Have you ever built an empire out of toothpicks? I don’t know how I thought of this phrase, but it seems to be a good metaphor for some entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk who started with nothing and built an empire. Entrepreneurship is more about the journey than the destination, as Gary well knows.
While his family created the first empire in his life, a wine business that Gary helped run for many of his early years, he used the experience he gained from this venture to create his empire that had nothing to do with grapes. He enjoyed working for his father, who was also an inspiration for his hard work ethic, but he always felt the need to go his way in the end.
In this post, we’ll analyze Vaynerchuk and his journey to success, as well as some of the key components of his success that helped to make him what he is today.
Who is Gary Vaynerchuck?
Gary Vaynerchuk is a man that is intense and straightforward in his approach, and he does business in the same way. He doesn’t have patience with critics who are not able to offer alternatives for what he does. He has a firm resolve to be independent, and he empowers others more by example and modeling of behaviors than by what he says or writes.
Vaynerchuk is an author, real estate mogul, digital creator, and entrepreneur who doesn’t seem to wait for anything. He explains in conferences that “every day is hard and long,” referring to the inward fear that he has for everything that could go wrong, but that this fear also empowers him to move forward in a changing world of uncertainties.
Vaynerchuk, the Fearless Leader
He explained once to an audience of work conference attendees that he was “scared of everything but afraid of nothing.” This phrasing makes you want to proclaim that Gary Vaynerchuck is the ultimate “fearless leader.” You can also follow him on Instagram to see daily messages and inspirational quotes.
He emphasizes that people are scared of what people think and whether or not they will succeed. But he encourages people to face their fears and do it anyway.
His Humble Beginnings
Vaynerchuk started as blue collar Russian immigrant whose father came to the U.S. to become a legal citizen in 1978, and he worked at several blue collar jobs until he had a chance to make it on his own.
He took on his family’s wine business and grew it to a $60M business in five short years. He then started looking for a way to create his niche in digital media. He now owns VaynerMedia which is now considered one of the most popular digital media agencies in the United States. He’s also an angel investor and venture capitalist.
Vaynerchuk, the Problem-Solver
Vaynerchuk considers himself a problem-solver, and he stated once that he wanted to see all 6,000 of his employees for 10 minutes within the next six months to see what problems they had within the business. He boasted that he could solve every problem they had without even knowing what they were.
This overestimation of his ability to solve every problem may come from the fact that he had to climb his way to the top to get noticed in the United States as a self-made entrepreneur so that he could create a niche for himself and brand himself as an independent, self-made man.
Vaynerchuk, the Digital Guru
Vaynerchuk’s company, “VaynerMedia,” focuses on big picture media production and consultancy that focuses on using every aspect of online digital marketing that produces real results for business owners who want to project their brand to thousands of users simultaneously.
Vaynerchuk also offers unique digital services such as social influencer services and Google and Alexa voice services, to name a few.
Some of Gary’s clients include big names such as Syfy, GE (General Electric), and Chase Bank. The fact that such Fortune 500 companies like these trust Vaynerchuk with at least a part of their advertising and marketing plan show that he has made an impact in the world of online digital marketing in a big way.
Vayerchuk in Media
Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as others, have interviewed Vaynerchuk and his people many times and featured him in their online publications. The popularity of Vaynerchuk in media is likely fueled by the need for digital content online to promote businesses today and how necessary it is to the success of any eCommerce site.
Vaynerchuk’s personality also works in his favor, even when he is too brazen and honest. He sometimes uses shock therapy to get the attention of his listening audience on his podcasts, live appearances, and conference presentations. One great thing about this quality is that he feels he owes no one anything and doesn’t need “anything or anyone,” so he is free to create, express, and be himself 100% with no strings attached.
This raw, straightforward approach has won him friends and business partners that range from the hopeful start-up companies of the future to well-known brands such as Pepsico and GE.
The Secret of His Success
Vaynerchuk states that the secret of his success is no unique formula. It’s just plain, old-fashioned “hard work.” He calls out people who expect to create a company without waiting to be miserable doing the work. While many of us may disagree that misery is necessary, his point is understood by most of his followers as he explains that entrepreneurship is not for the weak and that some days are grueling, long, and impossibly hard.
He discourages people who don’t want to work harder than they have ever worked to forget entrepreneurship and to work at a blue collar job, because of the difficulty of building a business. He advises people to decide what you want and go for it and not to let anyone get in your way while keeping your work ethic high and providing the best quality possible.
On the surface, Vaynerchuk, with his sometimes foul language, doesn’t strike you as a man of ethics. But, in many ways, he is because he realizes the importance of sticking with something to the end, no matter how hard it gets.
What to Learn from Gary Vaynerchuk
When you look at the video content of Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube and his website, you start to see that his appeal is something of a paradox. He has a methodology about him that is somewhat irritating but amusing at the same time. He has a rough way of saying things that almost seems combative at times, yet he offers such rich tidbits of knowledge that he commands your attention.
As we have often said before, we don’t believe that any one person can teach everyone everything they need to know. Nor should you try to emulate every component of a person’s success and expect it to render the same results for you as it did for the person who created it. In fact, you wouldn’t want to.
Part of the thrill and the journey of entrepreneurship is developing your world of business ownership as you go, in your way, and with your methods and means. However, it is educational to see how others such as Gary Vaynerchuk have built an empire out of toothpicks.
Sure, he had some help from his father in the beginning. But the way he took that knowledge to build his empire is, at the very least, inspiring.