‘Most of the fortunes are made in the world when the times are bad, not when the times are good’ Gary Vaynerchuk
Always Innovate, Always try to put yourself out of business, because if you don’t somebody else will’ Gary Vaynerchuk
This year on my Birthday, I had the huge honor to interview on Google Hangout one of marketing’s biggest success stories – New York Times best-selling author and super successful online entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, just a few days before the launch of his new book. Gary grew his father’s business from a humble liquor store into a wine empire through a combination of social media and online marketing. Today he’s a media mogul, bestselling author and consults Fortune 500 companies on their Social Media strategy.
Find out what he told me about succeeding in today’s economy in the must watch interview above (or read the transcript below). You can get Gary’s new best selling book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World here. The book is the new bible of Social Media, a must have for every entrepreneur, marketer or even any individual who is interested to brand themselves on social media in the right way.
Gary Vaynerchuk Interview: Full Transcript
Pavlina: Gary, Hello from the other side of the world and the beautiful island of Cyprus.
Gary: Hello I’m jealous I wish I was there.
Pavlina: And you told me you’ve been here before and I was very surprised.
Gary: Yes I have, thank you!
Pavlina: It’s an honor to have you with me today and before I start I want to give a short background about you to those who are not familiar with your work. You immigrated to the USA from Belarus when you were a baby with your parents who were chasing the ‘American Dream’ and you became the American Dream.
You have been a successful entrepreneur since you were 8 years old and eventually took over your fathers wine store business and turned it into a multi-million dollar venture. After you became an expert selling wine online and offline, you became an expert in helping people sell anything online through e-commerce and social media and you build another empire there. You created two best selling books Crush it and The Thank you Economy and now you have just launched your third book.
At the same time you are running your own social media branding agency Vayner Media, which helps Fortune 500 companies find their social voices and build their digital brands through micro content and other story telling actions. You are also an angel investor in notable Startups.
In fact you have just reached over 1 million Twitter followers and some people call you the Godfather of social media! And I know that you do answer personally to your Tweets because this interview was arranged through a Tweet and I just wonder how does somebody manage their time to do all these things?
Gary: Thank you for the intro, You know I have to give up on things, time is not unlimited. I have less time to exercise, I have less time to go to baseball games or be part of hang out with my bodies and drink or go to wine tastings. I’m just working harder and more often and efficiently. As a Russian immigrant, coming to this country with nothing, it’s been very easy for me to work hard because I watched my parents worked hard. There was no other option, it’s the way that you get things and that’s what I’ve focused on.
Pavlina: So it’s hard hard work.
Gary: It’s hard work. Its such a simple cliche answer, but it’s the truth. To answer the question that you just asked me “How do I do it?” I do it because I’m working 16 to 18 hours a day.
Pavlina: Okay and Its my birthday today, 23rd October and you are my birthday treat, 20 minutes with Gary Vaynerchuk and I get to ask you whatever I want, and I know you are a Scorpio too, so we are both determined Scorpios, and I get you and my wish today for my birthday is to become as successful as you in the next 1 to 5 years in my business, I’m with a seminars and coaching business. I would like to ask you what steps should somebody take to become a very successful entrepreneur, having a multi-million dollar business and being a globally recognized brand at the same time. What tips can you give me?
Gary: So a couple of things. Number one you have to know what you want to sell. I want leverage, so I’m thinking very long term, I am thinking thinking 20 – 30 years from now. So I’m thinking about what I want to sell 20 years from today and so I’m thinking of the steps. So the steps for me to sell something 20 to 30 years from now is a couple of things. I want to sell product like bubble gum or water, product. I’m a retail at heart, I grew up in the wine business.
Now I have a Fortune 500 Agency, that works with Fortune 500 companies like Dove and Mountain Dew and PepsiCo and I’m learning a lot about corporate America where people sell four, five, six billion dollar brands, I’m learning. So I’m building a business with the idea of learning.
I’m writing books. I just got this; this is exciting I’m telling you first. I’m the cover of Inc this month. I’m doing this interview; this interview (Inc Magazine) is going to get me millions of people. This interview I am doing with you is going to get me hundreds of people or maybe thousands I don’t how many people follow you. But the question is that, even if its just for you, one person, its building your brand with people to have leverage to do what you want to do in the future.
So I know that I want to sell product in the future so I’m making the steps to sell product. Selling books for me is not about selling the books it’s about the leverage it gives me to sell what I want to do later. So Pavlina, you basically you have to decide what you want to sell short term and long term. If you want to sell seminars more of them for more money you need to build your brand. If you want to sell yourself so that you can actually get public speaking engagements well then you need to build your brand. So if you want to do that then you need to blog more, you need to put out more content. You need to build your brand. Some people want to be famous and use that fame to make money. Some people don’t want to be famous and just want to sell their seminars for a lot of money.
First piece of advice I give you is think about what you want in 5 years, what the perfect way to make money would be for you. Would it be speaking 30 times a year?
Pavlina: So let’s say I’ve thought about what I want, now I have to take the steps.
Gary: So what do you want to happen in five years?
Pavlina: Do I have to say it to everyone? Yeah I want my seminars business to grow, let’s say globally and I want to build my personal brand too. Both are important to me.
Gary: Do you want to build your personal brand so that your seminars attract more dollars and users? Or you want to something else that you feel is easier to money with like, I get paid outrageous amounts of money to publicly speak. That’s one important question.
Pavlina: I believe that building a personal brand is very important, because then you can sell anything around your brand. I can sell my seminars around my brand because people trust Pavlina so my brand is number one. So the point is how do I build it as big as your brand.
Gary: Well, I think it comes down to couple of things. Number one, I think a lot of people forget why my brand got big because I actually build a 75 million dollar business first before I ever came out. So the best way to build a brand is to do. If your seminar business becomes enormous then it’s chicken and egg right? What comes first?
If you build your brand your seminar gets big…. So one thing that I always caution people is that they look at my story over the last 7 years without looking at the 15 years before. The number one thing is doing. You know Jack Dorsey’s personal brand is much bigger now because Twitter went on to become big. That’s important but I would do a lot of content.
Pavlina, the number one thing that I think builds a personal brand is exposure and so I would pick the blogs that you think are important, the media sites, that you think are important and you go out and blog for them or video blog for them for free.
Distribution is what you need. So just blogging on your blog, just putting out content on your seminar page, just doing this kind of things for your world, that relies on the people that follow you to distribute it and they will, if it’s good content but the best way to do it is take control of it and go out and get your own distribution. So going out and finding people that will let you blog on their site because they need content I think is the number one way to do this.
Pavlina: Okay Thank you.
Gary: Also speaking for free. Travelling to parts around the island and going to around Europe and speaking for free, I spoke for free, because once I spoke for Free it created opportunity. So I think it a lot of hard work upfront that you then get rewarded on the back end.
Pavlina: In my country Cyprus, I have a question for my country now that is something close to my heart. We are being currently hit by the biggest financial recession the country has experienced in the past 40 years and there are two main issues 1) A big percentage of young people find themselves unemployed and they just call themselves unemployed, they don’t know what to do they’re desperate and 2) many people see their businesses collapsing. What would you advise those young people to do in this financial environment and what would you advice the business owners to do so that they can become profitable again?
Gary: It’s very hard to answer these questions cause you’re speaking in general terms and the true answer to your question is that I would have to literally talk to every individual person and every individual business to understand what they actually need but I would tell them to understand that the whole world is predicated on supply and demand. That if they’re not bringing any value to the table, to the people their business is going to be in trouble. If they’re not delivering a value preposition or a necessity they’re in trouble.
So, when you get into a recession, it becomes dominoes right? People out of job so they are not going to merchants and it becomes dominoes. Listen there’s a lot of tough answers to your question, one tough answer to move and go somewhere else and that’s a tough answer. You don’t want to hear that, cause everybody loves their country, they love their island… The other thing is to get very entrepreneurial; the internet doesn’t care where you are, right? So you could be building a business on the beach very easily.
I think the first thing to do is it’s a mentality. I think too many people think like “Oh why was it me, I’m so unlucky, I’m in this bad depression, I wish I was born 20 years from now or 20 years ago.
You know the world doesn’t care about your problems, everybody has problems. So understanding that your problems are not some bad luck and understanding that you’re in control of fixing it is the number one step.
Anybody can go to WordPress in your country and start blogging and start creating content and start building a community… Anybody can go to Twitter.com/search and start answering peoples questions and getting involved and networking.
It’s an attitude, it’s an attitude of understanding that “Yes it’s not great but most of the fortunes are made in the world when time are bad not when time are good”.
Pavlina: Yes, it’s a shift of mindset.
Gary: It’s a shift of mindset. And listen everybody has their own issues. You may have a 24 year old that is sitting here, watching us right now and says “Yeah that’s easy for you to say rich guy in America, well my father is sick, my mother is in the hospital, I’ve to take care of my…”. So every individual thing is different but where I get upset is when people complain and say they’re unemployed and they’re fishing and they’re watching television and they’re at the bar and they’re not using every minute trying to get out of that situation.
Pavlina: Yeah, exactly…. What do you believe are the the main limitations that people have with regards to achieving business and financial success? What separates people who start from scratch and go on to achieve big things like you, with people who have the skills, have the education, have the drive but however strive, sometimes for a lifetime without managing to break through a certain basic income level?
Gary: Two things, one is Talent…. Listen, I want to be a basketball player and play professionally. I’d much rather do that than this. I’m just not good enough. So a lot people, you can go to the best school in the world but if you’re not a good businessman or woman well you’re not going to win. So the true answer to your question is number one is talent.
Number two is Mentality, I do not think I’m successful right now. I think there’s too many people that think things are below them. For example, most of my friends Pavlina, the other famous internet people think that when I do stuff like this that I’m an idiot! They are like ‘Gary, you don’t have time, you didn’t do this, you didn’t do that . I mean you have no time to do an interview with the New York Times , you have no time to sell more books. You have a book coming up in 5 weeks, this and the other thing and you’re doing an interview with Pavlina for 20 minutes. Are you out of your mind?’
That’s what people think and you understand right? Because time is the only thing that we have? And I’m sure you’ve been asked to do things that you didn’t have time for because they weren’t big enough or the audience wasn’t big enough, right? But I never think I’m that special and so I think a lot of people that get caught is they think they’re better than sweeping the floor at the merchant or working at the seminar to record the video or they just think they’re special or they think that the work is beneath them. I never think the work is beneath me.
Pavlina: So you give a lot of attention to personal contact with people and with your costumers and with your audience and you work very hard. You never take anything for granted.
About success you mentioned the talent and you talk a lot about “Entrepreneurial DNA”. You believe this DNA and this talent is an important in person succeeding. How does a person really know if they do have the talent to be a successful entrepreneur? How does somebody know what their talented in, in general?
Gary: You never know you’re good at something until you do it, right? I didn’t know I was a good speaker until I spoke and I was 32 years old the first time I spoke and now I am known for that! You know the answer to your question is I don’t know, other than have they tried to do it 3 or 4 times.
Pavlina: You try to do things and see what you are good at and what people respond to better, maybe?
Gary: 100 percent…
Pavlina: What is the most important thing that entrepreneurs should do, if you would give one advice today in today’s economy in the crisis, to be profitable. What is the number one, the most important thing that businesses should do?
Gary: They should pay attention to innovation. They need to understand that we’re innovating faster than ever and they can’t disregard new platforms and new situations. The number one piece of advice I have is don’t become romantic about how you’re making your money. Because if you think that it’s great and this is the way I make it, you can get caught.
I think about taxi drivers and Limo black car drivers in New York and Los Angeles they were making lot of money a year or two ago and now there is a new app in America called Uber and it’s going to put them out of business, because its iPhone it’s an app and your car comes to you… and I would say not being romantic, never being complacent, that’s where people get caught.
Pavlina: Always innovate.
Gary: Always innovate, always try to put yourself out of the business. Because if you don’t somebody else will.
Pavlina: Thank you. Many people come and ask me, especially around the age of 30 years now or younger, to help them find what should they do in life to be successful, combining things that they love to do and things that they are good at. How does a person find out what they are really passionate about and what they are really talented at, so that they can pursue the career that will help them reach their full potential?
Gary: I think that the only way to find passion is honesty. A lot of people think that what they are passionate about isn’t an actual business, when it is in today’s world.
A woman that loves gardening, a man that love fishing, a woman that loves fishing, a man that loves gardening. They don’t give thought to… “wait a minute my gardening can become this amazing blog and I can sell fresh fruit from it one day”. They just think it’s a hobby not a passion. So they get stuck because they’re always thinking ‘I’ve got to create a passion that is business practical’, but you know that’s not the way it is. So I will tell you honestly, like being honest about what you love and what you’re in to and then executing around it.
Pavlina: Okay thank you. Last question, After your first two best sellers Crush It and The Thank you Economy, you have a new book ‘How to tell your Story in a Noisy Social World’. Who should read your book and what is the main takeaway that you can give us from the book if we were to save one important piece of advice?
Gary: In the book I show people specific pictures and posts on Facebook and Twitter, of companies, individuals, entrepreneurs putting out content. This book is utility, Thank you Economy was a thesis, this utility.
I want this book by every single persons computer and this teaches everybody you know how put out content for Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Linkedin, Instagram, Tumbler, Pinterest because how you put out content on those sites matters so this book is for everybody. Which is why I’m excited, it’s for individuals, it’s for you, it’s for Inc. magazine, it’s for Aquafina the water brand, billion dollar water brand, it’s for everybody, because everybody has to tell their story where their customer is. Our customers are now on these websites.
I give the blueprint of how to put out stories on those sites. To the main takeway is ‘Jab Jab Jab Right hook’ is ‘Give, give, give and then ask’. How to actually sell stuff, how does Pavlina put out content on her Facebook page that actually bring value so that the sixth piece of content is sign up for my seminar, not everything has sign up for my seminar. Get it?
Pavlina: Yes. Okay so I hope to see you in Cyprus soon. There are many Russians here. We have very nice wines in Cyprus I don’t know if you know our wines.
Gary: I know it very well.
Pavlina: I have a friend who was sending you wines from Cyprus he said. Thank and hope to see you soon and have a great day.
Gary: And Happy Birthday!
Pavlina: Thank you!
Gary: And I’ll look for you email.
Pavlina: Okay. Thank you. Bye Bye.