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Innovate Your Hustle

I've hustled poorly for most of my life. If you are anything like me, you've heard the term, "hustle," tossed around like a bottomless salad with delicious breadsticks from Olive Garden. Maybe you've even attempted to apply some hustle to your game by picking up a side job, working another gig that you can do online or from home, etc.

Typically, these "hustles" turn into a salve that we can use to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. Too often they never really ever accomplish anything. In addition, we'll take the mantra to "work smarter, not harder" mean that we shouldn't really be working that hard and the result is a lot of wasted time and money while we look for the easy way to achieve our goals. These approaches are inefficient and disappointing at best.

(My) Definiton - hus*tle (/həsəl/, verb, noun) = A lifestyle of hard work, perseverance in the face of adversity, and the willingness to invest the blood and sweat necessary to get where we want to go.

There are a lot of Millennials that have the willingness and grit to hustle these days. More and more frequently, we're seeing Millennials accomplish incredible things. Businesses are being started, fortunes are being made, and causes are finding the voices to bring them the awareness they need to fly. While there might be a need to convince individuals of the importance of hustle, that's a topic for another post. What I'd like to talk about today is the importance of being innovative in your hustle.

What does that even mean?

It means that when you hustle, you must hustle differently than anyone else in your industry. See, so many people are hustling and working to break into the field that they want to be in these days (and many of these are referencing the same how-to articles) that the market is becoming saturated with people all trying the same exact thing. As a result, practices that used to result in amazing sales or client responses don't anymore. Logically, the next step is that many entrepreneurs fail or get discouraged and leave businesses that have incredible potential on the table. In order to avoid being another failed business statistic, you must find a way to do what you do differently than anyone else.

How do I innovate?

This topic alone could fill volumes, and it doesn't make sense for me to tell you how to do something after stressing the importance of your figuring it out for yourself. Instead of trying to help nail down innovative approaches to hustling, I'll try to provide some principles that will help you through the planning stages. Hopefully, these principles will lead you down the path to something new and fresh for your brand.

Work Harder

We've all heard the phrase, "work smarter, not harder." There's a lot of merit to that statement, but too frequently it is used as an excuse to avoid working hard. The true key to progress is to work very hard, smartly. 

How can we apply this to our hustle? Spend some time looking for areas of opportunity that require a lot of work. Typically, these areas don't require a lot of difficult preparation or engagement, they are just something that takes time to accomplish. In this technologically advanced, social media-centric age that we live in, much of your competition won't be devoting the time required to accomplish this task. As a result, the field is wide open for you! Once you recognize one of these avenues that you can take, get on it! Embrace grassroots, guerrilla tactics. Embrace niches and demographics that you may have previously never recognized! Doing so will open doors you never even realized were closed.

Read Their Minds

I've been married for 13 years now, so I realize this sounds incredibly daunting, but I promise you that it's simpler than you think. Ready? Here it is...people are selfish. Before you launch into grandiose descriptions of Mother Theresa and her like, hear me out. When I say that people are selfish, I simply mean that people unconsciously tend to put their needs and desires first. Every decision ever made is made out of this reality. Granted, frequently there are people that are selfless in their actions, but I'll wager that even then their actions are coming from an unspoken, deep seated desire. They might want the pleasure that comes from helping someone less fortunate, the attention or feeling of importance that comes from providing something that someone can't provide for themselves, or the attention that selfless acts tend to garner.

So, in preparing your hustle, you need to study your target market, sales calls, and clients. This might be difficult to do on a macro basis, so make it an individually focused proposition. Do some research! Stalk your next meeting on social media. See what they are about, what they are trying to accomplish, what they want, and tailor your next discussion to focus on meeting the needs your research indicates are probable.

Through this approach, you'll be much more personable and prepared and will have a much greater chance of making a positive impression. This will certainly help your hustle become different than the majority ( of those that won't take the time to do the research) and that's the whole goal, right?

Stop Being Selfish

Do more than you are supposed to. If you pay much attention to the business landscape, you'll notice that there aren't many industries left where you can act however you want, provide what you feel like providing, and still thrive without fear of competition taking you over. These days, you have to provide more than you ever have before and you have to do it gladly.

How do you feel when you get more than you expected? From the musical supply website that sends hard candy with each order to the custom jewelry provider that provides a handwritten note thanking each client for their order, we are always excited for something more. 

If you want to grow your business or client base, think about ways you can provide unexpected value. This could be videos, a podcast, or a blog that helps your client get a better understanding of their purchase. It could be incredible follow-up after a sale, it could be branding that wows clients with every purchase, it could be anything!

Figure out a way to authentically provide additional value and your clients will love it! Your clients and their satisfaction is the most valuable thing you have as an entrepreneur, show your appreciation and they'll be shouting your praises long after they've made their purchase. You can't buy marketing like that!

Get Excited

Remember when you where first getting started and EVERYTHING about what you were doing was exciting? You couldn't help but geek out about every new trick you learned, every deal you made, and every thing that you did that related in some way to the business you were building. That level of excitement is captivating to clients! Recapture your excitement for your product or your brand and convert that excitement into energy and momentum.

Go forth and Innovate

These are just a few tips and ideas to think about as you evaluate your progress. Work hard. Hustle. Study people, business, and sales tips. Get out and implement what you read. Too often, human nature sticks us behind a keyboard or with our noses buried in books for hours on end when the best course of action is to simply go and DO. So, GO!

Once you have gone, come back and let me know how things are going! What's worked for you and what hasn't? Leave me some comments or shoot me a message so we can chat!

I love connecting with people and can't wait to talk about your dreams, accomplishments, and hustle! To sign up for my newsletter, bebop on and leave your email address. I hope to hear from you soon!

Until then...

michael