Article | 9 min read

Hustle, hustle, hustle to joy and a better life

By Page Grossman

Last updated May 23, 2017

Next time you’re catching up with a friend and they ask, “how are you?” I can almost bet, you’ll take a dramatic sigh and say, “busy.” Don’t even try to deny that you will.

Our hustle, our stress, our tiredness, all prove success. It’s the achievement of the American dream proven by the bags under our eyes. Or so we’re telling ourselves.

The American dream is to bootstrap your way to success. Whether that’s to become a millionaire, a successful businesswoman, retired at 30, or a serial entrepreneur—it doesn’t mean that you have to make yourself physically or emotionally sick in the process.

If anyone knows this, it’s Jonas Koffler. Loving your job doesn’t mean that it’s loving you back and this man is proof. Koffler suffered a stroke at the age of 26. He’s been able to rebuild his life, but he now lives by the new definition of “hustle,” which he shared at SXSW 2017.

“Hustle = decisive MOVEMENT toward a goal, however indirect, by which the motion itself manufactures LUCK, surfaces hidden OPPORTUNITY, and CHARGES OUR LIFE with more money, meaning, and momentum.”

“Hustle = decisive movement toward a goal, however indirect, by which the motion itself manufactures luck, surfaces hidden opportunity, and charges our life with more money, meaning, and momentum.” – Jonas Koffler

Now, doesn’t that sound much better than dark under-eye circles, over-caffeinated afternoons, and struggling out of bed each morning?

This new way to hustle is purposeful and intentional. This hustle can lead you to money, meaning,

Three unseen laws of hustle

The misunderstood word that’s taking years off your life has three unseen laws according to Koffler.

  1. Do something that moves you. Put yourself in motion. By doing something that moves you physically, you can access “hustle luck,” which is created by movement.

  2. Keep your head up and your eyes open. Always be looking and listening, there are always hidden opportunities out there. Movement and hustle luck will lead you to see the world in novel ways.

  3. Seal the deal and make it real. Once something is started, it must be finished. This is often the hardest part of any project, the close.

The 30-day challenge

The author of Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum issued a challenge to his SXSW listeners.

In the next 30 days, you can find your own money, meaning, and momentum by completing these steps.

  • Meet 15 new people.

  • Find out how you can help each person you meet. It’s simple, just ask them.

  • Try one thing that’s risky to bring yourself a little bit of hustle luck.

  • Unplug. Take a few moments here and there to unplug and reconnect. Become more mindful of activities and begin to isolate which things are bringing you money, meaning, and momentum.

Shifting your definition of hustle can bring you more satisfaction, success, and health. You don’t have to be the busiest, most stressed person to be the most successful.

My personal hustle

As a freelance writer, I’m not unfamiliar with the hustle. If I’m not networking and looking for the next job, at some point, I won’t have work. My focus the last few months was rebranding and defining exactly who I am as a freelancer. This challenge was just what I needed to revitalize my hustle and I discovered that it comes to me more naturally than it used to.

Meet 15 people.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned as a freelancer, it’s that you never know who will give you your next job. I’ve had leads that seemed ready to sign on the dotted line and then ghosted. I’ve had leads that seemed like total longshots that have become long-term clients.

Here are a couple stories that came out of new people I met doing this challenge.

When I’m recovering my creative energy, I love to scroll my Instagram feed. There’s art, kittens, and yoga. It’s a very warm and fuzzy place. Through a tag and a friend of a friend I stumbled upon a line-drawing of a girl that read, “put your hair up in a bun and handle it.” I had to have one. I bought a copy, made it my phone background (still is!) and followed the local-to-me artist, Becca. Last week, a year later, I sent Becca a message and asked if we could meet for happy hour. She was just too cool online, I had to meet her in person. We totally hit it off. We talked about rejuvenating the finite sources of creative energy and buying homes. Disparate, bouncing conversations are the best kind—that’s networking.

As part of this challenge, I wanted to reconnect with an acquaintance, Lakhpreet, who founded and runs an online, non-profit magazine for Sikh women called Kaur Life.

Lakhpreet and I scheduled a coffee date. They had to pry us out of the coffee shop two hours later. We talked about religion, politics, feminism, jewelry, culture, and family. Not all networking is about finding a job, it’s just about creating a strong relationship. I also found out during our conversation that Lakhpreet is doing side projects and would love to be forwarded any clients that I can’t take on. I scored a new friend, a motivator, and contact to share work with.

There were so many more stories that came out of this exercise. The biggest lesson I’ve taken out of this is that I’m surrounded by women just like me. Working from home can be isolating at times, but now I know, all I have to do is reach out.

Provide help.

This tip wasn’t exactly new to my networking repertoire as it was (kindly) drilled into me while working with Dayna Steele to co-author our book. Steele’s Your Daily Success Tip has featured this exact advice more than a few times and I will never tire of hearing it.

If you help others, they’re going to be more willing to help you. It’s as simple as that.

If you help others, they’re going to be more willing to help you. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve been surprised how quickly people are willing to share their problem or stress with another person. It’s a great conversation starter. If you can provide a solution, a suggestion, or a connection, they’ll be happy to help you in the future.

I’ve only recently made the transition in my career where I feel like I have enough contacts and experience to share with others. And I’ve been surprised how receptive people are to my tips and experience.

Recently, I’ve shared contacts with my freelance mentor who’s hit a lull with her clients, I’ve mentored a woman who just graduated college, and just a few days ago heard from a friend who is interested in becoming a freelancer and asked for my advice.

From these experiences I’ve learned that we don’t always see the network we’ve built until we begin helping others. I’m learning to catalogue my resources and to discover where connections could be made to benefit both parties.

Take a risk.

You might not believe this, and maybe I have a skewed view of my personality, but I’m pretty risk averse. Other than jumping into freelancing straight out of college, not having health insurance for one month after I turned 26, and traveling the world for part of the year, I’m a very cautious person. I’m totally not a risk taker. So this was probably the hardest recommendation for me to implement, but I can see it working out.

I’ve worked with one of my clients for about six months and love the work. During a lunch meeting, I shared that I had gotten another great client who was paying me very well. About triple what this client was paying me. I shared the news to him as a friend and fellow entrepreneur, but it also had another effect. Two weeks later, he offered me a raise. I may have accidentally shown him my worth, causing him to realize he could lose my services if I wasn’t compensated enough. I can tell you this: I’m keeping this risky trick in my back pocket to use in the future.

The second risk I took was to fire a client. I knew it was the right decision as he was causing me stress, we didn’t communicate well, and he was my lowest-paying client. It still wasn’t easy, in fact, it was scary. As a freelancer it is essential, but risky, to think that I’ve come to a place in my career where I can choose whom I work with. I can choose to work with only the clients that are best for me.


Ok, this whole challenge has been great. Through this new hustle, I’ve learned about myself, my business, and how to network better. But my favorite has probably been to unplug. Instead of creating a major goal in January, I’ve given myself a new goal each month. I figure,

April’s goal was to fascia roll each morning. The effects were much broader than I imagined. Self-motivation is tough. I think I’m ok with it, but some days it’s just tough. The best part about fascia rolling is that it makes my body feel good. That feeling gets my out of bed in the morning. That 45 minutes to an hour that I spend on my morning routine has made all the difference in my career. Now I prepare myself for my day instead of immediately hopping on my phone, reading the news, scrolling Instagram, and then sitting down to write.

Now I prepare myself for my day instead of immediately hopping on my phone, reading the news, scrolling Instagram, and then sitting down to write.

I’m also unplugging by watching less Netflix. The time I’ve gained by reducing my Netflix-viewing has allowed me to rediscover my passion for reading. Don’t get me wrong, I love my technology. Technology is the means I get instant Twitter news and can work while traveling the world, but it’s also oh so nice to get away from.

All in all, I’m interested to see where this new technique of hustle takes me. After writing this piece, I’m surprised by just how much it has had an effect on me, I wasn’t expecting this much of a result. Off I go to find my next risk and 15 more people to meet.

Page Grossman became an entrepreneur at 22, knowing that she never wanted to settle down in a cubicle. With a degree in journalism, some money in a savings account, and Millennial-spirit, Page founded her own freelance writing business. Page writes about creating an intentional lifestyle through travel, finances, entrepreneurship, health, fitness, and nutrition. Depending on the day, you can find her writing for various blogs, slaying SEO, researching grammar questions, banishing the Lorem Ipsum, fostering kittens, and traveling the world on Instagram.