Fashion Business Musings: Rethink the Word Hustle

When you think about your business, does the word hustle come to mind? The idea that you’re “hustling” in your business?

Hustle usually means that you’re going full force, non-stop.

To a lot of us this seems great. It seems like we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. Building a business means that you can’t be stationary. There’s this belief that if you are stationary, then you’re being lazy or you’re not serious about your goals or your businesses.

I used to think like this too. But not anymore.

I had to re-think the hustle. Not that I don’t believe in the need for us as business owners to do the work. Of course I do.

But business doesn’t have to mean non-stop motion. It doesn’t have to mean the total draining of energy, the complete lack of sleep, or the constant networking.

It doesn’t have to be a “hustle”.

Instead of hustle, maybe think about progress.

Progress comes in a lot of different forms. Progress appears when you learn a new skill, read a book that inspires you, meet even one new person, or come up with fresh ideas.

Progress also comes in the form of recuperation, rest, rejuvenation, clearing your mind, changing direction, appreciating life, acknowledging the passing of time, remembering what’s most important in life, and making decisions that ultimately make you happy.

I mean, honestly, we can all only do so much.

And when we continue to pressure ourselves into believing that if we’re not completely exhausted, if we are not neglecting our personal life, if we’re not jumping from one thing to the next without any time to recharge, then we’re not moving forward, I think we’re headed backwards.

It’s tempting to zero in on this version of hustle, the more traditional one that’s often referenced by certain business moguls, where you’re talking fast and moving faster; you’re wheeling and dealing and moving and shaking.

But if your happiness lies in a slower pace, you don’t have to feel as though you’re not making progress towards your goals.

You know if you’re moving forward or not. You know if you’re actually building your business or if you’re making excuses and not progressing.

Decide on your own measuring stick for growth.

Lots of love and encouragement,

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Dinorah

    It’s a brilliant and healthy way to define a new and invigorating way to hustle.Love your article.

  2. Oreka

    Thank you so much for this Nicole. I feel better now about not “hustling” enough according to the general perception. I would rather expend my energy on profitable stuff like reading, strategy and more planning/implementing. You’re the best!

    • Nicole Giordano

      You’re welcome, Oreka! I’m so glad you found it helpful. πŸ™‚ While there’s certainly value in being social and getting out there, it’s not the only way to hustle. Personally, I find healthy balance of being social and private reading/reflection/education to be the best possible hustle for my business.

  3. Holly Henderson

    Great reflection, Nicole! It’s important to slow down a bit and may have to take a step backwards in order to see how to grow and move forward.

    • Nicole Giordano

      Thanks Holly! Slowing down tends to have such a stigma attached to it, which is really too bad. Slowness and reflection helps us to realize how much we’ve already accomplished and how excited we are for what’s to come. πŸ™‚

  4. Miranda Chanry

    Nicole, this was a great article. What you said is so true. Sometimes we get caught up in seeing what other people are doing and thinking that they’re making more progress than we are. We should never compare ourselves to others as our journey in life is different than theirs. I love all of your articles and post, so continue writing because their very helpful.

  5. Lily B

    “You can create your own form of hustling where you measure your success based on truth.” – Well said Nicole!

    I think it’s important for everyone to find their own optimal way of working and not feel pressured into looking like what others say they should look like.

    It’s your business, do it your way πŸ˜‰

    • Nicole Giordano

      Exactly, Lily! I truly believe that we all know ourselves well enough to know when we’re working to our full potential. There’s no reason to worry about whether others think we’re hustling based on their notions of what hustling is. πŸ™‚


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