When you say the word hustle out loud, what comes to mind? Go ahead, try it…
Do you have a NEGATIVE viewpoint on hustle?
A rigged carnival game, illegal copies of DVD’s being sold on the street, drug dealers, or a pimp in a big purple hat.
Or do you have a POSITIVE viewpoint on hustle?
A favorite baseball player who was undersized but always hustled, giving it your all, getting out there selling, promoting, and working your head off. The underdog, the over-achiever, the one who outworks the rest.
This past weekend I competed in my own version of “The Amazing Race” in New York City….that combined actual hustle (running down the street), figurative hustle (landing the interviews) and lessons in hustle (how these entrepreneurs have the hustle down to a science).
I had less than 48 hours to conduct a massive amount of interviews including Scott Mednick (serial entrepreneur, founder of Legendary Pictures, executive producer on films such as 300, Superman Returns, We Are Marshall), Gary Vaynerchuk (Brand building rock star and celebrity…and personal hero of mine), Ankur Jain (Student-preneur and founder of The Kairos Society) and Ashley Cook and Danielle Dankner(Ash&Dans Clothing Line).
From NYC to the dirty jersey, we have captured some incredible interviews that will be aired on The Rise To The Top and The Rise at Nite both this season and into next season.
Here are a few hustles that I’ve encountered and have been repeatedly brought up in conversations with top entrepreneurs, rising entrepreneurs, and budding entrepreneurs. Whether you are extroverted, introverted or mute you can master the art of the hustle and your business will grow. Some are born hustlers and for others it is a learned technique similar to some people are born with a natural ability to do math (not me) while others study hard to become math whizzes.
1. Your horn was built for tooting. It is one thing to be humble and another thing to be a jerk, but if you are afraid to promote you and your business, you are not hustling. This does not mean turning your Twitter into an RSS feed for your blog or telling everyone how awesome you are, but it does mean making a conscious effort to promote, tell people what you are up to, and also have confidence in your accomplishments. Successful entrepreneurs are great self-promoters and believe in both their business and themselves. Just don’t blow out the horn.
2. Screw Rejection. I remember trying to ask out a girl in 6th grade. I had no idea what I was doing and asked her out in the middle of a class…DURING the class with lots of people watching. Horrible idea. It didn’t work and I was super embarrassed. It is not that dissimilar from starting a business. You are taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Negabots will attack with their haterade. Hustlers don’t get embarrassed or upset, they answer all emails (even the negative ones), respond to critics, make sales pitches, and make it happen no matter what. If someone told me I shouldn’t start a TV show without going to broadcasting school and having twenty years experience, I just look them in the face and say, “Thank you for your opinion. I respect that and I’m doing things a bit differently.”
3. Don’t be afraid of saying “No”. If you are hustling, opportunities will come your way. In Gary Vaynerchuk’s case, he gets hundreds of opportunities a week: Business deals, book deals, TV deals, interview requests (Plug: Gary is the MAN for accepting mine because he went with a his gut feeling…thanks Gary). If the opportunity isn’t right for you, say no. Don’t chase all the shiny red balls, just find the ones that work for you and your brand.
4. Knocking Down Doors. Often times the only way to knock down the door in the entrepreneurial hustling world is to blast it down. Cold-calling, asking friends for help, going to your family. Yes, it takes time but building a business takes hard, sweaty time. Ashley Cook and Danielle Dankner have an incredible story about their clothing line Ash&Dans where they went on a spree of cold calls and even showed up at shops with scarves in hand. And guess what? It worked. Now they are in four plus stores…and I’ll cut the story right there as to not spoil all the great stuff from these ladies coming on a future episode of The Rise To The Top.
5. Fuel With Small Victories. Building businesses takes patience and hustle. But, I know I have patience problems (Do you?). We all want results NOW which is the selling points of get-rich schemes, MLM’s, and other sketchy stuff. Fuel yourself with small victories: You were complimented on your business, a happy customer sends an email, you made one website sale. It is easy to bask in the light of BIG victories (million dollar deals, new clients, a gazzilion web hits, whatever), but a series of small victories will give you the attitude burst to keep rolling.
In a nutshell, get out there, ignore the haters, build your business, and adjust your hustling thinking and your success will be limitless (aww warm fuzzy moment right there).