Writer, Facilitator + Consultant

What it Means to Hustle in Business and Succeed

The word HUSTLE is wildly overused and under-explained in the business world.

And you know what I find annoying as heck? When people say things but DON’T say things.
What am I talking about?
Let me explain it to you this way:

Remember that famous Yadda Yadda Yadda Seinfeld episode? If not here’s a 90 second clip to show you:


See that?
Saying something but NOT saying the BEST part.

Yadda yadda yadda is leaving out THE BEST part of the story.

And that’s what I hear OFTEN in business.

In business the common yadda yadda phrase is “I hustled my buns off”

WTF do you mean? Seriously what does that mean?

I’ve heard it so many times now, I got worked up enough to write about it, and explain what it means 😉

The hustle is the unglamorous stuff. The stuff nobody really wants to talk about because it’s not so pretty. It’s the hard work you gotta do in business. But it’s way more glamorous to say “I hustled, and now my book is in every store in America” Or “I hustled and now run a 6-Figure Biz”

Yeah OK. Awesome. But what the hell is that hustle?

So I’m gonna break it down for you and give you some examples from my own hustling.

When my book was getting released, I knew it wasn’t enough to broadcast that in my newsletter and on my website. It wasn’t enough to have it on Amazon.com

I wanted my book in bookstores, but with no connections and no distributor how was that about to happen?
I spent time researching independent bookstores in Ontario (where I was about to visit) and in BC. I sent out e-mails and made phone calls. While on a trip to Ontario I set up an appointment, met with a buyer, gave away a copy of my book ( Yes you gotta give stuff away for free) and then I never heard back from the girl. That’s part of hustle. Not everybody says yes, and often they won’t say no either. Instead you’ll get ignored.

Next hustle: after much back and forth, the McGill Bookstore in Montreal Quebec said YES! That was a victory to a decade-old dream. But it didn’t just happen. I followed up several times to make it happen. You can’t just send out one e-mail and wait. You gotta hustle. Hustle=follow up.

And then in Vancouver I went door to door to door for a week straight. And let me tell you I’m no extrovert. If you know me, you know this already. Otherwise, now you know.

But when it comes to business you’ll do things you would never do for yourself (because your biz projects have a message and meaning beyond you, so you get that inner fortitude to do things you’d never do if it was just about you).

Anyways that is hustle. And after a solid week of giving away free books, sending out emails, getting ignored, finally a bookstore on Commercial Drive said Yes.

That’s hustle. It ‘aint glamorous. It’s not all that fun, but when you hit a win it’s awesome. And when you get a hit, you just gotta get up and keep going.

Hustling often involves giving away your time for free, and often means that you have to give a sample of something away for free (that costs you but that’s hustling). It means putting yourself out there, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

What else is hustle in business? It’s emailing people when you don’t want to feel pushy but you also want to follow up on a lead (somebody who may be interested in what you have to offer) and see if they are interested in a free mini session or are interested in purchasing your latest offer. It’s about putting yourself on the line.

Hustling is putting yourself on the line again and again.

Have you ever been to NYC or Venice Beach? People are selling their CD’s on the streets. Sometimes they will even get in your face about getting a copy of their CD—That’s hustling. That’s selling and putting yourself out there to the extreme. Or on my last trip to Mexico in a relatively small village ( but touristy enough) oh boy do they hustle! They call out to you using the few words of English they know “Come in. Come here I have something nice for you” And even if they see you for 21 days in a row ( yes, it was a long vacation) they will say the same thing to you day in and day out.

That’s hustling. It’s asking for things. It’s going out there. It’s putting yourself on the line. It’s being open to rejection, being ignored, and knocking door to door.

OK, so now you know what the yadda yadda of business is.
It’s not always fun, it ‘aint glamorous, but it’s necessary.

So if you want your dream project + biz to succeed—go out there, and hustle today.
And Tell me in the comments—What does hustling mean to you? And What are you Gonna Hustle Today?

16 comments… add one
  • Anushree October 4, 2016,

    Great article tova!!
    It Really enlightened me. Now I am in hustle mode. Ready for rejections and ignorance.
    Thank you !

    Reply
    • Tova Payne October 5, 2016,

      Thank you Anushree 🙂 Wishing you the best 🙂

      Reply
  • Abishai September 13, 2015,

    Hiya! Thanks a lot for dissecting it with excellent examples Tova. Glad I landed here when I googled the keywords. Job very well done. I am a first-time entrepreneur and I have a launch in two weeks and I sure am hustlin’ like no tomorrow. Greetings again all the way from INDIA. Will hop back in a trice….Keep rockin’ 🙂

    Reply
    • Tova Payne September 13, 2015,

      Thanks Abishai. Wishing you all the best with your launch

      Reply
  • Barbara Klein September 2, 2015,

    Thank you for validating so many fears that lead to self sabotage. You put the ‘love’ in the hustle. I respect myself when I give 110% to my skincare business, a business that isn’t easy but is rewarding in ways that are nearly immeasurable. So grateful for your words and wisdom. And incredibly appreciative of the leader on my team who brought it to my attention. After all, it takes a village.

    Reply
    • Tova Payne September 2, 2015,

      Wow Barbara. Thank you so much. Your words mean a lot! 🙂 Wishing you all the best with your business!

      Reply
  • Rose September 2, 2015,

    Hey thanks fo enlightenment on “hustle”

    Reply
    • Tova Payne September 2, 2015,

      Thanks Rose 🙂

      Reply
  • Laurel February 26, 2014,

    Nicely done, Tova. As a fellow introvert who is working on a book right now it is good to hear the cold, hard truth. The infamous “hustle” is the one dance that keeps me from moving forward because self marketing takes me wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone. I guess I am not alone here. But it is important for people to know what lies ahead if you want to get your voice out there.

    Reply
    • Tova Payne February 26, 2014,

      Wow, I am so excited for you + your book. And yes, getting the message out is what it’s all about. Especially when the book is something we believe can help people its like our duty to do our best to get it out there, and then of course, to match all the action with a little dose of surrender and trust 🙂 Cant wait to hear more about your book, and wishing you the best 🙂

      Reply
  • Jennifer S February 25, 2014,

    This is great Tova! I never understood what “hustle” was exactly. I had some idea, but always felt like maybe I was doing something wrong b/c my hustle seemed like much more work than what it seemed like other people were doing to achieve success. These days I hustle in between my son’s naps which entails many of the same things you’ve mentioned–phone calls to potential businesses that may need my services, working on a cookbook, sending emails and networking even though it makes me a bit uncomfortable (I’m an introvert too). I’m glad you decided to write this post b/c I think it’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of success without realizing the work it takes to get there.

    Reply
    • Tova Payne February 25, 2014,

      Thank You Jennifer! Oh Im soo happy this was helpful. Yes you are definitely hustling and your hard work, I’m sure is paying off 🙂 xo

      Reply
  • Jennifer Kennedy February 25, 2014,

    Such a great article, Tova!!!!

    This has been on my mind a lot lately and you’ve expressed it so well!! This is such a pet peeve of mine. I remember last year hearing that I had to hustle hard, but didn’t even know what that meant! I remember telling my accountability partner, “What does hustle even mean? What does that even look like?” 🙂

    I’m always a fan of specific actionable advice. I’m now in hustle mode (when I’m not at my full-time job). I’m networking. I’m sending emails. I’m reaching out. When describing hustle, we’ve got to use some action verbs because that’s truly what hustle is . Tell me what I need to do, not that I need to hustle. Thank you for this article!!! I’ve been thinking of writing a similar one!! Thanks for keeping it real!!

    Reply
    • Tova Payne February 25, 2014,

      Thank You Jennifer! Ah, it feels good that you relate and that I’m not alone in feeling this way!! Thanks for writing 🙂

      Reply

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