Hello hello, Amardeep Parmar, or Amar for short. I now have multiple brands including The BAE HQ which you are reading this on. This story is about how I grew my following on Medium and became the second fastest-growing writer on the platform after Barack Obama.
If you don't know what Medium is, the simplest way to explain it is that it's the YouTube of writing. It took me from a relative nobody to who I am today. My writing is currently focused on helping ambitious people understand themselves to a deeper level because I am frustrated at how much superficial advice there is out there.
There was no grand plan!
At the time, I was reading a lot of self-help books and a lot of blogs too. I found the more I read, the more I realised how much advice was basic and lacked nuance. This frustrated me, especially around hustle culture.
I like to say it took me 28 years to become an overnight writing success.
I was once in the karate national squad, I'd danced on stage in front of 2000 people, and I'd been to nearly 50 countries. I studied economics and worked at the Bank of England but then worked in tech consulting for years. I grew up in a traditional Asian area but then went to a very white university.
This range of experiences meant I had interacted with a massive variety of people.
At first, I just commented on other people's posts online. I used to do this on the FT (under a pseudonym) and Medium.com. Sometimes these comments would be mini-essays and people seemed to resonate with them.
I delayed writing full articles myself forever. Then I made it a new year's resolution in 2020 to start writing online. My ambitions were humble. I didn't think anyone would care. If 100 people read it then I'd be happy.
There was no master plan or niche.
My only plan was to write my authentic real thoughts if I thought they could help people. I thought I'd give up after a couple of months like most new year's resolutions.
The first real article took me two weeks to write. I kept putting off pressing publish and editing and re-editing. Part of me was afraid but another part of me enjoyed this process. I was writing to clarify my thoughts so editing was helping me understand my mind better.
The story went viral with over 100,000 views and made me over $2000. It was a massive high yet imposter syndrome kicked in hard. Readers were asking me how I found my writer’s voice and I didn’t even know what that was. My success was more luck than skill.
None of my next 20 articles came close. I was convinced I was a one-hit wonder. Yet now I was obsessed. I read everything I could about being a better writer and kept challenging myself to improve. Eventually, the hit came. Then another. Then another.
My hit ratio became one of the highest of everyone on the platform and at this point, I still wasn’t publicly telling anyone what I was doing.
I’m not like most online writers and I don’t believe my own hype.
When I was focused on Medium, I only ever wrote an average of 1.5 articles per week. Almost everyone else of my size was writing every day and pushing the hustle mentality. I was different because I cared about quality over quantity.
Everything I published was a message I believed in. Often I’d have thought of the ideas weeks before and let them swirl around my mind. It meant by the time I came to writing, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say. I worked on taking complex topics and breaking them down in the same conversational tone you’re reading now.
Too many creators ask themselves how can they make themselves seem like a big deal.
They should be asking how can I actually make an impact. Anecdotes need to serve the point, not your ego. I discovered the perfect blend of the first and second person. I did this and here’s how it can help you. If you go too much, either way, you lose your audience.
I never wanted to have a following or be a minor internet celebrity.
I found it harder to write as I had more of a reputation because I felt I had to live up to it. Even today, I miss the freedom of thinking no one will read what I write. I’m teaching other people how to write and tearing apart the writing of entrepreneurs from across the world. It means everything I write needs to bring fire.
I have more responsibility now because I know people pay attention to what I say. I want to ensure I’m always using this in the right way.
Some people will tell you to just let go of what others think.
This low-level fear is a way of keeping me honest. I always question whether what I publish is serving me or my audience. If it’s only serving me then it doesn’t need to go public.
I dance along the line between fear to underdeliver and drive to make an impact with every post. It means when I do, you better believe it’s worth reading.
I was a standard technology consultant and had worked at the same company for almost 6 years before I started to write.
On the surface, there’s no link at all between my old-day job and what I do now. Yet a huge part of my job was explaining complex tech to business people and building relationships. It’s similar to what I did through my writing.
The writing was never intended to make me much money so when it did consistently, I wasn’t sure what to do. I was outearning my day job with my side hustles.
The impending opening of the world post-pandemic tipped me over the edge. During the first 15 months, I wrote online, and my social life was non-existent because of covid restrictions. I knew this wouldn’t last and I couldn’t continue the way I had been.
I had a choice of two out of three. Day job. Side hustles. Social life.
Which one would I regret losing the least? The answer was my day job. I didn’t want to always wonder what would have happened if I backed myself and gone all in. I have never regretted my decision.
The month in the run-up to handing in my notice was agony though. I couldn’t sleep and was so scared of whether I was making a dumb decision. My family had 100% belief in me and I can’t express enough how much this helped. I know this is a privilege and it’s why I do what I do now because I know others aren’t surrounded by people who believe in them like I was.
Let’s get the privileges out of the way first.
I was born in London and my first language is English. I went to a grammar school and studied at a top university. I had the financial security to even have the time to start writing for fun.
Now for the traits which make me what I am:
My writing success on Medium is why I quit my job but my ambitions have grown far larger since. I’ve now hosted 3 podcasts, with Entrepreneur’s Handbook and The BAE HQ active. I’ve worked with dozens of startups and enterprises on their content. My Medium viewership opened up so many doors for me and now I’m focused on all those opportunities. The BAE HQ in particular is close to my heart.
You can look at my account and see how infrequently I publish now.
Yet I do hope to revive it.
I am currently writing a book called “Deep Self” which I’ll sell at cost price and it’s more about putting all my ideas together in a way that is easy for people to follow. I want to transform the way everyone thinks about self-awareness to actually make a difference in their lives rather than perform. I’m excited to release this and would love to get your opinions on it once it’s out!
I’ll break down the ideas in the book into articles for greater distribution and make part of the book free to my newsletter subscribers.
We're looking for interns for The BAE HQ right now! Just email us and let us know what skills you have and why you care about our mission.