Gary Vaynerchuk

7 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned From Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is known by many, especially by those in the world of business, marketing and social media. In case you’ve heard his name for the first time, he’s an entrepreneur and a social media mogul who’s invested in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber or Medium.

Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t someone you could easily set up a meeting with and so following his schedule is the most guaranteed way to meet him.

Gary’s main purpose to come to London was to launch his new #AskGaryVee book during the event in Central London, whose tickets sold out within a few weeks.

Since a lot of people didn’t get a chance to get the ticket, Gary announced his late night informal meetup in London through Snapchat which, as an app, is becoming increasingly popular amongst brands and business owners in 2016.

From what everybody thought would be a short Meetup with 15 people, over 150 people turned up to see him!

Before I met Gary Vaynerchuk, I had no expectations, but an open mind. I knew he was a huge advocate of hard work and hustle. What I didn’t fully understand was his definition of hard work and what “hustle” really means to him until I met him that night

Here are my 7 takeaways I learned from him:

#1 Hard Work and Generosity

There is no substitute for hard work in the world of business. There is no secret to success or a 9-step success formula. In fact, I’d rephrase it. If you want to be successful in any area, prepare to work hard. Go beyond a regular 9-5. If you decide to work hard, you might as well do something you are passionate about. It helps. A lot!

When I think of Gary Vaynerchuk, I think of the connotations of the exact same words – hard work, hustle and the NY Jets. I think of someone who doesn’t waste a single second in his schedule.

Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Click To Tweet

Now, while all of this is true, what I didn’t realise was how incredibly generous he is as a person. I have seen him talking about the significance of investing in people and how he’s sacrificed tons of monetary opportunities for the sake of staff development because he truly cares.

Giving is an understatement when it comes to Gary Vaynerchuk.

garyvee 8

Gary Vaynerchuk is truly obsessed with his love for people. He’s someone who is able to stand by the street corner of the London’s Soho Square Garden from 10:30pm till 1am in the morning to have (unexpected) 1-to-1 sessions with over 150 people, ranging from marketers to business owners, and answer everybody’s questions.

When I say everybody, I mean literally everybody. Gary and his team haven’t left until Gary made sure he had answered everyone’s question.

His answers were all actionable tips and ideas.

I haven’t seen anybody of Gary Vaynerchuk’s calibre dedicate so much of his time to his followers. It was clear he wasn’t being “strategic” during the meetup but rather his actions and the “will to give” came from his high morals around hard work, generosity and help without asking anything in return.

That is the reason why his staff stood by him till 1am in the morning. He gives way before he takes and he gives a lot. 

#2 Reverse Engineering

If you follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s message you will notice he talks a lot about reverse engineering. Seeing the desired outcome or object, understanding the mechanics by taking it apart and figuring out the step-by-step process of achieving it.

What does this mean to marketing? Two things.

Firstly, know what’s important to your audience and deliver that to them instead of pushing your products and services onto them before gaining a customer insight.

Pull vs. push marketing.

If you can figure out “why” it is important to them, you can get an incredibly deep understanding into their decision making and serve them much better. Marketing is a science after all.

There are lots of ways to find out what’s important to your customers.

The most obvious one is listening.

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Listen to your audience and the conversations about your products and services and your company that are taking place online.

Many business owners fear the approach of online reviews in case they turn out to be negative. What they fail to realise is that these reviews give them a unique opportunity to fill the gaps within their offering and find out what to improve on.

I’ve seen this times and times again where an interaction of a company executive with an unsatisfied customer led to a higher customer loyalty and an enhanced performance within the organisation based on these learnings.

Secondly, having a right strategy in place gets you to your objective much quicker. Understanding the processes from the bird’s-eye view and building a strategy around them enhances the success of your marketing. It also provides a clear direction to follow.

In many occasions, a project will require an input and approval of various stakeholders. The more people are introduced to the project, the more opinions you will face, which will often lead to an additional time as a result and delays as a consequence.

Following an outlined strategy from the beginning mitigates such inefficiencies.

#3 Focus on You

Don’t try to emulate what your competition is doing. You can’t rely on the habits of Mark Zuckerberg or the patterns of someone else.

Do what is right for you. Do more of it. Fail often but fail fast. If you were to fail you might as well do it quick, learn and move on.

What differentiates successful entrepreneurs from the rest is not because they avoid failure but because they know failing is a part of the game so they move between failures quicker than the rest.

#4 Focus on Them

(or Audience Engagement à la Gary Vaynerchuk)

I’ve written about it here and it still surprises me when people or companies ignore it when they are being spoken to on Social Media. You wouldn’t do this in a real-life (I hope!) and social media isn’t any different.

People want to be heard, acknowledged and understood. It is deeply ingrained in everybody’s value system.

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Ignoring your audience on Social does exactly what you would not want your customers to do when they walk into your store – walk away to buy from someone else.

Interact with your audience and build relationships with them. Be where they are.

Use those Social Media platforms where your audience is rather than those you personally like. Click To Tweet

Right now, Snapchat is getting a lot of attention amongst brands, marketers and business owners.

Here is a list of 11 entrepreneurs on Snapchat who are doing it right.

Snapchat is no longer an app dominated purely by the younger age group after it has gained a lot of interest from entrepreneurs and brands who don’t underestimate the data behind it.

There are currently 8 billion daily video views (YouTube generates half of that) and 8700 pictures are being sent every second on Snapchat.

What is also interesting to think about is that the life-time of a “snap” which is a part of “Your Story” is 24 hours as opposed to a tweet or a Facebook post which aren’t mostly seen after around 3-90 minutes.

It is still very early and the best time for anybody to grow on it is right now, before the platform develops into a mainstream channel.

I have been using Snapchat extensively since the beginning of 2016 and met some incredible marketers there. What I didn’t expect at all was that I’d make it to this list of marvellous marketers in less than 2 and a half months of my engagement.

Feel free to follow me on Snapchat (Filip.Novak) for the marketing and business advice which I don’t often share elsewhere >>

#5 Every company needs to be a media company

(or Content Marketing)

Many years ago, CEOs would think you’re mad for willing to share your “trade secrets” with the public.

Today the same people realised that sharing the secrets is the key to winning the loyalty of clients and customers. Becoming an authority/thought leader within any given field is on the very agenda.

Understand what’s important to your audience. Produce content around your expertise which would be valuable to your audience.

This includes articles, videos, infographics, images, quotes, seminars, webinars, events etc..

Most companies are already experts on the given subject in their field and so creating content around it in a creative way is key. Information about every single topic is now widely accessible online and when the problem for your customer arises, they reach for this information. Daily.

It is 2016 after all and there aren’t any secrets anymore.

Hubspot, an Inbound Marketing Software platform, did exactly that. While their competition kept their content close to the chest, they shared almost everything which had established them as the leader they are today.

Companies have 2 options here.

One, let their potential customer consume content from them, or two, allow their customer access the information from someone else.

I will let you decide, but I already know what your answer is. 🙂

#6 Relationship Marketing

Relationship Marketing is becoming more and more important for brands in 2016.

Instead of a short sales cycle, Gary Vaynerchuk focuses on a long-term relationship building. There is nothing wrong with a short sales cycle, i.e. needing to raise funds in a limited amount of time.

However, your overall actions should not be defined by the objectives of a single event.

garyvee on the street

Focus on the long-term value.

In Gary’s words: “I hope you give me your email address in 9 years based on the value I am providing to you now.”

It is a metaphor but it sums up how he operates. The fun part is, that he’s known to leave huge sums of money on a table for the sake of genuine care and help without asking anything in return because relationships are so much more important to him than money.

It starts with care first.

How you make your money is so much more important that how much you make. @garyvee Click To Tweet

#7 Self-awareness

Self-awareness means recognising your own strengths and weaknesses, understanding your own emotions, how certain situations impact your feelings and what you think and do as a result.

Do your emotions rule you or do you have them under control? Observation and self-awareness are crucial to self-confidence and certainty.

Knowing what you can and can’t do is key so that you could focus your energy on activities that come natural to you and outsource/delegate activities that are not your forte.

Everyone who is successful in any shape or form will tell you to work towards your strengths and around your weaknesses.

Put yourself in a position to succeed. @garyvee Click To Tweet

Putting yourself in a position to succeed doesn’t mean you have to win the top spot immediately, but you must put yourself in a situation where it’s possible for you to win later. It means sticking to what you’re doing and being patient.

Patience is underestimated by many these days. This makes me think of J.K. Rowling who was rejected by 12 publishers before the Harry Potter series became the fastest-selling in history.

GaryVee quote1

Business takes time. Marketing takes time. Branding takes time. Success take time. Everything comes to those who refuse to give up.

Take action today, and reap the rewards tomorrow.

Hope that helps.

Until next time!



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Featured header image by: @PrasadPBhat



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