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Hustler vs. Hassler

Marketing and branding and advertising are all hard to get right and we don’t get them right when we first start out. It’s practically impossible because determining whether we get it “right” depends on feedback and results from our earlier efforts. Hell. Quite a few of us can’t even define a distinction between marketing, branding, and advertising. (There is a difference.)

But what’s on my mind at the moment is a equally important distinction: The difference between the Hustler and the Hassler.

First, what’s a hustler? There are plenty of perceptions of a hustler. It’s someone who gets up early and works hard, works late, and makes thing happen through sheer effort and motivation. Alternately, it’s someone who shirks “real” work to try to con other decent, hard working people out of their own hard-earned money through questionable and downright despicable methods. Which one of these is correct?

I don’t know that either of these descriptions is correct but I know their is enough of a disparity in the conception and use of the term “hustler” to make it inaccurate and unusable in most discussions. I once, years ago, described someone I met as a hustler because they were working hard and getting bills paid. I meant it as a compliment. They were slightly offended and let me know right away they were legitimate and a completely upright business. That little discussion was an example of the different perceptions of the term “hustler”.

So, while I used to think of a hustler as someone in a positive light, I now keep it open-ended when I hear the term in a conversation, until I know more about the speaker’s interpretation of the word. Honesty, there’s no telling where a comment is going until they clarify it with some form of compliment or disparaging word about their subject. The English language is funny like that in a lot of situations. Something can be “cool” and “hot” at the same time. Something that is amazing is “sick”. You know…the slang that makes people like me sound like an old man when we talk about it.

So, while I keep hustlers and hustling open-ended, I will say there is a third category with a more distinct meaning to everyone. A hassler is someone who tries to be a hustler but is just spinning their wheels and annoying people. Hasslers like to talk a lot and may believe they are making a difference to their prospective client and their bottom line, but has no actual idea of any real effect of their efforts.

A hustler, whether they be upright or scandalous, still manages to get things done. A hassler is simply turning a crank handle which isn’t attached to anything. They make a lot of noise, which people try to block out.

I say all that to say this: is your marketing targeted? Are you reaching those targeted people with a specific message? Are you running at least two or more campaigns to see which one works better…and then ditching the low one and replacing it with a third one to compare to the winner…and then repeating the process…continually?

You want to know your message is effective. You need feedback. Feedback, by the way, is NOT your friends or your mom telling you you’re doing great. You need actual analytics to act upon with your marketing and advertising. These are easily obtainable, and often free, depending on the form of online advertising you’re doing.

Make sure your message is reaching your intended audience. Make sure your message is clear and precise and specific. Get your clients interested by association and by relating to them. Make it local. Get feedback. Build on your positives. Cut back the negatives.

Be a hustler, not a hassler.

Keep the momentum.


Published by KeepTheMomentum

One day, I’m gonna have a book store. You wait and see.

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