Of Hustlers and Entrepreneurs

Boss, IT Business
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I love my boy Dre. In the 13 years that I’ve known him, he has made every single tshirt, hat, hoodie, jacket, flyer, visor, screen printed junk and piece of apparel ExchangeDefender logo has ever been on. And trust me, I got a fantastic deal on every single one of those.

My boy Dre is the ultimate hustler. He has a few tables at the local flea market and in the dozen years I’ve known him there is no trend the man hasn’t made money on. From apparel to screen printing to bootleg DVD and CDs (that a while ago) to web sites and the latest addition to the family: 3D printed stuff from souvenirs to anything you want.

Yet every few months that I see him we have a Come to Jesus meeting about working 80 hour weeks, living at the market, not being able to find good help… peppered with the usual dose of “check out my new business” and “making money doing this new thing”. The conversation always ends like this: You need to focus on building a business that lasts longer than your latest gimmick. 


Entrepreneurs Build Businesses

All entrepreneurs are hustlers.

Not all hustlers are entrepreneurs.

I know it’s en vogue to say “I’m an entrepreneur” because it sounds good but calm down Jimmy Joe Bob, a 3D printer and a Facebook page make you as much of an entrepreneur as it makes you god on day four. Hustlers take spare time and Google to make something that brings them a few bucks – they make a pitch, make a few sales and that’s it – once they realize it involves actual work and that the hobby isn’t fun when it requires time and people.

Where the hustle ends, real business begins. This is why real entrepreneurs take ideas, usually simple thing that any hustler does, and they build them to scale. With people. With process. Sustainable over time.

How do you know if you’re a hustler or an entrepreneur? What happens to your “business” without you.

Simple. Hustlers keep on shifting cash from one mouse trap to another, in perpetuity.. and the real tragedy is, they can’t outrun their scam. Because a real business doesn’t dodge it’s bills, talk a big game about “great new things in works” while dodging phone calls and maintaining zero accountability. It works in the short term, because they really don’t know any better, but in the long term things fall apart without people, partners and vendors you can trust in business.

Don’t be a hustler. If you are one now, forget about the next idea and focus on being an entrepreneur that builds a real business – one that doesn’t need you and as such outlasts you.