Gary Vaynerchuk’s Life Lessons for Achieving Unbelievable Levels of Success and Crushing Life

About a week ago, I was up late at night indulging in one of my favorites vices.


As I made my way through the plethora of cute cat videos, angry political rants, and jaw-dropping montages of people doing awesome things, I came across a 3-minute video from Gary Vaynerchuk.

A video that, I believe, has the power to change thousands of lives.

As I watched this video over and over again, it made me realize something.

Despite that fact that everything he touches seems to turn to gold (and hundreds of millions of dollars), the “King of Crush IT” is just a normal human being like you and me.

Sure, he’s a social media giant, marketing guru, entrepreneur extraordinaire, and pathological hustler.

But it’s pretty clear when you watch videos like this one that Gary is not a freak of nature or some sort of anomalous human being with superpowers that we mere mortals can only hope to possess.

He’s just a normal everyday dude who understands exactly how the game is played.

Tony Robbins, world famous high performance coach and success expert has made a fortune meeting, dissecting, and explaining top performers, and as he says, “Success leaves clues”.

In today’s article, I’m going to dive into many of the “Clues” that Gary has left over the course of his almost three decade long entrepreneurial journey.

While you might not like everything that you hear, I can promise you that if you are willing to pay attention, be humble, and learn from one of the best in the world, you can put yourself in a position where success becomes all but inevitable.

Sound like a plan?

Good. Let’s dive in.

Gary’s Story in a Nutshell

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk or his story, here’s a (very) condensed synopsis so that you understand why you should care about his tips for success.

  • Born November 14, 1975 (a good Scorpio) in Babruysk, BSSR, Soviet Union. Moved to the US at age three, living with 8 other family members in a studio apartment in Queens, New York.
  • The family then moved to Edison, New Jersey. Growing up, Gary had a lemonade-stand franchise. He also made thousands of dollars trading baseball cards on weekends.
  • Joined his family’s retail liquor business at age 14. Took control in 1999 after graduating Mount Ida College with a bachelor’s degree. Changed the name from Shopper’s Discount Liquors to Wine Library.
  • By 2005, he had taken the business online and annual sales catapulted from $3 million to over $50 million.
  • Started Wine Library TV on YouTube in 2006. It went viral with daily wine reviews, tastings, and advice. He retired from video blogging in 2011.
  • Started VaynerMedia in 2009 with his brother, a social media-focused digital agency. In 2016 VaynerMedia grossed $100 million providing social media strategy services to Fortune 500 companies.
  • Invested in Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Tumblr and many other early tech phenomenon.
  • Started VaynerRSE – a $25 million investment fund focusing on consumer technology, incubator, and angel funding.
  • Founded VaynerSports in 2016, entering the sports marketing and agency business, one of Gary’s first loves.
  • Estimated net worth of over $150 million. Has his sights squarely set on his first billion and ownership of the New York Jets. He’s only 41 as of this writing.

Oh, and he’s also happily married with two children.

Now that you understand a little bit more about his story, let’s dive into Gary’s advice for creating a level 10/10 life.

Gary Vaynerchuk on the Knowledge for Men Podcast

To find the first set of “Clues” to help me understand Gary’s rise to fame, I looked no further than the Knowledge for Men podcast and one of the earlier interviews that Gary did with Andrew.

During this interview, Gary left 5 “Takeaways:”

  1. Learn to Love the Hustle – This is a consistent theme you will see among high-achievers. Pure and simple, they work harder than the also-rans. As Gary said in the podcast, “There’s not one minute (of his day) not allocated to…..ACTION!”
  2. Only Operate From Strengths – Outsource your weaknesses. Focus on what you’re naturally good at and what you enjoy the most.
  3. Focus on the Long Term – I will talk about this one later, but this is one of Gary’s main points and is the topic of the video above. Especially if you’re younger, you have all the time in the world to be successful. Don’t think you have to change the world overnight.
  4. Become Self Aware – Know yourself: What are you good at? What do you suck at? Own them both equally. What is “Your Skill?” As Gary said in the podcast, once you know your skill, “go attack it.”
  5. It’s All About the Journey – There is no destination. It’s all about a lifetime of growth.

Before you go any further into this article, I strongly recommend that you take 32 minutes out of your day and listen to Andrew’s interview with Gary.

Here’s the link again:

It will kick your ass and inspire you to take more action than you ever thought possible.

And it will also give you a deeper understanding of Gary’s story and process as we proceed through this article.

Gary V’s Key Success Clue #1: Hustle

Gary’s schedule starts before dawn and runs non-stop until after midnight.

This was the only world Gary knew growing up.

He watched his parents work hard every day in the family business and, as a young man fresh out of college, he wasn’t partying, chasing girls and “hanging out,” like most of his peers.

He was working.

Seven days a week. Fifteen hours a day. For seven straight years.

Today, with over $150 million in assets, many companies and a staff of over 1,000, you’d think he would throttle back.

But that’s about as likely as a snowball surviving a detour through hell.

In other words… It a’int gonna happen.

Gary hustles intensely every day.

He knows that billionaire status, ownership of the New York Jets, and a life beyond imagination are all well within his wheelhouse, and he’s not stopping to smell the roses.

His intense energy and sheer hustle are clues to his success.

How many people do you know who surf Facebook at work?

You won’t find Gary doing that unless it’s specifically serving a client.

Chatting in the breakroom? Are you kidding? No time for that.

Long lunch hours? He eats on the run or during a meeting where he’s advancing something, somehow.

Every single second of the day is booked with only that which serves his higher goals.

You won’t find him wasting a single minute. The intensity you hear in the podcast is how he runs everything: meetings, conversations (on or off-line), and strategy sessions.

And if you want to achieve similar results in your own life, then you need to be willing to take similar action.

Action Steps:

1. Score Yourself: Give yourself a score right now on your intensity/efficiency/hustle factor? From 1 to 10, where are you?

2. Write down 5 ways you can improve immediately. Five action steps you’ll begin now to emulate Gary’s hustle and intensity.

Gary V’s Key Success Clue #2: Focus on the Digital World

Gary Vaynerchuk Digital

Gary has a knack for spotting technological trends early.

In fact, his entire empire has been built on the foundation of spotting and maximizing digital trends and technological advancements.

Gary was one of the earliest investors in countless tech companies.

He was also one of the pioneers of using social media for business and was one of the first proponents of using YouTube for content marketing and Snapchat for business promotion… Ideas that were completely ahead of their times.

But here’s the cool thing about all of this.

Gary doesn’t have some sort of clairvoyance or weird ability to read into the future.

He’s simply educated himself about the world and technology and he bases his business decisions upon this understanding.

If you want to gain a similar ability to spot trends and pivot accordingly, then I recommend you check out a book from New York Times columnist, “Thank You For Being Late”.

For about a third of the book, Friedman outlines the modern digital revolution. An early chapter is titled, “What the Hell Happened in 2007?” where he explains how the iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and many other life-changing technologies all came to the masses in 2007.

He discusses the future of AI, robotics and many other futuristic trends that aren’t even prominent yet, predicting that we are in the infancy of a massive modern technological explosion.

And Gary agrees with his prognosis wholeheartedly.

The future is closer than you think and after the dotcom boom, it should be apparent to everyone reading this that if your businesses isn’t evolving alongside technology, then it’s dying.

Action Steps:

1. Score yourself on your digital proficiency. 1 to 10, where are you? How vast is your understanding of digital strategies? Do you know how to build a website? Are you building a tribe on social media? Are you effective with SEO, getting your posts and videos ranked?

2. If you’re not at least a 7 in all areas, what action-steps do you need to take today to improve your digital toolbox? Write them down now, while this is fresh. What do you need to learn? Where can you find the information? (Try YouTube and Twitter first) How will you apply it? What tools do you need? Map out a digital strategy for the next 12 months and get started today.

Gary V’s Key Success Clue #3: Patience

Most of you will lose because you’re trying to take shortcuts. Slow and steady wins the race. You’re only competing with yourself. ~Gary Vaynerchuk

As he says in the video at the beginning of the article, this is Gary’s top key to his success.

He’s in it for the long haul which is why he has succeeded at far greater levels than people who are merely interested in the next 12 months.

Go to the 1:22 mark in the video. Imprint this in your consciousness and never forget it:

We live in an instant-gratification, want-it-now culture.

But this attitude doesn’t work in wealth-building.

In fact, it’s the opposite attitude that will yield the results you really want.

In George S. Clason’s classic best seller, “The Richest Man in Babylon” he beautifully illustrates the concept of compounding, a factor that applies to investing and to business.

Compound your time. Compound leverage. Compound your influence and reach. Compound your best talents. Compound your team. Compound everything you do.

That’s what Gary did, and it’s his biggest tip for achieving success.

Compounding is the slow-and-steady way to wealth. The key ingredient is time and hustle.

As Gary says regularly, “The key is macro patience and micro intensity

Work your ass off in the moment and don’t slow your efforts down for a second.

But realize that your effort and hustle probably won’t pay off for another 7-11 years.

And the sooner you can accept that fact, the sooner you will be able to truly pursue and achieve your goals.

And always remember that regardless what age you are, you have time.

Even if you’re older, you still have time.

Ray Kroc didn’t meet the McDonald brothers until he was 52. Then, it took a couple years to get the franchising off the ground, so what you see today didn’t begin until its founder was in his mid-fifties.

Look at Bob Proctor, the seminar leader and author of “You Were Born Rich.” At 83, he still travels the world in his private NetJets plane, holds multi-day seminars and bounces onto the stage like someone 30 years his junior.

In ten years of compounding your talents in the digital world, you could literally build an empire of reach, influence, customers, fans, and wealth.

Study what Gary did and put his steps to work in your own life now.

Action Steps:

1. Give yourself a score on patience from 1 to 10. How patient have you been in your career up to now and how patient would you describe yourself today?

2. What can you shift from short-haul thinking to long-haul thinking? Take inventory of your strategies and outline a 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and 20-year plan. If you do nothing else, jot down (somewhere where you can get back to it) “where would I like to be in….” There is tremendous power in writing things down and tucking them away. It triggers your subconscious to start moving in those directions. Try it!

3. Pick up “The Richest Man in Babylon” and read it.

In Conclusion

Regardless of where you are on the journey, there is always more to learn. Some little nugget could shift your thinking and your actions, generating thousands or even millions of dollars.

Gary Vaynerchuk is full of such nuggets, and (thanks to his total embracing of all things digital) he has left a huge breadcrumb trail for us to follow. (Thanks, Gary!)

Ask yourself, can you crank up your intensity, your efficiency, and your hustle?

Are you up to it?

I was talking to some guys in a money-oriented mastermind this week and their #1 complaint was falling into complacency. If you are in that trap today, take massive action to get out of it now!

What steps will you begin right now to up your game?

Then ask yourself how you can boost your digital presence. Whatever you do, even if it’s a local mom-and-pop retail or service business, think of a way you can increase your social media tribe, reach more people, add more value, and find new ways to sell online.

There are 8 billion people out there, and regardless of what continent they live on, most are not that far from a browser, and thus from YOU! Embrace the digital world like Gary has. Remember, as Tom Friedman says, we’re only in the first inning.

And most importantly, be in it for the long haul.

If you’ve found yourself going after the quick buck, stop it right now! Follow what other successful people like Gary have done and play the game over your entire lifetime.

Success leaves clues. Find and follow them.

Next Steps

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