13 min read ⌚
Quick Summary: “Crushing It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk, a follow-up to his decade younger classic “Crush It!” is an evidence-based exploration of the world of influencers, and a pretty useful practical manual—coupled with chapter-length reviews of all major social platform—on how to use this knowledge to build a successful personal-brand-based business.
Who Should Read “Crushing It”? And Why?
As the title suggests, Crushing It! is the decade-younger cousin of Crush It!, which means if you’ve read that Vaynerchuk classic and loved it, then this is where you should be heading next.
Perfectly suited for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Crushing It Summary
I: Get Pumped
1: The Path Is All Yours
In 2009, Gary Vaynerchuk—a name you’re certainly already familiar with if you know anything about modern business and marketing strategies—published Crush It!.
In the words of Vaynerchuk himself, “to teach entrepreneurs how to monetize their passion by using social media to build a strong personal brand to attract customers and advertisers to their websites, as well as transform them into such trusted experts or entertainment figures that brands and outlets would pay them to talk, consult, and attend events”
In other words, Crush It! was one of the very first books to suggest that now was the time to build a strong personal brand and earn money out of your own likes and dislikes—literally.
True, the book never once mentioned the word “influencer,” but if the description above doesn’t spell “influencer” for you, then you’re not reading something correctly.
Just a few relevant stats are more than enough to vindicate Vaynerchuk:
•YouTube’s daily viewership is closing in on TV’s 1.25 billion hours per day, as television viewership falls every year;
• One in every five minutes spent on mobile is spent on Facebook’s apps and services;
• Every minute, 65,900 videos and photos are posted on Instagram.
• Over 3 billion snaps are created each day on Snapchat, where over 60 percent of ads are watched with the audio on.
To put that in more practical terms, “even with only a thousand followers, an entry-level Instagrammer could earn about $5,000 per year with just two posts a week, and ten thousand followers could net almost $20,000 per year.”
“When it comes to professional opportunities,” Vaynerchuk notes, “this is the best time to be alive in the history of humankind.”
So, what are you waiting for?
2: What (Still) Matters
“While it can be hard to pinpoint why some influencers build attractive, lucrative personal brands that succeed beyond their wildest expectations,” notes Vaynerchuk at the beginning of the second chapter, “it’s not hard to figure out why so many who attempt to do it fail.”
“In general,” he goes on, “it’s because they’re putting their energies into the wrong things. They care, but not enough about what really matters. And what really matters is a pretty short list: intent, authenticity, passion, patience, speed, work, and attention.”
Let’s have a look at all of them.
It all starts with your intent, aka your why. In other words, before doing anything business-related, ask yourself why do you want to be an entrepreneur and/or why do you want to be an influencer?
If the answer is because of the money, then you can be sure, straight away, that you’ll fail.
Whether it’s to share your knowledge or to help people, to have fun with a creative outlet or to create community, to build something that leaves a legacy or to make other people enjoy their lives more—these are all great reasons to start a business.
Making money is not.
So, center your activities around these three altruistic values: a commitment to service, a desire to provide value, and a love of teaching.
And Vaynerchuk promises—you won’t go wrong.
Your intent will immediately be reflected in your authenticity.
True, sometimes fakes start off well, but the audience is pretty great in noticing fakes and, in time, they fail.
“Authenticity,” notes justly Vaynerchuk, “is a welcome relief to consumers who live in a society where they constantly feel that they’re being taken advantage of or hearing only parts of the whole story.”
If you’ve watched Dead Poets Society, you already know that this is where not only business, but actual, authentic life begins: with passion.
You know why?
Because things will inevitably get rough. And if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, when that happens, you’ll probably give up.
“We’re on this earth for only a short time,” writes Vaynerchuk, “and the bulk of our adult days are spent at work. It’s worth taking the steps necessary to make sure those hours are as rewarding, productive, and enjoyable as possible.”
Here’s something they rarely tell you: the money won’t start flowing right off the bat.
On the contrary, in fact: you’ll need to put in the effort for some time, almost without the benefit of an audience or, consequently, feedback.
And even when the money eventually comes, you need to invest it back in your business to make it grow.
Many people are impatient, and they spend it straight away on watches, suits, and all kinds of flash, thus robbing themselves of the opportunity to do something better for the long term.
Don’t be one of those people: be patient.
It might seem strange to follow up on patience with speed, but Vaynerchuk is quick to point out that this isn’t a contradiction.
And that’s because while patience is for the long term, speed is for the short term.
In other words, the world is spinning fast nowadays, so gravitate toward things that will make you more efficient and allow you to do your work faster.
Because, if you don’t do it today, someone else will.
You need to be constantly in the mode, says Vaynerchuk, even if that means making a lot of mistakes.
“Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me,” he writes, channeling his inner Wayne Gretzky. “Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss—which means you win either way. Hear me now: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right.”
This lesson is so important that it’s bolded in the book: when you first start out, there is no time for leisure.
That’s why entrepreneurship is a young man’s game: you need a lot of stamina to get your business and your personal brand off the ground.
You’re never too young to start.
As we said above, things are changing fast today, so it’s your mistake if you get too comfortable on one platform and stop developing solid skills on the others.
You have to pay attention to everything: trends, controversies, scandals, other influencers, and entrepreneurs.
Remember the time when you weren’t sure if you wanted to open an account on Instagram?
Well, people were already mastering it at the time.
They may be millionaires today.
3: The Eighth Essential—Content
Speaking of mastering things—there’s apparently one you don’t really need to master. And that one is the eighth thing that matters, the eighth essential: content.
Too many people think that they’ll never master editing, camera work, lighting, movements, or writing style. And that’s why they never start producing content.
However, that’s not how the world of influencing works: all you need to do is keep producing high-quality content, and with high consistency.
Much better than waiting to master Adobe Premiere to start producing it, is to just start documenting your life, just like Vaynerchuk does (he employs a videographer who films almost everything he does, except confidential meetings and bathroom visits).
You know why?
Because when you document your life on a daily basis, you are, at the very least, an authentic voice.
And that’s already more than many people are.
4: What’s Stopping You?
Social media personality Shaun “Shonduras” McBride has once defined entrepreneur as “someone who finds a way.”
And you know the other side of that coin: a failed entrepreneur is someone who finds excuses.
The three most common excuses people use are the following:
• Fear of Failure
• Fear of Wasting Time
• Fear of Seeming Vain
Gary Vaynerchuk’s three pieces of advice to tackle these three fears are, in order:
• “There will always be people around you to tell you not to do things. You have to let yourself be your sole judge and jury.”
• “School and the nine-to-five grind are not going anywhere… People are so scared they’ll be wasting time if they try to build a business, even when their time isn’t valuable.”
• “Everyone’s an ass until they’re a pioneer.”
5: The Only Thing You Need to Give Yourself to Crush It
Anecdotes and success stories aside, this is almost certainly one of the shortest chapters you’ll ever find.
It consists of just one word which answers the implied question from its title:
II: Create Your Pillar
6: First, Do This
“No matter what kind of influencer you want to become,” writes Gary Vaynerchuk straightforwardly, “everyone must start with this step: create a Facebook business page.”
That’s the very first, non-negotiable step, the cost of entry to building a personal brand.
7: Get Discovered
Once you open a Facebook page, you need to start creating and developing breakthrough opportunities for yourself in these two manners:
• Hashtags, “a strategy that requires an unbelievably long grind”;
• Direct-messaging, i.e., “reaching out directly to people and offering something of value in return for their attention, a strategy that requires an unbelievably long grind.”
As you can see, the keywords are “unbelievably long grind.”
In most cases, that means years—not months—before you get discovered.
“If that bothers you,” says, Vaynerchuk, “close the book.”
If that’s not the case, then on the following pages of it—basically, the second half of the book—you’ll be able to Vaynerchuk’s reviews and 101 intros to the major social platforms in existence.
Since the time the book was published, Musical.ly was bought by TikTok, and that’s the name under which it is famous now.
Famous, you say? How come I’ve never heard of it?
Well, that’s because you’re not aged between seven and seventeen.
If you were, then you would have been one of the hundreds of millions of pre-teens and teens who regularly use this platform to share very short videos.
In fact, 1 of 6 teenagers is most excited about musical.ly—not Twitter, not Facebook, not Instagram or Snapchat.
Best suited for entertainers, musical.ly is the way to go if you are a comedian, dancer, or a singer.
So, what are you waiting for: the time is ticking… tik-tok, tik-tok…
Gary is pretty big into Snapchat, and he believes that this is one of the most underestimated mediums available for building a personal brand.
After all, it only should be—with about 200 million active daily users!
But there’s one more reason Gary likes Snapchat so much: it is where you can be an authentic human being.
Unlike the unreal photos shared on Instagram, Snapchat stories are unedited and unshareable—but that’s what makes them attractive.
True, it may be tricky for marketers to build a brand with no hashtags and with self-destructing content.
But not making quick sales is a small price to pay for showing your rawest and unfiltered true self to your audience.
Remember: authenticity always wins people.
And it is people who make sales.
Hands down, Gary has the best definition of Twitter we’ve ever read:
“Twitter is the water cooler of society, that place where everyone goes to get the latest update on whatever news or pop-culture event is occurring. The only difference is that, while office workers used to have to wait until the day after an event to gather around and share their knowledge and opinions, now that conversation is happening in real time, 24/7.”
Consequently, Twitter is all about two of the seven essentials: speed and attention.
So, catch the latest trends and stories and use the twitter power to get ahead in the game.
As we’ve already mentioned in our summary of the first chapter, TV’s got nothing on YouTube, the video platform so big you should not even think about ignoring.
On the contrary: just start using it!
Of course, you may think that you’re not interesting and that you’ve got no video skills whatsoever, but, as we said above, that is beside the point.
YouTube is so big you’ll definitely find some kind of audience, no matter how specific your niche is.
Just think of it this way: there are videos with over half a million views which document nothing but garage sales!
What’s so interesting about them? you ask.
So, start documenting your life and your passions. And upload your videos on YouTube. If nobody discovers them—then, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed about. If someone does—then you’ve got a potential subscriber.
As we said above, creating a Facebook page is the first thing you should do before starting any kind of business.
Ignore all those people who are saying that Facebook is not that in anymore: people have been saying that for years, and the last time we checked, Facebook was still one of the most visited sites on the Internet.
And the best thing about it: there’s no better platform to target your audience than Facebook. This is true even if you have a small budget.
Start doing something.
There’s no better way to connect with other influencers than Instagram.
You know why?
Three reasons: 1) it’s the young people’s network; 2) it’s where the influencers are mostly; and 3) it’s where you can send them a private message.
Instagram may seem too polished, but we’ve never heard people complaining that there’s too much beauty or too much sun on those Instagram photos.
Plus: there’s no other platform where an egg is the most liked photo of all times, is there?
People nowadays are just too busy to read or watch films when they have time. Because, well, they never do: most of the time they’re doing something else.
And if that something else means riding the bus or the subway, then it feels like time lost.
Thus, the basis of the podcasts appeal.
Why reading this summary when you can listen to it from start to finish on the go?
If that feels like a rhetorical question, then you know what to do: start a podcast.
For introverted people, podcasts are better than YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram combined: you never have to show your face and, yet, build an audience of thousands or even tens of thousands.
If you are shy and afraid that the podcast market is crowded today, then there’s an even better way to communicate with your audience: voice-first content delivered through digital assistants such as Google’s Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
Gary says that voice-first is the future of interaction. And he’s usually right, isn’t he?
Key Lessons from “Crushing It”
1. If You Want to Start a Business—These Are the Eight Things That Really Matter
2. Conquer the Three Fears Which Prevent You from Becoming an Entrepreneur
3. Create a Facebook Business Page—And Then Rummage Through the SM Platforms
If You Want to Start a Business—These Are the Eight Things That Really Matter
According to Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneurs who fail to succeed don’t fail because they don’t care—they fail because they care for the wrong things.
And he says that there are no more than eight things worth caring about: the right intent, being authentic, being passionate about your job, being patient, being fast, hard work, being attentive to new trends and creating high quality and consistent content.
Conquer the Three Fears Which Prevent You from Becoming an Entrepreneur
Unfortunately, many young people give up on their dreams because of certain fears. Vaynerchuk believes that all of these fears belong to one of the following three categories: fear of failure, fear of wasting time, and fear of seeming vain.
The truth is: everybody who tries fails, but those who don’t try have already failed. An even bigger truth is that you’re already wasting your time and that you’re not vain if you share knowledge with other people who want that knowledge shared.
So, stop thinking—and start doing things.
Create a Facebook Business Page—And Then Rummage Through the SM Platforms
The first step of becoming an entrepreneur is opening a Facebook page, the hub for your social media presence.
Then, you want to get discovered through the smart use of hashtags and direct messages.
All of the platforms available—TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, podcasts, and voice-first—can help you do this, so research them and use their advantages to make your mark.
Sometimes this process takes years, so be in it for the long run.
And be prepared to endure it.
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Crushing It QuotesYou just have to make the choice to actually do it. I am so tired of excuses. Why not try something new? Be optimistic, exhibit patience, shut your mouth, and execute. Click To Tweet Always put your money back into your business. Click To Tweet If you’re not 100 percent happy with your life today, it is never a waste of time to try something that could get you there. Click To Tweet When it comes to professional opportunities, this is the best time to be alive in the history of humankind. Click To Tweet What worked for me won’t work for you, however, and vice versa. That’s why self-awareness is so vital—you have to be true to yourself at all times. Click To Tweet
There’s a reason why Gary Vaynerchuk is considered a social media expert: he not only talks the talk but walks the walk as well.
A constant presence there, Vaynerchuk has made a name for himself as someone you should follow, because he follows the right things and trends.
The same applies to his books and Crushing It! is no exception: there’s a reason why this book became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, and why it has been endorsed by people such as John Mayer and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
It’s because Vaynerchuk tactics work in practice as well.