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Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too PDF

Author: Gary Vaynerchuk

Publisher: Harper Business


Publish Date: January 30, 2018

ISBN-10: 0062674676

Pages: 288

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

My eight-year old daughter, Misha, wants to be a YouTuber when she grows
up. That probably comes as no surprise—many young kids find out what their parents do and decide that’s their ambition, too (in addition to becoming a firefighter and zoo keeper). My daughter sees me using online platforms to talk to people and build businesses, and she knows how much I love it. Of course she thinks she wants to do what I do.

What might be more surprising is that if you ask other school-age children what they want to be when they grow up, many will reply that they, too, want to be YouTubers.

Personal branding may not be an elementary school Career Day staple yet, but kids today know that making videos on YouTube, posting on Instagram, tweeting 280 characters, and snapping on Snapchat is a valid career path and that for some it can even bring fame and fortune. They dream of creating a popular online presence the way kids used to dream of becoming Hollywood stars. Unfortunately, unless they’re entrepreneurs themselves or deeply in the know, most parents will respond to this career aspiration with, “Huh?” or worse, narrow-minded cynicism: “That’s not a real job.” Even the few who smile uncomprehendingly and offer a mild, “Great, honey! Go for it!” will likely secretly shake their heads at the sweet naïveté of youth.

It’s so frustrating to me.
Obviously the first answers suck any way you look at them, but all of these responses reveal a total lack of understanding about what kind of world we live in. It’s the kind where an eleven-year-old kid and his dad can become millionaires by creating a YouTube channel where they share online videos of themselves cutting things in half.

I knew this was the way things were going to go. For someone like me with a I knew this was the way things were going to go. For someone like me with a tendency to make over-the-top pronouncements, it’s ironic that one of the most prescient things I’ve ever uttered may also have been the biggest understatement of my life:

My story is about to become a lot less unusual.

I first made it when Misha was just a newborn, in the introduction to my first business book, Crush It! I was recounting how I had used the Internet to develop a personal brand and grow my $4 million family business, Shopper’s Discount Liquors, into a $60 million business. My strategy was simple and outrageous for the time: I spoke directly to potential customers through a bare-bones video blog and developed relationships with them on Twitter and Facebook, inviting a direct one-on-one engagement that had previously existed only between merchants and customers in the tight-knit small communities and neighborhoods of the last century. By the time I wrote the book in 2009, I had branched out from my first passion—wine and sales—to my all-encompassing one—building businesses. I was traveling the world spreading the word to anyone who would listen that the platforms most companies and business leaders were still labeling as pointless time wasters—Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—were actually the future of all business. It seems impossible now, but the digital revolution was so young I actually had to define the platforms. Back then, I had to devote considerable time to explaining that Facebook was this online site where you could share articles and photographs and your feelings and thoughts, and Twitter was something like it except always public and limited to, at the time, 140 characters. Personal branding? No one knew what the hell I was talking about. It’s hard to believe it now, but not even a decade ago, the idea that more than a select few people could realistically build a business by using social media was considered far-fetched.

I now run a massive digital media company with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chattanooga, and London. I’m still engaging people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and any other platform that catches people’s attention. I’m still invited to speak all over the world, but I also reach millions of people through my business Q&A YouTube show, #AskGaryVee; my daily video documentary, DailyVee; my role on Planet of the Apps—an Apple reality-TV show about app development—and books like the one you’re holding in your hand. I’m working more than ever. I’m having more of an impact than ever. I’m happier than ever.

And I am anything but unusual.

Today there are millions of people just like me who have used the Internet to build personal brands, thriving businesses, and a life on their own terms. Those who are truly crushing it have grasped the brass ring of grown-up-hood—building a lucrative business around something they love that enables them to do what they want every day. But while in 2009 that “something” might have been homemade preserves or custom tree houses, today it could also include being a mom, being stylish, or having an unorthodox world view. In other words, you can use your personal brand—who you are—to market your business, or your personal brand can actually be the business. Socialites, celebrity progeny, and reality-TV stars have been doing it for years. Now it’s everyone else’s turn to learn how to get paid to do something they were going to do for free anyway.

A lot has changed since I wrote Crush It!, but surprisingly, a lot hasn’t. Anyone who follows me regularly knows she can fast-forward through the first ten minutes of my keynote speeches, because I’m just going to repeat the facts of my life and my opinion of the world in pretty much the exact same way that I have been for almost a decade. Once those ten minutes are up, though, you never know. And that’s what I’m going to share in this book—the part of the keynote that changes every six to nine months because that’s how frequently the platforms evolve. I want you to learn the most up-to-date information on how to best leverage Internet platforms to create a powerful, lasting personal brand.

The biggest difference between my first book and the one you’re reading now is this: mine isn’t the only voice in this one. I want to introduce you to other entrepreneurs who have met with unbelievable success by following Crush It!principles to build their personal brands. Some are internationally well known, some are still climbing their way up. All of them are absolutely loving life. Though each is unique, I suspect you’ll be relieved and thrilled to see that they are not that different from you. How can I say that when I don’t know you?Because the secret to their success (and mine) had nothing to do with where they came from, whom they knew, where they went to school, or what field they were in. Rather, it had everything to do with their appreciation for the platforms at their disposal and their willingness to do whatever it took to make these social-media tools work to their utmost potential. And that, my friends, is something I can teach you to do, too.

What worked for me won’t work for you, however, and vice versa. That’s why self-awareness is so vital—you have to be true to yourself at all times. What I can offer you is a set of universal principles. We’ll dissect every current major platform so that all of you, from plumbers (your pillar should be Facebook; see Chapter 12) to park rangers (yours is YouTube; see Chapter 11), will know exactly which platform to use as your pillar content, and how to use the other platforms to amplify your personal brands. We’ll dissect the social platforms that dominate the business world today. I talked about some of these in Crush It!, but they have evolved, and there are now even better ways to navigate them. I’ll offer theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram; younger upstarts like; audiocentric platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and iTunes; and newcomer Alexa Skills. Those who have been at this for a while will find useful the little-known nuances, innovative tips, and clever tweaks that have been proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.

If you’ve been watching me closely for years and you think you know it all, please reconsider. I talk to thousands of people every year, and I hear the same questions over and over again. If so many still haven’t perfected their game, there’s a good chance you haven’t either. Today could be the day that you finally “get” that little nugget of info that’s going to help you pulverize whatever has been holding you back. Several of the people interviewed for this book said they read Crush It! multiple times.

Entrepreneur and podcaster John Lee Dumas revisits it yearly. It’s only 142 pages long, not so dense that he couldn’t figure out the gist in an hour or so, and yet Dumas admits that he listened to the audiobook three times before he finally understood what I meant about personal branding. That eureka moment led him to found Entrepreneurs on Fire, his daily podcast interviewing the country’s most inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs. Today his show is one of the top-ranked business podcasts on iTunes, grossing around $200,000 per month. I know this because he posts his monthly financials on his site and shares the details about his expenditures in his podcast so other entrepreneurs can learn from his smart moves and avoid his mistakes. That’s just one example of the kind of surprise and delight the entrepreneurs in this book regularly conjure up to distinguish their personal brands from those of the competition and earn hordes of adoring, loyal fans.

As always, I’m going to be real with you: even if you absorb every lesson and follow every piece of advice in these chapters, most of you reading this book will not become millionaires. Do not stop reading! None of the people interviewed for this book knew they’d become rich; they became rich because they were incredibly, ridiculously good at what they do and worked so goddamn hard, no one else could keep up. Most started out with modest ambitions of earning enough to enjoy the good things in life, finding stability, supporting themselves and their families, and living on their own terms. Achieve that kind of wealth, and you won’t need riches. And who knows, maybe in the process of getting there you, like John Lee Dumas and his cohorts, will discover that you do have the talent and marketing savvy to become a millionaire. There’s only one way to find out. Either way, you win. It takes pressure and fire to turn a lump of unremarkable metal into a finely crafted work of art. This book is filled with inspiration and advice from others who have walked through those flames; let them guide you so you can see what you’re capable of becoming.

Consider the experience of Louie Blaka (IG: @louieblaka), who explained in an
e-mail how he went from art teacher to thriving artist by trusting his instincts and putting his passions to work.

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