What it Means to Hustle and Grind
If you’ve ever watched ABC’s Shark Tank, you’ll often hear Mark Cuban or Daymond John talk about wanting to work with entrepreneurs who know how to hustle, entrepreneurs willing to grind it out to make their dreams a reality. If it sounds like it’s a lot of work - It is!
One of the pillars of financial independence is generating stable, multiple streams of income. If you’re married and your spouse works, you can say your household generates two streams of income. Whether your married or not, we think the ideal goal is to have three or more streams of income. This is where the hustle and grind comes in.
If you’re a thinker like me, figuring out your side hustle can be a daunting task. In fact, it may take years. You may have went to college and work a ten hour corporate job where you simply don’t have a lot of energy or time to generate a side hustle. So you look for so called easy side gigs. The problem is that there really is no such thing as an easy side gig. I’ve been in real estate for years and I used to work with an agent that did real estate full time while also driving for UBER and Lyft. On his way back from house showings he would turn on his app and see if he could get any fares. He could also make conversation and sell his real estate services in the car. This was a hard way to make an extra $20-$30 here and there. I don’t remember if he ever got a buyer or seller from doing this. And remember, with this type of side gig you are putting wear and tear on your assets (i.e. your car). You are only paid for your time. If you don’t have time to work or you’re spending time sick in bed, you don’t get paid for driving.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may try to launch a full fledged business, buy into a franchise, or sell products out of your home. This is equally hard, because with so much competition and marketing noise out there, you have to work twice as hard to get your business noticed and actually generate a regular revenue stream. If you are already struggling to pay bills and save, starting a business puts you further in debt with all the startup costs you will incur. Even simple things like business cards, a website, and flyers cost some money.
The Worst Mistake
I’ve been guilty of committing the worst mistake - trying to launch a new business with a product or service that is unknown. I’ve always admired entrepreneurs that are great thinkers, able to create an entirely new category that either no one thought of, or had the guts to reinvent an existing category like UBER has done for taxi service. In my naivete, I thought I was smart enough to create such a business in my part-time with virtually no capital. Even more embarrassing is that I tried this several times over many years. I created a web-based note taking app that also included a reminder service well before Evernote was popular. Why did it fail? Constantly updating the software, adding new features, and no time or money to market it, just sunk me. In another example I created an online learning platform that could be used by middle schools to teach and test digital skills. I thought it could also be used by libraries that had computer literacy classes. Why did this fail? Schools have very tight budgets and most software is purchased at the district level. Working a full-time job during the day meant no time to visit school administrators and tell them about my product. All these businesses take marketing dollars, lots of time, and lots of education before you even see the first check.
There is a curve that needs to be climbed to convince people why they need xyz product or service. I remember one of my coworkers who graduated from Harvard telling me he had a business he had been running for a few years and was looking to expand it. I was expecting to hear a great elevator pitch and a reason to invest. Instead it was an online business selling dog collars. Why? He said it started making money from day one because people knew what the product did, there was a need for it, and he didn’t have to waste time creating a grand plan to sell the idea. Meanwhile I was on my third or fourth failed business. Today that same guy is now a CFO at a biotech company and I’m sure his little website still makes enough money to pay for gas, eating out regularly, and the cable bill.
So What’s The Lesson?
Hustle and grinding are inevitable if you want to build real wealth and don’t want to take the full frugal approach to financial independence. But the lesson is to be smart about the type of hustle and grind you choose to do.
If you’re healthy, have lots of free time, and drive a Toyota Prius, then maybe Uber will work really well for you. Especially, if you’re taking all the cash from that side gig and investing it in stocks or real estate. Uber drivers in Vegas and other hot spots tend to do really well.
If you work twelve hour days at a law firm, then trying to start a brand new company which requires your time during normal business hours may not be the best choice.
How to Hustle and Grind Smartly
Don’t just hustle and grind to look busy and make yourself think you’re doing something. At the end of the day you need to make money and it can’t kill you, your car, or your family life in the process.
Most important, stay positive. You’re doing this for a higher reason.
I love single story homes for a number of reasons we’ll outline below, even though for my personal home, I tend to be attracted to 2-story properties.
Growing up on the east coast, every home I visited always had stairs. When you live in an area with limited space, builders have no choice but to build up. I have fond memories like most kids of running up and down the stairs, or playing in the basement; even pretending the stairs was some type of indoor slide. Outside of being a kid, stairs provide a number of benefits to adults too. Two-story homes allow for soaring open air living spaces, beautiful balconies in and outside the home, and front elevations that give homes a "grander" curb appeal. But apart from the improved visuals of the home and extra square feet from floors stacked on top of each other, that’s really where the benefits end to having a two-story home.
The Downsides to 2-Story Homes
Heating & Cooling - open air floor plans that go to the second story can waste a lot of heat and AC during the year, even in newer high efficiency homes. Heat rises and you can’t bend the laws of thermodynamics. So the upstairs always tends to be hotter, and the downstairs always tends to be cooler. In a dual zone house this means one unit is always working harder than the other. This is extra maintenance costs for you as the landlord, especially if you have a tenant that tries to get that one bedroom downstairs the same temperature as the rest of the house in the winter. HVAC maintenance kills cash flow.
Settling - If you’re going to buy and hold a property for a long term rental (10+ years) you will have to deal with settling and squeaky floors. While a minor annoyance if it’s someone’s own home, every time you turn the property over and have to show it to a new potential renter, the age of the home will show when people walk the house. If your property is in a area with bad soil, foundation problems often come up. A two-story home with foundation issues is more expensive to fix than a one-story home. You have more weight and potentially more cracks across two floors.
Water, Water Everywhere - If you have a two-story property the water heater will typically be in the attic and not the garage like a one-story home. I’ve lived in two separate homes where the water heater has cracked while we were away for the weekend. Not only is it a pain to fix a water heater in the attic, but the sheet rock damage to two-story ceilings are also expensive to get repaired.
Benefits to 1-Story Homes
Renovation - If you want to update an older kitchen with can lights or drop in a new light fixture, it’s easy with a single story home and attic access. If your kitchen is below a bedroom or second story bathroom in a two-story home, you won’t be able to easily make those updates. From hanging Christmas lights to security cameras, all of this is much easier on a single story home.
Heating & Cooling - A one-story home usually means one AC unit and not two. Less to fix and you typically have a more consistent temperature throughout the home.
Accessibility - People are living longer but knees are not. Single story homes make your property available to more renters who don’t want stairs.
So if you like the prestige of a two-story property, it’s fine; just keep it for your personal home.
From house.of.leaders on Instagram... Don't know if he actually said this, but it's an awesome quote from an awesome actor.
Everyone is always looking for an edge when it comes to equities. Wall Street has its celebrities just like the film and music industries, and Warren Edward Buffett is probably at the top of the list when it comes to following people who may have the best insight into where the market is heading. If you're just getting into stock investing and don't know about Berkshire Hathaway, it's one conglomerate you will want to research. They own substantial stakes in other companies like American Express, Coca-Cola, Apple - so much that when they buy or sell millions of shares in these companies it impacts their stock price. Conversely, when these companies do really poorly, the value of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio can swing by several billion dollars each day.
Yes!! That's several billion dollars.
Warren just released his annual letter to shareholders a few hours ago which is always something those in the industry like to read.
On this page you can find all the past letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders - click 2018 to read the one that just came out.
Most real estate investors and money managers will sometimes recall having fond memories as a child playing the game Monopoly. I was not one of them. My absolute favorite was The Game of LIFE from Hasbro. If you have never played this game, it is a must have to play at least once. The objective as you might guess is going through a mock-life where you start out with almost nothing and have to make decisions along the way regarding college, career, marriage, having kids, saving, going on vacation, and other events all the way to death. You may spin the wheel and find out your got a promotion at your job, then on the next turn get into a car accident where you have to pay out a lot of money from your nest egg. Once everyone reaches the end of the game at retirement, everyone pays their debts and adds up their wealth. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins!
This game not only mimicked life fairly well, incorporating all the key events that most people must face, but it was a great conversation starter when played as a family. You could discuss questions like, “Do I go to college and incur the debt, or do I take the path of a trade school and start generating income immediately?” But what made this my favorite game was really what happened at the end. There was a scenario where even if you had been behind in wealth the entire time, if you got lucky and guessed the right number on your final spin, you could win the entire game.
I remember playing this game with my brother and grandfather when I was probably no older than 9 or 10 years old. I was behind the whole game and was on my last spin. I picked my birthday as the number that would come up and was right, winning the entire game. I’ve won $1000 at a Realtor event, I’ve won gift cards and other drawings with worse odds, but for some reason this one event sticks with me above all others. My guess was no better than picking numbers at the roulette table in Vegas, but getting the right number was a step change for me. It didn’t come until the very end, but it came when it was most important. I realized that it was never too late to make an amazing come back.
There are many lessons to take away from The Game of LIFE, that can help us in the real game of life. Step changes do happen. Setbacks do happen. And yes, there is a little luck that will be needed in order to be super successful at anything. It’s easy to take life too serious and try and control every outcome. But if you step back and take life for what it is - treat it like a game; you’ll probably be happier along the way. Even if you achieve financial success at the very end, you may have friends, family, or even a charity that can benefit years after you’re gone.
Welcome to StepChange (StpChg). A blog about financial empowerment. Get insights about how to start a business, entrepreneurship, investing, real estate, financial literacy, and more.