Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

social media book reviewsHave you heard of Joseph Campbell?

He was the famous mythologist—author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces and many other books—who told us all to “follow your bliss” in his Power of Myth PBS specials with Bill Moyers in the late 1980s.

“That’s all well and good,” you may have thought at the time. “But I have to make a living. How do I make money by following my bliss?

If you’ve been asking that question for the past 20 years, you’ll be happy to know that someone has finally answered it. Gary Vaynerchuk has written a book to teach us how to make money by following our bliss.

Many of you may know Vaynerchuk as the host of the video blog Now he has written a book titled Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion.

Here’s a recent episode from Gary’s WineLibrary TV.

crush it“Crush It!” refers to Vaynerchuk’s passion: wine. His family had a liquor store and by the age of 26, he had taken the store from $2 million in revenue in 1994 to $20 million in 2001. Here’s how he did it, building his personal brand along the way:

  1. He started in 1997 by creating and selling wine online.
  2. The rise and popularity of YouTube convinced him to start a video blog called in 2006.
  3. He started talking about business in 2007. How to start one, what to sell, and how to sell it.

He had come to the following conclusion based on his personal experience: the only way to make money and be successful is to monetize your passion.

Or in Joseph Campbell’s words, to make money by following your bliss.

Why is monetizing your passion the only way to make money? Because starting a successful business is long, hard work. That’s exactly why you must monetize your passion and nothing else.

“If you’re living your passion, you’re going to want to be consumed by your work. The passion and love for what you do will enable you to work the hours necessary to succeed,” Vaynerchuk said.

And why is now the time to do it?

Because social media, new advertising venues, and the Internet have made it possible for you to find other people who share your passion and might even pay you for your knowledge. If you can establish yourself as an expert, people who need your expertise will seek you out.

Let’s talk about those new advertising venues. “The difference between promoting your brand via traditional marketing and advertising media and doing it via social networking platforms is like the difference between sending a message by Pony Express and chatting on Instant Messenger,” says Vaynerchuk.

Here’s how he came to that conclusion. He spent $7,500 to advertise on a billboard, send a direct mailing, and produce a radio spot. He got 170 orders from the billboard, 300 from the direct mailing, and 240 from the radio ad.

Then he tweeted the ad for free and got 1,700 orders in 48 hours. That’s more than all three traditional ads put together!

“These social networking sites have changed the game by giving entrepreneurs a reason to ditch the sinking traditional media and advertising platforms in favor of a communication method that opens them up to markets that would have been inaccessible until just a few short years ago.”

Crush It! will give you the techniques you need to establish your expertise using social media. Vaynerchuk calls it “building your personal brand.” Here are the techniques in a nutshell:

  1. Identify your passion.
  2. Learn as much about it as you can.
  3. Start blogging about it.
  4. Find other blogs about it and leave comments.
  5. Find Facebook pages about your passion, become a friend/fan and contribute.
  6. Search Twitter to find other passionate people and talk to them.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 over and over and over.

As your knowledge and your passionate community increase, you can reach out to advertisers. And don’t be surprised if some business development people start calling you. Vaynerchuk calls them “biz dev” people.

Suppose you have no product or service to sell? You can still get paid for your expertise. You can write one or more ebooks, speak at conferences, and even sell ad space on your blog.

But Vaynerchuk doesn’t care for Google AdSense. It “makes your page look cheap and cluttered [and] it doesn’t pay that well.” Instead, he recommends banner ads.

Here’s how to find advertisers: browse through magazines about your passion and look at the ads. Who’s advertising? Contact those companies and say, “how about advertising on my blog for a lot less money?” Of course, you have to have a really big community to get their advertising dollars.

“There is lots of money to be made, albeit in dribs and drabs to start, by siphoning off money from already-existing sources,” Vaynerchuk says.

“Siphoning off money from already-existing sources” means dumping traditional advertising venues and marketing techniques that broadcast the same ad to millions of people. Most of whom couldn’t care less about the product being advertised.

Instead, you will offer advertisers a highly targeted market: all of the people who share your passion.

And if the money comes “in dribs and drabs” in the beginning, don’t worry. As you build your expertise and your passionate community, more people will seek you out. Including advertisers.

“If you live your passion and work the social networking tools to the max, opportunities to monetize will present themselves,” Vaynerchuk says. “The passion and love for what you do will enable you to work the hours necessary to succeed.”

So if you’re unhappy in your job, pick up a copy of Crush It! Vaynerchuk wrote it “because it drives me crazy to know that there are still people out there who haven’t figured out that they don’t have to settle.”

And he means “settle” for a job doing anything besides what you really love to do.

But is it really possible to make money following your bliss using Vaynerchuk’s techniques? Why not buy Crush It! or find it in a library and write down all 21 steps in Appendix A.

Then follow his techniques for one year. Do they work? Tell us about your success or failure, and we’ll summarize the results on Social Media Examiner.

Social Media Examiner gives this book 3.5 stars.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on Vaynerchuk’s style? Please comment below.

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