10 Big Ideas: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Posted in 10 Big Ideas

In the spirit of Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA site, I post the 10 biggest ideas I learn from the different books I read.

1. Skills are cheap; passion is priceless

It’s okay if you don’t have the business instinct.  Skills like that can be learned or delegated or, preferably, some combination of both.  Passion is entirely different: you either have passion or you don’t.  And no amount of pretending is going to fool others.

What does passion look like?  It’s what you wake up pumped about.  It’s what you can’t shut up about.  It’s what you don’t mind working on for hours, because it doesn’t feel like work.  It’s what you would do every minute if you could.

2. Work with your DNA

Your DNA dictates your passion, what you were born to do. It also dictates how you best communicate that passion.  If you wouldn’t recognize a participle whether or not it was dangling, record yourself talking rather than writing and let someone else edit your words.  If you feel your voice is shrill enough to break glass, then write out your content rather than reading it outloud.  But let those quirks and preferences shape your brand.

3. Be yourself

Tell the story of the authentic you. What comes from your heart is the one thing that’s guaranteed to differentiate you from everyone else, even those with your same niche or business model.  Voice your opinion loud and clear, and don’t try to imitate someone else’s style.  Authenticity rather than perfection is the key.

4. You are a brand, so develop that brand to build your business

As soon as you create any kind of public Internet account, you became a brand.
Passion + DNA + Authenticity = The Brand Called You

5. You’ve got to hustle

If you don’t hustle–that is, work hard–you’re hamstringing your potential success.  Having talent and passion and good content are important.  Really, really important.  But there’s one way that someone with less talent, or passion, or killer content can totally beat you.  And that’s by working harder than you.

6. Money goes where people go

Advertisers will follow an audience. They have to, in order to keep their product or service in front of as many “eyeballs” as possible.  By aggregating an audience around your particular passion, you’re creating something that has value not just to the community itself.  You’re making it very easy for advertisers to want to give you money.

7. Don’t get hung up on the tools.

Remember when MySpace was the “in” place to connect with others?  It’s been eclipsed by Facebook’s 500 million friends.  People used to rely on their local newspaper to deliver them relevant news.  Now we can have hundreds of newspapers from around the globe delivered to our palm- or lap-sized readers every morning.  At some point, Facebook will be replaced by a more popular social networking site.  We won’t tweet any longer; we’ll describe out conversations with some other catchy verb.  Inevitably, the tools or channels for delivering content will change.  What won’t go away is the desire for meaningful, relevant content.

8. Patience is the secret sauce

Everyone loves talking about the “overnight” success. But it’s a myth, an urban legend.  It took Vaynerchuk only 18 months after founding winelibrarytv.com to get a guest appearance on Conan O’Brien as a wine expert.  Most people hear about the 18 months and never consider the 16+ years Vaynerchuk patiently spent in his family’s liquor store, the countless hours spent training his palate to recognize all sorts of exotic tastes including sweaty socks.

Perhaps it didn’t take very long to achieve a certain level of recognition and notoriety, once he decided to announce himself to the world, but it was hardly an overnight success.  The only way Vaynerchuk–who doesn’t describe himself as a patient person–was able to stay the course was that he was 100% happy and loved what he was doing in the way he was doing it.

9. Put out awesome content

To draw eyeballs, put out great content. The best content tells a story (and the truth, too).  You get great content by melding your passion with your expertise.  And you get expertise by doing your homework. Read and absorb everything you can about your topic–whether from books, magazines, blogs, websites, conferences, or classes.  Make your learning part of your content–like posting the 10 big ideas you learn from books, hint, hint.  Your goal is to be able to talk about your topic better than anyone else.

10. Legacy is the mortar of lasting brands

Everything you do in today’s on-line world is going to be recorded for eternity.  So you’re not just building a brand and a business, but also a legacy.  Measure every decision you face in terms of both currency and legacy.  In Vaynerchuk’s opinion, if something will make money, but he won’t be proud of how he makes the money, he won’t do it.  Legacy always wins.