Gary Vaynerchuk is a ubiquitous entrepreneur, investor, author, vlogger, and motivational speaker. He’s become a master at producing highly engaging and inspirational bite-size content on social media. You can find Gary on channels such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat, and YouTube. He has successfully started his own companies. Also, Gary has a digital marketing agency that he co-founded with his brother.
But there was a time before social media influencer fame brought additional wealth. Vaynerchuk was always an entrepreneur who helped build a multi-million-dollar business long before the digital age.
Let’s take a look at Vaynerchuk’s remarkable career in business. But first, let’s explore his journey to becoming one of the most prominent figures in social media today.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s entrepreneurial journey began when he was born on November 14, 1975, in Bobruisk, Russia. He was raised by a mother and father who desperately wanted to escape the communist regime of the Soviet Union. As a result, Vaynerchuk and his family immigrated to the United States, without knowing any English, when Gary was just three years old.
They settled in Edison, New Jersey. There, Vaynerchuk’s father worked in a small liquor store before saving up enough money to run a business of his own. In 1988, just 10 years after moving to America, Vaynerchuk’s dad became a partner in Shopper’s Discount Liquors. He managed to buy out his partner’s share in the small business.
Like his father, Vaynerchuk had an entrepreneurial spirit and was not afraid of hard work. One of his first entrepreneurial endeavors involved pulling flowers out of his neighbor’s garden and selling them back to them. Gary also ran a chain of multiple lemonade stands as a child. Later, he sold baseball cards (making thousands of dollars) in his early teens.
In a 2014 interview on TheBlaze, Vaynerchuk shared that his parents were unlike most immigrant parents. Most pressured their children to excel in school. His parents did not mind the fact that he was not an ‘A’ student. Gary explained that they were not too worried because he was making $2,000-$3,000 a week from his various business ventures while in middle school.
When Vaynerchuk turned 14, his father had him working in the family business on the weekends and on every school holiday. He has said that his experience in the wine store helped him to learn many valuable business lessons. Specifically, Gary learned the importance of nurturing long-term relationships with customers. He left New Jersey and enrolled at Mount Ida College in Boston, Massachusetts. There, Gary earned a bachelor’s degree.
Following his graduation in 1998, Vaynerchuk returned to his hometown of New Jersey to continue working in the family wine business. While at college, Vaynerchuk was exposed to computers and the Internet. He quickly realized they could be powerful in growing his father’s business.
Long before email marketing was a thing, Gary found creative ways to market his father’s wine business. He emailed weekly discounts and specials and shared his favorite wine recommendations.
Before learning about e-commerce, Vaynerchuk’s expansion goal for the liquor store was modest. He aimed to open up several brick and mortar locations across the state, and eventually across the country.
However, he instead started a website called WineLibrary.com. His goal was to increase the rate at which inventory from the wine store was sold. Within five years of launching the website, he succeeded. Sales increased from $3 million to $60 million a year.
Vaynerchuk’s rise to fame all began with a 20-minute daily YouTube show. Gary launched it in early 2006, roughly a year after YouTube was founded. The show was called Wine Library TV. It gave Vaynerchuk a wide platform to share wine reviews and indirectly promote WineLibrary.com.
Over time Vaynerchuk’s YouTube following grew. The Conan Show invited Gary to appear in 2008. Of course, this appearance had a snowball effect. Other well-known television shows and publications subsequently produced features on Vaynerchuk. They focused on his use of social media to grow his business and brand. He later became a very active Twitter user. There, Gary built an audience of more than 1.3 million people.
Gary still produces daily vlog videos on YouTube. Only these days, it’s with assistance from his team. Videographers, social media specialists, and graphic designers help amplify Vaynerchuk’s brand on multiple social media platforms.
Gary has fine-tuned a content creating machine. His daily vlogs show him in real-life settings. We watch him in client meetings, employee interactions, press events, and doling out financial advice. A few examples of YouTube videos include “My 5 Biggest Failures in Business” and “How to Find Your Path to Happiness.”
Vaynerchuk prides himself on having the privilege of being transparent. He shares his struggles and successes honestly and candidly. As of February 2020, Gary has 2.55M subscribers on YouTube.
After his success with WineLibrary, Vaynerchuk shifted his focus. This time, to VaynerMedia, a digital marketing agency that he started with his brother AJ. Gary was eager to use his marketing and personal branding skills to build an empire that helps clients replicate his success.
VaynerMedia is a full-service global agency. It serves big-name clients such as Chase, PepsiCo, Hulu, Toyota, Johnson’s, Shell, Green Mountain Coffee, the NBA, and more. The firm provides clients with the same robust social media strategies Gary has used to great success.
The agency offers services such as strategy, creative, paid media, production, and influencer programs. Plus, there’s VaynerMentors, a premium consulting service that helps million-dollar businesses grow and scale.
The brothers founded VaynerMedia in 2009. It has a staff of over 600 employees worldwide. In 2016, the agency grossed $100 million in revenue.
Additionally, Vaynerchuk does several speaking engagements throughout the country each year. He often charges as much as $100,000 for a single presentation.
Gary is also a bestselling author and has published five books, including:
His books offer actionable tips and tactics, new lessons, social media tips, personal branding advice, and inspiration. Gary shares from his own experiences as well as those of successful influencers and entrepreneurs. Many took untraditional paths to success and pursued their dreams. His books include a mix of advice and data-driven metrics.
The Gary Vee Audio Experience is Gary’s podcast. The podcast is a mix of #AskGaryVee episodes, keynote speeches, entrepreneurial advice, digital marketing topics on social media and branding, interviews, fireside chats, and Gary’s entrepreneurial thoughts. Gary has produced over 300 podcast episodes.
According to Investormint about Gary Vaynerchuk net worth, the number is estimated at $160 million, projected to soon top $200 million.
Vaynerchuk makes money through his companies. They include:
Gary became an angel investor. He invested in big tech companies such as Facebook, SnapChat, Tumblr, and Twitter early on. He has a knack for predicting consumer behavior.
Gary Vaynerchuk is without a doubt one of the most talked-about entrepreneurs on social media. He immigrated to this country at a very young age along with his family. Gary developed a strong interest in the world of business during his youth. After graduating from college, Gary began working full-time for the family wine business.
Around that same time, the Internet was just becoming popular. Vaynerchuk leveraged it to sell wine to a much wider audience.
In a relatively short period of time, his efforts on e-commerce grew the business’ sales from $3 million to more than $60 million annually. With the rise of social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter in 2007, Vaynerchuk became a personality by building a strong online following of several million people.
Since then, Gary has written multiple New York Times bestselling books. He has made millions of dollars from his early-stage investments in successful startups including Wildfire, RebelMouse, and Medium.
Now, you don’t have to be a wine-selling or social media expert like Gary to build a highly-successful business of your own. In fact, we know of many entrepreneurs who started their now-successful businesses with less than $1,000. If you’d like to see how they did it, check out this free training.
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