People ask me all the time for tips on how to make your living as a blogger. While there are plenty of things I can tell them that are specific to my situation, the number one tip for people who want to make their living writing online is this:
You better be ready to hustle.
“Hustle,” in this case, means approaching companies and pointing out that they have no content marketing strategy, but you’re willing to help them implement one. It means taking jobs that you don’t love in order to build up your name so that, one day, you can write about the things you truly care about.
It means doing stuff like calling your startup founder little brother right before your interview with a startup-focused blog and getting him to tell you all the right buzzwords to use so you sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Uh… I mean…
For those of you who have done the initial hustle and are looking for a little help connecting with potential clients, check out Scripted. They’re a content marketing marketplace that connects companies who need blog posts written (read: everyone) with high quality writers (read: you).
Here’s how it works. (And founders who aren’t writers, listen up too.)
Companies – everything from small startups to bigger companies like LinkedIn – tell Scripted what they’re looking for. Scripted matches the request with a writer who specializes in that field, the writer bangs it out in three days (or more, if it’s more complicated), and then the company has the choice to make edits and send it back.
Scripted is a company that takes care of the hustle, with a co-founder who’s very familiar with hustling himself.
Scripted started out as Scripped, a screenwriting community and software for screenwriters. They went with the name Scripped for the same reason so many of us make comprises on our domain names – Scripted wasn’t available.
After about 8,324 times saying “No, it’s Scripped, without the ‘t,’” co-founder Ryan Buckley decided it was time to make a change. Instead of accepting his fate and perfecting his actually voice, Ryan went on Whois and looked up who owned the Scripted domain was.
When he saw that the guy’s claim on the domain was going to expire soon, Ryan dropped him an email. He told him about his pronunciation problem and (here’s the key) asked if they could “work something out.”
He didn’t offer money. He didn’t go in with any offer. He put the ball in the other guy’s court.
And it paid off.
Ryan and his co-founder were just about broke when they got the reply saying that they could be the proud owners of Scripted.com if they agreed to one thing: the current owner wanted them to send a cool postcard to his nephew.
That was it.
Ryan was so pumped he sent a postcard and a Boston Redsox hat and, for the price of those two items plus postage, he was the proud owner of Scripted.com.
These days, Ryan and company could afford to actually, you know, pay for the domain name although I’d say it’s debatable whether or not they’d be where they are today if they hadn’t stepped up back when they really needed the domain but couldn’t afford to pay for it.
So here’s the lesson learned from Ryan Buckley, startup founders: Step outside your bounds and hustle. It’s rare that it won’t pay off.
And for you, bloggers and aspiring bloggers and current and future thought leaders: Get on Scripted. You shouldn’t have to do all that hustling yourself.