For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hustling it out. Most of my entire adult life has been one of a workaholic chasing business growth with as little financial investment as possible.
I used to frequently say, “Time doesn’t cost you money.”
I’m proud of my hard work. I really am. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish in the last 12 years.
However, as I’m firmly in my 30’s and feel a bit wiser, I can look back on the last decade and see how I could’ve done some things differently.
One of those things is what I call hustle worship.
Hustle worship is what bro marketers like Gary Vaynerchuk (aka Gary Vee) do. It’s truly a cornerstone of their brand, and it’s incredibly toxic.
And for those of you who don’t know what bro marketing is, it essentially is a type of aspiration marketing that shoves in your face inflated imagery or statements to put your focus on a future desirable (house, car, etc.) or a value that you just can’t miss out on.
In general, I find this style of marketing to be overly aggressive and inauthentic at best.
At worst, it’s downright dangerous to your health and happiness.
People like Gary will say things I do truly appreciate, like how you shouldn’t compare yourself to someone else’s success. Then they’ll blow any of my appreciation away with advice to young adults like putting your head down and working your business for the next 10 years is all you need to do.
No vacation, no kids, no dating, no nice car, no new phone, no downtime.
Not only is it incredibly toxic to neglect every single need or desire for an entire decade of your life…
It’s also a lie.
There are a million reasons that hard work alone isn’t all you need to succeed. To grow a thriving business, you need at the very least:
- Proof of concept (essentially, evidence outside of your own opinion that your idea is a good one)
- Market research
- A basic business plan
- Financial resources
- Strategic, consistent action
Bro marketers like Gary Vee would have you believe that you can start a business you love selling whatever you think is a good idea, and as long as you work hard for the next 10 years, you’ll be successful.
They’re selling the idea that you can have the dream life and the flashy car and the part-time job that makes you millions… if you just give up 10 years (or more) to work hard.
This is exactly what bro marketing is. Bro marketers packaging up their toxic advice and selling it using bro marketing tactics.
It’s aspirational marketing that focuses more on dangling these dream things in front of you (or teaching you to dangle them in front of others) than it does on telling you the hard truths about business.
- You’re going to fail a lot, and if you don’t look at those failures and learn something from them, you’re going to waste your time.
- You have to invest in yourself. You’ll either invest a decade of time into something or a few thousand dollars (as an example). One way or another, you’re going to pay.
- Sometimes your idea does actually suck. You need to be willing to put things on the back burner or abandon them completely.
- You have to do the market research, make a business plan, create an actual strategy, and map out attainable goals.
- You’re probably not going to be the next “big thing.” It doesn’t mean you won’t reach your highest income goals or achieve your dreams.
- You’re going to have to hustle, which might mean long hours or weekends you sometimes don’t get off, but if you don’t create a schedule that allows for life and family and self-care, none of it matters. You’ll either burn out or look back with regret.
Hustle worship is real, and it’s toxic.
If we’re ever going to build businesses in a real, sustainable way, we have to stop worshipping the idea of the hustle.
Because success isn’t about how much money you have.
Chantell Glenville wrote a great article about Gary Vee. In it she talks about defining your success as more than just how much money you’re making or how big your business is. Her idea of success, she says, focuses on, “whether I have freedom, whether I’m learning, whether I’m happy and whether I’m helping people.”
Over the past 12 years my idea of success has changed from a money focus to a freedom focus.
Am I using my talent and experience to help and serve?
Am I pushing myself to always be learning?
Am I happy? Deep in the gut, truly happy?
And instead of how much money am I making, do I have financial freedom?
During that time I’ve done so many things, from writing and marketing copywriting and business building to business selling and, now, running a social media marketing agency and a marketing coaching business.
I don’t regret my hustle, but if I were to do it again, I’d tell myself to take the weekend off, invest as early as I can, outsource asap, put down the Tim Ferris book, turn the phone off on vacation, and focus more on working intentionally than on just working hard.
I still believe in the power of hustle, but there’s so much more to success than that.
Let’s stop being a slave to the hustle and start building sustainable success.