The One Thing You Must Do to Get Your Business Off the Ground

August 1, 2015 , 42 Comments

As an entrepreneur, you're attempting to do something almost magical: you're conjuring up a business out of nothing.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of inertia you will have to overcome before your new business takes off and this post is about the one thing you MUST do to make that happen...​


Hustle Mode

If you've been following my content for a while, this message is probably not the most surprising thing you've found on the blog. Yes, the idea of Hustle Mode relates to the concept of The Grind and it also relates to Rapid Implementation.

But it's not just the same thing put into different words. In fact, if you are in the starting phase of your entrepreneurial journey or if you've never quite managed to make a business take off, Hustle Mode might be more important than either of those other principles.​

Let me know your thoughts and share your experiences with Hustle Mode in the comments below!​

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P.S.: Yes, I'm using a YouTube video for the first time in a long time. Wonder why I haven't used them for so long? Read this. Wonder why I'm using one now? It's a marketing experiment.

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Hey Shane!
    Thanks for the heads up! Hustle mode, for me, also adds the component of the minimum viable product. The projects I postpone the most, are the ones I imagine as too big somewhere in my subconscious. But when I ask myself, what is the smallest version of the product I can do, that will reliably tell me if a business endeavour has a future or not.. then it suddenly becomes doable in a short time.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    P.S.: Did you move to Spain (background in the video looked like Bacelona)? Missing your personal updates! :-)

    • Hi Michel,

      Yep, that’s Barcelona in the background.

      You make a very good point about small projects: once you break something down it becomes much more attainable. As an example Thrive Themes was this idea in the back of my mind for a long time, but it always seemed too big. At one point, we decided to start with a small(ish) version of Thrive Content Builder as a first product. That was all we focused on and it was a first step towards what has now turned into Thrive Themes. Without breaking it down into smaller steps, we would have never started building this.

  • Hi Shane,

    I like the idea of hustle mode, but I think for me, as someone who has a family of six and a disability that limits how fast and how long I can work, it’s probably not a reality. Instead, I think what’s more practical for someone in my situation is to try to work in more frequent, short bursts– not sure if that will get the same results as someone who can work in hustle mode, but perhaps it’s the next best thing?


    • That’s a good point, David. Depending on your circumstances, going full Hustle Mode might just not be an option. In this case, I think you have to search for other ways to make use of the same principles: strong focus, clearly outlined projects and tight deadlines.

  • Tim Lester says:

    Great to see on youtube (works better at the end of the earth – Australia). I think being honest is the most important part. Identify how much of your finite life you want to put towards a project is a good start. The BS is hear about people putting in 100% (or 120%) drives me insane. Be honest in your goals and action is much harder than talk :)

    I have started a service business (got first paying customer today) and 1 tiny software business. They are nothing currently but I don’t think I would have even started the grind if it wasn’t for your posts. I hope to send you you equity someday :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Tim! I’m very happy to hear that my content has been helpful to you.

  • Christoph says:

    Thank you Shane

    now I know, that this state of mind (which I know quite well) is a good thing and not something go be scared about! That fits my actual situation in a very perfect way, supports me in keeping on grinding. Perfect.

    • That’s good to hear, Christoph! Although I’m not necessarily saying that being in Hustle Mode is a good thing overall. It’s just a good (and sometimes necessary) way to get a business off the ground.

  • Matthew Newnham says:

    Awesome post, Shane, and perfect timing.

    After sinking a lot of time and effort into product development over the past 3 months, my business partner and I have switched focus a few weeks ago to Hustle Mode, based around where we are most valuable in the market place as consultants, and it’s already paying off.

    This will not only pay the bills a lot faster, it also enables us to get closer to our ideal customers, which will be invaluable when we transition back into building up our more strategic leverage-based offerings.

    Final point: put it down to whatever you like [the Universe or whatever], there is no doubt in my mind, and from what we’ve experienced directly, that the market responds far more favourably to Hustle Mode than slow and steady.

    • That’s great to hear, Matthew! As for the market response, I think it comes down to speed and being able to adapt. If you’re moving fast, you get a response at “higher resolution” and you can adapt more quickly.

  • Hi Shane

    This has come at a great time for me as I’m starting up a web design & copyrighting business. I’ve been struggling to find something I can get passionate about for a while now and I realised recently that what I enjoy doing most is helping others further their own business goals through online marketing. I’m super obsessed now. In fact I am currently obsessing over the perfect business name, so if you feel like sharing your thoughts on that, I’m all ears… ;)


    • Hi Matt,

      Naming products and businesses doesn’t make the list of my strengths, I’m afraid. I’m always stumped when it comes to that as well. And my attempts at outsourcing it haven’t been a success either.

  • Hi Shane:
    I really enjoyed this video on Hustle Mode. My main website has been up for sometime and I have already been in Hustle Mode for quite a while now. It is generating some income and I am now working very hard trying to implement new things on my site to increase income and build my mailing list bigger. I just purchased Thrive Landing pages and am just learning how to use it. It is the best piece of software I have ever seen. I really look forward to your videos and you sharing your expertise to help us all. A Big Thanks,

    • Thank you very much, Sam! I’m happy to know that you like Thrive Leads. :)

  • I have been in serious hustle mode for many months now, and I’m starting to really burn out. It doesn’t help that I have to deal with chronic illness during this process, unfortunately. Right now, the stress of working on my business is making my health worse, so I need to find a way to reduce my workload. My current challenge is figuring out what I need to focus on the most, and how to become more efficient and effective in what I really need to do for my business.

    • Indeed, Hustle Mode is not a healthy state of being. I’ve had that experience as well and I don’t recommend it for long periods of time. Part 2, incidentally, will be about how to get out of Hustle Mode again, because that’s been just as important a lesson for me.

  • Shane,

    This is spot on. You’ve exactly the mind set I’ve been in for years with my business. It’s already successful and my mindset is still exactly as you described.

    My wife recognizes the signs of this mood when I’m working on a new project and I’m only sleeping 4-5 hours per night. She’s like so what new idea are you working on now. Lol

    The good thing about being in hustle mood is that I find the results tend to be favorable. It’s not always as great as you may want. But I always get results.

    It’s nice to know other entrepreneurs experience this well.

    • Yes, that’s a good way to put it: doing intense work like this doesn’t guarantee success, but it guarantees a result and fast. Even if the answer is “no”, it’s good to get to the answer sooner rather than later.

  • Hi Shane,

    Thank you for the post and reminder. I think I’m already in hustle mode now because almost all I think is about my business. Sometimes I am worried if it turns me to unproductive person because when I do something unrelated to my business, I still think about my business.

    Yudhistira Mauris

    • I think your worries are justified. If you’re fully in Hustle Mode, you become unproductive at everything else. Apart from that, you also become unsocial and usually unhealthy, so it’s not a state to spend a lot of time in.

  • Great video Shane. I have heard about the hustle many times but this is the first time I have seen it explained in simple language. Looking forward to part 2…

  • Shane,
    What plugin do you use for the lightbox opt-in that shows/appears after a few seconds?

  • Hi Shane,

    Well, you’ve just described my life in the last months. I thought I was going crazy or something, and I was really beating myself up for being like that, because I decided to build my own business so I could spend more time with my family and have financial freedom, yet the exact opposite of that is happening! I quite my job last year – going on maternity leave at the same time, and since I’ve been dedicating myself to my business for virtually all the time my baby (now 5 months-old) leaves me. If I get a second, I’ll be on the computer. If I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anything else, is for my business (my personal FB profile’s last picture is from a year ago). If I read mail, it’s business. EVERYTHING I do, think, or talk about, is my business. And, as I said, I was feeling resentful and sad about that. NOt because I don’t love it – ’cause I do – but because it’s robbing me of my being with my children (I’ve got 3 in total) and husband.

    This video lit a light for me, hope that there is a way, and I’m on it. The thought of this needing to last probabñy much more than it has so far is a little scary, but I’m not turning back, I’m making this happen, there’s no other way around it.

    Thank you so much for this. It feels so much better to walk in the dark when I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.


    • Thank you for your comment!

      This was my experience as well. I actually stayed in this mode for so long that I forgot about my initial goals altogether. For a while, I was just working hard and grinding because I didn’t know anything else anymore. It had just become my normal state of being. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. My next video is going to be about how to escape Hustle Mode.

      But it’s true that you have to make some sacrifices to get a business going, before you can reap the benefits of freedom.

  • Hello Shane,

    Great points on Hustle Mode. I got into hustle mode a few months ago and I am obsessed with building my business. Although I have a day job, I spend every waking moment working on building an online business that will replace that day job. I upload training videos on my iPhone that I can listen to while working. I take notes to prepare for what I need to accomplish.

    It is the absolute main focus and all that I think and talk about.

    Thank God I have an understanding and supportive wife. She knows when to leave me alone so I can focus.

    • It’s great that you have support in what you’re doing, David. I wish you all the best with your hustle!

  • My experience about Hustle Mode:

    1. You need to forget about the money or at least willing to work relentlessly without expecting a monetary return in short amount of time. From my experience, if you keep thinking of “I am going to make X amount by the end of they year with this business.” You’re likely to give up if that doesn’t happen in the first few months. Use other metrics.

    2. I am having a full time job and yet I think about my business all the time. Okay, at least during the downtime at work. I bring my laptop to work so I can continue working whenever I have time. Sometimes I am not able to work on business stuff directly, then I read or research or reply emails etc using my phone.

    3. Take breaks. Force yourself to take break. Not necessary work life balance if you can’t afford it yet. But at least, block out one day or just few hours to do something that is not relevant to your business at all. If not, your “inner child” or another part of your brain that is always seeking for relaxing and not working too much will sabotage you. You might end up not doing anything productive for the whole day suddenly. That is my experience.

    • Thank you for this comment, Hazel!

      I agree with all your points and couldn’t have said it any better myself.

      How’s your Kindle business going? Haven’t heard from you in a while. Your site looks great. :)

      • Hey Shane! Thanks! I created my site using Thrive Themes. :)

        My freelance business is still going on. Hustling, as it hasn’t reached a stage where I want it to be (yet).

        I plan to launch a new service in children’s books industry. I have done that for two clients (projects after projects) and feel that this is something I could offer and what the market wants (minimum viable service). But I am still asking established authors and experts to understand the market more. I will have to figure out a simple “launch plan” if I want to get this rolled out.

        My focus is on building my own audience in self-publishing industry. Previously I was just trying to get as many clients as possible. I could actively seek for clients if I want more jobs money. But I have a day job to foot the bills so I think I have a little freedom to build something better. Learning to connect with the influencers better and produce quality content on my blog are two main focus right now.

        But still, I think I have not been hustling enough! Probably I have many fun projects I want to do at the same time. :)

      • Ah yes, that’s a familiar problem for me. I think it’s one of the biggest issues I have with focus, that there are simply so many different things I’d love to do. Wish I could tell you a remedy to this, but I know none…

  • That probably explains why I haven’t been successful! All of these post replies agreeing with you are depressing.
    I cannot become obsessed with my business! So maybe I won’t be successful, we shall see?

    • Tom

      Just a word of advice from someone who’s been doing this a long time, take it or leave it I don’t mind
      if your not excited about your business
      no one especially your customers will be
      if it doesn’t connect with you why do it
      all business owners need drive and determination otherwise you will fail as its not easy and you need to fill the tank before you even START the journey – good luck and think before you commit

      • Thank you for this comment, Simon!

    • Hi Tom,

      Like I say in the video: if you can’t get into it enough to engage in Hustle Mode, that’s probably a sign that the business isn’t right for you anyway.

      I also want to add that you don’t always have to be passionate about the specific niche your business is in. I know people who are passionate about business process in general and they can get obsessed with almost any business in any niche, because the details of the niche don’t matter to them as much. But there’s still something about the business that they get totally obsessed about and that they’d be happy to work on for 10 hours a day, indefinitely.

      Another way to frame this whole thing is this: don’t be half an entrepreneur.

      If you’re half and entrepreneur, it will probably be frustrating and heart breaking, but it will still take up half your time.

  • No huge surprise there. I always do better when I can focus.

    But how to focus is different for different people. For instance, I focus best when my day is highly structured. I suspect that’s because of a marginal case of ADD (or maybe just “shiny object” syndrome). I find that I have always done better when I have some other mandatory activity (like a job) which requires me to be somewhere at a specific time for a specific duration each day — making the time available for the rest of my day more scarce and precious.

    During the times that I found myself with entire weeks of nothing else to do, I have had an incredibly difficult time focusing on my business. When I have only a small amount of time to devote to business, I use a written checklist, and I try to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    Not sure why that would be, but I have seen that effect play out in other people, too. The typical thing I see is somebody who retires, and then can’t seem to get anything done anymore.

    I can see that I need to do one of two things about that. Either 1) I figure out how to fix the underlying problem, or 2) I figure out how to best take advantage of that “problem.”

    • You’re definitely not alone with this, Howard. In fact, that’s one of the big challenges of being self-employed: creating a system for yourself that keeps you productive. It’s way too easy to slack off and lose focus when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck.

      For me, having systems and structures to my day is absolutely essential and it’s something I continually work on, to keep myself productive.

  • Sebastian says:

    This remind me of an old saying:
    “Focus & Discipline = More Important than IQ & Talent.”

    You can become good at something, even if you are not 100% talented about it.

    What is really required is hustle in the direction you want to be significant at :)

  • So that’s what has happened to me. I’m in hustle mode. Great post Shane and I know how true this is.

  • Hi Shane,

    awesome post. I like it so much, how fast you get to the point. I am struggling since two years now, to get my business off the ground. I am Webdesigner for the money and i have a family. So the full hustle mode is not possible for me. But i take the next best like David Coleman: strong focus, clearly outlined projects and tight deadlines.

    All the best for you and your team

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