fake work vs. work that makes you money

I’m pretty sure I’ll catch some heat for this, but I think it’s an important topic.

Let’s talk about “hustle”. You can’t be online and not be bombarded with the overwhelming amount of “hustlers” on Instagram and Facebook.

The definition is murky. Let’s start with the meaning of hustle…

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Here’s an overview of what’s in this episode.

The definition of “hustle”

‘Hustler’ = Someone who makes it happen. (found on Quora.com)

“To find a way to achieve goals by using the full gamut of possible maneuvers and resources and leaving little to chance.” – Robert Greene, author of 48 Laws of Power

“Hustlers don’t get embarrassed or upset, they answer all emails (even the negative ones), respond to critics, make sales pitches, and make it happen no matter what.” – David Siteman Garland, Rise to the Top

“Hustling is putting every minute and all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Every minute needs to count.” Gary Vaynerchuk

The hashtag #hustle has been used on Instagram 3,638,809 times.

Hustle implies working hard on your business. Lots of people work hard and lots of people think they’re working hard.

Case study: Dan. He likes to have meetings

I had a session with Dan (not his real name, yes he’s a real dude) last Thursday and he’s planning to launch his collection in January of 2017.

The first thing Dan said to me was, “Oh man, Jane, I have been hustling!”

Ohhhh maaannnn there’s that word again. OK, Dan. Tell me what you actually accomplished…

talking about your hustle is annoying

Then there’s “fake hustle”

The definition of fake hustle:

“Wild enthusiasm which is both inappropriate and false. Fake hustle is usually produced in the face of failure, fear, or extreme boredom.” Urban Dictionary

Also discussed in this episode:

  • Are most people lazy? 
  • Fake work
  • Work that actually leads to money
  • Avoidance work
  • Being a workaholic – where’s the glory in that?

Your new mantra

“Is what I’m doing, RIGHT NOW, getting me considerably closer to my goals?”

Is what i'm doing getting me closer to my goals?

YES or NO?? Do a Self Checkup on a regular basis and ask yourself that question. If the answer is yes, bravo! If the answer is NO then stop doing it right away and delegate it to someone else or dump it. 

Mentioned in the Podcast:

What’s YOUR opinion? 

Did you like this episode? Good or bad, I don’t care. I’d love to know your thoughts on this podcast, on hustle, and “fake hustle”. Just leave me a comment below!  

As always, thanks for reading and listening,




34 Responses

  1. Jane! I’ve been fake hustling this whole year!!!

    I took this long weekend to reflect on multiple aspects of my business by watching a ton of fashion documentaries and youtube videos of fashion business coaches such as yourself!

    I’ve realized I’ve been putting so much time and energy into building my website and having a successful online business. But what I realized, which hit my like a train, is that selling apparel online is very very hard and time consuming and I just couldn’t reach the level of “consistent sales” I would need to sustain my business. Basically, I’ve been avoiding working on getting into boutiques to doing things my own darn self.

    I realized this when I was watching a youtube presentation on how to start a fashion line by global purchasing company. The presenter said something that really struck a cord with me that made have a “OH NO I’M NOT HUSSLING MOMENT”. Basically, what was said that struck me was if I was not able to meet my minimum order for production (with pre-orders) (no matter how small the minimum is or large) then I don’t have a business.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t been completely lazy because I have been working hard on my next samples for Fall 2017 because I really want to hit the pavement and build my wholesale business when the buyers are shopping for the season in January. (Or maybe I’ll try pitching my leather jacket designs to them now for this FALL 2016 if possible, we will see!).

    But I do agree, that out of fear some of us do fake hussle to avoid having to do the hard things we have to do in front of us! ahhhh!

    1. Dwyne, I just love that you shared this. Bravo for reflecting on your business and deciding to change the way you’re doing things. I’m rooting for you all the way!

    2. I like the term “fake hustle”, I’ve been calling it “busy work” – nice to have options. Great soundbite and definitely well-timed. There’s a book I read with a similar message about productivity, and it suggests that before you think about doing something consider it it will put you closer to your end goal/ bottom line – if it doesn’t – reconsider and do something that will. Thanks Jane for putting this out.

    1. Thanks, Nichelle! It’s always a little scary for me to spread the tough love so I really appreciate your comment!

  2. Great message. I know I do this WAY more than I would like to admit. Getting off the couch right now and going to get some real work done!

  3. This was a great wake up call on fake working! You are totally right — I can “work” on areas of my business and I will feel good, but it’s not getting me closer to my goal. It’s just filler.

    Thanks for keeping us honest!!!

  4. I am hustling like crazy, and yes, I am ready, just need a wholesale buyer, and I am looking at all avenues because I am stone broke. Have a wonderful day, Jane.

  5. Hi Jane, thanks for the podcast. I am working 3 jobs while working on my business. I have a business calendar where everything is scheduled, sometimes in 30 minute increments. When you are in the early stages, doing everything yourself (not because you want to either! I would have no problem delegating (but bills don’t stop just because you want to start a business!). How do you avoid doing work that will not get you results that you need “now”?

    1. Hi Tamara,
      While I don’t know enough about your specific situation to give you detailed advice, here are 3 things to consider.

      1) Do I need all 3 jobs? What’s the highest paying, lowest stress job? an I maximize that to keep my spirit fresh for my new business.

      2) What expenses can I get rid of? I’m serious about this. Consider cutting WAAAAYYY back on expenses for a while — cable (don’t need it), having a car (is public trans an option), going out to eat (bring your lunch, cook at home), new clothes (thrift stores and clothing swaps with friends), getting your nails done, hair (I went to Super Cuts for YEARS when things were tight – no one knew the difference).

      3) Consider your product category and how you will sell. Perhaps start with a SIMPLE product (not a full collection) and take pre-orders or cut to order to help your cash flow.

      I hope that helps,
      P.S. I have worked with a client who sold their house and moved in with her parents to get the cash for startup – including her husband and kids! I also met a woman who sold their bedroom set for cash for the biz and they sleep on the mattress on the floor. When you’re committed, you just do things like that.

  6. I certainly agree with the message of this podcast. I follow some fitness “inspiration” users on Instagram, and always wonder if the people liking the images actually ever hit the gym in real life. I mean, if you’re on Insta browsing all day, it’s probably hard to find time to…

    I find when I fake hustle on my own business, it’s mainly due to fear. But, when I’m working for someone else, I put on a different kind of “I need to get this done” mindset. Trusting and believing in myself for my own sake is something I definitely need to work on to avoid the fake hustle.

    1. Jaime, this is terrific. I think what we’re learning form this is to treat your business like you have a job. Like there’s a BOSS waiting for the task they assigned you. THAT WORKS! It’s why I always have a business Coach or Mastermind Group of my own – so I’m held accountable.

  7. This was so timely!! I call it “productive procrastination” instead of “fake hustling” but it’s the same thing — doing work but not the work that needs to be done to get sales or grow the business. Today I hung a sign on my bulletin board with my top priorities for this week and next — things that will actually drive sales or fulfill existing orders — to help keep me on track. I’m also going to look into Fiverr to delegate some of some of my graphic design tasks — great suggestion!

  8. Hi Jane! This was brilliant! Yes guilty as charged of fake hustling, but totally oblivious to the fact! (I shouldn’t be so hard on myself as i never considered myself a hustler nor have ever used the term). It’s like that episode of how I met your mother, where they reveal annoying habits about each other and the glass shatters. You just shattered my glass! Haha. Very good mantra exercise to get in the habit off, I am lucky I answered yes at the time. Thanks again, looking forward to more of your business insights.

  9. I just loved it Jane!! What a wake up call!! I will do this exercise everyday to shake up me up every inch .. Hey real hustle !! or fake hustle!

    Thanks Jane 🙂

  10. Jane!! Your spot on. I have been fake hustling. Doing things you specifically mentioned in your podcast. It’s so true we all need to check in with ourselves every once in a while to make sure that we are still on track.

    Thanks Jane.

    1. Hi Alicya! It’s SO EASY to slip into fake hustle by mistake. Good for you for checking in with yourself!

  11. Yasss girl. Jane, you called it. All this noise on social media is so obviously bullshit, and at the same time creates the kind of anxiety and fear that totally feeds the fake hustle cycle…. By no means am I making the kind of progress on my business that I would like, and a lot of my stalling comes out of fear and insecurity and poverty mindset (maybe you could do a pod on that?), but my thought on the social hustlers is usually, ‘wouldn’t your time be better spent actually bringing in revenue than posting about it on social? Show, don’t tell!”

    1. Yep, I hear you, Allie. I have to hope that they are showing AND telling but who knows?? Also, poverty mindset is a good idea for a podcast. It’s pervasive with creatives (and humans). Thanks for the tip.

  12. Just listened to the podcast. This is so on point for me sometimes; I have a to-do list and sometimes I tend to do the things that are easy or quick to do and push off the harder things or things that I probably need to seek professional assistance with until getting closer to the wire. Hoping to get better and I’ll keep this podcast in the front of my mind the next time I snooze one of my calendar reminders.

    1. Great idea! Keep it handy, reward yourself when you do the “real”work, and do it first thing in the morning so you can bask in the accomplishment glory all dang day!

  13. I’ve been hard core fake hustling for the past few weeks. I’m still finding myself doing things like hand making more intricate and time consuming trims or sewing hems instead of the doing “hard work” like planning and focusing things that are vital but don’t have an immediate or physical outcome. I tend to not see it as accomplishing anything… but it’s just a story I’m telling myself.

    Not to mention I have an awesome assistant and an intern so there are literally 0 excuses as to why I’m doing this shit. It ends NOW! #alldonewithfakework

    1. Terrific, Erika! I think you touched on a great point though. Some of this “fake work” feels really good! There’s a sense of accomplishment when you finish a hem. It’s a box you can check off. The “real” work often has longer lead times. The bonus of the real work is this: you get to check the box – “SOLD SOMETHING”. Ka-ching.

  14. I’ve never though of this!!! this is so damn helpful!!!! I have definitely been fake hustling for a year!!! I HAVE TO GET TO WORK!

    I also can’t actually pay anyone to do stuff, delegate stuff, since i’m not operating yet, but if you have any advice on how to handle this it would be awesome!!!

    Man thank you for this =)

  15. The fake hustle is REAL #FAKEHUSTLE DOING IT NOW UGH. NEEDED this!!!!! Time to refocus, get my ass in gear. I think sometimes we hide from possible failure. #workaholicissues

  16. Thanks for this awesome reminder and soft kick in the pants to get off our fake hustle train. BTW, I love Ash Ambirge and she has been huge inspiration for the start of my business and I’ve taken a few of her workshops and would recommend them to anyone!

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