As the story goes, after Neil Patel got offstage from speaking to 2500 marketers at a large business conference, he was approached by a woman who essentially accused him of lying about his hustle.
“C’mon Neil. You know the best way to be successful is to be born to rich parents. Look at Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Chelsea Clinton. If you didn’t go to Harvard or Stanford, you’re locked out of the club.”
What this woman hadn’t heard from Neil’s speech, despite his best efforts to share his strategies for growing successful companies like Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, KISSMetrics, and most recently Quick Sprout was how he had hustled his way from being an amusement park bathroom attendant to successfully making over $20,000 a month as a teenager through consulting. Only to go into over $1 million in debt before 20 and re-launching into what his career is now as one of the most sought-after marketers alive.
Lucky for us, and for the woman who knocked the hustle, Neil Patel has teamed up with New York Times bestselling author Patrick Vlaskovits and successful entrepreneur Jonas Koffler on a new book called Hustle, all about finding success and fearlessly beating status quo systems.
In the book, they share dozens of strategies, stories, and experiments to try in improving how you hustle, and below I share just a few of my favorites:
1. Identifying and Escaping the “Cycle Of Suck”
As entrepreneurs, certain things are out of our control but can deprive us of the ability to succeed in our work if we don’t escape their influences. Perhaps you are working hard but not really getting anywhere.
Say you sell lower-priced items in your business, or do coaching and consulting on an hourly basis rather than charging more and working with less clients. Even better, say you discount heavily to earn new business. If you aren’t careful, you may work extremely hard to get customers that leave little room for profit, require lots of customer support and administrative work, and never provide you enough cash flow at once to grow the company.
Understanding the possible “Cycles of Suck” you’re threatened with in your industry, ecosystem, and lifestyle is crucial to hustling harder. Maybe your parents are pushing you towards a path of expensive college classes that are applicable towards the career that you wish to take, from which the debt will cripple your ability to make long-term decisions or take entrepreneurial-minded risks later on, forcing you into a corporate ladder climb that’s not fun nor fast.
Each of us are faced with possible “Cycles of Suck”, but if you identify them early you can make decisions to avoid them so your hustle is highly rewarded later on.
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews
2. Practicing Small Doses of Pain
When you work out, you’re actually breaking down your muscles so they can grow back stronger than before. We understand this principle already, and realize that putting ourselves through regimented pain doses at a small scale can lead to increased resiliency later on.
However, we don’t always do this to ourselves in business or in our lives outside the gym (if we go to the gym at all). If there’s someone who annoys us to our wit’s end, we don’t attempt to compliment them once per week until our relationship improves. We don’t make twenty sales calls each day to prospects that may be slightly out of reach for our company, yet could provide great feedback on our sales process and product or service we’re providing.
Overall, we rarely change our routines and habits because doing so would be uncomfortable and therefore painful, even if it could improve our help, grow revenue in our businesses, and strengthen our professional and personal relationships.
The authors of Hustle suggest picking one tiny habit that is small, “slightly annoying or odd”, and provides long-term benefit and implementing it in the next week. After that, repeat.
3. Take More Chances
Many of us, myself included, hustle on some projects for too long without sharing them with potential customers and/or the public. By doing this, we limit our chances of hitting a homerun in business because we are taking less “at bats”.
Imagine if one YouTube channel only posted videos once every four months, yet they were of movie quality. Imagine another channel that posted daily videos at a slightly less-produced quality that were still worth watching.
As Casey Neistat’s channel has shown us, the second example will win because there are more opportunities for that content creator to have a video go viral, and with each “at bat”, the creator is racking up new views, subscribers, and total watch time on videos overall. If we run more controlled experiments as entrepreneurs, we have better chances at succeeding.
4. Seal The Deal and Make It Real
There are a lot of us who work extremely hard, yet don’t progress as fast as we’d like because we don’t make things official. In sales, we build relationships but never ask for a client’s business, and when they do agree to work with us verbally, we hesitate in getting a signed contract and wire transfer from them.
The concept of sealing the deal and making it real is all about forcing those whom you interact with to transact with you. It takes away talking and replaces it with doing.
If you want to write a book, don’t talk about doing so for months, or wait for the right inspirational muse to come your way. Set your alarm for 4:30 am and write until 8 am for one week. Share your work with a friend who doubles as an accountability partner. Now you’ve written multiple chapters of your book!
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
5. Reverse Engineer The Success You Seek
Depending on your goals, you may be able to reverse engineer the process it will take to get there in record time. In a two-step process, you can fact-check yourself from wasting time if there are pre-existing or interesting solutions to problems you’re looking to solve.
First, ask yourself, “Am I framing the problem correctly?” If you are waiting for a taxi at an airport, and there is a long line, the problem isn’t necessarily the wait time, but rather the need for a vehicle to transport you to your destination. You don’t therefore have to be attached to the solution of waiting in that taxi line.
Next, see if you can determine all potential solutions, including unconventional options. In the taxi example above, perhaps you can still wait in line and get a taxi still. Or, you can order from a ride-sharing service, skip the line somehow, walk towards another transportation source like buses or other taxi lines, etc. There are always multiple ways to solve a problem, and unconventional solutions may provide faster, easier, and higher return successes.