The Rise of the Hustle Economy

Back in January of this year I published a bit from my upcoming 4th book in The New Age of Enlightenment. As I get closer to publication the current events of 2020 have made me consider a new dynamic in regard to how, in an unprecedented way, the new power of cancel culture has given rise to what I’ve called the Hustle Economy.

How many YouTube content producers rely on their channel as a ’side hustle’ revenue to pay their bills today? How many self-published authors have quit their day jobs to write for their new employer, Amazon, today (Amazon owns 86% of the publishing market today)? How many former cubicle workers decided it was more lucrative to start an internet business than continue slaving away at a corporate gig that only made their bosses rich? Today, we’ll readily shift to the digital world to sustain us financially – in the end we don’t have much choice – but it’s the old order thinking that pervades this new “reality” and causes problems.

I write this at a time when several prominent names in the Manosphere (and other spheres) with large subscriber bases are having their channels erased by YouTube/Google. In some cases this erasure is a complete deletion from mainstream social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even WordPress). I’m not a fortuneteller, but I did predict this happening as far back as my State of the Manosphere address in 2018 and as recently as a defunct convention I spoke at back in May of 2019. I said a storm was coming. I saw then that a mainstream Village would need convenient foils, easy targets, to defeat in the 2020 election cycle; and the “Red Pill” – as subjectively defined by every online ideologue-grifter – would make the perfect, easy-to-hate, villains to bring down to prove a point. Purging long-overdue “hate accounts” would seem like a necessary and needed step to prove ideological virtue to the ‘woke’ masses.

Well, that storm is upon us now, and the people who convinced themselves they were entrepreneurs, and a much more profitable side hustle was their true calling in life, are looking around with a bit of nervous hesitancy now. Even the guys with the temerity to start an online business in the wake of the Corona Virus eliminating their jobs are now realizing they may not be as anti-fragile as they thought. Cancel Culture isn’t just about getting ideological enemies fired from their day jobs. It’s about total personal assassination, and stealing that person’s bread in the form of denying them any future ability to exist online, much less generate revenue, is the real objective. Right now, the Cancelled are just faceless randoms online losing jobs and tenured university staff who got too comfortable in the belief that they could never be fired. But in the coming months the Cancelled are going to look like an army of dispossessed with nothing to lose by hunting down the ones responsible for canceling them.

An Economy of Hustlers

The Hustle Economy came about because the barriers to entry into that economy have never been lower. For roughly 7-8 years anyone with a laptop, webcam and a basic understanding of social media and WordPress could join the hustle revolution of online “influencers“. Who wouldn’t want to make more money than the shitty 9-5 corporate cubicle job they spent 4 years in college to get into? Is it any wonder that for a decade the various ‘spheres have been dissuading young men from attending college, to get worthless degrees, in order to get into one of these jobs? Why bother with the “leftist indoctrination” we call education when you can make six figures in a couple of years online if you learn how to leverage SEO, engagement, grow an email list and pitch offers and merch? Hell, you can pretend to be a dog online and make more money than that job you thought assuming all that student debt for would be so rewarding.

The Hustle Economy was a natural progression from the Gig Economy. A lot of companies understood the sense in ‘retaining’ at-home employees, or project/contract workers. No benefits, next to no overhead, productivity was up to the freelancer completing the tasks on time (instead of monitoring hourlies’ productivity in a cube farm) and all for about the same, if not less, compensation. Don’t like your gig? Fine, just fire your “employer” and go back to your service advertising site to pick up a new one. For being a hired gun or contractual employee working from home most smart pros saw the freedom of the Hustle Economy almost immediately. Cut the middleman out and have the “jobs” come to you in the form of a potentially worldwide clientele.

Around 2014 the online Coaching/Guru hustle really began to develop into a template that anyone with a bit of social media savvy could follow. ‘Smart’ men and women quit their dead-end cubicle jobs or rearranged their Gig Economy jobs, for the more lucrative positivity hustle dollars that only required the small investment of a laptop, webcam and a willingness to parrot the scripts of Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill or Norman Vincent Peale. To be fair, this new Hustle Economy isn’t unique to the Manosphere; the Lost Boys Generation – this generation of directionless young men – niche market is just one among many lucrative markets today. Health & Fitness, “Entrepreneurs”, dating/relationship/marriage, personal empowerment, motivational positivity, the Law of Attraction, these are just a sampling of what I’ve called the Success Porn industry in the past. And new order technology makes all the old order grifts seem novel to a generation that’s never experienced them before. This Hustle Economy online template is cross-cultural and largely globalized now. Religion, psychology, motivation, business, philosophy, fitness, medicine/health, dating/relationship, marriage, child-rearing, or even just catering to the red meat needs of others’ desire for affirmation in their own despondency; all of these and more are now the spheres of the Hustle Economy.

Old Order Mastery vs. New Order Hustle

In 2015 I had a guy approach me at the Man in Demand conference who wanted to thank me for my work and The Rational Male. He said he’d come to reading it at the suggestion of his (male) therapist while he was recovering from a nasty divorce. This was the first time I had ever been told that a legitimate clinical psychologist had been using my book as a part of their therapy practice. The significance of this was profound for me then, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I had more men relate a similar beginning to reading my work in 2017 up to today. Here were real psychologists with doctorate degrees using The Rational Male as a reference in their practices. It was at this time I began to pay more attention to doctors and scholars and legitimate business pros who were aligning themselves with the various influencers of the new order spheres.

Psychologists are the best example of this because of the diversity of fields they can involve themselves in. Take a guy like Gad Saad, easily one of my favorite evolutionary psychology researchers. He’s a bonafide doctor and evo-psych scientist who’s found a new celebrity in various Hustle Economy sub-spheres on Twitter and elsewhere. His YouTube channel is pushing 180K subs and he managed to leverage himself as an e-personality. But Gad is one of the few legitimate psychologists to successfully transition to the new order hustle. More psychologists struggle with it because they still cling to an old order thinking that their pre-New Enlightenment educations were founded upon. They may still hold private clinical practices that they developed some 10-20 years ago. That’s the way you did it as a therapist in the old order. In fact, one reason I never pursued a postgraduate in behavioral psychology was because the only way to make any “real money” was to get a doctorate and start a practice. Masters degrees would get a you a job as a social worker.

Today, legitimate psychologists must actively compete in the Hustle Economy to make the hard work, time and money they invested in their degrees pay off as well as an online self-help Guru or Coach‘s hustle; some of whom have had their own practice open online with a 99 page “e-book” available filled with positivity pablum lifted from The Secret, going for as long as they’ve been in school. When WebMD first launched in the late 2000s doctors everywhere had to contend with their patients diagnosing themselves with whatever disorder they believed their symptoms indicated according to what they read on the site. The age of the self-educator had begun in this regard and online “clinicians“, both certified and holistic, saw the opportunity to profit from the symptomatic fears of people about their health. Real doctors had to either fight a losing battle of reeducating and allaying the fears of increasingly more people’s health concerns one by one, or find their own angle in the Hustle Economy and leverage their title and credentials to add validity to it. Today, an honorific is respected in name, but it’s by no means the path to earning potential – at least in the short term.

I occasionally encounter the critic who will claim I don’t site sources or my own work is speculative or just opinion. Wherever possible I do in fact cite sources, stats and research, but in the new order information age quoting stats or correlating studies has become an exercise in “dueling research”. And that’s assuming a critic has the time and interest enough to consider what you’re citing and counter it with their own. If you’re diligent enough it’s likely you can counter even the most basic of scientific presumptions with some research, TED talk or meta-study data. The truth is most people simply don’t develop their personal belief sets based on the data of multiple peer-reviewed, independently funded, experimental research PDFs someone links them online. They usually go with experience, emotional resonance and what “sounds right” according to how they were raised. If anything, rationality and critical thinking – the kind of mental presence sorely needed in higher education – is distrusted above all else in the Hustle Economy.

So, I can certainly see the frustration most old order career professionals have with the online template success models of their new order competitors. Add to this that they are both vying for the very sparse attention of the same customers – all of whom are little experts themselves – and you begin to see the practicality of, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Thus far I’ve used psychology as the illustration, but this Hustle Economy dynamic applies to all old order businesses, academia, government systems, and religion. Religion in particular (as I’m writing about) was, and is, one of the first spheres to eagerly embrace the Hustle Economy. With everyone online being a little expert and everyone having some relative platform on which to prove it, religion, spirituality and magical thinking were easily monetized and template-formed. And their profitability is made all the better when one sphere’s template (religion) complements or amplifies another (government, psychology, fitness, sex, etc.).

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Kicking and screaming will the old order thinkers be dragged into the Hustle Economy of this new age of digital enlightenment. Back in the late 2000s I can remember being told that to make ends meet a family needed two incomes and a side hustle. Now that side hustle is the main thing. The old plan of going to 4, maybe 8 years, of college to get a good job that paid well is hard to sell in the age of hustles that can pay far more than a formal degree does. Don’t think for a moment I’m in any way celebrating this development. A good education should be its own reward. Being well versed in a variety of areas, and understanding critical thinking and how to learn should be a priority for well-educated people. But even our institutions of higher learning, our esteemed universities, must also contend with the Hustle Economy. As COVID forces us to stay home, and classes, and jobs, are moved online, people are only now realizing just how unprepared their schools and employers are to deal with the new order way of learning and working. They’re beginning to see how many hours of their lives they waste in pointless formalities and commutes, but more so, they see how antiquated the old order systems they relied upon for security for so long really are. And in turn, those universities and corporation must now enter the Hustle Economy themselves if they want to survive.

This is the essence of the Red Pill. While I believe that Red Pill ought to only be used for intersexual dynamics, I do see the parallels in transitioning from a reliance on old order thinking to seeing how deceptively false the premises of that thinking are in light of new order, readily accessible, information today. We are presently in a state of radical transition – made all the worse because most of the last 4 generations neither realize it nor understand how to deal with it – and the old systems based on old presumptions are failing right before our eyes. These generations are ill prepared because all they know, all they’ve been taught, are failed, failing or outmoded ideas of the old order.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

30 comments on “The Rise of the Hustle Economy

  1. I think you’ve missed a bit here.

    You’re not actually seeing the rise of the hustle economy, what you’re seeing is the collapse of the real economy as more or less everything you buy (or the parts) is bought from Chi-nah.

    All production has been exported to another country that has their currency pegged to the dollar which means a dilution of US (western global) wealth in favour of China.

    Consequently what you look at as money has lower and lower purchasing power. Add that so ever increasing taxes to prop up bullshit and you’ve got a problem.

    The “hustle economy” is just a symptom of that. It’s mainly bullshit jobs that are left, and so everyone is forced to look for an “angle” to take money from someone else, and it’s being less and less effective prompting them to become more and more aggressive.

    It’s just a stage, a “re arranging the deckchairs on the titanic” sort of thing, and it won’t last for long.

    Change is happening quite fast now.

  2. “This Hustle Economy online template . . .”

    . . . doesn’t produce even the tiniest amount of wealth. Ergo, it requires an extremely wealthy society to be sustained.

    Good luck with that.

  3. I feel so lucky to be in the twilight of my 35 year comp sci career. I could retire tomorrow and be done with it but my current (and probably last) employment pays too much to consider retirement.

    My kids, however, will probably have a shittier life (finance-wise) than me. I see them as going for what they feel they’ll like and not necessarily what gets them the most cash. Their standard of living will be modest.

    Maybe this will all change with the (hopefully) upcoming chinese (peaceful?) disengagement. The next few generations are in for a period of turmoil and uncertainty. Eventually it will settle down or, as many predict, will all get flushed down the toilet.

  4. “I occasionally encounter the critic who will claim I don’t site sources or my own work is speculative or just opinion.”

    Yeah, well, Orville and Wilbur Wright were always getting the same criticism from the earthbound

  5. Is not that easy. You can’t just pretend to be a dog, upload videos and start earning 120K/month. That girl has been online for years trying different stuff until she hit it with this dog thing. Plus, she is a camgirl; she has a private members area where she does dog style nudes and who knows what else.

    1. They are all girls, and AOC was a girl bartender not that long ago. Picking her up after work would have been easy.

      1. Yeah. It’ll be her being made airtight by three builders with sleeve tattoos, short hair, and MAGA stickers on their trucks.

    1. The revelation has not been easy for her mother, who Kathy suspects had an affair with her biological father when she was a secretary at his firm. It also caused a rift with her sisters, who are close to her mother. “My sisters were freaking out. They didn’t want me to say anything,” Kathy says. “They said keep it a secret. Why do you need know? Why open the door? Why open the can of worms?”

      1. The War on Paternity is so endemic in a gynocentric social order that the Hustle Economy can profit from it.

  6. Why hustle if the world is about to end? Some do cause it gives them a purpose in life, others because it became a natural habit for them, some do so because hustling is the only way they know of making ends meet.

    Whatever your reasons for hustling the only question is how much time our civilization has left before we became extinct like the dinossaurs did a long time ago when the meteors striked earth? COVID-19 has shown how fragile and virulent humanity really is. I bet our society has an expiration date just like the ice cream box I bought a few days ago at my local supermarket.

  7. “COVID-19 has shown how fragile and virulent humanity really is.”

    Has it? Mental frailty in the West perhaps. But with this 0.1% mortality it’s going to have try much much harder….

    In other words billions and billions of folks are still willing and able to take all the stuff you might abandon.

    Wheel keeps on turning.

  8. Governments hate the gig/hustle economy because god forbid they miss out on tax raping their citizens. Which is why they hate crypto. How dare someone else make money out of thin air, that’s their job!

  9. I always encounter guys all the time who are trying to grow their side hustle by pumping me for information and ideas about my main or side hustles.

    I don’t mind sharing experiences but when it goes beyond the casual curious into specifics I cut it off fast.

    During this time of shutdowns and lockdowns planning the re-launch of a side hustle is crucial but as with any project never downgrade your value by giving away all your secrets.

    1. Wala

      Good to see you poasting.

      My experience… Very few people have any “hustle” in them at all. There are zillions of dreamers. But few who will take a step and almost none who will follow it up.

      My mentor used to say don’t worry about confidentiality agreements because you can hand over a blueprint and almost all will never execute on it.

      1. “My mentor used to say don’t worry about confidentiality agreements because you can hand over a blueprint and almost all will never execute on it.”

        Back in the 70’s My mentor opened a business abroad (Far East) that was making a huge amount of money. Because of the way it was, he couldn’t physically own it so had to have locals that owned it on paper. He oversaw it and they paid him the profits and kept a bit for themselves.

        After a few months they Sent him a telex which said basically “fuck off and don’t come back, we’re keeping it”.

        He stopped overseeing it and 3 months later it was broke. He flew down again and opened up a new business next door to where the old one had been with new locals owning it on paper, but him taking all the profits again.

        You can literally give it to them and they’ll still fuck it up.

  10. @Sentient

    Thanks, you too!

    Exactly….

    Even if you GAVE the secrets away of whatever success formula you’ve created…most guys wouldn’t know how to put it together for themselves.

    It’s happened in my situation many many times….you do something so well it looks effortless. Someone tries to duplicate it and it flops.

    But then taken another way…if someone suggests something to me about improving whatever it is I’m working on ….I run with it and make it my own.

    Whether it’s game, girls, a side hustle, a MAIN hustle…from the “IF KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW….” I think I would have done everything the same without the worry of whether I was getting the recognition I felt I deserved…

  11. @Sentient

    Agree with your mentor’s advice. The only way someone can learn how to do something well is if they’re determined to do it. Which most people aren’t. One of the most basic examples of this is simply working out. The blueprint is the easy part. As for following it, well.

    Consistent action is what separates the posers from the ones whose goal is actually having the skill, not the imaginary rewards of having the skill.

    @walawala

    I agree with your sentiment. My security comes from knowing that the skills I have were extremely hard to develop, and I could make the most elaborate tutorial in the world sharing all of my ‘secrets,’ yet the only ones who would actually make use of it would be the ones that were going to figure it out on their own eventually anyway.

    1. That second glance is the same whether she’s wearing a mask or not. Made easier in places where outdoor tables are still legal[1]. If anything, covering the lower half of the face can only focus attention on the eyes. That just makes lasering easier and likely more effective.

      Men I know who have done contract work in parts of the Persian gulf tell me that there is a low-key scene in the shopping malls. Eye coding, lasering, hair flicks, turn away, turn back, a contact number covertly passed on paper…all very discreet but abstractly pretty much the same as any club scene. It’s been going on that way for years, apparently.

      [1] Local contractor I know has been getting some work from smaller restaurants who want to modify their premises to be more “patio” and less “indoor dining”, I guess they expect the increased seating to offset the remodel cost.

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