06 Feb How to Hustle like it’s 2015: a Year in Review
Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Shut up and hustle.”
It is the rallying cry of today’s entrepreneurs. Maybe “hustle” is a new way of phrasing work ethic, but what does it mean? What does it take to be a good “hustler!?”
Do 16 hour days really make you better than others? Are we working for work’s sake? Maybe… Maybe not…
This is how we’ve come to understand hustle.
For us, hustling is pushing ourselves harder than ever before.
We have taken a look at last year’s results, and accomplishments to determine if we meet our own definition hustlers.
This is what we have accomplished in a year, and this is what we believe is “hustle.”
Some pretty epic things happened last year that we thought was worth documenting.
Everyone defines hustle a little differently, and the level of hustle varies based on what you can do and how long you have trained yourself to focus.
We haven’t hustled as hard as Gary Vaynerchuck or Tim Ferriss, but we feel like we’re making our way to CRUSHING IT all the time. At least, we’re working into it!
#1 We Traveled
Places we lived…
In December of 2014, we decided to pack up our apartment and place everything in a storage unit. Yep, no access to the majority of our wardrobes, our super comfy minimalist couch, boxes of books, Buddha statues, boho decorative elements, vintage cameras and all the fun nick-nacks. Though, Em did bring along a few gemstones in her bag and a slice of petrified wood!
We wanted to explore.
“We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong.” – unknown
[bctt tweet=”We must take adventures to know where we truly belong.”]
For years we dreamed of traveling and living all over the USA, and the world. We stared at our vision boards with the NYC skyline, the beaches in LA and the Golden Gate Bridge.
This year, we decided to tackle our dreams and start the journey through the United States. It wasn’t easy. We didn’t have the funds when we decided to do this epic-journey. They showed up once we made a decision and did everything in our power to make it happen (with or without the money).
We started with NYC in January. After living in Bed-Stuy, Park Slope, Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg… we settled in Williamsburg. Though not before TONS OF COUCH-SURFING (which as you can imagine is a challenge with two people), and living out of two large duffle bags.
In 2015, we lived in: Upstate NY (briefly), NYC, Santa Barbara, and we moved to Los Angeles the last week in December.
What a doozy! An awesome one at that.
We Traveled to…
San Francisco CA, Burlington VT, Killington VT, Stratton VT, Greenwich CT, Yorktown NY, Ticonderoga NY, Cherry Hill NJ, and all throughout New York City: Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
#2 We Created Online Products
Last January, we dedicated about 2+ months to FINALLY putting all our thoughts and strategies down on paper. We created our FIRST online product after running a branding agency in Upstate, New York.
It took 2 months, full time for both of us, and years of research. But…
We released our first passive product in March.
Enter: The Branding Blueprint.
14+ ebook-workbooks, 350+ pages, 190+ exercises and loads of experience later, we created the world’s easiest way to brand yourself as an entrepreneur.
The course is complete with 7+ brand discovery modules and a final customized unique brand strategy. This course is a DIY branding course for all the entrepreneurs out there looking to brand themselves and build their foundation of incredible success and achievement—on a budget.
You can check out the course, here.
We were even lucky to receive AMAZING testimonials after we launched! Man, it feels good to be a
gangsta, online entrepreneur.
Through the year, we developed two more products too!
The Instagram Lover’s Guide to Hashtags ebook and, The Inner Entrepreneur Bootcamp audiobook.
#3 We Wrote… & Made Awesome Content
2015 was the year of blogging. We admired so many other bloggers (and Emelina always wanted to be one!). We knew that bloggers had more control over their lives—they could live anywhere, travel, write (which we both love!) and talk about experience and tutorials.
This sounded amazing, so we hit the pavement with words.
We wrote… a lot.
50 Blog and Articles on dscience .
19 Vlog Articles
Austin Wrote 190,960+ Words…Amounting to a 764 page epic novel.
These are the stats that Grammerly gave us, but Austin only started using Grammerly in October. That’s a lot of writing!
Published on 4+ Blogs…
We wrote so much that we added other’s blogs, websites and publication to the list.
The most notable are:
- Small Business Trends
- Just Creative
- Tut.com (Mike Dooley’s Inspirational Website)
- Linkedin Pulse (Featured 3 articles from us on their recommended home page to the entire Linkedin Community)
Our content was also featured on:
- Yahoo News
- Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome (featured a graphic quote that Emelina designed… in the book!)
Austin wrote and scripted a 2-hour audiobook.
That’s some serious writing! Austin scripted his first book this year: The Inner Entrepreneur Bootcamp: How to Win the Inner Game of Business.
There’s two hours of specific examples, experiences and strategies on how to win the “inner game” in your mind that fuels successful businesses.
Goal for 2016… Edit the book, add sections and publish as a physical book!
You can check out the full audiobook, here.
We collectively wrote 160 email newsletters.
Many were for d.science, and many were for a client. Nonetheless, we cranked out 160 emails this year. Some were sales, some were launch sequences, and some were creating value and nurturing leads through email.
Ending the Year 4 Weeks Ahead…
We ended 2015 with 4 weeks of blog content ready to publish in January.
I don’t know how many blog articles then, that we “officially” wrote in 2015… but it’s a lot.
#4 We built AMAZING free offers and valuable content!
We published 7 Free Ebook/Workbook/Video Training Downloads.
Last year, we really stepped up our free downloads. We dove in and spend loads of time creating actionable tips and workbooks that are practical for entrepreneurs to help them run their businesses.
Here are all the offers (feel free to jump in and download!) lol.
- Brand Strategy Training (Workbook and Video)
- How to Understand Your Audience and Create Value
- Build Your Social Media Strategy
- Secret Brian Hack Tools to Only Think of Success
- Double Your Instagram Following Video Training
- Goal Setting for Epic Entrepreneurs
- 40+ Tools to Run Your Online Business Like a Pro
We love creating free opt-in offers to segment our lists. Two offers have been running neck and neck all year. Our Free Brand Strategy Template
and Brain Hack Tool have been killing it. Both have amazing feedback from all our new subscribers too!
What we didn’t expect is the fun offer Austin made (because he’s passionate as all heck about it) is straight up rocking too. The belief wheel brain hack video and workbook has been helping hundreds of entrepreneurs take control of their limiting beliefs, and control their minds this year to stay in a constant state of abundance and success.
Austin is working on a full series this year that will include all the other awesome tricks he uses on a regular basis to take control of his mind.
We created and tested 15 Leadpages.
In the process of making all these awesome offers, we made some awesome Leadpages and they all convert around 20%-50%… woohoo!
We Shot Videos, and Hosted Webinars…
44 Youtube Videos. Many of these are optin and product videos, but there were some awesome branding challenge videos, and Q&A’s too!
Which is a reminder… to finish the branding challenge.
12+ Product Videos.
We ended the year by shooting training videos for the Branding Blueprint ecourse, and we shot some awesome behind-the-scenes training videos for a new Instagram Course Emelina will be launching soon! You can sign up to be an Instagram VIP here, and know when she launches this epic course!
Emelina hosted 5 LIVE webinars.
After growing her audience on Instagram from 500 to 5,000 followers in 3 months, Emelina hosted a suite of webinars on practical tips to double your Instagram following. (she is still growing fast, check out her amazing content on Instagram.)
If you missed the action, you can catch a 90-minute video training, here.
#5 We Hustled Hard on Social…
450+ Live Streams with Austin.
Austin leveraged super hard in live streaming this year. He did about 220+ Meerkat and another almost 300 on Periscope. Find his streams on Periscope, here.
1437 Personalized Twitter Video Messages.
Nothing says “thank you!” and “you’re awesome” as much as a personal Twitter video. Austin has been chatting with our community through vids all year on Twitter!
We sent 12,000+ Tweets.
Yep, 12k. That’s a lot of short messages under 140 characters, spread across 3 accounts: @ecspinelli @austiniuliano @dscienceinc
85 Facebook Posts.
Not a huge number, but still great considering we post and average of 3 times/week.
1276 Pinterest Pins.
We really amplified our Pinterest game this year, and posted more frequently. We also really dove into Pinterest Advertising at the end of the year, and we’re super excited to get down with it more through 2016. If you are in Pinterest let’s connect.
80,690 likes, 551 Photo Posts, 6,175 followers on Instagram
Emelina found her sweet spot. She’s been digin’ hard on Instagram and getting some really great results. She keeps posting awesome pics, and is amassing quite a following!
Catch Emelina on Instagram, here.
She was contacted by easily at least a dozen brands at the end of the year to partner and promote different products and websites, and loves meeting amazing influencers and friends in person for meetups!
6 blog posts went viral.
#1 Blog post of this year: How to build a brand strategy template
#2 The DIY guide to being an SEO Expert
#3 How to Grow Your Instagram Following
#4 6 Beliefs of a Successful Entrepreneur
#5 How to use Live Streaming in Your Content Marketing
#6 How to Build a Brand Strategy Essence (had over 2500 shares and 16,000 views on Linkedin Pulse)
#6 We partnered up…
We did a little more biz-dev this year than usual. We loved partnering up throughout the year with other startups, influencers and businesses.
Hosted 2 Parties…
- We Partnered with Meerkat (TWICE!) hosting meetups on our Brooklyn rooftop with a breath-taking view of the skyline.
5 Guest Contributors.
Last year we had 5 guest contributors. This year we’re really amping it up… so if you have something to say, and you’re looking to write and gain exposure—maybe this would be a good fit. (Also, I might add… obviously you would need some experience in what you’ll be writing about, as well as clear, actionable strategies and tactics).
356% Increase In Website Traffic
We used Pinterest and great SEO in addition to regularly blogging for the traffic bump, and so much more!
We met 6 business celebrities.
Some of the run-ins were more planned, and for others we were at conferences, and at the right place at the right time. Woohoo!
Our run-ins included:
- Gary Vaynerchuck
- Seth Godin
- Marie Forleo
- Shon Duras
- Grant Cardone
- Gina Devee
- David Asprey
- Tim Ferris (Tim was a 2016 meetup!)
This year we believe there will be some big plays that are going to happen. With the emergence of Periscope and Meerkat, live streaming and video are going to explode even more.
Live Streaming is the next big thing.
Honestly we believe that live-streaming is the next big thing. Austin has said before that he is going bullish on live streaming. The platforms have a low barrier of entry, are easily added into your content marketing regiment, and have massive stickiness.
Basically people want to see you and hear what you have to say on those platforms.
Video in email is going to happen.
We think that the live streaming will evolve into video in email. With advancements in technology moving at such a rapid pace this is inevitable. Imagine being able to natively watch videos in email. Instead of being kicked to Youtube… cool huh?
This might become a new ad source for Google, providing this service to premium subscribers but it will happen. It is already kind of possible but the potential here is huge.
Small business content marketing must evolve.
Singular platform content marketing is going to be the death of small businesses. For example, only writing blog posts or only having a Facebook Fan page. Small businesses especially, are going to need to evolve and master more than one platform.
I know this is tough pill to swallow but it’s the truth. Your competition is on more than one platform, and doing it better than you. Start building up your repertoire.
Paid advertisements are going to be a must.
I love social media for the free traffic like everyone else. But every day it get’s harder and harder to gain exposure.
EVERYONE is on social competing for attention. A little-paid advertisements go a long way. For instance, This year I tested Pinterest Advertisements and reach over 1 million impressions for under $200 bucks.
That is a huge amount of reach for such a small chunk of change.
Care packages and product contests are going to explode.
Snail mail is going to become huge again. It is just too ineffective for advertisers to use as a sustainable strategy.
With subscription boxes becoming a huge industry, people are loving opening their mail. They actively wait for a new package to arrive. Add at this point (with the massive amount of business Amazon and Ebay do, etc.) your mail is not as much junk mail but a package delivery mechanism.
I imagine people will start actively rewarding their tribe with care packages and contests to win boxes of awesome stuff. It is a small dollar investment but creates massive emotional value to the recipient. This also can become a great way to drive social engagement too. It just takes a little creativity and the right mindset.
Lessons learned this year:
LESSON 1: You can accomplish more than you think in a year. HUSTLE HARDER.
If you dedicate and work hard, anything is possible. This year we crushed content. This shows us where our foundation is.
From here, we are looking to at least tripling the results for next year. Realistically we’ll pump out even more than triple the content. Why? Simply, because we will have made a habit of doing it!
LESSON 2: Successful people are master communicators.
The more practice you have with tough conversations the better. Successful people get what they desire because they are willing to have the uncomfortable conversations. Seriously, we learned this through experience this year.
The key here is to make it a habit. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable—then you’ll condition yourself to step up into every situation that you need to, in order to be successful.
LESSON 3: Organization and elimination are powerful in getting shit done.
Sometimes we would shoot from the hip and reacting on the fly. This can be a great quality to have as entrepreneurs, because it allows us to “react to the market.”
That being said, when you can break down an objective into a single actionable step (or many actionable steps), and eliminate unnecessary steps—you achieve success much more rapidly.
It’s structured and planned.
Even though complex or big goals require more than one step, they can be broken down into singular, actionable steps. This is the basis of S.M.A.R.T goals. Grab our free goal setting workbook, here.
That’s the d.science year in review.
If you were wondering what HUSTLE looks like… that’s it. Now, we’re not stopping here. Look for triple+ the results next year—or more! We’re entering 2016 with a mindset to CRUSH IT.
What did hustle look like for you this year? Let us know in the comments!