I’ve listened to a lot of rap music in my day. It isn’t my genre of choice these days, but as a person who loves words, poetry, and a good beat, it used to consume my life. Listen to any rap song of any era and you will hear rappers boast about their strategies and means of earning money. Their versus usually include the words hustling and/or grinding. Hustling to feed their family or to keep the lights on, and grinding to stack money and move away from bad neighborhoods. Those two words have never been interchangeable to me.
Hustle= quick jobs you take on to make money, to provide, to indulge in extras. A ‘by any means necessary’ way of earning a small amount of income quickly.
Grind= hard, focused work, done consistently over a period of time. The goal of which is to earn enough to live off of for years to come.
Hustles and grinds both end, but the difference is, people who hustle only hustle until they have enough to pay for what they need at the time. You pick up an extra job or extra hours at your current job to pay off your car. You use your hairdressing skills or love for baking to earn some extra cash to save for a Disney trip.
Grinding is intentional hard work on one or two specific things. When you grind, you build a platform, a body of work, content, products, etc. Eventually you outsource work, hire others to take over, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. A grind builds something bigger than yourself.
Hustle feels different than working; hustle feels like you’re beginning in a place of lack and becoming a jack of all trades because you can’t afford to spend time becoming a master of one. When you’re in hustle mode, you jump on everything that comes down the pipe because you see the few dollars you could make. Grind feels goal oriented, it starts with a goal and ends with a goal. A grind is short term dedication and discipline so that you can relax on the results your hard work produced.
If you’ve been “hustling” for over 10 years, you’re doing something wrong. If your list of responsibilities has not decreased or has even increased, you have a broken or absent system within your business. A hustle is a quick fix, a come up, a means to an immediate end. If your year 12 looks like someone else’s year 2, because you haven’t learned or have to retain control, you may want to make some substantial changes. If at this stage of the game you’ve yet to relinquish enough control, refused to delegate, or haven’t hired enough people to help you be able to remove some of your business burdens, you’re doing something wrong. There is no pride in having a to do list as long as your arm; don’t wear ‘overworked’ or ‘stressed’ as a badge of honor.
Heed the advice of someone who has been successful at creating, grinding, scaling, and stepping back. Find a mentor, ask other professionals, and make some changes.