“At a certain point, I was studying, studying, studying. And I really thought to myself, ‘Is this what I want to be doing?’”
In today’s hustle culture, one doesn’t really need to build a very detailed plan for one’s own future. After all, most people are given the same template to follow as soon as they join the first-world economy: graduate from high school, get a decent degree, find a job (and more often than not, it’s a nine-to-five career), work hard for decades, and then retire.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with applying this formula to one’s own life. Everybody has their own dreams, after all. Everybody works for different reasons.
But for Neel Sarode, creator of Template Builder and the current Creative Director at Kaizen Conversion North America, he knew, deep down, that he was built for something else entirely. However, his mindset had to take the long road before it eventually came to where it is now.
Deserting the Conventional Path
Neel was raised with the assumption that he was destined for the straight-laced path to retirement. He started his career off by pursuing a degree in biochemistry. However, in his third year, he realized that he lacked the most essential thing: passion. Throughout his life, the decisions he made were influenced by the thought of what his parents would have wanted him to pursue.
In realizing that, perhaps, his usual routine of burying his nose in a biochemistry textbook for endless hours gave him little to no true joy, Neel decided to turn to the internet. That was when he picked up on drop-shipping.
He fell in love. Eventually, he dropped his college major to pursue his passion.
“I had never before felt such a drive in my life to pursue something that I, myself, had found,” Neel says. “I never really put my full effort in. When I finally found something that I wanted to do, I put my full effort into it.”
And perhaps the story would sound much sweeter had it ended on a high note, with Neel leaving behind his predestined path to pursue a newfound passion. But if this were so, perhaps there would never be a valuable lesson learned on Neel’s part.
Sarode’s decision to switch between careers had a rocky start, to say the least. During his drop-shipping ventures, he invested in putting out seven to eight winning products on the market. However, Neel’s lack of financial and business knowledge led to the mistake of failing to track his expenses adequately. This incurred a devastating loss to him. He found himself in deep debt.
With this sudden change in the tide, Neel’s hands were tied. His solution to cope with the debt was to work as Domino’s Pizza’s delivery man, a career path that fell quite far from initial expectations. He eventually moved forward by undertaking commerce work for clients – and for any overhead costs incurred, he didn’t charge them.
He successfully closed his first client for a decent $500. But with only his foot in the door, there was plenty of room for potential mistakes. Sarode promised them a myriad of services which included SEO, commerce, and web redesigning services. However, he faltered in his delivery. He was, at the time, only truly well-versed with website design, and as such was just not at that point in his journey to be able to handle too many foreign fields at once.
“I was so nervous. I promised them everything in the world – that was my biggest mistake,” Sarode admitted.
Rising from the Ground Up
Despite his initial fumbling, Sarode was hell-bent on making his ambitions work. His past mistakes nurtured the soil for personal growth as he learned continuously along the way.
He started to zero in on design as a niche. This consisted of getting his hands dirty with the inner workings of design for conversions and online commerce. To perfect this skill, Neel had to keep working with his clients on a trial-and-error basis until, eventually, he fell in love with the art of designing sales funnels.
Over time, Sarode realized he had a knack for designing sales funnels for clients. A year into his pursuit of this niche, his employer at the time invited him to move to Arizona, where they would build an agency together: Bank Account Builders. Sarode was given the responsibility of being the lead designer. It was during this time when he was able to work with the top-dogs: influencers, celebrities, and businesses worth unspeakable amounts. This provided a platform for him to build his personal reputation in the sales funnel industry.
And yet, Neel didn’t stop there. He launched Conversion Designer, a program designed to educate the public on how businesses can build funnels to garner a profit.
Today, Sarode is determined to set himself apart from the fold by ensuring his designs are never generic. This, in turn, distinguishes his client companies’ web designs from the run-of-the-mill designs many websites adopt online.
Sarode eventually went on to secure a leadership role in Kaizen Conversion North America. It has, to date, built sales funnels and websites which are worth more than seven figures’ worth for its clients. Hulk Hogan, renowned WWF wrestler, and HoomanTV are some of their clients who have made a name for themselves in the entrepreneurial world.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Neel advocates: “If you don’t commit to what you’re doing, it won’t work out.”
Indeed, such is the history of a person who decided that he wanted more out of the conventional path he initially walked. Any entrepreneur would recognize Sarode’s initial struggles as similar to their own. After all, this is the cost of a dream. But in order for anybody’s ambitions to manifest, taking risks and giving it their all is non-negotiable.
If there’s any takeaway from Sarode’s journey from his days as an aspiring college dropout to his current status as a renowned funnel design expert, it’s this: passion pays off, but only if one is willing to put the time and effort into nurturing it.