If you love entrepreneurship, wine, or social media, you also love Gary Vaynerchuk. The “wine guy” helped grow his father’s wine business from 3 million to 60 million in just 5 years, with the help of an innovative wine tasting YouTube show launched in 2006. The daily show grew his personal brand, landing him appearances on shows like Ellen and Conan, and attracting over 1 million twitter followers. In 2009, he took his social media knowledge and founded VaynerMedia, which now advises athletes and celebrities, and boasts over 600 employees in multiple offices across the globe. He also started investing along the way, and now has interest in Tumblr, Facebook and Snapchat, to name a few.
If all this wasn’t enough, the F student who admits he doesn’t read well, just wrote his fourth New York Times bestselling book, #AskGaryVee. This recent title is based on his popular YouTube show of the same name, where entrepreneurs and marketers write in seeking Vaynerchuk’s advice.
Clearly, this guy knows what he’s doing. So many entrepreneurs don’t, which is why 50% of flashy brands and exciting startups fizzle out within five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To make it past the 5 year mark, here are Vaynerchuk’s 5 steps to lasting success:
1. Be Patient. Really Patient.
Vaynerchuk did 1000 episodes of WineLibraryTV. Even though people still weren’t paying attention after over 100 epiosdes, he kept at it, knowing eventually it would pay off. (It did, after about a year, or the three-hundreth-and-something episode.) Vaynerchuk attributes his success 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 says beginning entrepreneurs need to think of customer and social media relationships as marriages rather than one-night stands. Anytime you go in for the ask, for a sale, share, or follow, realize that you’ve changed the relationship.
“You can make some quick dimes and miss out on long-term dollars,” he explained.
2. Get To Know Thyself.
You wouldn’t expect a millionaire CEO to go on expletive-laced rants about self-awareness, but this one does. Too many founders don’t know their true desires, strengths and weaknesses.
“You have to know who you are,” he says. “I know who I am, and I only play to my strengths.”
3. Get To Know Thy Market.
Unlike many successful people, Vaynerchuk does not read books, listen to the leading podcasts or even watch his fellow YouTubers. But he absolutely believes in studying. Many business owners today spend too much time consuming and learning and not enough time studying what matters – their market. Vaynerchuk spends as much time as he can watching human behavior, which informs marketing decisions for his own brand, and strategies for VaynerMedia’s clients.
“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. Get to Know (and Love) Thy People.
Right now the monetary promise of entrepreneurship is hot, especially the idea of making millions in “passive income” through “lifestyle entreprenurship.” But Vaynerchuk clearly values people more than money. He went into the family business, even though he didn’t want to.
“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.
Still, he chose to serve his family anyway. If you watch his newest youtube show, DailyVee, where a camera follows him around all day, you’ll notice it early on. He clearly loves his family, friends and even employees, placing a high importance on company culture, giving his employees face time, often hugging them and even telling them, “I love you.”
Vaynerchuk is not trying to fool anyone. He openly admits that he gives so much of his content away for free because eventually, he will sell. He uses a boxing metaphor to explain that he will “go for the right hook”, after jab jab jabbing with hours and hours of free value. But if you watch all of those hours, it is evident that he genuinely wants to help marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners “get it.”
He shares that as famous as he is becoming, 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. Work, work, work, work.
Who cares what the other words in Rihanna’s song are? Work is the only one that matters, according to Vaynerchuk. Rookie entrepreneurs often underestimate just how much hustle – to use Vaynerchuk’s term – it takes to succeed. He cringes when people introduce him as a social-media guru or motivational speaker. He wants to be remembered as a keen business man and a hustler.
If we entrepreneurs can learn one lesson from him, in my opinion, it’s that our actions need to be as big as our goals. His dream is to eventually buy the New York Jets, so he puts in the 18 hour days to prove it.
“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 “GaryVee”, check out my video interview with him.