Who should read this book: Aspiring internet entrepreneurs and any marketers in the online/social media world looking for an edge.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the poster child entrepreneur living the American dream –it’s the story of a guy who went from selling lemonade to a multimillionaire CEO and bestselling author. I love his enthusiasm, energy and go-getter attitude that’s apparent from the book. He challenges the reader, asks difficult questions, and the book leaves you with a sense that you should take action (with some practical tips on how to do so).
In business, the how matters, of course, but the why matters just as much. Maybe more. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? To share your knowledge? To help people? To build something that leaves a legacy? To make a good income to give yourself and your family financial security and breathing room? To have fun with a creative outlet? To create community?
Specifically, he shares his principles on how to identify your audience, build a following, and scale your business. Most of the book features stories of people that have been successful in starting their business. I’d say the book is 70% inspiration/anecdote and 30% practical advice.
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.
A few big ones:
- Passion is your backup generator when all your other energy sources start to sputter.
- Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me. Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss—which means you win either way.
- A strong personal brand is your ticket to complete personal and professional freedom. I want you to become the Julie Andrews or Muhammad Ali of your industry.
- Desperation can be a great motivator, but it’s a lot less stressful if you plan ahead so that you never know the feeling. If you’re earning what you need to live the life you want and loving every day of it, you’re crushing it. That’s all I want for you.
Notable quotes from the book:
Secrets to success
There are three things working to my advantage in this regard: number one, I genuinely don’t give a shit what people think, which allows me complete freedom to do and say what I want; number two, I care immensely what everyone thinks and will spend an insane amount of time responding to skeptics who take the time to tweet or comment their criticism, to help them see where I’m coming from; and number three, which might be more important than numbers one or two, I always respect my audience.
On having a hustler mindset
Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me. Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss—which means you win either way. Hear me now: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right.
How to reach a community
You could do the same thing with a funny skit, or a poem, or some other work. I’ve said it ad nauseam: the best way to reach out to a community is to become part of a community.
The potential for Amazon Alexa (he’s quite bullish on it as an early platform) and he shares his advice on creating Alexa Skills.
Keep your content super brief. Make it native. Do not do what I did with my original podcast when I just transferred the audio from a video onto the podcast platform. Tailor your content to suit the reason people are coming, which is to get fast, easily digestible information nuggets. “Hey, Alexa users . . .” Make it the highest quality possible. I cannot stress how important it is that you not treat your Skill as a dumping ground. It’s great to collect the scraps from your other content so they don’t go to waste, but study each piece closely and use your imagination and creativity to craft something new and fresh.