Do you have dreams of turning the skills and hobbies you are passionate about into a money-making side hustle or full-time business? Regardless of where you are in your current career, with enough hustling you can build a reputation where people know you for your passion, earn reliable side income, and transform your life so that you spend your time doing what you love.
This month we chose Crush It! By Gary Vaynerchuk as our Science of People book club book to learn from the strategies he used to go from working for his family’s small liquor store to being one of the most respected entrepreneurs in America.
Here are my favorite lessons from the book.
Your Passion is Worth the Pain
There’s no way to get around it, succeeding at something you are passionate about, especially if your passion lies outside of your day job, takes an immense amount of work.
In his book, Vaynerchuk emphasizes that success requires serious hustling. By hustling, he doesn’t mean putting in a few hours on the weekend. You have to work harder than everyone else competing against you to accomplish the same or similar goals and that means you have to be willing to do the late night, before work, and long weekend work sessions that will put you ahead.
If you are truly passionate about what you are pursuing, all of the long hours, sleep deprivation, and challenges will feel worthwhile because you get to live with the satisfaction of making progress toward your most fiery and personal goals.
Listen to Your DNA
When deciding what goals you want to pursue, Vaynerchuk says that the most important elements to consider is your DNA. We are all genetically wired to have certain skills and the key to success is to capitalize on the ones you have instead of trying build the ones you don’t. It’s important to do this even if you lack skills that are typically seen as necessary for success.
Here’s an example: Vaynerchuk is admittedly terrible at school. Growing up he never got good grades or even tried to succeed academically. Conventional advice says that formal education is the key to success but Vaynerchuk knew that it wasn’t for him. Instead of stressing himself out to get good grades, he accepted his poor GPA and focused his time and energy on the entrepreneurial pursuits like selling baseball cards and working for the family business. By living life according to his natural strengths, he was able to gain a practical education that enabled him to accomplish more as an entrepreneur than he would have been able to by pursuing a path to success that didn’t align with who he is.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t work on improving at things you struggle with, especially if those things are crucial to your success. However, you’re far more likely to succeed if you center your goals around activities that you are naturally good at.
Don’t Strive to Become the Person You Admire Most
We all hear people make statements like “I want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg” or “I hope I can have a career as great as [name of a successful friend/family member].”
While it’s essential to have people who you admire and learn from, Vaynerchuk argues that striving to have a career exactly like someone else’s is a self-sabotaging effort.
Highly successful people stand out because there is no one else quite like them. Instead of looking at successful people and trying to be just like them, figure out what strategies they used to become successful and use those to differentiate yourself with your unique goals.
Your Social Media Presence is Your Resume
We all know that what you post online matters because there is a chance that someone from HR will see it. However, it’s not just HR you should be thinking about seeing your profiles. The connections in your network are one of your most powerful sources of opportunities.
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell writes that “The more acquaintances you have, the more powerful you are.” Unlike your close friends and colleagues, your acquaintances thrive in a different social universe than you do. The result is that they know about jobs and networking opportunities that no one else in your inner circle does. In fact, 83% of people who find their jobs through a current contact do so through people they see only occasionally, if at all.
Keeping your social media accounts up-to-date with content that fits your personal brand ensures that when opportunities come up in your network, you’ve already spent months, if not years, building a reputation that shows you would be a good fit.
Content is Your Currency
In today’s busy, often confusing, world, advice from a trusted friend is exactly what people need to help them get through their days. Vaynerchuk believes that well-written, practical, entertaining, or otherwise valuable content on both your social media accounts and by directly sending articles to particular individuals, is one of the most effective.
The key to creating awesome content is to choose the medium that best suits your personality and strengths. Here’s how:
- If you have a vivacious personality and feel comfortable sharing your ideas verbally like Vaynerchuk, then share your ideas through live streams and posting videos.
- If you love putting your thoughts into writing, write insightful posts and emails to help people learn from your experiences and research.
- If you have an eye for photography or design, share beautiful visuals that reveal the way you see the world.
This doesn’t have to be a lonely effort either. Team up with a friend with similar goals and complementary skills to split the time and effort it takes to create captivating content.
If you’re not great at creating content yourself, don’t worry. You can still harness the currency of content by keeping up with the websites in your areas of interest and sharing the very best content with your readers. If you want to strengthen your relationship with a particular individual, pay attention to the struggles they are facing and send them high-quality content tailored to their needs.
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.
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