March 25, 2022
Today, we have among us Nityesh as our 1st guest to kick-off Beginner Maps🎉.
Nityesh (23) is a solopreneur. He runs a consultancy My First Community Manager where he helps founders and creators turn their audience into a community. He also shares his brain dumps on Twitter and LinkedIn and writes articles on his blog. Finally, he runs the Clear Writing bootcamp to help professionals build their personal brand by writing online.
But he was as far away from being a solopreneur as one can be just a few years back.
Here’s him ranting about how his college failed to teach him programming and how he stumbled upon the “generous online community of programmers”.
How I learnt the difference between self-learning and formal education
For a long time, I relied solely on my formal education. I put too much faith in it. Last year, when I joined college and all that faith fell off a cliff, I realised the importance of self learning and doing one's own research.
Read on to find out Why he skipped campus placements altogether in college, What he works on now and more.
Who is a Community Manager?
Hi Nityesh🙋♂️ How are you? First off, what is a community manager and when did you first hear about it?
I’m doing great Piyush! Thank you for having me😄 Community Manager is, well, someone who manages communities. Companies create these communities to bring together customers. Job of a community manager is to ensure that members can get maximum value from being a part of the community. Funny story - I first heard about it when I was offered the job as a Community Manager!
How did Nityesh get a job offer for something he had not heard of before
Whaat! How did you get a job offer for something you had not heard of before?
Okay here’s the story: I was in still in college when I decided to skip the on-campus placements for Software Developer roles. Instead, I decided that I wanted to start something that takes a project-first approach to teaching people programming. So I started writing articles to share this philosophy. That’s when a friend told me about this startup that was teaching data science with a focus on projects. I checked out their website. And I was so fascinated by their founder’s story that I reached out to him over cold email. One thing led to another and I found myself on a call, talking to him about the challenges in online education. At the end of the call, he asked if I would like to join his startup. I said yes - this was the perfect opportunity for me. That’s when he made me their first Community Manager.
Amazing! It was bold enough of you to send him an email out of the blue because you shared similar philosophies. But talking with him about the challenges in online education- mind blowing. I get imposter syndrome just thinking about cold emailing someone😅.
Thank you! Cold email is not actually difficult. This was the first cold email I had ever sent. I didn’t even receive a reply to it. But then I followed up ~2 weeks later. And that rest is the story.
Why did Nityesh skip on-campus placements in college
I am curious about your decision to skip on-campus placements. Can you tell me how you came at the decision?
So I had interned as a software engineer in my 3rd year at a startup. Once I got the taste for it, I realised that being a programmer was not for me. It felt like being a cog in the wheel. I wanted to do something more meaningful. Like being an entrepreneur. At that point I had also been writing articles about programming to teach people what I learnt. They were very well received too. So I connected my two interests - being an entrepreneur + teaching programming - and skipped campus placements!
Was it an easy decision?
No, it wasn’t easy at all. In fact, it was horrible! I was super worried about my future. My parents were super worried. In the meantime, everyone around me was accepting lucrative job offers from big name companies. I was constantly worried if I was making the right decision. I was probably depressed for months. I even tried studying for the placements but I just couldn’t get myself to care for it.
Hmm, I love how you stopped doing something you did not love and changed your approach. This opportunity at the startup must have taken a huge load off your mind.
How did Nityesh start his own consultancy to help people build communities
So communities provide additional value to a company's customers by keeping like-minded customers connected and at the same time help in customer retention. Am I correct?
Back when you were in college you wanted to do something that was centered around a project-first approach to learning. But now you run your own community consultancy. How did that happen? When did you learn that you wanted to spend more time in managing communities, eventually helping people build communities of their own through your consultancy?
Great question. Let's me share my timeline: 2020- I start my first full-time job as Community Manager without knowing what it was. I learnt on the job, even got some good results. But I wasn't into building communities. In fact, I was trying to move into a different role like a Marketing Manager or a Product Manager. That changed in 2021. 2021- In the first few months of 2021, I joined On Deck Community Builders fellowship. This was a live community-focused 8-week course. Here I met other community professionals for the first time. Then, I started seeing community builders everywhere - on Twitter, blogs and podcasts. And soon, I became very passionate about building community. I started believing that building online communities was the future - and I was living it. Turning point came when one of the friends I made at the fellowship, reached out to me asking for my help at his company. He's the founder of Growth Blazers and he needed my help in building his community strategy. I agreed. Then, in the next few months a couple of other fellows from On Deck reached out to me as well. That's when my entrepreneurial brain lit up. I saw this market need - building communities for startups - that I was in the perfect position to serve. So, last year, on 31st December, I quit my job to go full-time on My First Community Manager to help people build communities!
What does his typical work day look like
Awesome! Tell me about a typical day in your life. Or a work cycle if you work in cycles. I want to know what do you do when you work.
Between working for different clients, working on my own side projects and writing online, I’ll say no 2 days are alike. Some days I’m creating strategy for a new community event, other days I’m executing it - which involves talking to community members. On yet other days, I’m building my website, talking to potential clients or writing posts on social media or on my website.
Interesting how your work is fairly varied in nature.
Top resources to get started with Community Building
Can you point our readers to a few awesome beginner-level resources in case they are getting curious?
Don’t read a book if you want to learn community building. Or blogs. Or listen to podcasts. The best way to learn is by doing:
- Join a community you identify with.
- Start helping members in that community. Create value.
But don't stop there!
- Become a super user. Help members of the community create value for each other. Look for ways to make others feel seen.
And that, friends, is the shortest community building bootcamp. 😉 But here are my top resources:
What motivates you to action when you are feeling stuck on a problem?
I think we should wrap this up with one last question unless you want to add something.
Yeah for sure. Shoot the last question!
What motivates you to action when you are feeling stuck on a problem?
Ooh interesting question! I'm a big believer in momentum as the driver of action. What I mean by that is it's easy to tackle a big challenge when you are already moving as opposed to when you are at rest. So, I try to get momentum fast by knocking out the easy things first. This means - I start my day by answering emails or messages before I dive into deep work - I start my week by setting goals/to-dos for the week instead of diving into the work on Monday morning - I start an article by just blurting out my brain dumps in a haphazard manner - then proceed to clean and refine it I try to get momentum before I tackle any problem.
With this we come to the end of our 1st interview! This was amazing!!😃😃 Thank you Nityesh for being so open. It was a pleasure to have you here.🙏
It was a pleasure being here Piyush! Thanks for asking great questions.