If you’re the kind of entrepreneur or business owner that uses #hustle after every social post then this blog post is for you. I want to try to scratch the surface on what #hustle really is and if you’re constantly #hustlehard’ing, what kind of damage could you actually be doing to your business.
Let’s start by trying to get to the heart of #hustle. Immediately below this text is a 2:00 video from Gary Vaynerchuk (the OG of #hustle) defining what #hustle means to him. Give it a quick watch and then we’ll catch-up.
Ok, so “squeezing every last bit of juice out of the orange”, “maximizing the energy you’re putting into somebody”, and “putting all your effort into achieving the goal you have at hand”. I think those are probably the best little bits out of that video because they are objective - mostly. They also convey a lesson that almost anyone can apply wherever they are on their entrepreneurial journey. In the rest of the video he goes on about how he doesn’t have Friday nights because he uses that time to hustle, hiring an assistant, etc. Those are things that are Gary Vaynerchuk specific and unfortunately the things that people pay the most attention to.
I think, for the most part, he does a great job in this video conveying the heart of what #hustle is and at the same time there are a lot of people that get this concept very wrong. They get it wrong because they try to map their goals against someone like Gary Vaynerchuk’s. They map their activity against what he documents and throws out all over the web. They map his actions in growing the multiple businesses he’s responsible for to the business they are growing.
And, that’s a problem.
It’s a problem because every business owner has different strengths, capabilities and are at different stages. What happens when you map where you are today against what someone like Gary Vaynerchuk has built over decades? You end up with an abundance of entrepreneurs confusing spammy sales techniques and short-cut growth tactics with sustainable and authentic business growth.
Let’s do a real time experiment. I challenge you to open up Instagram and search the #hustle tag. Even though there’s a gap between the writing of this post and you doing this exercise I guarantee the results will be the same. You’re going to see THOUSANDS of posts with quotables, hacky business guru’s giving generic advice, Ferraris and lots of fitness model types either trying to grow their brand or sell you something like Herbalife.
This is my problem with #hustle. Anyone can take a few minutes and Google an image then use an app to throw some advice-y text over it and position themselves as an expert. You end up doing something that feels like work and even delivers the great little accomplishment dopamine hit we all chase but, it’s probably not going to be the activity that delivers the most value for your business.
I know that’s not everyone so let’s divide people up into a few simple categories.
Category 1: Are some of these accounts capturing moments of “squeezing every last bit of juice out of the orange”, “maximizing the energy you’re putting into somebody”, and “putting all your effort into achieving the goal you have at hand”?
Category 2: Are some of them trying to emulate the activity they see work for larger accounts, capitalize on a popular # or are idealizing the act of working 100 hour weeks?
Ok so you did this little experiment and are now thinking, so what?
This applies less to the people that fall in the first category and more into the second. The ones that confuse the amount activity or the amount of hours they're working with #hustle. It’s a problem because they are using a volume metric to measure success for their business.
It’s my goal to help you avoid burnout and the damage can go along with blindly #hustleharder’ing. Burnout is a very real issue because just working harder may end up costing you money, time and even important relationships you could otherwise leverage your business growth against. #hustle can also be unsustainable and even worse could possibly convince you to quit too soon because your not getting the results that your favorite social guru may be getting.
I want to see you grow your business at rates that make sense for you. I want to see you reach the goals you set for yourself and deliver the value you’re promising to the people that you serve. So I’ve come up with a few questions you can ask yourself when you’re floating around online and realize that you’re not living the life that social media says you should be.
Below is a list of things to think about when you’re feeling like you’re not #hustleharder’ing enough:
1. Are you doing more of the Deep Work - the work that really matters in your business? Or, are you just plowing through a to-do list full of tasks where you’re just playing in the business?
2. Are you trying to sell to everyone instead of spending the time to really get to know your customers and figuring out how they could best be served?
3. Are you tracking the handful of metrics that matter most in your business? Like: units sold, number of contacts required to get to a sales meeting, clients managed, etc. Something that is quantifiable and that isn’t some kind of vanity metric.
4. Is your messaging authentically you? This matters because this is how the world sees your business. You don’t want to be drowning in a sea of Tai Lopez quotes, supercar pictures and photos of stacks of money.
5. Are you really engaging with people? Are you having real conversations with people either in real life or online and offering value or getting feedback. If you’re just always shouting the same stuff everyone else is you’ll never be able to scream louder than the noise in the room.
6. Do you have clear goals set for yourself that you check in on regularly?
7. Are you suffering from “Butt In Seat Syndrome”? It’s an affliction that many entrepreneurs suffer from that results in talking about the things you’re going to do and never doing them, over developing plans and never starting them and general avoidance of the hard work that goes into building a business.
I’m all for working harder and smarter. It’s a mission of mine to support entrepreneurs as they are trying to grow. I just want to make sure that you’re doing it in a way that makes sense for you and that allows you to do your best work.
Here’s to #hustle’ing responsibly!
I STILL WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Below this post is a one question survey. I’d love to help you with what you're struggling with when it comes to your business development. I’m promising to do my best to get back to everyone that responds.