Gary Vaynerchuk (VAY NER CHUK), the star of Wine Library TV, is Director of Operations at Wine Library in Springfield, NJ. With his unconventional, often irreverent commentary on wine, Gary has attracted a cult-like following of more than 80,000 viewers a day. In the name of “expanding one’s palate”, Gary convinced Conan O’Brien to lick salted rocks and shared samples of dirt and grass with Ellen Degeneres. He routinely pans popular wines (even ones sold by Wine Library). He interrupts his webcasts with rants about his beloved New York Jets. This is not your typical wine expert.

Wine Library grew from a $4 million dollar business to a $45 million business. If that’s not enough to toast about, Gary also authored Crush it!

I read Crush it! after several people recommended that I do so. It is an easy to follow, high-energy guide for entrepreneurs and would-be business owners that will get readers fired up to turn their passion into a profitable venture. He gives step by step instructions on how to harness the power of social media to build your personal brand and your business. He makes the case that everyone needs a personal brand as the business environment has changed. Among other observations, he notes that the day of the traditional bullet point, word document resume is over, and that even if you are not going to venture out on your own, you need to have a strong online brand if you want to get hired. He does a great job of not candy coating the ease at which this feat will be executed. It is hard work.  Crush it! also explains how to turn a passion and/or hobby into a profession. However, he is realistic about what people can expect to earn.  The author doesn’t promise everyone that they will become millionaires, but it is possible to earn as much for yourself (mid 5 figures) as you might toiling away for someone else doing something that you’re not passionate about.

Key takeaways:

1.     Become an expert. Create bonds with other professionals in your field and to share your ideas and expertise on the social networks.

2.     Be true to your DNA and know that you can’t be all things to all people, but that’s OK. You will still appeal to an audience, your audience…as long as you are authentic.  Gary uses himself as an example. He knows that his outspoken, loud style does not appeal to all wine lovers (he has a popular vlog about wine and video wine library). We couldn’t agree more. We wrote about being who you are recently. You should also choose the online forum that is best suited to your personality: blog, vlog, podcast, etc.

3.     Even introverts can be charismatic. He believes that when people are passionate about something, their genuine excitement about the subject comes through and they become charismatic.

4.     You can monetize ANY passion, Gary uses someone who expounds on worms as fish bait as an example. But, passion alone is not enough. You will have to work hard (he mentions a 3AM bedtime for people starting their online biz after their day job and he says there will be no time for much of anything other than meals, family time and work).

5.     This endeavor is going to take a while to take off. He tells his audience not to expect huge results in less than 12 months, but that probably won’t matter since you will love what you are doing so much.

6.     Even with all the content out on the web, it is STILL possible to differentiate yourself and become number one in your space. Gary writes,  “to everyone who is freaking out because they fear the noise and distraction of all the additional content on the Internet, you can relax. Quality is a tremendous filter. Cream also rises, my friends, no matter how many cups of coffee you pour.”

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