Josh here from Solopreneur Grind, and we are back with another solopreneur book review. I’m excited to jump into this. We’re going to give an overview, and then we’re also gonna give my three key takeaways of the book – Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuck: How great entrepreneurs build their business and influence, and how you can too.
Feel free to jump into the review video, or text, below:
All right, so first, a little bit about the book in general before we get into the three key takeaways. I got the hard cover – I don’t know if there’s a soft cover – and it’s not a huge book, tops out at around 250 pages. And to be honest, it’s a pretty easy, quick read.
What Gary does is break the book primarily up into two parts. In the first half of the book he talks more strategy, more principles, some of the key pillars of how he thinks about approaching social media, creating content, approaches you should take – key principles you need to know that will stick with you always.
No matter what happens.
In the second half of the book, he talks a little bit more about specific platforms: Facebook, YouTube, etc. These are platforms that can evolve over time, and so what he does is talks about the most popular platforms and the strategies he would use to approach using them, given where they are at right now (because platforms can change, come and go over time).
Why you should read the newest version of Crushing It!
Now I think it’s really important in this case to make sure that you’re picking up the most updated version called Crushing It!, as opposed to the original book that he published called Crush It!, and there’s two reasons why.
His original book Crush It! was written in 2009. And so what that means is that some of the popular platforms and strategies at that time don’t apply as much anymore.
For a book like this that talks about different strategies revolving around platforms, you obviously want the most updated content and strategies. So I highly recommend picking up Crushing It! for that reason.
Secondly, Gary and his team ended up getting all these emails, letters, stories from people who had read Crush It! and applied it to their lives, to their businesses. And the stories of what came of it.
What they do in the new book – Crushing It! – which is really interesting, is usually every chapter or so, or every section, they include a story that was written about or by one of their readers and how they applied the lessons from Crush It! to grow their business, personal brands, side hustle, etc.
So not only are you getting the part written by Gary, but you’re also getting to read these stories of how people applied the principles and strategies of Crush It! and how it worked out for them. So I highly recommend it.
Now let’s get into my three key takeaways.
Lesson #1: Content is (still) king
The first key takeaway is that content is still king.
This book was originally what Gary wrote about back in 2009, where these social media platforms and content marketing strategies were nowhere near as popular.
Back then, it’s hard to imagine, but Gary was going out on a limb to make all of these very bold claims about social media and saying all these people and businesses should be pumping out all this different content.
And some people thought he was crazy.
Now we’re looking at this in 2023, at least that’s when this blog post was written, and we understand why he was preaching some of these things, right?
Whether you’re trying to grow your personal brand, a side hustle, business, increase your marketing efforts, creating content on these platforms – whether it be video, audio, visual – is so much more important than ever before.
Especially if you want to get organic inbound, right? As a company, as an influencer, whatever it may be, it’s even more important and understood than when Gary wrote the first version of the book.
And that’s why the first half of his book is so helpful, because it teaches you how to create valuable, authentic content (which I’ll touch on below).
Takeaway number one: content is still king and make sure you’re focusing on it for growth.
Lesson #2: It is – and isn’t – all about the platforms
The second key takeaway I had from reading Crushing It! by Gary Vee is that it is, but it isn’t, all about the platforms that you’re using. And when I say platforms, I mean social media platforms.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, you get the point.
It is all about the platforms because – as we read in the second half of the book – you want to treat different platforms differently, right? There might be different types of people on the platforms and they’re consuming your content in different ways.
You really want to keep that in mind and slightly adjust your content creation strategy based on the platform that you’re on. If you’re typing content on LinkedIn, that will probably be a different approach than if you’re typing content on Twitter versus creating maybe more long form content for something like YouTube versus shorter form content for something like TikTok.
So in that sense, the platform is very important.
On the flip side, and this is an ironic lesson, is the platforms are not as important as some of the key principles that Gary preaches. Things like being authentic, adding value, telling good stories, responding to comments. These are key principles that he teaches in the first half of the book that can be applied to any platform – maybe a little bit differently depending on the platform – but that are more important than any single platform.
It doesn’t matter how badly you want a platform to work if you don’t apply his key principles that apply to every platform – if that makes sense.
I don’t want this to sound conflicting, but it is – and it isn’t – all about the platform that you’re creating content for.
Lesson #3: Add value and be authentic
My last tip and key takeaway has to do with actually creating the content itself.
We all know how important it is to create content, and heck, a lot of us try our best to create a lot of content, but we’re not all crazy millionaire influencers with a billion followers, right? So definitely focus a lot on the first half of the book where he talks about some of these key principles to apply to all content creation.
And the two that really stuck out to me are 1) being authentic, and 2) adding value.
Now more than ever there are more platforms, more content being posted, more competition for attention than ever before. So if you’re not adding value with your content, it might not do as well as you’d like.
It’s not enough just to post content – starting to post content is great, but if you really want to see traction and growth, you’re going to have to ask yourself: how can I add value to the people on the other end of the phone or the computer that are consuming it?
Can I entertain them?
Can I make them laugh?
Can I make them cry?
Can I educate them?
Can I solve a problem that they’re having?
Can I help them achieve a goal that they’ve been trying to get but haven’t been able to?
What is the value that you can provide for your readers, your listeners, your watchers, etc.?
Secondly, be authentic. Because if you’re authentic, if you’re sharing your true story, your feelings, it’s hard to get things wrong and it’s hard to run out of content ideas.
One of the hardest parts of creating content is figuring out what the heck to say (or type, or write, or do). But Gary is a big proponent of documenting and just being authentic about what are you going through – what’s happening in your life, what’s happening in your business, what’s happening with your family.
Obviously it’s up to you to decide where you want to draw the line of how much to share, but just being authentic can be so valuable. Documenting your journey can be a whole channel and great value add in and of itself.
So the third lesson is to be authentic and make sure you’re adding value to your audience. And if you’re doing those things, you’ll have a much greater chance at growth for your channel, whichever type it is.
So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed my key takeaways and book review of Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuck.
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