"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." — Michael Jordan
There's a frailty to every job, especially those in advertising. Downsizing, lost accounts, mergers, changes in client leadership — the forces effecting job security are numerous and ever changing. The same job that provides you with income, security, exposure and access to the biggest names and events in the business, can end with one impromptu HR meeting or company email.
It's heartbreaking, mind blowing, angering and seemingly unfair. If you've ever been a part of a mass layoff or seen it happen, chances are that memory, and the lesson that comes with it is tattooed to your soul. Nobody's job is safe, ever ever. So, what's the best way to prepare for the unpredictable? Start developing hustle muscles.
If fast twitch muscles are responsible for you being fast, hustle muscles are responsible for your ability to hustle. We all have a primal urge to spot opportunity, but few have the strength to push themselves out of their comfort zones, relentlessly attacking and overpowering any obstacle standing in the way of their ultimate goal. That requires hustle muscles. When the checks stop rolling in, your hustle muscles fire out of reflex, survival. The goal is to develop and maintain that level of drive, even during prosperous times. Here are a few tips to help you develop your hustle muscles, so you can hustle harder.
You are not your job. You are a collection of unique skills and expertise that can be applied anyway you see fit. Once you remove yourself from the tiny box of a job title, it opens up a world of opportunities in need of you. Think beyond a particular industry or a specific set of tasks. Your new title is opportunist. Each waking moment should be about pinpointing opportunities that allow you to display your various skills.
Life has two modes, drive and cruise control. Drive has a specific destination in mind, while cruise control is mindless meandering. Set a goal and start driving yourself in that direction. Do something daily to take a step towards your ultimate goal. If you aren't tired when your head hits the pillow at night, mentally, physically or both, chances are you're in cruise control.
If there is no urgency in your life, create it. You know that book that you've been putting off writing for the last ten years, give yourself a hard six month deadline to finish it. You'll be surprised what happens. In 2004, at the Democratic National Convention, Senator Barack Obama delivered a critically acclaimed keynote address that let everyone know, he was a future presidential candidate. Rather than waiting eight to twelve years like most were advising, the senator ran for president and won in just four short years. How? Instead of waiting, he pushed up the deadline, which created urgency. Urgency forces you to maximize your time and effort. All good ideas have expiration dates, and all good ideas are being chased by better ideas. Activate your ideas as fast as you can in order for them to have maximum impact.
Every now and then you hear about some guy making some kind of crazy leap from ACD to Chief Digital Officer. Even better, you hear of some celebrity jumping from Hollywood to corporate America, as a Chief Creative Officer or Chief Futurist, for some major brand. In both scenarios, the sighs and eye rolls from the business world happen almost immediately.
"They didn't deserve that." or "Titles don't mean anything anymore."
There's a name for these people, hustle haters. Never be afraid to overreach. The ability to sell yourself and your ultimate value is far more important than any title. Even if you fail at the position, you walk away with a victory in salesmanship. If you're exceptional at convincing others of your worth, you will always be able to create opportunities for yourself.
Work your network.
You're surrounded by all these amazing people doing amazing things and you're not even working the room? Reach out to your network. Find out what they're up to, who they know, who they can introduce you to. Remind them of who you are and what you have to offer. You'll be surprised how many jobs or business opportunities will appear, just by making yourself visible.
Monetize your information.
We've all connected a friend to another friend who was looking for a job, that's admirable. But there's another group of friends looking to use your introductions to complete business deals. Don't just pass over your business connections for free. Put yourself in the middle of the transaction. Don't just facilitate the meeting, help close the deal. Your time and connections are worth 10% if that deal goes through. Connect enough of the right people and you'll have a lot of easy money coming in. Analyze your network, pinpoint potential business partners and start brokering deals today.
Most businesses don't understand advertising and can't afford to pay an ad agency that does. But guess what, they can afford to pay you. Negotiate for your expertise. Consult, direct projects and create decks for these clients. It's an easy way to use your experience and a great way to build new relationships.
Also, the digital age has ushered in a new generation of entrepreneurs. Startups often need help presenting their businesses to get funding, or consultation on how to market their new businesses. Tap in to this network. Your experience and connections are invaluable to these new companies.
Some of us have a great business idea we should be creating. For the rest of us, we at least have computers and cameras. We have blogs. We have Youtube, Instagram and Vine. Start creating something. You never know if your blog or video will blow up. But I do know, if it does, there's money to be made — millions of advertising dollars. So create something, grow it, make it special, make people want more of it. If you do it successfully, opportunities to monetize it will appear almost immediately.
Hopefully your hustle muscles are twitching now. This isn't a worst case scenario blog about what to do in case you get laid off. This is about changing your outlook about yourself and your worth. This is about maximizing your talents and experience. This is about learning to monetize your countless assets. It's okay to hustle, with or without a job. By the way, I didn't just write this for you, I wrote this for myself, as a reminder.
Don't just hustle, hustle harder. One luv.