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20 Entrepreneurs Explain What Hustle Means To Them

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means.

We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses.

#1- Ownership of that objective

Photo Credit: Dafra Sanou

Hustling is seeing an end goal, and doing everything in one’s power to get there. It is complete ownership of that objective, and leveraging knowledge, relationships, elbow grease, the internet and Hail Marys to make it happen. It generally involves being resourceful, discounting fear, and refusing to use excuses. That said, hustle with no long-term strategy is only busywork. It hence also means delegating when needed, working on personal development, and knowing when to recharge to come back stronger. The road to the goal sometimes has a few turns, and a hustler knows when to embrace them.

Thanks to Dafra Sanou, JoSaBi Mariées Custom wedding dresses!


#2- A number of things

Photo Credit: Sophia Samuel

As the content Manager in my company, hustling is a quite complicated and wide term for me. Hustling means bringing all resources and devoting my time and soul to create the best content for my audience. Also, hustling means the act of selecting and managing a reputable content team. While both two stands, generally, hustling means creating a well and organized environment for my workers and myself.

Thanks to Sophia Samuel, Gecko Routes!


#3- Master observation

Photo Credit: Brittany Harris

To hustle means to identify your primary aim in business or life and to take relentless action toward those desires. In order to be a hustler, one must be a master observer who picks up on opportunities that others might miss or take for granted. This is especially important for small business owners. One must have a clear vision and strategically think about how their current resources can bring that vision to life. These resources can include people, finances, social media, and more. I think the most important component is to be persistent and to never take no for an answer. Even when it seems impossible, there’s always a way to make it happen.

Thanks to Brittany Harris, Bee Harris!


#4-Focus and action towards a goal

Photo Credit: John Lincoln

Hustle is so important for an entrepreneur. To me, it means unrelenting focus and action towards a goal that is critical to business success. If you need to restructure a department, build a new sales pipeline, make a client happy, solve an employee issue, the formula is the same. Identify the goal, identify what is standing in your way, create a list of all the ways you could solve the problem, rank them and systematically attack the issue until it is resolved. If you are going to be in business, sometimes you need to drop everything and hustle towards a goal. It is about running with full speed towards the solution that is going to make the business the most successful.

Thanks to John Lincoln, Ignite Visibility!


#5- Finding creative ways to get what you want

Photo Credit: Margo Schlossberg

Hustle to me means rather than taking no for an answer you have the strength and are hungry enough to ask for what you want. An example of this might be a small manufacturer (me) asking for a lower cost of goods and trying to work together as a team to figure out a solution to a problem. (cost is prohibitive.) Hustle means always asking for what you want and finding creative ways to get it. It means building mutually beneficial relationships and helping others so that they want to help you as well. Hustle means being able to readjust expectations on the fly in order to keep from getting discouraged.

Thanks to Margo Schlossberg, KuraDesign Handbags!


#6- To never stop

Photo Credit: Zhaneta Gechev

You have to make progress every day, regardless if big or small. I am a strong believer that consistency and determination would equate to success. It is important to keep your motivation up and never burn out quickly. In order to keep your momentum going and the feeling of accomplishment, you need to make progress on at least one thing every single day. I believe a consistent person would outperform an avid hustler in the long run. Yes, you will produce results slower, but you would not burn out.

Thanks to Zhaneta Gechev, OneStopLifeInsurance!


#7- Building relationships

As a consultant to a number of healthcare service businesses, hustle means proactively making connections and building relationships, often well before there is actual work engagement. The business landscape has become increasingly competitive for consultants and other individuals that seek to work with clients to improve their business performance. Mass-email campaigns and social media blasts from competitors make it difficult to get the attention of potential business prospects. So, to really gain customer attention and build the right relationships, you need to hustle and get out from behind your desk – attend conferences, create face-to-face meetings, etc. And most importantly, work to provide value without initially expecting anything in return. You have to prove your worth before clients will hand you their business, particularly when your asset is your experience and knowledge.

Thanks to Michael Roub, Inflection 360!


#8- Being more than just busy

Photo Credit: Maria Marquis

Hustle is such an easy trap to fall into. Hustle can be a disguise for tackling a large amount of unimportant tasks, spreading yourself too thin, burning out for short term gains at the expense of long term sustainability and well-being. Being busy isn’t enough. Hustle only works if you’re learning and optimizing every day. What worked, and how can I do more of it? Where was I at my best? How can I make more room for the tasks that really lit me up, and how can I make the things I dread feel more like the things I love. With this mindset, you can get more effective and efficient every day. Hustle without direction and improvement is just busywork.

Thanks to Maria Marquis, Coaching by Maria!


#9- A state of mind

Photo Credit: Dylan Houlihan

Having hustle means you’re willing to do the things that other people aren’t in order to make your dreams a reality. You’re willing to get up earlier. You’re willing to stay in on a Friday night to push your business further. You’re willing to do what it takes to be successful, even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. And most importantly, having hustle means consistently showing up, even when you don’t feel like it.

Thanks to Dylan Houlihan, Swift Salary!


#10-  Long term consistency

Photo Credit: Elliot Blackler

Our company is still in its infancy so it’s easy to get carried away with 14 hour work days. But hustle is more and more about long term consistent work. We’ve moved to more flexible working hours so that our teams can find a routine that suits their needs and helps them be more productive. Personally, I believe that giving yourself and your team a chance to detox your brain helps improve your productivity long term rather than focusing
on short term intense work bursts.

Thanks to Elliot Blackler, Evopure!


#11- An inextricable part of the experience

Photo Credit: Grant Aldrich

For an entrepreneur, hustling is like breathing, eating or drinking water. It’s an inextricable part of the experience, and keeps you alive. So much of being a successful founder is making the opportunities happen, whether that’s a client deal, hiring the perfect team member, or getting the necessary capital from investors. Nothing happens if you sit around and wait.

Thanks to Grant Aldrich, OnlineDegree.com!


#12- Tenacity

Photo Credit: Kathleen Almy

Entrepreneurs have to be tenacious and unwavering in their dedication to the company reaching its potential. They can’t be easily put off by the word no. Think of each no as a not right now or not yet. My motto is if I can’t go through you, I’ll go around you (ethically, morally, and legally of course). But I’m not easily deterred when something doesn’t happen exactly the way I want or on my timetable. That doesn’t mean I’m stubborn to a fault. If we’ve given something a truly good faith effort and iterated to improve and something is still not successful, it’s time to figure out why and what can be learned. That lesson is invaluable and can provide some knowledge or insight that may pay off in other ways. My business is in an industry that makes it tough to be a new kid without a massive foundation backing us. But I know what we provide, how high quality it is, and how we offer something that isn’t available in the marketplace. I remember that when I get repeatedly told no. There’s usually a yes at some point and as cliche as it sounds, things often work out the way they’re meant to.

Thanks to Kathleen Almy, Almy Education!


#13- Getting the results

Photo Credit: James Canzanella

Hustle means doing what I need to get done in the allotted time frame that I have set for myself. Contrary to what others happen to say, hustling is not always about working 24/7 as that’s an easy way to get burned out while losing energy, motivation, and focus. It’s also not about just being busy and doing random activities. At the end of the day, your hustle is only as good as the results that they produce.

Thanks to James Canzanella, IM Nights!


#14- Its a way of life

Photo Credit: Oliver Andrews

Hustle to me means to do everything within my means to make sure I succeed. Although the hustle never stops, as a business owner hustling is especially important when you first start the entrepreneurial journey. For me, this meant that whilst I was working a full-time job I would have to fit in networking in the early mornings and late evenings. I would have to cold call people after a full day’s work only to face rejection time after time. I would have to constantly look for new and unique ways to contact business owners to help make myself stand out from the crowd. I would have to constantly evolve and learn new skills because being the business owner you have to do everything! Hustling means early mornings and late nights, it means that when your friends are out having a good time you have to resist the temptation and continue the daily grind. For an entrepreneur, hustling is not a choice, its a way of life.

Thanks to Oliver Andrews, OA Design Services!


#15 – Getting in a deep flow

Photo Credit: Paul Strobel

Hustle for me means to get up early, plug in my headphones, put on a podcast and get into a deep flow where I forget time and space. Often, I end up not listening to the podcast at all but at the end of the day, that’s how I measure the efficiency of the day’s work. When I get in a deep flow, I love track of time and everything else around me.

Thanks to Paul Strobel, ERideHero!


#16- Forcing something to happen

Photo Credit: Justin Silva

For me, hustle is forcing something to happen despite the odds, obstacles or previous failures. For example, we’re trying to innovate in the hardware business. We’re working hard toward launching our second generation of hardware. It’s not by chance that there’s this saying that hardware is hard. It IS hard. With the odds stacked against us, having failed before, and with no guarantee of success, we are going to do it anyway.

Thanks to Justin Silva, Momentum IoT!


#17- Drive to succeed

Photo Credit: Brandon Amoroso

To me hustle means putting your all into your work and being involved in all aspects of your business. It took a lot of work and determination to create my business and I want it to be the best it can possibly be. For that reason I feel along with many other business owners that hustle means the drive to succeed and further your understanding of your specific industry in an effort to rise above the competition.

Thanks to Brandon Amoroso, electrIQ marketing!


#18- Dedication to action

Photo Credit: Ivy Slater

I have a degree in dance and was a dancer for many years, so I always think of the song Do The Hustle from the ’70s and steps we used to dance to it. It had flow, movement, and in dance, there is always dedication. The hustle of business can be fun, just like dancing, and the thing to remember is to keep moving and stay in action. Even if you miss a step, get right back into it. When we keep moving, we get things done and we feel accomplished.

Thanks to Ivy Slater, Slater Success!


#19- Being able to think on your feet.

Photo Credit: Samuel Tang

Whether you’re a business owner or a junior, quick decisions making is critical. People often make the mistake of assuming hustling is as an act of physical activity, but it can be a mental process as well. Whether you’re working on a tight deadline, a big project, or simply responding to your client, you don’t want to miss a beat. Of course, there’s also a difference between hustling and rushing — a mistake you don’t want to make.

Thanks to Samuel Tang, Joy Creations!


#20- Putting in the work when you don’t want to ✊

Photo Credit: Michael Alexis

Hustle is a willingness to put in the work, even when you may not want to. For example, I am willing to throw out dozens of hours of work and start-over if it means I can make a project even 10% better. Hustle is also putting in the hours. There is no definitive time for this, you just know it when you see it. For example, five hours per week wouldn’t be hustling for someone with no other major commitments, while 55 hours might be.

Thanks to Michael Alexis, Team Building!


What does hustle mean to you? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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