Dear Friends,

I often get asked about what is a Creative Hustler. Usually it is followed by a bit of skepticism when the word “hustler” is thrown into the mix. I remember vividly a “boss” (I use quotations as that word is not one I use in my vocabulary) I had at an advertising agency where I was working at the time would always question the term “Creative Hustler”. I recall specifically a few occasions where he was insistent that I not use that term in any of my blogging or social media. Apparently he didn’t fully understand the power of a mindset, he just looked at it for what it was worth on the surface.

So what is a Creative Hustler?

All this started in 2011 when I gave some talks to local Universities on the subject of being a Creative Hustler. It was mainly centered around the idea that just graduating college isn’t enough, you need to have a hustler mindset to spot opportunities and have the knowledge and experience to seize those opportunities. At this time, I had owned my own marketing agency in San Diego, and my life was laid out in front of me. Besides my agency, my business partner and I had a start-up property management software that we had developed and I was engaged to be married. Life was grand!

But then, as quickly as it was built up, it had come crashing down.  My relationship ended in a blink of an eye, the agency I owned was sinking due to our own struggles of being entrepreneurs, and to top it all off, I got stabbed in the neck by a homeless guy (that’s a whole different story). Needless to say, I was in a desperate need of focus and fresh air. So I retreated into a shell that was a spare bedroom in my parents house. Here I am, on the verge of my 30th birthday starting all over again.

I had two choices to make: Be reactive to the events that had just happened, or be proactive to ensure it never happens again. It is about studying life and playing the best hand possible. This was one of the first lessons I learned. All this time, The Creative Hustler was an idea, or at least becoming a set of ideas that sat in the back of my head, wanting to pop it’s inspirational head out at any moment. This is exactly when I took to the pen. Frantically writing down ideas to help me stay on track. I realized that I may not have the power to control the circumstances that were bestowed upon me, but I had the power to control the way I reacted to it.  If anything, The Creative Hustler ideas (or virtues as they were originally called) was meant for me. So I can read them, internalize their meaning, and ensure I am following their true message.

Coming out of my own “dark ages”, I was able to forge a path forward. Picking up some consulting and freelance marketing gigs, I was able to set myself up with my own apartment again (thanks Mamma & Pop for letting me stay in the “blue” room). I tell you what, friends, there is nothing more satisfying than hitting bottom and building yourself up. Sure, at the time it sucked, but looking back on it now, I am extremely humbled and grateful for those events. For they have shaped who I am today.

Through the ebb & flow of life and business, I found myself at another agency for two years (the same one with the “boss” who didn’t like me using the term The Creative Hustler) and this is where I really started to develop the idea even further. As we could probably tell, my stint at that agency was short-lived. More and more I realize that I am meant to be on my own. Making my own money and dictating the way I work. Not the other way around. I don’t take well to climbing someone else’s ladder, I want to design and build my own.

Farewell for Now,

Steven Picanza