Jun 18


Many people want to wear the “hustler” label because it sounds cool and all of the ex-drug dealers who rap are making it out to be the essence of manhood. The truth of the matter is that many so-called hustlers (especially self-proclaimed hustlers) are just wannabes, busy-bodies, or small time businessmen who hustle backwards. To be a hustler you have to do exactly what the definition says – you have to be “about it”, on your game, and seize the moment whenever it presents itself.

hus.tle (hus.tled | hus. tling):

a : to obtain by energetic activity <hustle up new customers>

b : to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity <hustling the suckers>

c : to sell or promote energetically and aggressively<hustling a new product>

d : to lure less skillful players into competing against oneself at (a gambling game) <hustle pool>

If you find that you have the want and the energy to hustle but do not know where to start or how to improve; the following list of tips-and-tricks should surely help you turn that corner hustle into a solid line of money. Let us begin with a definition (rubs palms together).

Be Smart About It

I knew a cook who started doing catering on the side to bring in extra money and kick-start a business. While he was great at cooking, he did not think things through on the business end and catered for people who didn’t pay an upfront cost to cover overhead. I know that people like to imagine that we’re all honorable but that was hustling backwards. His business failed after enough people stiffed him on the payment after he had cooked and catered their events.

Keep It To Yourself

Unless you want everyone with a hustling bone in their body diluting your business pool, certain ventures are best kept quiet as long as you can earn from it. Bragging about something that gets you paid will lead to jealousy, judgmental people calling you greedy, opportunists undercutting you, and haters telling your clientele that they are being ripped off. If telling someone doesn’t earn you more money, or help them out in any way, then keep it to yourself always.

Maintain A Bankroll

Though it may be your prerogative to hustle in order to keep up with a destructive, expensive lifestyle, you will be hustling backwards if you are unable to afford new opportunities due to your sad money. Seasoned hustlers should be able to stake friends, invest in new business ventures, and flip their 15 cents into a dollar whenever the opportunity presents itself. Having nothing to show for your gorilla grind is sadder than someone who has no hustle in them period.

Keep A Group Of Hustle Buddies

If you’re a hustler who only kicks it with E-Quadrant Crumbs on a regular basis then you may slowly start to think that you are a god. The bad thing about this line of thinking is that when you hustle backwards it will not be clear to you and a Hustle Buddy is a necessity for times when we’re weak. Hustlers need one another to bounce ideas off of, cover unmarked territory, and as a mental reminder that the game doesn’t have to be lonely.

Don’t Get High Off Your Own Supply

Drugs may come to mind in this but you should not be allowing your friends and family to come into your cafe side-hustle to eat and drink for free. You shouldn’t give out your t-shirts to friends because they think you’re cool unless said t-shirts were meant to advertise and bring in more profit. Respect the ROI (Return on Investment) in business and remember, if it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense.

This all probably reads like common sense but it would surprise you how many “hustlers” can’t get ahead for not following these basic rules. It’s on par with a person who seeks out work in order to get money and then let’s the office culture poison his mind into thinking that he is owed more than a paycheck. We hustle to get ahead, not to brag about it and nod in relation to certain rap songs. Never forget the bottom-line and when in doubt reach out to your hustle buddy.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.
  • Lonnie F

    That’s the truth man. I’m fortunate that my pop is the top hustler of the family. He’s been in the streets since he was 14 (he’s 50 now) and has always been legit having a square job and 5 side hustles at any given time. I have a couple of uncles who hustle too, but they got caught up on the illegal side. Not having done time, but being labeled on the books as a con-artists and/or having wrecked credit. I have a fraction of his hustle ethic, but the most important thing he taught me is secrecy. Business is only about the partners. Nobody else needs to know anything (including mom/wife/kids).

    A long time friend of mine always gives me backhanded compliments about some new thing I bought and he doesn’t understand how I can buy these things or do certain things. He just thinks I don’t do anything and that I always catch a lucky break. In your archives somewhere Greg, you mentioned how offensive it can be for people to think your relative success is due to luck. Really, I just keep him in the dark about my family business. If he ever found out, he’d be mad on the tip like… you could’ve told me. Overall, my pop is a good example of a righteous blue collar hustler. He played by the street rules rather than by the book. And in the past couple of years he’s made enemies by bragging to his square job co-workers. I had to pull his coat and remind him about the secrecy that he taught me. He lost a few associates, but he’s still gettin that bread still doing his thing.

    My uncles are silver tongued and fork tongued–white collar and popped collar hustlers. Everybody else on that side of the family is REALLY square. The one uncle pretty much got kicked out of the family. His old school con-man game was ridiculous. He has the rapid fire mouthpiece. Nobody was safe until the internet started poppin. Now, he’s dead in the water as soon as somebody googles his name(s). I’m happy to be a hybrid of all 3– blue, white, and popped collars. What my next endeavor is gonna be, I don’t know yet, but it’s in my blood.

    • I have a buddy like that who’s always sideways checking on what I’m doing for my extra money. One day I came into a couple yards from staking someone in gambling and he’s in my ear telling me what I should do with the winnings – now granted I never even told this joker about my stake, a friend of a friend of mine told him. It is never a good thing when another man knows how much money you have, how much money you earn, or how much money you have on tap. The only men who deserve to know are fellow hustlers who have love in their heart, not simpish hate for what they can’t earn.

      You sound like you had some great men in your life.