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What is Growth Driven Design?

By: Gary Vaynerchuk

Reviewed By: Ramona Sukhraj

Do you have a hobby or interest that you’re passionate about, but not sure how to turn into a career? You know, maybe that side project designing graphic tees or your emerging maple syrup conglomerate.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, now is the perfect time to cash in on that passion and in his bestselling book, Crush It! he shows you exactly how to do it.

Thanks to the low cost of social media and blogging, money is no longer a barrier to entry for building up a brand’s awareness and turning your interests into a viable business, but its reach goes far beyond just professional brands.

The biggest point Vaynerchuk wants you to take away from this book is the importance of building your personal brand and leveraging it in your business endeavors. -- and no one knows personal branding better Gary Vee. 

In this piece, I’m going to summarize some of the biggest points from Crush It! about why need to start building your personal brand, and offer advice on how to do it.

Building Your Personal Brand

“Everyone – EVERYONE – needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity.” - Gary Vaynerchuk

The online world creates transparency, whether we like it or not.

Everything we say and do online is documented. Because of this, traditional resumes are quickly becoming a secondary thought as employers can find out everything they want to know about you with a quick Google search.

Whether you’re on the job market or not, everyone needs to view themselves as a brand and start thinking about how they represent it.

The sooner you come to terms with your, the sooner you can own it and start leveraging it to your benefit.

If you are selling a product or service with a lot of competitors, it’s your personal brand that distinguishes you and makes the biggest impact on your target audience.

It doesn’t matter if you think Facebook and Twitter are for kids, social media and Google are where people turn when they want to get to know the “real you.”

You want to be in control of the conversation that is being had about you there -- and if there isn’t a conversation happening, you need to get one started.

Here’s how:

Passion is Everything

According to Vaynerchuk, these are the golden rules for success:

  1. Love your family.
  2. Work super hard.
  3. Live your passion.

To monetize a business around your personal brand, you have to be passionate and show it.

Building businesses and achieving success takes a lot of time and hard work. If you don’t have the passion to stick it out, there will be plenty of legitimate reasons to quit along the way to your goal.

With this idea in mind, Crush It! is more of a call-to-action than a step-by-step guide. Vaynerchuk stresses it again and again; you might not be the best at what you do, but you can always out-hustle your competition by working harder and being more passionate.

The caveat is that you can’t out-work everyone else if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing to begin with. --  You simply won’t have the energy and stamina for the daily grind.

This is why he stresses that you should start with something you are passionate about, rather than trying to make yourself passionate about what you’re already doing or simply jumping on any random opportunity.

Authenticity is Key

“Watch me for two seconds and you know exactly who I am and what I stand for.  Authenticity is key.” - Gary Vaynerchuk

There’s no hiding on the internet. If you spend enough time there, the truth about you comes out, so there’s no point in putting on an act.

By being inauthentic, not only are you setting yourself up for disaster in the long run, but you’re missing out on the full benefit of social media.

Other than access to information, the single most important thing about the internet is how it allows us to connect with millions of people that share our same views and interests.

The more authentic we are, the easier it is to connect with other people that are just like us.

Another powerful benefit of social media is the access to potential employers or clients that it gives us.

Now, all of your competitors also have that same level of access, but the good news is most brands aren’t making the most of it.

Far too many brands on social media behave how they think they’re “supposed to,” rather than in a way their persona will respond to or that truly reflects what they believe.

Most of the time, we can tell when someone is being authentic and when we are being sold to. People care more about connecting with other genuine, passionate humans than they do about meeting people with great skill sets.

Be more human and more humans will want to connect with you and your brand.

Great Content Stands Out More Than Ever

“To everyone who is freaking out because they fear the noise and distraction of all the additional content on the Internet, you can relax. Quality is a tremendous filter. Cream always rises, my friends, no matter how many cups of coffee you pour.” - Gary Vaynerchuk

It seems like everyone and their dog has a blog nowadays. (Let’s face it, we all know a pup or two with a social media profile.)

With this widespread adoption of content creation, it’s no surprise that inbound marketers are concerned with standing out, but Vaynerchuk claims that the exact opposite is true.

Despite all of the noise online, most of it is recycled, curated content that lacks passion and authenticity -- which allows great content to stand out more than ever.

The more passion you have for the product or service you are offering, the more credible you appear and the more entertaining you are to listen to.

Passion is an intangible quality that separates good content from great content and it’s something that can’t be faked.

As brands, Vaynerchuk challenges us to ask ourselves two things:

  1. Is your chosen niche your greatest passion?
  2. Can you be the best content creator in that niche?

The answer to both questions should be “yes”.

Vaynerchuk also suggests that you take a similar approach to the type of content you create. If you’re more outgoing, podcasts and videos may be perfect for you, but if you are more introverted, writing will probably be the best medium.

The point is, you can monetize any passion. The level at which you can monetize it, however, will be affected by the size of your niche and your drive to differentiate yourself from others.