Updated: Nov 11, 2022
Welcome to Business Book Club! I believe you can always pick up little golden nuggets in everything you read so I'll be providing some of the highlights I got from the book and then you can decide if you want to pick up your own copy!
Published in 2018, Crushing It! is a follow-up book to Gary's 2009 book Crush It. Gary provides updated insight to social media platforms (which as of 2022 are only somewhat outdated) as well as success stories from influencers who read and implemented tactics from his first publication, and are now crushing it!
Watch my YouTube overview here.
Kids today dream of creating a popular online presence the way kids used to dream of becoming Hollywood stars.
Gary started his career off speaking directly to his potential customers through a bare-bones video blog then developed relationships with them on Twitter and Facebook, inviting them to have direct one-on-one engagement with him.
The secret to his 2008 book Crush It readers' success = willingness to do whatever it took to make social-media tools work to their utmost potential.
Gary gives a number of success stories throughout the book which are both inspirational and educational.
If you’ve been making excuses, you’ll be exposed, at which point you can decide to stop messing around and achieve what you set out to achieve, or admit that your version of crushing it looks a little different than you originally thought it did.
Also, if you’re earning what you need to live the life you want and loving every day of it, you’re crushing it.
Learn how to monetize your passion by using social media to build a strong personal brand to attract customers and advertisers to your website.
Be smart and strategic about how you use your content.
First, create valuable content that grows your influence. Be the person who could show other businesses better ways to communicate and sell.
Think beyond your current successes. Constantly look for ways to create new wins so you’re never limited to one platform or even one topic. How? Create a personal brand so powerful that it transcends platforms, products, and even your passion.
Take big risks and be prepared to dedicate all your mental capacity, time, and your leisure.
You have to make the choice to actually do it - No excuses. Try something new, be optimistic, exhibit patience, shut your mouth, and execute.
Experiment with new up-and-coming platforms to get that early advantage.
Even a well-designed pillar will fall if it isn’t set in a solid base
Watch out for mistakes made before you even get started.
8 Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Intent, authenticity, passion, patience, speed, work, attention and chapter 3!
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? To share your knowledge? To help people? To build something that leaves a legacy? To make a good income? To give yourself and your family financial security and breathing room? To have fun with a creative outlet? To create community?
Entrepreneurs currently at the pinnacle of financial success and influence share three characteristics: commitment to service, desire to provide value and a love of teaching.
Offer solid content and real value . When starting out , what you lack in experience, you can make up for in earnestness, honesty, and humor.
If your every interaction and transaction is predicated on what you think you’re going to get out of it, nothing in this book will work for you.
The source of success lies in how much you CARE - it's still the best marketing strategy ever.
To gain insight, get on LinkedIn and ask others to conduct informational interviews with you so you can learn how Business Leaders achieved their success. Ask " I'm so curious to hear your story about how you became successful. " At the end ask "What's the biggest challenge you have in your business or your career or your life right now?" Start looking for answers.
Wake up eager to share and create something because you believe the world will enjoy it.
Give away that good stuff you've got.
Find a niche that you're so good at and ride it, and ride it, and ride it until you can slowly expand out.
You may not make any money for 2 to 3 years. Constantly hit it day after day, never giving up, keeping your blinders on, focusing on your work and really doing you.
Your business can't just be a job; it has to be a calling. The quality of both your product and your content will more likely be what it needs to be to get noticed, valued and talked about. Be passionate about giving.
Create content that brings value to your customers. A thousand views and a hundred comments are much better than ten thousand views and one comment.
To live in line with your passion will probably require that you go slower than you might want to.
Say no more than you say yes.
You're only crushing it if you're living entirely on your own terms.
Entrepreneurs who get rich quickly sacrifice their chances for long term wealth.
The customer is always right. That means you put your employees ahead of you. That means you don't take many vacations. Once you've reached your brand and business goals, then you start living it up (without putting yourself into debt).
Use your time wisely and efficiently. Overthinking your content and agonizing over your decisions taking forever to make up your mind.
Being unafraid of making mistakes makes doing anything easy.
If someone likes a picture on social media, send a thank you message. If someone emailed you for an estimate and you get an address, send a thank you note and a small gift around the holidays.
When you first start out, there is no time for leisure. This is why entrepreneurship is often seen as a Young Person's game. It takes a lot of stamina to get a personal brand and business off the ground. Block off the hours you must spend on your obligations (job, kids, spouse, parents) and every minute not spent on those obligations should be spent producing content, distributing content, engaging with your community or engaging in business development.
Create content daily. Biz dev daily. Meet with two or three people per day who can get you awareness, distribution or sales. DM people.
If a relentless work ethic sounds unhealthy or too much, pay attention to those feelings. Self-awareness is vitally important.
A successful entrepreneur is one who puts in enough energy to move the gears and executes well enough so the work isn’t wasted.
Pay attention: Where are the eyeballs going? What are your customers talking about? What are the newest trends in your field? What are the biggest controversies? You have to pay attention to everything.
Don’t become so comfortable on one platform that you don’t take the time to develop solid skills on the others. On the other hand, don’t cling to your favorite platform even when it’s become ineffective or overpriced. Keep experimenting even when you’re sure you’re doing it right.
Chapter 3 - Content
Create content that is specifically designed for the platform you're using to disseminate it. On Twitter, it's current news and pop culture. On Facebook, it's friends and family. On Snapchat, people want to consume a blip of entertainment and on YouTube it's long form video.
Focus on creating one big piece of pillar content that can be splintered into other smaller bits of content.
Great content is a result of passion plus expertise.
Constantly update your knowledge and provide information and insight that people can't find easily anywhere else. Do it in a unique and memorable style.
The learning process should be part of your content creation. Great content hinges on great storytelling. Let people learn who you are then let them watch you develop into who you want to become.
Provide learning tools for people built like you. If you learn by watching and doing, create video or if you learn by reading, write a blog post or a book.
Use Snapchat, Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, and Facebook Live three to five times per day to share the world through your eyes. Let your audience meet your cranky uncle, see what you’re eating for lunch, follow you through your workout, as you move into your first post-divorce apartment or college dorm. Take them on vacations and business trips. Be the star of the show and the production company.
People who see your work will come to you with ideas and offers and partnerships. They will buy into you if you give them the right story.
Work at it every day, analyze your content, engage with audiences to see what resonated and what doesn’t, and study other personal brands to see what strategies you could adapt. Practice your craft.
Turn on the video recorder and capture every minute of your training. Don't let the videos become subject to the mental editing we all apply to our memories over time.
Put your stuff up and see what the market has to say about it. Take it down if no one likes it (or keep it up for historical reference). Change it up and try again. Take risks and learn from them.
Embrace your newness.
Put your stuff out in public so you have to live up to it. As long as it’s valuable and you know it’s true, don’t judge it. Let the market show you whether you’re good or not.
Avoid being a perfectionist. We earn people's respect and loyalty when we let them see us up close and dirty.
Consider the purpose of your content and ask what is going to be of value.
Chapter 4 - What's Stopping You?
Align all eight essentials for a formula for success.
You are likely the reason why you're not crushing it yet.
Three kinds of fear.
Fear of failure. What you're really afraid of is being judged by people. No one who played it safe ever made it big.
Fear of wasting time. Every platform is worth some investment. Of course not every one will feel like a good fit, and not every platform will pay off, but you can’t know until you spend some time there. Why worry about giving up empty hours in favor of doing something that could fill your life with joy?
Fear of seeming vain. Smart entrepreneurs don't care what other people think.
Find your courage and strengthen your self-esteem until you feel brave enough to make some noise and invite people’s attention. Then show them that you care deeply about keeping it.
Care about quality, value, and the customer experience above and beyond anything else.
Chapter 5 - The Only Thing You Need to Give Yourself to Crush It Is...
Engage people in your industry in forums.
Idea: reply to negative reviews by saying "Hey I'm sorry this didn't speak to you. Let's get on the phone and chat. "
Be confident in who you are - don't try to be like somebody else. When you really own it, and you put yourself out there and be you, your vibe is going to attract your tribe, and you’re going to be able to make change in this world.
Chapter 6 - First, Do This
Create a Facebook page.
Chapter 7 - Get Discovered
Your absolute breakthrough opportunities will be developed in two ways:
By the smart use of hashtags, a strategy that requires an unbelievably long grind.
By direct-messaging, i.e., reaching out directly to people and offering something of value in return for their attention. Also a strategy that requires an unbelievably long grind.
Collaborations are the most tried-and-true way to grow a fan base quickly—quickly being a relative term. In most cases, count on this process taking years, not months. If that bothers you, stop reading.
Do your research and find out who would find the most value in your offer and then make your case to those accounts. Produce something that doesn’t make them regret giving you a chance.
What do you have to offer in a collaboration? Knowledge and skill. Ex. Do you own a liquor store? As soon as your target post photos of themselves enjoying wine, direct-message them with an offer to send a case a month for the rest of the year.
If established influencers see an upside to collaborating with you—allowing you to post content on their pages, working together to create content—they’ll get in touch. If not, they’ll say "No", usually by not even responding to you. If you spend six - seven hours a day reaching out to people, you will eventually find someone willing to try something new with you. Once you do, you’ll have raised awareness with thousands of people who previously didn’t know you existed.
Biz-deving this way is hard, tedious, and time-consuming. Which also means, means most people won’t do it.
Platforms that start out hot with young people can and do successfully cross over to an older audience. The majority of entrepreneurs dismissed Musical.ly, which was great, because it leaves the platform wide open for others to take it over.
If you can figure out how to tie business and entrepreneurship into a lip-syncing platform, not only will you make a difference but you can make fans for life. For example, ask Musical.ly’s top users to make guest appearances on your YouTube channel. Now when their fans Google them they'll find the Musical.ly memes made while on the show (that raises awareness of the brand).
It doesn't matter how long a platform lasts. If you’re seeking to build an audience, go where the audience goes, get a feel for what’s appealing to users, then strategize how you can create content that will successfully penetrate that market.
If you become a real presence on it, the app designers may even come to you and ask for your help. You could get first dibs on creating fresh new content in a format or style no one has ever seen before.
Download every new social platform, taste it, and understand it. Drop it if it doesn’t work for you or you can’t get comfortable.
Chapter 9 - Snapchat
You can post videos as well as photos - it's 10 seconds of you being real, raw and unfiltered.
Over 3 billion snaps are created each day on Snapchat, where over 60 percent of ads are watched with the audio on.
In addition to Memories, which stores your content on the app’s servers, there is a Discover feature for brands.
Stories link a series of videos and photos to tell a longer narrative.
The only reason some people think what gets shared there is dumb is because it’s on a screen, and we’ve been conditioned to think that anything on a screen has to be perfectly produced and performed.
I’m constantly checking the App Store to see which platforms are ranked highest. This app is one of the most valuable for anyone whose brand is starting to scale.
Show sides of yourself that simply don’t exist anywhere else.
It will take talent plus a combination of tactics and strategy to get noticed because, there are no hashtags.
It's a terrific training ground to become a superior marketer and branding expert, not just a conversion-based digital salesperson.
The business world is separated into two camps, conversion-based salespeople and branding-and-marketing people. The former are short-term players; the latter, long-term.
Snapchat forces you to show your personality. Are you intelligent, or funny? What are you bringing to the table other than what you’re wearing?
No one is famous only on Snapchat because of the temporary nature of the majority of the content.
The content you produce for Snapchat has to be powerful enough to draw views on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
To bring awareness to your Snapchat profile, add your Snapcode to your e-mails or other marketing pieces, wear a T-shirt with your snapcode printed on it, create custom Geofilters, or collaborate.
Collaborations are tricky unless you reach out to people on their other platforms and either suggest doing something together on Snapchat or offer something valuable in return for a shout-out or endorsement on their channel.
Ideas for growing your followers:
Write blog posts about Snapchat, so when the media needs a quote about it, they come to you.
Gain visibility by creating Snapchat events, such as the Jurasnap Park project that helped launch the career of Shonduras.
Pay for a Google Ad that asks something like “Who Should I Follow on Snapchat?” and offers a list of names, with yours at the top.
It’s the place where you can talk about your coffee, show a picture of the colorful cereal aisle at your supermarket, and reveal that your favorite color marker is green.
Treat Snapchat like a business. Have a plan. Grow your audience through creative engagement and collaborations. Every day post a video or fun picture doing something funny or in your niche.
Chapter 10 - Twitter
Twitter is the place everyone goes to get the latest update on news or pop-culture events.
Done wisely, this engagement will compel people to seek out your content elsewhere.
Harder for people to breakout as personalities.
Listening well is the key to engaging well on Twitter. Find the conversation threads that lead you to the people passionate about the same thing as you.
Reply to tweets in an unthreatening, interesting way that creates a connection. Do this 4 to 6 hours a day.
It's an interesting place to jump-start biz-dev opportunities or collaborations as you grow your brand. DM here where there is less competition than Instagram
Twitter has the ability to help you amplify your voice and your brand.
There are endless opportunities to prove why you’re special and deserve to be respected.
Look at the trending topics (in the mobile app, you’ll see them listed when you click on the Search symbol). Record a video of yourself talking about the topic.
Chapter 11 - YouTube
Most important platform for building a personal brand, though Instagram is closing the gap quickly.
When you’re documenting and not creating, you’re allowed to learn as you go. Make the road to getting there interesting.
Don’t ever decide for yourself that videos about you or the things you like to do won’t be compelling to anyone else. Let the market decide. Trust me, it’ll be honest with you.
Start documenting your day. Put the results up daily as a YouTube vlog. See which posts get the most attention and double down on whatever it is that’s making those posts stick.
Give yourself time to evolve, time to get comfortable, time to relax into the format and time to get to know your audience. Listen to what they say.
Give yourself a year to adjust and try different approaches and see what kind of response you get. Listen to your audience. Ultimately, it all boils down to this: don’t let perfection be your enemy.
Do an infomercial, a morning TV show, a Q&A show, a how to, cooking, mentoring, interviewing or talk pop culture.
Taking the “document, don’t create” approach means you are conceivably going to put out a ton of boring content. If, in the end, the rest of the world agrees that your content is boring, you’ll know that you’re not cut out for this, and you can move on to something else.
Will you become a millionaire? Maybe. But only a tiny percent of the people who try this will. That’s irrelevant. The point is to dream big and then make the practical adjustments necessary once you see where your potential lies.
Film a vlog post every day: share what you’re liking, what you’re not, your diet tips, what you learned in class, and anything else you think might be of interest to your viewers.
Gary discusses Video and Channel Optimization - please look up current suggestions on titles, descriptions, tags, thumbnails and trailers and banners,
Chapter 12 - Facebook
If you’re going to build a personal brand and try to monetize it, you have to have a Facebook page.
Written content and photographs don’t work on YouTube. Instagram allows for a maximum of one-minute videos on a user’s main page at the time of this writing. There’s no way long written content is getting traction on Snapchat, but on Facebook a thirteen-paragraph blog post will work. You can post pictures, and they’ll work. You can embed a SoundCloud audio play, and it will work. A thirteen-second video will work. So will a thirty-one-minute video. Facebook offers complete and utter creative flexibility and has the greatest ad-targeting product ever created.
Facebook is also an incredible place for someone with a small budget. You can specify your audience by their interests, zip codes or their employers.
Facebook’s algorithm will always give preferential treatment to native Facebook content. You’ll get far greater reach by creating an original video for Facebook than by recycling something from another platform. Does the video have great copy alongside it? Are the first three seconds captivating? Does it show an understanding of the mind-set of the Facebook demographic that would love to share it with a family member or friend? Does it compel an action right there and then?
Facebook Live is available but is the hardest art form because you have to be good on live camera.
Share special moments with your fans in real time - it can become something special.
Collaborate. If you are building a brand based on jokes, cooking, bikes, extreme sports, or bathing suits—anything—go to the top of Facebook and do searches on terms that are relevant to your business. Find the fan pages with the most followers, message them, and make them an incredible offer that makes it worth their while to share your original content on their platform or to work with you in other ways.
Join as many Facebook communities as you can. I.e. city group, moms groups, cooking group.
Chapter 13 - Instagram
It has gotten harder to get noticed there now that it's crowded.
Tactics you can use to garner awareness: hashtags, collaborations, tagging, ads. Use Instagram stories to share behind the scenes peeks at projects.
7 Steps to Biz Dev:
Make sure your page is full of incredible content.
Search relevant keywords
Investigate every account and any linked websites to confirm they are people in your field.
Send a custom written Direct message.
Explain what drew you to them (I love your work; I’ve always admired you; you post the funniest memes; this post is so creative; etc.), why you are worth paying attention to (my goal is to promote better biker safety; I’ve designed a helmet even the most helmet-averse rider won’t mind wearing; I’ve launched the freshest, most exciting biker-themed YouTube channel on the Internet), and what value you can offer (I’d like to send you one of my helmets to try; I’d love to invite you on air to talk about your new book, and I’d be honored if you’d let me make you a free video documenting your next ride; I can send you six bikers to model leather jackets on your vlog for free).
You can also do a search like this by location
Only a fraction of the people you reach out to will respond.
Master the hashtags
Chapter 14 - Podcasts
Podcasts are far less intimidating than video and easier to listen to than to watch a video when working out, driving, etc.
You can post highlights, a rant, a clip from a speech, or an excerpt that didn’t make it into the main podcast episode.
Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or any other podcast distribution platform. Upload the MP3 file onto a podcasting platform
Produce the best content you can. You’ll have to promote your show through your other social-media channels and encourage symbiotic relationships with others who have bigger platforms than you.
Create microcontent or memes and post to FB or IG.
Engage your audience one-on-one and ask them, “What are you struggling with?” and then just listen, they will tell you what their pain points are, their obstacles, their challenges, their struggles. And then you, the person that they know, like, and trust, who’s been delivering that free, valuable, and consistent content for a significant amount of time, can provide the solution in the form of a product, or a service, or a community.
Chapter 15 - Voice-First
Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, etc.
Flash Briefing is a short report, a one-minute version of your one-hour podcast, a one-minute audio clip of your eight-minute video or live stream, or a one-minute selection of your pretty pictures on Instagram.
Keep your content super brief. Tailor your content to suit the reason people are coming, which is to get fast, easily digestible information nuggets. “Hey, Alexa . . .” Make it the highest quality possible.
You will need to be remarkable right out of the gate, or in three milliseconds, you’ll be shut down.
Ex. record the answers to every etiquette question you can think of. You upload your new Alexa Skill, The Manners Maven, and announce it to your clients and on all your content channels.
It will not take you too much time or effort to be discovered for creating a Flash Briefing because of the early novelty.
Everyone is playing the same game. If you don’t play offense all the time, every day, every year, no matter how successful you become, someday you will wind up playing defense. Try things out.
Innovation makes people uncomfortable. We should care desperately about everything, yet not care at all what anyone else thinks.
Someone will always be trying to tear you down.
Talent has little value without patience and persistence.
Success takes a load of work, and the people who ultimately break through and crush it are those who get all that and go for their dreams anyway.
Quit being a student of entrepreneurship and start doing the work!
Success will happen faster for some people than for others, but if you’re loving life and doing what you feel you were born to do, you’ll be going in the right direction.
Stay the course. It pays to be brave.
Thanks for reading! To get your own copy of Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk, click here.