A few things about me: I am an avid fan of fight analogies, I try to take 100% responsibility for my life and demand that others do the same, and I pride myself in my work empowering people. Not to be confused with “enabling” them. Seriously, friends don’t even bother getting emo or pessimistic around me anymore. I mean, you’re talking to a guy who’s got a multitude of variations on personal mantras like “You can’t cry and kick ass at the same time. Pick one.” I’m an empathic listener – definitely – but when it comes to taking ownership and action, I’ll admit it, I can be intense.

Even so, I am NOTHING like the intensity radiating from wine-guy entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, also author of Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion. He’s a fella after my own heart, and I appreciate his hilarity and flair for real talk. Here are some magnificent take-aways from this 2008 lecture at the Web 2.0 Expo NY:

“Doing something, answering those emails, giving a crap, caring about your user base, that’s what you need to do.”

It’s a lesson you’ll find throughout the Art Of Hustle website. One of the keys to any successful business or marketing campaign is empathy. The naysayers will think I’m talking some hippy stuff and that’s fine – Let their projects collapse under the weight of their overbearing egos. These days “buy-in” is both symbolic and literal. In today’s competitive world where individuals and small businesses are toe-to-toe and neck-and-neck in technology and services, empathy is the one place where anyone can always give a little bit more. And anyone who does, gives more reason to trust and more reason for repeat patronage.

“Hustle is the most important word. Ever! You need to hustle. You have to have a business model.”

What Gary is talking about here is the intersection of doing something and doing something with a clear goal in mind. For something to take off, you need know-how, ANYTHING resembling a map or course of action. Or you will – same as speeding off in a car with just a vague destination in mind – go in circles, gas out, or get into an accident. I can’t tell you how many people ask me for advice on how to be “successful” but haven’t by any stretch of the imagination, figured out what the heck that specifically means for them. I am a huge advocate for taking action but you do need a target! You need to hustle. You need to have a business model.

“The way everything is changing is unbelievable. I mean, everyone is going to be consuming content everywhere and in different platforms. And the people who controlled it – newspaper, television and radio – are no longer in control. And that is a huge factor that people have not totally wrapped their head around. You need to build brand equity. It’s all about brand equity… We’re going through a gold rush of branding. In the old days, to become a brand, you needed a lot of mainstream media attention.”

If you wonder what true democracy and free enterprise might look like if it were unencumbered by played-out politics and the tired old establishment, look no further than the internet. And relish it! It may not stay this good indefinitely. More than ever in all of history, ANYONE can get into the game. Anyone can receive and relay information at will. Anyone can get started with just pennies, virtually, in overhead. Access to education is NOT an issue ANYMORE. Anything you want to learn and any community you want to connect to is literally at your fingertips. You don’t need permission from some square exec in order to announce your presence or to demonstrate your value. People are flourishing big time in niche markets! No one has any excuse not to participate in today’s superabundance of resources. Think deeply about your brand, what makes you unique and who you want to serve, and make moves – at least baby steps – immediately.

“You have to do what you love. Because doing what I do sucks… It gets tough but if you love it, you will win.”

This is one of those instances where love trumps logic. There are lots of shiny objects out there, things that will draw your interest: art forms, business ideas, fame, or money. Like, I look at Gary’s success and I might try to copy it play by play. That’s logical, isn’t it? But I don’t know anything about wine and I don’t love it so I’ll suck at it. Or if I do o.k. at the start, I’ll suck at sustaining it. That’s because obstacles pop up, that’s life. Hobbyists will quit easily. However, there is gold in those tough times – lifelong lessons and epiphanies. And the person who’s dedicated, who’s in it for the love, is the one that will endure long enough to reap the benefits of having survived the rough patches. For instance, it is not uncommon for multi-entrepreneurs to fail painfully at the first few businesses before finding the sweet spot with the third or even fourth venture.

“Everybody has time. Stop watching fucking ‘Lost’! …If you want to do shit – work! That’s how you get it.”

This takes us back to the website’s namesake – Art Of “HUSTLE”! Everybody’s got the same 24 hours. What are you spending yours on? Consuming or producing? Talking or taking action? Looking on or leaning into it? Crying or kicking ass?

Nuff said. Play this video. Gary Vaynerchuck is obnoxious/hilarious and also quite an inspiration. I think you may dig it.