How Do You Hustle Without Being Sleazy?

“I want to meet up to discuss a new business opportunity.” — someone trying to get you to join some scheme online

I get these random messages on Facebook all of the time. It’s cool because I understand where these people are coming from. We all get excited about a new business idea. I’m always up for discussing business opportunities as opposed to hearing someone complain about how miserable their life is.

The problem is that it’s easy to come off as sleazy when starting a new hustle without even realizing it…

Start a side hustle

I see this happen far too often. A friend starts a new hustle, gets into a new hobby, or sets a money-related goal. They get all excited. They message everyone on Facebook. They talk about this new venture to anyone who’s willing to lend an ear. They go off repeatedly until they annoy all of their friends. They post quotes about how hard they hustle. They share Gary Vee videos on their feed daily. Then they fizzle out and return back to where they started.

At Studenomics, there’s a heavy emphasis on making more money. I want you to focus on increasing your income instead of complaining about your situation. I just don’t want you to come off as a con artist when you’re trying to get your new venture off the ground.

There’s a fine line between being helpful and sleazy.

How do you get into a new hustle without looking like you’re trying to scam people?

[Quick note: if you don’t feel like reading, at Do You Even Hustle, we recorded an entire episode on this topic!]

Stop trying to sell to your friends.

I know that Facebook is perfect for instant feedback. It’s the best tool in the world for seeing what works and what doesn’t. You immediately see what your friends react to. It’s cool to do Facebook ads. It’s not cool to sell to your close friends on Facebook. This will make things uncomfortable for everyone.

You should never try to actively sell to your friends. I personally just charge my friends cost for my products when they really want something (book or shirt) just to break even on it. I don’t believe in trying to profit off your friends. Nobody wants to be pitched to when they go for drinks.

Don’t start selling right away in general. Build a following and create something worth selling.

Provide a real service or value.

Everyone talks about value for a reason.

I want you to ask yourself:

“Would I pay for this?”

This is what I think before I ever promote anything. Don’t promote stuff that you don’t believe in fully. Don’t be vague. Don’t be general.

The rule here is that your 80-year old grandma should understand what your new business is all about. Don’t be that person trying to beg for money on social media.

Don’t force others to care about your new hustle.

I’ve done this way too many times. I’ve harassed far too many friends into liking/sharing posts that they didn’t care for.

It’s awesome that you want to be a personal trainer or that you want to save $10,000 in the next year. Not everyone will share this goal with you. You might even be alone in your journey. That’s okay. You can’t force anyone to care.

Don’t give unsolicited advice.

“You should do this…”

This is the worst way possible to ever start any conversation.  

There are apparently many things that I need to do. I actually never want to hear this again. I’m sick of people trying to tell me what to do when they have no experience on that very topic.

We all hate unsolicited advice. Don’t go around telling your friends how to live life because they’re only going to resent you. They’re going to think that you’re an annoying con artist.

Nobody wants your unsolicited advice. Keep it to yourself.

Your best marketing will always be your results.

Nothing screams SCAM more than someone not living proof of their own product.

Don’t go offering personal training services if you’re in horrible shape. Don’t promote a product that you haven’t even used. Don’t pretend to be an expert if you’re not even a rookie.

I know that launching is important, but you can’t just throw everything at the wall in the hopes of something sticking. Focus on your own results first. Get yourself to where you need to be. Then promote by showing off your own results.

Stop thinking of yourself only.

We all care about results. Nobody will ever buy from you just to support you because they feel sorry for you. That’s pathetic. We want our problems solved.

We want more money, time, and love.

We don’t want to feel guilty about how you’re struggling.

Starting a new hustle isn’t about you. It’s about the customers that you want to serve. Don’t try to garner pity from your friends. Don’t beg your friends to “support” your new hustle because you’re broke or have some issues in your life. Think of your potential clients and those you could serve,

Invest in becoming the best.

As I mentioned earlier, you kind of need to know what you’re talking about. I want you to invest into becoming the best. I want to see you actually take this new hustle seriously on your end. You don’t have to be number one from the beginning. We just want to see you climbing that mountain.

Have a clear vision.

Do you have a clear vision?

In “Atomic Habits” the following point is brought up about clarity:

“Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. It is not always obvious when and where to take action.”

Don’t jump around between multiple ideas.

“I don’t even know what you’re trying to promote anymore.”

I had to be aggressive with a friend because I wasn’t even sure of what they were trying to promote. This person kept on jumping around between different ideas. I didn’t even now what they were doing anymore. That’s a big problem. We should always know what you’re about.

Are you guilty of any of these already? Don’t worry because I’ve personally been guilty of all of these. It’s great that you started a new hustle and want to get ahead. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I did. I’m proud of you for starting your new venture and want you to start off on the right foot.

[Don’t forget to check out our podcast episode on this topic.]

“Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” — Andy Warhol

3 thoughts on “How Do You Hustle Without Being Sleazy?”

  1. Awesome tips! I’ve reached the age (coming up on 30 in a month) where I’m getting constant Facebook invites from friends to various “Tupperware party” style sales pitches. And by friends, I mostly mean “people from high school I haven’t otherwise talked to in the years since graduation.” It’s pushy, and awful, and usually for products I absolutely never buy (and those people would know that if they knew anything about me).

    But I’m also a hustler with a personal finance blog, so I understand the appeal of selling to people you know, and using Facebook to contact them. What I’ve done is always made a separate Facebook Page for my business/ventures, and then only occasionally share something from the page (when relevant) on my personal account. I don’t randomly message people I used to know. I just maintain a solid Facebook page and gently reference it once in a blue moon to let newer friends know that it exists. I know that if someone wants my financial advice/video game charity/product/service, they’ll find it and they can always ask me questions, instead of me pushing it on them.

    1. 30? You’re getting old! I’m stopping at 29. Good to hear from you.

      Those pitches are always so hilarious. I really don’t want to meet up with you to listen to your lame pitch when I could be doing anything else.

  2. Great article. I have tried several Multi Level Marketing Companies. (One I did make some money in.) Pretty soon, your friends don’t take your calls or read your e-mails. Everyone is skeptical. At least with Facebook, you aren’t targeting just one person…I hope! Love your blogs!

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