Gary-Vaynerchuk-wine

The Importance of Virtual Mentors (Part IV) – Gary Vaynerchuk

I first heard about Gary Vaynerchuk in 2009 when I was writing my dissertation. I had researched the industry and his name kept appearing as one of the pioneers of social media. In truth, Gary is one of, if not the main reason I even work in digital communications. I mean what’s a Music Graduate doing running a social media agency eh? Who influenced that career change? Do go on.

Introducing Mr Vee. Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur who’s made his name through social media. He’s the self made millionaire with the charismatic personality and attitude that forces you to take action. Liked and loathed, he’s the type of character that you either love or hate, and that’s just how he likes it.

After taking his family business, Wine Library from a $4m a year business to a $60m one. He launched a YouTube show called Wine Library TV. It was with Wine Library TV, which aired 1,000 episodes, that he became the superstar.

His first book Crush It!’ was massive and it not only gave insight into the state of the digital industry and the revolution that was happening, but it is also a sledgehammer of inspiration, detailing why ‘now is the time to cash in on your passion.’ Having followed Gary since 2009, it actually took me until February 2012 to read Crush It!, but the impact it had on my life led me to quitting my agency job in March 2012.

It not only gives insight into the state of the digital industry and the revolution that is happening, but it is also a sledgehammer of inspiration, detailing why ‘now is the time to cash in on your passion’.

I was recently lucky enough to have finally met Gary at his book launch for his latest title; Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It was pretty brief, as there was hundreds of other Vaynerfans wanting a piece of him. I wish I had more time to speak to him, tell him my story and how much of an impact he has had on my life. I had maybe 20 seconds when he was signing my copy to tell him that I had sent him a few emails regarding having a chat about a few opportunities, he told me to re-send the email and he’ll do his best to respond. Which in keeping to this word, he has responded and we are now in conversation. As Gary would say, that was a good hustle.

In a world that is getting more dis-connected the more connected we get, Gary reminds us how important real human connection is.

Most people in this industry know who Gary is so I don’t need to deliver an essay even though I could write for days about him. But less is more, so i’ll summarise.

Gary is the guy that you want when you require a straight forward bullshit free response. His delivery in keynote’s is sublime and his impact is explosive.

As an entrepreneur, I look to other entrepreneurs for leadership. I hope that they appear when I am deep in the tunnel and show me that there is light at the end. Gary is a helper and a friend to his community and he is incredibly unique because he openly cares about his fans and followers. With over 1m Twitter followers, he still manages to reply to hundreds of them every day. He gives his email out in all his books and wishes for his readers to email him; and he will try to respond. Having emailed him quite a few times, I can honestly say that he does very well in responding. Considering he employs over 300 people at Vaynermedia, has investments in companies like Twitter and Tumblr, is a New York Times Best Selling author, has over 1m Twitter followers and a family to manage, i’d say replying to his followers and fans is a pretty incredible feat.

In a world that is getting more dis-connected the more connected we get, Gary reminds us how important real human connection is. He exemplifies the importance of compassion, contribution and staying humble in an egotistical world and does so without caring how he sounds, what he looks like or what anyone thinks; and this is why he’s one of my virtual mentors.

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Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is out now on Amazon (no affiliate) 

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