Today’s video, field trip, and story time are all about how you can make millions of dollars on YouTube. I started a YouTube channel in 2008 after being kicked off the reality show Glam God with Vivica Fox on VH1. I was pissed off when I got home and decided to use the camera my wife had given me a couple of years earlier.
Why I started in 2008
I planned to film some videos for my image consulting business so I could post them on YouTube. I didn’t know what the platform was about at that point, as I had only been on it a few times. I remember after I got my first comment, it was at that precise moment I found my home. I was hooked! For the first time in my life, I felt validated.
Back in 2008, nobody was making any money on YouTube. People were just posting videos about themselves and what they were interested in. Additionally, I didn’t know anything about subscribers or monetization. I just wanted to share information that I hope somebody could find valuable.
People started subscribing, and I felt incredible. And when I started getting feedback, my life improved as I felt that I truly found my success. Success for me was feeling like I mattered, not any material possessions.
YouTube got my shit together
I was filming every Friday after getting a six-pack of beer. People didn’t realize that I was drunk in the early videos. I was not in a good place emotionally, and drinking was one of my coping mechanisms.
YouTube got my shit together. I chewed two cans of tobacco daily, and alcohol was my trigger. I stopped both, and my life truly got better. My relationships improved, my body improved, and I felt better in the morning. While I still enjoy wine, I don’t get blackout drunk or drink irresponsibly.
Authenticity and vulnerability for the win
My discussions on style branched off into grooming. I realized I couldn’t be the only dude who wondered what to do with the hair on his butt cheeks. I’ve always been comfortable in my skin, so why not? What did I have to lose?
During the earlier years, I was trying to figure out what was a popular topic. After checking out popular YouTubers, the outrageous and outlandish seemed to create an audience. The more they cursed, the more popular they became. So I started posting things that were inconsistent with who I was and how I felt. I realized how insane I was acting and dropped the act. I have since deleted those videos.
Being authentic and vulnerable is when my channel started to scale. I began to make a little bit of money after applying for monetization. Then, sponsors began to pay attention. The Grooming Lounge was an early sponsor, along with Blank Label shirts.
YouTube was pure and innocent because people weren’t making millions of dollars back then. You filmed and posted videos to help people or share something. That’s why I always tell people to start a channel because you never know where it will lead. Look at me.
Just start — you never know where it will lead
- If you want to make YouTube your career, only worry about making videos about topics you’re interested in. It will find an audience of like-minded people.
- Don’t worry about money. Do not go into YouTube thinking you will someday make millions of dollars.
- Start strategizing now about video topics that people want to watch. If you do that, and you do it authentically with the purity of intention, the money will come.
- Don’t worry about perfection. Still, to this day, I hate many of the videos I put out. But you just put it out and work the muscle. It’s never going to be perfect.
- Don’t start off selling. The biggest mistake when creating content is the intention of making money or selling the audience on the first interaction. Do not ask viewers to buy anything immediately; that is a big mistake. If you want to start a website, purchase a URL and direct people to it for more tips and information.
- Have viewers sign up for a newsletter. Capture people’s email information and build a list. Then you can figure out what product you would like to sell, which could be an info product, a grooming product, apparel, or whatever interests you. You now have an audience with whom you’re connected and close to from the valuable content you’ve given them.
Slow and steady
It took me 8 to 9 years of posting videos regularly to get to a million subscribers. I also posted for five years before making a dollar from sponsorships or products. You don’t need a fancy camera; you can do it on your phone. You never know where it will lead, but the connections you make and the feelings you get are no better gift.