This is an interview with Prakhar Verma from Design Epic Life.
Hey, Prakhar. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m the creator of DesignEpicLife.com where I help ambitious people design their epic lives, so they can truly live before they die. I like to define myself as a lifelong learner, lifestyle entrepreneur, coach, and writer.
I’ve dedicated my life to continually renew myself to reach my higher potential. All those titles I’ve given myself are means to do the same. In doing so, I inspire others to do the same. And that’s what my blog is about.
What was your life like a few years ago and how did you decide to start making changes?
I had always been an average kid who was scared if he’ll ever be successful in life. That fear came from my insecurity about my grades and intelligence.
The society had brainwashed me into thinking that I’m an average person, so I should aim for a mediocre life at best.
When I was approaching the end of my college days, I realized I was in a prison created by the world around me where my own mind was the prison guard. So I gave myself permission to set myself free. I erased the mental conditioning, self-doubt and limits beliefs.
I felt limitless. I got clear on my vision and decided to start writing online.
When my friends were writing their resume, I was writing on my blog. When they got hired, I was broke.
Back then, anybody would have called me a fool, but that experience turned me into who I am today. And I don’t regret a thing about it.
What was the turning point to leaving excuses behind and trying to build something profitable online?
Even after getting out of the mental prison I had locked myself in, I was still on the edge when I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of my life. But then after an internship, a part-time job and getting a sense of how it feels like to work in the industry, I had it enough.
I had no choice but to escape as soon as possible. I couldn’t waste a second of my life living that lifestyle.
So knowing what I don’t want helped me to start something online even though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. So I simply started trusting that I’ll figure things out along the way.
What did you do exactly to follow your passion?
I acted my way to clarity. There are a lot of things I do today that I never thought I would do when I was getting started. It’s crazy where our intuition can lead us if we just learn to listen to it.
I followed what I was curious about and I pursued what my heart guided me to do. Then, I combined that with the purpose of serving people and that’s how I designed the life I live today.
In fact, I help people find their own passion and purpose through my online course called Path to Passion and Purpose. In the course, I share the most profound wisdom I learned through my life experiences and virtual mentors when I felt lost in life.
How did you get into coaching?
Starting to coach people was yet another life calling I heard and followed along my way.
At first, it was scary. As a young person, I thought I wasn’t qualified to coach people. But then I remembered the mental prison I had first escaped back in the days when I was just starting out. I realized that I was trapping myself all over again.
So I stopped the mental chatter. I realized how I had been informally coaching people all throughout my life. I reminded myself of how I “hack” my wisdom through relentless lifelong learning and by having more life experiences than someone who lives the same life every day.
I gave myself the title and permission to be a great coach. I studied what it is like to be a great coach by reading books, watching live coaching sessions from experts and most importantly, coaching others.
Of course, I have a lot to learn and I’m just getting started, but I don’t let that stop myself from helping people and changing their lives today.
What does it take to become a coach online and start getting paid for it?
It takes coaching to become a great coach.
For someone who’s getting started, I would advise them to first learn to coach themselves. Once you’ve got your life together through self-coaching, you can be an example for others and that’s when you know you’re ready to start.
The next step is to coach as much as you can. If you don’t have paying clients (I certainly didn’t), you can coach people for free.
Reach out to all the people you think you can help. Think of it as a training ground where you’re helping yourself and others at the same time.
Once you feel comfortable doing that, you’ll be ready to take your coaching practice to the next level. The best way to get paid clients at that stage is to get referrals from the free coaching clients you worked with before.
There are many marketing strategies you can apply, but word of mouth beats all of them in my opinion. And the way to get that is to help people with all your heart. Believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
From there, you can evolve yourself to become a better coach by learning and practicing deep coaching techniques and building an audience to expand your reach.
How did you overcome the barrier to starting a blog and publishing content on a regular basis?
When I started out, I was bombarded with so many options and ideas to make a living online. I knew what I wanted out my life, but I wasn’t sure of the path I wanted to take.
That’s when Lidiya showed up in my life like an angel and helped me stay accountable and focused on one course of action. That was the birth of Design Epic Life, and since then I’ve never looked back.
There are tons of self-improvement and life design blogs out there. So the competition was fierce. At first, nobody read my posts. But I wrote on and on for the love of writing. I ran my own race and kept moving forward with complete belief and faith.
How did you make your first money online?
I remember back in the days when I was broke, I was desperate to make money online. I took online surveys and did user testing to make a few bucks on the side. I made some money, but I soon realized that it was a dead end.
I also created a course that I sold on Udemy. I made some sales, but then again, I had no idea how I was going to make a sustainable online income.
I was working so hard, and yet I wasn’t seeing any significant result or even a ray of hope. It was heartbreaking.
Yet, I can’t deny the fact that every single dollar I made online felt like magic. I knew that if I can make $1 online, with enough effort and time, I can make any amount I set my mind onto.
Read also: How This Lifestyle Blogger Grew Her Blog to $3,878/Mo in 3 Months
What freelance services do you offer and how do you find new clients?
I started off as a freelance writer, but now I only write If I’m interested in a topic and if the offering rate is high enough. Since now I don’t need the money to write. It’s up to me to choose my clients or the kind of work I do.
More than writing, I offer SEO services to the people who are already writers/bloggers or to the businesses that have writers.
Sometimes, I also hire writers for clients who want to start a blogging strategy to get traffic from Google.
To find clients I initially gravitated towards websites like Upwork. But soon, I realized it was a grind I wasn’t willing to do. So my secret client acquisition method is…to be myself, upgrade my skills, provide value and stay in touch.
I work on the soft and hard skills that set me apart from the competition. I deeply care about the people I want to work with and I send them unique value. Sometimes with no expectations and sometimes I would ask if they’re looking to hire someone to grow their business or blog through SEO. Some of them end up hiring me.
Tell us about spending a month in Bali as a digital nomad and meeting new people every day.
It was my first long solo trip as a digital nomad. I wanted to test the waters and see how it’s like living that kind of lifestyle. There were ups and downs, but overall it was a lovely experience!
As an introvert, I tend to stay alone, but I let myself run wild out there.
I met new people every day and worked on my social anxiety. Meeting strangers was a reward on its own, but the real reward was my personal growth.
In one month, I learned more about myself than I ever did in that short time. I think it’s because meeting strangers helps you to put yourself into the perspectives of people who have never met you before. And then you have the opportunity to renew yourself as the person who you want to be.
How do you balance working online and traveling?
I do it by finding a schedule to prioritize the most important things. I also cycle through periods of hardcore productivity, regular productivity and zero productivity.
It’s easier to do hardcore productivity sprint sessions when I’m home. I set myself to be unproductive when I want to take time off from work, so I can come back more productive and creative. And all the other time in between is the regular productivity season.
I also manage my energy more than my time to stay productive on the go. This means taking care of myself, removing distractions, managing my emotions, doing morning and evening routine, etc.
My high-performance coaching practice is based on the same energy and attention management system.
What’s your advice for college graduates who think they have no other option but to follow the career trajectory?
If you’re someone who has no option but to follow the career trajectory, then I would challenge you to re-think that limitation.
Is it because of the sunk-cost fallacy that you’ve already invested time and money into a career that you have to pursue it? Or is it the fear of abandonment from your loved ones? Or maybe it’s just the fear of failure that’s holding you back.
If you were to restart your life from scratch with complete strangers around you, would you still do what you’re doing?
These are the kind of big questions you must ask. You’ll find more of such inner work in my Path to Passion and Purpose course.
Having said that, I understand that some people won’t have the luck or privilege to live their passion. I deeply empathize with them and I’d suggest them to find meaning and joy in whatever it is that they’re doing.
Before leaving my part-time job, I learned to love the job and find meaning in knowing how I was making a difference even though my impact was small. You can read more about my experience on how to love what you do in this article.
Finally, keep in mind that although career is the ultimate way to live your passion, it’s not the only way to live a passionate and purposeful life. You can feel fulfillment from other areas of life with the help of passion projects that you can do on the side.
What’s next for you and your blog, freelance career and coaching business?
What’s next is whatever life has planned for me. I know it has big things and surprises for me in the coming time. I will do my part and leave the rest to fate.
I have goals and visions for each area of my life that are important to me. And I also like to keep short-term goals to give myself a direction. But what’s most important to me is who I become and what I experience in the process of achieving my dreams. Achievement is secondary.
To be honest, I actually don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing in the next 5-10 years. And I don’t want to know.
I like to keep my life adventurous, so I leave room for creativity and the space to listen to my heart’s callings. As for now, I’m simply focused on the present as I’m typing these words knowing that I may die tomorrow in peace.
For me, each day is a new life. I live my epic life filled with ups, downs, challenges, and surprises. And I hope to inspire you to live yours.
Stock Photo from Andrei Mayatnik @ Shutterstock