HUSTLE (verb): To sell or promote energetically and aggressively, i.e. hustling a (new) product.
Are you an entrepreneur or a small business owner? If so, you certainly understand what hustle is and why it’s a part and parcel of your everyday life. Hustling is getting up early to prepare for the day and staying up late to hit the deadlines you’ve created for yourself. Hustling is doing the things others don’t want to do and it’s about getting results that take you to that next level. Real hustling isn’t sexy like the movies portray it, it’s about hard work, and a lot of it, to attain the lofty goals you’ve set for yourself.
I’ve hustled all my life to find success in the careers I chose. From on-air gigs in radio for 20 years, to diving into the world of promotional products for 34 years, to imagining a moose with blue hooves with my wife and creating a brand called Marvelous Moosey Adventures, and now, to securing acting and voice-over gigs.
What ties all these careers together is hustle, and the fact is, if you want to succeed in most any aspect of life, you’re going to have to hustle.
In the coming months, I’ll be detailing what it means to hustle using examples from my career and from others. It’s never been easy to start or build a business or jump into an unknown career, but given today’s competition, it’s harder than ever. Believe me, I don’t have all the answers, but my hope is to offer you nuggets of useful information you can take and incorporate into your daily life.
Below are five areas imperative for success that you need to incorporate into your daily hustle.
- ALWAYS BE LEARNING: The world is changing so rapidly and if you aren’t constantly learning new skills, you’ll be left behind. I love doing voice over work and it used to be that I'd get hired for a gig, go to a recording studio and record the script. Now, a majority of voice work is done at home, so I had to learn how to set up a professional studio in my home and how to use the software needed to edit my work. It took time and money, but if I’m going to hustle voice work, there’s no alternative. Whatever business you’re in, things will change, so it’s imperative you keep up, learn new technologies, new strategies, and new ways to build your business.
- NEVER STOP CONNECTING: A big part of hustling is to always be networking. It’s true, the more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way. You can make valuable connections in everyday situations like attending trade shows related to your business, joining your local chamber of commerce, volunteering with organizations you’re passionate about, going to job fairs to meet employers, or joining professional organizations. For those of you who might be shy, like me, make it a game and see how many people you can connect with each week. Remember to smile, be confident, and be yourself.
- KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE: As a hustler, you won’t have time to complain or whine about life not being fair. Those who succeed do so by keeping a positive attitude, looking for ways they can offer value to others, and by believing anything is possible. Motivational author and speaker Napoleon Hill noted, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” You have the power to achieve, create, and live the life you dream of… and it starts by making sure your thoughts empower you to do just that!
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO LIFT YOU UP: Hustlers understand the need to surround themselves with people who exude positive attitudes. Investor Warren Buffet says, “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” Negative people will find flaws in everything, so it’s imperative you distance yourself from those who will drag you down. It’s not always easy to do, especially if they’re family, but setting boundaries is important if you are to become your best self.
- INCORPORATE INNOVATION INTO YOUR DNA: For thousands of years, humans dreamed of flying, but were stuck on the ground until the Wright Brothers demonstrated flight was possible. The printing press, the toilet, antibiotics, and even the lowly nail were all ideas that came from people’s minds to solve a problem. Hustlers know they must always be looking for new ways to do things and for new and creative ways to take their business or idea to the next level. Meditation, exercise, journaling, and observation are all great ways to let ideas and innovation bubble up from your subconscious mind. You never know when inspiration will strike, but when it does you need to seize it and see where the ride will take you.
Never look at failure as the end, but rather as part of your journey. The inventor, Thomas Edison, failed over and over again when perfecting the light bulb, but reportedly said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” That attitude gave him an amazing 1,093 patents in his lifetime. However, Shunpei Yamazaki, a Japanese inventor, holds an unprecedented 11,833 patents and I’d bet you anything Mr. Yamazaki is a true hustler!
Success, failure, consistency, creating a brand, protecting your ideas, where to get inspiration, handling rejection, creating value, strategizing, handling competition, and being resilient are all part of a hustler’s purview. Hustlers have a sense of urgency in their work because they know we have a finite time on earth and it must not be squandered. Keeping yourself motivated can sometimes be hard when things aren’t going your way, but having the drive to succeed will keep you balanced.
Comedian/actor Steve Martin, a really funny guy whose hustle took him to the top, sums up what it means to be a successful hustler: ”Be so good they can't ignore you.” Be the best at what you do, bring value to others, continue to hustle and believe in your heart that nothing is impossible.