It happened again.
You’ve been hustling like crazy for the past several months.
This pattern goes on until you crash and burn.
So you try something different.
You’re ready to FAST FORWARD to the good part and press PAUSE on this vicious cycle.
That lucrative, success-filled lifestyle should be here by now, right?! You know… the one all those online business gurus PROMISED was right around the corner.
But the only thing you’re seeing is more and more work and less and less energy. You think to yourself, “I must be doing this WRONG!”
I’m here to tell you:
There’s nothing wrong with YOU. You’ve just been receiving download after download of unsustainable information. You’re torn between two philosophies about the best way to get from where you currently are to where you want to be.
Entrepreneurship can feel like uncharted territory.
So, when you see someone who has quote-unquote “made it,” you understandably want to believe that their wisdom and guidance will work for you too!
The problem is that most of these “experts” share extreme ideologies, and they tend to fall into two camps:
“Hustle Culture” Fans. The folks with bumper stickers that read, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” They hustle 24/7/365 and have one speed: PRODUCTIVE.
Or the “Anti-Hustle” Rebels. These are the ones who promise you can magically manifest your way to millions while sipping Pina Coladas on the beach.
In reality, there is a sweet spot right in between that nobody’s talking about yet.
Today, I’m going to debunk not just one but TWO common myths in the online business world.
Plus, I’ll teach you how to find a balance between these two extremes in your creative business.
“Hustle culture” is toxic.
I do not subscribe.
I am not a fan.
“Hustle culture” is a mindset and way of living where your WORK becomes such a priority in your life that you sacrifice everything else.
It’s an obsession with productivity just for productivity’s sake that leaves you constantly chasing for MORE (and with this approach, “more” is never enough). It disables your mental, physical, and emotional health, and you start to attribute your worth and value exclusively to your work or business.
When you subscribe to “hustle culture,” you put work on a pedestal and everything else on the backburner. It can cause you to lose touch with the other parts of your life that makes up the human experience, like hobbies, family, friends, and self-care.
Let’s look at a real success story brought to you by “Hustle Culture”:
Jamie Kern Lima, founder of IT cosmetics.
I recently read her book, “Believe IT.” In the book, Lima talks about how she started as a struggling waitress and eventually built an insanely successful company, IT Cosmetics. She went on to sell her company for BILLIONS – yes, with a B– to Revlon and eventually became the first female CEO in Revlon’s history.
It’s easy to SEE the end result of Lima’s journey: glamor, success, and achievement.
But pull back the curtain, and you’ll find a whole lot of unsustainable hustling.
For years she:
Eventually, Lima embodied “hustle culture” so much that she basically moved into the hotel across from QVC to be on call all hours of the day!
We look at people like Lima and see where they’re at and the success they have now. But we don’t see the years where they struggled to BUILD the company.
Disclaimer: NO shade to Jamie Kern Lima at all! I’m grateful for the transparency she provides in her book. While her route to success was full of non-stop hustle, I think she is hugely inspirational and impactful.
Hustling like this may have WORKED for Lima and thousands of others, but she openly shares that it came at an extremely high cost.
I think we can do better.
Despite what we know about the importance of balance in our lives, many entrepreneurs continue to fall into the trap that is “hustle culture.” They come to believe that if they aren’t constantly pushing, they’ll never achieve success.
They hustle non-stop…until they burn out!
This can be so disheartening because instead of realizing the system is flawed, new entrepreneurs tend to think there’s something wrong with them that is preventing them from keeping up!
Some people will stay committed to that hustle mindset, while others respond to stories like Lima’s differently.
The negative impact of “hustle culture” fueled a new wave of entrepreneurship. These people rejected the idea that you had to work yourself to the bone to reach success. And so, the anti-hustle movement was born.
The “Anti-Hustle Movement” pushes against everything that “hustle culture” stands for. While there are some solid principles and beliefs at the core of this philosophy, too much of a good thing leads to an unsustainable work approach.
The antithesis of “hustle culture” is APATHY.
On the flip side of the “hustle culture” coin is another toxic work culture that preaches:
”Day 1 of entrepreneurship can and should look like THIS”
As a new entrepreneur, this all sounds too good to be true, right?
You jump up proclaiming:
SIGN ME UP!
We all want that magic fairy dust, the secret sauce, the “it” factor that the entrepreneurs we idolize seem to have unlocked overnight so we can ditch the hustle once and for all.
Sorry to burst your bubble…
but it SEEMS too good to be true because…
It IS too good to be true.
And yet somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed the online business “gurus” to use their smoke and mirrors to convince us otherwise.
Why are so many gurus, influencers, and coaches preaching this “anti-hustle” philosophy?
Because it’s the season they’re in now.
Don’t get me wrong. It is fantastic that some of these entrepreneurs have found success and are in a place TODAY where they have more ease in their lives and can inspire their audience to strive towards that goal.
Others, however, say “ease and alignment” but hustle around like crazy in the background to keep the illusion going. The word “hustle” has become taboo, and they want to keep up appearances.
Either way, they’re selling the destination, not the map to get there.
Even worse, they’re deceptive (whether they intend to be or not). This messaging pushes the notion that work SHOULD be easy or that hard work SHOULD NOT be required at all (umm, what?!).
If that’s not your experience (it sure as heck isn’t mine…), you assume the problem must lie with YOU or your business.
That is SO false!
I know for a fact every one of these people who’ve made it had to put in some elbow grease to find the success they currently enjoy (or appear to enjoy). Whether they want to admit it or not, the success they’ve achieved and the current anti-hustle lifestyle they now enjoy as a result, required hustle at critical points in their journey.
The difference is, many of these entrepreneurs have been at it a while! They hustled, failed, and put the time in early on to enjoy the more relaxed lifestyle they have now.
Take entrepreneur and podcast host, Jenna Kutcher, for example. She does not encourage hustle culture, but is transparent about how much she DID have to hustle early on when she was first starting out as a wedding photographer.
Her mission is literally, “to help others do what they love (without it taking over their life).”
I admire Jenna Kutcher tremendously. Today, she talks a lot about finding balance in life and work. She believes in this so wholeheartedly, she even blocked out time for a traditional maternity leave when she had her baby to be totally present. She wants this for others too!
However, Jenna worked really hard at the beginning!
She hustled for years, put smooth automations and workflows in place, hired a team of experts, and built a thriving business through multiple courses. These are all things you can eventually have too, but they don’t happen overnight.
Today Jenna works hard to cut through the noise and help other entrepreneurs find their way to a balanced life in business, but none of us can compare our STEP ONE with her STEP TEN.
You’ve probably fallen into one or both of these “camps” at one point or another.
We all have!
It’s easy to get caught up in the flawed logic that the more you work, the more success you’ll find, so you burn the midnight oil to squeeze in just one more client project.
Hustling non-stop leaves you exhausted, defeated, and unsuccessful.
Understandably you pivot your approach. Instead, you become captivated by the shiny, glamorous words your favorite entrepreneurs are spewing about working fewer hours, relaxing more, and not hustling at all.
You try it out (because, after all, they seem really successful and happy)
But only working three days a week, lounging on a tropical beach (on a vacation that’s a bit out of reach financially when you’re just starting out), and wishing your way to success isn’t working as promised. Somehow, this approach isn’t creating the lucrative, sustainable success you expected.
I get it…
You don’t want to become a work-zombie who eats, drinks, and sleeps your business.
AND you also want a successful business that allows you to prioritize and enjoy your life outside of work.
It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing…
I think this quote sums up how I feel about hustle and rest in business:
“Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.” – Colin Wright
There’s a time and place for taking sides. But I don’t believe you need to take an all-or-nothing approach to your work habits as an entrepreneur.
It can be easy to get caught up in the “hustle culture” frenzy or the illusion that is the “anti-hustle culture.” In reality, both “camps” have their place in our work!
Both are essential, but you have to do them well.
Between the exhausting “hustle culture” and the idyllic fantasy of “anti-hustle” lies a REAL place where there is balance.
The key to avoiding hustle culture and not getting sucked into the entrepreneurial illusion?
Seasons of Hustle & Seasons of Rest.
I believe building a thriving, sustainable business DOES require hustle, but not “hustle culture.”
Unpopular opinion alert:
Entrepreneurship should come with assembly instructions that read, “Some HUSTLE required.”
To get your business up and running, you ARE going to have to hustle.
It’s just a fact.
Your work has seasons of hustle. They may be seasons you plan for (internal factors) or seasons that naturally occur in your specific line of work (external factors).
For example, you might be in a season of hustle because:
You might be in a season of rest because:
“So, Erin… you say you’re against the “hustle culture,” but you’re advocating hustling. How can it be both ways?”
It doesn’t have to be so black and white.
I believe it is possible to structure your time and business to allow for necessary seasons of hustle. You can balance this work, effort, and energy with rest and ease. You’ll be productive when it counts so that you can maintain boundaries between your work time and your time.
The benefit of this approach?
When you focus on finding a balance between hustle and rest, you’ll avoid burnout. It will help you work more intentionally as you build, grow, and sustain your creative business.
Use these five tips to redefine when and how you hustle while prioritizing rest and ease.
Ultimately, you should build rest and hustle into your business throughout the year. Every season of hustle needs to include some time for rest and vice versa.
When you weave seasons of hustle and rest into the fabric of your business, you’ll be able to intentionally strive for those big goals without sacrificing your health and wellbeing.
Ready to dive deeper into what Seasons in Business are and how you can leverage them strategically as an entrepreneur? I have an entire blog post on this very topic that’s ready and waiting for you! Click here to learn more.
Save yourself from the hustle of trying to find this later and Pin it to Pinterest!