There is no substitute for hard work if you want to build a successful career, regardless of whether you’re a freelancer or a corporate employee. However, we live in an era where working hard around the clock is downright glorified. The ones that are the most responsible for the rise of hustle culture are self-made influencers, entrepreneurial gurus, and famous figures like Gary Vaynerchuk and Elon Musk.
Musk, in particular, has been almost fetishizing this approach, making claims that nobody ever changed the world by working 40 hours a week, with himself working 80 hours a week on average.
Of course, it would be foolish to dispute that working more doesn’t result in you getting more done, but we can’t ignore the possible downsides and compromises of this lifestyle, such as frequent employee burnout and health issues. That is why we’ve decided to take a closer look at the hustle culture and find both pros and cons – especially from a freelancer’s point of view – and see if it’s possible to find any kind of balance.
The Pros of Hustle Culture
It’s pretty hard to argue with this point. If your entire day is consumed by hard work, you may even surprise yourself at how much you were able to accomplish in just 24 hours. And when you start doing that every day of the week, the results become palpable really fast. It feels good because you are making the most out of your potential.
When you fully immerse yourself in work and accept the hustle culture, all those positive results drive you to work even harder, creating a positive feedback cycle. It almost seems like a natural fit for freelancers who are looking to maximize their productivity, especially those who are paid by the hour.
As a freelancer, you get to call nearly all the shots and be your own boss. You can work in comfy clothes, determine your own hours, and set up a schedule that fits your lifestyle. It’s all great – if you approach it seriously.
However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of treating your freelance efforts less seriously than you would a standard nine-to-five job. This is where all the positive aspects of the hustle culture, such as hard work and discipline, really make a difference and help you get serious about keeping your clients happy, negotiating better rates, and pushing yourself to meet deadlines even when you feel like you’re running on fumes.
Faster Career Success
You’ve probably heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master any kind of skill. Well, the hustle culture is an application of that rule in a way. Obviously, when you work longer hours, you will be able to reach your professional goals faster. It’s not just about the money, though, because more work means more clients, which will inevitably open you to new opportunities and require you to expand your skills in order to meet their demands. Achieving your financial goals should always go hand in hand with growing your skillset if you want to get on the fast track toward career success.
The Cons of Hustle Culture
Everyone has a limit up to which they can push themselves, regardless of how tenacious, hard-working, and disciplined they are. One of the most common downsides of hustle culture is burnout, and freelancers are especially exposed to work-from-home burnout.
Burnout occurs when you just work without any downtime that would enable you to decompress and relieve the stress that builds as a result of constant work. This, in turn, opens up the door to a whole slew of other problems, such as job dissatisfaction and physical as well as mental exhaustion.
Mental and Physical Health Issues
Studies show that long working hours can lead to anxiety and depression. Non-stop hustling will eventually cause you to become frustrated with yourself and your job, lose sleep, and have a more negative outlook on life.
Also, working all the time will negatively impact your social life. After all, people are social animals, and spending quality time with your loved ones helps to reduce stress. Finally, poor sleeping and nutritional habits lead to physical health issues, including weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.
Increasing productivity by working longer hours only works up to a point, after which productivity starts to decline. According to numerous studies, employees have stated that stress negatively affects their productivity. Hustle culture, on the other hand, will tell you to push through it instead of calling it a day, getting enough sleep, and then finishing your work tomorrow.
There is no shame in taking a break every once in a while, a day off, or a vacation without feeling any guilt. You will not only come back more productive, but you will also alleviate stress and manage burnout.
As you can see, hustle culture does have its positive aspects, but the problem is that it takes things too far. It’s up to you as a freelancer to find a balance between productivity and your wellbeing. Work is just one part of your life. Keeping yourself happy and functional in the long run is the only way to find true success.