Book notes: Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk book summary notes.

Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and how You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk


Synopsis: “Four-time New York Times best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk offers new lessons and inspiration drawn from the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who rejected the predictable corporate path in favor of pursuing their dreams by building thriving businesses and extraordinary personal brands.

In this lively, practical, and inspiring audiobook, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. Crushing It! illuminates some little-known nuances and provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.

Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I saw this pop up on my Audible recommends when it was recently released, and immediately threw it into my cart. Anything Gary Vaynerchuk is a guaranteed listen, as I’ve read all his other books (minus the one that’s print-only) and follow his IG posts, which are super inspirational. I’ve heard he has some good material on his YT channel as well. Either way, I’m super excited about this one. Especially because I’m going to be starting up/reviving my own YT channel and will need some good advice on how to build my personal brand. Details coming soon…

Key notes:

  • Self-awareness is vital. You have to be true to yourself at all times
  • An influencer is someone who garners such a big audience of followers on social media that brands offer to pay that person to attend events, take selfies with products, or talk about services
    • You’ve become a true influencer when people pay you to just be you
  • It’s a matter of survival to think beyond the current success and constantly look for ways to create new ones so that you’re never limited to one platform or even one topic
    • How? By creating a personal brand that is so powerful that it transcends platforms, products, and even your passion
    • Show up with value first, then we can learn how to make money around it later
  • It’s not about how much you know, it’s about how much you care
    • We can create anything we want if we have the passion, the energy, the hustle, and commitment to our vision
    • If you show up with that energy and intensity every single day, good things are going to happen
  • Your intent will be reflected in your authenticity
    • You will be 1000 times more successful if you wake up eager to share and create something because you believe the world will enjoy it rather than because you have calculated that this is what you need to do to become an “Instagram celebrity”
  • Passion is important because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to be that much more likely to quit when shits hard
    • You don’t even have to be passionate about the product or service you’re offering
    • What’s imperative is that you’re passionate about giving
  • Embrace your DNA
  • Storytell
  • Go deep, not wide
  • Everyone needs to become a brand
    • You’ve got to be you
  • It’s interesting that passion and patience go hand-in-hand
    • To live in line with your passion will probably require that you go slower than you might want to
    • It will definitely mean you say no more than you say yes
    • Bide your time. You cheapen yourself when you make deals while holding your no’s
    • Remember that you were only crushing it when you are living entirely on your own terms
  • You have no reason to start acting like something special until you actually have something special to show for it
    • Even then, don’t act special. The moment you do, you’ll start moving in the opposite direction
  • Advice: each shit for as long as you have to
    • This means be a bigger person than everyone around you
    • That means the customer is always right, you put your employees ahead of you, you don’t take many vacations
    • Live simply, be practical and calculated
    • Put yourself last
      • Once you reach your brand and business goals, then you can start to “live it up”, so to speak
  • Patience is for the long term. Speed is for the short term
    • The pressure that builds between the two produces the diamond
  •  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
    • Fail fast and learn fast in order to make your successes greater
  • When you first start out, there is no time for leisure, especially if you have massive ambitions
  • Block off the important things in your life first, or try to find ways to incorporate your family into your business
  • Don’t forget sleep. 6-8 hours of sleep per day or night is ideal for most people
    • Just make every minute of your remaining 16-18 hours of your day count
  • Crushing it is about living on your own terms, equally satisfied with your income and your life
  • Attentive. You have to pay attention to everything
  • Pump out content on all platforms
    • Clarification: don’t pump out the same content across multiple platforms
    • Rather, develop high quality, native microcontent
    • It becomes a lot more manageable by creating one big piece of pillar content that can be splintered into other small bits of content
    •  A great piece of content is a result of passion + expertise
  • Document, don’t create
    • You can even make the learning process part of your content
    • He learned that the learning process SHOULD be your content
    • Use every platform available to document your actual life and speak your truth
      • Let people learn who you are
      • Let them watch you develop into who you want to become
    • Documenting has liberated him from the pressure of having to create all the time
  • Any success that you achieve will be predicated on the quality of your content
    • You can’t put out mediocre videos and blogs and get anything but mediocre results
    • Document the process. It’s an amazing thing to see talent grow and to bear witness to the evolution of greatness
      • Someday you can be that kind of inspiration to others if you capture your journey
  • Avoid being a perfectionist
    • Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s totally subjective
    • We earn peoples respect and loyalty when we let them see us up close and dirty
    • Knowing that should ease any misperception that you have to start the process fully formed
  • What’s stopping you? Align all eight of the essentialsand you have the closest thing to a formula for crushing it that he can offer:
    1. Intent
    2. Authenticity
    3. Passion
    4. Patience
    5. Speed
    6. Work ethic
    7. Ability to track customer attention
    8. Master social platforms and content
  • We are always more effective against the demons we know and can identify then the ones hiding in the dark
  • There are only three types of Fear, each of which require a different response:
    1. Fear of failure
      • That’s what people say they are afraid of, but Gary thinks they are really afraid of being judged by people whose opinions mean something to them
      • Communicate with the important people around you and face the problem of your fear of their opinion head-on
    2. Fear of wasting time
      • If you are under 35, they shouldn’t be an issue
      • You can always go back to the practical world in 24 months if you stink or hate what you are doing
      • If you are not 100% happy with your life today, it’s never a waste of time try and do something that could get you there
    3. Fear of seeming vain
      • Developing a strong personal brand leads to business success
      • Everyone is an ass until they are a pioneer
  • The only thing you need to give yourself to crush it: Permission.
  • Dig deep into what you know best or love most, or better yet both, and start creating content
    • Follow the blueprint: go deep, go niche, and provide real value in the form of entertainment or information
    • First step is to create a Facebook page, which is the cost of entry to building a personal brand
  • Direct messaging, i.e. reaching out directly to people offering something of value in return for their attention, a strategy that requires an unbelievably long
    • Collaborations are absolutely the most tried-and-true way of growing a Fanbase quickly, quickly being a relative term
  • It doesn’t matter how long a platform lasts. What matters is that it exists
    • If you’re seeking to build your audience, go where the audience goes, wherever that platform may be
  • Writing hashtags is one of the bedrocks of social media and the key to discoverability
    • On, one of the best things is to look at the trending hashtags and then create content around those trending tags
  • The best way to reach out to a community is to become a part of a community
    • Engage, comment, share, and create without asking anyone for anything

Readers note: I should ask myself, what communities can I become a part of to engage, or how can I create my own community?

  • More often than not, people who produce content for people like themselves often hit their mark better than people who are one step away from their audience
  • Snapchat
    • Snapchat is underestimated
    • It is a platform for raw content
    • Whether or not Snapchat can compete over time, it is a terrific training ground to become a superior marketer and branding expert, not just a conversion-based, digital salesman
    • Remember that no one is famous only on Snapchat
      • The only way for people to discover and follow you is to cross-pollinate with other platforms
    • To be an SC influencer, you need to be strong on other platforms as well
      • The content you produce on SC has to be powerful enough to draw views on FB, YT, and IG
    • Snapchat 201: Collaborate
      • There is no discoverability in SC. People have to know who you are and be motivated to come find you and follow you
      • That makes organizing collaborations tricky as you have to reach out to people on other platforms
  • Twitter
    • Twitter is like the world’s water cooler where people connect over content and events and each other
    • Remember though, the best dinner guests are not just great storytellers but also great listeners
      • So bring all of your smarts, your wit, your cleverness to the party
      • Keep the conversation going by engaging everyone around you and watch your influence grow and your opportunities multiply
  • Discipline is backing up your ambitions with your actions
  • YouTube
    • YouTube makes him so happy. It is here that he believes he could possibly help change a life faster than anywhere else
    • Persistence is everything
    • It is certainly the most important platform for building a personal brand, though Instagram is closing the gap quickly
    • With the exception of JK Rowling, and a handful of other writers, in general over the last 30 years, video stars have financially outperformed stars in every other medium
    • Vlogging is a terrific way to document instead of create, which means literally anyone can do it
      • When you are documenting and not creating, you’re allowed to learn as you go
      • You don’t have to be an expert yet. You don’t have to be successful yet
      • The only thing you have to do is make the road to getting there interesting
      • Vlog daily and double down on whatever you see that sticks
    • YouTube isn’t going to make you charismatic or interesting, but it will expose you if you are
      • It can’t do that, however, if you don’t put yourself out there
      • Give yourself a year to adjust and try different approaches and see what kind of response you get
      • Listen to your audience
    • Ultimately it all boils down to this: don’t let perfection be your enemy
    • Everything that is happened on television can happen on YouTube
    • The point is to dream big and then make the practical adjustments necessary once you realize where your potential lies
    • Make sure you can answer the following questions:
      • Video optimization – Titles:
        • How much thought have you put into your videos titles?
        • Does it accurately reflect the video’s content?
        • Is the majority of the title viewable on mobile? Is it short and concise, emotionally driven, and/or keyword optimized?
      • Descriptions:
        • Are the top two lines of the description keyword optimized?
        • Are there links to other similar videos and playlists in the description?
        • Is there a subscribe link?
        • Are there links to your other social media accounts?
        • Are all of the links clickable and trackable?
      • Tags:
        • Are there at least 10 tags in the description?
        • Are both one word and phrase tags included?
        • Do the tags accurately reflect the video’s content?
        • Are the tags valuable? (High search volumes but low competition) Use tools like bitIQ, Google ad words planner, and keyword tool.IO
      • Thumbnails:
        • Does the videos thumbnail accurately reflect the video content?
        • If text, does it complement title?
      • About Section – Channel Description:
        • Are the top two lines keyword optimized?
        • Is the first paragraph an overview of the channel?
        • Have you included the upload scheduled?
        • Are all of the social media links clickable?
      • Playlists:
        • Does the channel have custom playlists?
        • Do the playlists have keyword optimized descriptions?
        • Are the playlists featured on the landing page of the channel?
      • Channel trailer:
        • Is the channel trailer displayed on the landing page?
        • Does it accurately reflect the channel’s content and genre?
        • Is it telling the best story in the shortest amount of time?
  • Become practitioners
    • Do your research, pay attention to all the little details, and stay true to your brand
  • Facebook
    • Facebook remains the juggernaut of the social media game
    • A platform on par with YouTube for personal brand building and wealth creation
    • Facebook offers complete and utter creative flexibility and has the greatest ad targeting product ever created
      • No one is too cool for Facebook
    • Create a Facebook page immediately because even if it is not the place where you create your pillar content for your personal brand, it is where everything you do on every other platform will come to live for the remainder of your personal brand’s existence
    • Facebook not only a canvas where you can create original content, but also an imperative distribution channel
      • The DNA a Facebook is word-of-mouth. It is the place where sharing culture has thrived beyond measure
      • It is still one of the cheapest yet most effective ad products in existence
    • The future of Facebook is video, and Mark Zuckerberg says it’s a megatrend

Readers note: Chewbacca mom! Gary is talking about how her authenticity during her live Facebook video shot her to celebrity and how she continues to use that name to spread joy and positivity. A perfect example of how people will fall in love with authenticity.

  • When you have no audience, you should be taking every opportunity to engage with people who are taking an interest in you
    • To do so otherwise is absolutely bonkers
  • Instagram
    • Except for YouTube, Instagram has created more famous people than any other platform
    • It’s a place where you can be equally successful as a content producer or a content creator, and it’s the hottest social network in terms of scale and impact
    • 7 Steps to Biz Dev
      1. Make sure your Instagram is full of incredible content
      2. Search relevant keywords
      3. Click the first hashtag (#) that shows up
      4. Click on every picture you see with that hashtag (#)
      5. Investigate every account and any linked websites to confirm that they are owned by the people and companies in your field
        • Or even if they’re not, check if they could use your services or products anyway
      6. Click on the three dots in the upper right corner of their pages and send those individuals or businesses a custom, written direct message
        • DO NOT spam and cut and paste bullshit
      7. In your message, explain what drew you to them
        •  “I love your work. I’ve always admired you. You post funny memes. This post is super creative
        • Why you are worth paying attention to (my goal is to…)
        • What value you can offer (I’d like to send you one of my…)
  • You have to love what you do
    • Example of a fashion blogger who spent a year putting in a lot of hours and hard work building her following, but hardly making any money that first year
  • Podcasts
    • Podcasts are a godsend for two reasons:
      1. Most people aren’t comfortable on camera. Podcasts are far less intimidating than video
      2. Podcast sell time. Which is why everyone, including people who rock on camera, should try to create one
    • Drivers commuting cannot watch video, but they can easily listen to podcasts
      • In the information age, podcasts allow us to efficiently and effectively maximize our knowledge
    • Podcast 101:
      • Whether you are uploading onto Spotify, Apple podcasts, sound cloud, or stitcher, or any other podcast distribution platform, there’ll be very little you can do to differentiate one from another
      • There are really no creative original ways to build a personal brand within the podcast platforms other than by producing the best content you can
      • You’ll have to promote your show through other social network channels and encourage symbiotic relationships with others who have bigger platforms than you
    • Always keep your eyes on that horizon
  • Voice first
    • Gary says voice skills is the new landgrab
    • He says to tell create your skill, your “one-minute audio tip of the day could be the thing that compels a person put your podcast on during their morning commute instead of listening to NPR or classic rock
    • Skills 101:
      1. Keep your content super brief
      2. Make it made it native. Don’t do what he did when he just transferred audio from video onto the podcast
        • Tailor your content to suit the reason why people are consuming it which is to get fast, easily digestible information nugget
      3. Make it the highest quality possible
        • He cannot stress how important it is to not treat your skill as a dumping ground
        • It is great to collect the scraps from your other content so they don’t go to waste, but study each piece of content closely, and use your imagination and creativity to craft something new and fresh with them
    • Your content needs to be short and tight
    • You need to be remarkable right out the gate or else you’ll be shut down
    • Voice first is going to be a huge pillar in our communications
    • His intuition is that all brands in the how-to space will flock to voice first by 2020, and they will battle to be the ones chosen to teach people to make cookies, make wine, get better at chess and clean carpets, etc

Personal note: I should go after this land grab and compile a sort of “one minute book summary” voice skill or whatever. Summarize the book in a nutshell and 3 key ideas, or action items, or questions to ponder or how to apply concepts.

Action item: learn how to build an Alexa skill, look up how to do Alexa flashbriefing’s and how to apply to a my book club.

  • Advertising should be used to accelerate the stories that are being told about you
    • If people aren’t telling good stories, all advertising is going to do is speed your death
  • With social media, it’s more about being authentic to yourself and finding what’s going to be the thing that suits you best versus where everyone is and deciding that’s where you need to be
    • It’s about finding what works and working with that
  • What Gary has learned since Crush It!:
    • Someone will always be trying to tear you down
    • Talent has little value without patience and persistence
    • Success takes a shit load of work, and the people who ultimately breakthrough and crush it are those who get all that and go for their dreams anyway
  • People often tell him that they want to be like him, but he’d rather you be like you
    • But if you want to be like him, quit being a student of entrepreneurship and start doing the goddamn work
      • If you do, this will be the last business book you’ll ever need to listen to
  • As long as we exist, humans will continue to embrace whatever inventions and innovations offer us the most speed and convenience
    • You are not going to lose your soul if you do this
      • In fact, if you are truly an entrepreneur, you are going to get it back

Closing thoughts:

I thought his other books were good, but this was FANTASTIC! Similar to last week’s book, it seemed like this book came into my life at the right time. Not only did it inspire me to pull the trigger on starting one of the projects I’ve been putting off, but it also gave me the action steps and strategies to go and “Crush It” so to speak. I literally started on the process of building my brand “Yolocruz Book Club” this past Sunday, and I’ve been on that constant grind since then.

It’s crazy how one thing like starting a new project, seeing progress, and being consistent really has a “halo effect” on other things you do. For example, I also started sleeping earlier, waking up earlier, feeling more well-rested and energized during the day, and I’m seeing more progress in my fitness goals as well.

In regards to this book, its PACKED with great information (most of the book alternates between case studies and then revisiting the principles of the original Crush It), and it also has a lot of actionable steps for each platform, which is fantastic. Not only that, but Gary reading it himself and going off script occasionally feels like the listener is getting a ton of valuable bonuses they wouldn’t get in the physical copy.

Overall, this is one of those books I think I’m going to have to read again. I will probably also revisit Crush It because it’s been a while since I’ve read it and seems like many of the principles are still extremely valuable even today.

Nutshell: Gary Vaynerchuk does it again, revisiting the principles of Crush It! and providing updated information on all the new social media platforms.

Rating: 5/5

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