What’s Your Hustle?


Back in the day, “What’s your sign?” might have been the default pick up line. The new line now should be “What’s your hustle?”

A hustle is anything you do outside of your regular job to advance. Hustles can be legal, semi-legal or illegal. They can be done solo or in a group. A hustle is often thought of as a street level enterprise, but every aspiring writer, adult night student or part time real estate broker is working their own hustle…

So far this week, I’ve met the publisher of a liquor magazine, scored a couple of DJ gigs, facilitated a birthday party, set up a photo expert with a new client, scheduled a demo recording and negotiated a license agreement for my new book. All of this happened while writing for New York Nights, pretending to work at my day job and taking care of my people. That’s not bad for a short week, but I don’t think you can hustle by standing still.

I’m not alone in this lifestyle. This week I met a lawyer who doubles as a fashion designer. Two weeks ago I met a banker who also works as a club promoter. The musicians I hang out with at night are advertising executives during the day. More than a few of my DJ friends are lawyers. I date a social worker who is also a dancer. A driver for the car service I use is a music producer. When we go out at night it’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t have a hustle.

Most hustlers are working their way up, but I don’t think we hustle just to get ahead. The way I see it, millionaires from Jay-Z to Donald Trump still hustle, even though they don’t have to. Maybe hustling isn’t about money. Maybe it’s a frame of mind.

The willingness to hustle might come from several places. It could be that New Yorkers hustle by instinct, giving up their days working for the Man so they can spend their nights doing what they love. It could mean that the jobs we really want to do don’t pay a lot of money so we hustle to keep things from falling apart. It could just mean that everything on TV is crap so we find something else to do to pass the time.

Nightlife lends itself to hustling. There is a lot of stuff that needs to be done, but you usually don’t have to be there until your day job is done. Nightlife jobs often come with perks, but most of them don’t pay enough to make a living. These kinds of hustles are fairly easy to add into a normal life. Combine that with the fact that you can run things remotely through the internet and there are ready made hustles everywhere you look.

So what if you don’t have a hustle? Do you need one? Maybe not. Maybe you have everything you’re looking for in your job, your relationship and your personal space. Maybe you have enough money, freedom and excitement in your life to skip the hustle. If so, you should feel good about that. If not, then maybe its time for you to find your hustle.

Have fun.
Gamal