Building a Personal Brand by Gary Vaynerchuk

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Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking a look at my course. It really means the world to me :) For those that don't know me, in my earlier days as a budding businessman and entrepreneur, I took my passion for wine and turned that into one of the biggest shows and channels on YouTube. That show landed me appearances on The Conan O'Brien Show, Ellen, CNN, etc. while amassing a social following of millions and establishing me as a "guru" (I'm not a guru) of sorts in the Social Media, Marketing, and Personal Branding worlds. From there, I became an early investor in platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook and co-founded VaynerMedia, which is now a 600 person digital agency that represents the social presence of brands like Pepsi-Co, General Electric, and Anheuser-Busch InBev. The biggest takeaway from my background is that I was able to take my passion and turn it into an actual career and I'd like to help you do the same. My goal for this course is to help you define your passions and strengths and to provide you with the blueprint for what will be needed in order for you to establish yourself as a brand and thought leader in your respective interests. This course will start with probably the most important anecdote, which is defining your strengths and understanding what you're best at. By knowing what you're good at and putting aside the rest, you'll be able to take whatever it is you want to develop a brand around and execute against it. We're living in a very interesting time where anybody with the right balance of talent and ambition can make a name for themselves in any which way they please. But it's not for everyone and it's not going to be easy. The course is here to provide you with the framework and motivation to help you realize that with the right amount of passion, grit, and ambition, you can make a name for yourself around the things you care most about. Thank you so, so much for taking this journey with me and for spending your time (our most precious asset) in participating in this course. I hope you get everything you expect, and more, from it. - Gary What are the requirements? Not a whole lot : ) Students must understand that we're not all cut out for this, but with the willingness to find the right balance between passion and talent, and the drive to put in the work, then they should be ready to dive into this course. What am I going to get from this course? Understand how to hone in on their passion points, focus on their strengths, develop their story, and distribute that story on the platforms that make most sense for the audiences they're trying to reach. Students will walk away knowing what it takes to build a personal brand but also how to turn that brand into a potential revenue source and vehicle to escape the 9-to-5. What is the target audience? This course on Personal Branding is meant for anyone who realizes that we're living in a time when anyone can form a business or brand around something they're passionate about. We're living in a world where anybody can affect change. If you realize how special of a time we're in and are willing to put in the hours to establish yourself outside of the 9-to-5, then this course is for you.
  • Section 1: Why Should You Be Here?
    • Lecture 1: Intro

      First off, thank you so much for participating in this course. It means the absolute world to me and now I feel pressured to deliver as much value to you as I possibly can. Remember that when this course is through, we can always keep in touch. You can email me at, but your best bet is to hit me up on Twitter, @GaryVee.

    • Lecture 2: Who Should Create Their Own Personal Brand?

      Building a personal brand is NOT for everyone. Although we live in a world that allows anybody an at-bat to pursue their passion it takes real work. So just like everyone else, you'll still need that perfect balance of talent and ambition to actually see it through and become the thought-leader you want to be.

  • Section 2: Finding Your Passion and Understanding Your Story
    • Lecture 3: Finding Your Passion

      Find that thing - That one thing that you love so much that you think you'll be able to focus your attention on all day, every day, for potentially the rest of your life. It can be anything, but if you really want this, and you want to be successful, you'll need to be able to accept the fact that it will have to become your life and there will have to sacrifices you make along the way.

    • Lecture 4: Understanding Your DNA

      DNA IS EVERYTHING. In order to succeed and persevere you need to self-audit and understand what makes you, you. We're all unique and we're all special. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses, so the earlier you can come to terms with yourself and your make-up, the sooner you'll be able to optimize for success and happiness.

    • Lecture 5: Going All In On Your Strengths

      I'm a firm believer in betting on your strengths and not giving a f*** about what you suck at it. We live in a society that is always trying to get us to correct the things we're not naturally great at, and I believe that's just wrong mentality to have. Tying back into the previous section on DNA, I am thoroughly aware that I suck at 99% of things, but because I've spent all my time an energy on what I know I'm good at, I've been able to foster a successful career.

    • Lecture 6: Practice Exercise 1
    • Lecture 7: Deciding Between Passions
    • Lecture 8: 4 Ways to Uncover Your Strengths
  • Section 3: Self-Awareness
    • Lecture 9: Self-Awareness Part I
    • Lecture 10: Self-Awareness Part II
    • Lecture 11: Practice Exercise 2
  • Section 4: Telling Your Story in a Captivating Way
    • Lecture 12: Telling Your Story

      This lecture focuses on where and how you're going to actually tell your story. Do you like writing, talking, taking videos? How are you going to execute against what you're best at or enjoy doing?

    • Lecture 13: Repurposing Your Content

      This lecture is all about being smart and optimizing your time, energy, and output. It all starts with the content. I know that my strength is in video so that's where I start. But the magic is taking what I put out in video and taking that audio, and those visuals, and using them across other media and platforms. What starts as one piece of content, suddenly turns into dozens.

    • Lecture 14: Everybody is a Media Company
  • Section 5: Understanding the Different Distribution Channels
    • Lecture 15: Getting Familiar with the Nuances of Each Platform

      Content is King, but context is everything. You need to respect the room you're speaking in. Each platform has legs of its own and appeals to people for different reasons. I would imagine that you behave differently during the cocktail hour of a wedding than you do at a bachelor/bachelorette party with your friends. You're the same person throughout but you adjust according to the room that you're in. The same principles apply with content creation and distribution and here is where I talk about it.

    • Lecture 16: Facebook

      Facebook is everything. I truly believe that anyone can build a personal brand simply by leveraging Facebook alone. It's just incredible. From image posts, to long-form article capabilities, to native video views skyrocketing, Facebook is what you need to pay attention to. And that's not even touching on Facebook's incredible targeting capabilities through its ads platform.

    • Lecture 17: Twitter

      Twitter is near and dear to my heart as it's where I got most of notoriety after YouTube. It's where I've developed a community and where you could too. It's THE platform for one-to-one engagement and its video capabilities are an incredible opportunity to show your community you care, something that numbers of people with real fan-bases just haven't mastered quite yet, but should.

    • Lecture 18: Pinterest

      I truly believe that Pinterest is Google's biggest enemy. It's THE search engine for visual content, so much so, that people are making actual careers from it by driving traffic from their Pinterest accounts to their blogs, sites, and media entities. It's not just a digital catalog but also a place to amass a large audience based on your interests, passions, and creative aesthetic.

    • Lecture 19: Instagram

      ATTENTION. Attention is the game, folks, and Instagram just has it. It's that simple. Our Instagram feeds are a curation of people or brands we've chosen to follow, and because it focuses solely on images, it allows us to treat each one individually and therefore captures our attention. If you can find a way to either create or curate aesthetically pleasing images to communicate your brand, Instagram is where you should do it.

    • Lecture 20: YouTube

      It should be quite clear to everyone that video is where our future is headed and has been for quite some time. For personal reasons, YouTube has a special place in my heart but for more practical purposes, it's the 2nd largest search engine in the world (behind Google) and is a force to be reckoned with. Video is everything these days, and you should not miss out on the opportunities YouTube has to offer.

    • Lecture 21: Snapchat

      Snapchat is interesting because it provides a communication and creative outlet not yet seen before. It also replicates life quite accurately in the sense that most of our communication is not on the record and is ephemeral, just like it is on Snapchat.

    • Lecture 22: Being First on Emerging Platforms

      This is quite simple. Test and learn. That's all it is. If you can amass a following during the early days of a platform, then you have a very strong chance at winning and defining yourself as a pioneer in your space. I did it on YouTube and subsequently Twitter, and thousands are currently doing it with Instagram and Snapchat. But you won't always win. Platforms won't always last, but that should never stop you, because when you hit gold, you'll be glad you put in the work.

    • Lecture 23: Practice Exercise 3
    • Lecture 24: Choosing the Right Platforms for Your Brand
  • Section 6: Respecting the Behavior on Each Platform
    • Lecture 25: Engaging With Your Audience

      Communication is everything and so is engagement. People want to be acknowledged. It's so hard for me to believe that so many celebrities and influencers who have so many people wanting to hear from them don't take the time to engage with their communities. My philosophy in life is to provide as much value as possible and to scale the unscalable. Taylor Swift is an example of someone who does this phenomenally. Engagement matters. If you want to build a brand, you need to build a community, and the only way to do that is through one-to-one communication. It takes time. It's hard. But it's necessary.

    • Lecture 26: Content vs. Context

      Content is the gateway drug to your brand. Period. Everybody and every brand needs to behave like a media company. But, if you want to distribute your content and get it in front of the masses you need to respect the platforms where it will live. As mentioned in the earlier lecture, you need to respect the room that you're in. Your content, the meat of it, can remain the same but you need to tweak its delivery based on the medium you decide to push it through.

    • Lecture 27: Practice Activity 4
  • Section 7: Building Your Brand and Spreading Awareness
    • Lecture 28: Building Brand Awareness

      In order to get your name out, you obviously need to build awareness. Luckily we live in a time where there's a number of outlets available that can serve as a good fit for both your message and your audience. You can go wide, you can deep, but you'll likely have to do both.

    • Lecture 29: Business Development

      Biz Dev as I like to call it, is everything. Life is all about relationships and so is building your business and brand. You need to understand the value you can provide for others in order for them to give it back to help you out.

    • Lecture 30: Working for Free to Gain Exposure

      Sometimes you just need to swallow your pride and give away your work for free. You may think it's great (and it just might be), but if you're just starting out, and you actually want people to consume it, you just need to suck it up and give it away in order to prove your worth. Heck, I have people constantly knocking on my door to put money against my brand but I still give away my content for free. That's just my philosophy. It's what allows me to do what I do and provide value against my long term ambitions.

    • Lecture 31: One is Greater than Zero
    • Lecture 32: Providing Value: Depth vs. Width
    • Lecture 33: Why You Shouldn't Charge for Your Best Work
    • Lecture 34: Grow Your Brand by Leveraging Someone Else's
    • Lecture 35: Why Your Follower Count is Irrelevant
  • Section 8: Monetizing Your Traffic
    • Lecture 36: Advertising

      Advertising is one of the many ways to leverage the community you've built and sell it against other entities that would like to get in front of them as well. With the targeting capabilities of modern platforms like Facebook and Instagram, advertising is more affordable and more accurate than it's ever been, and it could be just what you need to kickstart the reach of your brand.

    • Lecture 37: Sponsorships

      Sponsorships can be tricky but it's a great way to affiliate with brands that want to get their messaging in front of your audience.

    • Lecture 38: Speaking Engagements

      Because I've become a "thought leader" in the business, marketing, and social media world, the majority of my income comes from speaking engagements. If you can become a name in your respective category there will be people knocking on your door to have you enlighten their audiences.

    • Lecture 39: Book Deals

      I've written three New York Times best-sellers and will hopefully continue to do more. If you can put out the right content that people gravitate toward, that recognition in your space can be a great way to leverage some lucrative book deals.

    • Lecture 40: Swag

      A very popular tactic for early-stage branding in the startup world, Swag is a great way to organically spread your brand's positioning and branding.

  • Section 9: Building a Legacy, Optimizing Your Time, and Being a Practitioner
    • Lecture 41: Your Legacy is Everything

      To me, legacy is everything, and is much more important than any currency I can amass while on this earth. Let's face it, in this day and age, if you really want to be a personal brand, you need to understand that everything we do is on the record and therefore we need to behave with that in mind. The way you impact people through your thoughts is extremely important and my legacy is the cornerstone to how I approach my communication to the world.

    • Lecture 42: Time: Your Greatest Asset

      Time is our greatest asset and is something we should all take very seriously. If we want to optimize the lives we have then we need to also optimize the time we spend through the actions we take.

    • Lecture 43: Being a Practitioner vs. a Headline Reader

      If you really want to be a thought leader, you need to know how things work. You need to get your hands dirty. That's just the way it is. You can't b.s. your way to greatness. It takes hard work and you need to be willing to put the time in.

    • Lecture 44: It Takes Hard Work
    • Lecture 45: The Fast/Slow Road to Being an Influencer
  • Section 10: Conclusion
    • Lecture 46: Final Thoughts

      First off, thank you so much for getting this far and for taking part in this course. It means the absolute world to me. I hope you gained some value and actionable insight out of this and I hope that you now feel compelled to go out and pursue something you love. It won't be easy, but if you truly believe in it, it won't matter. Be patient, work your ass off, and stay the course. You got this. And as always, if you need me, hit me up at or on Twitter, @GaryVee. Thank you :)

    • Lecture 47: It Takes Hard Work and Patience
    • Lecture 48: You Are More Than the Decisions You Make
    • Lecture 49: The Best Way to Deal with Fear of Failure
  • Section 11: The #AskGaryVee Book
    • Lecture 50: Why is this book important?

      This is the trailer to my latest book, #AskGaryVee! The reactions around this book have been PHENOMENAL and so I wanted to make it a point to let you all know about it. For many of you that are new to my world, this is by far the best to place to start as it represents a culmination of all my theses in both life and business. Any and all support you could give to this book would mean the absolute world to me. I think it's going to be a BIG DEAL and I want you to be a part of it : ) If you feel so inclined, please grab one on Amazon or go ahead and support your local bookstore! Thank you so, so much!!

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