I remember the day I met up with Drew Alexander Forde ("ThatViolaKid", Juilliard violist, 120K+ following) by Carnegie Hall. We got to talking about personal struggles and inspirations. He told me to grab the book "Crushing It".
Glories of Amazon Prime - it arrived the next day. I read through over 250 pages that very day and finished the book, only craving more. That's when I followed "GaryVee" on every social platform imaginable and purchased the rest of his best sellers.
Gary's mindset met it evident: he wasn't like other "influencers" or businessmen. Every little thing he shared, I felt like I could so closely relate to:
>> Flunking high school, not because of inability. But because (when not in "crisis" mode) flipping, selling, brainstorming, creating is what occupied my mind 24/7.
The ideas run constantly in your head and drive you insane. And I don't mean the "anxiety" kind. I mean.. like how can I explain to you that I just HAVE to launch this new product line?! Or start making a website for the business I decided to start up this morning so that I can flip it next week? I think the dead giveaway for whether or not you're an Entrepreneur by blood is when you just can't stop your thoughts for creating/doing.
>> Getting into “business” before even knowing it was a “thing”. Because making dog collars, designing websites, and getting the "high" from sales just felt SO good.
I'm serious.. it's comparable to a "stage high" if you're a musician, or a tab of X. (I think Entrepreneurs are just psycho the more I try to explain this..)
>> Bringing incessant sarcasm to classroom walls and driving teachers insane, leading most to believe I didn’t care about learning.
When in reality, you are truly obsessed with it. Just have different things to worry about and learn out on your own in the “real world”.
>> Consistently taking risks, losing money, and doing it again. I don't love money for money. I love it because it's a game.
>> Growing up fast in the environment of an immigrant upbringing. Need I say more?
He had support from his parents when he decided to choose a path outside the "norm", which is why so much of his content was aimed at guiding a younger audience who didn't have that. He preached controversial words of encouragement, which was specifically meant for the 0.001% of his following who were truly born entrepreneurs and felt suffocated. They are the ones making more money than teachers before even entering their teens - because we were busy creating, flipping, selling. More doing, less talking.
I kid you not - it was as though Gary was reading my mind and answering my questions with every single book, podcast, video, etc.
I dreamed of the day I would intern for him, but it's known that he doesn't accept BS resumes, degrees, or job apps via email. If you want to make it to one of the Vayner companies, you have to invest your time/money into meeting him, catching his attention, and differentiating yourself from millions to get an opportunity. This means emailing him, DM-ing him on Instagram, tweeting at him on Twitter, etc. every single day for one year and going to at least 5 events to stalk him. I had no hope. It takes real grit - but one could dream.
Alas, I felt up to going to NYC the other day, so I took up a small shift at Merkin Hall. As I was wrapping up, it was brought to my attention that GaryVee would be taking the stage for an event in the evening. I immediately begged for an extended shift. It was a private event he had not publicized to his following of millions, so there was a small group of 150 attendees (as opposed to the 1000+ norm). I got my way in, without the $$$$ VIP ticket.
After his talk, I made my way to the photo opp line. When it was my turn, I asked him for 120 seconds of his time. He said yes. I put a timer on my watch and started talking.
In these 2 minutes, I told him as much as I could about myself, and this was his response:
“You were 11? You started business before you even f*cking knew what it was. F*ck what anyone says, you’re a purebred and you know it. You love the game for the process, not for the product. It’s why you did it so young. You’re in that 1-5% that makes it in entrepreneurship. But you have to eat sh*t first. Don’t prove me wrong. You’re still a f*cking baby. I get the sense I’ll see you again.”
I internalized his words. Like any "fan" would, I immediately shared my GaryVee photo to social media. Low and behold, something unexpected happened, thanks to the power of networking.
A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend was the former Head of VaynerSolutions + SVP of VaynerMedia, and a bestie of Gary's: Dennis Ossipov-Grodsky. Dennis added me on Facebook and after reaching out to him about an internship, we are now due to meet next week.
So, I curated an email to Gary Vaynerchuk within 24 hours of meeting him. I reminded him of my differentiating qualities, dropped the photo of us, and made sure it wouldn't consume a massive amount of his time.
I decided to use HubSpot CRM instead of Gmail for the message, in order to track it. And for a celebrity marketing guru who receives 1000s emails per day, the fact he opened the email twice within 10 minutes of my sending it is all the hope I need.
I later commented on his LinkedIn post 15 seconds after he published it, which took lead as the "Top Comment". I know he saw it. So I feel as though I am now "in" for the race which may take me up to 1 year.
I want you to bookmark this blog post and come at me if I don't prove it to happen: I will intern for Gary Vaynerchuk.
This is how you do it. Network, give value (x10), connect, repeat.
I'm looking forward to revamping the site over the next week and returning soon.
Hustle on, but don't forget to enjoy the process <3