The Art Of The Focused Hustle

Back in the day, people kept their side hustle a secret. In fact, the word “hustle”  seemed to be a bad word that was reserved for select groups of people (usually with a negative connotation). Now, everyone has a side gig.

Hustling has become the new black.

No doubt, the effed up economy had something to do with the hustle coming in vogue. Gone are the days when you could kick back and dream about your ultimate job while slaving away at your 9-5. Burning the midnight oil on your side gig has become the norm.

Now it is way more acceptable to:

1. Let people know you have a gig on the side (Everyone is a potential customer!)
2. End convo’s with your friend by saying, “Go on girl! Get your hustle on!”
3. Expect everyone to tell you they are a chef/massue/ writer/martial artist

The last point is what I want to hit on. We live in a slash culture. People are rambling off 5 or more things that they are doing, but unless your name is Diddy (which means you really have a ton of other people doing the heavy lifting for your anyways)  it is impossible for you to give all of your best time and effort to five different things.

Getting schooled on “The Focused Hustle”

I was at TGI Friday’s having a drink with a friend a few weeks ago when he mentioned “the focused hustle” to me. Intrigued, I asked him to go with that thought. He said (more or less) that no one can be 100% at everything, and that when people have all of these slashes going on, it waters down your brand. You want to be the “go-to” person for something.”

I flashed back to the moment when I was really schooled on the art of the focused hustle. It was the  summer of 2008. I was a writing fellow at the Poynter Institute of Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida.  It was time for us to split up into break out sessions, and I wanted to go to the session with the photogs/video fellows.  So,  I asked my writing teacher (a fabulous woman who I admire very much) if I could go check out the session. “After all,” I told her, “journalists these days  need to know how to do it all.” She looked at me for a second, and then said, “Sure.”

I was not back in my seat for five minutes before my teacher made an announcement:
“I know you all are eager to learn as much as you can while you are here, however; you have to pick something and focus on it. You can’t be 100% at everything. You have to have a specialty.”


I knew she was speaking to me. It was then that I got the point, and I have not forgotten it since. I went with the writers.

It can be easy to get swept up in thinking that you need to excel at fifty different things at once. We toss around jargon such as “marketable” and “jack of all trades” But there is another part of that saying that doesn’t get heard a lot: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Is it really possible to be the bomb chef and web designer? Can create businesses of both simultaneously?

Maybe. But I think you will be missing something.

Enter the focused hustle. The art of giving you all to one area in our era of multitasking on the job and in life.

Over the years I have had a ton of ideas for random businesses, and I have some ideas for businesses I want to tackle in the future. (Have I ever told you my idea for a lingerie line?)  But right now my focus is on telling stories, and empowering our generation to tell their story. That is my main hustle. I want to give it 100%.

I can’t be an expert on Gen Y and also an expert on bra’s right now. The two don’t go together.

While we try to do more, and more, and more, there is value in slowing down and focusing on one thing. There is value in perfecting your craft.

What is the one thing that you love more than anything right now? What do you dream about during those hours when you are pushing papers at the day job? Is there anything that has captured your heart?

Go head, get your hustle on. Just work it so that your are kicking ass at one thing at a time.

****Speaking of getting your hustle on,

I’ve got a resource to recommend for you: Side Hustle Bootcamp LIVE!

Sounds interesting, right?  Instead of crunches and squats, you will be learning how to turn your passion into profit with other women entrepreneurs during a live, online, event on November 11.

This webinar was created by one of my fav bloggers, Rosetta Thurman, who teaches women how to create online platforms for their brands and businesses.

Full Disclosure: I would never promote anything here that doesn’t align with my beliefs and vision for The Fab Life Project regardless of how much money I am offered to do so. That’s not how I roll.

I am telling you about Side Hustle Bootcamp  because I believe in the work that Rosetta does, and because this is an affordable event that can help you learn proven strategies for taking your ideas to the next level. I know a lot of you want to learn how to do that.

If you are interested in getting your boot camp on, check out the event info here.  Jump on it!  Early bird tickets are on sale through October 21.


  1. Trudy says:

    I’m guilty of getting swept up into a bunch of different projects and spreading myself to thin. I’ve also tried doing the little bit of everything on the side. For me I always come back to the same main thing and it’s funny because I often wonder how much further I’d be if I had just kept my eye on my craft;) We live and we learn. Focused hustle all day.

    • Amber J. says:

      I’m still learning! I’m always doing a million things at once, but slowly moving in the direction of bringing them all together!

  2. Yogi says:

    Good Post…I hear that “jack of all trades” saying a lot…One thing I’m most passionate about is helping others. Right now my focus in on starting my own business doing just that. I also plan to start back focusing on my acting once I get my business on a solid footing. Pushing papers 9-5 M-F makes it a little more difficult to give 100% to your main passion because you are too busy helping someone else realize their dream/passion. I think a lot of people become “slashers” because of the very fact that most creative jobs don’t pay well in the beginning so you have to have something to else to do to pay the bills. I definitely have some slashes after my name, actress/writer/entrepreneur/philanthropist ha!

  3. Tiffanee says:

    Everytime I stop by you seem to write about what is exactly on my mind! My mind is full of things that I want to do and because the list has gotten so long, I have not complete put me all into any of them. This month I swore to sit and focus on the #1 thing that I feel is my passion and put my all into that.

    When I read this:
    “What is the one thing that you love more than anything right now? What do you dream about during those hours when you are pushing papers at the day job? Is there anything that has captured your heart?”

    One thing came to my mind. So I guess that is my answer!

    Great Post!


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