A year and a half ago, on a random Wednesday in July, I pulled my then two person team into a meeting room and told them “We are going to start a YouTube show.” Just like that, The #AskGaryVee Show was born.
185 episodes later, that show is now a book.
The show isn’t something that took weeks to plan. It started in an instant, exactly how I described above. I didn’t plan on filming a show when I woke up that morning and had no idea that this was going to be something that I would continue doing for a long time. It just happened.
I describe myself as a serial entrepreneur. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found ways to make money and sell things. I had a franchise of lemonade stands growing up. Yes, you read that right: franchise. I had other kids on the block run lemonade stands and at the end of the day I would ride around on my big wheels like Tony Soprano collecting earnings.
But the way I’ve been able to build successful businesses, like my 600 person digital agency VaynerMedia or my e-commerce site Wine Library, is because I believe in always giving more than you take. Provide value upfront and in the long run, it will pay off.
That belief is the very reason the #AskGaryVee show is so effective. The entire premise is simple to execute and it gives back to my community at the same time. I take questions people ask me on Twitter (as well as Instagram, Facebook, and emails) and answer them, directly in front of the camera. I don’t prep. I don’t see the questions before they get picked. That first episode, my team chose five random questions that had recently come through in my mentions and posed them to me in the room with the camera facing me. Eventually, the show format evolved and people started using #AskGaryVee, so I was able to source directly from the hashtag.
I’ve now answered close to 1,000 questions. All of them from the community that I’ve built since my first YouTube show ten years ago. I’ve also had some of my friends on the show to ask questions themselves or answer them with me. The list includes Ashton Kutcher, Jack Welch, Tim Ferriss, and Casey Neistat (twice!).
Pretty fucking awesome.
But why do any of this? Why take time out of my day to film a thirty minute show that I never monetize? So many so-called “social media gurus” charge hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for their one hour course. Couldn’t I be making a shit load of money off of this thing?
Sure. But I don’t want to.
Because, like I said, I believe in providing value. The best way to win in business (or in life), is to give before you take.
“Give back” are two of the most important words in the English language. The #AskGaryVee Show is a Q&A show meant to provide as much value to my viewers as possible. I’ve built my business and personal brand on providing real, direct value on a one-to-one basis, and the show has become the most effective way to scale that in a big way.
All I ask for in return of my community is for them to buy the books I write and publish every few years. I’ve written three books so far, and my fourth one, The #AskGaryVee Book, is going to be huge.
I first started hinting that my next book would be based off of #AskGaryVee about a year into the show. From there, the concept grew, and as of writing this, I’m two weeks away from the book launch date.
This book compiles all the best questions ever asked on the show and organizes them into categories and chapters. Chapters include leadership, influencer marketing, investing, tactical advice broken down by platform, and much more. Plus, there are bonus questions that have never even been on the show and some fun behind the scenes information from my team and other people who have worked on it.
Not only is the #AskGaryVee is my longest book, and certainly my most dense, but what makes it so significant is it’s essentially a compilation of everything I know about launching, operating and growing businesses. From leadership and character building advice, to sales and marketing, it’s a massive resource. A textbook for entrepreneurs, salesmen, business owners, and anyone looking to learn more about the current state of entrepreneurship. But perhaps most importantly, I am proud to able to say that the #AskGaryVee Book was co-written with anyone who ever asked a question on the show. Because at the end of the day, your customers and community are what really counts.
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Gary Vaynerchuk builds businesses. Fresh out of college he took his family wine business and grew it from a $3M to a $60M business in just five years. Now he runs VaynerMedia, one of the world’s hottest digital agencies. Along the way he became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox before eventually co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25M investment fund.