This is a comprehensive summary of the book Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk (part of the business book summaries collection). Covering the key ideas and proposing practical ways for achieving what’s mentioned in the text. Written by book fanatic and online librarian Ivaylo Durmonski.
Printable: Download the interactive sheet for taking notes.
The Book In Three Or More Sentences:
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk is part biography, part inspirational pep talk, part how-to-build-a-blog guide, and part how to use social media but poorly written. The information inside this book should suposedly help you establish a kick-ass business and crush it – whatever that means. However, the execution is really dissatisfying. If you expect to learn how Gary build his empire or how to actually Crush It! online, look somewhere else.
The Core Idea:
Make your passion your job. Be yourself and embrace your DNA. Work really hard and don’t even think about taking breaks. Register on all social media channels and bombard the people there with tweets, posts, instagrams… give them everything you’ve got. Be patient and flexible. Capitalize on everything. Crush It! Family first.
- If you’re passionate about what you’re doing you can make it work.
- Create a website and talk about what you love.
- Don’t get discouraged when you’re not making any money from your business after six weeks. Be patient.
5 Key Lessons from Crush It!:
Lesson #1: There Are Endless Opportunities Today
It’s a whole new world out there. Business opportunities are knocking on your door. You just need to let them in and find ways to capitalize on them.
By going online.
If you don’t know yet, brick and mortar businesses are sinking ships. And if you really, really, really want to make your passion your primary job, you need to focus on building an online presence. An online business that can be scaled.
Even if you have a nice and cozy job, you should still keep your eyes open for opportunities online. Because, as Gary says in the book, “as long as you’re working for someone else you will never be living entirely true to yourself and your passion.”
That leads us to my second lesson from the book Crush It!: finding your passion.
Lesson #2: Passion Is Everything
Gary Vee is a passionate guy. You can easily tell by watching even one of his thousand videos online.
And while you might think that he made millions by selling wine, he actually did it by talking about things he loves, passionately. It just happens that he’s interested in wine and building businesses.
His theory is that if you have a strong belief in something, and if you express yourself loud enough about it, you’ll succeed.
So, the question here is: What are you passionate about?
Games? Soccer? Board games? Books? Airplanes? Drones? Diet Coke?
If you don’t have passion. If you’re not passionate about anything, you need to find something. Don’t wait for the universe to unravel some mystery deep down inside you while you’re binge-watching the latest show. Go do something.
If you don’t particularly care about anything. Then, well, you’ll have to keep your 9 to 5 job.
“What if you just don’t have a hard business instinct? Don’t worry; skills are cheap, passion is priceless.” Gary Vaynerchuk
Lesson #3: Find Your Platform Online
Once you’ve identified your passion and you are aware of your DNA (no info about this in the book), you need to find a platform online to express yourself.
Fortunately, there’s an abundance of tools and content management systems nowadays that will help you kick-off your online venture. And while this can be seen as a good thing, it’s also a bad thing.
There are literally hundreds of options to start a blog or an eCommerce site. There are even more social media channels to latter promote your site. It can be really confusing for someone who’s just getting started to find the best fit for their idea.
And while Gary suggests in Crush It! to register on all social media sites out there and bombard them with your awesome content, I’ll personally recommend focusing on one channel and using only one social media account. Why? Well, because you’ll probably won’t have time to put content on a gazillion of different platforms.
But hey, I’m not Gary Vee so you can do what he says in the book: “every time you hear about a new platform that looks like it’s going to go mainstream, you’ll have to register your user name.”
If you’re still confused about which platform to use for your potential online business, you can just pick one of the top tools: WordPress, Shopify, Ghost.
Or, simply use Google as Vaynerchuk suggests in the book: “all you have to do is google your question. Someone out there has likely had the same problem or query you do and the answer is almost certainly out there for you to find.” Kind of strange to tell people to google stuff in a book, but hey, what do I know?
One last thing in this lesson: Once you find your channel, start creating great content till you die!
OK, he never actually said till you die but that’s how important it is to create great content.
Lesson: #4 Patience Is The Secret Sauce To Success
While Gary is making it sound super easy to start a business and Crush It!, the other important lesson in the book can easily be left unnoticed – patience. You need to be really patient if you want to turn your passion into your primary income stream.
You have to want it badly enough, yes, but you also have to be patient if you want to see your idea blossom.
Quite frustrating. I know. But even Gary didn’t succeed overnight. I took him around eighteen months to see some results in his first online venture – Winelibrarytv.com.
A lot has changed since his first website and even though now the tools we use to create content online are more robust, it will still take you a lot of time to gain traction.
Sometimes it might take you weeks to see results. Other times it might take even a couple of years. It really depends on what you’re doing and how hard you’re crushing it!
That’s why it’s so important to be passionate about your project. If you’re not in love with what you’re trying to build, you’ll abandon the project when you face even the slightest obstacle.
“I said that you could make a ton of money being happy; I didn’t say you could do it overnight.” Gary Vaynerchuk
Lesson #5: Be Authentic. Be Yourself
Let’s observe Gary Vee for a moment.
An immigrant who couldn’t speak good English 20+ years ago. Now, he’s one of the most famous motivational speakers alive. He has a couple of companies under his belt and he’s clearly crushing it as he loves to say.
And while the stuff he talks about in his videos and in this book are super obvious – patience, passion, hustle – he’s still dominating the market.
Because he’s a loud dude who has remarkable charisma. He owes his success thanks to his ability to express himself. He sounds super enthusiastic about what he does and he actually believes in the words that come out of his mouth. Or as some people might say, “It’s not about what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it.”
So, no matter what you’re doing, you need to be yourself and to sound authentic as Gary Vaynerchuk says in the book: “The most important thing to remember is to be authentic, to be yourself. That authenticity is what will give you your greatest chance of success.” To embrace your flaws and queerness. To embed them in your content, not avoid them.
This will differentiate you from all the rest and help you build a strong relationship with the people listening.
- Figure out what’s your passion: Don’t go beyond this step if you don’t know what you’re really passionate about. Small collectible toys? Stamps? Old sneakers? …[insert your own]… You don’t need 2 or 3 things, you need to find only one thing that really interests you and you should be super enthusiastic about it. To live and breathe it.
- Do some researching: Look around. See what other people are doing. There is a one hundred percent chance that someone already built a solution similar to what you named above. But that’s a good thing. Don’t get discouraged. It means that people are interested in the topic. The research phase will allow you to see what’s already out there and help you figure out a way to make stuff better.
- Register your brand: Once you know what’s your passion, you need to come up with a catchy name and register it online. Get a domain name and also register your future business on social media.
- Create epic content: Not just great. Epic! Your content should be better than what’s already out there. And… it should be contagious. Here’s when the research you’ve made previously and your undying passion enter the game. During the research phase, you’ll spot content opportunities that you can improve upon. Once the article/video/podcast is ready, use your passion to transmit your message across social media. Your enthusiasm for what you’re doing will make other people listen.
- Monetize: Once you have killer content and some a cult-like following you can start asking people for money. Ads rarely work great. It’s best to focus on other things to make money: Affiliate programs; Paid memberships; Seminars; Books; Products; Consulting.
- Work hard: Work your ass off.
Commentary And My Personal Takeaway
I used to adore Gary Vaynerchuk. When I was younger I was following him on social media and I was consuming his videos like chocolate candies. At some point, I grew up. His “you can do anything you want” sounded vague and unrealistic. Still, I admire his persistence and I’m sure that a lot of people will find value in what he says.
Unfortunately, Crush It! feels like endless praise for social media. How cool it is to be everywhere online and why you should bombard people with tweets and posts.
And while he talks about persistence he also often throws advise that are beyond unrealistic. For example: “Knock the hell out of your content for a few months and it’s entirely possible that someone from The Today Show is going to ask you to talk about board games or your blog on their program.”
Not that I was expecting something different. As mentioned, I’m aware of his work. Still, I wanted to read one of his books and prove myself wrong.
However, this didn’t happen. My initial instinct turned out to be right. Crush It! is vague and unimpressive. There aren’t a lot of practical tips that can actually help you along your entrepreneurial journey. Only noise and cheap self-help talk.
My main takeaway from the book is the following: find something you’re passionate about and don’t stop talking about it.
“The person who can dominate during rough times is the person who can dominate, period.” Gary Vaynerchuk
“Embrace your DNA, be yourself, put out awesome content, and people will be interested in what you have to say. Believe me, if you’re that good, people are going to find you, and they’re going to follow you, and they’re going to talk. And getting people to talk is the whole point.” Gary Vaynerchuk
“Even if your ambitions are huge, start slow, start small, build gradually, build smart.” Gary Vaynerchuk
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