Making It on the Hustle

In the two years since I’ve left my last regular day job, I’ve done gigs that are referred to as ‘hustles’ sometimes. I’ve done delivery work and now I drive for Uber.

First, I want to say I’ve made a lot of mistakes because I went into this totally blind thinking it was way easier than it really is, and because I thought things would just magically fall into place for me because it’s what I wanted.

The mistakes I made were not hustling more to make more money at the outset so I’d have a cushion built up and something to maybe fall back on. Also, I was exceptionally lazy and just let shit slide right down the toilet with me in it. But I’m still waking up on this side of the dirt and living in a place with a roof over my head for me and my pets so I must be doing something right.

So what I have learned about hustling to get this far?

1) You have got to be disciplined. No one is going to ride your ass telling you what to do or when to do it. It’s so damn easy to just put off things until tomorrow thinking that you can do it tomorrow. DON’T DO THAT! Do it now would be my motto to start with this. Set a goal and don’t stop until you hit it.

2) Balance. We’re all human and we all have our good days and our bad days. Sometimes you have to push through the bad day even though sometimes you just can’t do that. It’s a hard thing to realize but you have to know when you can push it, and when to back off.

3) Never forget the life you left, and never want to go back to. And also know that the further you get away from your former life, the harder it will be to go back to it. Don’t look back and remember why you walked away in the first place. And keep moving forward even if it’s just surviving.

4) No one knows everything and the price of it. Some people catch on quicker and move faster but that doesn’t make them know-it-all perfect gurus. And beware of fast-talking bullshit. How much money you can earn by hustling depends on how much time you’re willing to put into it. Because you may find a good groove sometimes, and there may be times when you don’t. There are going to be days when you have to take a shot at doing things differently not knowing if they’ll pay off. But you don’t know what works until it does, or doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, then you just have to deal with it.

5) Never give up, or give in. Have your moments of despair and wailing-shit, then shut the fuck up and move on. Yes you do have to have a kick-ass attitude to get through the lean-and-mean times but trust me, it’s a good attitude to have. Try not to think about any shit-bombs coming down on you because if they do you’ll just have to deal with them anyway.

6) Try not to give any time or energy to what ‘people’ might think about how you live. Trust me, the ‘people’ that might mouth off at you honestly don’t give a shit. They just have diarrhea of the mouth and you’re a convenient toilet bowl to them. Don’t be anyone’s toilet bowl and don’t take shit if you’re not giving it like my dad always used to say.

7) Enjoy the good times and pat yourself on the back when you figure something out or accomplish a goal. It doesn’t matter how long the good time lasts, or how you figured something out and got it done. It just matters that you did and use the moment as a way to remind yourself that you can do it again and again.

8) Try not to depend on anyone. I know there are people out there who will help but they may not be able to all the time. Live like you’re on Mars with a serious radio delay and no cavalry that will come to save you. Save yourself. Be your own hero/heroine.

9) Know that you’ll go without stuff that’s absolutely not essential for survival. These things will seem like small luxuries to you but basic necessary stuff to most people. But know that eventually you’ll scrape up a few extra bucks to indulge yourself a little. Don’t take any shit for doing that and don’t give yourself any shit for it either. Eat the greasy fast-food, buy something nice for yourself, and enjoy the hell out of it with no apologies to anyone.

10) Have the cockiness of Han Solo, and remember that Millennium Falcon was the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Appearances don’t matter but skill and attitude to. It’s not who you know or whose ass you have kiss with a hustle: it’s what you can do and how you can do it.

Finding Bravado, Super-Uber-Girl Style

Super-Uber Girl is a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Super-Uber-Girl) I created to post fun stuff about being an Uber driver. But I didn’t want to do a short post because I have more material today than for a regular Facebook status post.

Last night I set a new record for my longest Uber ride: 125 miles from San Antonio International Airport to Carrizo Springs. The guy I picked up was down here for a job in the oil fields and going to stay with his buddy who got him the job. He was a very nice guy and I made him laugh with some of my stupid stories. But I started the run at ten o’clock at night and didn’t get back home till almost two-thirty a.m..

Now I will say that if my father were alive he’d be freaking out over this because as much as I loved my father, he was so freaking over-protective of me. It wasn’t like I did stupid stuff as a kid to warrant that because not only was I very shy and quiet, but very physically risk-adverse as well. It was like he didn’t think I had it in me to handle anything that wasn’t a safe, sit-down type of job. I will say that I haven’t taken what I feel are unnecessary risks but at the same time, the world isn’t going to eat me alive. Because if the world or some Godzilla-like monster wanted to eat me alive, I’m sure there’s nothing I could do to stop it.

But Godzilla is just a movie and the real monsters are in human form spouting racist bullshit and talking about wars while trying to legislate all the things that will make life shit for most everyone but themselves. And this is all while claiming ‘it’s for your own good’ and to please shut the hell up and do what you’re told even though it’s making you sick and miserable.

And again, I loved my father to pieces but he spouted a variation of ‘it’s for your own good’ to try and get me to fall in line all my life. So in a way my Uber-driving feels like an act of rebellion at times. I started driving for Uber part-time in addition to other gigs like food delivery and package delivery. But then I discovered I liked Uber driving because all I do is pick up people and drop them off. My job is two-parts navigation and driving and one-part trying to make funny conversation if so inclined. I’ve never come off an Uber-run wanting to tear something apart because of bullshit I had to swallow like I did too many times to remember in my former life in call-center hell.

On the road last night as I headed out of the city, a few stray thoughts wandered into my head like if something happened. First, I wasn’t going off to Camp Crystal Lake (had to get a ‘Friday the 13th’ joke in here) as I was on a busy highway with numerous places to stop along the way. Two, the guy I was with was a complete gentleman. And three, I was just doing my job. So if something had happened I would just have had to deal with it. But it’s not blind-faith that guides me on nights like that.

It’s a faith that I can deal with whatever is thrown at me. It may not be in a way someone else likes, or approves of, or any of their other bullshit. But more often than not, nothing really happens. I’ve learned that if you just put one foot in front of the other, or keep your foot on the gas in last night’s case, and keep going you’ll get to where you need to go. And if something does happen, you just deal with it without wringing your hands or pitching a shit-fit like a spoiled brat. And I have tried my best to just deal with things head-on and get it done without too much hand-wringing. I will admit that I have panicked more than once and lost my shit a few times, but I am human and therefore allowed to fuck up once in a while.

Sometimes I have to beg, borrow, or steal time to figure something out but time isn’t like money in a bank vault that you’ll go to jail for stealing. Time is fluid though slippery as heck sometimes, too. But it’s not the enemy. No, for me time is a friend that will work with me if I just give it room to breathe and flow. That’s where my faith in this world comes from: just letting time move in its’ own way and keeping myself afloat.

There are times when this attitude feels like an act of bravado I used to think was an illusion. It’s not an illusion because somehow, some way I’ve been able to make things work. Maybe not in a nice-and-neat way but trust me, steady jobs and steady paychecks can be yanked out from under you in the blink of an eye. In my former call-center life there was a saying that someone could be managed out the door. I saw that first-hand and I think there was an attempt to do that to me more than once. But now how much money I make or how well I do at this Uber-gig of mine depends on how much I put into it. And I’m not just talking time on the road, but about how much I believe in myself.

So I’m reaching the point where I don’t want to back away from bravado. It won’t always be a world-class rant like yesterday’s post here. But deep down, I will know that I always had it in me to make things happen. I might not know how I’ll get from point A to point B sometimes, and sometimes I just have to go out and do what I do and hope that things will work out. But I’d rather be on the road making money by turning my wheels than sitting around and eating bullshit for a living. Because yes I take things one day at a time but in reality, that’s all we’ve got to work with.