Business hustle is the art of hustling for your business. Getting out there and making a splash. Building contacts and being noticeable. It’s about caring enough about your own business to be proud enough to share it with other people. Getting things done and making the money, honey.
It bugs me that business hustle is seen as 1 of 3 things:
- Some objectionable cheesy sales tactic performed by a bulldozer disguised as a business person
- The domain of extroverts and wannabe business celebrities
- A magic roadmap you activate once really well that powers you to Oz and beyond on a single tank
Business hustle is none of these things. In fact, I believe if you hang your hat on these 3 things, you’ll never reach the nirvana that is a sustainable business, let alone one that exceeds your expectations.
Activating business hustle doesn’t have to be a case of dodging a minefield of myths.
Here are some business hustle truisms you need to embrace to unleash the inner hustler within.
Hustling only works if the benefits are mutual
Forget one sided business proposals. Leave aside the notion that your business or idea is so wondrous, others will be aching to join in. You’re not that special. None of us are. But we can add value to each other that helps both sides of the business fence succeed.
That’s why if you want people to care about what you are offering, the offer needs to be attractive to both parties.
If you want your customer to trust you, give them something to trust. If you want them to purchase off you, give them something worth purchasing.
Want to run a joint marketing campaign or get your peers involved in your business undertakings? Share the relationship building, support their activities and be a friend to your fellow business person.
Looking for sponsorship? Make the benefits of what you are offering light a fire under your target and give them something that’ll help them perform.
If you want a freelancer to do their best for you, treat them with respect. And if you want clients that afford you the same courtesy, extend that respect by making their life easier.
Hustling is about building your network, exchanging favours (not owing them) and most of all, giving the hustle target something to smile about.
Sometimes you hustle to get something. Sometimes you hustle to avoid it
When you make the decision to propel your business past simply making money, you’ll also start what I like to call the business hustle side-step.
You may want to change your business style or introduce new services during the lifetime of your small business or freelance endeavours. Or you may wish to transform from small business to a bigger entity. Maybe it’s time to move away from being someone employed corporately into founding your own startup.
Whatever the case, you’ll need to apply business hustle in order to bridge the gap between the current perceptions of what you can offer via your skill-set and stretch into a position of authority in your future field of business.
This kind of business hustle requires demonstrating your knowledge. Often this is through blogging, social media, and appearances at events and as a notable PR figure. But only ever after you’ve consolidated the value you have to customers and peers through demonstrating you do indeed have the skills to pay the bills.
You’re changing your professional story, so it takes time to see the old version of you in the rear vision mirror. You’ll only achieve that by re-educating people to the value you hold. And that’ll only come with the proof that you can match up to your own claims.
You don’t need to be an extrovert to have business hustle
We all know from public transport where someone else’s conversation is ear-achingly overpowering that the loudest person in a particular space isn’t always the one most worthy of all the attention.
There is something to be said for being the quiet person who hustles (and for bringing your iPod on the Wollongong train).
One of the things that most captivates people during a moment of business hustle is they believe in you and wants to connect. And it’s far easier to connect with someone who isn’t always asking for your attention.
Think about the quiet moments where the person who usually doesn’t have something to say about an issue decides to speak up. It’s thoughtful and powerful. Everybody listens.
A classic example of this was Jim Henson. He was a shy, thoughtful guy who was also able to get his programs on a variety of different networks, gain angel funding, negotiate merchandising rights and assemble a team of people that gave their all.
He was known for letting his Muppets and other creations do the talking.
His business hustle added value through demonstrating the value. The props he had were literally his products. And that’s why it was so successful.
You don’t need to be an extrovert to hustle because hustle takes all shapes and forms.
After all, the best form of hustle is to believe in what you’re doing and set a quality benchmark that people gravitate towards.
You don’t need to be crowd-pleasing party starter to pull that off.
It isn’t hustle-by-numbers
“You put the outreach in, you put the social media out, you put the outreach in and you email all about!”
Let’s pack up the tambourine and bury this one once and for all- business hustle is never hustle by numbers.
There are ideas and techniques you can use. You can get into your social media, PR, guest blogging, offering specials, devising marketing campaigns, network yourself into a frenzy and email people until they puke up a keyboard.
None of it will actually mean a jot if you’re not thinking about the situation critically.
There’s a current trend for businesses and solo operators to hang their hat on the business coach scene. And in turn, there’s a current undercurrent of business coaches who offer paint by numbers style services.
But marketing and hustling isn’t designed to be a formula. In fact, the more you stand out, the better off you are. And you just don’t get the sparkly stand-out spotlight by hugging up close to what everyone else at that expensive course you just paid for is doing.
Instead, it’s a case of choosing the ways you can effectively get your business hustle on. Think about the talents you have. Look at your network and the relationships you can leverage. Seek out opportunities that are special and stand out in a crowd.
Know the rules, sure. But know them more so you can add a twist to the baseline and really break out from the pack.
The hustle never ends
If you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out of creating your business from scratch and building your customer base by hand, I have news for you. You’ll never get to the place where your business hustle is satiated.
Henson did commercials, kids TV, variety shows, films and The Muppets, Fraggles, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and so on. Branson didn’t stop at music. He’s taken on trains, planes, credit cards, and cola and not for profit sectors and will probably continue to annoy and agitate until he passes away.
Bill Gates digs into philanthropy, education, clean water while he tackles software for computers and phones. Apple is computers, tablets, music players, phones, apps, your music library and any manner of products we don’t even know about yet.
And on a small scale, your business will always need marketing, customer service, a network of peers, different opportunities, and customers. And you’ll probably always be looking at ways to improve your offerings, offer new products and experiment with ways to change it up.
Nobody gets out of the business hustle alive.
So it’s probably a good idea to stop viewing your first million, that overseas holiday or expansion interstate as the end game. Your business survival depends on it.
The final word on business hustle
Never be afraid of asking for a favour of a fellow business person or reaching out to connect with others, but always keep what they need at the centre of what you’re asking for. Be prepared to change the shape of who you are in business and to try new things, because survival of the business fittest is all about how well you adapt.
Stay away from people who tell you that business means being the pain in the neck that shoves business cards down people’s throats. Or that you haven’t got the personality required because you don’t want to grab the mike and dominate the conversation. They have no idea about what they’re on about.
Lose the attitude that someone somewhere has a magic checkbox list, a secret to success article or a 3 step plan you need to follow. Dig deep and discover your own way of reaching customers and influencers in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
And resolve yourself to the fact that if you truly are a business hustler, you’re a hustler for life. No matter how much you may resent that fact at times or wish to get off the crazy business brain merry-go-round.
Wanna get some hustle tips from a hustler that’s not afraid to admit it? Book me as your marketing coach or join the Freelance Trek.
I can help you get out from under the myths and into a fresh, happy hustling you in no time.