating their stuff a lot lately and, yeah, he’s just really talking about the — almost like news where like, “Here’s the latest update about SEO,” and he does videos about that. So, I think that's [an] interesting insight that, yes, it is. The podcast does become somewhat of your resume where you’re really like talking to the experts and now they’re seeing you as the expert.

Mohammed: Right, right. I mean, it wouldn’t be too far off for you to have a Growth Marketing Today and it [is] a thing that’s every day that there’s a podcast which is like, “Today, this is what’s happening in growth marketing.”

Ramli: That’s so genius. You’re right.

Mohammed: I feel that’s just way too much commitment.

Ramli: Yeah.

Mohammed: Maybe once-a-month episodes of a roundup episode of “this is what happened in the growth marketing world this month” kind of thing. That could be worth experimenting [with] perhaps in the new year.

Ramli: Actually, yes. I love that. I’m gonna do that. 

Mohammed: Yes. Awesome. So, I want to understand that none of this was intentional for you, but at the same time, now that you’ve come all this way, how can others that are looking to sort of follow your footsteps or at least learn from your mistakes and successes, how can they go about building an audience for themselves? At least [from] your perspective.

Ramli: Yeah, I think the first thing is I guess figure out why you’re building the audience in the first place. I think the core of it, in the beginning, is if you do it to eventually become [an] expert in that field or build this massive like Joe Rogan podcast or like Tim Ferriss level podcast, be prepared to count the costs. And the cost is time, right?

It takes consistency and a few weeks or a few months to start seeing, “Oh, that’s making sense.” Another podcaster I talked to said that in the very early stage, you should make your success metric a qualitative one, where like — whether it’s like building [a] new relationship or getting [the] conversation going or getting people to comment on your episode, that’s a lot better than, “I need to get a thousand downloads in one month or else this is a massive failure,” or, “I need to get 10,000 subscribers to my email list or else I am an absolute loser.”

Like that is very harmful and there’s this YouTuber that I follow, I think his name is — it starts with — it’s Nate, I think, or something like that, where he talks about something called — he calls it the three-year rule and he learned this from other content creators where it really — when you commit on something, be ready to commit for it for three years before you start calling it a success or a failure in terms of numbers. I think that’s one thing that I’ve stuck to, it’s like I’m three and a half years into this podcast, it took a year and a half before I started seeing quantitative things like people sharing it and the downloads [are] going up.

If I have one [piece of] advice, I think it’s be ready to count the costs and stick with it and if it’s the right channel for your audience, whether that’s podcasting or blogging, at some point, it will pick up. Somebody said once you trust the process, then the results will follow. I think I do agree with that. I think it’s when you’re doing it and then consistently enough where people are like, “Oh, dang, this guy is actually releasing good conversations. I’m learning a lot of things from this,” then that’s when things will start picking up.

Everybody’s releasing a podcast these days, but I think there’s such an opportunity for you to release your voice.

Mohammed: Right. I suppose, on the same topic, there are a lot of people that would be like, “Well, I can’t be — I can’t build an audience because there [are] already so many podcasts, so many newsletters, so many YouTubers.” What would you say to those people?

Ramli: Yeah, that’s just also a hard problem. I hear that a lot, everybody’s releasing a podcast these days, but I think there’s such an opportunity for you to release your voice. I think the uniqueness is not the channel or another show but there’s something special about everybody’s voice, right? Like they’re — your personality is different from the billions of people out there. And this is a way for people to get to know who you are, your unique ability, your unique personality. That’s what I would say is that it’s just a channel, right?

And the magic is you. The magic is — I sound like Tony Robbins, right? But it really is. Like your voice is unique to everybody else and whether you have to figure out what your message is as you go with the punches, that’s okay. I think that just be secure in your uniqueness and that you have something to bring to the table. And even if you don’t feel like it, I think that’s something that you need to just believe and go for it.

I think if you’ve done your research, like this is a channel where, “Oh, I just want to be at — five years from now, I want to be an expert in this field,” then I would just ignore that, “Oh, there’s already a thousand beauty makeup shows or marketing shows.” There will always be more shows. Like when I was coming out, there were already quite a few marketing shows and I just — I found that space as well. So, just go for it. You just go for it. If you’ve done your research, this is the thing you need to do, then just do it. And then in two years or a year, look back and say, “Was that a waste? Was that —” And if you stuck it through, then there’s a very likely chance that you’re going to say it’s not, it’s been a great experience.

Mohammed: Right. I think what I really appreciate there is that you’re not looking at the start as a place where I have to be a subject matter expert, you’re looking at the journey as me becoming a master or becoming an expert. And a lot of the times, people think that they have to be a subject matter expert for them to start writing or start creating a podcast or a YouTube, where you’re almost coming at it the other way, where it’s like, “Look, if you don’t know something, this is how you learn or at least this is the approach you can take to learn,” which I think is so refreshing and different. I mean, I don’t know if that’s intentional for you or not but I’d love to know how you see it differently?

Ramli: You’re such a good — you make such insightful observations. You’re right. I think that’s the thing these days where we get what we want instantly. We want food, Uber Eats; we want YouTube, turn on the TV. You know, like there’s this instantaneous gratification that apps and products have given to us and there are some things that there isn’t an app for, like learning. Like, sure, there’s an app for learning, but you need to put in the hard work to learn something that’s new for you, right?

And there is — you need to put it in the hard work to — if you want to be an expert and you know why you want to be an expert in that field and you know your why, to be expert in copywriting or growth marketing or something else, then like, yeah, it does take that hard work and it requires you to do put in the commitment and the time. So, I’m with you there, that you got to look at this as an opportunity for you to not just a way to build an audience, but for you to — the start of a journey, personal journey, right?

Like this is a journey for you to — whether that’s to grow as a person, like at the end of the day, that, for me, one of my [successes] is like have I grown? Have I learned something new? Have I moved forward as a human being? Have I moved forward professionally, personally? And, if not, then what do I need to do differently? And talking to people is one of them. It’s like connecting with people is a big thing for me as a definition of growth and learning new things is also a really big thing for me for growth.

Mohammed: Love it. Well, Ramli, I think this is a great place for us to wrap up. I’d love to know where people can find out more about you and your work online.

Ramli: Yeah. You can find my podcast at growthtoday.fm, for Growth Marketing Today, or you can just look for Growth Marketing Today on the podcast app that you have. Also, if you’re interested [in] learning more about stuff I do for product-led companies, you can go to productled.com or Onboarding Teardowns where we do teardowns of user onboarding experiences. Oh, and also Twitter. That’s how we connected. Actually, we connected [at] that conference, but very active on Twitter, @ramlijohn, and LinkedIn as well, Ramli John.

Mohammed: Perfect. Well, I’ll be sure to include all of those links so people don’t have to worry about it. But, Ramli, I really appreciate this opportunity to learn from you. Thank you so much.

Ramli: Thank you so much for inviting me here, Mohammed.

Keep listening

Why limit yourself to just one when you can indulge in a few more?
Omar Mouallem on the Freelance Canada podcast
Marketing

Omar shares how Canadian freelancers can build communities as a way to support their peers and create a sustainable business.

Eman Zabi on the Freelance Canada podcast
Sales

Eman explains how Canadian freelancers can launch self-liquidating offers to generate more leads for their business.

Nia Lee on the Freelance Canada podcast
Marketing

Nia shares how Canadian freelancers can grow their business through video content.