Authors: Gary Vaynerchuk
Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Passion Is Everything
Success Is in Your DNA
Build Your Personal Brand
A Whole New World
Create Great Content
Choose Your Platform
Keep It Real…Very Real
Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench
The Best Marketing Strategy Ever
Make the World Listen
Roll with It
Legacy Is Greater Than Currency
The Time Is Now, the Message Is Forever
Did You Forget Anything?
Five Business Ideas I Won’t Get to—They’re Yours
This book couldn’t have happened without so many people. First and foremost is the wonderful family that surrounds me: My amazing and world-class wife, Lizzie, is my partner in crime and the person whose support allows me to accomplish so much; my parents, Tamara and Sasha, are my whole life and without them I wouldn’t be half the man I am; my siblings, Liz and AJ, are my dearest friends and I adored every second growing up with them. And my new and most amazing love, my newborn, Misha—she has shown me a love I never knew was out there!
After my family there is an amazing team of people who have helped me to do this: Brandon Warnke, my best friend, gave me the freedom to do so much by holding down the Wine Library fort; Bobby Shifrin, my cousin, is more of an older brother and one of my closest friends; Matt Sitomer, my assistant, is a friend and person who really helps me more than anyone on a day-to-day basis and for that I am so grateful—I am truly lucky to have him on my team. Erik Kastner and John Kassimatis showed me the door of the Internet and had a huge impact on my views and I adore them like family.
Finally, the book you are about to read had no prayer of getting in
front of you without the amazing team at HarperStudio. The fantastic Debbie Stier saw me speak at a conference and said to herself that she was going to publish me; she was right and her friendship and push and hustle during this process have made this book hers as much as it is mine. Bob Miller’s vision supported this project from the very beginning when I first dropped by to hang out in his office. The second I sat down in Austin, Texas, with the fantastic Stephanie Land, I knew she was going to help me write this book. I could see it in her face. I knew my charm and charisma were not going to be enough to win her over, but after she saw I had the chops, she jumped onboard. A super-special thanks to the ladies at The Brooks Group, Caroline, Niki, Erica, and of course Rebecca; you guys are the best and I thank you for your 24/7 efforts. To Peter Klein, not only are you a wonderful father-in-law, but your insights were very helpful. And finally, this would not be the book it is without the thoughtful comments of Travis Kalanick, who gave me the perfect feedback in the late innings.
To all of these people, I am deeply grateful.
ow badly do you want to crush it? Is it an all-consuming feeling? Do you stay awake at night, your brain swimming with ideas and dreams? Are you willing to do whatever it takes for the chance to live entirely on your own terms? If so, you’re lucky. You’re lucky because you live in an age of unmatched opportunity for anyone with enough hustle, patience, and big dreams. I should know, since that’s all I had to work with.
Three years ago I was an anomaly, a guy with very limited technology skills who used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr to build a highly fulfilling and profitable personal brand. Back then, a lot of people were unwilling to accept that the business world—that society—was changing, and if I had tried to tell you that you could build a business that creates wealth and the most happiness you’ve ever known with nothing more than passion and a willingness to work your face
off, you might not have believed me. Now, though, the opportunities are endless—I don’t think enough people have yet grasped just how much society and business and even the Internet have changed—and my story is about to become a lot less unusual. If you want it badly enough, it can become your story, in a lot less time and for a lot less money.
Here’s how fast change has taken hold: I helped take my dad’s local liquor store, Shopper’s Discount Liquors, and blew it up from four million dollars to fifty million dollars in eight years (1998–2005). I’m proud of that. But aside from a ton of hard work, it took millions of dollars in advertising with the
New York Times, Wine Spectator,
and other publications as well as radio stations and local TV. Compare that with when I started building my personal brand in February 2006—to this day it has cost me far less in money (less than $15,000) than in sweat, and I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life. You’ve got sweat, right? You may not have connections, or an education, or wealth, but with enough passion and sweat, you can make anything happen.
You may have picked up this book because you want to know the secret to my success. Well, my secret is that I live by three pretty simple rules:
Love your family.
Live your passion.
That’s it. Notice that I don’t mention the Internet, or social media tools, or even technology, even though they have been crucial to everything I’ve accomplished in the last few years. That’s because I measure my success by how happy I am, not how big the business is or how much money I’ve made. And thanks to following those three rules, I’m 100 percent happy.
Don’t believe me? Think it’s not possible? I promise you it is.
If you don’t already live the first principle, get on it, because what I’m going to tell you in this book is worthless if you’re not taking care of your family. Your family always comes first. But if you’ve got that priority straight, and you’re working hard, and you’re still not 100 percent happy, it’s probably because you’re not living your passion. And that, my friends, although it is only one-third of the secret to success, is the whole key to staking your claim in the new business world we live in today.
Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.
Does this sound like you? Are you living, or just earning a living? You spend so much time at work, why waste it doing anything other than what you love most? Life is too short for that. You owe it to yourself to make a massive change for the better,
and all you have to do is go online and start using the tools waiting for you there.
what you need to know
In this book I’ll explain step by step how to use all the social networking tools on the Internet to take whatever it is that rocks your world—the activity that you would do every minute if you could, the topic that you just can’t shut up about, the product that you would like to put in everyone’s hands—and build it into not just a business but a powerful personal brand that makes you all the money and, more important, brings you all the happiness you could ever want. For those of you already living your passion but hungry to boost your business even further, you’ll find some fresh ideas on how to do that, as will anyone interested in developing a strong brand identity for an already existing product or service.
Among the topics we’ll cover:
Social media give entrepreneurs and businesses an unprecedented chance to engage with their customers and communicate their message. Those who can harness their passion to the unbelievable reach and power of these tools are in a position to crush it on a level the world has never seen.
the game has changed
Everyone knows the Internet represents one of the biggest cultural shifts since the printing press, but I think society has been slow to recognize that it represents the biggest shift in history in how we do business. Like, ever. It’s matured from a haven for
coding geeks to a second home for most Americans, who still spend countless hours shopping online but who are also increasingly moving their social lives there thanks to networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and Twitter. It makes total sense that if this is where the eyeballs are going, this is where business has to go. Money goes where people go—where there is an audience, advertisers are eager to follow. They used to spend their money on traditional media—radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. Those platforms are losing eyeballs to the online world by the second, and many media companies never implemented the leaner, meaner business model they needed to stay alive. They’re dead. If the survivors in the traditional media don’t adjust to this new competitor, thirty years from now our kids will examine them in museums with the same curiosity they now reserve for dinosaur bones and fossils.
’m going to make a lot of massive, bold statements in this book, but let me assure you that I’m not trying to be a shock jock. I wouldn’t say anything unless I’d thought long and hard about it.
Advertisers and companies need to spend money to stay alive, so why shouldn’t they spend it on you? By building a personal brand using social media networks, you’re practically doing them a favor. Since the only investment it takes to use these sites to grow a business is ridiculous amounts of time and hustle, these platforms are open to whoever has got the chops to get in the game. That’s you, right?
But, Gary, some of you might be saying, my passion isn’t something cool and retail friendly like wine. I’m into
World of War-craft.
I’m obsessed with belly dancing. I regularly piss off my wife because I’d rather hole up in the basement with my friends playing cards than do anything else. I want to build a business, but there’s no money to be made in that. Plus, I’ve got rent or a mortgage, kids and elderly parents, student loans and car payments.
Yeah, well, so did Perez Hilton, and Ze Frank and Veronica Belmont, and Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (gofugyour-self.typepad.com). They totally crushed it, and you can, too. Do it now.
But, Gary, someone else might say, have you kept up with the news over the past few years? The economy has taken a beating, a lot of people have lost jobs, consumers are not spending like they once did, and advertisers are far more conservative than they used to be. I’m reading this book to plan ahead for the day when I know for sure it’s a good time to start a business.
It’s never a bad time to start a business unless you’re starting a mediocre business.
I think economic downturns represent a huge opportunity for everyone to get their focus on and start to crush it. The person who can dominate during rough times is the person who can dominate, period. Yes, we’ve seen a lot of people close up shop in the past years, but if they had offered
a relevant and differentiated product or service,
had been adaptable, and most of all had known how to tell their story, they wouldn’t have had to close. I know that’s an unpopular thing to say, but
I think once you read further and understand how our culture has changed and what the next generation—whether entrepreneurs or not—needs to do to make its mark, you’ll agree with me. Booming economies like the one that recently ended keep all kinds of businesses afloat that should have sunk a long time ago. Once the winds shift, there’s only room left for the best. What kind of business did you plan on starting, a mediocre one or one that’s kick-ass? You know the right answer. Follow the suggestions laid out in this book and your business will be standing and profitable for as long as you want it to be. Plus, you will have achieved more professional happiness than you ever imagined.
Maybe you’re out of work and you’re thinking you might dabble with some of the ideas in this book every day after you send out your résumé and make a few calls (the traditional résumé, by the way, is about to become obsolete, but more on that later). Tell me this, though: Did you jump up every morning eager to go to that job you lost? If not, why are you looking for another one just like it? You have an unbelievable opportunity. Use all this extra time you have to reinvent yourself or follow a totally different path from the one you were on before, maybe one where the only thing at the end isn’t a custom-engraved watch that reads “Thanks for your service” and a surf-and-turf farewell dinner to send you off into retirement. You can do better so long as you’re willing to live and breathe your passion. Do that, and you’ll no longer differentiate between your work life and your personal life. You’ll just live, and love doing it.
As for those of you still employed, even happily employed, this book is for you, too. Mark my words, if you want to stay relevant and competitive in the coming years—I don’t care if you’re
in sales, tech, finance, publishing, journalism, event planning, business development, retail, service, you name it—you will still need to develop and grow your personal brand. Everyone—EVERYONE—needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity.
My DNA made me want to start businesses and go big and bold and conquer the world and crush the competition and buy the New York Jets, and there are a lot of you reading this book who see what I’ve done and think, “Yeah, that’s awesome!” I’ve got a lot to share with you. But if that’s not you, I think I can still help you out. Maybe your DNA is totally different from mine. You just want to live comfortably, provide for your loved ones, prepare for the future, and not worry too much. You’re set. The average U.S. salary is around 40–50K. You can earn that doing a job you love or a job you hate. Please choose love!
Of course money and security matters, and I am very aware that many people live paycheck to paycheck. Let me reiterate that the process I am going to be talking about takes a lot of time, effort, and focus, but not a lot of dollars, if any. That, my friends, is the game changer; everyone has a shot, not just those with extra cash.
Learn to live your passion, and you’ll have all the money you need plus total control over your own destiny. That’s a pretty comfortable place to be, wouldn’t you say?
this means you
What if you just don’t have a hard business instinct? Don’t worry; skills are cheap, passion is priceless. If you’re passionate
about your content and you know it and do it better than anyone else, even with few formal business skills you have the potential to create a million-dollar business. Here’s why: let’s say you love to fish, and you happen to know a load about worms. In fact, you’re embarrassed at how much you like worms and like to talk about worms. But there’s no way you can make money on worms, right? Wrong. You can use the Internet to build a platform where you can talk about worms to your heart’s content. Passion is contagious. If you channel it into creating amazing content and distribute that content using the social media tools I discuss in this book, someone like me who rocks at business development will eventually find it and become a fan. The day I hear you say that you can use a particular kind of worm to catch 80 percent more bass than you might otherwise, I’m going to see the business opportunity and contact you. Together we create an online show or a written blog or an audio podcast around your passion to reach the fishing marketplace, a billion-dollar industry. We launch the content, and people are immediately drawn to you, we build a community by capitalizing on all the social media tools and techniques at our disposal, we work as many hours as possible, and next thing we know we have the biggest fishing lure company in the country asking to advertise on our site. From there we start building word of mouth and opening up more revenue streams, and
Your passion for worms in tandem with my passion for biz dev will inevitably result in a business that crushes it. Thanks to the accessibility and reach of social media and the zero cost, anyone can do this. Salesman Steve who rocked selling for Blockbuster needs to find One Man Stan the Fellini fan and build a million-dollar movie-review
business. Joanne Jogger who chronicles her marathon training needs to find Marketer Marvin and create a running blog that kills it and attracts Nike as a sponsor. There is room for everyone in the world of social media, which is the same thing as saying that there is room for everyone in today’s business world.