Serial Entrepreneur ‘GaryVee’ Tells Young Professionals to Decide, Act and Never Regret
The man behind 1.58 million Twitter followers and a multi-million dollar digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients, last Monday told college students and young professionals, in his own colorful signature style, to not care too much about external validation and instead accelerate their own personal drive for commercial success.
“I’m in the business of eating every ‘no’ to get to my ‘yes,’” Gary Vaynerchuk told a crowd of over 300 attendees at the second Samsung Fall Discovery Series event, live at Samsung 837, in the Manhattan meatpacking district.
“You should be great at rejection,” Vaynerchuk said. He believes the key to navigating life is pretty simple.
“You’re either on the offense or you’re on the defense. I want to get more people on the offense,” he said.
He spoke from experience when he told the audience that sweat equity builds the business, referring to when he spent high school weekends working 12-hour days while his friends were out frolicking, according to Vaynerchuk.
Soon he found himself propelling his dad’s wine business into an online retail success story, in the 1990s, at the dawn of e-commerce. Under his direction, Vaynerchuk said, WineLibrary.com’s revenues grew from $3 million to $60 million in sales in just five years, without the benefit of outside investment.
“I grinded it,” he said.
In 1996, Vaynerchuk explained, opening a second store might have made more sense than launching WineLibrary.com. This was a time when “people wondered if the internet was a fad,” he said. But his dad went all in with him on the cyber store and it paid off.
An early investor in Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, Vaynerchuk said he instinctively understood the importance of social media. By 2006 he had launched Wine Library TV, a popular YouTube channel that sealed WineLibrary’s influential digital presence – and his own. Vaynerchuk’s 2009 business-strategy book, Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, was a prescient how-to book on leveraging social media to build, monetize and sustain a brand. (He’s written four best-selling business titles in all.) VaynerMedia and its holding company, VaynerX, came next and he still says he is just getting started.
Vaynerchuk instructed young professionals not to agonize over the decision of which passion to pursue commercially.
“Just pick one,” Vaynerchuk said. “You could try something for three years, be wrong and then try something else. You’ve got time. That’s very valuable.”
Another piece of advice for the young audience was it’s best not to expect anything from anybody along the way, either.
“Don’t complain. Nobody’s listening,” Vaynerchuk said.
Instead, carefully observe your target market: Consumer, investor or mentor. “Understand what they care about.” When you’ve won the business, study the data, he said. “Talk to customers about why they chose you. That starts giving you real insight.”
Vaynerchuk said “tremendous parenting” originally got him going on his extraordinary path. His dad helped build that first push into success, the discount liquor store in Edison NJ, after arriving in the U.S. from the former USSR. Vaynerchuk was just three years old at the time. By six, he was franchising his lemonade stand.
He credits some of his own success to being an immigrant too, adding, “I developed a lot of grit.”
The Fall Discovery Series runs on the mainstage of Samsung 837, at 837 Washington Street, NYC, from 6:00PM-8:00PM, and is open to the public. Following each discussion, attendees have the opportunity to receive a complimentary resume review from a Samsung talent acquisition representative and take a professional headshot for social media purposes. For more information or to register, please visit https://www.samsung.com/us/837/events/fall-discovery-series.