Two years after starting his delivery company, Frederick Smith’s business was millions of dollars in debt and at the brink of bankruptcy. Investors had rejected his pitch for funding. There was no money to fuel the plane for the next delivery; no money to pay employees. All the company had left was $5,000.
Left with no other option, the founder did something only true hustler could do. He flew to Las Vegas and gambled with the last $5,000 left for the company. When he came back the following week, he had turned the $5,000 to $27,000 – just enough money for the company to stay in operation for another week. Today, his company – FedEx is worth over 66 billion dollars, delivering over one billion packages every year.
This story illustrates the fact that most successful entrepreneurs are hustlers who would take daring risks to make their business succeed. However, it reveals that not every hustler is an entrepreneur. There are very clear distinctions between a hustler and an entrepreneur. And it is important that, as a business person, you understand this difference.
In this video, you’ll learn 7 signs you are simply a hustler and not an entrepreneur; why being an entrepreneur who hustles is better than just being a hustler. Before we get to it, I’ll like to invite you to subscribe to After School TV and hit the notification bell so that you can get notified when we publish new insightful videos like this.
- You are only concerned about the next sale
First of all, let’s use the story of FedEx to differentiate between a hustler and an entrepreneur. Imagine another guy who had $5,000 in his bank account. He needed to make more money, so he gambled at the same casino as Frederick and also made $27,000. The same activity, the same result, but their intents were different. While an entrepreneur like Frederick hustles as part of the process to build a business, a hustler hustles for immediate gain. Whether it’s selling real estate or selling cars, if your intent is focused on the immediate capital gain, you are simply hustling. Making the next sale is what is important to a hustler. Building a system that can work without him is what is important to an entrepreneur.
When an entrepreneur is building a startup, he must hustle, but he knows that he must hustle on building his system so he can hire other people to work in the system. This is why the first year of running a business is critical. You will either develop the system then evolve to becoming an entrepreneur or you will get stuck a hustler.
- Your cash flow is epileptic
Having an epileptic cash flow means that your revenue inflow is unpredictable. One week you make a sale. Then nothing happens until the next month or two, and then it’s the next week. In business, cash flow and value appreciation is more important than capital gains. Cash flow ensures long term sustainability whereas capital gain is a short-term transaction.
Understand this; an entrepreneur can experience epileptic cash flow at the early stage of the business or even during difficult times – as it is normal for a business to have downtime. But in such cases, an entrepreneur sees the epileptic cash flow as a temporary problem that needs to be fixed instead of seeing it as the way it should be.
A few years ago, my company’s revenue dropped by about 90 percent due to some technology upgrade we made. It took us about 18 months to get the business back to where it was in terms of revenue. During that period, I took a side hustle and started importing and selling laptops from the UK to maintain cash flow. By the time the business started picking back up, I abandoned the hustle and returned 100 percent focused on the business.
The point here is that entrepreneurs see unpredictable fluctuation in their cash flow as a problem that needs to be fixed and hustle to solve the problem while a hustle just sees it as how things works.
- Your focus is on yourself
At the root of the hustler-entrepreneur dichotomy is that one focuses on himself while the other focuses on others. To an entrepreneur, building something that other people can be a part of is more important than chasing after the next quick sale. FedEx founder flew to Las Vegas to hustle so that his workers can go to work and get paid. The other guy went for his own gain.
You see, people often talk about starting a business as working for yourself and being your own boss. But in reality, the true entrepreneur is really not working for himself, at least in the short term. He actually works for others with the faith that in the long term, he will build a system that can work for him. On the other hand, a hustler simply focuses on himself and all he can get today.
- You are interested in short term financial goals
You will find a lot of people like this in public local markets. They will apply every gimmick to get you to part with your money. But the value they deliver is way less than the money you pay. They will sell you a fake product as the original; and do anything to get the money today without thinking about the consequences tomorrow.
Something that clearly illustrates this is the difference between hunting and farming. A hustler is like a hunter who wakes up every morning to go hunt a game. That he killed a game yesterday does not increase the chance of killing another today. Each day is isolated from yesterday’s effort. On the other hand, a farmer may have to make a lot of sacrifices today and forgo immediate profit for long term bountiful harvest. Each days effort on the farm adds to the overall success of the harvest.
A hustler must continue hustling or his income will suffer. An entrepreneur can pick and choose when to hustle and when to strategize for the future. An entrepreneur is concerned about brand equity, word of mouth, creating a positive culture; these are all long term assets that entrepreneurs develop over their hustler competitors.
- You don’t care about your customer
This is the attitude you find on the street. There are even slogans that emphasize the importance of looking out for you or you’ll be eating in the wild. Hustlers believe it’s a jungle out there, and there is some truth to that. But entrepreneurs understand the importance of building trust in the midst of this chaos.
When a customer has a bad experience with an entrepreneur, his business will go out of its way to redeem its mage with that customer. But when a hustler screws up an order he moves on to the next customer, leaving the previous one with a bad experience. For the hustler, the money is more important than the customer; and even more important than the partnership and the team if he has one.
An entrepreneur understands the importance of building a system that creates brand equity; the hustler is more interested in the bills he has to pay today. It obviously costs more to deliver a good customer experience, but it pays off in the long term. But the hustler doesn’t care much about the long term.
- You are always looking for the next big trend
You probably know people like that; today they are selling the new fashion cloth on Jumia. Next, they are selling food on Instagram; then they into modeling. Some even glamorize this bad habit as being a serial entrepreneur. No! You are not an entrepreneur. You are simply a hustler.
You will see a lot of this from some internet marketers who today are selling an eBook on How To Start Importation Business and tomorrow are selling on How To Get A Girl To Date You. An entrepreneur looks for how to take advantage of big trends to scale his business. A hustler simply wants to cash in on trends and move on to the next one.
- You cannot see an end
A hustler can make a lot of money and a good living from his hustle. So the distinction is not about how much you can make as a hustler or entrepreneur today. The major distinction is with how much financial freedom and control you have in the future.
For the hustler, there is really no end in sight. He remains a prisoner to his own system. He has to keep hustling because once he stops, his income stops. There is no end to it. However, an entrepreneur can see an end where he has built a system that can function without him. He can either decide to sell the business, start another business or continue running the business. It’s his choice to make once he gets to this end. For most entrepreneurs, getting to this end is usually the beginning of something new.
Like I mentioned earlier, most entrepreneurs were – and are still hustlers. They evolved and channel their hustle into a system that works for them. Hustling should be a means to an end, not the end itself. Making the next sale is what is important to a hustler, building a company and leading his team is what the entrepreneur is focused on. Being a hustler is not bad, but for a hustler to not evolve into an entrepreneur is a dead-end.
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