Greetings all, today we had an interview with Tushar Jain, founder of Onpagechamp and Enthu.AI. My name is Ajeet Yadav and I am the founder of Leantale. In this article, we will take a closer look at Tushar’s back story and how he founded two SAAS based companies in India.
Ajeet: Tell me about yourself, like from where you started your entrepreneurship journey?
Tushar: In total I have around 12 years of experience since I started working. Actually my entrepreneurial journey started in 2012 when I started E-Commerce Ventures. I was not full time, I started full time in 2019. In 2012 I launched an E-Commerce venture that failed. In this E-Commerce venture we sell fashion accessories for women.
So, I think that was a concept before its time. If I start it today I am sure, it will be more successful because in that time digital marketing was neither standardized, nor we can say mature, also not much known to people.
As of today, ecommerce logistics are settled, technology is settled, and your payment gateway is settled.
And in that time these things were not settled, that is why I have faced many challenges. These are the reasons why my plan failed. After that, in parallel to my job I started a couple of Ventures, one of them was a RBI grade B exam related startup.
I took along my job as a co-founder for two years. Eventually I faced a lot of competition due to which I left the market. Recently when it was election time an apparel platform which was by the name of be political.in which is now closed. There I used to sell T-shirts, around 1000-2000 political t-shirts which used to bear political figures like Modi’s t-shirt or Rahul Gandhi’s t-shirt.
And it was not like entrepreneurship was new, I was doing that slowly in small parts. But, in 2019 I started full time so after making a lot of mistakes I reached here. It is not like I started and was directly successful.
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Ajeet: Can you please let me know from the beginning as you have launched your SEO tool, what is the reason behind this?
Tushar: Before that I was working with companies as head of marketing plus I am a financial blogger as well which is one of the top 20 blogs in India.
So, in these things I experienced one thing in SEO. People are saying that backlinks are everything in SEO, so if you create thousands of backlinks you will start ranking higher in the search engine.
I don’t think backlinks are everything. There are more than 200 ranking factors, according to Brian Dean. As I created 5-6 websites like on-page champ, Jain Tushar and created multiple websites for my companies where I did my job, I learnt one thing that in these 4 to 5 years Google algorithms have changed a lot.
Your content is more important than backlinks.
I am doing a blog on jaintushar.com and I am getting more than 10,000 users monthly, with 0 backlinks meaning I didn’t invest even a single hour to create backlinks.
I also observed that there are many backlinks related to software and tools available in the market but there are very few quality tools available for on-page SEO.
So then I started doing proper research and came up with this on-page SEO tool that’s name is onpagechamp.
Ajeet: How did you validate your idea?
Tushar: Yeah, I’ll tell you the beauty of doing two products. I ran onpage Champ and created Enthu.ai, it took 3 months to launch onpagechamp, and almost six months to get my first sale.
enthu.ai same way, my product was created in 20 days and received my first sale within 45 days. So, I made a mistake when I launched onpagechamp.
Basically validating your product is art. Let’s suppose if I tell my idea to people and ask how it is. Trust me 99% of people will say it is an excellent idea but this is not the right way to validate your idea, and this was my mistake in onpagechamp.
I would say yes, I validated my champ idea by talking to SEO people. But, my way of asking was wrong, and here I want to suggest a book called The Mom Test. People who want to validate their ideas or want a startup must read The Mom Test.
In this book the author defined in a good way, how to ask questions, how to validate your product, and I validated enthu in that manner and I realised, that’s the reason I could build the product so fast, and also I could sell it fast.
So, here I could differentiate between the manner of validation onpagechamp, in which I used the wrong way and, the manner of validation enthu, it was in a good way.
What happens is when you talk to people they will say yes, it is an excellent idea but when you complete it and get back to them, they will not take interest they will say it is good but i am not going to pay for it.Here is the reason of failure we take feedback the wrong way.
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Ajeet: There are many tools that provide on-page SEO Scores like Rank math and Yoast, how is your tool very helpful for on-page SEO?
Tushar: Now let’s if i talk about rank math. You can easily score 100/100 in rank math you just have to follow their instruction. But what happens when you start ranking higher in search engines?
After scoring 100/100 in rank math. Definitely not. My tool on-page champ will compare your on-page SEO against your competitors, and then we will tell you whether your SEO is on the right track or not and also give suggestions for missing parts.
Ajeet: Ok Sir, I wanted to ask you, what is the business model of your tool, subscription based or not? Is it subscription based? Can you please elaborate on how you brought a regular customer and how you got your first customer?
Tushar: Ok, see we started doing marketing before the product was made.Our marketing from day 1 was SEO after that quora was one platform where we were very active, on quora we are doing answers related to SEO and blogging.This comes on top of ours, they give us traffic.So, these are the channels we use to do our organic marketing.
I first got my customer from a referral. I remember my first customer was in my coworking, that was an SEO agency. I showed them a demo. They liked that tool so much and they took four licences. After that it’s purely inbound and we get sales.
Also from day 1 we are only doing the on page seo part on our onchamp website and getting good traffic and conversion from there. We did not build any backlinks for the on-page champ.
Ajeet: What was your strategy in building the initial team for your start-up?
Tushar: Team building for a startup is the biggest challenge. Hiring is very difficult, you have also been into startups, you must know so basically I outsourced Onpagechamp from day one, since as I said I am into entrepreneurship from 4 to 5 years.
I had a team of developers with whom I was working, so I outsourced one developer for On-page champ. And side-by-side I started team hiring in which I faced many difficulties, people don’t want to join a startup so, at the beginning level you have to hire interns, because they are needy so, by hiring interns you start working and then slowly and slowly you hire experienced guys.
So, until I prepared my team which consisted of 4 people, freelancers gave me MVP, so I could launch it. I started the company in July and in the month of October I launched a product so, in this manner we were in the market for just three months.
After launching the product in the market we started improving the product.And in case of another startup enthu we don’t face any problem because we had a team setup that’s why I can’t face any challenge, immediately after the marketing analysis we started developing and in 20 days we made our MVP.
Ajeet: For these two startups, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome that?
Tushar: The first challenge was hiring and after that the next challenge was sales. If you are a first time entrepreneur you will be stuck between sales and product so, in this what will happen that you make the product and put features according to you, then at the time of sales the person asked to you that, did you have these features?
And this is when you think, Oh! I have to add these features also. So, in Onpagechamp, I indulged totally in products and that was the biggest challenge, how to make a product because the product will be defined by customers.
What is his requirement? Obviously you do basic things and you also improve them, but the larger product vision should come from the customers, until and unless you are copying something.
So, the onpagechamp was an innovation, where our customers had to define and what I did, I left sales and marketing and indulged in product, as I I didn’t have experience with product, that’s why I faced lot of challenges to manage the product, then I realised that the product is not a critical angle and the critical angle is sales and marketing.
First you have to bring sales and the first 10 customers will leave you but, these are the customers who teach you about the product so, don’t worry about the product, worry about sales and marketing, put your focus there.
Apart from that hiring is a challenge which never ends, so never stop hiring wherever you stop hiring you have to face challenges.
Ajeet: What are the features of this product?
Tushar: Yes, in onpagechamp we are planning more features, they are in the pipeline, I cannot tell you the name of the features, they will know after the features come.
We realised that Antho also has a lot of potential so it’s not like we stopped the on-page champ it’s working but we also want to experience with Enthu. Because of what we learned with onpagechamp in one year, we implemented it in 2 months on Enthu. So product development is for both. I think I will take both of them together.
I’ll very soon separate out the teams in both technology and marketing, and both of them will have an independent team for technology and marketing and that’s how I am planning.
As I mentioned onpagechamp it can be there until Google is there because from time to time Google will be updating so we also have to update the onpagechamp. I want to tell you is that we are working on it. You must have seen that even if you rank in third or fourth position your traffic will be almost zero.
So, the reason behind this is that, today’s ranking is not important, your visibility on pixels after how many pixels we see 100 pixels, 200 pixels, or 600 pixels even though I am ranking on the second position. If the above paid will be filled by ads or carousels, you will not go on to the third rank.
This is one functionality that we are coming out with, that if you are not visible it doesn’t matter what rank you have, traffic will not come. Especially for mobile devices.
Ajeet: What kind of books would you like to suggest if a person wants to enter entrepreneurship?
Tushar: Yes, after all . The mom test should be read irrespective of whether you have any entrepreneurship experience or not, this will clear almost all your doubts.
After that if you are making any new concept on your bringing a new innovation, you must read the book named “Zero to One” then after there is a book “From Impossible to Inevitable” it is also an interesting book on startup, how to build a company and how to run it.
So, I would recommend it and I would recommend a book on marketing which is ‘predictably irrational’ . This book will tell you about consumer psychology, and how brands will matter when you are selling, so this book was really insightful.
After reading this book you can observe the brand why they are making prices like this and what is the reason behind it.
Ajeet: If you start a startup today with the same experience with no team. How you will manage all things
Tushar: First I will talk to people, I’ll start selling from day 1, the person whom I will talk to. will ask if I can come up with a solution for what money you will give me. After validating once then I will start to focus on sales and marketing more than products. I’ll try to make MVP very soon because technology has its own pace that’s why I’ll focus on sales and marketing.
Ajeet: What type of changes do you observe in yourself before and after a startup?
Tushar – The first thing I understand is the value of time now, I want to invest time in the things that will bring value. The second thing is that I can overcome anxiety and pressure easily, every time calculation is going on in your mind whether it has any return and investment or not which I am doing. You will start observing each and everything like time, money and effort.
Ajeet – What are the three key learnings you have experienced during your entrepreneurial journey?
Tushar: First of all, don’t neglect sales and marketing. It’s a very very important function, don’t get obsessed with the product or with technology, listen to others objectively because there is a lot of scarcity in your idea.
Make products according to customers, also here I want to point out that you should invest your time with your team and give them opportunity because without a good team you are nothing.
Ajeet: Great, thank you so much for giving us your time and sharing your experience with us.
Tushar: My pleasure, thanks a lot.