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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life Is A Hustle

"Hustlin, Hustlin, Hustlin" the famous lyrics from the song Everyday I'm Hustlin by rapper Rick Ross. But no, I am not talking about rap hustlin in this post. This post focuses on the "hustle factor" that every entrepreneur must have to become successful.

Hustle or die pic | www.thefittestblogger.com
photo: Spreadshirt

On my path to become the ultimate start-up guru and investor, I have crossed paths with many CEOs, investors, and entrepreneurs who did more than just business development. They grinded and hustled their way to meeting the right people, getting the right eyes to see their product, and recruiting top prospects to add to their team.

And earlier this year I did a short stint as an intern at the start-up incubator 1776. I learned a number of things while I was there. Some meaningful, some not so meaningful.

One day During a Drink-and-Learn session, I did learn something meaningful. Over discussion about the "hustle factor," which I heard about numerous times in my undergraduate days back at University of Maryland.

But I never really absorbed the meaning until the discussion that day.

To be a hustler you have to officially and psychologically move out of the comfort zone and into the basement of ambiguity. You're never going to have all the answers, but its your job as the founder, co-founder, or leader to figure out what works.

If you want to find your user versus buyers, then you don't just send out a cold emails and links to online surveys. You go to where your target market is at and you take your pen, paper, or tablet and you ask the right questions.

You avoid asking leading questions, because that will lead to confirmation bias. You ask the right questions such as "How can I make this product worth your time? " not " Do you like this feature or that feature better?" If your'e asking questions like the second one, then you my friend are setting yourself up to fail fast.

Hustling includes being able to spend as little money as possible, but learning fast from from your success of failures. If your burn rate is fast, then chances are your company will fail. But at moment with little cash and zero marketing budget, creativity becomes your best friend.

You'll will be forced to learn gurilla tactics in marketing, fundraising, and signing up potential customers. You'll hustle hard to stop spending and finding cost effective strategies to keep your company afloat until you start seeing revenue or take outside investments.

Being a hustler means that you must adopt the Dan mindset. For those who do not know what the Dan  acronym stands for, it means;
Do Anything Necessary to get the job done.
I will repeat this by saying, a hustler will do anything necessary. Not anything necessary and illegal. Don't go cooking up numbers and committing fraudulent crimes to "fake it till you make it." You'll just be hurting yourself in the long run when due diligence becomes a necessary step in your future.

Hustlers measure results and constantly test assumptions. Here is a secret to being a good entrepreneur and hustler. You..

A/b testing will never end, and a good hustler knows this. He or she will use this info to support the pitch, promotion, and networking of their company or idea.

Lastly but not the least is consistent and efficient networking. Networking is key for every company. Not just the start-ups, even established companies have employees who are effective networks and are able to bring in the large deals and pertinent partners.

Even if you're an introvert, you must be able to to get from behind the computer screen and talk to someone new. You must make it to those nightly events after a long day at work and listen to the bullsh*t of others. 

You don't get the diamond in the rough by waiting around for someone to talk to you. You must push through the awkward pauses and persevere through you're anxieties.

And always be genuine when networking. Seasoned vets at the hustle game know when someone is bullshi**ng them. 

Don't be a poor listener or questioner
You do not always have to go into a conversation in hopes of pitching your concept. Get to know them. Connect or become a connector. Not everyone is going to buy into your vision. But you'll never know if one day you'll need their expertise or connections. So take the opportunity to get to know strangers.

Networking is not only an in-person concept. You can drive engaging conversations via LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, and Slideshare. Creators of such post are always willing to talk just as long as you're not trying to sell them something.

Take my lessons learned and make them your own. Go out there and hustle your ass off. Get out of your own way and become the entrepreneur you've always wanted to be.

hustlin pic - www.thefittestblogger.com

Did I miss anything? If not, then I'd appreciate it if you share.

Or comment below.

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