There is a reason why I call myself the anti-hustle entrepreneur.
I firmly believe that the hustle mindset is toxic, and it can quickly lead to burnout for most people. Plus most entrepreneurs I would venture to say started their own business for time freedom, and to escape, “working for the man.”
I can tell you from personal experience that burning the candle at both ends doesn’t necessarily yield results. Even if you do get better results with more hours, it will come at a cost.
There are three primary lies the Hustle Culture preaches. Those lies are as follows:
- More hours = better, faster results
- I have to work harder than my competitors
- The harder I work the more successful I will be
But there is also one truth that debunks all these lies. I will cover that last.
First let’s unpack each one of those lies in a bit of detail.
More hours equals better, faster results
The idea that working more hours will yield faster results is pervasive in the hustle culture. The idea is that if it takes X number of hours to start a business, I can get that done in a shorter time horizon, if I simply pack more hours into the day.
It never works out that way though. Sure, we all need the occasional work sprint to get a project done, but living this as a lifestyle will only lead to burnout.
Consider this as well. Let’s say you are packing in 15 hours of work per day. How many of those hours are actually PRODUCTIVE hours? What percentage of them were spent producing actual work vs. simply browsing social media, or making social posts the SEEM productive, but in the long run are not actually that helpful.
You are much better off working smarter, not longer and harder. Because oftentimes hard work efforts are spent on low value tasks such as: checking email, research, browsing social media, and other seemingly important tasks.
A better approach would be to get a reasonable amount of FOCUSED work done in a shorter time frame.
Let me put it this way. Spending six hours per day on highly important tasks gets you more traction than 15 hours of sporadic unintentional work. Even if those 15 hours were filled with valuable tasks, chances are you will be sacrificing other aspects of your life.
I have to work harder than my competitors
This lie is predicated on a limited mindset. It assumes that if people don’t buy from me, they will buy from my competitor. While that is true, it also doesn’t take into account just how large of a business you can have with only a minuscule portion of the market purchasing from you.
An abundance mindset sees clearly that there is a sea of customers out there, and you only need to tap into a small portion of them to be successful.
Your focus shouldn’t be outworking your competitors, it should be out serving them. If you can serve your customers in a deep meaningful way, that will go much further than a pretty Instagram account or website.
Try to think of it this way: What are the essential ingredients to creating a successful business? More than likely it’s actually a VERY short list if you are honest with yourself.
Rather than trying to one up your competition, try to narrow your focus to the WILDLY important aspects of your business and just focus on that.
The harder I work the more successful I will become
Maybe that is true to some degree, but it comes at a cost.
Take Gary Vaynerchuk for example. He is hell-bent on building wealth and one day owning the New York Jets. A very wild ambitious goal to say the least, but burning the midnight oil comes at a cost.
I’m not Gary, but I just know that if I’m working 15 hours a day, I will have very little time left over to divide between self care, family, and sleep. And not paying attention to those other domains of my life will spell disaster in more than one way.
Overworking can also lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Aside from the life risks that come with hustle and grind. Profit is not always the outcome.
I actually did an experiment in my previous business Bearded Brothers. I went through a season of Hustle, where I worked extra hours, traveled a lot to meet retailers and vendors, and yet it didn’t move the needle.
Entrepreneurs would be wise to take a step back and think REALLY hard about how big their business needs to be.
Would you rather have a business where you are the only or one of a few employees that nets $200,000 a year, or would you rather have a LARGE multi seven figure company that is burning cash, and struggling to stay afloat because of the massive amounts of overhead.
Too much growth can actually kill a business. Growth for the sake of growth is rarely good.
The Truth is Your Mind needs REST
Living by the hustle mindset doesn’t give our mind enough time to rest.
In order to perform cognitively demanding tasks, our mind needs to take a break.
Just like our bodies need rest from exercise, the same is true for our mind. A runner, for example, isn’t going to run with full intensity every single day. Likewise, a weight lifter isn’t going to just focus on his arms every time he goes to the gym.
Athletes build in rest and recovery time from their workouts. Entrepreneurs need to do the same for their mind, so that they can come to the table rested each and every day.
My days have a wind down ritual baked into them, where I close out all my open loops and assess how the day went. This allows me to go home every night, be present for my family, and allows my mind to get the rest it needs to function at its peak.
When you do this, you can get MORE work done in less time. You don’t have to hustle and burn the candle at both ends to be successful.
Think long and hard about the life you REALLY want to live.
Consider that you don’t have to build a huge seven figure business to live a fulfilling life. In fact, having a smaller business is probably better for your health and even your wealth in the long run.
It’s totally possible to build a successful thriving business by working LESS than what society tells us we need to be working. The hustle culture breaths lies that can be detrimental to entrepreneurs.
So, consider working smarter, and not harder. Learn to rest more and master distraction. You can grow your business just as successfully as the person grinding themselves into the ground, just so long as you can focus and be intentional with the hours you do put in.
Photo Credit: Victoria Heath