Hustle Culture Won’t Make You Rich

By  Karen Banes

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals who pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

You can’t move far online these days without encountering what we’re now referring to as hustle culture. Generally speaking, hustle culture is all about working harder, working longer hours, and making bigger sacrifices than those around you. It’s peppered with “inspirational “ quotes like:

“I’ve got a dream worth more than my sleep.”


“I’d rather hustle 24/7, than slave 9 to 5”.

A lot of the people selling hustle culture will tell you that it’s the secret to wealth and success. That it’s what got them to where they are. Many hustlers are extremely proud of their hustle, even when it’s not bringing them results. They’re proud of working hard, which is fair enough. But they’re so invested in their hustle that they’re incapable of seeing that their hard work is ineffective, and maybe even pointless. That they’re working hard at the wrong thing, and neglecting what’s truly important. Here’s some of what’s wrong with hustle culture.

The people selling it didn’t use it to get where they are

With a few notable exceptions, those selling hustle culture aren’t hustling very hard, and many of them never did. Hustle culture is full of highly privileged rich white men and women who can’t relate to a lot of their followers. People are often drawn to hustle culture because they desperately need money, but then find they are being sold expensive training courses and other resources they can’t afford, to follow in the footsteps of people who started way ahead of them in the race.

Many of those selling hustle culture already had family money, career success, well-paid jobs, or spouses willing to support them before they started their hustle. Many of them don’t run their hustle on the side of a full-time job, because they’re independently wealthy or supported by someone else. Some of them had start-up money most can only dream of, not because they raised that money, but because they are simply the sort of people that have a lot of spare money in their bank accounts. In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the people selling hustle culture and those buying into it.

One particular hustle culture influencer got in hot water recently for talking about how almost no one works harder than her, while also talking about how she employs someone else to clean her toilets. It was no great leap for some of her followers to realize that the woman who cleans her toilets almost undoubtedly works harder than she does. Hustlers want you to believe they work harder than you, but many of them got successful partially because they could already afford to outsource all the hard work you do on a daily basis. They tell you their results are not typical, but imply that the reason for that is their hard work, rather than their head start.

It’s a lot of hot air

Alongside the highly privileged “hustlers” who are rich due to reasons other than hustle, are the hustlers who aren’t rich at all. They are perhaps worse because while the first group may be deluding themselves, this lot is actively trying to dupe their followers. They rent fancy cars for a day so they can pose with them, or (if they’re particularly lazy) find stock pics of fancy cars and mansions and just pretend they own them. Sometimes they even photoshop themselves into the stock pics. They pretend to be rich from the hustle, then sell you their advice or ‘formula’ which is, of course, useless.

The trouble with hustle culture is that some of the people making money within it aren’t actually selling an independently valuable product or service. Many are only selling products and services related to the hustle. So they have to prove that you should follow them because they’re successful. Only they aren’t. So they have to persuade you they are.

Successful side hustling isn’t just about hard work

Don’t get me wrong. You can definitely make decent money with a side hustle of some kind. But hustle culture is very dishonest as to what that will require. Hard work is helpful of course, but those making money from side hustles often simply have a valuable, and marketable skill. It might be anything from crafting, to content writing to running a home daycare.

There is generally something they are qualified to do, and very good at, that results in either a product or service that people want and need. They are also good at time management because no matter what the hustlers tell you, working 24/7 is unsustainable. Those running a successful side hustle alongside their job are usually putting very limited hours into it, but generally being very efficient with those hours.

Real hustle isn’t glamourous

This probably isn’t news to you but hard work just isn’t that sexy. The people really making their side hustle work, and earning real money from it, aren’t usually the ones posing with sports cars or swimming in infinity pools. As we’ve already mentioned, those posting those pics may be faking it or doing it with money they didn’t earn from side hustling.

I recently wrote about one of the simplest side hustles in America. It’s a hustle that works for many people, and it’s the exact opposite of glamourous. Whenever you see someone selling hustle culture alongside an image of them drinking a cocktail under a palm tree, think about the disconnect there. If you want a fun, relaxed life, with a little glamour thrown in, you should probably be looking for ways to achieve more while working less, rather than glorifying the hustle.

Hustling too hard isn’t good for you

Hustle culture can be genuinely damaging. We are already too far into the long hours culture, and it’s negatively impacting physical and mental health for too many people. We need to learn to achieve more by working more efficiently. And hustle culture leads to the opposite of that for many people. Some hard-core hustlers are literally working harder and achieving less. A lot less, if you factor in that other parts of their lives (like health, friends, and family) are suffering. Being rich isn’t just about money. There are other ways to be rich, and they’re probably more important.

Financial success is far more complex than hustling

In the end, success is about many things. Those who still believe that those who work the hardest win, have clearly not been paying attention. Success is about privilege, yes, but also about luck and chance, being in the right place at the right time, coming up with a great idea, and having the right support as you try to implement it. It’s also about financial literacy and knowledge, and life circumstances, because two people with similar incomes can end up with entirely different levels of financial security.

Hustle culture ignores the nuances and focuses on one aspect of success. How hard and long you work. If working hard, for long hours, made you rich, there would be a lot more millionaire nurses, janitors, and fast food servers. Success is about a lot more than hustle, and we need to stop pretending that how hard you work is magically and accurately reflected in your bank balance.

To summarize

Working hard alone doesn’t make you rich. Developing a valuable, marketable skill that you’re really good at might. Working stupidly long hours eventually leads to burnout. Working a few extra hours consistently is far more sustainable. Don’t believe the hype. Building financial security is far more complex than hustling.

Karen Banes

About the Author

Karen Banes

I’m a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audiences, and reach their ideal customers. I’ve lived, worked and studied in six countries, across three continents. Stop by my blog to learn how to run your own (very) small business on your own terms. You can also connect with me at my website or follow me on

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals who pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *