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Entrepreneurs: the Chief Hustler

by KG Charles-Harris


As the CEO of a startup, I’m really nothing more than the Chief Hustler. 

I hustle to attract team members, capital, advisors, etc.  I also hustle to ensure that we’re moving along quickly enough to be ahead of the market, though resource constraints and ambiguous choices always want to slow us down. 

The ability to attract resources (team, capital, etc.) is probably the most important job that I have – most people who write about the startup CEOs job mention the visionary, cultural or managerial aspects of the job.  For me it’s the constant hustling.

My hustle starts as soon as I wake up in the morning – pick up my iPhone and start reading and replying to emails at around 04:30.  Then I move on to reading articles from news sources, keeping an ever vigilant eye out for potential competitors (especially ones with abundant funding or interesting technologies).  There is an element of a negative flutter in the stomach whenever I come up on one of these – how will they affect the market, will they try to poach my carefully developed team, what is their technology basis, how do I find out more about them…

As a hustler, I’m basically a sales person. 

I’m selling investors, potential team members and anyone who wants to listen or who can potentially affect the development of what we’re building in a positive manner.  And as a hustler, there has to be a little of the “confidence man” in me – providing security where none can be had.  Making people believe that the impossible is possible, not because I’m trying to cheat someone out of hard earned cash or time, but because I truly believe it myself, and with their help it will come closer to being reality.  Hustling to create something out of nothing.

This hustler is very grateful for the people he’s getting the pleasure to work with to create something that is slated to be industry changing.  I just got a sneak peak of the UI/UX and I’m really happy with the initial cut.  Of course, it will have to be completely redone after our beta trials, but it’s so revolutionary that I’m now getting positive flutters in my belly – the kind of excitement that makes me want to shout from the roof-tops, “We’re coming!” 

But I have to temper my excitement – we still have a long way to go.  Months of hard work with the team, more delays and disappointments, and more insecurity about whether we’ll succeed or not.  Every day, however, is a joy because of the people I have around me; my woman, my friends, my family, my team.   To say “my” doesn’t clearly denote how I feel – not ownership, but privilege in being able to be part of their lives and have them in mine.

This is the essence of entrepreneurship at its best – good people, good goals, good development and good prospects.  It’s a pity that it isn’t always like this.  It does, however, make me appreciate the good times when they are here.

Thank you all.

4 Responses to “Entrepreneurs: the Chief Hustler”
  1. July ’14 Leadership Development Carnival | The Purposeful Culture Group Says:

    […] on Mapping Company Success about what CEOs really are in start-ups: Chief Hustlers. His post, Entrepreneurs: the Chief Hustler, explains how start-up CEOs are constantly selling their company, their company’s ideas, and […]

  2. JaneNo Gravatar Says:

    Loved this! I am not even close to CEO but I get the same enthusiasms over the same things. Those that inspire you, also inspire me. I’d never realized before that in some ways, followers share the same foundation as CEOs.

  3. KGNo Gravatar Says:

    Hello Jane – thank you for the comment. Actually, I believe that everyone in the organization is a CEO, especially for their area of responsibility. This does not mean that everyone is the actual CEO, but that everyone in the organization is intelligent, competent and responsible for the execution of their work. They are also responsible for influencing the direction of the organization in a positive direction on every level, and responsible for acquiring and disseminating information with this aim.

    So, regardless of where you are in the organization, or if you are working in a one person organization, you are still a CEO in a many senses.

  4. Lead Change Group | February 2015 Leadership Development Carnival Says:

    […] […]

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