1-Sentence-Summary: Crushing It is Gary Vaynerchuk’s follow-up to his personal branding manifesto Crush It, in which he reiterates the importance of a personal brand and shows you the endless possibilities that come with building one today.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Last January, Gary Vaynerchuk launched the 2017 Flip Challenge. It was an effort to get people to stop complaining and start taking their lives into their own hands by starting the simplest business in the world: picking out cheap and rare items from their home or garage sales and selling them on eBay. Thousands of people jumped on the opportunity, having been unaware of the potential behind selling their unused stuff.
As the challenge went on and success stories piled up, he started showcasing some of them on Medium, which ended up influencing his next book. Crushing It is a case study collection of people, who’ve taken up Gary on his advice from Crush It back in 2009 to build a personal brand, mixed with his latest take on how to achieve exactly that today.
Here’s are 3 lessons that are both practical and philosophical at once:
- You don’t need a product to monetize a personal brand.
- A solid social media presence is built on seven principles.
- Don’t overthink creating content, just document your journey.
Gary was right in 2009, yet most of us still haven’t started putting our lives online. Do you really want to risk waking up to him being right again ten years from now, not having done anything? Didn’t think so. Let’s do this!
Lesson 1: Personal brands can be monetized in lots of ways, so you don’t need to create your own product.
When you have a restaurant or brick and mortar store, a personal brand seems like an obvious move. After all, you can use your social media clout to fill the seats or make more sales. But what if you have neither a service, nor something to sell? Well, ask Brittany Xavier from Thrifts and Threads.
Initially, she just documented her life as a young mom for fun on Instagram. Eventually, she noticed similar accounts tagging brands in their posts, so she started doing the same. Soon, those brands began reaching out and once she hit 10,000 followers, she began to charge for advertising them in her posts. Now, Thrifts and Threads is a full-fledged family lifestyle brand, focusing on cheap, yet stylish outfits, decor and more.
Like a startup, a personal brand doesn’t need a business model right from the start. You can figure it out as you go. As long as your content is high quality, the money will inevitably follow.
Lesson 2: Gary has seven principles he thinks should mark the base of any social media presence.
Gary has a few themes, both in business and in life. They’ve changed little to nothing throughout the years, because they’re virtues of who he is as a person. As such, they’re a big part of how he’s grown his own businesses and personal brand to such massive levels. Here they are:
- Intent. Good entrepreneurs make lots of money. Great entrepreneurs do it in altruistic ways. People can sense when we use them merely for our personal gains, which is why this approach rarely works in the long term.
- Authenticity. Similar to intent, a 27-year-old like me posing as a life coach or leadership expert would just come across as cheesy. Be transparent about who you are and where you are in life. You don’t have to teach people how to play the guitar. You can just learn it alongside them.
- Passion. More so than having to be excited about what you want to create or sell or promote, you have to be passionate about life. About giving. Who would you rather hear talk about knitting, video games, or the news: an optimist, or a complainer?
- Patience. Good things always take time. Those who strike gold early will have to learn how to maintain it later, and those who don’t must slowly grind their way to the top of the mountain.
- Speed. Just as important as patience in the macro is speed in the micro. Waiting for the results indicates having done something to get them.
- Work. It’s hard to find someone who works harder than Gary. It’s the one big variable you control. Besides putting in the time, hard work is also about not being too fancy to do the dirty work yourself. Email people, pick up the phone, send your own tweets. Don’t outsource yourself when you are the brand.
- Attention. What works in an online world changes twice a day. Some of the platforms who used to laugh at traditional media have already become traditional media themselves. Keep your eyes open.
Regardless of whether you start a brand or not, if you centered your life around these values, I think that’d make a pretty good life.
Lesson 3: Instead of worrying about what particular content to create, just document your journey.
The part where most people get hung up on, the main reason why they never start creating a personal brand, is that when they sit down to publish, they freeze. “What do I talk about? I don’t have anything to say!” That’s because we look at the process like it’s an artist’s work. But it’s not.
Originally, no social media platform, not Facebook, not Twitter, not even Instagram, was built to share a stylized highlight reel of your life. They were always meant to just live your life, but do it online. So instead of handcrafting each post, just start by documenting what you do anyway. Record yourself practicing soccer tricks, tweet your thoughts about a book, or post old family photos.
Gary, for example, runs a multimillion dollar business. As a CEO, he’s always in meetings or traveling around. That’s why he hired videographer DRock to follow him around all day and then has a team of people who use that video content to create Youtube videos, quote pictures, blog articles, podcasts and more.
Most of us can’t afford that, but we don’t need to, because we can just use our phones. Document, don’t create.
My personal take-aways
I love Gary. He’s one part inspiration, one part strategy, and one part tactics. So is this book. It’s easy to understand, showcases different social media platforms and how they work, as well as presents lots of examples of people Crushing It. If you want to check out some more of his books, I’ve written summaries of Crush It, The Thank You Economy, and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, as well.
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- Current statistics of the social media landscape
- Why Snapchat is a great testing ground for marketers
- How Twitter allows you to spark a targeted conversation
- What makes Youtube the #1 platform right now
- Why Facebook still has value, against media sentiment
- How Instagram solved its stylized content problem
- What the hottest social media trend right now is
Who would I recommend the Crushing It summary to?
The 14 year old, who still has all day to build a social media empire, the 47 year old manager, who’s stuck in a job he doesn’t like, and anyone who’s scared a few lines on their resumé will determine their future.