We live in incredible times when the whole rubric of traditional 9-to-6 jobs is eroding.
People don’t want to remain stuck in their cubicles for the rest of their lives.
Social media has given people an escape hatch. You can amplify your hobbies and avocations, build a personal brand and earn a handsome income, too.
But like so many other awesome things, the job’s easier said than done. There are many charlatans out there who will promise to give you pathbreaking advice. However, if there is one voice that you ought to listen to – it’s that of Gary Vaynerchuk aka GaryVee.
He is the CEO of Vayner media group, an acclaimed keynote speaker, an angel investor and an accomplished author of 5 bestselling books.
In his fascinating new book “Crushing it!”, he shares his impeccable wisdom with his readers on how to create a personal brand and monetize it. He declares,
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to build a personal brand, even if they have a little interest in becoming rich or famous.”
The first half of the book comprises GaryVee’s spiel on the basic ingredients it takes to break out. He counts Passion, Authenticity, Speed (in the short run) and Patience (in the long run) as the key must-haves in your pursuit to achieve your dreams.
Should you want to cut to the chase and jump into social-platform-specific advice, then skip to page 135 and start from there. However, that’s not advisable if you are still seeking out a path in the jungle of entrepreneurship.
What it takes
“No one who played it safe ever made it big.”
“Crushing it!” turns the spotlight on a bunch of entrepreneurs who leveraged social media to build powerful personal brands. I especially found the stories of Rich Roll, Pat Flynn and Shaun McBride awe-inspiring.
GaryVee, citing these influencers, remarks: “These people became rich because they worked so goddamn hard that no one else could keep up.“
See, the problem is people often get carried away by the success of these influencers. They see the razzle-dazzle, but they don’t see the sweat and tears.
The cold hard truth is if you aren’t ready to put in the work, sacrifice your sleep, your weekend parties, then you aren’t cutting it.
The playing field is rigged in your favor, but if you think you are going to get to the other side without bruises and scars, you are wrong. It’s a long process. You don’t become an influencer overnight. You have to put in the work every day.
GaryVee suggests a daily grind of 4-6 hours.
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Creating daily content is a daunting task for many people. GaryVee addresses this conundrum in “Crushing it!”.
His strategy is to create a macro piece of content first and then split it into smaller bits of content.
You should share these smaller pieces like crazy on your Instagram stories, Snapchat and Facebook messenger. The macro content can stay on your blog or vlog and work to attract love from Google and YouTube searches. A pretty robust strategy, in my opinion.
Document your Story
GaryVee posits that great content hinges on great storytelling. A compelling narrative can manifest through your daily struggles and challenges, too. As you begin the journey towards the summit, you can document your trials and tribulations.
Your audience would connect with you on an emotional level when they see you grind to crush your goals. They would become spectators to your story as you take leaps toward your goals.
GaryVee has a videographer called DRock who shadows him everywhere. It’s a crazy idea. GaryVee himself acknowledges how weird the whole thing felt three years ago. But it’s working now.
DRock often captures him engaged in animated discussions with aspiring entrepreneurs on the sidelines of conferences, in his office, out on streets, etc.
Such unscripted, serendipitous moments work with the audience on a different level.
If you think you haven’t yet reached the level to have someone follow you everywhere with a camera, at least, record your own bright moments. Write’em down, if you think camera is not your thing. Here’s GaryVee on the power of documenting:
“You never know what you’re going to put out that inspires someone important to reach out to you.”
In short, document, not create.
Not Crushing it yet?
Gary Vaynerchuk believes the only reason why you can’t make it and are always pointing fingers and looking for excuses is that you value others opinions above your own.
These others include your parents and your spouse, too. Not the most politically correct thing to say, but this is Gary Vaynerchuk, he is made of a different constitution.
He has a legit point though. The more you let the opinions of other people play on your mind, the deeper the hole you are going to dig yourself into. Mark his words:
“You are the reason why you’re not crushing it yet.”
Leverage every Social platform
It’s the second half of the book where GaryVee gets into the nuts and bolts of the various social media platforms. The part where the rubber meets the road.
Normally, people zero in on 2-3 social platforms and push hard there. GaryVee wants you to get visible everywhere – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Messenger – just everywhere, you know.
This may come as a shock to you, but he promoted himself on now-defunct teens-oriented platform Musical.ly, too.
He thinks Snapchat is massively underestimated. But somebody might ask, “Isn’t it going downhill already?” Yes, it is.
I am not saying he gets it wrong. He would still want his readers to get on Snapchat. You know why? Because he wants you to keep experimenting.
Yes, some of these social platforms will fade into oblivion sooner than we imagine, but who knows the platform you are ignoring may have the potential to become your Woodstock.
Here’s GaryVee’s word: “Never reject anything without educating yourself about it first.”
He places confidence in Twitter for being the best platform to biz-dev or collaborate. About Twitter, he says, “There is no other platform that gives you the opening to introduce yourself to so many people so often.”
YouTube, in GaryVee’s opinion, is by far the most important platform for building a personal brand. Instagram is closing in fast though. You need to showcase your hustle on both these platforms.
All said and done, Gary Vaynerchuk’s big money is on Facebook. That’s the real McCoy. The great ad targeting product ever created, in his own words.
He wants people to grab the low-cost Ads on Facebook. After all, that’s how he claims he scaled his Winery business in the early noughties – by buying keywords for cheap on Google.
“Crushing it!” has the same no-holds-barred flair as GaryVee’s keynote speeches.
He keeps the chapters short, the sentences spring-loaded. There are lively descriptions and sharp insights on almost every page.
If you hang on to every piece of audio-visual content that he puts out, you’d hear him speak to you as you read this book.
Though I highly recommend this book, if for some reason, you can’t pick it up, I would suggest you consume his videos on YouTube. There is nothing in this book, apart from the interview of other entrepreneurs, that he hasn’t already put out in public.
Finally, all his big ideas boil down to this: Work!
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to put in the work, you have to make extraordinary efforts. It’s as simple as that.
“Success takes a shitload of work and the people who ultimately break through and crush it are those who get all that and go for their dreams anyway.”
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