I had a much, much heavier story lined up for you today. Looks like you get a respite from that one – because I’m more interested in how to hustle your inner demons and earn $25,000,000.
How did I decide to write about this? Because, as I ate my breakfast today, I did what I usually do: I skipped through YouTube.
YouTube is basically the TV for me these days. Conventional TV is normally rubbish. It’s often horrendously formulaic and badly made.
YouTube is WAY more creative. There’s an endless train of creators trying to make it to a point where they have some kind of monetary income. To get within shouting distance of that they have to be good. Very good.
They have to know how to hustle.
Now I’m not talking about stealing or doing anything illegal. But I am talking about getting past all the cops and guards you have set up in your mind. The insecurity guards standing at the doors to success, ensuring you fail time and again.
To me, getting past those demons is The Big Hustle.
Mega-YouTuber and self-made millionaire Casey Neistat, the subject of today’s blog, seems to know all about that. Looking at his life gives us an Ocean’s Eleven-sized blueprint of how to pull off such a feat.
Casey Neitstat’s hustle
I know, I know. Most people will say if you are making videos for a living then you are already hustling. If you are doing it for YouTube then you are doubly so.
Why aren’t they working in a hateful, unforgiving job like the rest of us?
But really, Neistat is all about the hustle. Like I said I’m not saying he did anything illegal … this is about The Big Hustle. The spiritual hustle. It’s about bypassing your insecurity guards and stopping your fear-alarms from tripping off. Making off with success and the legally-entitled loot that comes with it.
Neistat recently sold his app business, Beme, to CNN for a reported $25,000,000. However, Beme never found its footing as a major social media app like, say, Facebook.
But Neistat was still able to sell this company for more money than most small businesses will see in a lifetime.
Countless apps make the Beme journey without this happy ending. So how did he do it?
It’s all part of The Big (spiritual!) Hustle.
1. Refuse to settle for who you “are”
The first part of how to hustle – or, rather, how to hustle your mindset.
The greatest step in The Big Hustle, the internal hustle, is not settling for your station in life. Just think about that word for a moment: “station”. It suggests “standing still”. It suggests an end point for your life. Your destination’s end. If you are rich and educated, you stay rich and educated. If you stay poor and un-educated, you stay poor and un-educated. Money buys education, after all, right? And that buys a good job, right?
Well, yes and no.
Neistat refused to be pigeon-holed by life. This despite getting his girlfriend of the time pregnant when he was a teenager and living in a trailer until he was 20.
You have to think big, and think outside of where “the system” has put you. It’s not easy: insecurities patrol the perimeter, and dogged self-doubt will chase you as you scale the walls.
This is lesson number one in how to hustle The Big Hustle way – just because you start in one place does not mean you have to finish there.
2. Prepare in secret
Whereas an illegal hustle is about stealing money, this legal and spiritual hustle is all about saving it.
Saving money is, in fact, your next step in learning how to hustle your inner defeat demons.
Like REALLY saving money.
Scrape together what you can. Don’t fall for the status quo message you have imprinted on yourself – that you will never be able to have the resources to make a difference.
Neistat scraped together what he could to buy his first camera.
Then he made a family video and he got $50 dollars. He started small and kept building.
Keep building. Keep consistent and in line with your dreams.
The struggle might not just be about dealing with your own inner conditioning at this point. You may feel like you have to become a master of disguise. A person with two lives: one your bosses see and one in which you try to realise your dreams – but that’s reality. Even if you went from one dead-end job to another you’d be putting on the same front to your employer until you leave.
These days its either that or sit and wait to be made redundant.
Better to hustle for something greater.
3. Be flash
The quiet building done, Casey Neistat has consistently made a name for himself by being willing to stick his neck out there. He made a big flashy impact, stealing headlines time and again.
He first became noticed by creating a site attacking Apple for their ipod battery life. I love the fact you can tell how much things have moved on with this article here. In the tab, New York Magazine calls him ‘Casey Beistat’.
His YouTube channel is, of course, not without its own fair share of stunts. As he got underway with an epic stretch of daily vlogs, Neistat made Snowboarding With The NYPD. The context for the video? During a blizzard affecting New York City, the police warned that civilians driving would be subject to arrest. So Neistat heads out with a snowboard and is pulled around the centre of the city by 4×4 – to the clear joy of onlookers.
4. Creativity Counts
If you steal anything, steal time to plan and come up with great ideas.
Neistat made videos every day for about eighteen months. And yet he still managed to find space for creativity.
In fact he notched this ante up considerably. He made a video for Nike that was completely brilliant – spending their money on a round-the-world-trip instead of pocketing it and doing a basic vid about their new running band.
The key is to constantly be creative with your opportunities. Confound convention, play fast with big bold concepts.
The result is not money stolen – but value added to your own life and those who work with you.
5. Don’t stand still
It would be easy to simply keep rinsing and repeating to get more money and more artistic adulation from an ever-growing fan-base. But Neistat didn’t. First he spearheaded the creation of Beme, a new video-creation social app.
Then he broke with convention, telling fellow YouTubers they should tell people how they will vote in the 2016 election. A real controversial no-no for the site.
And then he sells Beme, stops video blogging and begins work for news outlet CNN.
In the process he and his Beme business partners make a reported total of $25,000,000. And he gets the chance to shape the future of news.
But why did this sale even happen? Surely the life-cycle of Beme is one told many a time in the story of the Google and Apple app stores. Why is it so attractive?
Because of Neistat, and the like-minded people he worked with. CNN was looking for someone who could blaze a trail. The media is struggling in its own mire of self-doubt. But if you defy the odds again and again, become a showman or show-woman, with a shrewd but adventurous head for business then people are willing to pay.