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January 4, 2013 // 12:00 AM

Being a Creative Hustler

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creative-hustlerBob Dylan sang it many years back: “The times, they are a-changin’.” Times are changing now — and more so than many of us would like to admit. Technology is running our world. We are all connected in ways that our grandparents couldn’t even dream of. Our present world makes “The Jetsons” look like the original reality show. Maybe we don’t have flying cars or robots (I’m sure our government has the lockdown on that), but we have advanced in ways we could never have imagined. What we have in our hands 24/7 is more powerful than all computers in the world were a few years back. So what does this all mean?

I am here to let you know that you too can be a creative hustler. I use the word “hustler,” but not in the way you might be thinking. I am not slinging drugs or creating an illegal ring of Russian import brides, but I am going to share my tips on being a creative hustler. This is for entrepreneurs and corporate ladder-climbers trying to make sense of this crazy industry.

I am not the traditional “blogger.” I do not always follow a formula or stay on topic. I like to write like I talk. I am a fast-paced New Yorker living in San Diego paradise. I can be aggressive at times, which is good for business development, and I am also extremely strategic. I know where I’m heading, and the route I take is often the road less traveled. This is the reason for my eighth tip on being a creative hustler.

So how did I become the Creative Hustler? It was actually a title bestowed on me by a world-renowned trumpeter in San Diego. As a jazz musician on the side, I was constantly putting together jam sessions. I was always looking for angles to get gigs in the hope of eventually opening a venue. One day, a friend of mine was talking with this trumpeter, and he said, “Man, Steven is literally the jazz hustler in San Diego.” Since then, creative replaced jazz, and my persona was born.

The following points came about organically, as did this whole “Creative Hustler” movement. These are the main points I assembled over the course of six to eight months as I wrapped up my college speaking tour.

1. Stop Being Competitive and Start Being Creative

With everyone fighting for the same pennies and industry saturation at an all-time high, what makes you shine? Competing with the masses will just lead to a receding hairline and a stroke. Be creative, carve your own niche and stay true.

2. Creativity Starts with Honesty

Ever notice that liars end up driving down a dead end? I believe in karma, but I believe in honesty even more. Marcus Aurelius said it best: “If it is not true, don’t say it; if it is not right, don’t do it.” ( If you haven’t read “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, I HIGHLY recommend it.)

3. Build Your Brand by Building Relationships

If you are honest and authentic, relationships will happen naturally. If I need to explain this one in more detail, we should speak offline.

4. Stay Focused on What’s Important

I used to be so busy. So busy that I literally accomplished nothing. How could that be? I wasn’t focusing on what was important. Make a to-do list, a goal list and an accomplishment list. Then cross off items. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

5. Don’t Face Adversity Alone

Life sucks sometimes. Sometimes it sucks so much that you want to give up. But come on, we are hustlers. Hustlers don’t give up. It isn’t in our DNA. We speak to friends and family, and we face the issue head-on and overcome it.

6. Define Your Processes, and Then Re-define Them

Your process — like your business plan, diet and life management strategy — will change every day. They may not be huge changes, but big enough to where we must adapt in order to be one step closer to success. We live in a world where technology shapes our decisions. Technology is ever-evolving, so we must adjust our processes.

7. K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple Stupid — or in my case, Steven. That book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (And It Is All Small Stuff)” was a successful book for a reason. Keep it simple and light.

8. Innquantestrate

Innovate + Quantify + Orchestrate = Innquantestrate. I will be writing a whole piece on this.

Remember, fellow hustlers: good things happen to those who HUSTLE!

Topics: Marketing & Advertising

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