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#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness

AskGaryVee on Vision and Work

Your core business beliefs are your “clouds,” the ideals that should guide every personal and professional decision. But you also must dig in the “dirt” – the execution, daily tasks and knowledge gathering that bring you closer to achieving your vision.

Author Gary Vaynerchuk, creator of the YouTube runaway hit Wine Library TV and host of The #AskGaryVee Show, identifies his personal clouds as eight business commandments he lives by:

  1. Provide value.
  2. In any relationship, deliver at least 51% of the energy, heart and talent.
  3. Long-term value always trumps short-term gain.
  4. Hard work is everything; smart work improves the results.
  5. People matter more than anything else.
  6. Patience, as the old saying goes, is a virtue.
  7. Don’t romanticize the reasons you are in business.
  8. Challenge yourself with worst-case scenarios daily.

“If you religiously follow just the few core business philosophies that mean the most to you, and spend all your time there, everything else will naturally fall into place.”

In between the clouds and the dirt lies the middle, a place populated by average business people, those who make it halfway to their goals and plateau. People get stuck in the middle because they don’t know enough about their field or they fail to keep up with new trends.

Success requires a noble concept, and the ability and desire to do whatever it takes to bring it to fruition. Many people have great ideas, but ideas without execution are worthless. Whether you’re mostly a big-picture thinker or a detail-oriented practitioner, divide your time between the two.

Focusing on your long-term goals reduces the stress that daily problems cause. Prioritize sales, especially if you are in solo practice or starting a small business. Without positive cash flow, you’ll never achieve your other goals.

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AskGaryVee About Being a New Entrepreneur

People have difficulty choosing between the security of a full-time job and the opportunity of being an entrepreneur. If you struggle working for someone else, entrepreneurship may be for you. But if you wait for the stars to align before making a move, you’ll never jump. When and if you decide to go out on your own, understand that entrepreneurship takes hard work and hustle.

Sacrificing luxuries is reasonable to put money into your business, but never put the welfare of your family or the payments for your mortgage at risk. The first step is terrifying, especially if you encounter resistance from your friends and family. Your opinion is the one that matters.

“Employees who believe that you support their desire to achieve their own goals will be more than happy to use their efforts and talents to help you get closer to yours as well.”

People waste time trying to come up with the perfect name for a new company. Instead, get people to remember your name by providing a superior product. Identify your customer base and focus your efforts there. Think about what you offer potential partners rather than what they can do for you. You have to put in the work.

“Being honorable always pays off in the long run, even if it occasionally makes you a little less money in the short term.”

  • Promote your app or product before it comes out of development.
  • Generate content that you can target at the people most likely to use your product.
  • Create a virtual community where people can learn about and discuss your offering to ensure a positive reception when you launch.
  • Your business will hit a rough patch at some point. Prepare by building teams of talented, trusted, hardworking people who focus on producing superior products and services, and by always prioritizing sales.
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AskGaryVee About Working with Family

Gary Vaynerchuk worked at his family’s liquor store and then with his brother AJ at VaynerMedia. While many people believe that going into business with your family is a mistake, working with the people you love and care about can be a positive experience. Making it go smoothly takes self-discipline, empathy and communication skills.

Members of the second and third generation in a family business often encounter resistance from the old guard. Persuading management to try new things isn’t always easy especially if the boss is your grandparent or parent. But some people respond well to tact and kindness, while others require a more direct or even aggressive approach.

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AskGaryVee About Hustle

More than money or education, an owner’s strong work ethic is the best indicator that a business will succeed. Hustle separates the wannabes from those who do all they can. You don’t have much control over your innate talent, but you have total control over how hard you work.

Work harder than the competition every minute of every single day. Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success, but not working hard enough is a recipe for failure. The Internet’s around-the-clock connectivity allows you to keep working after the competition checks out.

Create relevant, informative and appealing content. Tune in to what people say about your business and industry. Prioritize providing value. If you own a small business with a small budget, hustle will close the gap between your start-up and more established businesses.

Focus on giving great customer service, making connections, nurturing relationships and providing value to your community. If you are your own boss and can’t find the energy to hustle, ask yourself if you’re in the wrong business or if you’d prefer to have a partner to share the loads.

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AskGaryVee About Creating Content

To get your message across, package it in a story. Channels of communication may change, but the basics of a great story stay the same. Quality content tells your brand’s tale in a way that attracts and engages your target audience. It stands out amid the clutter and appeals to the emotions as it entices users to like, repost and share.

Tailor your content to the platform. Make it native to the platform.

For example, posts on Facebook, where people keep up with their family and acquaintances, should differ from more visual posts on Pinterest. Reuse content across platforms by adapting it to each one’s style and audience. Your content should reflect your audience’s personal preferences, not your own.

Anyone and everyone produces content. To break through the noise, regardless of your product or service think of yourself as a media company. Your company’s success rides on your ability to distribute your story by producing content that your current and potential customers find valuable. Curate your online presence to make sure that it reflects well upon you.

“Jabs” are the little things you do every day that provide value and engage your target audience. Your “Right Hook” is the action that asks for the sale. Finding a balance between providing value and selling requires a boxer’s dexterity. If you focus more on the sale than on providing value to the customer, your jabs will come off as disingenuous and the recipients will feel you are manipulating them.

But if you provide value without expecting to get something in return, people will respond in kind. When it’s time to close, be honest, be direct and ask for the sale.

AskGaryVee About Platforms

People integrate platforms they like – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and so on – into their lives just as people adopted radio and television in the past. Specific platforms’ popularity may rise and fall, but the resulting cultural and social changes are here to stay.

The pattern for emerging platforms is to attract the youth market first and then to provide something people didn’t realize they desperately needed. Entrepreneurs who are short on cash should create free or low-cost content for their start-up platform. Reluctance to try something new, means you’ll get left behind when other people figure out how to make it work.

Blogging has evolved since its first burst of popularity years ago. People still consume content, but they now prove less willing to leave their site of choice to do so. Rather than relying on search engine optimization (SEO) to reach users, bloggers now post their material where their desired audience lives online. Personal websites are still valuable because you retain control. Traditional media outlets are overpriced compared to the user experience that social media deliver. Develop a strategy for a combination of platforms and media to extend your reach.

“No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life.”

Instagram is enjoying huge growth. It passed Twitter in 2015 with 300 million monthly active users. Twitter has a “noise” problem – the clutter makes it hard for your messages to stand out. When users are on Instagram, pictures capture their focus. Depth is more important than reach.

Facebook ads offer incredible return on investment, especially for early movers. The new ad platform brings scope and reach that produce tangible results. Facebook ads target your users beyond their age and gender; its massive data mining capabilities include behavioral data.

You can create an ad for 19-year-old males who enjoy golf, and another for new moms who wear contact lenses. “Influencer marketing” is going to gain momentum. Corporations will invest in online personalities who draw awareness to their brands on social platforms. The power of target ads on social media give better brand exposure at a much lower cost than ever seen before. Nowadays, cash flows where the eyeballs goes.

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Categories: Book Review, Reading Notes

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