Hello and welcome to Just Add Hustle! A podcast & blog that’s all about helping you achieve freedom and financial independence as a writer.
Here at Just Add Hustle we’re a diverse community of copywriters, bloggers, indie authors and part-time writers united behind a common cause:
Making a good living through writing.
So if you’re ready to start or grow your writing biz, and you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and HUSTLE to make it happen, then you’re definitely in the right place.
Before we look at how Just Add Hustle can help you enjoy a richer writer’s life, let me tell you a little bit about my background.
If you’re going to invest your most valuable resource (TIME) with us here at Just Add Hustle, you deserve to know whether or not I practice what I preach.
The Origin Story
In October 2011 I was sitting in a noisy cafe just outside of Seoul, Korea, hunched over my rickety Acer laptop, typing “how to make money online” into Google’s search bar.
I was an English teacher at the time. And even though I enjoyed my work (and my awesome students in particular), I knew it was time for a career change.
For starters, I’d been teaching for close to a decade:
Both in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri as well as all over Korea. And I was dangerously close to being burned out.
For another, I was months away from marrying the love of my life. And, frankly, I didn’t see how I could support a family on a teacher’s salary.
Over the next 10 months my search down the making-money-online rabbit hole led me to try my hand at:
- Creating a niche site (it bombed)
- A Korean travel blog (earned a few bucks)
- SEO writing (hated it)
- Korean-to-English translation (together with my wife)
The one thing these ventures all had in common (aside from their resounding lack of success!) was the written word.
I’ve been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember. And that passion was enough to drive me through these various failures … and into eventual success.
Try, Fail, Try Again
As I tried, failed, and tried again with one venture after another I was able to turn a small profit. Not the kind of cash you can support a family on, but something.
Talk about exciting!
I can still remember getting paid a whopping $60 for writing a batch of 10 SEO articles about Australian cruise liners. The first money I’d ever made from writing.
Sure, it wasn’t even pocket change — but it felt incredible! As if I’d pushed open the door to a realm of unlimited possibility. (Which, as it would turn out, wasn’t too far from the truth.)
Soon, I was making $500 a month, then $1,000, then enough to match my meager teacher’s salary.
All from churning out articles covering everything from solar energy to salsa dancing on nights, weekends, and school holidays.
The problem was:
1) Furiously scribbling 20+ articles per week was about as much fun as juggling a trio of pissed off porcupines, and …
2) The pay was seriously limited (when your competition is willing to work for $5 an article you need to hightail it into a different market!)
But it was a (mostly) fun, affirming experience.
And it introduced me to copywriting. A writing opportunity that has transformed my life.
This Book Was An Absolute Game-Changer
My life today would probably look A LOT different were it not for a book called “The Copywriter’s Handbook”, written by world class copywriter Bob Bly.
This book was a real game-changer for me.
At the time, I didn’t have even a foggy clue about what copywriting was.
I thought copywriting was something lawyers did to help businesses protect their intellectual properties!
But “The Copywriter’s Handbook” explained in clear terms the craft of copywriting.
My traditional sales background was limited.
I’d hustled door-to-door in elementary and junior high to build a lawn mowing biz, but that was about it.
But, my decade as a teacher had given me loads of in-the-trenches experience when it comes to persuasion.
(Don’t believe me? Just try convincing the typical 4th-grader to focus on the finer points of reading and writing when Minecraft is only a smartphone away — you’ve got your work cut out for you!)
Copywriting clicked with me.
“The Copywriter’s Handbook” was followed by a copywriting course through American Writers & Artists, Inc.
From there I read dozens of books on copywriting, sales, persuasion, and mindset.
I copied out — by hand — hundreds of the top-performing space ads and sales letters of all time.
I invested a lot of time and treasure in cultivating my copywriting skills — and I’m still hard at work honing my craft.
It took a lot of hard work, but before long I went from burned-out English teacher to supporting my family, and enjoying a comfortable income, through my copywriting business.
If I Can Do It, So Can You!
I’m still in the early days of my career as a copywriter. And I only expect things to go up from here.
But so far it’s afforded me more freedom, opportunity, and financial security than I could have imagined just a couple of short years ago.
When I look at where I am today words like “grateful”, “blessed”, and “humbled” spring to mind.
I work from a home office and, while I follow a strict schedule, my time is my own.
If I decide to take a half day and spend a few leisurely hours reading at Barnes & Nobles in the afternoon, I can do that.
If my wife and I want to hit up our favorite bakery on a Tuesday morning, no problem.
As I’m writing this we’re planning a trip to New York City in a few months with a month-long trip to Australia scheduled for next year.
But here’s where things get really cool:
I’m convinced that if a regular midwest dude in his mid-30s can HUSTLE his way from scraping by in a J-O-B to building his dream business AND life as a writer … then ANYBODY can do this!
Here’s How Just Add Hustle Can Help You
Just Add Hustle exists for one reason: to help you build a thriving writing business that empowers you to live life on your own terms!
There are three main ways I’d like to help you strive towards that goal:
- Listen to the Just Add Hustle podcast. This weekly podcast brings you conversations with brilliant copywriters, authors, publishers, and freelance writers who teach YOU how to make money writing.
- Read the Just Add Hustle blog. I’m not going to hold anything back. I’ll share what’s working — as well as where I’ve tripped and fallen flat on my face — as I continue to build and scale my writing biz.
- Join the Just Add Hustle mailing list. The best way make sure you don’t miss out on new podcast episodes and useful free content? Sign up for my mailing list. It’s free, and I promise not to hammer you with a bunch of skeevy affiliate offers.
Are you ready to build a writing business that enables you to live life on your terms? And, are you willing to HUSTLE to make that happen?
Then dig into the podcast episodes, articles, and free resources on this site and let’s get busy!
Oh, and if you’re the friendly type, why not introduce yourself in the comments section below? I’d love to get to know you!
10 Random Facts About Me
By nature, I’m definitely more of an introvert, but over the years I’ve trained myself to be more outgoing.
So, just for kicks, here are a ten random facts — in no particular order — that will help you get to know me better.
- I am blessed beyond words to be married to my best friend. It hasn’t always been easy (my married peeps know what’s up), but my wife, Jinah, is my most favorite person ever.
- We don’t have any kids. But we do have a cat, Borges. (Named after my favorite author.)
- I love to read. Three books I’ve enjoyed recently are “Tinkers” by Paul Harding, “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle, and “Invisible Influence” by Jonah Berger.
- I’m a HUGE Bruce Springsteen fan. I’ve seen The Boss in concert three times, most recently on the “River” tour. (The show was AMAZING. He played for three hours!!!)
- I lived in Korea for a total of seven years. Alas, my mastery of the language is embarrassingly limited.
- My favorite modern videogame is probably the “Dark Souls” franchise. I’m a big fan of just about all of Nintendo’s tentpole franchises, too i.e. Mario, Zelda, etc.
- I’m the oldest of of six kids: three biological, three adopted. My sister and bro-in-law have five kids of their own. As you can probably imagine, holidays at the Buzan house can get lively.
- I got Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis) four days before I started 10th grade. This was my first experience with public school (I was homeschooled growing up) and I went in knowing no one, wearing an eye patch, and with the right side of my face frozen and sagging towards my shoulder like Sloth from The Goonies. It was a character building experience to say the least!
- I played bass guitar in a rock band for five years after high school. We weren’t a household name or anything, but we did get to tour with and meet some amazing people. It was a great experience.
- I can’t write without jazz and coffee. I’ve listened to Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” for, no exaggeration, THOUSANDS of hours.
Thanks for stopping by Just Add Hustle.
Have a look around, introduce yourself, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you!