Unless you’re born with a silver spoon, your success is more often determined by your hustle. For some, due to systemic bias, the hustle is either easier or harder.
Despite the circumstances, the effectiveness of your hustle is rooted in your mindset and ultimately your energy. That’s why on Thursday December 6th, the opening keynote for HustleCon East titled Energy Is the New Currency, Let’s Get Alive As Sh*t was the best way to set the tone for a day focused on inspiring hustlers to succeed. Delivered by founder and CEO of Poo~Pourri and supernatural Suzy Batiz, the two-time bankrupt entrepreneur didn’t hold back sharing the highs, and lows of her journey to discovering the secrets to success.
“Focus on sh*t that lights you up and when that sh*t resonates go for that shit.You are worthy as shit you are powerful as shit. You are the shit.”
Powered by Intuit, 11 CEO’s and founders took to the stage to share actionable insight on specific areas of their journey. Unlike a lot of conferences which can push out generic topics, HustleCon knows their audience and each topic was worthwhile for hustlers ranging from newbies to experienced bosses. There were sound issues, so audience members had to hustle to hear but as with anything worthwhile, the hustle was worth it.
Here are our top six takeaways from HustleCon East:
1. Trust your gut. Ideas are alive. Follow the good energy. Cut the sh*t.
After her second bankruptcy, Suzy Batiz went on a spiritual sabbatical. Batiz opened up the day at HustleCon with her thesis that ideas are alive.
When ideas are alive and we’re met to pursue them, they have resonance. So how do we know when an idea has resonance or dissonance?
Develop your resonance radar:
(1) You are turned on/lit up: Notice your energy level increases.
(2) Body sensations: Chills goosebumps excitement smiling pulling towards.
(3) Signs of synchronicity: Things will align with little effort.
(4) Keeps knocking at your door: The ideas keep coming back around over and over again.
2. “Constantly delegate and strive for constant iteration and improvement.”
Founder & CEO of Betterment, Jon Stein shared a talk titled “What I Would Do Differently” outlining his keys to getting started and growing as a startup.
3. “Repeated application of seemingly unsustainable things built sustainable growth.”
In a talk focused on growing your user base organically (in other words without paid marketing) founder and CEO of Teachable Ankur Nagpal shared the steps the company took to go from unprofitable to profitable.
4.“Everyone starts somewhere. What do you do when you have big dreams and strapped resources? You find a workaround.”
If you get what feels like thousands of newsletters you’ve likely come across this service called UnrollMe. In his talk, Building a Tech Company without a Tech Background, Jojo Hedaya the cofounder of the company shared that it took a full month to come up with that name and he and his cofounder met and bonded over their blackberry phones. What stood out from his talk was his honesty when it came to the fundraise experience where VC’s told him that his company sucks, it can’t make money, it won’t scale past 100K users and the infamous you need a technical cofounder. They were determined to prove them wrong and slowly but surely surpassed all the expectations. He heavily credits that to finding the right team to build towards your vision.
5. “You either optimize for growth or revenue. You can’t do both.”
Alex Chung, Founder & CEO of GIPHY took to the stage in a talk titled, The Company with 300 Million Daily Users. He emphasized the improtance of optimizing for people over product, and when that environment is created product innovation comes natural. However I was disappointed in Chung’s statement that you can either optimize for growth or revenue, and not both. The striking thing about this statement is it’s incredibly priveledged. Not every entrepreneur, especially those who have been disadvantaged by systemic bias can afford the luxury of focusing exclusively on growth over revenue.
6. “An entrepreneur is someone who is resilient…[someone] who can get it done.”
In an intimate fireside chat conversation titled Big Hustles Start Small,co founder and partner of the Harlem Capital Fund John Henry shared his journey from doorman to dry cleaning to domination. Okay, maybe he’s not quite dominating but it’s clearly his goal and he’s well on his way. As a native New Yorker, first generation John was no stranger to hard work, but he needed a push. That push came when a potential client told him not to settle for being a doorman. He created his first business and went all in when it got to the point where it would cost him more to stay at his job than to leave.
“I couldn’t breathe when I was working for someone else. I just didn’t like it. Dry cleaning as the bridge to maintaining control over my time and freedom.”
He went on to explain, “I can’t wrap my head around the idea of someone else determining what my value was. [What I love about entrepreneurship is] the amount that you make is determined by the amount that you hustle. You’ll only go as far as the pressure you’re willing to handle.”
Henry was transparent about not just the hustle but the feelings that come along with the hustle including fear (which never goes away) and the importance of narrative over dollars.
“Commit to exploring what the limit to your work capacity is,” Henry added when asked about how he feels about balance and self-care.
Henry was on the stage courtesy of Intuit. The company hosted a meaningful activation called #HailToTheHustle during the conference that allowed conference goers to reflect on their first hustle. The feeling of earning your first dollar from your own passion, energy and ambition is like no other. Many who shared on the wall went all the way back to their childhood to the days of selling lemonade, or working in retail.
My actual first job was retail. But when I reflected on my journey, I focused on my first dollar that truly meant something. That dollar was my first t-shirt that I sold when I was 19 years old. I created t-shirts with the phrase, No one Ever Slows Her Agenda in order to raise the funds I needed to create HerAgenda.com. I sold out of the t-shirts, and here we are 10 years later still growing, still thriving, still hustling.
[This article is sponsored by Intuit.]