“Hustle culture” is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can inspire us. The attitude that we should be constantly learning and challenging ourselves to reach new goals can be a wonderful motivator. Telling yourself to never be satisfied can give you ambition and drive. But, hustle culture also has a very dark side.
Celebrating “the grind”
Hustle culture tells us to celebrate “the grind”, and encourages us to have a full-time job, side hustle, and multiple streams of passive income, basically from the time we gain consciousness. You can even find makeup tutorials to give yourself bags under your eyes because they’re “in” right now. Bragging about how little sleep you get isn’t healthy. Running yourself into the ground is not a cute personality trait. And you don’t need to constantly be working to be worthy of happiness or success. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself, and your business, is unplug and give yourself time to really rest.
In a lot of ways, online resellers are kicking traditional retailers’ butts, but their employees do have one big advantage – they get a CLOSED sign. A retail store has hours posted on the front door and at the end of the day, they get to turn out the lights, lock the doors and go home. Our customers follow us 24/7 on our websites, phones, and computers. The compulsion to always be reachable can be overwhelming.
A newborn changes everything
When I had a newborn, I was up about every two hours day and night, so answering customer questions at 3 AM didn’t seem like a big deal. Plus, sometimes, measuring waist length was a nice temporary distraction from changing diapers. Once my daughter started sleeping through the night, I realized how crazy it was to jump out of bed, dig something out of its box and look up the fabric content at midnight. Because, yeah, that’s nuts. It’s also really unnecessary.
I was afraid of losing sales at first. We all know that if you don’t get back to a buyer, there are other places they can go. I mostly sell clothing, and there’s hardly a dearth of clothing to buy online. But when I set my own business hours, guess what happened? Nothing.
My sales didn’t slow down. People still sent me questions at 3 AM, but they didn’t mind getting answers at 9 AM , instead of 15 minutes later. In fact, they still thanked me for responding so quickly.
You set the expectations for your business so, why not make your own CLOSED sign? Include in your bio or shop description your hours of operation, and stick to them. If a buyer knows that you take Wednesdays off, they won’t mind waiting a full-day for an answer. And if they do, maybe you don’t want them to buy from you anyway. And when you decide to close down for the night, really close down.
We’re addicted to our phones
Like most people, but especially resellers, I’m addicted to my phone. Not the seal it in a waterproof bag so I can take it in the shower addicted, but pretty addicted. I have it on me all the time. I also wear a smart-watch that vibrates with notifications from all of my selling platforms. If you like one of my items, I not only know about it, but I’m sitting there, waiting for an appropriate amount of time before I can send you an offer to close the sale.
Last year, I realized that I had a problem when I dropped my phone off to be fixed and freaked out until it was back in my hands. So, I started testing myself. I put my phone down, took my watch off, and timed how long I could stand it before picking them up. And you know what I found out? I’m weak!
I’m working on that, but in the meantime, I set specific times for myself to put my phone down and walk away.
I started by putting my phone on “Do Not Disturb” at night. Yes, I miss the occasional “like” now and then, but I also stay asleep through the 27 “just shared” Poshmark notifications whose blue glow used to get me up and reaching for my phone 27 times a night.
Having a “no-tech” family day
My husband and I don’t want our daughter to grow up thinking phones are attached to our hands, so we also have a no-tech dinner every Thursday. We sit at the table, no phones for us, no iPad for her, and eat a real meal together. After dinner, we watch a movie or play a video game together. No work allowed. It’s become an important day for my family.
Like most families, we get busy, and I know that will only get worse when my daughter enrolls in school and starts having after-school activities. Sometimes my husband misses me because even though I’m home, I’m shut up in my workroom listing or photographing. But Thursday is our day together. We know that no matter what is going on, we will get one evening together as a family. We started this when our daughter was 3, because we want her to grow up with it, rather than try instituting it when she’s 15 and way too cool to hang out with us. Do you have a set time with your family, or yourself, to leave your phone behind?
Let’s talk about social media…
I think we’ve all had those nights where we lay in bed scrolling through TikTok and suddenly it’s 2 AM. We know it’s not healthy, but it’s just so fun! Plus, for many of us, social media is more than a fun distraction, it’s a key element of our business.
My Instagram posts are almost all memes about life as a reseller. I spend about an hour a day creating memes or reels and responding to comments. It might seem dumb, even a little self-absorbed to an outsider, but it’s how I network. My dumb little memes have introduced me to thousands of people, including Doug and Clara. That’s what got me on The Seller Community Podcast in the first place. And without Instagram, I never would have heard about List Perfectly and taken my business full time. Social media is important to me, but it’s still easy to get sucked in. So, I give myself a schedule.
I have stopwatches in my phone, and I give myself an hour a day per platform. Once I started timing myself, I saw how much time I really lose to scrolling posts from middle school friends I last spoke to 20 years ago.
Why not set up a social schedule, and see if you can really stick to it? If nothing else, you’ll see where your time really goes every day.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
My last piece of advice – don’t be too hard on yourself. You aren’t perfect. That’s the truth and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If perfection is what you’re striving for, then you will fail. Your goals have to be achievable. If you give yourself impossible tasks, then no matter how much you accomplish, you will feel like a failure. It’s the same principle as dieting. You can’t say you’re going to lose 30 pounds this week. If that’s your goal, then, at the end of the week, the 2 pounds you lost won’t feel like an accomplishment, they’ll feel like part of your failure.
Build breaks into your schedule, and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you didn’t get enough sleep last night, don’t feel like you have to power through. Schedule a nap from 2:00-3:00. Your success comes from sticking to your schedule. Same as a cheat day. You’re not a monster for eating a donut, you’re successful for only eating one.
Remember, this isn’t about perfection, it’s all about getting better. You can run a successful small business and have a healthy relationship with all of your devices, you just have to find the right balance.