Let’s face it; the big talk and the big read today for just about every woman on her grind, is how working hard can translate into money in the bank. We aren’t talking here about waiting for the end of the month to roll through before we get to spending without too much thought, but rather how as an under 40s woman, one can revisit their understanding of the term “financial freedom” or “entrepreneurship” and check ourselves for alignment.
Being an entrepreneur and a successful one as that is the dream. Wouldn’t we all love the opportunity to work from a coffee shop of our choosing or to pressing forward in a career that allows every aspect of our creativity and intelligence shine through? But how many of us know that it will take a lot more than waiting for that J.O.B to cut you that monthly cheque before you can truly enjoy earning a good amount of money that allows you to live well where you wanna live, be where you want to be, wear what you want to wear and give back to the people around you. Like I said in my last article, as millennials, we want what we want now, however – the abundance of “coin” is often at the helm of our limitations.
The subject of financial freedom and the debt-free life has long gone on since before the days of Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad” – and a host of other authors that tackled the notion of entrepreneurship, investing using OPM, what to invest in, when to start and so on. We’ve all heard the “I started my own business after I hit rock bottom and found myself living out of my car” or “Do you want to enjoy the freedom of working from the beach in Seychelles while driving a Lambo to get there…” videos that pop-up ever so often while you’re dosing up on your week’s sermon from your favourite church’s live-stream.
On this very subject today, am going to get into the simpler, reinvented thinking I’ve employed over the past few years to get out of my comfort zone as it relates to increasing one’s income as a woman looking to retire earlier on from the 8-5 grind. I consider myself somewhat of a hustler, referencing the biblical verse in Proverbs 6 that reads: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” If you are looking to increase your streams of income or are simply wondering what you should be doing to move from being reliant on the J.O.B., do have a read through my thoughts on the this thing called hustling for today’s millennial woman:
1. Be clear about your hustle and the rest will follow. WHAT EXACTLY do you want to do? And better yet, WHY do you want to do it? I started my career in apparel retail at one of Atlanta’s hippest malls back in the early 2000s. After a 3.5 year long stint doing the whole folding of jeans, markdowns and being on my feet all day during the Thanksgiving and Christmas sales – I decided it was time I worked towards something I really saw myself pursuing for the long-haul. I opted to get the qualifications for a field that always intrigued me – REAL ESTATE. Perhaps the idea of negotiations and “closing deals” appealed to me. After all let’s be fair, that sounds more glorious than selling the most pairs of jeans on the weekend while your girlfriends are recovering from a night out on the town.
I needed a new challenge and I was clear about what I wanted to do – to no longer sell clothes but to sell houses. The after work real estate night classes helped me attain better understanding of the road that lay ahead, equipping me with the knowledge that awarded me a safe landing into sales and marketing in a completely new field. Yes, I’m a publicist – having ventured more into PR and Comms almost 20 years later, but best believe I have my hand on the pulse of property and how to earn additional coin from land or brick and mortar! That my friends – is a hustle.
2. Passionate hustlers make money. You have to love what you do, and love what you are selling. If what you’re selling doesn’t excite you, you for sure won’t convince anyone to spend money on whatever it is you say you do – or sell. And there Chile…goes your potential additional income stream.
Figure out what people need that you carry an interest in or are good at, and work towards turning that thing into a side hustle. I have a lawyer friend who is legal counsel for a huge multinational but also makes some incredible African-print inspired statement jewellery. On the weekdays she’s running around like a cast-mate on SUITS, but on the weekends she’s got women handing her fresh bills for her jewellery at community festivals, arts and crafts fairs and so on. And yes, she’s doing so well at it she has a storefront and has had to employ people to run it. Be passionate about your talent or gift and monetize friend. Don’t be afraid to sell many things if in fact you are passionate about them and are efficient in your ability to manage more than one thing through great systems. Don’t sleep on the opportunity to monetize your gifts!
3. Own your hustle. A hard one this one, especially when you are starting off and aren’t even sure people will be interested in buying what you’re selling. Listen here Girlfriend! – to add to passion, confidence is everything if you want to succeed at selling whatever it is you sell to make you some extra money. If you own your hustle and are amped about it, you can literally sell sand to a desert – eventually. Whether you are leading a team of investment fund managers or manufacturing peanut butter out of some warehouse, be confident about what you are doing and the results you expect to attain. Go in that pitch expecting to close!
I’ve attended countless women’s events (and still do because I’m a sucker for networking!) and it’s always so inspiring to see a woman up front so sure about the gifts she carries. Trust and believe this disposition likely wasn’t always the case, but with time comes experience, and with greater experience comes enhanced knowledge. I wasn’t always comfortable speaking to a room full of people but being a best-selling author (another side hustle) pushed me to owning my gift of writing and speaking over time. I talk about my experiences because it’s a narrative I own. Receiving testimonies and feedback has helped me take ownership of the woman I am becoming still, allowing me to close in on opportunities that bring in the deposits. Get where I’m going with this?
4. Persistent, patient and authentic hustle will get you ahead. You’ve heard the adage – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Yes Queen, neither will your business be built in a day. Small businesses founded on the principle of doing what everyone else is doing and quitting the process every other day rarely survive. Most women who are succeeding at their side hustle didn’t up and quit their day job to win. It took them years of failing and learning, growing and streamlining, sacrificing and sleepless nights to breakeven. If you ask any one of your successful hustlepreneur friends, they’ll have more stories of growing from the trenches for years, than they do of instant limelight with all the glitz and glam. Kinda like being married right? If you want your marriage to be beautiful, you’re going to have to be patient with it, to work hard for it, and to be authentic in your communication and treatment of your partner/spouse. A happy marriage and growing a business – same Whatsapp group!
However hard you have to work to get things done, be persistent and be patient with yourself and the people you serve or work with. Follow up with your clients and carry out due process. Hustle hard and hustle authentically, putting in every bit of effort you can to doing things right. As you get better at your craft, the hustle will eventually get you ahead and that Girlfriend, means you are smiling as you sign those deposit slips.
5. Bottom line - the hustle should always be about the numbers. You will work, work and endure more work before you can actually start feeling like you are getting somewhere. Whether you are an employee or running your own business (and to me it doesn’t really matter which bracket you fall in), you will almost always have to look for added sources of income or create new product lines for the numbers to balance out nicely. I marvel at the jobs I’ve worked at in my now almost 20 years of being an employee or consultant in one form or another. But, I am also thankful for the wealth of experience I’ve attained along the way across numerous sectors which I now leverage in my client counsel and as I help others build their businesses.
“How do you get your hands around so many projects?” I’m always asked. The answer to that is “my bottom line – the numbers.” The hustle is always about the numbers. How many dollars your company or client will agree to pay you for a month’s worth of work, how much you are able to put away in savings, how many stocks you can invest in if at all, how many properties you’ll be able to buy if any, how many clients you can serve by selling your products or time to and so on. Friend – it’s always about the numbers. I’m not sure I’m sold on the notion of “Mo’ money, mo’ problems”. More money solves a good number of our problems and quite frankly, we’ll all take that over not having any or enough money. And so we work, and should look for ways to multiple our current earnings so when we don’t have the gusto to go out and look for the next deal or are flat-out burnt out, we aren’t pressed because one of our hustles is still churning up the money we need to keep things going along.
So yes, I do believe today’s woman ought to hustle. Multiple streams of income, work hard to do better and progressive change are all mantras we should live by. Choose your hustle and choose it wisely, as it will direct your grind. But remember, part of being reinvented is to be conscious of that fact that if what you’ve got your hands tied up with isn’t working, don’t be afraid to look for something that could work. Don’t be afraid to stop, regroup, recalibrate and reinvent – yourself and your hustle. Just ensure that you are passionate about it, for you will never succeed at anything you aren’t 100% sold on yourself.