These are my personal book notes of #ASKGARYVEE by the author Gary Vaynerchuk.

Let’s dive in.


  • Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Title: #ASKGARYVEE
  • Subtitle: One Entrepreneur’s Take On Leadership, Social Media, Self-Awareness And Winning, Marketing, Venture Capital, Arbitrage, Digital Media, Influencers, Company Culture, Start-ups, Attention, Content, Management, Empathy, Legacy, Parenting, Family Business, Crushing, Storytelling, Thanking, Jabbing, Right Hooking, Hustling & The New York Jets
  • First published: 2016
  • Type: non-fiction
  • Genre: marketing / mindset
  • Author’s website:
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Recommended: Yes

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Clouds And Dirt
  • Chapter 2 - Starting Out
  • Chapter 3 - Education
  • Chapter 4 - Family Business
  • Chapter 5 - Parenting
  • Chapter 6 - Hustle
  • Chapter 7 - Content And Context
  • Chapter 8 - Jabs And Right Hooks
  • Chapter 9 - The Platforms
  • Chapter 10 - Facebook Ads
  • Chapter 11 - Influencer Marketing
  • Chapter 12 - Stop With The Excuses!
  • Chapter 13 - Gratitude
  • Chapter 14 - Leadership
  • Chapter 15 - Management
  • Chapter 16 - Investing
  • Chapter 17 - Self-awareness
  • Chapter 18 - Garyvee’s Guide To Public Speaking Without Shitting Your Pants
  • Chapter 19 - Music
  • Chapter 20 - Sports
  • Chapter 21 - Wine
  • Chapter 22 - The Personal, The Random, And The Weird
  • Question Of The Day
  • Few Words From The Rest Of The Cast
  • The #askgaryvee Show Prop-word Puzzle
  • Index
  • About The Author

Key Concepts & Ideas

These are my commandments:

  • Bring value to the customer
  • Provide 51 percent of the value in a relationship, whether it’s with an employee, a client, or a stranger
  • Always play the long game of lifetime value
  • Smart work will never replace hard work; it only supplements it
  • People are your most important commodity
  • Patience matters
  • Never be romantic about how you make your money
  • Try to put yourself out of business daily

The dirt is about being a practitioner and executing toward those clouds.

It’s the hard work.

On a personal level, my dirt is making sure I communicate well with my loved ones, that I show up and stay present, that I apologize when I mess up and that I make sure it doesn’t happen too often.

The vast majority of people tend to play to the middle, which is why they usually only succeed up to a certain level and then plateau.

Alternatively, they get stuck in one or the other, getting so bogged down by minutiae or politics they lose sight of the clouds, or so into the clouds they lose the appetite or neglect the skills they need to execute successfully.

Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas.

You have to learn to prioritize properly and quickly identify what’s going to move you further ahead and what’s going to make you stall.

There are too many people who are average at what they do, and then confused by their average results.

Everyone has their own definition of clouds and dirt, but if there’s any advice I can offer you that will change the entire trajectory of your career, it’s to start pushing on both edges.

Raise the bar on your business philosophy, dig deeper into your craft.

You want to be an equally good architect as you are a mason.

You’ve got to be able to simultaneously think at a high level and get your hands dirty.

To be in the middle is to be like everybody else.

On any given day, I sit through four or more pitches.

And the pitch I usually end up liking?

The one where the players are actually doing the work.

They’re in the trenches.

They’re not just doing the big holistic thinking or the higher-level branding; they’re just at a raw level, executing.

There’s no perfect breakdown of clouds and dirt, but they always need to be in play.

You have to make a commitment to strategy and execution and think of them holistically.

“There are too many prima donnas out there who think that as the brains of the business they don’t have to get their hands dirty.”
- Gary Vaynerchuk

I consider every decision I make - from launching VaynerMedia to writing books to public speaking to doing a podcast and show - as a chess move, and I don’t make it unless it gets me closer to owning the Jets one day.

That is who I am as an entrepreneur.

I improvise and adapt to new realities on the ground while always keeping my eye on the clouds.

But there is one thing that always transcends everything else:


It is the oxygen of your business.

You can make the greatest cup of coffee, the greatest sneaker, the greatest TV show, or the greatest work of art ever, but if you can’t sell your product you are out of business.

So your first priority is sales because it generates cash, and cash is what allows you to do everything else.

Without it you’re a fish out of water, gasping for breath.

I can’t say it enough times:

Cash is oxygen.

The best way to become something is to do the work required to become something.

Sell, sell, sell.

Figure out what it takes to provide value.

Learn how to communicate your value proposition.

Engage with your customers.

Find mentors.

Go work for free and under people who can show you the ropes and serve as that point of contact when you need it.

Learn the hustle and taste the game.

Put yourself in the position to win.

You can read as many books as you’d like but they’re not going to make you an entrepreneur.

What is it Yoda said?

There is no try, only do.

Stop waiting for the perfect moment to jump, because it will never come.

If you want to be an artist, make art.

Want to open a pizza place?

Go work in a pizza joint and learn the business.

Build an app and stop waiting for Mashable to write about it because they aren’t going to give a crap about it until you put in the hard work of proving it solves a problem, serves a need, and makes people happy.

Start doing whatever it takes.

Even if that means selling the very shirt off your back.

One of the hardest things about making your dream, or your small business, or your blog, or whatever is just doing it.

Taking that first step can often be the only thing standing in your way, because once you start getting shit done, the momentum just carries you forward.

If you believe you’re an entrepreneur, then no one else’s opinion really matters.

Prove them right or prove them wrong - either way, you’re better off for trying.

Ideas are shit.

Execution is the name of the game.

Just. Make. It. Happen.

There are a million reasons you can find to stop building a business, but almost every time, the real reason why you will stop is not that you don’t have time or money, but that it’s hard.

So you’ve decided to take the leap on a business idea.


Taking that first step forward is one of the hardest parts of the process.

Best Piece Of Advice

What’s your best piece of advice for a first-generation American entrepreneur, venturing out on her own, away from her family business?

I have two pieces of advice.

Be practical.

How much money do you have to stay alive, and for how long?

Do you have enough money to cover rent, expenses (anticipated and unexpected), and overhead for a year?

You should.

Be prepared to sacrifice.

The minute you decide to launch a new business, you also make the decision to do nothing else but that for the next year, and maybe even two years, but build your business.

Every minute of every eighteen-hour day should be dedicated to this endeavor.

Your business success will come at the expense of family time, friend time, vacations, and any other hobbies or activities you once enjoyed.

This business has to be your entire life, or it will die.

I think a lot of people go into business for themselves underestimating how hard it really is to make your dreams come true.

You want to increase engagement around your content?

Raise revenue?

Gain brand awareness?

Become an influencer?

Sell more?

Then try the following:

  • Pounce on every opportunity
  • Create great content and get it out there
  • Work toward gaining exposure
  • Keep an eye open to new environments and conversations
  • Increase the value you can offer others
  • Business development
  • Wake up before everybody else and work into the night
  • Hustle until there’s not a single drop of juice left

What’s Your Advice For Small Business Owners?

Local listings, SEO, writing content, social media?

Work more.

Whatever it is you’re doing, add a few more hours of hustle.

It’s the greatest way to shore up the gap between you and a bigger competitor.

I promise you Goliath will never work as hard as you.

This is an issue I had to grapple with myself when I started working in my father’s business, Wine Library.

I didn’t have the base that I have now, of course.

No one gave a crap about us.

So I went out and pounded the pavement, walking into any business that might be relevant to my community and passing out flyers and coupons one by one to gain more exposure.

And then we made sure to have such amazing customer service when people walked in the door that they couldn’t wait to return.

What could a start-up do today to get that kind of exposure?

The answer is going to be different depending on your business.

If you’re e-commerce, Facebook ads for sure - it has one of the best ROI going right now.

Google AdWords is a strong contender and banner retargeting would work well for you, too.

If you’re trying to drive retail into a store, start spending time on Yelp and Foursquare’s Swarm, and yes, local TV and radio.

Maybe it would be worth your while to go to the barber and ask if you can put a flyer in the window.

Make cold calls.



Barter with local businesses.

Attend Chamber of Commerce events.

Get creative!

Fight, attack, talk, ask friends for help… This is your life!

Don’t ever think you can hack expertise and branding by relying on social media and modern tech.

There is no substitute for honest hard work.

You have to execute and accomplish something before earning the privilege of being a personal brand.

Passion is great and creativity is awesome, but practicality matters more than the current business world values.

If you’re not producing content, you don’t exist.

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

PS: Start Your Own, Profitable Online Business From Scratch, Step-by-Step, Today!

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