Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk, founders of VaynerMedia

Family, Business, & What Happens When the Two Come Together

I’ve worked with my family a lot. My first job (besides selling baseball cards to other kids on the playground) was working in my father’s liquor store. Now I run an agency with my brother AJ. All in all, I’ve learned so much from my family and working with them has taught me a few lessons along the way. Here are a few I’d love to share with you if you’re thinking about joining or starting a family business.

This is the most important thing my dad taught me about business

Your word is your bond. If you make a promise to somebody you stick to it. I don’t think I would ever be as honorable of a person if my dad didn’t teach me the importance of sticking to your word. At the end of the day, I’m a long term businessman with a long term business plan. Because of the lessons my dad instilled in me, I’ve been able to both build and maintain my relationships, and I know wholeheartedly that a lot of that is attributed to the weight I put towards keeping my word and my promises.

And here is what my kids have taught me about life

My answer for this was probably pretty unpopular, but when it comes down to it, I’d say my kids haven’t taught me anything in business. But, life is a different thing entirely. When it comes to life, the biggest thing my kids have taught me is how powerful DNA really is. And when you’re going into business with family, it’s important to remember that fact. Watching my kids do the exact same things I used to and still do is kind of insane. That’s a bond you can’t break.

Lastly, here’s what working in my family business has been like for me

The real reason I’ve had two successful family businesses is because we have allowed our love to trump everything else. Our pride, our competitiveness, our business POVs…nothing comes before that initial family love. It’s not about “getting our way”. Somehow, in our specific situation, we have created a situation where, at the end of the day, we don’t lose focus of the fact that we love each other. And that’s really what makes family businesses a special place to be.

Bottom line, the three takeaways for me here are:

1. your dad, or parents, or grandparents, or elders, probably have some great advice 🙂

2. remember that DNA cannot be ignored

3. let love come before all else

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