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Sometimes entrepreneurship means doing the hustle

Entrepreneurs often refer to themselves as hustlers. And not in the everyday-I’m-hustlin’-Rick-Ross way, but, really, just as a matter of channeling passion, creativity and determination to achieve an ultimate goal. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, we can all learn from this act of “hustle.”

Jason Nicosia, founder of Connect for a Cause, based his business around the importance of gaining a face-to-face meeting with someone seemingly unattainable by auctioning off lunch meetings with business leaders and celebrities in the name of charity (read my interview with him here). However, even the purveyor himself has to think outside the box in order to get lunch meetings with some of his role models. Here's a recent example.

The goal: 15 minutes with Gary Vaynerchuk, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, business leader, and self-proclaimed “hustler.”

The bait: a childhood GI Joe collection.

Read about it in this post from Nicosia’s blog on Connect for a Cause:

Gary Vaynerchuk is a guy who knows what it means to hustle, and I really look up to him as an entrepreneur. Since starting Connect for a Cause, I knew I wanted him as an advisor but that it was probably a long shot. Sometimes, the problem with reaching people who can really be game-changers for you is that everybody else knows it, too.

I’d tried a few different times to get a meeting, but traditional networking methods don’t necessarily work on a guy who has hundreds of people reaching out to him on a daily basis. I was going to have to be creative.

A few weeks ago, I heard that Gary was collecting GI Joes for one of his many ventures. Suddenly, a light went off. I ran to my attic and found this…


Which I turned into this…

Which led to this…

Six weeks after tweeting a picture and offering to trade my Joes for a chat over a cup of coffee, I was sitting in a New York City espresso shop pitching Connect for a Cause to Gary Vaynerchuk! I told him the story of how I’d “scratched my own itch” in building Connect for a Cause, and that I really wanted him as an advisor. He loved the GI Joes and the concept, and offered some great advice on building the company. Hopefully you’ll see him offer some meetings on Connect for a Cause in the very near future!

Never stop hustling.

-Jason Nicosia