Believe it or not, I started writing this post about six months ago. I had just moved to Melbourne and had bags of time on my hands so I was creating a lot of content. Out of the blue my situation changed. I was offered a job which I couldn’t refuse, given that my savings were dwindling at a rate of knots. Starting a new job can be a taxing experience, and it surely impacted this piece at the time, but not anymore.
I started a segment called Artist Spotlight, check out the first post with Unchained XL, which was intended to showcase artists that are doing great work on the local music scenes (Australia and New Zealand). After sharing the first post, I had a chat with a good friend of mine who is a dedicated content creator. He runs an instagram page that shares daily bible verses to encourage people through life’s challenges, more on that later. At that time, he had just made a few breakthroughs with regards to people engaging his content and we were encouraging each other to keep grinding. Then it hit me. I decided at that moment that I didn’t want to just focus on musicians, rather people creating quality content and who better to be the next subject of my Spotlight segment but my good friend, Andrew Balaranjan.
A bit of background helps
I’ve known Andrew for what feels like the longest time. I can safely say that he is one of my oldest friends, given that we’ve been mates for almost 2 decades (I’m 30 now so you can do the maths). About a year ago, Andrew shared with me his vision of creating an instagram account to encourage people with daily bible verses. I’m going to be honest, the first thought that I had was that of skepticism. I mean think about it, there are probably thousands of similar platforms on all forms of social media. I’m glad to say that I was missing the point, and the bro quickly made me aware of that. As we discussed, and I grilled him further about his vision, I started to realise that he was adding his own touch to this concept that made it so unique that I instantly got where he was going with it. Born and raised in Sri Lanka during times of civil war, relocating to New Zealand at a tender age with nothing but his one suitcase and a non-existent grasp of the English language, it’s safe to say that my brother didn’t have the easiest start to life. He was able to overcome in spades, and managed to pick up a passion for sports in the process. Not making any sense yet, just bare with me for the moment.
Be Encouraged Today – Motivation comes in many forms
In that initial conversation with Andrew about his instagram account, Be Encouraged Today (@BeEncouragedToday), he hit me with his why. That’s his purpose, his reason for being, his drive, his motivation. For him it was simple, yet so potent. Being a person with such a challenging background he felt compelled to give back. Having overcome his circumstances to become a highly rated software developer, his is a success story to be revered. What made his vision more compelling is that he wanted to target high profile athletes as his core audience. Many top level athletes come from comparable situations, allowing them to relate. Andrew is also linked up with some high profile athletes in New Zealand making it a domain he knows very well. This for me was the ingredient that made him stand out, he had his why, he identified a core audience, and he knew that he could bridge the two seamlessly. Be Encouraged Today takes the form of an instagram account which consists of daily photos, with bible verses included, and the odd video of Andrew addressing a variety of issues. It’s a responsive account, i.e. if you hit him up in the DM with prayer requests or are just needing encouragement, not only does he respond, but he makes it his mission to make sure that you are keeping well. NB: though Andrew’s ‘target’ audience is athletes, the message is universal and I can guarantee that the bro has time for everyone. To date he has connected with some high profile athletes from around the world, including a former All Black and a Ghanaian international football player, dope right?!
Drive and Motivation – The keys to continued success
At the point of writing, the Be Encouraged Today account boasts over 2k followers gained organically. His following is diverse, not only athletes, and they engage on a regular basis with the posts. What I really like about what the bro is doing is that he doesn’t compromise his values and beliefs, ever! He started out with a clear Blueprint, which I’m sure he’s altered along the way but for the most part he has stuck to who he is and it’s paid off. I can proudly say that I take a lot of inspiration from Andrew and I know for a fact that he is only getting started. Being the creative person that he is, I know he keeps challenging himself to reach higher and there’s no ceiling that can contain him.