Friday, December 15

Summary And Review of Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

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Executive Summary

The author of Crush It!,  Gary Vaynerchuk, has a goal to help other entrepreneurs become their own boss and have fun doing it.  According to him we are who are DNA says we are.  Our DNA determines our passion and the things we love.  Gary thinks each individual should cash in on their passion.  In other words let your passions make you a success.

The author shared his success by sharing his three rules: “Love your family, work super hard, and live your passion.” After a person realizes what their passion is they can put their knowledge of that passion to work.  Gary was born in the Soviet Union and came to America when he was three years old.  His father, who was going to work with relatives, found himself with no job when his uncle passed away before he arrived in America.  His uncle’s family owned a liquor store and agreed to let him work there as a stock boy.  Eventually, His dad became manager and co-owner of the store.  At sixteen Gary worked bagging ice for $2.00 an hour.

When Gary went away to college he learned about the Internet and has since been called a Social Media Guru.  Using the Internet Gary increased his family’s income to a twenty million dollar business within four years.  Using his knowledge plus his accomplishments he tries to teach others how to be successful using their passion.

In his book Crush It! Gary explains within each of us our DNA determines our brand and our passion.  Following these will help us to develop our own unique style.  After discovering what your passion is become knowledgeable about it; learn all you can and then go out and sell yourself.  The fastest way to spread news in today’s society is using the Internet.  This provides each one of us a way to sell ourselves so that we are able to eventually quit our jobs and become self sufficient doing a job we love involving the passion that is deep inside of us.

Now that you have decided what you are going to sell get out and sell it!  First, you have to share yourself with others, so that they are aware of your knowledge.  The fastest ways to do this is to use technology and get hooked up with popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Using the Internet’s social marketing network allows a person to talk and convince others about their passion.  This opens up a new highway for the entrepreneur to sell themselves.

After, the decision is made on what you want to sell; in Gary’s case it was to increase his family’s wine business, next take the appropriate steps and spend the money where it will count.  Do not be stingy with the money when hiring a web designer.  This is one place Gary encourages a person NOT to save money.  You are known by your website!  If you plan on using video media then invest in a video camera, a flip camera is easy to use and gets the job done.  When posting the video to sites, like Youtube.com, be professional, and be careful with the background.

Another way to boost your income is to have a link on your website that will lead consumers to another website that sells goods. Anytime a customer buys off that website you will receive a commission without having to do any extra work.

Gary stresses a final thought to all who want to be entrepreneurs.  With today’s environment rapidly changing if your plans are not working rethink the way things are presented on the social media.  While on your way of becoming an entrepreneurs be aware and alert to the changing economy.

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know from Crush It!

1.            An important fact that carries through the whole book was, “you got to be you” (p. 16). You need to know who you are and what you want to achieve so you can go out to accomplish your goal.

2.            All managers need to know that they need to start planning their future now.  If they are not happy in their present job before they get bogged down in it, they need to find something that they will be happy doing.

3.            When trying to convince others about your passion make sure you have researched and know the facts about your passion.  Be an expert in what you are trying to sell.

4.            Not only do you need to respect the customers, you need to respect yourself and, “Don’t lie to yourself” (p. 51).

5.            In today’s society there are many ways to reach out to consumers.  Be careful when choosing the correct medium.  Information can be presented either through video, audio, written media, or a combination of the three.

6.            When presenting your passion to others make sure that you know yourself.  What Gary means when he says this is, are you the type of person to be in front of the camera, or are you more comfortable expressing yourself in written words, or presenting it on air. (p. 54)

7.            Using the Internet in the 21st century there are different websites that help you spread the word.  Some of the more familiar sites can be used for social marketing are: Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

8.            Don’t be afraid to spend the money to invest in the things you need to succeed. When Gary says, “Invest the important stuff” he’s suggesting that you spend money on what you need whether it be a mic, video camera, or flip camera.  (p. 86)

9.            A business is not built overnight; it takes time so be patient and that will be the secret to your success.

10.            Finally, a word from Mr. Vaynerchuk, “be ready to adapt” (p. 120). To achieve your full potential you have to be aware of the changing environment and be flexible to change with it.

Full Summary of Crush It!

I.      Passion is Everything

Gary Vaynerchuk, the author of Crush It! states that not only is passion everything, but if you are willing to do everything you will be able to live on your own terms. Gary tells the secret to achieving the goal of making everything happen in life is by living by three rules: love your family, work super hard, and live your passion.  His success is measured by how happy he is in his life, and not by how big his business is or the money he has made.  The author explains his idea of what live your passion means.  To him if you can get up to go to work without realizing how many hours you put in, and you do not need a vacation because your work is playing and you are relaxed then you are making money while living your passion.

In this book Mr. Vaynerchuk tells step by step what to do to make the Internet a networking tool work for you.  With the world changing with the way people are communicating technology is playing a bigger part in the business world.  The social media, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, makes it easier for customers to communicate.  The Internet has made a big difference in the way business is done.  With using today’s social media the only investment needed is the time it takes on the sites and with companies willing to pay money Gary thinks that they could spend their money on your ideas.  The author believes that there is room for everyone to be successful in the business world.  His formula, “Social Media=Business Period” (p. 11).

II. Success is in your DNA

In chapter two, Gary Vaynerchuk gives his background and how his marketing has brought his family’s Shopper’s Discount Liquors from a four million dollar business to a fifty million dollar business in eight years.  He feels that it is very important that a person is who he is. Gary was a little boy of three years old when his family came to America from Belarus, Soviet Union.  The family came expecting to work with an uncle who had come earlier to America.  But, after his uncle died unexpectedly his family allowed them to stay with them until they could find an apartment.  Things started going from bad to worse for them within a matter of a few weeks.  Gary’s grandmother was mugged and his dad lost his work as a construction worker. Fortunately, the uncle’s family owned a liquor store and gave Gary’s dad a job as a stock boy.  Eventually his dad became manager and co-owner of the store.  At sixteen Gary went into the family business starting out making $2.00 an hour for bagging ice.

In 1995, while in college Gary was introduced to the Internet.  Then and there he decided he was going to use the Internet to increase the family income.  Finally, in June of 1997 the Winelibrary.com was launched.  Four years later he had a twenty million dollar business.  Gary was an over achiever who was not content and he tried to strive for more. So in February 2006 he launched the Wine Library TV to sell wine online.

III. Build Your Personal Brand

“Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online” (p. 28).  What makes you unique is your own style; you are selling yourself by video, podcast or blog.  In the past people were able to be successful through advertisements on television, radio, newspapers or magazine, but with using the Internet people are now able to sell themselves at a lower cost.  The first thing you need to do is to sell yourself.  People need to know that not only do you know what you are talking about but, also be honest and trustworthy in all that you say and do make sure you are yourself. Be yourself.

With the use of Internet or word of mouth means a whole new thing.  When someone tells something through a blog it is out there for thousands of people to read and to share with others.  An example that Gary used in the book was; a cat breeder who needed to get out the word about her Siamese cats and within ten minutes the news had reached over thousands of people for free.  No cost advertisement is the way to go.

IV. A Whole New World

Mr. Vaynerchuk predicts that what is in the future will change the way business is done.  Businesses are changing for example; as newspapers are going out of business, people are now reading about the news online.  This opens up a new highway for advertisers.  Eventually the middleman will be gone, and since all businesses depend on the interaction of people Gary believes everyone right now should start planning their future by your own personal brand.  In other words, “you should aim to leave your job and grow your own brand and business.”

V. Create Great Content

With developing your own personal brand and the use of the internet’s social marketing network a person can talk about and convince others about their passion.  First, and far most is the content and the knowledge they posses about their passion.  Read up on your passion; know what you want to sell others.  After that is done start the research, look through all resources to find as much information on your topic.  To share the gained information consider doing it in story form.  Gary states his attention is held if he obtains new knowledge through stories.

The next important step to take is to choose how you want to present the knowledge of your passion to others, “choose your medium carefully” (p. 53).  Are you the type to be in front of a camera or express yourself better in print?

VI. Choose Your Platform

Gary dedicates this chapter to different types of media.  Remember there are three forms of media to present the information. Information can be presented in media, video, audio or a combination of the three.  Gary believes video is the most affective.  With today’s technology and the ability to post blogs it makes it easier for people to locate the blogs posted by business people.  People will want to do business with you after reviewing your knowledge on your blogs.

The most popular blog in Gary’s opinion is Tumblr.  Tumblr is easy to use and the design of the site is simple.  In addition to that the domain name is posted for free.  Another advantage to Tumblr is the easy way to respond to a blog, just hit a, “re-blog” button (p. 63).

Another social networking site is Facebook.  This site is a fast-growing website that attracts people of all ages.  After setting up the account you will have a fan page.  Using this fan page you are able to email all of your friends your ideas in one shot.  It also allows your friends to interact with you.

“Twitter allows the consumer to tell every person in his world what he thinks is cool or crappy or interesting” (p. 71).  This social networking site is beneficial.  First, people can respond to your tweet by re-tweets.  Second, it allows consumers to have a closer relationship with companies.  Third, it allows you to keep up with your competitors.  Fourth, it lets you have an open conversation.  Fifth, it helps spread the word.  One thing to remember about Twitter is that it is a free way to communicate, and a low cost to advertise.

Two types of video media are YouTube and Ustream.tv.  These videos allow you to advertise your company online in a video form.  These two popular sites allow the opportunity for one to show others their passion first hand.  The presentation that is made in a predetermined topic allows the presenter to control your message.

VII. Keep it Real….Very Real

It is very important to be yourself especially when working in front of a camera, and the video will later be put on the web.  As an entrepreneur starts out one of the most important things to do is, “invest in the important stuff” (p. 86).  According to Mr. Vaynerchuk in order to be successful one must not only have the passion but all, “work the social networking tools to the max” (p. 88).  A person who has less knowledge and poor skills can still make more than you if they are willing to put forth more effort.  In order to win and be successful devote oneself to the work.  Your hard work will pay off eventually but patience is a must.  As you start earning make sure you pay yourself last.  “Before you invest in yourself, you have to invest in your long-term future” (p. 92).

VIII. Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench

The first step is to start your own website to sell and inform others of your passion.  In order to build an online community talking with others must take place.  After Gary tapes an episode he explains how he stays up for hours researching what others are saying and thinking.  As he reads he leaves comments on their website.

The author says to start out first, set up a blog and release it through a site similar to YouTube.  Then stay on the net and search every comment that people have made on the topic you are discussing.  After finding the comments make sure you post comments on them.  Have readers join your Facebook, twitter, and email accounts.  They will share your knowledge with others who too will join in on your community.  Gary said make sure you celebrate even if you have only one person commenting on your video.

IX. The Best Marketing Strategy Ever

This one word chapter is not only short, but also simple.  This chapter just says CARE.

X. Make the World Listen

Using Accounting as an example the author showed how to apply his theory of taking your passion and making it work.  First, go online and buy your name with both dot com and dot TV. Next, start a blog with an account that will support your domain.  Then spend the money to hire a web designer.  Do not be cheap on this part of the plan; it will pay off.  Make a video to post on a video blog.  Create a facebook account and share yourself.  Let everyone know how knowledgeable you are about accounting. Post changes in taxes and give advice away to your readers, and keep searching and posting. On your page make sure you have a button for viewers to contact you.

XI. Start Monetizing

By now you have made yourself known to searchers of the net.  Keep your social media going and improving your skills.  Add income to your account by having companies advertise on your site.  Check out the site by Google called Ad Sense.

Now that you have your income coming in supplement it with speaking engagements.  Start out by offering for free your knowledgeable services at conventions and then be patient and wait for them to want to hire you as a speaking consultant.

Another way to boost your income is to have a link on your website that will lead consumers to another website that sells goods. Anytime a customer buys off that website you will receive a commission without having to do any extra work.

If you have an ability to come with new ideas to increase your income is to, “Develop a product to sell” (p. 113). Being creative can pay off with making products and putting your logon on it with your blog name and address.

XII. Roll With It

The author wants to make sure his readers realize that even though he states to be committed and to go for your goal, being reasonable and knowing if things are not working be willing to change.  Gary believes some entrepreneurs are not successful because they can not change.  With today’s environment rapidly changing if your plans are not working rethink the way things are presented on the social media.

Sometimes there are videos put on the social media that could hurt your business.  As the business entrepreneur you have to be ready to, “put out fires” (p. 121). Be ready to address any unjustified comments made about your site before a lot of damage can be done.  Since, there is no one to stop some one of posting their opinions all business personal need to stay up-to-date with what is being said in relation to what is occurring in the public.

XIII. Legacy is Greater Than Currency

Today, with videos and blogs everyone is in the public eye.  Sharing your blessings is an opportunity, and when things go wrong everyone will know.  As the author states, “think through the consequences of every business decision” (p. 128). A good business man is able to visualize and think in long term.

Working toward achieving one hundred percent happiness is the aim of living your passion.  Mr.  Vaynerchuk believes leaving a legacy is more important so he is very conscious about corresponding with each person who writes to him.  He believes that every person, “deserves respect and attention” (p. 130).  Giving respect to your audience will give them the attention they need and keep them coming back.

XIV. Conclusion

In conclusion Gary Vaynerchuk wants to stress to the reader that with the world changing use this book only as an outline to follow.  By the time Crush It! Is in print and has been read the world has changed.

Gary’s final word to his reader is, “true success-financial, personal, and professional-lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion” (p. 134).

Personal Insights

Why I think:

·      With business conditions today, what the author wrote is – or is no longer true – because:

When reading this book I would say that if the economic conditions in this world were not in a mild depression many people would be able to learn a valuable lesson. Even though, this book was written during tough times some people who read this book may benefit from the knowledge gained in their present job. Or they may slowly start up another business in their spare time in which this business revolves around their favorite hobby.  With technology and ease of mass communications Mr. Vaynerchuk was correct when he mention that stating ideas they could be shared to many in minutes.

·      If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

1.            If I were the author I would have included graphs or charts to support my findings.

2.            I would have given details how to use the social networks he suggested.  He gave information of what is on the site, but I did not understand it fully.

3.            If I have been the author I would have had interviews asking people their opinions of the different types of websites and their passions.  I would also want to ask the people what is their opinion of the topic I was trying to inform them about.

·      Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

1.            After reading the book, I looked at my passion and thought about ways I could share my knowledge.

2.            This book made me think differently about how internet is used as a social media business instead of just away of keeping in touch with friends.

3.            I also stopped to look at myself to consider what type of social media would be the best for me. Since, I am not one that likes to be in front of a camera I think I would be better presenting information through print or audio.

·      I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

1.            I will look closer into my passions to make sure they overlap with my career.

2.            Remembering his three rules: love your family, work super hard, and live your passion will help me stay on track.

3.            By being flexible and willing to change with the changing society.

·      Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

While reading the reviews I was able to find many people that were able to enjoy and learn from this book while others doubted if it was true with what                     Mr. Vaynerchuk was writing. A few of the writers of the reviews did say that when reading this book they were able to gain new knowledge that the reader did not even know about it.  It is agreed by a number of the reviews that the book, “Crush It!” was able to teach many people about how to use a person’s hobby and turn it into a growing business. One of my favorite quotes from the reviews is by Rachel Wharton from the NY Daily News and she says, “The most endearing piece of Vaynerchuk’s persona is the part where he tells you not to be afraid to speak your mind, to go ahead and drink what you like.”

Even though Mr. Vaynerchuk’s book did get many excellent reviews there were a few where the review was negative.  One of the most prominent negative reviews that I found was by Julie in which it was located on Amazon.com. As she is saying she believes that Mr. Vaynercuk’s book falls into the category of this, “book was written because someone has gotten rich doing something.” While the book was read by many and with everyone having their own opinion I can understand while some people thought it was an ingenious way to make money and others thought it was a rip off of their money.

Bibliography

Crush it!-press and reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://crushitbook.com/crush-it-press-and-reviews/.

S.C.Y., J. (2009, October 16). “I wanted to like it, But…” Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/review/R3BNS1SYRL9X80.

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Contact Info: To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of Crush It!” please email Megan.Broom@selu.edu.

David C. Wyld (dwyld@selu.edu) is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at http://wyld-business.blogspot.com/.  He also has a book summary/review blog that is a collection of his students’ works at http://wyld-about-books.blogspot.com/.   

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