There are many people who might tell you that you should never stop hustling as a business owner if you want to scale. Others will tell you that you can build an aligned business from the start without ever working longer hours, being overwhelmed or experiencing negative emotions.
Everyone’s journey is different and yours will be unique too. That’s why it’s important to only take what resonates with you. In this episode of The Free and Fearless Podcast, I want to share more about the 2 phases in business – the hustle phase and the alignment phase, why both are necessary, how and when to enter each, and examples from my hustle period that aren’t that pretty but which I have nothing else but gratitude for.
Tune into the episode below:
- [01:33] Where the hustle got me and what the next level is
- [04:21] The exact steps I took back in the days to turn my passion into my career
- [06:45] What my hustle phase looked like and why it was necessary
- [09:16] My second hustle phase and how it led to $5K months and doing the work I love
- [11:32] How hustling makes you humble and why you don’t want overnight success
- [13:08] Masculine vs feminine energy
- [15:28] How I use feminine energy in business
- [16:39] How to use energetic alignment to make manifestation work
- [18:10] How alignment feels like in my business now
I believe the hustle phase helped me build certain qualities such as discipline, the ability to put my business above many other things, to rely on myself, to trust that no matter what, I can still make it, to wake up early or stay up late and be laser focused on my work.
To build the mindset necessary to make those first $100, then $1000, then make that monthly and manage it well. Because the rules of managing money don’t magically change when you get to a bigger income. So you need to have some skills and qualities that you can take with you down the road when you hit milestones you never dreamt of, receive amazing opportunities, live the lifestyle your business will provide, and run your dream business that creates impact and makes your day meaningful.
My experience looked like this: I hustled for a long, long time. That got me to my current level, doing work I love, having the exact business model I want, living in my favourite country where I relocated thanks to my income, being able to adjust things so I can only work on what lights me up.
It has provided all I want in terms of freedom, lifestyle, independence and work flexibility, and for that I wake up grateful everyday. I also have no doubt that I earned this. By being in front of the laptop when nothing was happening, when no one else in my life understood what I was doing or why. When I doubted myself to make anything happen, when there was such a big gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.
I kept going and I did the inner work, which as I often say, is 90% of the work.
But a business is meant to evolve on its own. And to unleash its potential, and more of mine, I started surrendering. Because the bad side of the hustle phase is that you’re resisting a lot of things. You aren’t letting growth and abundance in and that’s why you might stay at the same level even if it seems like you’re putting effort all the time.
With that (and some personal aspects of my life that also needed less resistance and more trust in the process), I got into spirituality and manifestation, decided to explore my feminine energy, tap into my intuition and inner power, and get out of my own way.
This is how I got to know the alignment phase. And it’s just beginning as there’s so much to learn about it, it’s a whole new way of thinking, living and doing business.
The Hustle Phase and Why It’s Necessary
7 or 8 years ago, I had a lot to figure out. I had just discovered the fact that writing was my most favorite thing, and that personal development had always been my passion. That happened thanks to reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It.
I had a revelation. I didn’t want to live an average life, get a corporate job, or even stay in my home country so doing something online and earning from it seemed like a logical goal. If I wanted to make something out of this, I had to combine writing with personal development.
I started a blog without knowing anything about blogging. I was posting there often, it was my therapy and my favorite free time activity. I had no idea where that could lead me but people started leaving comments and engaging with my content.
Some time after that, I found out there is a practical way for me to earn money right now, without any more experience, connections, investments or else. Freelance writing.
I had absolutely no confidence in the digital world then, had no idea what branding and sales were all about, but began reading blogs on how to make it as a freelancer.
I signed up for platforms like Upwork that connect employers and freelancers and I started pitching. I was literally no one then but I had one thing – the love for writing, knowing what my most favorite niche to write about was – self-improvement, and my blog where I had already posted many articles.
So I did something simple which was also the only option I could think of. I browsed the different jobs on these freelancing platforms and any time I’d see a a job description about blog posts on personal development, I would apply.
I would contact the person, tell them why that’s what I love doing, show them links to my published articles on the same topics, and simply promise them I can create similar content for them.
I didn’t have any real expertise, degree in the field, even any feedback on that website. I had a new profile there, they could see English isn’t my native language and I live in a small country in Europe. But they liked the content on my blog and that’s exactly what they needed for their project.
Obviously, I wasn’t charging much so it was a pretty good deal for them.
That’s how I made my first money online which was a turning point in my journey. I saw it’s possible. I already had a skill and proof that it could be monetized.
From then on, while working on my blog on the side, I kept pitching clients for freelance work, doing a better job, improving my reputation on these platforms and getting good feedback, and increasing my income.
But I hustled. I had a lot to figure out, I wasn’t productive, didn’t know how to manage my energy or time well, didn’t know much about the business side (such as handling payments, turning this into a monthly income, negotiating, asking for feedback, knowing who isn’t a good client, and so on). There were many challenges and some days were mentally draining.
But I was so motivated by the fact that something was happening online. There was no doubt I could replicate that process and earn more so I started dreaming bigger and wondering what could happen if I make a full-time income freelancing.
So the hustle phase for me looked like this: finding my most productive hours of the day, planning my client work for then and structuring my whole day around it. Then, there was another part of the day that I’d invest in blogging, learning moth about both blogging and freelancing and just learning more about online business.
It was beautiful. When I watch movies or just read success stories, what I’m most fascinated by isn’t where the person is now even if they are a self-made millionaire. It’s how everything started, how they handled challenges, how they developed the mindset necessary to go through the exhausting first stage of their journey. How they describe the hustle phase now that’s over, and just the love and gratitude they have for every moment even back then.
People often ask me how I manage to be productive when working from home, when I could be doing anything else, there are distractions, no deadlines, no one to tell me what to do. Well, it’s thanks to the hustle phase when creating this structure was the only way for me to stay focused on the goal, keep my momentum going and actually see results.
That helped me take my work seriously, have deep respect for the whole process and online business in general, and always stay motivated by knowing why I do what I do.
I was so grateful for these clients back then, that waking up super early – even know I was never a morning person – felt so good. When I look back now, I can’t imagine doing things differently. This was so necessary.
And believe me, there was struggle.
The hustle phase doesn’t just stop one day.
No. Because I changed business models. I had bigger goals and my vision became clearer.
So for example, once I was earning a solid income – and solid means different things for everyone, of course – as well as a bit from my blog, I had enough savings and confidence to make a bold move.
I got a one-way ticket, moved to my favorite country and never looked back. I am here now, 5 years later, and this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken in my life. It’s thanks to my online business so imagine how more grateful I am now for it, and of course I’m going to keep showing up for it and taking it in new directions. I’ve given it so much, but it’s given me even more.
Once I relocated, which was sort of the biggest lifestyle change I made, it was time to get to business again, focus on the next goals and create a quantum leap.
Shortly after moving, I had another adventure. I spent 6 weeks in Thailand, enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle and using all my savings. I’ve never been in a situation like that before and I realized the business wasn’t prepared for it.
So I had a hard time when I came back home with all the bills, the lack of much new income, and the dissatisfaction I had with freelance work at that point. It was a really hard period for a few months and I promised myself to never be in that situation again.
I kept freelancing and sadly my most energetic time of the day, every day, was about dealing with clients, finding new ones, and creating content for their projects. It’s not what I wanted to do but it was necessary. So I kept doing it.
My goal then was to be a full-time blogger. I was already earning half of my income from blogging and I knew I could double that.
It happened half a year later thanks to how dedicated and focused I was. I became unapologetic about it, lived frugally, and kept my vision in mind at all times. And it worked.
I got to $5K months as a blogger, and I’ve never done freelance work for clients since then. If it wasn’t for the hustle phase, I can’t really imagine that happening. I would give up, I would tell myself stories that won’t get me far, and I would listen to others who tell me why what I’m trying to do doesn’t make sense.
The stepping stone
The point of sharing all this is to show you that the hustle phase doesn’t need to continue forever. It’s a great start, it’s a stepping stone and it’s one of the best ways to build the discipline and skills necessary to scale your business and live your dream life.
It also makes you humble. You don’t want overnight success, believe me. Even if there are people who actually did it this way, they can’t do it again. While I know that no matter what happens now, I could start over and build this beautiful business all over again. Because I have what it takes and I’ve done it once.
After you’ve been hustling for a while, you build a whole new level of confidence. You know you are your business’ biggest asset and no one can take that away from you. You keep learning and growing, you invest in your self-education and in your business, and the only way is up.
That’s why I think the hustle stage is one of the best things you can do if you want to be self-made in business and never doubt your abilities or whether you deserve what you create.
Read also: [Fearless Content Case Study] How Kanika Found Clarity and Aligned Her Content Creation and Branding
Masculine vs Feminine Energy
But I was never in alignment all those years. I didn’t know it, I didn’t even know what this word meant exactly, because I was busy doing, initiating, grabbing opportunities, and aiming higher.
That’s how masculine energy operates and it’s no wonder that when it’s the more powerful of the 2 energies, it blocks your feminine one.
The masculine energy is about structure, it’s competitive, initiative, logical, risk-taking, controlling, decisive and achieving. I love that, but there’s no balance.
The missing piece in my puzzle was alignment and it could be achieved in different ways. One of them was to unblock my feminine energy and start using it in business.
Some characteristics of the feminine are being intuitive, vulnerable, reflective, supporting, nurturing, patient, creative and trusting. All these are beautiful qualities but are often perceived as weakness in business.
That’s not the case and in fact you need to balance both energies in order to fully rise to your potential as a business owner. Here are some examples.
The Alignment Phase
I like structure and testing different strategies in business. I actually built my blogging business thanks to that. It’s monetized in 4 different ways, 3 of which are passive income and it’s actually recession-proof.
I’m able to transition to an online course business and enjoy the ride simply because I know the blogging side of it is running smoothly no matter what.
But when there is too much structure, there’s little room left for allowing growth in surprising ways. I also insisted on doing things alone, I didn’t ask for help which really slowed me down. I was resisting a lot even if my intuition was telling me what the next step is. But if I didn’t see logic in it, I simply won’t try that.
That’s how I was limiting myself and staying at the same income level for many years. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stage of my life and business, but something feels off. That’s because I’m ready for more, I’m ready for abundance in every aspect of my life, I’m ready to allow things to happen instead of just making them happen all the time.
So I let go of many limiting beliefs in order to be more aligned. I got into Human Design and energetics and learned how energy flows in my body and how to make the most of it.
There’s a whole module for that in my new course Fearless Content.
I left my need for control aside and turned to spirituality, manifestation and energetics. I understood the laws of the Universe which are always in motion, the importance of intuition and how to tune into mine, and many other things that led me in the right direction.
I’m now not just growing my business and getting to 6 figures, but I’m also making it as aligned as possible. Aligned with my true self, with my vision, and with my energetic blueprint.
How I use feminine energy in business
The way I use feminine energy in this case is by letting go of what’s not serving me. Module 1 of Fearless Content is dedicated to that because there’s is so much we hold onto and we just can’t build an authentic brand or grow our business if we keep carrying it.
So in that program, I take you on a 4-week journey to becoming the most fearless version of yourself and using that in content marketing to create the business you desire.
Another way in which I tune into my feminine energy is thanks to some spiritual practices such as journaling, meditation, tapping, and energetic alignment (which simply means feeling the way you’re going to feel once your vision is achieved).
You need to raise your vibration and be the person who will be living that next level life now, so you can attract the rest of it in reality. And of course, the biggest challenge here is believing it’s inevitable and that it’s just a matter of time till you get there.
You need to be so sure because once you are, there is no reason to be unhappy in the now. You know you are building that business, getting to that higher income, meeting the most amazing people, and just getting everything you deeply desire. But it’s not here yet. That’s where the trust in the process and the patience come which are feminine qualities and you need them to make manifestation work.
So yes, the alignment phase is mostly about manifestation. There is still action, and it’s the so-called inspired action because you do what you feel called to do. You connect to your higher self and let it guide you and you take action based on that. That action always gets you in the right direction.
The alignment phase is easy. There is flow, there is creativity, things happen in a magical way and that’s why you should let go of the ‘how’. It’s not up to you.
The masculine energy controls the how, and that’s why it achieves what’s planned, not more. But when you let go of how things will happen and know what you want, why and the fact that it will happen one way or another, you allow any opportunity, person, belief, change or whatever to help you get there as fast as possible.
How alignment feels like in my business now
Let me tell you how things look for me in my business now that everything is in alignment, or at least more than before.
I create the best content I’ve ever created, I feel good about it, and I do it with ease and flow. I connect with people, give back, allow them to come to me and open up to collaborations.
I’m ready to outsource things and that’s why I just hired my first person last week.
The course I’m launching, Fearless Content, is the most magical program I’ve created so far. I have no doubt it can transform people’s business and teach them how to do content creation, marketing and branding thanks to spirituality and personal growth. I’ve never combined these topics in 1 course until now.
It felt right to do it and I enjoyed all the months I invested in making it the best program I can.
I also attract more features now, more collaborations, more amazing people who love my content and reach out and thank me for it. I’m not hiding anymore, I’m not stressed about the ‘how’. I tune into my intuition about every business decision but also bring logic to the table as a combination of both seems to work best for me.
I give myself permission to do what feels right, to change business models, to say No to people, to not even explain myself to them if I don’t feel like. To not invest much time in business activities that aren’t important and to instead dedicate my time to the meaningful ones, the profitable ones, the ones that are in alignment with the current business model I’m creating and which can make a real impact on my audience.
I have no doubt that I will be earning 6 figures maybe by the end of this year or the next one. I let go of the idea that it will be a certain fixed monthly income that will get me to $100K. No. My best month can be thanks to a course launch, or something I can’t even imagine yet but which will be an opportunity I see later this year and feel inspired to act upon.
That’s how things work when you allow the Universe to play its part. But if you’re only using your masculine energy or only staying in the hustle phase and limiting yourself, you’re blocking all the magic around you. You’re refusing the abundance, which by the way is already here and you just need to start noticing it first.
That’s what the alignment stage looks like and how it can help you grow. I might choose comfort and stay still more often than not, and that means I’ll be at this level for some more time. That’s okay.
But I might decide to really go all in on the alignment phase, and take business decisions and make power moves from a place of knowing 100% that nothing is out of reach. It can happen in the most surprising ways as long as I wake up every day ready to play the big game.
I know some of you think the hustle should never stop. Others admit that the hustle wasn’t necessary in the first place. Let’s keep an open mind here. My current perspective is based on my current stage of life and what’s going on in my mind as well as what I’ve bee through.
I’m curious what your experience is with both the hustle and the alignment phase. Everyone has a unique story and each is so beautiful. You owe it to yourself and to others to share it with the world. Maybe the examples I gave today from my hustle phase helped you realized something. Or you are now ready to make a change in the way you do business so everything can feel aligned much sooner.
Only you know what’s best for you and your business.
If you’re ready to manifest your dream business, I have something that might help. I created a free Abundant Business Journal Challenge with daily journal prompts and affirmations that will help you get into the right energy and mindset and operate from a place of abundance so you can attract more of that in your business.
You can sign up for it below:
My final tip for you is this: Don’t avoid the hustle phase, and don’t be scared of what you’re capable of achieving during your alignment phase.