The freelance hustle. Are you good at it?


By: Jess Perez

Hustle. It might be the most overused word in marketing to freelancers. “Get your hustle on,” “learn to hustle,” we all get told. But what does it really mean? What does it mean ‘to hustle’? From my experience as a freelancer, hustling isn’t something you have the luxury of doing; it’s what you have to do in order to survive. There’s a sense of urgency to the word because let’s face it, most of the time we are hustling to pay our bills and what could possibly be more urgent?

In thinking about what it takes to succeed as a hustler, I thought about some qualities I’ve seen in the best of them. Here is my list:

1. They get out of their comfort zones. Good hustlers get over their fear of going to uncomfortable networking events, birthday parties that are inconvenient to get to, or conferences they’re unsure what they’ll get out of. They realize putting themselves out there can lead to introductions and relationships that will be beneficial to them in their careers.

2. They are smart about the opportunities presented to them. They don’t see a job as a ‘one off’; they see it as the start of a long term client who will bring them income for years to come. To make sure they get rehired, they deliver on time, show up early, strive to impress, show attentiveness and a great attitude. They make sure their clients walk away with a positive feeling about them and are eager to work with them again.

3. They are persistent. They can take no for an answer. The important part is they can hear a ‘no’ and still keep going to achieve what they want. Hustlers see doors shut in their faces as a personal challenge to get the next one open. They might change course to get what they want, but they don’t give up.

4. They can handle competition. Successful hustlers are in touch with reality and know exactly where they stand amongst their competitors. They don’t let the sight of competition crush them and provoke anxiety; they see it as motivation to better themselves and step up their game.

5. They stay connected. People who are good at the hustle know that out of sight means out of mind. They know that clients are more likely to hire them if they remember they exist. They are proactive about following up with them, keeping them updated on their new work, and giving them FOMO when they’re not around.

6. They seek criticism. They are always open to learn from someone else’s opinion; they look for feedback to help them better themselves. They check their ego at the door and know that improving their own skill set is the only way to succeed in the long run.

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