Think Like a Hustler: Why Hustlers Always Win in Business

ari squires hustles

Sometimes when people hear the word hustler, their mind immediately veers toward something negative. Some automatically assume that it means a “gangster” or “street criminal”.


I posted a meme the other day that read, “Shout out to all the Hustlers,” and someone made a comment saying that they weren’t a hustler, rather a professional. I immediately clapped back and said, “Yea, that’s why professionals struggle and stay broke or working for others, while hustlers prosper, get paid and keep winning.” They didn’t like that response obviously because they deleted their comment. Ha!


Twenty-two years ago I was a street hustler who sold narcotics but has taken those same “business” skills to build (legal) self-sustaining businesses and brands. A hustlers MINDSET is not a bad thing at all. It takes one to know one and not all hustlers are criminals and drug dealers. In my opinion, they are the true professionals. By definition, a hustler is an enterprising person determined to succeed; a go getter.


Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Shonda Rhimes, Les Brown, Jay Z, Warren Buffet, these and many more we love and respect are all purpose-driven hustlers!


My favorite quote of all time is, “The dream is free but the hustle is sold separately.” There’s a huge difference in the dreamer mindset than the hustler’s mindset. Let me explain.


During my annual Release The Chains Events, I help entrepreneurs strategize for the success they visualize and in doing this work I realize that I can give people the same tools, resources, guidance, knowledge and strategy, but only some of them will do anything with it. Some will take immediate action while others will do nothing. I thought hard about why this was the case, then quickly came to the conclusion that the action or lack thereof was due to mindset. The action takers were hustlers and the others were dreamers.


Most dreamers jump into entrepreneurship because they know that the possibilities are endless or something has happened in their lives where they know they can use their gifts to serve others and make money from it. This is why they attend my seminars and events. To learn how to conquer their dreams.


Or, they realize they are giving their gifts away to the company they work for and are not being fairly compensated for it. There’s so much more they could do. They understand that the possibilities are endless in doing something they love doing.


HOWEVER, what some don’t realize is that you will have to hustle. Hustling requires internalizing the “hustler’s” mindset.


As I think about all the hustlers I met in my early days and those who have achieved their personal dreams, I notice twelve characteristics of the hustler mentality that we all can learn from and apply in our businesses.


  1. Hustlers put it all on the line: This is the do or die mindset. Hustlers feel that they have nothing to lose and all to gain so their will power to succeed is stronger than the dreamer. It’s never, “I can’t,” but rather, “How can I?” A hustler figures out-by any means necessary what they have to do to get the job done. There are no excuses.
  2. Extreme financial risk takers: A true hustler knows that it “Takes money to make money.” This is true in all aspects of business. Without money, your business can’t grow. Don’t let the “passion and purpose” seekers who work their businesses as hobbies tell you otherwise. In business you have to calculate the investment risks. If you put up the money, how much will you get as a return on your investment. Dreamers see financial investments as too risky and miss opportunities that could change their life. A hustler sees the possibility of the opportunity and goes for it. My personal mindset is that if the risks turns out to be a loss, that it is okay because I will get my money back some other way. I always look at the risk as a positive either way it unfolds.
  3. You have to out-work everybody: Hustlers unapologetically work 24/7, even on down times on vacations and family holidays. They will sacrifice their sleep to “put the work in”. They will figure out a way to include their family in their business endeavors so they don’t miss out on time with them while they hustle. Hustlers are not afraid of work. They get it in! Their work ethic far exceeds the average entrepreneur or dreamer.
  4. They don’t mind losing friends: Listen, a true hustler could care less about being liked and received by everyone. They know that trying to please everyone will only lead to their downfall and that pleasing everyone is impossible. They understand that they will lose some folks along the way and expect it. This is why they don’t allow people to use them, take advantage of them or abuse them in their businesses. Some entrepreneurs get their feelings hurt too easily when support is not there from others, or when their friend doesn’t understand why they are not spending as much time with them as they use to. Hustlers seek and thrive off friends who understand their hustle. Any other friendship is irrelevant because it could only bring them down. Jealously and hate are viscous beasts and hustlers don’t want any part of it.
  5. Protect their rep: In business this is all about protecting your brand. Hustlers will cut folks off quickly when they feel their brand is in danger. A hustler does good business because their name is on the line and their name must remain good in order to grow and get more clientele. They will do whatever is necessary to protect their rep because they know that their business relies on it. Protection of their reputation is also being extremely selective about who they partner with or share platforms with. It just can’t be any and everybody. A true hustler knows that, “All money ain’t good money.” Hustlers move with caution and think, “What will this do for my brand”, before they make a final decision.
  6. Keen focus on their customer: A hustler will over serve and over deliver every time. They want you to come back. They understand that there are other people you can do business with, so they will serve from their heart space to please their customer…every time. Focusing on their customer means they have the best product on the market that meets their customer’s demands and deliver on time. A hustler knows that if you show up late, someone else will have already beat you to the punch. Customers want their products when they want it, so a hustler will be sure they have it when they need it, therefore their customer service is on point. They don’t miss meetings or show up late and everyone on their team knows to follow this rule. Hustler Mindset: Always take care of the customer. Without them, we are nothing.
  7. Flip their paper: Hustlers understand that when you make money in your business you have to flip it. You can’t just go spend it on unnecessary items or foolish things. You have to sacrifice living below your means until you’ve flipped and flipped and flipped and flipped again so you can live comfortably. A true hustler knows (because they’ve seen it), that if you move too fast on your first “come up” you will lose it all just as quickly. In business, money fluctuates, especially in the beginning, so you have to save it and flip it. Flipping means, using the funds to put back into your business; new products, bigger inventory, etc. Hustlers understand the financial terms in business and live by them. It’s the only way to grow.
  8. Will take on more than they can chew: There’s no such thing as more than you can chew to a hustler. They got this! Look, if you don’t do it, you won’t see any results. Hustlers don’t mind putting a lot on their plate. They can handle it as long as it fits within the overall mission of their business. Most entrepreneurs are scared to do multiple things within their business because they think they can’t handle it. This mindset can cause a business to stay stagnant. Having steady multiple streams is how you play bigger and win.
  9. Have multiple products to meet their customer demands: This is really business 101. The golden rule. Hustlers don’t rely on one stream of income. They have multiple. Two main income producing streams that bring in the most money and about five others to help with expansion. Hustlers also know what to do with their money. How to invest it in their business, when to take it out and how to use it so that the money is divided properly. This is something no one can tell you how to do, hustlers learn it. Every business is unique so you have to adapt to the shifts in your own business, however you can learn strategy so that when the time comes you are better prepared. A hustler has one major mission and produces multiple streams of “bread” off that one product or service.
  10. Masters of money: Hustlers understand money. Period. Street hustlers call it “stacking that paper”. This means saving your money. You have to save for the slow months and for the future development opportunities and expansion.
  11. Understand they can’t do it alone: Some entrepreneurs think they can do it all on their own. Hustlers know that you need a well trained and qualified team. Hustlers also don’t take advice from people who haven’t had any success. Remember earlier I said, it takes one to know one. Hustlers see right through the BS of those who give business advice but have yet to reap any rewards from their own advice. Hustlers build teams of people who have proven track records or lead those who can be developed. Hustlers also have mentors who have already achieved success which they can lean on for support and advice. Hustlers live by the term, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
  12. Fast action takers: When you present a hustler with a great opportunity to either make more money or better themselves they will do whatever they can to say YES! They don’t come up with excuses. They come up with solutions. I grew up playing the game dominoes and I learned so much about life just by playing that game. One term the hustlers would use was, “Study long, study wrong.” Ha! I loved that because it’s the truth. The longer you think about your next move or decision a couple of things can happen. You will either talk yourself out of a great opportunity or miss a chance to learn something. Study long, study wrong. Hustlers Mindset: As soon as you get the feeling to do something, take immediate action. It’s the way successful people live by.


The beauty in my upcoming August 5-7 Release The Chains Experience is that we will be covering all these 12 tips in much further detail. Jonathan Sprinkles will be teaching you how to master and monetize thousands and thousands of dollars from your story so that you connect with your listeners and readers. Patrice Washington from the Steve Harvey Morning Show will be teaching on how to earn more money and master your money so that it works for you. Tamara Lee will teach on persistence, commitment and succeeding when you have been through a storm, as well as relationship building that will elevate you. Zakiya Larry will be teaching on what it takes to protect your brand and how to use your brand so that it works to your advantage in the media and to your ideal clients. My teachings will cover building teams, developing products to increase your revenue streams that work for YOUR business, getting more eyes on you and strategizing for the success you desire…the right way.


None of the lessons you will learn is based on theory or from regurgitating what someone else has said. We have all lived what we teach. Our experiences will help you reach your goals faster and more effectively. This Release The Chains weekend will be an opportunity to learn from leaders who have put the work in in mastering their money, building winning teams, taking fast action and thinking like hustlers unapologetically.


Too many times, we think we can just learn from watching or reading amazing posts and blogs, but know that the true success comes in investing in yourself and doing to work. You just have to be in the room!


Join other hustlers and be around greatness and register for this event which will soon sell out at


“Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.”

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