I’ve been working as an entrepreneur/mompreneur/freelancer/contractor/business owner whatever you want to call it, for over ten years. I’ve had big clients, tiny clients, and big projects and projects from hell and everything in between. I can say, unequivocally, from my 10 years of trying to make money while raising a family and trying to be a regular human that the “hustle” … is stupid.
What is “the hustle”? It’s the idea that you need to always be selling, always be moving and doing it all. You’re taking calls at 5am and working on vacation.
Always be selling.
I admit that when I first ventured into my own business I believed HARD in the hustle, I lived the hustle. I’d work late at night and through nap times, on weekends and every hour I could to get shit done. In my hustle defense, I did all of this while working from home with 3 tiny humans who needed my attention, and needed driving to school and activities. I really needed those evenings and weekends and hours in between to get things done.
I read articles on how to have it all, I wrote articles on trying to balance family and working from home. I really really tried.
Then two years ago I had a health crisis, and like most crises’ it makes you step back and reflect. I realized I was trying too hard and I needed to prioritize, and think. I’m working so hard with kids and “the hustle” and not getting a lot in return.
This is why the hustle is stupid.
The hustle doesn’t take into consideration of your values.
The reasons I decided to work from home were varied, but mostly at the time, it was because of the cost of childcare. I made the decision that I would set up a business at home and try and make money where I could. A “side-hustle.” My kids always came first, they’re the reason I had a home business.
Hustle wants you to be 24/7. To be making calls while changing a dirty diaper. To be running on the fumes of caffeine while running to the next meeting. You must be working working and never returning to your “why.” Why am I here, why is it 5am and I’m working and does this make sense to the life I want to live.
Hustle isn’t sustainable. Burnout is real and debilitating and avoidable.
The Hustle isn’t smart business
It’s midnight and you’re writing a blog post and tweeting and doing spreadsheets. While sometimes this is a necessary evil, especially when you’ve got small kids, you can’t be doing this every night.
Hustle doesn’t take into consideration long term planning. Hustle doesn’t care about growth (unless it’s a sale) or creative thinking. Sure when you’re kids are bigger and they’re at school you’ll have more time, but by then you’ve not been able to set up any systems, you’ve been working on little to no sleep for years and have had little to no time for creative thought or to experiment.
As a parent with young children who believed in the hustle, I worked late at night and took calls while changing diapers. I had a video conference call while a naked (still not sure how she managed that) kid walked into view.
Hustle gave me the start of a business. Hustle built the bones. But hustle didn’t build all the other pieces necessary for a business to grow. I simply didn’t have the time in the day to think out systems and exit plans and growth because the hustle took up all my time.
What’s better than Hustle?
The best thing you can do for your business isn’t sexy, there’s no mugs, no celebrity CEO’s. There’s no hustle.
While you may have to parent and do business at weird times (life has to go on), and your toddler may waddle in naked on your video conference call – there’s no hustle.
The best thing you can do is slow down. Slooooooooowwwww Down. Do not take on the extra client. Do NOT force yourself to work at midnight because entrepreneurs must hustle. Don’t believe the hype.
Instead, take on less, but be meticulous with your work. Be reliable. Find clients that align with your values and charge MORE because you’re excellent at what you do. Be the best in the business, know your worth and say no.
Work hard. Work smart. Create systems.
Don’t burn yourself out.