In an era when entrepreneurship is the new black, talked about, written about and praised by many a millennial, Gary Vaynerchuk, stands out. That’s because he’s not just talking, he’s doing. Though Vaynerchuk has written extensively about marketing and business with four New York Times bestsellers to show for it and spoken across the globe about those topics, he’s achieved massive success -- because he is a true practitioner.
First, Gary Vee (as he's known) built the family business, Wine Library, from a $3 million business in 2000 to a $60 million business in 2005. He did so with the help of his daily YouTube show, WineLibraryTV, launched when YouTube was still in its infancy. After spending time using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to build both his brand and the family business, he gained a deep understanding of social media marketing.
This led to the creation of VaynerMedia in 2009, a social agency he runs with his brother, which now employs over 600 people across multiple offices. Along the way, he also built an impressive investment portfolio, now called VaynerRSE, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter and Uber.
While building businesses he’s also been strategically building the GaryVee brand, which has exploded in the recent years with his current YouTube show and new book by the same name, #AskGaryVee. Still very active and innovative on social media, he has over a million diehard twitter followers and can be seen regularly in magazines and on television.
Here are five practices we can learn from Gary Vaynerchuk on building business and brands, but most importantly, building lasting success:
1. Practice patience.
Vaynerchuk attributes the quick growth and early success of Wine Library to a long-term mindset.
“We’d built a $25 million business in a second, but I only paid myself $47,000 dollars a year, because if I paid myself $250,000, that’s [money] that can’t go into a new employee or an ad.”
Vaynerchuk did 1000 episodes of WineLibraryTV, knowing eventually it would pay off. He wants to make his money in the long-term, explaining that that leads to having “unlimited leverage.” Vaynerchuk says to think of your customer relationships as marriages rather than one-night stands. Anytime you go in for the sale, realize that you’ve changed that relationship.
“You can make some quick dimes and miss out on long-term dollars.”
2. Practice self-awareness.
One of Vaynerchuk’s greatest attributes, he says, is his keen awareness of his strengths and weaknesses. He is also aware that he has a natural knack for human behavior and market trends, which he bets on heavily.
“You have to know who you are," he says. "I know who I am, and I only play to my strengths. The one thing that makes me different, is I understand what you’re thinking before you do it. I just have that and know what to do.
3. Practice observation.
Another differentiator for Vaynerchuk is that unlike many successful people, he does not read books, listen to the leading business podcasts or even watch fellow YouTubers. But that does not mean he’s not studying.
“I spend every minute watching every person do things," he says. "I only pay attention to my community and human beings. When I go to the airport, I just watch people -- that’s how I discovered Snapchat years ago.”
4. Practice serving.
Vaynerchuk’s first true act of service was going into the family business, even though he didn’t want to, knowing many people would attribute his future successes to the legacy of his father.
“I used to cry when I was 19 and 20, and tell my mom I didn’t want to go into the family business," he says.
Another place he is obviously serving well is in his own company is placing high importance on company culture, giving his employees face time, often hugging them and even telling them, “I love you.”
Vaynerchuk explains why he gives so much of his content away for free-- because eventually, he will sell. He will “go for the right hook” as he calls it, after jabbing with hours and hours of free value. But if you watch all of those hours, it becomes evident that he also genuinely wants to help marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners “get it.” He shares that as famous as he is, he will always gladly pause for a selfie or make time for podcast interviews.
“I’m flattered," he says. "I will never get too big to think this isn’t cool -- that I can help you, that people want to hear me.”
5. Practice. Period.
Vaynerchuk cringes when people call him a social-media guru or motivational speaker. He does not want to be remembered as either. Though he wants to help and motivate, he wants to be remembered as a keen business man and a hustler. I believe if entrepreneurs can learn one very important lesson from him, it’s that your actions needs to be as big as your goals. His dream is to own the New York Jets, so he puts in the 18 hour days that dream requires.
“Work is always the answer," he says. "A billion ideas are going to be thought through by people today that could be a $100 million businesses in six years -- but only four are going to execute on them.”
For more insights from the interview, check out the video above.