What are some business lessons that we can learn from serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk? In his book, #AskGaryVee, Gary Vaynerchuk answers a compilation of questions on a variety of subjects such as management, leadership, investing, marketing, and starting a business that have been asked by his viewers on the #AskGaryVee show. For those of you who are just starting a business or are thinking of starting a business, give away content for free. Gary reiterates this point numerous times throughout his book on ways to get your ball rolling. Here are some points from the book:
1. When starting a business, give away quality content for free first and then after you’ve done so ask for the sale. Gary talks about this jab, jab, jab, right hook concept in one of his other books where you give away quality content for free and then asking for the sale once you’ve built up a good following group. “I’m the poster child for how to make money without directly selling. A lot of my contemporaries sell e-books or white papers. I do none of those things. For years I put out my content at scale and built my brand. Eventually, I built up enough leverage that people wanted to hear me speak, and I could charge good money for my time. They wanted me to write books, which I was able to sell to a big fan base. I was able to start a social media agency. I provided value with the content that I relentlessly pump out. You need to do the same.“
2. There will be times where you may feel like you’re not making any progress in your business. Just keep at it as you never know what doors you’ll unlock with every piece that you release. Each time I write up a post, an opportunity somehow comes about through it and I’m quite positive that a lot of the influencers on social media these days got to where they are through the opportunities that landed their way through the content that they gave out. “Here’s what you must remember: No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life. Everyone you know started off as an unknown until they did the thing that made them known. Every rock star or rapper was ignored until they wrote or played the song that put him or her on the charts. Every famous investor was a nobody until he or she made the investment that paid off big. Now, not everyone’s content can be at the level of a Madonna or a Chris Sacca, but it still has the potential to change your life. So if you love something – music, photography, diet culture, museums – talk to the world about it, eve if only one person is listening. Because all you need is for that person to share it for the pipes of social networking to start humming. You’re just one piece of content away from making what you want to happen actually happen.“
3. Play to your strengths and passion. In the book Managing Oneself by business guru Peter Drucker, he states that you can only build on strengths. I’ve heard this many times before but to run a successful business, make sure that it’s in an industry that matches up with your passion and strengths. Not sure what your strengths are? You can take a personality test or ask those who are close to you for their thoughts on your strengths. “There’s one hack, and it’s asking people straight up to tell you your strengths and weaknesses. These people have to be the five to twelve people who you know the best or work with you the most. You have to create a safe zone within which they can do this, of course. No one is going to be honest with you if they think you’ll make them pay for it later or if they love you too much. You also have to be prepared for them to tell you things you may not want to hear or that you disagree with. That’s why you have to gather a diversity of opinion. If you hear enough people say the same thing, whether it’s that you’re too kind or too aggressive, you’ll eventually have to accept that it could be true. In fact, on those relationships, because they’re the ones that will help you improve the most.“
4. Failure will always be a part of life so learn to embrace it. Instead of thinking of failure as a be-all and end-all, change your thoughts towards failure as a step closer to what’s about to come out of your work and dedication. “We learned that failure doesn’t kill you, and that the earlier you do it, the easier it is to recover. We gained empathy for others who have gone through the experience. As Jack said, it’s not the failure that’s so important as how well you ride after you get knocked on your butt. You have to quantify your failure, of course. If you fail and you can’t get up again, that’s not a good thing. But if you’re made of the right stuff, failure will just compel you to get back up and try harder. Any failure from which you can recover is a learning opportunity that will only make you stronger. Don’t fail too often, but don’t be afraid of it, either. I tell my team I need wartime generals – leaders who can deal with things when they’re not going well – not peacetime generals. I always know what’s going well. What I need to know is where we are failing. Yes, failure is really important. Failure makes you better. I like failure.“
By Ryan Lee
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