33 Life Lessons From Gary Vaynerchuck

Most of you have probably already heard of Gary Vaynerchuck. But for those of you that haven’t, here is super short version of his story:

Gary Vaynerchuck was far from born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was given birth to in Babruysk, Belarus, in the former Soviet Russia.

Perhaps being one of the most capitalistic children ever born  – the future didn’t look too bright for Gary.

But, despite this, he has managed to get ahead in life. Gary is now living happily in New York and here are just a few of his accomplishments:

  • In his 20’s Gary grew his family business from $3M to $60M in less than five years.
  • He runs Vaynermedia which is one of the most famous digital agencies.
  • Gary is a venture capitalist and angel investor who invested early in companies like Twitter, Facebook, Birchbox, and Uber.
  • He also runs a $25M investment fund called Vayner RSE.

We can’t all be like Gary Vaynerchuck, but we can all learn from his remarkable journey.

1. Work Hard

You don’t  have control over the talents that you were born with. Nor do you have full control over your circumstances.

Effort, however, is something that you have full control over. In the end, hard work trumps everything.

Gary Vaynerchuck is known for being a very hard worker. 15-16 hour work days are not an exception for him  – it’s a rule.

2. School grades are not the only variable of success

Gary Vaynerchuck hated school. He was getting F’s in all classes except in the gym class.

Teachers and his friend’s parents didn’t think that he would amount to much in life. But Gary was not letting them define his future.

He knew that he had talent. Maybe not the typical “school smart” talent. But he had an uncanny ability to make money.

His business ventures began in his early teens when he sold baseball cards. He had made thousands of dollars before his dad put a stop to it. It was time to join the family business. The rest is history.

The lesson here is;

It doesn’t matter what other people say about your future – you decide it. Click To Tweet

3. Be self-aware

Know thyself, as the philosopher Plato said.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where do you belong?

Gary says that not everyone is supposed to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Not everyone is supposed to work 15-16 hour days.

This is his thesis; If people are HAPPY with work-life balance, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. They shouldn’t work harder UNLESS they want too. BUT, if people COMPLAIN, then they need to look over their hustle.

4. Have patience

Success doesn’t happen overnight.

Gary Vaynerchuck has done over 1000 episodes of his show wine library TV. In the beginning, his show was getting less than 100 people watching it.

Keep in mind that he was running a million dollar business with his dad at the time. The ROI for hours spent didn’t look so good, did it?

But he kept at it, and eventually it gave him the results wanted. It takes time to build a business, so you have to be patient.

5. You have to adapt

Charles Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It’s the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Gary Vaynerchuck is big on being adaptable. In a recent Youtube video, he talks about how the mobile phone is the new television.

Big businesses that have been in the game for decades can go out of business. It’s been proven time and time again.

Blockbuster LLC who had over 60 000 employees went out of businesses mostly because of competitors like Netflix and other video on demand services.

Blockbuster weren’t adaptable to the shift happening in the market. Learn the lesson from them instead of repeating it yourself.

Being adaptable can mean getting on to new social media platforms while they are still young. For example, Gary Vaynerchuck is urging business owners to learn about Snapchat right now.

6. Publish or perish

Some people enjoy publishing videos while other’s enjoy blogging more. Whatever your medium is – use it to the maximum.

Also be consistent and frequent with your publishing on social media. If you were to follow Gary on Youtube, for example, you’d notice that he’s publishing more than one video per day on average.

We live in a day and age where people have an abundance of information. People will easily become distracted and if you’re not available to fill their needs – you can bet that someone else will.

Now, publishing doesn’t mean that you have to be creative all the time. Sometimes, Gary recommends documenting above creating.

7. Don’t expect too much from other people

When you expect too much from other people, you can easily become disappointed.

Therefore, do like Gary and look at it from a reverse perspective. Take responsibility and don’t expect too much from others.

That way, you’ll become surprised and happy when they do deliver.

It’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you should hire or keep workers who keep coming up short. All it means is that you have a different perspective to avoid disappointment.

8. Say what you’re going to do

When you proclaim your goals to the world, you will become more likely to reach them.


Well, now you have other people holding you accountable. The fear that other people will see you failing if you don’t follow through will create pressure inside you.

Proclaiming your goals is a death ground strategy. Gary Vaynerchuck says that his goal is to buy the jets. What’s your goal?

9. Business plans are bullshit

You could have the best idea in the world. You could also have the best plan of execution. But the truth is that unless you IMPLEMENT the idea and plan – it’s worthless.

Gary Vaynerchuck is big on implementation, and he says that he’s a very practical guy. He has often stated that people should stop focusing on “winning the lotto.”

A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs want to invent the new Facebook or Snapchat. But, perhaps it’s more practical to start with something smaller like; making the first sale?

10. The market decides

Don’t be romantic about your product or service. In the end, the market will dictate whether or not it’s here to stay.

Gary often brings up examples of big shifts in history. This goes back to being adaptable. It didn’t matter what the big publishers thought about Amazon when they released the Kindle.

It didn’t matter that they protested that the prices of ebooks should be higher! The market made a decision, and a new trend was born. Get on the train now or be left behind.

11. Leverage other people

Don’t just think about ways of leveraging technology. No, find ways to leverage other people. I believe that Gary attributes a lot of his success to his team.

For example, he’s not the one editing his videos. I also believe that he has someone scheduling is appointments.

His time is spent on the highest leverage things like speaking, appearing on guest shows, meetings and creating content.

How can you leverage other people in your business?

12. Engage with your followers

Don’t treat social media like a billboard where you just talk about your latest discounts. Instead, engage with your subscribers and followers.

Respond to your followers by liking, commenting, retweeting and answering questions, etc. Ultimately, build a relationship with your them.

Gary talks a lot about how to properly use social media in his book The Thank You Economy. There, you can find examples of what to do and what NOT to do when in comes to social media marketing.

13. Get attention

Gary does not shy away with the fact that he’s a salesman. The biggest problem that you face when trying to sell something is a lack of attention. If people don’t know you or your product, how are they going to buy from you?

So when Gary says, get attention – it is not about striving for recognition or approval as children do.

It’s a very practical pursuit. You’re aiming to get more attention to further advance your business or career.

14. Take a swing

You only have one life. The thing you should fear the most is regret. The regret of not going for it when you had the chance.

There will never be a perfect moment for you to execute on your ideas. Therefore, take a swing while you still got a chance.

Gary says that he’s built to take a punch. In other words, he does not fear failure. Neither should you.

So what if you look stupid for a little while, if you fail? So what if things don’t go as planned? You always have a chance of succeeding as long as you don’t give up. If something doesn’t work, just change your approach.

15. Move with speed

Yes, you should be patient. But that does not mean that you should sacrifice speed of implementation.

Gary has said that patience and speed are what creates the diamond. So do more, create more and share more every day.

You do it because it’s your mission. Once your day is complete, and you’ve watered that seed of yours. Don’t ask – where is the tree? Instead, be patient and have faith that your efforts will pay off in the long run.

16. Stop looking for a shortcut

Have you ever heard the phrase; if it were easy, then everybody would do it?

That phrase holds some truth. In business, it equates to; if you’ve gotten lucky and found an easy way to make money in a certain market – wait until the competition discovers it!

When they arrive, which they will if it’s truly profitable – you’ll have to step up your game.

The advice from Gary is to stop looking for shortcuts in life. If you want to lose weight, the formula is simple – eat less and exercise more. The shortcut in that scenario would be a magic pill that lets you lose weight without any effort.

A lot of people are looking for the same magic pill, or rather “magic button to press” when it comes to making money online. Don’t fall for it!

Gary will tell you that success requires hard work, skill, and patience.

17. Make every minute count

You are not getting any younger, are you?

Of course not, none of us are. Yet a lot of people live as if they are immortals. They procrastinate on their dream and tell themselves that “I’ll do that someday.”

What a shame, because before we know it, we’ll all be gone. If you were to follow Gary Vaynerchuck on Youtube – I bet some of his urgency will rub off on you. I know it does for me.

He understands that life is a gift and that it’s here NOW. There’s no reason to wait.

You might not be the best at your craft now, but you can at least make every minute count. If you do, it won’t take long before you wake up being a master.

18. Find your inner drive

Gary explains that we all go through different phases in our life. What motivates you in your 20’s might not be the same thing that motivates you when you’re in your 40’s.

Find out what motivates you where you are right now. Is it fear of loss or is it something that you have to gain? Find the answers to why you want what you want.

For example, let’s say your outcome is to make a million dollars. Why do you want that?

Your answer might be; I want to make a million dollar so that I can:

  1. Stop thinking about my needs and start contributing beyond myself.
  2. Live a life of freedom.
  3. Work because I want to and not because I have to.

19. The big picture

Can you imagine being the CEO of a company with 500 employees? Think of all the responsibilities of having that big of a company.

Who takes the blame if something goes wrong with a client or employee?

The CEO of course. He’s at the top.

That’s the life of Gary Vaynerchuck. But despite this, he says that he struggles to get down as long as the true close ones to him are healthy.

He keeps things in perspective. So the life lesson from Gary Vaynerchuck is to look at the bigger picture. So what if you lost a client? You have time on your side – go get some new ones!

20. Focus on your strengths

Gary says that you should focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Peter Drucker talks about this as well in his book Managing Oneself.

Why waste time trying to be average on your weaknesses when you can become great at your strengths?

Gary’s strength is that he knows how to run a business. What’s yours?

21. Surround yourself with people who you want to be like

Life is short, why waste it being around people that are dragging you down? Gary believes in upgrading your inner circle.

When you hang around people that are further ahead of you, it creates a need to at least become equal. When you hang around with those people, you might find yourself thinking:

Sh*t, I haven’t done much – I need to step up my game.

I’ve read about countless examples of successful people who agrees with the concept of auditing your inner circle. Jim Rohn said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

What can you do to upgrade your inner circle?

22. Spread positivity

There is so much negativity in the world. The news is puking negativity all day long. Don’t consume it!

Gary Vaynerchuck want’s to spread his light to the world. And in the process, he’ll unconsciously allow other people to spread theirs.

In his own words:

Let's make positivity louder! Click To Tweet

23. Follow your passion

Passion is the game, according to Gary Vaynerchuck. Why?

Because it will allow you to outwork your competition. It will allow you to keep going when things go against you, as they inevitably will sometimes.

When you are passionate about something – it consumes you. You will be pissed about falling asleep at night. In Gary’s book Crush it, you can read about how to cash in on your passion.

24. Don’t be afraid of life’s punches

Gary’s favorite scene in the movies is when someone gets’s punched in the mouth, spit their tooth out and say; is that all you got?

Life is not always going to be a bed of roses. So develop a thick skin and be grateful for the opportunity that adversity brings. It’s there for you to grow stronger.

25. Guilt people into buying from you

The best salespeople are the ones that make people come to them.

How do you make people come to you?

The best way is to offer massive value upfront. Give away high-quality content for free. You may reach a point where the people that you’ve helped for free – feel guilted to buy from you.

Now, here’s the thing…

You can’t EXPECT people to buy from you when you give them free stuff. That’s when you’ll loose, according to Gary.

The lesson: give [great content] without expecting anything in return and you’ll eventually get more than enough back.

26. Talk about something you know

It’s hard to write or talk about something that you don’t know much about. It’s a reason why Gary mostly talks about business and not golf. Business is what he has mastered, not golf.

So when you’re creating content – talk about things that you know something about. What do you do best?

27. EQ over IQ

Gary often talks about the importance of emotional intelligence and what it has done for him.

EQ allows him to feel massively grateful and empathetic towards other people. And not only that, it allows him to be intuitive with what must come next. Here are just a few examples;

  • Gary focused heavily on email marketing in 1997 which helped him to take his family business from $3 million to $60 million.
  • Investing early in Snapchat.
  • Started marketing his wine business through Youtube by creating a show called “Wine Library TV” when Youtube was very new (within the first year).

Now one of his big predictions is that the world is moving towards mobile devices. That’s something that marketers should pay their attention to.

28. There is more than one way to win

There is a lot of ways to win. So what you don’t want to become a Youtuber? You can still crush it as a blogger.

So what if you aren’t as talented as the next guy. You can beat him by getting up earlier.

Gary Vaynerchuck does not worry about what other people or competitors are doing. He does his own stuff, and he does it with his own style.

What’s going to be your way of winning?

29. Things can change fast

We’ve already covered the importance of being adaptable to change. But Gary also says that you shouldn’t be caught up in trying to predict too much.

Because you’ll never know for sure what’s going to happen. Sometimes, it’s much smarter to respond instead of always trying to guess.

What if TOMORROW, one company releases a new technology that will radically decrease the need for manual labor. And what if this results in millions of people losing their job? Their predictions about the next promotion don’t matter so much then, does it?

The lesson: the market will do what it’s going to do, with or without your predictions.

30. Brand your journey

Gary Vaynerchuck doesn’t seem to be too fond of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it:” Especially when it comes to aspiring entrepreneurs.

He is, however, fond of branding your JOURNEY as an entrepreneur. So instead of renting sports cars for Instagram pictures, he much rather sees authentic and transparent content.

And I guess that’s what we all want right? Our bullshit radar is very high these days. So it’s better, to be honest from the outset.

Also, remember, you don’t always have to create; it’s OK to document.

31. Be confident

Nobody can disagree with the fact that Gary Vaynerchuck is confident in what he says and do.

What are the benefits of being confident?

  • You become much more persuasive.
  • You’ll believe in yourself even though you’re going through hard times.
  • Maybe you’ll work harder because you know that what you’re doing matters.

Now, why is Gary confident? Here is what I believe:

  • He knows his stuff.
  • Gary is always himself. He has stated that as long as I’m myself, it does not hurt if people say mean things about me in the comments. But if I were acting and being fake – it would hurt.
  • He has the track record of success.

Now, can anyone learn to be more confident?

Absolutely; it begins with your own self-talk.

32. Care about your legacy

Think long-term, about your legacy.

Gary says that How you make your money is just as important as How much you make.

Think of it as if you were being filmed for a documentary every day. How would you act, what would you do? What do you want your grandchildren to say about you when you’re gone?

33. Be grateful

Last but not least, be grateful for everything that you have.

Gary Vaynerchuck was born in one of the most communistic countries in the world Soviet Russia. Being perhaps the most capitalistic child ever born – his future didn’t look too bright.

Now, keep in mind that almost NOBODY left Russia during these years. But then all of sudden, Russia got a huge food problem. To solve it; the country began to trade Russian-born Jews in exchange for wheat with America and Israel. Gary was one person that was traded for wheat.

That’s one big thing that Gary is incredibly grateful for. Because without that event, who knows where he would be today?

Gary is also very grateful for his parents. His father, for example, helped to instill the work ethic that has helped Gary to thrive.

Gratitude is the best weapon again the two most damaging emotions that we humans have – fear and anger. Also, if you believe in the Law of Attraction; gratitude is one key to attracting prosperity in your life.

Did you know that around 10% of the world population live on less than $1.9 per day?

Considering that, I’m sure you can come up with a lot of things to be grateful for. Begin to count your blessings today!

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His Snapchat username is GaryVee

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Life lessons from Gary Vaynerchuck

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Peter and Jenny are the creators and authors of Freedom Based Businesses. Their passion revolves around online marketing and financial freedom. Make sure to read their free ebook to find out more about their story and how they became full-time entrepreneurs.


  1. You created great wonderful and inspiring list on how we should use our time wisely. I think I have nothing to add to the list. It is like everything has been mentioned already. Since I started blogging, I feel inspired to write.I am also looking at my blog as no longer as a hobby but as a business. I treat time as wealth. If I want to be successful then I should, by all means, use my time wisely. Great post Jenny 🙂

    • Thank you Ana, glad that you liked the post. It’s great that you think of your blog like that since it can help to take it more seriously.

  2. I love this post so much that I am bookmarking for future reference. Instead of creating a list, I thought reading it was made easier not because of the nice formatting, but the enhancing the value of each lesson with quick explanations. I may not have known Gary prior to reading your post, but it’s not the name but the essence of the message – his lessons – that is what makes this post valuable.

    • Thank you, Robert, for the insightful comment and for bookmarking the post. I’m glad that you liked it and that you got to know about Gary’s message, I think a lot of people would benefit from listening to him.

  3. Wow, these are a lot of life lessons. And very valuable ones. The hardest one for me is having patience. I don’t have it haha. Something to practice on every day.
    And is also true : don’t rely to much on other people. It’s good to be independent. And know what you want. Oh and I love engaging with followers!

    • Thank you for commenting Carola. Great that you found value in the lessons! Follow Gary on Social to get more! This is just a tip of the iceberg.

  4. This is such a great post!! I love it. While scrolling down and reading your article, I keep looking for a favorite advice, but turns out, all of the items are my favorite. All are true, helpful and a good reminder!!

  5. Those are great and accurate life lessons. I didn’t know Gary before your post, I googled him a bit at the same time. But from this list and his story, it’s also inspiring. And in this list, you can’t just pick two or three advises, but all of them are to be taken in consideration. All together they make it happen.

    • Okay, great that you got to become aware of him, I think we can all benefit from his message. Yes, thank you for commenting Fenrile!

  6. These are wonderful lessons. 🙂 I believe that those who live out even just a handful of these lessons on the list are living successful lives. One of the lessons I practice is thinking long term. In the words of Stephen Covey, begin with the end in mind. 🙂

  7. 33 nuggets of wisdom. Practical but deep. I will be referencing to this post to update some of my motivational materials. And since Gary Vaynerchuck is not familiar in our part of the world (or probably it’s just me), I will research more about this guy.