The internet, despite any attempts of being “transparent,” will always incorporate a level of anonymity. Social media only showcases a final product from one screen to another, with the drafts and real-life humans always on the other end, unseeable.
Twitter, for example, makes anonymity easy, as we only see an icon and 280-character idea or fleeting thought, and for one freelance ghostwriter, that anonymity is a lucrative gig.
Related: How Much Do Engineers, Product Managers, And Data Scientists Make At Twitter?
The ghostwriter, who chose to remain anonymous, told Insider he made $200,000 last year alone by ghostwriting tweets for venture capitalists. The gig is strictly a side hustle and takes up merely five hours of his week.
The agreement and rates vary from VC to VC — some pay him per tweet, some per month, and others have paid him $100,000 for an original thread to announce a big funding round.
Still, the writer’s side hustle begs the question: Why do 280-character tweets cost a fortune?
Well, the writer explains that the competitive nature of funding has drastically changed over the past 10-15 years, and social media has become the new landscape for funders and founders to build a relationship and garner attention.
Related: The Business of Harnessing the Power of Social Media
“Establishing yourself as a funder is no longer a one-to-one format where you’re building meaningful relationships,” he told Insider. “It’s a one-to-many format. You’re broadcasting.”
While the writer’s lucrative side hustle only occupies a few hours of his week, the practice is meticulous and calculated. His gospel: clarity, intention, and being concise.
“Threads don’t work. Images don’t work. You need a very tight, expertly crafted 280-character take,” he said, per Insider.
And it doesn’t stop there. It’s not just about a razor-sharp perfect tweet that cuts to the chase, it’s about understanding the nuance of the platform and who is engaging with a given account, what he dubs “being in on the joke.”
The writer attributes his success as a ghostwriter for VCs because he understands the intricacies of Twitter and the relationship between funders and founders. He says that about 60% of the tweets he writes are “shitposting” — meaning “the stuff you post when there’s nothing to post.”
He states that shitposting is the key to gaining attention and following so that when there’s something real to post, you already have an audience.
Related: I Ran the First Version of TikTok. Here’s What I Learned About Spotting Viral Trends.
While the upfront cash and flexible hours of the ghostwriter’s side gig is hard to pass up, the writer is stern on keeping boundaries, and told Insider he’s had to fire clients before, as he doesn’t want his side hustle to “take up too much space.”
He also has a designated laptop, a second phone, and a different email address to carry out his side hustle.
Related: 5 Keys to Turning Your Side Hustle Into a Successful Business