How To Keep Your Hustles From Turning Into A Dirty Little Secret
lessons in hustling on the dark side
I work a lot online. In fact, 100% of my income currently comes from the magical space known as the Internet. My mother still wonders how I do as she worries about her own job security as a dressmaker at a nearby factory.
Over the past few years, I’ve attempted to create hustles that work on a financial level but most have failed spectacularly.
This is because I made the mistake of turning them into dirty little secrets.
I didn’t tell anyone about them and as a result, they didn’t thrive.
How, what and why did it all go so wrong? Here are some reasons why.
It’s all about how genuine you are
Back in my early days — we’re talking late teens to mid-twenties kind of early days — I use to routinely get suckered into the get rich quick kind of schemes.
We’re talking promises of Internet gold via dropshipping or creating content for affiliate marketing.
While the peddlers would tell me to tell everyone I knew, deep down, it felt like a bad Ponzi scheme that I wasn’t ready to mentally accept. Let’s be honest, I was a kid back then and looking back at it now, I feel wiser to not repeat the same mistakes again.
What I did offer no actual value. I was selling products that I didn’t believe in and when money was the beginning and end of everything, the endeavors didn’t last long.
I couldn’t sustain it because I didn’t enjoy it. I hid it from the world because I wasn’t proud of what I was doing. It was a secret I wasn’t ready to share with the world because it just didn’t feel right to do so.
when things don’t align with your moral compass
The lure of money can be a strong one — but it shouldn’t be the sole reason why you end up hustling your hustle.
It’s easy to fall into the trappings of chasing after money, but over time, I’ve discovered that when money is the sole purpose of doing something, it doesn’t very little for your sense of character and diminishes your moral standings on a personal and public level.
When all is stripped away, your reputation is all you have. If you are peddling something without offering something of equal value in return, there’s a higher chance of being labeled as a snake oil peddler.
From what I’ve learned, if you want your content and product to thrive, it pays to be genuine and true to yourself in your approach. Stand for something greater than money and add value to the space you’re hustling in.
When you’re hustling is a secret, it means that you’re hiding something from the world that you don’t want them to see. You don’t want the people you know to find out and judge your character against it.
work ethic is still key
If you’re after a get rich quick scheme, there’s a high chance that you’ll fail.
When you do something you’re proud of and something you care about, it’s easier to turn up every day and do the things necessary — even when the times are rough financially.
This is because you believe in the thing you’re working on and over time, your audience will grow and they will believe in it too.
Work ethic is the result of consistent work over a period of time. You can’t fake it. You can’t hack it. You can only show up and do the things necessary.
When you’re open about what you’re doing, you’re allowing your content and product to thrive and spread across the social spheres of influence. Being real with your hustle tends to attract organic sharing, something that the peddlers of Internet money tend not to mention.
finding your stride with your hustles
It doesn’t matter what your hustle is — you just need to be proud of it enough to share it with everyone you know. If you’re unable to do that, then it’s usually the first indication that you’re not in the right space.
Don’t worry about the judgment of quality. A lot of that is in your own head. There may be constructive criticism from your audience groups but always remember that you have the potential to improve and be better at your hustle over the next day, next weeks, next months and years.
Commit to your hustle because it’s like a seed you need to keep watering. Some seeds take longer than others to thrive. The seeds that promise instant results tend to not last as long and die as quickly as they grow.
Finding your stride with your hustles can be a hard task — especially if you’re not quite sure about what you’re doing.
It took me a year of writing to figure out my voice. Now it’s one of my main hustles and I proudly tell the world that I am a writer, in addition to being a developer. It’s a weird mix — but a better one than I make money online by selling cheap things to people.
what exactly did I learn from all this?
I’m not against reselling. I’m just against reselling cheap things at a super high-profit margin that supposedly makes you a millionaire. That just feels like a big scam, especially when people can buy it straight from the source.
When there’s no actual value-added or modification to what I’m doing, I feel bad. The same feelings happen when I try to copy the voices of others.
And I don’t like the feeling of feeling bad or feeling ingenuine. Secret hustles tend to die in the dark and from past experience, you tend to lose more money than you make.
Others may be alright with the process but it turns out I’m not, and I’m happy that I’m not ok with it — because it pushes me to be better at what I do.
I treat my hustle as a craft rather than a commodity. Nowadays, the commodity is cheap but true craftsmanship is something that makes the real and long term cash.
So be real to yourself and be proud of your hustle — because if you’re not, who will?