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The passionate economy

Scott Jagow Oct 12, 2009

I have someone I think you should meet. His message is this: Now is the time to cash in on your passions. And he’s leading by example.

His name is Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s host of Wine Library TV. At Gary’s business site, you can learn about his book that comes out tomorrow — Why Now is the Time to Crush It! Cash in on your passion.

Here’s what Vaynerchuk says about that idea in an interview with Fast Company:

FC: Obviously, the economy is not great. Some people might think this is a pipe dream. What are your thoughts on that?

GARY: I love this time. I think that this is where the real players step up and win. I feel that if you come from a place of passion, you’re going to love the process. The results become almost secondary.

Clearly you need to pay rent, take care of your family and things of that nature, but I think people need to start wrapping their head around how much opportunity there is right now.

Vaynerchuk has already carved out his niche as a very atypical wine connoisseur. You’ll see him tasting wine in a New York Jets jersey or pairing wine with cereal, as in the video below. The point is, he’s just being himself, his business is focused on his passion, and he’s making money off of it.

In his book, Vaynerchuk talks about why he can’t change the opening of his show:

It’s not exactly what some wine lovers are looking for in a wine expert, and I lose about 12 percent of my viewers right off the bat because I yell and scream like a maniac.
For a businessman like me, that number is intolerable. I desperately want to change the opening of my show to something a little calmer, more refined, something that won’t scare people away. But I can’t, because that yelling, screaming, superexcited guy is who I am. If I tried to tone things down and make myself appealing to that missing 12 percent, I can guarantee that everything I’ve built until now would start slipping away, because now
every time I’d get in front of that Flip Cam I’d be putting on an act.

A couple of other points Vaynerchuk makes: There are no short cuts. Turning your passion into a career takes a lot of hard work. But it’s no longer true that people who outspend you can automatically take you down. More important than capital is hustle. And patience:

If you contact me within a year of starting your business to complain that you haven’t made the money you thought you would, you’re not listening. I said that you could make a ton of money being happy; I didn’t say you could do it overnight.

I like this guy. I can’t say I’m a big fan of motivational books, but Vaynerchuk seems to have his finger on the pulse of the new economy. I like his genuineness and of course, his passion.

Here’s Gary’s take on Gourmet magazine going down. Fans of the magazine might wince, but he’s nailed the reality:

How about you? Are you trying to turn a passion into a career?

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