I don’t remember exactly when I discovered Gary Vee, as he is commonly known, but I’ve been following him for a while now. Gary Vee is known as a ‘celebrity entrepreneur’ and is one of the most well known in that group. Other examples include Tai Lopez, Sam Ovens, and Alex Becker. The main reason Gary is my favorite entrepreneur, and the favorite of many others, is his message and authenticity.
Celebrity entrepreneurs became popular because of the rise of social media and the very real possibility of starting an online business with little investment. All celebrity entrepreneurs give out free advice and motivate people to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship, but most of them try to sell you things like online courses and memberships. This is a large part of their revenue and the thought behind this is to teach you how they made their money. Unfortunately, this has caused thousands of copycats who followed their system to try and sell very similar courses or memberships to others with the false narrative that they made millions of dollars themselves. But that is a discussion for another day.
Gary Vee doesn’t try to sell you anything. He is the CEO of Vayner Media and owns a couple smaller companies such as Empathy Wines. He mentions these companies occasionally on his social media feeds, but he doesn’t spam you with advertisements. Unlike other celebrity entrepreneurs his main focus isn’t you buying his course or program, because he doesn’t have one. People know who his is and how much value he has to offer to entrepreneurs, digital marketers, and business owners. This alone get him business from large companies who want Vayner Media to do their advertising and social media campaigns.
Gary Vee is all about delivering free content. His philosophy is that if you offer massive value to people, they will want to do business with you. If you follow him on Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube, his videos are all about motivating people and giving advice on how to start a business.
Gary has a certain charm and charisma to him. He is a proud New Yorker and a big fan of the New York Jets. In fact, his goal is to one day own the Jets. Gary talks about how as a kid, and to this day, the Jets were his favorite thing. He loved watching the games and that was his first real connection with American culture.
You see, Gary is a Russian immigrant who came over with his parents in 1978 when he was just 3 years old. Gary’s family owned a wine business, which he later took over and made very profitable, but Gary had the entrepreneur spirit from a young age. As a kid he operated a lemonade stand on the weekends and made money trading and selling baseball cards. When he graduated college in 1998, he formally took over his parent’s wine store. He renamed it to ‘Wine Library’, created a web page where you could purchase the wine online, and renovated the website. He made the online presence of the store his main focus during a time when few others were doing so. Through his marketing efforts, he took his family’s business and grew it from a net worth of $3 million to $60 million by 2003. In 2006 he started ‘Wine Library TV’, a daily webcast where he sampled different wines from his family’s store and talked about wine culture. He also spent a lot of time on social media, during a time when it was in its infancy and had much lower competition, to really skyrocket the business. In 2011 he sold the business to focus entirely on Vayner Media, which he started with his brother in 2009. Hustle is in Gary Vee’s DNA.
Now we know Gary Vee’s story and his message. The main reason I like him, however, is his authenticity. Besides having an inspirational story and business philosophy, Gary tells it like it is. Other celebrity entrepreneurs and online marketers will tell you that it is easy to make money online and that if you follow their ‘system’ you can make $100 per day in passive income or other nonsense. They always sugar-coat everything so you will give them money. Gary doesn’t bullshit you like that. Gary talks about how he worked 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout his 20’s to build up his family’s wine store. He talks about how you need to sacrifice your weekends and less important things in your life if you want success. Gary talks about how he spent 8 hours a day on Instagram talking to people about wine, showing his expertise and referring them to his family’s business. He talks about how hustle, dedication, and sacrifice are the only path to success.
Gary is humble but has this aura of authority, you can tell by the way he talks and his body language that helping people is his passion. He is like that friend we all have who is always working late and coming up with new ideas. The friend that will give you advice and be genuine with you. Gary is just himself on camera, he isn’t sophisticated and swears a lot. He offers practical solutions and gives honest advice. He gives it to you straight, there isn’t any of that ‘you can easily scale this business to $10,000 per month’ nonsense with the goal of tricking you into buying a $500 course from him. Gary is just a guy who works hard, has big dreams, and wants to help others get to where he is today.