Building An Online Empire With Gary Vee's "Crushing It!"

(a 10 minute read)

2020 has been a crazy year so far but amidst everything that’s been happening all around the world, one thing hasn’t changed...and that’s the fact that everyone and their grandma wants to build a brand online because it’s just so much better than living the 9-5 grind. A fact that attracts a ton of self-proclaimed “experts'' that want to teach (or rather: sell) you everything they know “so you can live the good life!”. Catchy phrases like “Best businesses to start FOR FREE to make 200 BILLION DoLLaRs PeR DAy RigHT NooOW!!” (obvious exaggeration) are thrown around everywhere you look and these “gurus” are making bank off it.

This sure sounds weird coming from someone that wrote an entire book about that exact topic but as you might know, we ain’t about that bs from above. The Antidote Philosophy goes much deeper. Building a brand online requires deep honesty, a high level of self-awareness, and a ton of work and serious dedication over a long period of time; something an actual guru will gladly tell you. I’m of course talking about marketing expert, influencer and author Gary Vee!

About This Blog Post

In a niche so clouded with misinformation and scammy people as this one, let me be the one to help you see through the fog by taking a dive into Gary Vee’s amazing 2018 book “Crushing It!”. I could go the same route as him and be all like “fucking work hard, hustle 24/7/365 and fucking stop complaining!” but I decided to try and be a little more practical than that. 

The book consists of eight main points which I want to talk about in this blog post and I’ll also add a few more insights and knowledge bombs here and there. Of course, nothing actually beats reading the book and to hear it from the author himself, so you should definitely do that, too...but only after you’re finished with this, duh. You can get your version here: HIT THE LINK. (because I mentioned honesty in the paragraph before: this is an affiliate link which means that we get a commission if you purchase a book through that link, just as a heads up)

This may turn out to be a rather long blog post and I feel like this intro has been going on for long enough. I know that no one came here to hear me ramble on and on without an end in sight so let me stop right now and get into it.

What does “Crushing It!” even mean?

Vee’s definition of “crushing it” is pretty simple: “If you’re earning what you need to live the life you want AND loving every day of it, you’re crushing it!”

We all spend so much time at work, why waste that time doing anything other than what we love most? Life's too short for that. And when it comes to professional opportunities, today is the best time to be alive in humankind, because as he puts it: Social Media=Business...something that’s true now more than ever.

We all know of these incredible Internet success-stories: some YouTuber that built his loyal following from the ground up, Instagram influencers that turned themselves into their own business or a successful Podcaster that started off like everyone else and now has an exclusive $100m deal with Spotify. No matter who you’re looking at, they all have one thing in common. They started from nothing and turned their hobby into their job by leveraging the immense power of social media. An opportunity that no one should just leave on the table for no good reason.

To Vee, two fundamental things have to be in place in order to make it, your product and your content:

  • Your product should be what you’re most passionate about and it should be of amazing quality (aka: very valuable). Talk about it like no one else, or in other words, do your homework and give it your own touch.
  • Your content is what everything is built on and it’s the most important part of the puzzle. Lackluster content will lead to lackluster results.

And keep in mind, you don’t have to invent the next iPhone to have a great product. In fact, your product doesn’t even have to be a physical one. Even though stuff like merch, personalized goods and more are really popular, you could also create digital products, offer services and advertising, or the product could even be your own content itself. There are literally too many ideas to list them all because the only thing you’re limited by is your own creativity and ability to execute.

Does this mean you simply have to post a few cute pics here and there every couple of days, then pump out merch like crazy and you’re good to go? You guessed it, hell no. If it were so easy, I would end right here. But as stated in the beginning, Gary Vee’s eight principles have to be in place so you, too, can go out there and crush it!

The Things That Matter

Trying to take social media more seriously brings a ton of challenges. There is a lot of clutter, there are so many things you could start with, and most of the time it gets a little overwhelming and seemingly complicated. That’s why knowing what to focus on is so important - so without further ado, let’s get started with the first fundamental principle... 

#1) Intent

Before starting a project like this - or really any project - you should ask yourself one very important question: WHY are you doing this?

Is it because you’re unhappy with your current situation and seeking change? Do you want to set your own footprint in this world? Or is it because you’re so passionate about something that you simply can’t stop talking about it and want to share that with others?

In any case, the WHY matters. Don’t be like all those wantrepreneurs out there. As mentioned earlier, you should spend your time doing something you really like doing and you should genuinely care about the people that share your passion because they’re the ones that allow you to even have these opportunities in the first place. They’re also the ones that smell bad intents from miles away and it’ll show, trust me.

If you don’t care enough to induce others to rave about you, all you’re doing is holding a spot for someone who really does care, the one who will waltz in and replace you. You don’t even have to be overly altruistic either, because in a world where the standard is pretty much nothing, you just have to be altruistic enough. But if you base every decision only on what you’re getting out of it, then you’ll most likely fail...

#2) Authenticity

Your intent is always reflected in your level of authenticity and that’s why the former is so important. Because the more authentic you are, the more forgiving the world will be - people will genuinely be interested in you and what you have to offer if you’re not putting on a facade. Authenticity is a pretty broad term but it can be broken down into three things:

  1. Don’t care about what other people think. This enables you to express yourself in whatever way you like. It allows you to do whatever you really want to do and to experiment. It sets you free. 
  2. Care about what other people think. Yes, it’s the total opposite of what I just said but listen up. While you should definitely do whatever it is you want to do, you should still listen to and care about your audience. They will let you know how you can improve and they will guide you through it. It’s a win-win; you build a rapport with your audience and they get better content as time goes on.
  3. Respect your audience. This is the most important factor of the three because you depend on them. As mentioned before, you should genuinely care about your audience because they’re the ones you’re delivering to and what’s better than having a large group of people that love and support you?

Treat your audience with respect and they’ll follow you wherever you go. Put simply, be genuinely authentic and sincere in what you do. It’s a welcome relief to consumers who live in a society where they constantly feel that they’re being taken advantage of or hearing only parts of the whole story. So for the love of god, just don’t be like these people:

#3) Passion

I’ve mentioned this enough by now and it’s thrown around non-stop on social media, so I’ll keep it short. Most hours in adult life are spent working. Make these hours rewarding, productive, and enjoyable. Your business can’t just be a job.

Passion is your backup generator when all your other energy sources start to sputter, and passion keeps you happy. But remember this: it’s not just about passion passion passion. You also have to follow through and execute; don’t talk, do. Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.

#4) Patience

To live in line with your passion will probably require that you go slower than you might want to. That’s why you have to be patient; because when you eventually do get there, you will have the time of your life.

It’s going to be a long and tough grind but it will pay off, or as Vee likes to say, “You’re going to eat shit for a long time, but it’ll be worth it”. If that’s what it takes, then eat shit for as long as you have to and only when you reach your goals can you live it up (...responsibly, because you will have matured massively over that period of time).

#5) Speed

Yes, I just told you to be patient but think about it like this: patience is for the long term, whereas speed is for the short term. The pressure that builds between these two produces the diamond. It’s about micro-speed vs macro-patience.

You have to constantly be in do-mode and give it your best. Once you make a mistake, learn from it and move on - what’s the use of dwelling? If you try new things, stay consistent, and deliver valuable content, the results will come. Because the truth is this: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right. You can win or you can learn from your losses - which means you win either way.

#6) Work

If you know Gary Vee, then you know about this one. He is a workhorse and his results speak for themselves. And when you first start out, there is no time for leisure - if you want to crush it. Try to spend your time working as much as you possibly can. Create new content, engage with people all over the internet, and keep on delivering value. The time it will take you to get where you want to be is directly correlated to the time you put into it. 

Now, I understand that not everyone has the time and energy to work all day, everyday and that’s fine. I certainly don’t. What you really have to wrap your head around is the way in which you spend your time. Do you really need to watch another episode right now? Is laying on the couch and scrolling through YouTube really the best use of your time right now? Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram while on the toilet, why not use that time to grind in hashtags?

You have to manage your time carefully because it’s the one resource you can never restore. That’s why you also have to take the time to manage your time - sounds complicated but it’s true. Think about all the countless hours and days you spent doing pretty much nothing and let that be your motivation to do more. We’ve all been there. Not all of us will make it out there. Which side do you want to end up on?

#7) Attention

Pay attention to everything that happens around you and is associated with your brand and where it’s shifting to. Think about it like this: years ago a lot of people already mastered Instagram just in case it blew up while others were debating to even create an account. The same thing happened with YouTube, and then with TikTok, and it will happen again with whatever comes out as the next BIG THING. Don’t be that kind of person and keep your eyes open!

Use every platform available to you to document your actual life and speak your truth. Let your audience get to know you and let them watch you develop into who you want to become - document your journey. You don’t have to fake it to make it...remember, authenticity is key. It’s not okay to be manipulative, but it is okay to be a novice. And don’t worry about seeming vain. Instead, embrace it. Everybody who’s crushing it did, it’s totally okay. 

If you spot new opportunities, give them a shot and then decide if you’re comfortable with them or not. A new platform arises? Good, dive deeper and see how you can make it work. If you don’t like it, move on. It’s that simple. Keep this in mind: If you’re not 100% happy with your life today, it is never a waste of time to try something that could get you there.

Now let’s get on to the final and most important fundamental...

#8) Content

I’m not going to dive too deep into this because I simply can’t reach the same level of depth and quality as Gary Vee does in his book. And as I said in the beginning, nothing beats reading the real thing, so you have to give the book a shot if you want to know every detail of this most important chapter. Again, here’s the link to get your copy: HIT THE LINK PART TWO!

I’ve said it like a million times by now: just know that your content is the most important part of your work because, as I mentioned earlier, it can also be your product itself. That’s why it’s so important to constantly deliver high quality, native content (more on that in a minute). The most important factors of content are the following...

First, be present on as many platforms as possible. This is what “Attention” is all about. The most common and easiest to use platforms are the ones everyone uses: the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. They have huge user bases and it’s incredibly easy to reach out to people and connect. 

Other, more challenging channels would be something like YouTube, Podcasts, and even Snapchat. These are the kinds of channels that either require more work and even equipment (like YouTube and Podcasts) or the user base isn’t as interlinked as on other platforms (Snapchat for example).

And remember #7? Always keep your eyes open for upcoming trends that you might be a part of. They are platforms like Vine, Musical.ly, and TikTok because you can find a lot of success there, too. Just give platforms like these a shot and see if you like them or not and then go from there. “Vine? Musical.ly?” I hear you wonder...yes, you read that right. These two platforms are perfect examples for what “keeping your eyes open” means: making the most of something while it’s around but also being aware that the next big thing could come at any moment and even dethrone the current big thing. (yes, I’m talking about TikTok)

When we at OuhSnap first went on this road of trying to build a brand online, TikTok wasn’t even around. Now, on the other hand, there are thousands and thousands of creators crushing it on there even though their following on other platforms isn’t as huge...they came from nothing. These creators can now leverage their TikTok influence to build massive followings on all other platforms. This is the magic of social media. And if you are wondering, the same has happened with Vine stars, too: just take a look at the likes of Lele Pons, the Paul brothers or someone like Cody Ko - all are originally from Vine but they leveraged their influence to grow on all other platforms and beyond.

The other important thing concerning content is to put yourself out there and get discovered. And this doesn’t mean sitting around, waiting for someone to notice you. No, this means making people discover you by correctly using the tools all platforms are providing you with. The “easiest” way to do this is by using smart hashtag strategies, DMs, and by collaborating. Let’s take hashtags for example by applying one of Gary Vee’s most famous techniques. (video linked below)

This strategy is really straightforward and really hands-on. Put simply: what you should do is browse through 5-10 of the most popular hashtags in your niche and simply comment on a few posts each, every single day. If you do that on just 9 posts in 10 different hashtags, all you have to do is comment 90 times in one day. But don’t just post useless nonsense like “Nice”, “WOW!” or worthless emojis without anything else. Try to leave sincere comments that offer some value and that people can preferably respond to. Try being genuinely helpful and caring, compliment them on their progress, point out specific things in their content, ask questions and do anything you’d love to see on your own posts. By doing this, you’re allowing others to engage with your comment, which not only boosts the algorithm but also makes others notice you - something that can help you grow your audience pretty quickly if you stay consistent.

As you should’ve realized by now, “pretty quickly” in this context doesn’t mean going from zero to 100k in a few days, weeks or even months. For some this might be the case, but in general this process can take years. I’m not here to paint a pretty picture of a get-rich-quick fairytale, I’m here to tell you the truth and to help you along the way. This can be a tedious process but tedious simply means most people won’t do it. If you do, you will win.

Now before I end this already pretty long blog post I will say something about native content, as promised. Native content simply means that you shouldn’t just recycle your content from one platform and paste it on all the others. Instead, you should try to make every single one of your platforms unique. Every app has their own style, a fact that should be embraced. If you post a picture on Instagram and then post that same picture on Facebook and Twitter, it won’t turn out well. Instagram and Twitter are totally different mediums and they also have different audiences so you should try to tailor your content to them.

Something you can do, though, is to create so-called pillar content. This simply means creating one bigger piece of content which you can then spin, reformat and remix to use on other platforms - think of it like deejaying! For example, you could create a blog post for your website, then add a few things here and there to turn that post into a YouTube video. This video can then be cut into smaller pieces and re-edited to fit the style of IG-TV or TikTok or Facebook. You can then also post promotional stories, add a picture post and write a Tweet connected to that post. You could even upload the audio file of the video to Spotify for a special podcast series of yours.

This simple idea of remixing one piece of pillar content can turn a single blog post into a storm of native content for all your other outlets! And this is just one idea I just came up with - as stated earlier, there are literally too many ideas to list because the only limitation you have is your own imagination. Unfortunately, I can’t really go any deeper concerning content or this post would never end. You really have to give the book a shot if you haven’t yet...writing about it even makes me want to revisit it right now.

Take a Chance

The most important thing is simply that you get started and do something. Don’t get caught up in all the details and don’t let yourself be intimidated by all this information. There are countless others that have made it and I believe that you can, too.

Everyone is playing the same game. If you don’t play offense all the time, every day, every year, no matter how successful you become, someday you will wind up playing defense.

I know that this information only scratches the surface of it all. That’s why our book is over 270+ pages long and that’s why we try to educate as much as we possibly can. So, if you have any more questions or if you want to know more about this, feel free to reach out to us (via Mail, DMs or in our Antidote Facebook Forum) and don’t forget to check out our other socials where you’ll probably find content similar to this post because I kinda like the idea that I just had in the pillar content section. I know, that’s a shameless plug but at least it’s honest and therefore authentic.

I hope you enjoyed and see you next time. Until then. Stay safe.

Max