When I first started working out on the idea of being “financially independent”, and starting something of my own, Gary Vaynerchuk was one of the people that had me motivated. The raw charisma, appeal, and authenticity pulled me in and I would binge watch his videos. Known as the King of Social Media Marketing, Gary Vaynerchuk is not only a successful entrepreneur, he is also one of the best current digital doers in the world. He has amassed a massive following and is loved by millions of people. What makes him so relevant and lovable in the eyes of the audience is the fact that he is reachable, and his story is current, believable, and relatable. It does not sound like a far fetched idea or an unreachable vision. In Gary Vee’s words, it is simply about getting things done.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a Belarusian-American serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia. Gary took over his father’s wine business and grew it. He was one of the earliest people to realize the power of digital marketing in creating a profitable business model. Hence, he started VaynerMedia a VaynerX subsidiary. Gary Vee was also one of the first people to realize the potential of companies like Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tumblr, and hence became an early investor of them.
Gary is also a 4-time New York Times Bestselling Author and has been named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists. He is a prolific public speaker that has inspired millions of people through his YouTube channel, and his #AskGaryVee show.
Gary Vee was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was just 3 years old. The family was extremely weak financially and lived in a small studio apartment with 8 members. His father made ends meet by working at a liquor store, while Gary struggled at school. He realized education wasn’t his forte and was a really terrible student. However, during that period he also realized that he had a special talent of observing and deducing human behavior on what led them to buy, sell, and trade.
Gary embarked in the world of entrepreneurship in a pretty funny way. He was only 6 years old and would pick flowers out of the neighbor’s garden and sell it back to them. Gary also had 6 lemonade stands around New Jersey, and would have his friends handle them. He also started selling baseball cards when he was just 13, earning $1000 to $2000 every week.
After he was dragged into the family business, Gary Vee was soon introduced to the internet by a friend. He realized that he could use the internet to do business, and hence started exploring and learning the internet and its culture. Gary’s lifelong dream has been to sell the Wine Franchise and buy the New York Jets American Football Team.
In 2009, Gary shifted his focus from Wine Library. He wanted to use his marketing and personal branding skills, and help big companies achieve their digital goals. Hence, he co-founded VaynerMedia with his brother. VaynerMedia is a full-service digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients across the company’s 4 locations. The company started out as a communications management company for the first 18 months. It had only 7 people at that time.
VaynerMedia turned into a digital empire. It serves big-name clients such as Chase, PepsiCo, Hulu, Toyota, Johnson’s, Shell, Green Mountain Coffee, the NBA, and more. The agency provides all digital services with the focus being on creativity. In addition to that, there’s also VaynerMentors, a premium consulting service that helps million-dollar businesses grow and scale. VaynerMedia houses over 800 employees currently and has an estimated revenue of $130 million per year.
As Gary entered into adulthood, his dad had saved enough money to start his own liquor store. He made Gary quit all his personal ventures, and work for him at minimum wage. Gary observed how his dad would interact with customers, and quickly realized he could use his skills of selling baseball cards to sell wine. He soon became a wine lover. He found ways to creatively market the business to customers. Gary’s original plan was to expand the business by opening several stores across the state, and eventually the country.
However, during college, Gary was introduced to the internet. He realized the immense potential it had for businesses. This led to the creation of WineLibrary.com. Gary realized that through the internet, he could increase the rate at which the inventory from the wine store was sold. Hence, Wine Library became one of the first two e-commerce wine businesses in America. From 1998 to 2003, Gary Vaynerchuk grew his father’s wine business from $3 million to a $60 million business.
Gary Vaynerchuk has a net worth of $160 million and is perhaps one of the most talked-about social media influencers. He has 8.1 million Instagram and 2.1 million Twitter followers. He is an inspiration to millions of people. What is perhaps most amazing about his career is how he has developed an exceptional personal brand.