Hustle is Bullsh*t


Do more.

Run faster.

Work harder.

Put in more hours.




Burn it hotter, bigger, brighter.

…until your little flame grows into a conflagration that lights up the whole YOUniverse and you win it all.

…or until you burn that flame right out.

Hustle is bullshit.

Yes, moving faster and shipping more than your competitors will give you an advantage – but only until they begin to move faster and ship more than you. This information is not new. It’s not some magical secret strategy that no one else knows.

In fact, hustle isn’t even a strategy – because it doesn’t scale. It is limited by time. There are only 24 hours in a day. 365 days in a year. And each and every one of us has access to this resource. One simply cannot infinitely “work more”. It’s not possible. Therefore, hustling – when defined as working harder, longer, bigger, and faster – is not a strategy. It is simply the path one takes to sure burnout.

So if hustling is, in fact, bullshit, what is the alternative?

Let’s see what someone who is far more widely regarded as successful than the author of this post (that would be me) has to say:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”  – Warren Buffett

See? Even the third richest man in the world (at the time of this post – behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates) agrees that less is more when it comes to the building blocks of success.

“But Lindsay,” you might say, “What about people like Gary Vaynerchuk who have built empires around hustle?”

To that I say yes …and no.

Yes, the beloved @GaryVee advocates for things like 15-hour days and outworking the competition. But he does so with the goal of completely obliterating the ever-growing entitlement epidemic. He and I agree that if success is what you seek, you must put in the work. Absolutely nothing comes for free. Nada. You have to work for it. Hard.

Gary Vee Twitter VideoWhere people misinterpret messages from people like Gary Vaynerchuk is when they skim through his content and try to boil it down to some simplistic formula where (15 hours a day) x (7 days a week) = fame and fortune.

Not so.

The pursuit of success is an art, not a science. And when hustling is defined by simply working more, moving faster, burning hotter, and sleeping less, it’s – you guessed it – bullshit.

When your work is inefficient, unproductive, and poor quality, working more will simply produce more crap.

And you’ll be tired, cranky, and discouraged.

Why? Because all you’ll have to show for all that “hustle” is a whole load of crappy work.

Instead of doing more, be better.

Easier said than done, yes. And “better” is so subjective, isn’t, it? There’s no formula for “better”. No amount of time, money, or quantitative investment will get you there. You must instead think, hypothesize, test, measure, reflect, and commit to continuous improvement. 

As Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Grace will take you places hustling can’t.”

I couldn’t agree more. Success does not come from more. It comes from better. And I don’t know about you, but some day, I don’t want my legacy to be that I always did more than everyone else. I want it to be that I was just so. damn. good. That my work was of exceptional quality. That everything I did professionally worked together strategically with purpose. That it added real, tangible value. And that I did it all with grace, fervor, and joy. Not with hustle-induced veins popping out of my forehead and a constant cocktail of stress, exhaustion, and anxiety pumping through my body.

Don’t you?

So, instead of hustle, I prefer words like grace, grit, prioritization, efficiency, effectiveness, passion, and value. When you have these words at the forefront of your mind, your daily to-do list and your life as a whole, you’ll get closer to success than hustle alone will ever take you.

Because when you truly love what you do, while you must put in the hard work to be successful, you don’t have to hustle. Anyone who tells you otherwise is bullshit.


INFOGRAPHIC: The Road to Omnichannel Marketing Excellence …starts with Email

Perhaps you’re a retailer and you’ve been using email to encourage your customers to buy online and in-store. But have you found it virtually impossible to manage all the data that is created as a result? It would be great to be able to leverage that data to create united, personalized experiences across other channels, but the mere concept of omnichannel marketing just feels too overwhelming.

Yet, an omnichannel marketing strategy is clearly the direction today’s most successful brands are headed. How will you ever accomplish it?

The reality is that few companies start out trying to build a complete marketing philosophy all at once. At Emarsys, we have found that many of our most successful clients conquer just one channel at a time – and many begin with email. Take a hard look at the way your email channel operates and make the necessary optimization changes. Then to see where you need to go from there, take a look at our Omnichannel Roadmap infographic, which you can also view here on the Emarsys blog.

omnichannel infographic

To learn more about how to use email as your first step toward omnichannel marketing excellence, download this whitepaper from Emarsys: Omnichannel Marketing Excellence Starts with Email.

What are Affluent Millennials seeking in Financial Service Providers?

What are Affluent Millennials seeking in Financial Service providers? This infographic will tell you. Very interesting research by LinkedIn!

“You’ve got keywords. Now what?”

“You’ve got keywords. Now what?”

The powerful persona of Affluent Millennials

The powerful persona of Affluent Millennials will drastically change the global financial services industry. How can it navigate the shift?

Advice I recently given that I should take, myself

Advice I recently gave to a friend in an email. When I reread it, I realized just how much I need to take my own advice.


Wise words from my husband when I was starting my own business

Wise words from my husband when I was starting my own business. It’s one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.

Starting a Business Quote

Not friendly with mobile? On 4/21, Google won’t be so friendly with you.

April 21. If you haven’t heard by now, it is the day that will forever go down in history as the day Google started including friendliness as an indicator in its rankings. Mobile-friendliness, that is.

Google April 21In case you missed the official announcement, Google recently announced that “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

What exactly does it mean for your website? It means that your site needs to be optimized not only for visitors using desktops and laptops, but also for those viewing it with tablets, phablets and smartphones. Every page on your website must be designed for accurate viewing and functionality. If it’s not, your search rankings will drop significantly.

Are you ready? Here are a couple questions to ask yourself about your site to determine whether or not you’re friendly enough to for Google’s love after April 21:

  1. Is your site mobile responsive? Not sure? Try resizing your browser window when viewing your website from a desktop. Do the elements of the page respond as you narrow the screen? If they don’t and eventually the words fall off the side of the screen, your site is not responsive.
  2. What issues are you posing for mobile usability? Log into Google Webmaster Tools to identify potential problems. Don’t worry, there’s a little video to help answer questions you might have as you get started.
  3. What can you accomplish before April 21? Whatever you can do, get it done. But don’t get discouraged by the fast-approaching deadline. All signs indicate that the new Google algorithm will run in real-time. Search Engine Land summarized it as follows:

“…the algorithm runs in real-time, so technically, you can do it any day, and as soon as Google picks up on the change, the site will start to benefit from the new mobile-friendly algorithm change.”

Starting to panic? Don’t. Just breathe and schedule a meeting with your web developer – ASAP. Making your site mobile-friendly may not be a simple, quick fix, but it’s important. Without taking a step back and getting your site in order, your traffic could plummet by the end of the month. What would that do to your lead generation pipeline? Don’t let all the hard work you’ve put into keyword strategy, SEO and content marketing get crushed because your site isn’t welcoming to mobile visitors.

Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket

When vetting a company, investors like to see diversity. Where? In several areas. They look for a strong product offering, a well-rounded team, a history of growth and success, and smart decisions made in a range of circumstances. No venture capitalist is going to invest in a one-dimensional company. When they find that all the focus has been put into a single area, they quickly begin to see red flags. Why? Because what happens if that one area fails? The foundation of company crumbles and the whole deal falls through.Don't put all your eggs in Google's basket

The same can be said for marketing. The marketing strategies that are most likely to succeed long-term are those that leverage a diverse mix of channels to build traffic and generate leads. NOT those that put all their eggs in the Google basket.

For years, marketers have been focused on SEO. We’ve been told to optimize our websites in accordance with Google’s latest algorithm. Build content around highly researched keyword phrases. Include pictures – no, wait – videos in our posts to boost performance. Marketers have been tagging, labeling, titling, posting, sharing, emailing and writing all in an effort to play the Ranking Game.

To a certain extent, this is good. It’s healthy. It’s a way to keep us all on our toes, striving to be better marketers and deliver for our companies. However, there is danger in building a marketing strategy around SEO. What happens when Google, as it often does, makes a change to its algorithm? Or when you put hours into incorporating Google Authorship into your company blog only to see it shut down a couple of months later? And let’s not even get started on the time and energy you may have put into making the now defunct Google+ work.

When we put too much stock into SEO, two things happen:

  1. We lose site of serving our target audience, marketing instead to the delight of search engines.
  2. We turn over too much control to the number crunchers who formulate those powerful algorithms.

So here’s what I propose instead. As marketers, we should have one primary objective: to deliver value to our target audience so they are drawn in to learn more, aka become leads. To do that, we should build a balanced marketing mix. In that mix should be smart, well-planned, regularly maintained SEO, of course. But there should also be a healthy portion of other marketing channels like email marketing, social media, strategic content creation, offline marketing like speaking opportunities and conferences, and perhaps some paid advertising, to round it out.

We’re marketers. Inbound marketers. It’s up to us to dig in and build strong personas. Really understand our target audience. Get to know them so well that we can craft creative new ways to reach them where they are with information they want to receive. SEO is important, yes. Very important. But that’s not what it’s about.

Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket. After all, who knows what they will do with them next? Listen to what your parents, teachers and financial advisor have all told you for years: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try new things. Find balance. Diversify.

In many ways, I’m just putting into writing what so many marketers already know. Sometimes it just helps to be reminded.

These Stock Photos are Brilliant (Yes, I’m Serious)

Vince Vaugn is pretty funny. I’ve belly-laughed and rolled my eyes all the way through a few of his movies.

I’ve also belly-laughed and rolled my eyes at more than a few stock photos.

When I came across some stock photos that one might use to represent tired over-used buzzwords like “synergy”, “circle-back” or “there’s no ‘I’ in team”, I was blown away …by their brilliance.

Wait, what?

Yes, these photos were brilliant. Why? They feature Vince Vaughn and his co-stars from an upcoming movie. I’m not sure what Unfinished Business is going to be about, but I think I get the picture from these, well, pictures. Take a look.

Unfinished Business Movie

Mike Pancake from Apex Select attends a business presentation in a boardroom

Unfinished Business Movie

Dan Trunkman and Mike Pancake applaud a successful business meeting

Unfinished Business Movie

Business team enjoying victory

Whether or not anyone actually uses these photos as stock imagery is irrelevant. It’s the creative marketing behind it that makes this marketing nerd giddy. What a fun, different way to generate a buzz! The photos are available for free (for editorial use only) through Getty Image’s iStock. When you want to download the photos, you have to set up a free iStock account. A tad annoying, perhaps, but I don’t mind. (hey, I did it for this post!) Way to get in on the action, iStock!

I can only guess from this marketing tactic that they are targeting business people (particularly marketers, perhaps?) who will appreciate the direct shot they are taking at the cheesy, over-produced stock photos we have all been subjected to throughout our careers. By appealing to this career-long annoyance, the marketers promoting this movie are telling me that the entire movie is going to “get it” …and make me belly-laugh a lot.

I’ve written about personas recently and this is a beautiful example of why they’re so important and how to put them to work. Yes, they are already getting some criticism because they are only free for editorial use, which I agree is kind of silly. But I get it – there have to be some limitations on how these images are used. But that’s all beside the point, as far as I’m concerned. They won over this Marketing Mary. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go find some places to use these stock photo gems.