Are You a Hustler?

do the hustle

Hustling is a word that usually carries a bad connotation. When most people think of the word, they think about dealing drugs, conning people, or doing something unethical. But hustling isn’t always a bad thing; many entrepreneurs have succeeded because they are hustlers.

Kamran Pourzanjani, the founder of PriceGrabber.com, which sold for $485 million, used to sell $150 knife sets door to door. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but twenty years ago $150 was a lot of money. Being an immigrant to the United States did not slow him down one bit. He did whatever it took to survive and his aggressive nature helped him to succeed.

Jermaine Griggs, who made millions teaching people how to play the piano online, grew up in the ghetto. Because his family struggled for money, he had a hunger to make money. At the age of twelve he signed up to be an Avon sales representative, while other men probably would not have done this due to the fear of being made fun of. Jermaine’s attitude towards making money, and his courage to ignore what others thought of him, helped him create a three million dollar company, all while he was in college.

Stephan Spencer, the founder of Gravity Stream, started his company at the age of twenty-three, even though he had to support a family. Although he didn’t have much money to start his company, he didn’t let this deter his success. He used to volunteer at marketing conferences so that he could meet large companies that would, hopefully, become clients of his. Flash forward to today, and now his company is making millions of dollars a year by servicing companies like the Home Shopping Network, Northern Tool, Cheap Tickets and Skechers.

Hopefully these three individuals will change your opinion on hustling. There is nothing wrong with doing whatever it takes to succeed, as long as what you are doing is ethical and legal. Don’t let anything stand in your way and be proud of what you had to go through. For example, I never regret the fact that I spent three months selling $1600 vacuums door to door, and made no sales. That experience in life helped me get where I am today.

Now go out there and start hustling!

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Comments

  1. It’s gonna be the hustlers that come out of this down-economy the winners. The ones who keep grinding with blinders on instead of focusing on the negative.

  2. Excellent article, Neil.

  3. Thanks for posting such an inspiring post…!! Hardwork has its own value..that only time will answer :-)!

    Cheers Neil!

  4. The people with the greatest success usually start from scratch. When you start things for yourself, you learn from mistakes and you teach yourself. No school or college can teach you that. If you are just handed a fortune, chances are you probably won’t know how to handle it and you might end up losing it all, as to where if you have started something that ended up being a fortune, you will probably be able to manage that because you have faced smaller mistakes throughout the growth of your fortune. Hopefully you understand that. lol

    • When I went to college, I didn’t learn much. As time goes on, I hope colleges start teaching students basic life tips because they need more of that knowledge to become successful.

  5. I love the story about Jermaine Griggs, just proves ANYONE can make it if you work work work.

  6. Thanx for nice stories. I always like inspiring stories like these. They increases the fire within me. Near in the future i will have a story like these successful persons for myself. Bad i have to wait another 6 months just to do something i dont like and that is to become a doctor.

  7. Starting from nothing and creating something of value teaches you how to do it, why it works, etc. In learning (and appreciating) the process of how to be successful, you develop an approach that you can repeat over and over again.

    In contrast, look at someone who wins the lottery and becomes rich only to later lose it all. We hear of that happening all the time… why? Because they got lucky with no understanding of how they got there. They can’t duplicate that success because it was just pure luck as opposed to the application of learned lessons (i.e. hard fought experience). These lessons require time… they require failure… they require the “rinse and repeat” approach, refining each time until you figure out what works.

    Once you do, you’re golden… you have the keys to the castle, and you have the knowledge and understanding to build it all over again should things fall apart. This is why (how) successful entrepreneurs are able build a successful company then sell it, start all over again, build another successful venture, sell it, start all over again, etc. Once you understand the process, it’s just a process… it can be applied to anything.

    Determination, perseverance, and HUSTLE are all part of that process…

    • You make a good point about the process. A lot of the people I mentioned above have already made tons of money and it seems that they are doing it all over again.

      I guess it is a process.

  8. Truly inspiring stories. And, its quite humbling to know that many of these great entrepreneurs started off with very little money, but a lot of heart.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  9. I work a full time job at a bank and hosts my music show 2 times per week on TV but I still hustle on the side. I host private parties, new years and some big events here which pays good. Earning more from those kind of activities leverages my account more than my 2 jobs.

    Off the contract deals can be a good source of income too if you are in a good position in a big corporation or in the government. I wouldn’t call it a bribery or corruption if its less than 10%. The correct term is “commission” sorta like a service fee.

  10. Great post Neil!

    You always seem to amaze me with all the great info you blog about – your help/posts/advice is very much appreciated!

    Thank you!

  11. Gives me the inspiration I need very badly nowadays! Nice article, thanks :)

  12. I couldn’t agree with you more, you HAVE to Hustle to get what you want. And life is TOO short to be doing something that you do not like. So get off your butts, find something that you are passionate about, become and expert at it, and share with the community. You can’t go wrong.

  13. Great point — it’s all too easy to look at a successful person, startup, or whatever and say, “he’s luckier than me!” Let’s definitely not forget that it’s very rare to get lucky doing *anything* on your first time.

    Success is really about doing a few simple things in life while trying to avoiding mistakes along the way. Just keep hustling and you’ll do just fine.

  14. At our last company we had a whatever it takes award that was given out each year. Doing whatever it takes, ethically, is the key to success at anything. Everyday people face tasks that they just don’t want to complete. Success people are those willing to complete tasks that unsuccessful people won’t. Whatever it takes.

  15. I agree – this market is going to be a lot nicer to the hustlers than the comfortable executives. Great post.

  16. Thanks for writing this Neil…
    v.inspiring while I eat my microwave meal @ the office on a Tuesday evening working on making a multi million pound business!
    Get your hustle on :)

  17. right on, working hard does not pay upfront but in the long run it can really pay off. Most people who don’t have the work hard mindset have no idea why the people who work so much do what they do. I got a chance to meet Kamran a few years back, he has an exceptional story behind him. For pricegrabber he did not raise and angel funding, he kept executing and asked friends and family to fund the venture, which eventually paid off big. hahaha, I had no idea he sold knife sets door to door, I bet it was for the cutco / vetctor marketing company…they push a lot of knives

    • Yea, I am not sure if the amount he raised from friends and family is public but it is very very low compared to what they sold for. None-the-less the family must be happy with their return.

  18. Great post. I’ve actually met Jermaine before. Very nice guy.

  19. Thanks so much for posting this! Not only is it interesting to attempt to track where these widely successful ideas originated, but it is also inspiring to those hoping to achieve big goals. Congratulations are in order for those individuals mentioned in the post!

  20. Vacuums are better than toilets. Hehe. I got my sales start selling toilets at the Home Depot while living out of a car. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I was gaining useful skills…but if you can sell a toilet, you can learn to sell just about anything.

    Though I’m still relatively small-potatoes, I think entry-level jobs are often really much more helpful than they might seem at the time.

  21. I think you see many hustlers come from next to nothing because it takes a certain hunger to wake up every morning no matter how you feel and get out there and make some money

  22. Thanks for the inspiration. Excellent post.

  23. Nice Neil, really liked this one. Sometimes I feel like a lazy ass knowing my parents hustled to get into this country and they barely spoke English. Where would I be had they not done that? Hustlers Rule!

    • You still hustle…. for example you hustle to get to know and build relationships with influential people that can help you. :)
      It may not seem liking hustling but you are a great one.

  24. The word hustler can be misinterpreted by many. And yes I am a born hustler but not like most people, for a lady I believe I’m quiet hard working and determined. Some hustle to make ends meet- I “hustle” to see my wealth grow.

  25. Neil, you are so right. People want to succeed, they just don’t want to work at it.You know the saying ” the early bird catches the worm?” He catches the worm because he is not afraid to work, he is not afraid to hustle. I believe there is nothing wrong in hustling success come at a price and if hustling s what it takes then that’s what you do. It on depends on what you want. good article

  26. There was an business awardee in my neck of the woods from the city. A big deal awards dinner and all. When after his acceptance speech, before he walked off the MC asked his secret of success. He responded with one word- “perseverance.” That resonates with me today, and I couple that with hustle; those would be the two ingredients to success.

  27. You know, Neil, the founder of American Apparel is an openly proud self-proclaimed hustler… and he’s on the cover of Portfolio magazine this month.

    • I’ll have to buy the magazine so I can learn more about him. I think he is successful because he figured out how to make great t-shirts in the US instead of outsourcing. He has a lot of loyal customers.

      • He’s also been super controversial (multiple sexual harassment lawsuits), but I think given the company’s brand and advertising, that controversy has pretty much worked as free PR>

  28. You aint gotta tell me. I hussle every single day and thought I’d let the world know…

  29. This reminds of the Rick Ross song…Everyday I’m hustling..Everyday I’m hustling

  30. Thanks for that inspirational post … I’ve always been incredibly impressed by the story of Jermaine Griggs, he really is an unusual man, worthy of great respect.

    • Yep, Jermaine deserves a lot of respect. He is always motivated and always looking for ways to better himself (even though he is already a successful and good person).

  31. I always keep in mind and what i am doing at which time under particular circumstances.

  32. We have a lot of people providing guidance and help with our site and I know from personal experience that Neil is definitely the hardest worker of the bunch. Very appropriate that he should write this post.

  33. Everyday I’m hustling, everyday I’m hustling, hustle real hard hustle hustle real hard… lol

    Most of the time you have to hustle…aka work hard and do what ever it takes to make it. (keeping morals and values in perspective)

    That’s the problem with many “work from home” businesses and small business, they aren’t willing to hustle. At least at first till you can hire people to hustle for you.

  34. Jermaine just spoke at one of my conferences a few weeks ago and has been a good bud for a while.

    The guy is BALLER, a great speaker, great marketer, sick with personalization strategies online, & one of the most humble people you’ve ever met.

    He told me about your meeting with him Neil and says you’re the bomb too ;)

    If they make a “true story” movie about the Internet Marketing industry, they need to profile Jermaine.

    I just hope I get a small part…hahah

  35. Hmmn, so Stephan’s company is making millions of dollars a year. That is not very nice to hear, especially for the employees who were made redundant from their jobs in Sept 08…and your post is dated 20 October 08? Should of done your research eh.

    • I don’t know Stephan’s financials, I just know his company is doing well overall. Keep in mind that even if a company is bringing in millions a year, it doesn’t mean they are profiting most of it.

  36. I used to have a boss which sometime I thought was unethical but now it seems to be that he was a hustler. I worked for a corporate RadioShack and my boss always told me to up-sell, meaning sell them a cell phone even if all they came in for was a $1.00 resistor. He saw that I wasn’t that enthused about it so he said something that has stuck with me ever since, “They are going to spend their money somewhere, why not here with us.”

  37. Good post. Your each and every post unique and great inspiration of business and life. If anybody wants to success so, start hustling.

  38. You are right there, Neil. The word “hustling” now has a negative ring to it, but it’s wrongly so. Hustling is just trying hard to sell anything one is trying to sell. And yes, it helps a lot, as the stories you mentioned shows. Very inspiring stories by the way, especially that of Kamran Pourzanjani, the founder of PriceGrabber.com, which sold for $485 million. To imagine that he used to sell $150 knife sets door to door and is now a millionaire, :) just because he kept on hustling and didn’t give up.

  39. The dictionary defines hustle as follows:

    transitive verb1 a: jostle , shove b: to convey forcibly or hurriedly c: to urge forward precipitately2 a: to obtain by energetic activity b: to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity c: to sell or promote energetically and aggressively d: to lure less skillful players into competing against oneself at (a gambling game) intransitive verb1: shove , press2: hasten , hurry3 a: to make strenuous efforts to obtain especially money or business b: to obtain money by fraud or deception c: to engage in prostitution4: to play a game or sport in an alert aggressive manner
    — hustle noun
    — hus·tler Listen to the pronunciation of hustler \ˈhə-slər\ noun

    It depends on which one you wish to take into account. If you are aggressively selling, I do not see any reason why it should have any negative connotation.

  40. Yup,hard work always has its value…. Also Passion is all you need. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need money to start a company.

  41. When you know something is right you are right. If you have a goal no matter what the path will bring to you you have to fight back and with that kin of attitude you will came far, very far…

  42. Wow, Jermaine was an Avon salesman? That just goes to show, sometimes it’s really worth it to put your pride on the shelf and to do whatever it takes, and if you are able to do that, you can find success!

  43. My cousins all started out selling knives as well, now they are working for a oil company selling oil. It pays to know how to sell! Be a Hustler, hter is no shame in making money.

  44. I notice the kind of person who hustles the most comes from poor families or grew up poor which I think that’s the motivation for people to want more out of life and not just a 9 to 5 although there is nothing wrong with that. It all depends on what you want in life. Something you never had which is usually to be wealthy.

  45. Wow these are three people I would like to get to know. They are definitely living the “rags to riches” lifestyle. It just shows you that anyone with heart, determination, and a little courage can go out there and become successful. It is important to not allow others to bring you down.

    -Randy

  46. Hustling is usually bad practice – but having a hustler mind set can be a good thing. An example of this is determination in the face of fierce competition – this is just one characteristic which can help in business.

    • Hustling is not a bad practice unless you use it for the slang terminology. Hustling simply means to go out there, figuratively speaking, and MAKE BUSINESS HAPPEN for you compared to just waiting around for it.

  47. Maxim Dvoytsin :

    No matter how many mistakes are out there on the way,
No matter how far away from now is your dream,
No matter how much it can take,
Move On! And,guys, never betray your dreams or else they will betray YOU. 
If you want to get a level up in life,be ready for a lot of mistakes but the more mistakes are made the more is learnt,and the nearer is Your Day.
Thanks Nail for your inspiring posts!

  48. Maxim Dvoytsin :

    Couldn’t agree more,Neil. I’d like to add that what we do depends on the quality of information we go by for achieving our goals. One can spend a lot of time following wrong instructions or some rules that just don’t work out in the real world. We should be always careful about the info we go by. Oftentimes one can be mislead by words which have nothing to do with reality. We should be very careful about information as it is the power that determines our lives.

  49. Learning to be a hustler is a good actually it is a skill that schools would love to teach but cant and im glad for that.

  50. Haha nice article, but being a hustler is not always very good… I don’t know if you have watched the movie “Spread”, very stupid movie but I think I learned that being a hustler is not good :D

  51. Helo all da hustler’s out thr keep on hustlin coz we were born to do diz hustlin thng

  52. hustling is just the name of the game, only you as an individual can become a hustler. Hustling should come from deep down your heart or else you will never manage, a hustler should have a heart of a lion. Many people out there will try as much as possible to disadvantage you over husling but i mean not everybody out there wants to work in an office day in day out for 30day and wait to get paid at the end of the month.

    Geoffrey.

  53. Washable Dog Beds :

    It takes a lot of willpower to sell $1600 vacuums door to door 3 months without making any sales. Most of the people would have given up the first month. But it takes a lot of focusing and willpower in any business. Many hustlers have proven that they want to succeed! I think it`s a good school. However, I don`t think I could ever sell something door to door, but I will fight for my success!

  54. the thing that makes a hustler more succesful is hunger, that animal instinct to survive, you should live it and let you children live it if you want them to succed, why do you think juniors tend do be just a shadow of their parents

  55. chris erichsen :

    take a telemarketer or door-to-door job. easy to get. work hard for 1 month or 2. If you are a top salesman you are cut out to be an entrepreneur if you can do that while also wanting to work for yourself.

  56. em dont know frm when to start the money making machine………….give me some idea…..

  57. Alex @ Easy ways to make money :

    A hustler is always resourceful and always on the lookout for new opportunities. If the opportunity arrives the hustler always finds a way to transform it into a money generating business.

  58. Hello Neil, its really a great post !
    we want you to make a collection of your(and every one’s success stories) experiences on “internet based services” and publish a book. sell it to me first.

  59. Everyday people face tasks that they just don’t want to complete.

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