It is VERY easy for people to fake success and even whole businesses via social media. Do not let a person's "clean" look, or even Jesus speak and talk about faith convince you that they are a legitimate company. Make certain to THOROUGHLY research and receive referrals from trusted agents before spending any money in support of an online business.
A few years ago, I was invited to write an article for a "magazine" that was created by someone I'd met online. Although we met via social media, we eventually met during a trip to Atlanta and continued to build a personal and professional relationship. After months of supporting their "business", I discovered that the individual was charging people for ad space and photo shoots for features in a magazine that didn't exist.
It didn't take much: He used his popularity between a few major cities, combined it with the use of a decent camera, worked the basics of a photo editing program, added in articles from a few writer friends, print and voila! I was excited for the brother when I saw he and his "team" with pics of the debut release -- the fruit of their labor! They followed all of those steps and had their circle of influence convinced that they have a legitimate publication!
I came to know about this "hustle" after communicating with a mutual connection from Twitter. This sister had been one of the supporters who paid for a photo-shoot and ad space. In this case, I turned out lucky. The only thing I lost was a waste of a great concept for an article. This sister, and Lord knows how many others, were out hundreds of dollars after expecting to share news of her business with a whole region!
As independent artists, it is most important to invest in our brand. As with any investment, there are risks involved but do not be deceived by one's perceived success because of their presence online. With the technological age, doors have been opened like never before. Not only is this beneficial for a new wave of entrepreneurs but there is a whole new breed of people out here hustling those who are truly working hard, legitimately using social media and the trust of others to make a name for themselves.
THIS is why I dislike the term "hustle" in regards to hard work in business. "HUSTLING" is not synonymous with hard work. HUSTLE is what people do to AVOID hard work but to reap the benefits that generally come from hard work.
NOTE: Unless of course, you work for the Oklahoma Thunder. Please, hustle along!
We, as we've done with most matters of language, have changed the word "hustle" to mean various things by using it so loosely. Bottom line is, no one wants to be hustled and hustlers have never been viewed as trustworthy individuals. As for me, I'll be a hard worker all the days of my life but will never call myself a hustler.
It is my earnest prayer that people will always know me as a reliable and trustworthy individual. - *BEAM*