Suppose you’re familiar with brand mogul and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuck. In that case, it should come as no surprise why his book, Crushing It, is a case study collection of creatives who’ve applied their takeaways from Vaynerchuck’s 2009 book, Crush it. Consider it a full circle of a formative entrepreneurial journey.
On the get-go, there are three main key points worthy of discussion and application in Vaynerchuck’s latest literary offering:
- You don’t need to sell tangible goods to commodify a personal brand.
- Seven principles make up a steady social media presence.
- Be authentic to your art, but don’t overthink the process.
Let’s go over the following principles, and see how these fare in our personal lives.
Philosophy #1: You can make money out of your personal brand in a plethora of ways. You don’t necessarily need to produce a product line.
When you run a cafe or a physical store, a personal brand seems like the best choice to work on. After all, you can leverage digital marketing to hype up what you sell and make great sales. But what if you don’t have actual products or services to commodify? Consider Thrifts and Thread’s Brittany Xavier. Originally, she approached Instagram the way everyone else does — to document everyday life and random purchases. Soon enough, she noticed many others who would tag brands in their photo uploads, so she did the exact same thing. Soon enough, those brands started to notice her growing following, and when she hit the 10k mark on the social networking app, she began collaborating with brands by commodifying her platform. Today, her brand, Thrifts and Threads, holds a family lifestyle reputation that sells affordable and trendy apparel, home decor, and other items.
Similar to startups and small businesses, one doesn’t immediately need a business model to begin. You’ll learn the ropes as you progress. As long as what you put out is quality content, and you master the science of social media algorithms, money won’t be too far behind.
Philosophy #2: There are seven principles that make up massive social media occupancy.
Gary has values he practices in both his personal and work lives. While he’s been able to observe more virtues than the others throughout the past couple of years, they haven’t altered or evolved since they’re all elements of who he is as an individual. As such, these values are an integral part of his development both as a person and as a creative entrepreneur. The list is as follows:
Intent – business people make money, but entrepreneurs build connections. Customers, clients, and consumers are quick to find out whether or not you just want their buck. Be intentional with what you sell, and know your brand message inside and out.
Authenticity – carrying a facade helps no one in the long run. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Whether you’re a junior artist or a new startup founder, own your title and your pace. The moment you pretend to be better and larger than you actually are, you instantly lose.
Passion – arguably the most important, no one convinces others—let alone, go far in life—without a natural, overflowing zeal. Acquaint yourself with your truest interests or learn to align your energy into what you commodify. Work will feel much more worth it when you believe in what you do.
Patience – trust the process and learn the ropes, but be open for changing your vision. Anything can happen, so it’s crucial that you know exactly what your end goal is. In all of that, keep pushing forward and commit to knowing that nothing great is ever instant.
Speed – patience doesn’t mean delay. Be efficient when you work, and continuously challenge yourself to do and be better. The more effective you become at something, the faster you’ll be, and the speedier you are at something, the more you get done.
Work – in life, there are many things you can’t control, but how you work will never be one of them. Besides clocking in and putting in the hours, learn to do, if not master, every corner and task your brand calls for. Make the calls, send the emails, design the visuals, do everything you need to do by yourself when you can. If the goal is to improve a brand or a business, you have to know precisely how everything is done yourself.
Attention – pay attention to trends, the media, and platforms. Everything changes faster today. What you laugh at now may be what you need to adapt to tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled, and study other people’s successes and losses.
Philosophy #3: Document the process instead of worrying about what to produce.
It may seem like it, but contrary to how we use them today, social media was designed to simply share with others what you do and how you live life—it was never meant to highlight only the glossy. Stop referring to your business as one piece of art, because it isn’t.
Your business, brand, startup, and story will be a compilation of what you become as you make it. Keep writing down goals, and record your progress. For instance, part of Gary’s brand is sharing how he helps build other people’s businesses. As such, he has teams of creatives who help him video record and work on his social media initiatives. In return, this documentation turns into products themselves—podcasts, vlogs, conference resources.
Obviously, not everyone has those resources, and that’s fine. The goal is to document what you do and potentially come up with something you can use to improve, actualise, or build your vision.
Your time will come, but you have to commit to it.