Startup Hustle: A Real Trait Entrepreneurs Use to Land Their First Customers

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Startup hustle is a term that entrepreneurs hear and use all the time. But what is it, really? How do you know it, and get it? Do you even need it? Why? Today we tackle startup hustle and attempt to clarify these questions that go through the mind of every aspiring entrepreneur.

Startup Hustle

A hustler is someone who doesn’t know the meaning of putting one’s nose to the grindstone because this is their default setting. They are tireless, often giving up sleep to honor their dogged pursuit of a singular goal. The hustler is the power behind any idea, the impetus and energy that pushes a concept to realization through sheer will in unrelenting action.

Startup hustle is the drive that pushes an entrepreneur to become that hustler for his business. Startup hustle begins as the determined initiative of this entrepreneur to make a concept real in the minds of his core team and his targets. His light bulb moment takes form and is transmitted is such an expertly delicate fashion that it becomes not an external notion but one’s own. The target market owns this idea as well, in a way, as it becomes their desire.

Startup hustle then builds and continues as resolute advancement. The entrepreneur coaxes the spark that he has ignited into a blaze. Rather than the entrepreneur wanting to sell something, investors and partners want a slice of the pie and the market wants to taste what they know will be delicious.

Dollars to donuts, more people are familiar with the name Westinghouse than they are with the name Tesla. This is because George Westinghouse is the hustler behind A/C technology, bringing electricity to the world. JP Morgan was an even better hustler, backing Tesla’s rival Thomas Edison to create the near monopoly General Electric. Now that’s a household name, and its over 12 decades old.

Worth the Hustle

The best startup hustlers are those guys that you see out there every day, at all hours, moving and shaking like a one-legged man whose life depends on winning the race. You see them everywhere and wonder how they got here when it seems that they were just there only a moment ago. But you need to know that what you’re hustling for is a viable idea in the first place. You are wasting your passion, your real startup hustle, if you need to kill yourself to make a sale. Chris Barrett knows what I’m talking about. Hustling for the sake of hustling is a true exercise in futility. Startup hustle starts with sparking interest, but you should not be exhausting your resources at this stage. If you’re burning out before you’ve gotten through the launch, you’re just spinning your wheels.

Get Hustling

The work of startup hustle is founded in building relationships. This work of networking is essential to the survival of any business. HeroBox co-founder David Tran gave us a clear example of startup hustle work. He had the gumption to jump up on stage at the Global Startup Battle SociaLIGHT conference nearly six years ago. Tran ruffled a few feathers that day as he interrupted a scheduled interview, but his spunk earned him enough audience votes to win him third place in the Startup Weekend competition.

CEO Mike Robbins of Luxe Water Walls told Entrepreneur that “You need to constantly be out there networking… This is where a lot of new opportunities, partnerships and success originates from.” Every successful entrepreneur knows that staying ahead of the game is every bit as important as getting into the game to begin with. If you stop moving, you will quickly lose your edge and get trampled beneath the feet of competition with the go-getter attitude.

So how do you get started hustling for your awesome startup idea? Here are a few places that you can start reaching out to acquaint the world with your ingenious concept.


Being the professional networking platform, LinkedIn is a smart place to focus your startup hustle. Build an attractive profile there, and start networking. Build connections with anyone and everyone who you think might be interested in your idea. Identify anyone that you see is involved in a similar line of business and take special note of them. These key connections would have other, pre-filtered connections that you can reach out to. These key connections can also prove to be valuable mentors. Center your attention on these people and learn everything that you can from them.


The platform with the most engaged users at any given time and on any given day is where you need to be. Establish a business and personal presence on Facebook to show people who you are and what you’re building. Then you are ready to tackle the two-pronged approach to Facebook networking. One prong is getting on there and linking up with several groups with information exchange in mind. Share what you know to offer value to your new friends and soak up all their tips and tricks. The other prong is actively seeking out our first customers and keeping an eye out for more as you learn more and work that startup hustle to build up interest in your concept.


The internet is the go-to place or information these days, and Quora is one of its top question and answer sites. Create a profile there – and on a few other similar sites – and spend time helping people out with their queries. It’s better to give than to receive, and this principle applied to startup hustle will build you a strong reputation for knowledge and care. It can also build you up a nice foundation if you aim to become an influencer at some point.

Networking Events

Not every entrepreneur believes in investing in attendance at networking events, but they do have their merits. A lot of entrepreneurs, investors and potential partners gather at these events, and many more follow them through live broadcasts and blog reports. Every hustler loves a captive audience. Use these meet-ups to spread your company mission with a much larger audience at once than you could hope to hold on any online platform. These events also give you the advantage of being able to add that personal touch that can easily get lost in online interactions. Icing on the cake – you can take advantage of a lot of great learning opportunities at these events to boot.

The top networking events are great places to dedicate some startup hustle fervor. Growth Marketing Conference, Jim Cockrum’s CES, Brand Masters Conference, and South by Southwest (SXSW) are just a few of the top networking events that you can look into preparing for as the year loses and into 2018.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get your startup hustle on, you need to have a plan. American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault always has a to-do-list ready for the following day. You will gain much more traction for your business if you approach every day with an action-oriented mindset rather than getting stuck mulling over what needs to be done. Spend your precious time planning a few definite steps for tomorrow rather than wasting it thinking about what you haven’t accomplished today.

Making a to-do list for the coming day is always better than spending time pondering over pending stuff and recalling them throughout the night. CEO of American Express, Kenneth Chenault is said to jot down three things that he has to achieve the next day. To boost the effectiveness of your startup hustle, make one of these daily action points about offering value. When you’re on Facebook or at an event, prepare free offers of your service or product. This is a sure-fire way to get those first customers that you need to achieve an amazing launch. Make these first supporters so happy that they give you great reviews and help your idea go viral by organically spreading the word within their own spheres of influence.

Don’t forget to really engage with people. No one likes salesmen because this approach means wanting something from them. Instead, help them discover what they want, and then offer it to them.


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About Connor Gillivan

In the past 10 years, I’ve started 7 businesses & built two to $10M+ in annual revenue, teams of 30+ & an exit in 2019. Today, I run SEO & growth for my 4 B2B companies while teaching millions how to make SEO simple.

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