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Gary Vee’s Principles To Successfully Build An Online Personal Brand – Crushing It Book Review

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If you are into personal development, then you must of have stumbled upon Gary Vee somewhere on the Internet. I have to say that he is one of the most inspirational speakers out there. For those who don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is (also known as Gary Vee), he is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and internet personality. He first made himself public through his Wine Library show on Youtube way back in 2006. This was the very early days of Youtube and Gary is a pioneer in utilizing this platform to grow his business and his own personal branding. Through Youtube, Gary was able to grew his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million. He then moved on to start his own business called VaynerMedia, specialized in digital marketing and social media.

In this article, I will give you an overview of Gary Vee’s principles in building an online personal brand as outlined in “Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – and How You Can, Too”. The book is essentially an updated version of his original book “Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion”, which was published back in 2009. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read both. Gary himself have said that you don’t need to read Crush It to understand Crushing It. The latest book give an update on new social media platforms that didn’t exist when he published the original book. Moreover, it also includes the addition of success stories from entrepreneurs who have successfully built their personal brands based on the principles and ideas in Crush It.

Want the audiobook version of “Crushing It!” for FREE? Click here to claim your free audiobook on Amazon with Audible trial! 

The Concept Of Personal Branding

But what is a personal brand in the first place? According to Wikipedia “personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” In another word, personal branding is a process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about you and your expertise. The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters.

Gary Vee is a great example of personal branding. His name is associated with VaynerMedia, and he is perceived as the expert in digital marketing and social media. So whenever a company is thinking of hiring a marketing agency, his personal brand will instantly pop up as the first choice. In short, when you’re selling a very similar product/service/content to someone else, it’s your personal brand and liveability that will set you apart and keep people coming back. What if you don’t have a product or service to sell? Well, personal brands can be monetized in a lot of ways, and you do not necessary need to have your own product. As an influencer, you can promote other people products as well. Like a startup, a personal brand doesn’t need a business model right from the start. You can figure it out as you go.

How hard is it to build a personal brand? Social media has broken down the traditional barriers so that now anyone can make an income off their passion, no matter what it is. There are many online success stories out there, where the entrepreneurs had no clue what they were doing at the beginning (you will learn about them in the book). And you are not an exception. It’s definitely not easy, but anyone can do if they are patient enough and willing to put in the work.

7 Essentials To Build A Personal Brand

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation, and that applies to business as well. Here is the list of 7 foundations to successfully build a personal brand as mentioned in Crushing It:

  1. Intent: People can sense when we are just only using them for our personal gain, and if that is your intent then it most likely won’t work out very well in the long term. Great entrepreneurs do it in altruistic ways. When you are genuinely want to provide value to people, they will automatically follow you for your content.
  2. Authenticity: Similar to intent, people can also sense it when you’re being fake. You won’t fool anybody by posing as a life coach or a leadership expert on Instagram or Facebook. Be transparent to your audience. Don’t pretend to be an expert to teach them something when you are not. But rather, document your learning process and learn alongside your audience.
  3. Passion: You come across more credible and entertaining when you talk about the thing you love. If you don’t love what you do, you are just another youtuber, another worker, another person in the business world. It’s finding something that you are truly passionate about, something that you are willing to live and breath, the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning that will set you apart from the rest and guarantee success. Passion is your backup generator when all your other energy sources start to sputter.
  4. Patience: One thing most people are missing is patience. People expect things to happen instantly, and don’t realize that success takes time. You have to deploy patience and have to love the process. You won’t be an expert in something overnight, just as the saying goes “it takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”
  5. Speed: Patience is for the long term, while speed is for the short term. You have to constantly be in the mode to take action, rather than wasting time debating whether or not to do something because you are unsure if you are good enough. You can always learn as you go.
  6. Work: It takes a lot of work to take a business of the ground, or to establish a personal brand in this case. If you’re not willing to put in the work, you won’t be able to succeed.  
  7. Attention: In a constant changing digital world, what is working today might not work tomorrow. You have to keep your eyes open and constantly searching for new opportunities. It’s deadly for you to get comfortable and stop developing new skills to enhance your business and personal brand.         

These 7 foundations are essential in building a strong personal brand. If you’re a follower of Gary Vee, then you must of heard him preaching about these 7 principles in almost all of his content.

Select Your Pillar

Now, you might ask yourself “where do I begin?”. First you should be self aware of who you are and what you are capable of. Are you an extrovert, who loves to be in front of the camera talking? If so then video content is the perfect fit for you. Or are you an introvert, who is more comfortable of expressing yourself through text? Then consider blogging. If you are in between, then podcast might be a better choice. Or better yet, you can do all three.

After you’ve crafted your content strategy, you can then choose a social platform that best fits your target audience. However, that doesn’t mean you only choose one and neglect all the others. You should try them all, and see what works best. Here are eight popular platforms that you should check out:

  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Podcasts
  • Voice-First

The book talks in more details about the pros and cons of each platform, and how you can utilize each in your advantage. But regardless of which platform you chose, according to Gary, you should always have a Facebook fan page. It is the ultimate social media platform that offers you the most flexibility. If you don’t have a Facebook fan page already, then you should create one right now.

The 8th Essential

Selecting your social media channels is just the beginning. The real work is to create content, not just regular content, but great content. Gary called this the “eighth essential”. Out of all the noise and distraction of all kind of things on the Internet, quality is a tremendous filter for your content. It is the key to build up your personal branding in the digital age. This concept is repeatedly emphasized in various of Gary’s books, including Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. This book offers a more practical approach to managing and creating outstanding content online.

The Blueprint To Build A Personal Brand

This is my summary on Gary’s personal branding strategies from reading Crushing It:

  • Establish what your passion is.
  • Make sure you are able to articulate your passion and talk about it better than anyone else doing the same thing.
  • Build your brand on solid foundations
  • Choose your primary medium: video, audio, written word.
  • Have a name for your personal brand
  • Try out all available social media channels regardless if you like it or not. Facebook is a must.
  • Post your content.
  • Start creating community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs and forums and replying to comments to your own comment.
  • Find accounts or users on social media that are relevant to your topic, reach out to them and create conversation.
  • Similarly, find blogs relevant to your topic. Create more community.
  • Do it again
  • And again
  • Be patient, it takes time
  • Once your community has been established and your personal brand is out there and reaching masses, reach out to advertisers to begin monetising.
  • If you work hard and keep pushing, opportunities will find you instead.

And that is the end of my review of Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book goes into much more details on what I have explained here. It also includes multiple success stories of people who were inspired by his original book Crush It. If you’re looking to up your game in social media, or building an online personal brand then this book is a must read. The information is all there, it’s just a matter of you executing.

Disclosure: my posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thank you!

Get the audiobook version of “Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too” for FREE with Audible trial on Amazon today by clicking here!


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  1. […] Check out my full review of the book here […]

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