Everyone yearns to gain the support from the biggest players in their respective field of business. This is especially true when it comes to web 2.0. To be noticed in a positive way by someone else that has already built up trust and loyalty and has successfully established a brand name could have an immediate impact on one’s own efforts.
I have started at zero to enter a new business promoting Greek wines abroad. I have been involved with the financial markets for most of my career, and started elloinos at the beginning of this year. I have made many valuable contacts through sending out letters, emailing or calling people and using twitter. I like to personalise my business, first getting in touch with real people and second meeting them in person. Working this way, I have been able to build up a solid network of contacts that have created many opportunities.
Enter the world of Gary Vaynerchuk – for those who don’t know who Gary is, he was just featured today at the front page of the New York Times.
I work until midnight on a regular basis. With four kids, there is always something that takes away my productive hours during the day. When the children go to bed, I have a few hours of time where I start brainstorming business ideas, writing blog posts, checking other people’s blogs, exchanging emails with my contacts etc. During these hours, I am mostly driven by gut feel – who can I contact, where might I be able to pitch an idea, where can I exchange thoughts and so on.
On one of my nightshifts towards the end of August, my gut-feel told me to reach out to the man himself, Gary Vaynerchuk, via email. I was looking for a potential exchange of thoughts after having had one of those doubt-driven days that occur to every one of us from time to time. I had just returned from Germany , and although I met important people, I was unable to montetize directly on an important deal. I knew that contacting Gary was a long shot by all means and I opted to keep my message short and simple. It was made up of 7 sentences – 4 were an introduction of what I was doing, 5 and 6 were about the hardship experienced to date; 7 was the closing remark.
Gary did not reply directly to me. But he did leave the following tweet a few hours later, without identifying the recipient:
I saw this tweet the next morning and frankly, I felt VERY stupid. Was he really directing this tweet to me? The fact is that I mentioned in my email that I started my business at the beginning of the year. I also did point out some general problems related to my work. I cannot be 100% sure if he answered my email indirectly via this tweet. But I believe he did. If so, then his reaction is in fact amazing – Gary has 900000 followers on twitter and receives tons of emails per day. To reply within hours with advice written in a way only Gary seems to be capable to deliver, is astonishing. Short and to the point, this is a message I will never forget. My embarrassment has since turned into even more motivation.
Why do I blog about this? Because I learned an important lesson – sometimes it can be ok to embarrass yourself. I am well aware that one of the worst business mistakes can be to contact other people without being fully prepared. There are situations where your gut feel guides you differently. Sometimes it’s a risk worth taking.
Thanks Gary for your advice. I look forward reading your new book Crush It!