My first experience with Gary Vaynerchuck's book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion, was not a positive one. I was in a Denver airport going through security and I noticed a humongous poster of Vaynerchuck's big head (it must have been eight feet tall) hanging from the ceiling of a bookstore. The caption said something about "how to build a multi-million dollar business by using Facebook and Twitter." Oh brother, I thought. Seriously?
A few weeks later I decided to crack it open at a bookstore - there was no way I was going to buy it. I skimmed and then skimmed and then skimmed some more. Then I started reading it. Turns out, my first impression was wrong. What surprised me the most about Vaynerchuck was his genuineness and his passion not just for business (and the NY Jets!), but for his family and being authentic.
I then arranged a phone call with Vaynerchuk to learn more about his book and what makes him tick. Crush It! provides his strategy and advice on how to live your passion to achieve your happiest life. He stresses the importance of "turning water into wine" by becoming an entrepreneur and developing a business that encompasses your interests, hobbies, and passion.
The first step in creating your business is to develop a brand. Your business brand must be the same as your personal brand, reflecting your passion through authenticity and honesty. By being yourself and voicing your own unique and individual opinion, you create a successful brand identity. If your brand is an imitation of someone else's, it will not be an honest representation of your passion, and you will lose motivation to work hard for success.
In the age of social networking, anyone can promote their brand through the internet on both a personal and professional level. Social networking will not create your success, but can be a powerful tool in accelerating your brand towards success. Your activity and content on social networking sites should convey expertise and helpful advice about your passion in order to positively reflect your brand. Keep your content authentic by being yourself. [Side Note: That means if you're shooting video, he says only do one take. People don't want to see perfect lighting, hair, makeup, etc. - if they did, they'd watch their local anchorperson.]
Once you've created your brand, the next step is to find the correct medium to promote it. Video is the most effective medium, because it allows people to see your brand and visually connect with you. Aside from Youtube, Vaynerchuk recommends Viddler, Ustream, as other video networking sites. When it comes to logistics and sales, websites are an effective medium to organize content for your brand. In terms of relating your brand on a more personal level, blogs are a powerful medium to create your own unique voice and identity.
The secret to success in any endeavor is in the amount of passion, energy, and perseverance you invest. Fortunately, when you are living your passion, your hard work will not bore you, but rather excite and energize you. Enter a niche you are passionate about, because if you enter an area based only on potential payout, you will become uninspired and fall behind. With any amount of patience and determination, you will eventually succeed. It's possible to live your passion and make money being happy, but it won't happen overnight or without a lot of hard work.
The majority of your hard work and energy will involve creating a community, or an audience for your brand. You do this through getting out there, starting conversations, and creating content on every blog, forum, video, and networking site that relates to your brand. Make sure that your content includes a link to your blog and your own unique and interesting expertise and advice. When it comes to creating a community, the number of friends you have or the number of fans you have following you are unimportant. What matters is how engaged the members of your community are with you. You can create deeper commitment from followers by not taking people for granted.
In the end, Vaynerchuk emphasizes the message that the successful entrepreneur will live by the core values of loving your family, working hard, and living your passion. As long as you are working for someone else, you will fail at being entirely true to yourself and your passion. By living your passion, you can find happiness and financial success through doing what you love.
It's a relatively short book at just 160 pages, but if you're looking for motivation to pursue your passion, Vaynerchuk delivers the goods.
Join Robert Pagliarini and Gary Vaynerchuk for a free two hour event on June 30, 2010 and watch them present to over 200,000 artists, musicians, writers, actors, and directors through a live SAG event. More info on this free event from Pagliarini and Vaynerchuk.
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