When I got into Silicon valley, I heard one thing: the story of the guy that hustled his way out of the garage, ate nothing but ramen or pizza, and wore a hoodie. So naturally, I just like many others believed that narrative.
And then, I tried, I ate the ramen noodles, worked 16 hours straight, etc etc, all whilst I was receiving my 500th ‘’no’’ from investors. I was exhausted, burnt out, all by myself, not meeting friends, and basically on the verge of burnout.
The exhaustion and burnout were so much that when I saw my feature on the NASDAQ’s billboard, I cried because I knew I had only -200 in my bank account and was worried, how was I paying my rent that month.
So, is hustle and bustle the answer? Maybe.
Is it for everyone? No.
Here’s why: 4 facts about why hustle isn’t good
It maintains an idealistic image that makes people feel guilty for feeling bad for taking a break or a proper salary
I can’t tell you the times when I said no to meeting with my friends, going out on weekends, the holidays I never took and spent either building, selling, or raising money just because I wanted that guilt to go away which always knawed me and said, ‘You are not doing ENOUGH’.
It creates a toxic work culture
Being in the hustle mode is one thing but then you start expecting the hustle from everyone. My co-founder and I were married and we saw how much harm this culture was doing to us. We had not gone on dates for 2 years or talked about our relationship. All we ever chatted about was our pitch, our dream team, and metrics. Now, this was great in the beginning but then we realized that the reason why we wanted to work together was to enjoy the change we were creating in the world and HUSTLE was not helping!
It robs the fun out of creating something meaningful because you are always trying to reach one milestone after the next
After raising our first round, we went on the next day as usual. No sense of victory or fulfillment. In fact. we knew that now we have to reach our first $10K in revenue. When we reached there, we automatically started looking at hiring a CTO and raising our next round. Now, looking back all these milestones were HUGE. Raising our first $100K as immigrant founders should have been a happy moment. I wish I could stop and say, YAY, we did it.
It limits your entrepreneurial journey
When you are on this journey of hustle there is only one path; build, validate, raise, grow, raise, grow, raise, grow, sell or go public. But entrepreneurship can be unique, fun, and full of steady growth. Once we left the hustle I was relieved of the ‘Have to’ and became free to ‘Choose to’.
So, what is my new approach you might ask? I call it the ‘Holistic founder's life.’ I know the word ‘Holistic’ gets thrown around a lot. But, let me tell you what I mean by it. A few days ago one of the founders who I am mentoring 1-0-1 said, you know I have a lot of dreams and I know I need to manage my expectations because all of them are not possible.
I asked her ‘why did she think that?’. And she said that I obviously can’t have a great job, a good startup, build my own profile and live a healthy life with my partner. How can one person do all of this?
So I asked her: ‘Do you want to do ALL of this, right away or is this your life’s dream?
This is what I mean by holistic. When you leave the hustle, the limitation of time vanishes. You are no more on a deadline. There is only a vision and we can accomplish that one by one.
So, the next time you want to change the world, please ask yourself, do you want to leave a legacy because that takes time and thought or you just want to build and sell a startup?
In 2019, when my partner and I chose the holistic life, he went on to take a full-time job and I continued as a full-time entrepreneur. This changed everything. The pressure to raise money vanished as we had my co-founder’s job to support us. The deadlines didn't exist anymore too because now we could create our company at our own pace.
We took breaks, went on dates, moved into a beautiful home and our revenue shot up by 5x. This was the year of covid. We envisioned our lives together or impact and launched another startup to support founders. We both are building our startups that are changing the world slowly and steadily. We love the life we are building and we are NOT burnt out.
So, hustle is not bad. Some people excel at it and love it and I respect that. But if you are like me then maybe you are looking for something more…. The holistic life.
So, here are a few ways you can do it too:
Make a vision list. These are things you want to do in life, not just in the next year.
Ask yourself, what is it that you really want to be known for? Building a unicorn or creating a change?
Find a mentor who’s living a holistic life and ask them to guide you. Finding my mentor was one of the best decisions I made.
Find a community that is on the same path as you. Holistic life can’t be lived alone. I had a hard time finding a tribe because everybody was hustling around me.
Please remember, entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. So, take your time and enjoy this journey, not just the milestones.