Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
I'm Darshan Gajara, a product designer and maker based in Mumbai. I'm splitting my time between client work and Product Disrupt. I'm currently in the process of building the version 2 of Product Disrupt.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
I learned to design from the internet, and I like to call myself an internet-made designer. I always wanted to learn from the best-of-the-best, and I was able to find them online.
There are many brilliant designers writing blogs, producing newsletters, and sharing their stories and design processes. That’s a lot that you can learn from. So I subscribed to many newsletters and studied them on a daily basis. I also followed many designers to see how they work and implement their workflows in my own process.
Not a lot of my friends knew what ‘design’ is, and they kept asking me questions like ‘What is it that you do in your day job?’, ‘What does Product Design actually mean?’ There were also other people reaching out to me and willing to learn about Product Design.
So I thought, why not make that list of resources that I’ve already got public?
I put together a website called ‘Product Disrupt’ and listed all the resources there. So whenever someone wants to learn product design from the internet, they can start with my website. I’d say it’s a hand-picked and curated list of resources to learn about product design.
It’s not just for those who are getting started with design, though. Even if you’re deep into your design learning, you can still look at those resources and find something interesting and useful for you.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
My answer to the previous question has the story of how Product Disrupt came to be. Where it currently stands – Product Disrupt has helped over thousands of people learn product design. The messages that I get from its audience about how it has helped them grow in their career makes the effort worthwhile.
In terms of numbers, Product Disrupt Blog gets over 10k visitors every month and the newsletter has over 2000 subscribers. I'm constantly looking to grow the newsletter by providing value to its subscribers.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Failure, I would say not adding a signup form when I launched it on Product Hunt. I missed an opportunity of getting a good number of subscribers as it went on to be the #1 product of the day.
My constant struggle is with the time. It's just me working on the whole project. I've to balance my time between client work and Product Disrupt. Let alone, my personal life.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
Becoming the #1 product of the day on Product Hunt on the launch day could be counted as one of the biggest achievements. I recently opened up the newsletter for sponsorships and was delighted to partner up with Pixelgrade.
Also, once a follower told me that Product Disrupt has become the bible of design for him. That's quite something.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I believe in the idea of providing value in order to build an audience. That's exactly what I've been doing since the very beginning. I do it by curating quality content in the newsletter, maintaining a healthy dialogue, engaging with the community and letting if grow organically.
Describe the process of launching the business.
In order to launch a business, you need to first build an audience. There's no business without an audience, unless there's an exception. I always keep my audience posted about what I'm working on so that they don't get surprised when I launch something. It starts within your closed group and eventually goes on to become big.
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
As mentioned earlier, I launched Product Disrupt on PH. PH is an amazing community of supportive people. The idea of starting a newsletter was born on PH comments.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
The only business model I've got for now is through advertising and sponsorships. I've got bigger plans for it, though I can only get to it after building a considerable size of audience.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
Getting someone to sponsor your content is challenging. You've to gain their trust before they decide to invest in you.
My immediate goal is to grow the newsletter subscribers to 5000 by the end of 2019 and build a consistent stream of revenue through sponsorships.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
It's going well, I'm hopeful that the future is going to be bright.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I've learned a trick or two about growing an audience and engaging with the community.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
I'm super inspired by Paul Jarvis. His stories stick to me and act as a guiding light.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I'm not much of a book reader, but I do listen to quite a few podcasts. The Futur being my favorite one.
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Consistency Outplays Talent.
Talent can always provide you a head start, and you might be ahead of other people at the beginning. But if you don’t put enough work into it, you’re always going to be left behind by the other, more hard-working and determined, people. Be consistent. Don’t just give up on things. Keep on putting your heart into it. If you want to have a better body, you have to have a training routine. The same thing applies to being a better designer.