PART 2 of 5

The Real Problem with Hustle Culture & Why It's Costing You $$$

I’ll come right out and say it:

Hustle evangelists are not your friends. 

They chant “just charge more” and “just book yourself out”, but these “solutions” are incomplete at their best, dangerous at their worst.

Hustle evangelists and “hustle culture” (by the way, this is probably the thing your subconscious is upset with) create and perpetuate an unrelenting glorification of “more” instead of the prioritization of long-game strategy, energy management, and factoring in any of your boundaries and non-negotiables. Put simply:

Hustle culture doesn’t applaud you for being smart, taking care of your biggest asset (spoiler: it’s you) and searching for sustainable ways to do things.

Hustle culture sees you as a machine, not a human being.

It simply asks you (the machine) for more, at all times, at all cost.

  • Work more and more hours. (You can sleep when you’re dead.)
  • Sign more and more clients. (It’s your fault if you’re not booked out.)
  • Charge more and more money. (If your clients don’t pay them, they don’t deserve you. Fire them.)
  • Buy more and more coaching & courses. (The secret to your dream life is in the next course, in the hands of your next coach.)

Just get more, be more, want more, do more.

P.S. There is nothing theoretically wrong with wanting more; it’s great to be ambitious and want big things for your life. But wanting more and more for the sake of just more… is not what we’re after. 

That’s not fulfillment; that’s the fast track to burn out and an existential crisis. #truestory

Treating yourself like a machine is a huge oversight, not just because obviously we’re not machines. Most of us are three-dimensional, complex human beings with needs beyond an oil fix and a software update.

But also because blindly wanting more and more and more isn’t (despite popular belief) what will make most of us happy anyway.

But we all subscribe to it regardless.

For a long time, I thought hustle culture was a necessary evil.

I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I assumed…

  • it was the only way to getting to my $ goals.
  • it was the only way to get to the freedom I ached for.
  • it was the only way to get the types of clients I really wanted to work with.

I thought if I just keep desperately hunting for client after client, I’d get to where I wanted.

I thought if I just kept sacrificing my boundaries and working more hours, I’d get to where I wanted.

I thought if I just set bigger income goals, I’d get to where I wanted.

I thought hustling was the only way.

But what if it isn’t?

What if hustle culture wasn’t the solution?

Ironically, what if… (totally wild, I know) it was the problem?

What if subscribing to hustle culture IS the reason you’re stuck with this desperate energy of chasing client after client while still not making the kind of money you want and feeling no job security?

Because in my opinion and in my experience working with hundreds of freelancers, it is the reason for those things. 

And I know you’ve been burned by people promising big things more times than you can count, so I’m putting my tax returns where my mouth is.

  • In 2016, I made 1,350 USD as a freelancer.
  • In 2017, I made 21,500 USD as a freelancer.
  • In 2018, I made 35,350 USD as a freelancer.
  • In 2019, I made 89,200 USD as a freelancer.
  • In 2020, I made 107,200 USD as a freelancer.

I’m not inherently a flashy person. I don’t ever share $ to brag; I only ever share $ in hopes to validate some authority to talk about what we’re talking about.

I’m sharing this income breakdown because I want you to know what I’m saying comes from proof in the pudding.

From 2016 to 2018, I was hustling hard… entrenched, waist deep, sinking fast into hustle culture quicksand.

Then in 2018something changed.

For now, I’ll just say that the main reason for my jump in salary in 2018, and then again in 2019, is what I’ll talk about in the rest of this letter.

But just to be clear, I did fall into the hustle culture trap in 2016 and 2017.

I definitely wasn’t immune and still find myself occasionally thinking, “Maybe hitting 7 figures would make me happier?”

It’s hard when all the business influencers, gurus and coaches online make it seem like all your problems will be magically fixed if you just charge your worth and just get booked out.

And back then, I took their “advice” as a freelance virtual assistant with all the best intentions.

Up Next: I’ll tell you how it went taking their advice (it’s a story where I fall flat on my face), and then we’ll talk about the real solution for what your subconscious is whispering (or shouting) at you right now.

I've been mentioned in these (way too cool for me) places...

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