Last week we had the opportunity to listen to Bryant Ott, a writer at Gallup, as well as one of the founders and writers for the White and Blue Review, a website focused on Creighton athletics. It was fascinating listening to Ott explain how an idea with some passion behind it, slowly grew into a product that continues today and makes a little profit.
After graduating from Creighton in 2003 with his degree in journalism, Ott did what everyone did in 2003: He started a blog. Throughout college, and after graduation, Ott recognized the lack of coverage in Creighton sports, as much of the local focus was on the Huskers. While he may not have known it at the time, this was the pain point he would eventually seek to fix. He began going to different games, writing about them, and then emailing what he wrote to his friends who also followed Creighton sports.
After realizing there really was an interested audience, Ott grew more serious about this idea and decided to move forward with some friends who were also interested, and the team came up with the White and Blue Review. Since it first started, the site has experienced quite the rollercoaster ride. Going from steady viewers, to massive spikes when Doug McDermott came into the picture, and again when Creighton moved to the Big East. It’s gained followers, added a clothing line (Hilltop Clothing) and now sells photographs from games.
Ott had a lot of entrepreneurial advice to give from his experience with the White and Blue Review. Here are some of the major takeaways:
Don’t go at it alone. Find a well rounded team with like-minded goals and expectations. Ott’s team consists of individuals with backgrounds in writing, creative directing, accounting, sales and finance. Together, they all bring to the table strengths and weaknesses that deliver overall balance and stability to the website.
Never be satisfied. While what you have may be good, always ask yourself: What could make this better? Ott mentioned that the site recently started doing podcasts, and would continue to based off of both the reactions from views and their own personal feelings. The group is willing to try new things, and leave behind ideas that aren’t working anymore, or that they don’t enjoy doing.
If you want to succeed with your idea, you need to really be passionate about it. Ott said, like all entrepreneurs say, it isn’t going to be easy. Having a good idea, making others believe it’s a good idea, and then continuing to foster this idea is hard work. And if you don’t believe in and love this idea, you won’t be willing to invest your time and energy in it when problems arise.
While the site is successful, and receives money from sponsors and advertisements, Ott noted that it didn’t make enough for him to support a family on. I thought this really solidified that he was continuing with this idea, so many years later, because he was passionate about it and not in it for the money.
Overall, I think hearing Ott talk about his journey with the White and Blue Review, and seeing where it’s at today, was both promising and educational to any potential entrepreneur.