The idea of becoming an entrepreneur excites many people – working the hours you want to, doing something you’re truly passionate about, not having to deal with anyone being your boss, and having control on how the business works. Entrepreneurship is encouraged now more than it ever was, with hustle culture being applauded across all friendship groups and on social media.
Is hustle culture going to make your dreams come true?
If you’re a LinkedIn user, you’ve likely seen every well-known entrepreneur telling you stories about how they ‘made it’. Even children and teenagers are constantly exposed to hustle culture in one way or another. Whether it’s watching Kylie Jenner sell out another makeup line, or TikTok videos of small businesses going viral.
There is constant pressure and the feeling that you’re not doing enough to live out your dreams.
What the posts don’t tell you is that the business owners are often working longer hours than they ever did in their 9-5 job, they’re struggling with the pressures of actually creating and presenting their product, while also marketing, accounting, and trying to build a brand, whether it’s a business or personal one. It can be a lonely road. Entrepreneurship is not all glamour, but it’s certainly been glamourised.
You don’t have to want to be an entrepreneur.
Not everyone wants to run their own business. Some people enjoy the security of their job, or have a passion for what they’re doing already. Some do the job and focus on life outside of work – it exists! Some like the benefits of working for someone else. And that is absolutely okay.
We seem to have a culture now where working for others is seen as minimising your life, but not everyone’s dream includes their own business. It might just be what I’m exposed to due to algorithms, but it definitely seems like hustle culture is being forced into every social interaction.
Glorification can be toxic.
There’s a difference between working hard and overworking. One of them allows you to work on your goals, while the other leaves you feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. Some people are working 12 hour days, 7 days a week and bragging about hustle culture, forgetting that they haven’t spent any time with family or friends or the doing the other things that they love.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t work long hours and push yourself hard, but you don’t have to.
It’s easy to fall victim to hustle culture (victim is not the right word, as many actively choose to be part of it) when listening to well-known, successful entrepreneurs about how to work til you drop. However, you have to be able to realise when to break, when to rest and so on. When that balance doesn’t exist, burnout comes next. Burnout = quitting jobs, quitting on dreams, and thinking you’re not enough.
The reward has to match the effort.
To truly enjoy the hustle, you have to reap the rewards. Obviously they don’t come straight away and there might be a mismatch for a while, but one rule is you should either be earning or learning. If you’re working super hard, but learning from a great mentor, honing your craft, or building up to a better payout – not just salary-wise, but dreams coming true, then go for it! But if you’re taking part in hustle culture hoping to get noticed for putting in the extra hours, it might never happen. Even if it does get noticed, it won’t always make a difference so be aware of it.
It’s difficult to know what makes a difference, but listening to your instincts is always encouraged. If you’re worn out, overwhelmed and feeling too stretched, and it doesn’t feel it’s moving you forward, just pause and look into why it isn’t and how you can change that. Learning to pause is a skill in itself!
Find the balance
Finding a work/life balance is so important. Work hard, play hard is a mantra for a reason. Even if play hard means having a bath, doing a face mask, and curling up with a hot chocolate.
Stress is the worst thing you can suffer with because it affects your mental and physical health, so make sure you come first no matter what.
Chase those dreams, but make sure you value the most important things – your health, your mindset, your family and friends. Being successful doesn’t just mean being wealthy, and the more we all remember this, the better we’ll all feel in general.
It’s not all bad. Hustling can work – and well. It’s just about making sure you’re doing so in a beneficial way. Future you will thank you!