It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting upstairs in my office, in my pajamas, watching Gary Vaynerchuk give his keynote address at Affiliate Summit West live on Ustream (along with 865 other viewers). Vaynerchuk runs a New Jersey business called Wine Library, and has a popular video blog called Wine Library TV. But most importantly (to me), he’s a passionate proponent of personal entrepreneurship.
As much as I believe that frugality is an important part of personal finance, I also believe that starting your own business is an excellent way to boost your income and to lead a more fulfilling life. My family is filled with entrepreneurs. When Gary Vaynerchuk speaks, he speaks to my soul.
Artists and Entrepreneurs
Gary talks about how some people who produce content for the web are Artists, while others are Entrepreneurs. He talks about the importance of Passion. He talks about building Brand Equity. He talks about Transparency, about not hiding things from your users. And he talks about how you need to have Goals.
I’ve been fascinated by the Artist/Entrepreneurship dichotomy for the past few weeks, for example. I’ve been telling Jim and Nickel that while the three of us are bloggers, I’m more of a Writer, and they’re more like Marketers. There’s nothing wrong with either one. They’re two different approaches to the same problem.
As it happens, I know that Jim is actually at Affiliate Summit West, sitting in the audience, watching Garyvee in person. So I pick up my phone, and I text him.
J.D.: Are you watching Gary?
J.D.: His artist/entrepreneur dichotomy is like my writer/marketer split.
Jim: Yeah, but you don’t have to always pick.
J.D.: I like that he says you can be both.
Jim: Very true. I’m more marketer and you’re more writer.
There’s a sort of continuum between Artist and Entrepreneur (or Writer and Marketer). You can’t make money by just doing it for the Art. But it’s difficult to build an audience by just playing the Marketer. There’s a balance to be found. For each blogger (and each business owner), that balance is different. I tend to fall on the side of Art. Jim tends to fall on the side of Entrepreneur. We’re looking to meet in the middle.
Jim and I keep an ongoing dialogue during the rest of the presentation. “This is so 2009,” I tell him, referring to the fact that he’s in Las Vegas watching the speech in person, I’m in Portland viewing it on the web, and we’re sharing it with each other via text message. I also say, “Garyvee is a genius.” Which is true.
Hustle and Patience
“This bad economy is the greatest thing that ever happened to Hustlers and people in the trenches,” Gary tells the crowd. “It’s the best thing.” When you work hard, when you build Brand Equity — even if it’s only your personal brand — you can always make more money. But those afraid of hustle, or afraid of trying something new, get left behind.
“There’s a scary four letter word that a lot of people are just completely petrified of, and that’s called Work. That’s what you have to do,” Gary says. But he also says you need something else. “There’s nobody that has enough Patience. Everybody’s like, when’s it gonna happen? But you’ve been doing this for three months — are you kidding me?”
Gary describes how he spent 8-10 hours every day for 18 months pumping out a 20 minute wine video that nobody watched. He participated in the online wine forums. He commented at wine blogs. And gradually — very gradually — he achieved success. “That’s hard,” Gary says. “That’s Patience.”
I think that’s something that most people who begin blogging for dollars miss. They come here, for example, and see that Get Rich Slowly has 70,000 subscribers and gets over 25,000 visitors every day and they imagine that maybe it makes a lot of money. They figure they’ll start right up and do this, too — they’ll get rich quickly.
But they don’t see the fifteen years I’ve been writing on the web, the ten years that I’ve had an online journal, the eight years I’ve had a blog, the three years that I’ve been building Get Rich Slowly. They want to go from zero to 70,000 in two months. It doesn’t work that way. It takes effort — and lots of it.
I don’t work four hours a week, either. In fact, most weeks I work 60. Or more. Not just this week, but every week for the past three years. Writing a blog is a job, and like any job you get out of it what you put into it. I’m fortunate that I love my job, but it’s still a job.
Love what you do
During the Q&A for Gary’s talk, a Danish businessman asks a question I could have asked. He says that his business is so successful that he finds himself spending 10 hours a day answering e-mail. He feels stretched thin. He wants to know where Gary finds time to do the important stuff while still interacting with the customers and fans. “How do you do it?” he asks. “It seems impossible.”
“Are you happy?” Gary asks him.
“I love it,” the Danish businessman says.
Gary smiles. “Then you’re set,” he says.
I think there’s a lesson here for me. I’ve been frustrated lately about how busy I am. I don’t have enough time to answer my e-mail. I’m falling behind on my article writing. There are so many things I want to do for this site, and I don’t have time to do them. But you know what? I’m happy.
“When you love what you do, you never lose,” Gary said earlier in his talk.
I love what I do. I love sharing this stuff with you. I love interacting with GRS readers. Maybe it’s time to realize that, in the words of Garyvee, I’m “set”.
Last month at GRS, Gary Vaynerchuk shared advice about finding good wines and great prices. Look for more from him here in the future.
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