We all know who Gary Vaynerchuk is and his motto of “Crush It”. It simply means to find what you love to do most, pour your heart and soul into it, and dominate the shit out of it.

The book is incredibly inspiring and reading it actually empowers you to go out and make your mark on the world.

When I read his book the first time, I didn’t get much out of it. However, after I started this blog and realized how passionate I was about it, I reread the book and found it much more relevant and useful.

As I was reading it, I kept thinking of the friend who actually introduced the book to me. The more I read, the more I thought about how my friend was actually doing what Gary Vee was talking about.

Crushing The Tennis World

My friend is Ian Westermann, a tennis pro at an exclusive country club in the Washington DC area. He is also the owner of EssentialTennis.com.

I’ve known Ian for several years and in that time I have seen dedication to building his brand like none other. When I was just starting out blogging, I would constantly be asking him questions about SEO, keywords, and the best ways to build traffic.

His answer was always the same; don’t worry about all that stuff, you just need to find something you are passionate about and deliver exceptional value. Everything else will fall into place.

Having an analytical mind, I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around that concept. No SEO? Everyone is doing SEO…I wanted to know numbers, period.

Ian has built his online brand based solely on delivering great service and outstanding products and the results speak for themselves.

His site has a Google Page Rank of 4, he receives over 14,000 visitors each month, he has a flourishing forum, his membership site is at full capacity, and his courses and seminars are highly successful. All of this without ever looking at a keyword, his analytics, or optimizing for SEO. Go figure….


Ian has worked with some big names in the tennis world and is constantly working on building his brand. To be honest, I am inspired at his dedication to creating an incredible brand and am not surprised at all by his success.

He will be the first one to tell you that it didn’t come overnight though. He has busted his ass for several years and is now reaping the benefits. He teaches tennis full-time, travels nationwide to teach tennis workshops, and spends his nights and weekends building his business. He understands what it takes to rise above the noise of mediocrity and become great.

As far as building the Essential Tennis brand, here’s a look at how he is doing it:

  • His Essential Tennis Podcast. He has not missed his weekly Podcast in 3 years and now has more than 2,000 weekly listeners. That’s commitment to your fans!
  • His Essential Tennis Platinum Membership Site, which he has already closed down to new members (for now).
  • His Online Forum. With more than 49,000 posts and 400 active members, you can see how building a community has helped him grow his business.
  • His Online Instructional Course, Doubles Domination, which is only open for 1 week, has been kicking ass. Yea, he’s crushing it! Why? The product is awesome and his customers love him.
  • His affiliation with some of the biggest names in the tennis world. Names like FuzzyYellowBalls.com and Babolat. Being known by the major players in your industry definitely opens up some doors.
  • His extensive use of multimedia. He has a ton of video content and hundreds of hours of audio. Just look at his home page, it offers you a choice of text, audio, or video. What a great idea!
  • He’s not just an online Gravatar. He actually gets out in the real world and meets people! Wow, what a concept. He offers comprehensive tennis skills workshops around the U.S. and those who attend become raving fans. This is how you build a business people! Are you taking notes? I am..

What Else Makes Him Successful?

The future is very bright for Ian and I can only imagine how much he will continue to dominate the world of tennis instruction going forward.

In my opinion, his success has very little to do with his skills as an Internet marketer or as a savvy online entrepreneur. Rather, I would say that the biggest factors in his success are:

  1. Honesty and integrity
  2. Forming trusting relationships
  3. Consistently over delivering
  4. Excellent communication
  5. Commitment to making a great product, delivering top notch service, and to his business
  6. Persistence to push through the hard times

There is much to be learned from his business model and I think anyone looking to build a profitable business, especially an online business, should take a serious look at these principles.

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