05 Jul Why I’m Done With The Hustle
There are a lot of entrepreneurs promoting ‘hustle’ these days as if work ethic were a new thing, and for the last 2 years I’ve been preaching it as well. Most people DO lack the work ethic and resiliency to succeed as entrepreneurs, but hustle alone doesn’t create value.
For those of you that know me, you know I can grind and hustle for 18 hours a day until I get things done, but those days are gone for me. Here’s why.
1) The “More Hard Work = More Success” Myth:
Hustling was a default for me growing up. After school, I would pack a bag full of snacks and Mexican candy, then hit the streets door-to-door and supermarket parking to sell them. Work ethic has always been in my DNA. If I wanted something, I had to hustle to make it happen.
Hard work and hustle allowed me to buy myself things I never had as a kid, it allowed me to help my family, help lots of businesses, and build my own 6 figure business.
Problem: It relied on my hustle and hard work, and I got to the point where I couldn’t humanly work any harder. I was saying no to business, and failing my existing clients. I hired more people, worked on creating sustained levels of energy, I hustled harder and did everything I could to keep things running.
I thought the only way to get more success, more impact, and help more people, was to simply work harder.
I was taught that wanting to work less made you lazy. I was taught that if you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself. I was taught to be self-reliant and figure things out on your own. Asking for help was a sign of weakness.
I was running a business thinking the whole thing was on my shoulders. I was scared. I was exhausted and at a certain point, I simply ran out of hours in a day to keep hustling.
Fact: You only have 24 hours in a day. You can prioritize all you want, learn hacks to improve productivity, but you can’t stretch it and can’t add an extra second to your day. I had to remind myself to make time t0 eat, sleep and do other normal ‘life’ things in between my hustle.
I guess I misunderstood Jim Rohn’s quote “If you want more, you have to become more.” For some reason, I added in “You have to DO more.”
2) Hustle relies on you. Successful business relies on systems and leverage.
My problem was that I was beginning focus more on the hustle than on the results and outcomes I wanted.
Every time I made a move to reduce my workload, I created a new job description for myself with a new set of tasks. When I went from doing the bulk of the work myself to hiring people, I had to learn how to train. Then I had to manage. Once I was managing, I wasn’t growing, so I had to shift back to growth and sales.
Pretty soon, I was overwhelmed and burned out, looking for ways out. I went from enjoying the hustle to now having my days filled with unfulfilling hustle. It was the literal definition of a grind. A grind that made me resent my business.
Coming from a sales background, I was taking a very segmented look at business; one that required constant balancing and juggling. I wasn’t focused on long-term sustainable growth. I was simply going from ‘deal to deal’, task to task. Everything had a beginning and an end.
I loved what I did, so I thought “Why would I ever stop doing this?”. This led to a never ending pursuit. One that I was personally stuck in. To use an agricultural analogy: I was hunting, in some cases harvesting, but I was still doing all the work. Instead of owning a farm that just produced the product I could enjoy at the dinner table.
I saw business as a simple process. I deliver value, I get paid.
I want more? Deliver more value.
The premise is right, but my execution was bad. I didn’t see business as a series of systems that worked together cohesively to produce that value. I WAS the business, I WAS the system. Even when I hired people and started to build a team, too many things relied on me hustling every day, and I was failing.
3) Hustle doesn’t focus on long-term value
Look up the definition of hustle.
Force to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction, obtain by forceful action or persuasion, busy movement and activity, a fraud or swindle.
There’s no value anywhere in that definition.
Now, I know the new school definition of hustle means to get off your ass and take massive action, but this more often than not hurts entrepreneurs. They end up hustling on things that don’t produce any real value to anyone besides their ego. Most of the time we end up calling busyness ‘hustle’.
TBH, most hustling is selfish and self-centered. Hustle is focused on what you want to accomplish, your needs, your desires. This is great if your desire is to add value, cure a terminal illness or solve world hunger, but IDK if you’ve realized; the majority of people’s desires are self-centered.
Hustle or hard work itself does not produce any real value.
- Entrepreneurship is NOT about the hustle, it’s about solving problems and adding value.
- Hustle and work ethic are the price of admission; along with resiliency, tenacity, faith, and the ability to see opportunity and possibilities.
Maybe it’s a cultural or generational thing that hustle became cool. Maybe it’s because most millennials are considered lazy, uninspired and entitled that we started to promote it.
From a cultural standpoint, I’d like to claim that most immigrants have hustle. Lots of it. Being Latino, I’d say most Latinos have hustle. Just take a trip to East LA or a Latin American country. They hustle incredibly hard.
The problem is we’re not focused on creating long-term value, we’re focused on surviving. We’re focused on the action vs the result.
Trust me, your customers or end users don’t care about your hustle or you trying hard. They care about the value and result you can provide. If you can provide a better quality product or service and work less to do so, most people would be just as happy.
Ok, so then what’s next for you Hugo?
I’m definitely not cutting my work ethic, I’m just not relying on the hustle to produce value. I’m tired of hustling just for the sake of hustling and surviving. It’s just as bad as having a job.
I’ve built a good business with hustle, but I’d rather build a great business based on value. One that can produce value for the people it serves, regardless of my hustle.