A few years ago I left behind the hustle mentality because it left me tired and overworked. Now you hear everyone yelling at the top of their lungs how good their hustle is. When I hear that I always think, oh really?
Full Definition of hustle
hus·tled hus·tling play\ˈhə-s(ə-)liŋ\
1a : jostle, shove b : to convey forcibly or hurriedlyc : to urge forward precipitately
2a : to obtain by energetic activity <hustle up new customers> b : to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity <hustling the suckers> c : to sell or promote energetically and aggressively <hustling a new product> d : to lure less skillful players into competing against oneself at (a gambling game) <hustle pool>
The lines that makes me cringe the most? "To sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity" and "To lure less skillful players into competing against oneself."
If your business model consists of hustling customers or clients, then you are being deceptive. I know hustle is a buzzword right now so not everyone who uses it is being deceptive but those that are, know exactly what they are doing.
For years I hustled but for me it was the state of constantly trying to find clients. I had this mentality that I had to constantly say yes to whatever customers wanted or needed, and that was my hustle. If you needed it done, I said yes, and found a way to make it happen. Sometimes I handled it myself, and other times I brought in the manpower to make it happen. My business was built on word-of-mouth referrals and once in a while I found myself without work and therefore without income. So that's when hustling unintentionally became my strategy.
And then I burned out, several times, and couldn't really pinpoint why so I took some time to reflect. What came next was making some tough decisions on how my business would operate in the future and the decision that I wanted to become a real business owner who was connected to the soul of my business. I made the promise that I wouldn't hustle anymore, but would take the time necessary to learn things that would strengthen my business skills.
When I dug deep, the first thing I discovered was that my business lacked real strategy. First let me say that the word strategy meant absolutely nothing to me back then. I had offerings, a logo, a business tagline, but not much else. I felt put together and had a little income but not really enough to support my family of 3. Some clients knew me as the go to tech person, others knew me as a business mentor, and then some knew me as a superstar OBM. I had no direction in terms of who I wanted to work with, I accepted every single client who came knocking, and I mostly subscribed to the spray and pray method of marketing. I never had a launch plan but if I had a great idea the content was fleshed out in record time so I knew I could do the work. I was a creator, but obviously not a strategist.
Once I identified that the lack of strategy was causing me to work way harder than necessary, I slowed down and began to plan. As a rebellious soul this was especially hard for me, I really dislike planning for myself and mostly just want to wing it. What I realized is that it wasn't the planning that was necessary, it was actually the conscious effort to make sure everything made sense outside my head. If I wanted to make 5K selling membership spots, I had to string my freebie, my emails, my value content, my social media, and my customers needs together. Most of the time I would forget most of those things and just randomly post a promo on my FB Page and then go "Why is this not selling?!?!?!".
What I found was I wasn't consistent and that was my second sign that I had to change direction. By not having a strategy or clear purpose, I made decisions based on what seemed smart but I wasn't putting in the brain power to make my business a lasting success. I flip flopped offers, and I essentially was on a soul finding path rather than a making money as a successful business owner path. Not to say that the business journey isn't the place to find yourself but knowing some of your core values is essential to getting off the ground quickly. I really had no identity and was just doing whatever anyone needed. This was actually a spillover from my old day job days and I missing the entire point of being an entrepreneur, making money doing shit you love!
Once I realized I lacked strategy and wasn't being consistent, it opened the door to the next realization or sign which was I was afraid of committing. Committing to a start and finish in terms of business means going through with the plan, the process, and executing. It means being responsible for everything that happens and having no one to blame but yourself if things fall though. When I realized that flip flopping and lack of strategy meant that I wasn't ready to commit to a business idea, I should have put the brakes on and found a mentor. Instead I spent several years playing around in business instead of being an actual business owner.
So if your business just seems like it's not working for you, I want you to ask yourself these three fundamental questions:
- Is everything I do with purpose, and direction, and do I have a clear strategy or path to get to my goal? (or am I stuck in my ways or just unsure of what to do next so I'm digging in the dark?)
- Am I consistent or do I flip flop ideas and just seem to be all over the place? (Imagine how confusing this is to your audience)
- And lastly, ask yourself... am I as committed as I think I am, do I really want to do this? (or am I just playing business owner?)
If you answered yes to any of the above, we now have something to work on. Remember, you are not lost, you are here. (points to your feet)