Can we get real for a moment?
If more hustle were the answer, you’d already have made it. You’d be rich, famous and travelling the world on a private jet.
To keep pulling all nighters, turn down all invitations to go out with your friends and postpone that workout section till tomorrow (again!) won’t get you closer to your dream. If it did, you’d already be living it.
I’m not saying hard work doesn’t pay off. It does… but only if you work hard at the things that really move the needle forward and allow yourself plenty of time to play and have fun along the way. This idea that if you don’t have it yet is because you haven’t been working hard enough and you just need to push harderis just getting us all stressed out, burned out and demoralised.
There must be a better way…
When I started my first beauty blog, I posted whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It was just a hobby. Why fret about it?
But when I decided to take it seriously and turn it into a job, things changed. I heard the more content you posted, the more Google loved you and the fastest you grew. So I started posting several articles a day. I didn’t care if they were good or not, I just had to hit my quota for the day.
Truth be told, a lot of them were what I call “filler content,” short articles I could write in a hour without real value for my readers. It was what everyone else was doing, after all. But my blog wasn’t growing. People found my content but didn’t like most of it enough to stick around. I was wasting all that time locked up in my room in front of the computer for nothing.
I knew things had to change. One day, I announced to my readers I would be posting only three times a week. A drastic change! But it worked. Now I gave myself permission to produce less content, I could focus on quality rather than quantity. My articles were longer and more informative. They covered everything my readers wanted to know and made them laugh. Within a few months, I more than doubled traffic to my blog.
Working harder hadn’t helped me grow. Working smarter did.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The problem with hustling is that it makes you think you need to do everything. Write 3 articles a day, promote them all on 10 different social media channels, take photos worthy of Vogue, shoot 7 videos a week, do webinars, create courses, appear on podcasts… the list goes on and on. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but there’s no way anyone can do all that.
It’s easy for Gary Vaynerchuk to say “you can never outwork me” but the guy has an entire army of content creators, video editors and personal assistants at this disposal (love you, Gary!). If you’re just at the beginning of your journey and can’t afford to outsource so much work, you need to take a cold hard look at your business and figure out what activities bring you the most readers/customers.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It says that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers. The same is true for other areas. 80% of your social media traffic may come from one channel. 80% of your blog traffic be the result of one particular strategy. Figure out what activities are working better for your business.
Focus on those. Relentlessly. Ignore the rest.
Take Time To Play
There’s no way around it. Having a business is a lot of work, especially at the beginning when you’re doing everything on your own.
You’ll have to hustle, work till late into the night every now and then and you’ll even miss a friend’s birthday party along the way. That’s normal.
But when work becomes all you do? When you work all day and party… never? That’s not life anymore.
You probably took the plunge and went freelance or started your own business because you wanted the flexility to work whenever you wanted, wherever you want edand have more time to spend with your friends and families.
Until the hustling bug hit you. Now you’re spending so much time working on all the little things the experts told you would make you successful that you’re missing out on your life. You’re building a business but you’re not building your life. And the business isn’t doing that well either. You start to wonder if it was all worth it…
Never be so focused on your business that you forget to take the time to play. You can finish that article tomorrow or reschedule that business meeting for the week. Go out with your friends tonight. Spend some quality time with your partner. Call your parents.
Carve out time each day for fun and play. They’re just as important as your work.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
This is the most difficult lesson of all. Working smarter sounds… smart. And you do want to spend some quality time with your loved ones.
But taking some time out for yourself? To go for a walk or have a relaxing bath? That sounds like a selfish indulgence.
Except, it isn’t.
Your business needs you to be at your best. How can you make the best decisions for your business and create strategies that work if you’re exhausted all the time? How can you meet clients and deliver awesome presentations that get you the gig if you’re operating on 4 hours of sleep? How can you do your best work if your body’s having a breakdown?
If you want to succeed in business and have the life you’ve always craved, you need to take care of your health. It’s your most important asset. When you lose it, you lose it all.
Most of all, be realistic. Don’t fall for the overnight success stories. They don’t exist. Even the likes of Marie Forleo and Beyonce had to hustle for years at their crafts before their careers really took off.
Building a business, writing a book, creating art… they’re marathons, not sprints. You need to accept that it will take time for you to get there.
It’s not just about getting there, though. It’s how you get there. You need to figure out what you want from life.
Do you want to be location independent and travel the world doing work you love? Do you only want to work in the mornings so you have time in the afternoons to spend with your family? Do you want to take several holidays a year knowing your business is working on autopilot in the meantime?
Figure out what you want and create a plan to get there. Set realistic expectations. Execute.
You’ll build your business. You’ll build your life, too.