The Myth of the Hustle
“The hustle is real.”
We hear about this all the time in freelancing and small businesses, usually from really intense grind-your-ass-off motivational gurus that insist long hours and little sleep is THE way to success.
Hustling sixteen hours a day, seven days a week is one way to succeed in making your vision a reality…
It is also a one-way ticket to Burnout, and a crippling decline in your momentum.
The Tortoise & The Hare – It’s A Real Thing
Does anyone remember the old story about the tortoise and the hare? That little rabbit should have, by the logic of The Hustle Method, won the race, should it not? It was going going going like it was a battery powered bunny until…
What happened again?
Oh yeah, BURNOUT!
The hare had to rest, didn’t he? Take a nap. For like, a really long time. Then the tortoise, who was slowly and steadily making his way, won the race.
So it is in your freelancing business.
I recently saw a video of a real-life race between a bunny and a tortoise. The bunny was directionally challenged and kept hopping a bit forward, toward the finish line, then back to the starting line. On repeat. And guess what?
It was the tortoise who crossed the finish line.
Guess What – You Don’t Have To Hustle
I hustled for a long time in my freelancing business before figuring this out. Because of this “gotta hustle” concept, I created for myself the very thing I’ve been avoiding since my first one in 2012 – a full time job.
I recently heard this phrase: Your life doesn’t fit around freelancing – freelancing fits around your life. Or something along those lines – I can’t remember his exact words. Those words came from my recently-hired freelancing business coach (yeah, they’re a real thing), who opened my mind up to the wonderful world of actually creating my own hours and working whenever I want.
He also said that if you do your best work, working only two hours a day – only work two hours a day.
Now THAT was something I could get behind.
So I set to work – I asked myself when I do my best work. I realized early in the morning, at 7 am, I had tons of energy, with a steady decline until I crapped out at 2 pm. So, I decided that 7am to 1:30 pm, with an hour lunch, sounded like a substantial enough work day.
Give Yourself Time Off
After some more thought, I realized I felt my life was passing before my eyes because I barely gave myself time off (and I was getting weekly migraines from burnout). Sure, I had weekends, but Saturday was our sad-sack, can’t-get-off-the-couch, total-exhaustion day. Sundays were always taken up with laundry and housework.
Jake, my fiancé, works in education, and occasionally will be graced with three day weekends. One week, he had them two in a row, and I decided to take those Fridays off with him.
That felt so awesome! I believe it was after the second one that I hired that coach and started soul-searching about my hours. After that, I decided that I’d like to have three day weekends, every weekend.
So, working 28 hours a week, down from 45 – did I lose money? Not at all.
How did I do that?
It’s All In The Pricing
You have to create a pricing structure that supports your lifestyle. That means, no more under-charging for your services, no more taking projects that pay a little less just because you can, and most of all – no more favors. Your time is valuable, and even your friends (and family) should pay for it.
Luckily, my pricing structure was pretty much on point for my financial goals, even at 28 hours a week, so there was just a little tweaking here and there.
So spend some time crunching those numbers (it’s freedom math – that’s the fun kind) and give yourself some time off. People in jobs get vacation time – what’s the point of being a freelancer if you can’t do that, too?
I’m Still Getting It All Done
The best part? I’m getting the exact same amount of work done that I did before, only without the burnout. My productivity has skyrocketed.
That’s because I’m working with my natural tendencies. I’m working with my energy levels, and taking care of myself. I’m able to enjoy life, do all my housework, cook dinner, and best of all, get back to creating the artwork that I had neither the time or the energy for when I was HUSTLING.
Want to do this for yourself, but have questions on how? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to chat with you, fellow freelancer, and help you figure out how you can give YOURSELF more time off.
Have you done something similar in your business? Leave a comment below to let me know how!
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