Black Men and The Hustle
Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays
One of the things I love about Black men is their ability to hustle, well, just about anything. There are good hustles. These generally tend to be of the legal nature and require the completion of a W-4 form. There are also good illegal hustles but that is a whole ‘nother story. But the defining characteristics of a good hustle are based on its ability to generate the most money, in the quickest manner, using the least amount of effort, and posing the smallest risk.
Then there are bad hustles, sigh. For instance, let’s say, there is a man you work with that every 3 weeks or so he comes around the office, insisting you switch from a service provided by a reputable company to a company you have never ever, ever heard of ever that somehow he is now an investor in or something. Let’s say for instance, it is something important like cell phone service or… ELECTRICITY. Then he goes on to explain if you switch, and watch a 5 minute video you too can sell electricity. Sigh. Sir, your hustle is failing.
So real quick, here a 3 ways to know your hustle is failing and you need to go back to the drawing board and come again:
1) Turnover Rate: If you have to come up with a new hustle, every 3 weeks whatever you are doing is not working. And more than likely it is not the product itself, but your lack of skills to promote…well anything. If you have a certain skill set, and you believe in the product, then you should be able to stick with it for longer than a few weeks and in turn actually turn a profit. Otherwise, you are in the ranks of the lowly crackhead that will find anything to come up on $20.
2) Product Placement: Product placement works hand-and-hand with knowing your customers. This weekend in Black beauty salons all across America will be a man selling Mother’s Day baskets, purses, perfume, jewelry, flowers, and weaves. Why? Because he knows his customer! So he will be where they are, saving them both time and gas money trying to find a last minute gift. Similarly, his brother, cousin, homie will be posted outside of the barber shop selling bootleg dvds and cds because he too has mastered marketing 101. Contrarily, trying to sell bootleg electricity to established professionals shows you don’t know your customer…at all.
3) The Come Up: You may have missed it but the most important thing in a hustle is the ability to come up…on money…and/or time. Now the men, that are always outside of the barbershop and grocery stores I am pretty sure they don’t have a 9-5. But they get to set their own hours, make their own rules, set their own prices, etc and thus comes up time wise. The man that comes in to the beauty shop on Saturdays usually works for UPS or Wal-mart, you know, where supplies are plentiful… so this is just a quick come up financially. If you have to work a full time job and hustle full-time, and only come up $25, you need to rethink everything you are doing because you are an embarrassment to the hustle.
By the way, Happy Mother’s Day!