Crush It! Book review and synopsis

I just got done reading “Crush it! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk and while the book is a little old I really enjoyed it. It was published in 2009 which is ancient in terms of social media. The concepts however still exist, and it is a great viewpoint of emerging platforms coming into the scene which may help you catch the next big wave in the social media world. Without further delay let’s look at it!

Chapter 1: Passion Is Everything

In this chapter Gary Vaynerchuk describes his previous endeavors and what it took him to get there. He describes his three rules he lives by.

Love your family.

Work superhard.

Live your passion.

These are his guidelines which have proven effective and have made him happy in his life. “Since the only investment it takes to use these sites to grow a business is ridiculous amounts of time and hustle, these platforms are open to whoever has got the chops to get in the game.”

“Social Media = Business Period”

An important lesson to take away from this chapter is “No matter how successful you get, you can not slack off or the grass is going to grow, the paint is going to peel, and the roads will start to crumble. Stop hustling, and everything you learn here will be useless. Your success is entirely up to you.”

Chapter 2: Success Is in Your DNA

This chapter essentially can be summed up as stick to what you’re good at and “you gotta be you”. We also get a little perspective from GaryVee and his younger years of trading baseball cards and learning about the wine and liquor store business. “I knew from my experience with the baseball card business that people want to be told what’s good and valuable, and that they enjoy feeling like they’ve been turned on to something not everyone can appreciate.” This quote is then followed by, “storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” I believe this to be very true, having good story telling skills, communication skills, being personable all helps in the world of business.

Chapter 3: Build Your Personal Brand

“Wine Library TV was neve about selling wine on the Internet. It was always about building brand equity.” In this chapter GaryVee talks about how to build your personal brand. While explaining why authenticity is key, how quality filters people out and the cream always rises, and how your personal brand is the same thing as a living, breathing resume.

“Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online. Whether you’re delivering your content by video, podcast or blog it’s the authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model. The thing that most people don’t realize is that in today’s world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same, whether you’re selling organic fish food or financial advice or jus your opinion.”

Chapter 4: A Whole New World

               In this chapter GaryVee talks about the evolving world and how being innovative and adaptable to the circumstances is going to allow many more opportunities than the old style of business. He describes how you need to plan your future. How you should start building your brand equity and work on things on the side, which we will get to in a minute.

Chapter 5: Create Great Content

               “To monetize your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, two pillars need to be in place: product and content.” To do this you really need to know your stuff and be constantly absorbing information and content about your subject. GaryVee suggests that you need at least 50 blog topics that you’re amped to write about to get a feel for the situation of your blog. Then you need to tell a story about the topic. “Tell me your story, and if you’re good, I’ll come back for more.” “Communicate with me, because whoever is the best communicator will win.” In order to create great content, you can’t lie to yourself about your abilities to deliver quality information. “Am I good enough to be the best blogger about tech in the world?” is an example of a question that you must ask yourself and have a solid “Yes!” answer to. Choosing the correct medium is critical, if you’ve ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk his enthusiasm and loudness makes him a perfect fit for a video or vlog format. “Today, everybody else can make $40,000 to a million, so long as they can nail the correct combination of their medium and passion.” “Know yourself. Choose the right medium, choose the right topic, create awesome content, and you can make a lot of money being happy.”

Chapter 6: Choose Your Platform

               Your three options are video, audio, or written word, you must choose the platform that works best with your DNA. Although I personally use written word at the moment I think this Summer I will begin to move to video and venture out to YouTube and Vlog format. “Your website is for communicating logistics and facilitating sales; your blog is for communicating the essence of your brand.” In December 2008 GaryVee used social media and traditional advertising methods for his winelibrary.com to promote a free shipping code. The social media promotion which was free, outperformed the conventional advertising by a factor of 10. This is an example of platform is everything.

Mr. Vaynerchuk then talks about Tumblr and WordPress the two dominant blog platforms and both are still relevant even today. Tumblr’s ability to tumble posts is the word of mouth you want from your audience and other apps that have similar features are critical in expanding your brand. Call to action buttons are always important to continue the chain of communication with your audience, and eventually sell them your product. He then talks about Facebook and the importance of your own profile and then your fan page. “If you’ve been using a regular profile or created a group for your business, don’t take it down. Simply leave a link on your old profile or group page that feeds to your new fan page.” Twitter, one of GaryVee’s most powerful brand-building tools. “First, it has incredible endorsement power.” “Second, it’s a press release opportunity, allowing companies and businesses to have a closer relationship with their consumer.” “Third, Twitter is a research and development tool that allows you to crowdsource.” “Fourth it allows even your most mundane questions to become opportunities for conversation.” “Fifth, it’s a great vehicle through which to spread your commerce-driven intentions.” “The best use for Twitter, though, is to lure people to your blog.” GaryVee then shares the simple most powerful, best business tweet of all time. “What can I do for you?” Don’t forget you’re in business to serve your community.

“If your blog is your home, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are your vacation homes. You can’t do long form content on these sites (well, you can, but its not effective and I don’t recommend it)”.

He then talks about video content sites including the power player still today, YouTube. He very rarely uses analytics and trusts his instincts over numbers. Lastly you must differentiate yourself from your peers, and he will explain that in the upcoming chapters.

Chapter 7: Keep It Real…Very Real

               “Your DNA dictates your passion-whatever it is you were born to do; being authentic, and being perceived as such by your audience, relies on your ability to ensure that every decision you make when it comes to your business is rooted being true to yourself.” You should invest in the important stuff and that’s not cameras or microphones, no, that is your content, your passion, your knowledge. “If you want to dominate the social media game, all of your effort has to come from the heart”. Hustle and patience are the next two items of discussion, there’s plenty of other books and videos on hustle, I’ve already reviewed one, “The 10X Rule” and I will review another one soon “Rise and Grind”. Reference those books and articles as that is their main topic. Patience is self-explanatory, but we are often not patient. GaryVee says he gets people saying they haven’t seen any results and they’ve been working on their blog for 6 weeks. I can say from my own personal experience that I’ve been working on this blog for about 5 months and we are finally getting some traction, all things worth doing in life take time to get there.

Chapter 8: Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench

               Creating community is much more important than the design of your blog. This is done by starting conversation with your audience. “To create an audience for your personal brand you’re going to get out there, shake hands, and join every single online conversation already in play around the world about your topic, Every. Single. One. “At a certain point, your business will start gaining eyeballs and your community focus will change. Whereas at this point you’re initiating contact with anyone who might have an interest in your passion, later you will spend these late-night hours responding to the people who have responded to you. Building and sustaining community is a never-ending part of doing business.” You do this by using all of your tools and platforms and seeking out every mention of your topic and commenting on every single tweet, blog post, forum post etc. that you can find and then do it again and again and again. I can say from experience the little I have done this for blogs and Instagram it has worked. It just takes lots of time and hustle to pull it off in the large scale. You must then capture your audience and I have struggle to do this with my own blog and would love to hear any advice from my viewers. “The day you see that one person is reading or watching or listening to you is a day to celebrate.”

Chapter 9: The Best Marketing Strategy Ever

               Care.

Chapter 10: Make the World Listen

               Here is the step by step guide for the rest of your life to achieve what is described in this book.

  1. Go to GoDaddy.com and try to buy your name in both .com and .tv
  2. Start a WordPress or Tumblr account to host the domain you just bought.
  3. Hire a web designer for your website.
  4. IF you’re filming a video blog, buy the $150 flip cam, something small, light and hopefully HD to film anywhere at any time.
  5. Create a Facebook Fan page
  6. Open a twitter account with your domain name
  7. Open a Tube Mogul if you are doing video. Open a Ping.fm if you are doing a written blog.
  8. Start pumping out content.
  9. Tweet or post your content to distribute to your platforms.
  10. Go to Search. Twitter and start searching terms relevant to your topic, and start following them.
  11. Go to blogsearch.google.com and start leaving comments on topics relevant to your content.
  12. Join as many active Facebook groups relevant to your topic as possible.
  13. Rinse and Repeat.

Do steps 5-8 and 12 over and over as long as your brand exists. “Anything is better than zero” but also “the longer you hold out to monetize your blog, the better.”

Chapter 11: Start Monetizing

               “Here’s a better idea: #1—classy banner ads, which appear at the top or bottom of your site (don’t overdo it!). #2—Go to google.com, search your subject matter, and check every blog and website to see which companies pay for Google AdSense ads to be posted. Cold-call every relevant company that is buying space on Google AdSense—they’re already spending the ad money on the Web, why not spend it on you? You can find a video on this topic on GaryVaynerchuk.com:” Speaking engagements, Affiliate Programs, Retail, Articles, Seminars, Books and TV, Consulting, Advertising redux, are all examples on monetizing your brand and there have been significant improvements and all of these fields, so I would recommend newer information than what is provided here.

Chapter 12: Roll with It

               Be prepared to continue repeating what makes you successful but be ready to adapt to the changing environment considering the great speed at which social media changes nowadays. Put out fires and situations quickly through the use and ability to reach out using social media is very important in retaining your brand equity. Spot latest trends as they begin and hop on the train early to give yourself a big advantage over the slower moving businesses in your sector.

Chapter 13: Legacy is Greater Than Currency

               We are all in the public eye now, we are constantly adding to our footprint on the internet. If things go wrong, there will be no where to hide as your whole brand is available to see. Thinking long term and knowing what you do and say today can affect your future is an important thing to remember in your early years of building your brand. “Legacy is the mortar of successful, lasting brands.

Conclusion: The Time is Now, the Message is Forever

               “true success—financial, personal, and professional—lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion.”

As always thank you for reading this article, I hope you gained some value information from this review and synopsis of “Crush It”. This book has provoked me to take a hard look at my blog and my personal brand and what I want it to be in the future and I look forward to shaping my brand from what I’ve learned in this book and what I intend to learn from “Crushing It”.

As always let me know what you think!

B^2

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

How I started my journey as an Entrepreneur

All my life I’ve been obsessed with money, I say all my life even though I turn 22 in about a month, but I can say it dates back awhile. I think it had to do with how I was raised, I had two very hard-working parents and just watching and being involved in a lifestyle that revolved around that molded me from an early age. Enough with the backstory let’s get to it.

When I was about 13 years old I’d say I was getting into airsoft (yea those plastic bb shooting guns), all my friends had them, we’d have wars in each other’s backyards and all of that. As I got older I got more and more involved in it and being mechanical inclined (hence studying engineering) I started upgrading and taking apart my airsoft guns. My friends took notice and wanted their guns upgraded as well at the beginning it was very light modification (barrel swaps, hop-up unit modifications, external components), but then I bought a couple junker airsoft guns. And started learning how to disassemble the gearbox and internals, looking at the springs, piston, cylinder, the gearset, motors, bearings etc. I began to realize that there was a demand for modified airsoft guns and I could probably buy more junker guns and flip them if I could repair them/ upgrade them.

When I was 16 years old I got my airsoft buddies together and decided to open up a “business” our plan was to flip airsoft guns, and modifying some and reselling. That lasted for about a summer until we outgrew the airsoft phase. Our time was spent at jobs and at high school instead of my basement working on the guns and going out on craigslist and finding deals and broken guns for sale. The entrepreneur experience outweighed the profits I think between the 3 of us that helped in my “business” was about $150 or so. I must also add that some of that profit was in material goods that we acquired through trading things rather than just cash deals. Any how that is were my entrepreneurship started, in a dark dingy basement, taking apart airsoft guns. The screenshot below was taken in 2011 when I was 16 years old.

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I later expanded on this idea of flipping and reselling things. Like I said I loved money and wanted to find ways to make it besides my summer job. I also was interested in trading things, I found out in my days of buying and selling airsoft guns on craigslist most people didn’t have cash on hand like I thought they did. I’d get calls and texts asking if they could trade for my airsoft guns and airsoft equipment. I realized the potential profit that could be made by leveraging trades since they weren’t cash and then finding a cash buyer or another trade to make afterwards. I started trading things if I could, I believe over the course of a summer I turned a Go Pro Hero 2 which I valued at about $225 to a hunting crossbow worth about $350 to a trade lot of about $450 worth of stuff. I was fascinated with this and started going to Goodwill to find cheap things to trade or sell on craigslist and eBay. I had my ups and downs with some of that but overall, I learned a lot from this side business I was running. I’d even find deals on amazon and other online retailers and sell still in box items for profit! The picture below depicts some of the trade deals and goodwill flips and trades.

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I continued to do this until the end of my senior year of high school. Shortly after that the social aspect of my life picked up and my time was more focused on my summer job and hanging out with friends. In college I never really pursued the same craigslist flipping/trading as much as I use to, I still took advantage of some of the opportunities I saw but again my social life and involvement in different organizations here on campus took up most of my time. My summers also became busier, and focused more on my career with internships and co-ops. In fact, I didn’t really sell anything on craigslist or on the side in the last 2 years apart from this past Thanksgiving and winter break where I dug out some of my old trades, and little knick knacks that have been collecting dust for years and made about $100 in trades this past break.

This brings us to now, and what kind of business/entrepreneurial things I am doing today. Unfortunately, not much now, I sell my used textbooks back, sold some of my old trades this past winter break, made some side money through apps and rebates etc. I am looking to get back into it though, you could say this blog and my affiliate sales/ promotional and referral stuff is sort of a side business. If/when I deep dive into another business venture or some sort of side hustle I will let you all know.

In the mean time let me know how your 2018 is going!