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YouTubers have Business Models? 6 Things We Can Learn



In another blog post, I mentioned the amazing success YouTubers have had–over 40 make more than a million dollars every year. I said it was important to learn from the achievements of people outside the traditional business sphere (as well as within) to really get a full view of what people like to see on the internet. When I started looking into what made YouTube stars successful, I was surprised at how clear some of the patterns were.

YouTubers have been wildly successful across a wide variety of content, from makeup tutorials (Michelle Phan, $3M), to cooking tutorials (Rosanna Pansino, $2.5M), to prank videos (Roman Atwood, $2.5M), to talk shows (Rhett and Link, $4.5M), to gaming accounts (Felix Kjelberg, $12M).

So what are some of the common ties?

1) Across the board, successful YouTubers are very clear about what kind of content they produce. It’s almost a niche mindset. They choose a category and stick to it, whether that’s gaming or cooking.

2) They find a way to stand out within their category. This can involve creating segments exclusive to their account. For example, Rhett and Link have an ongoing “Will It?” segment where they test whether weird ingredients work together to create a new version of a standard food. No other YouTuber does that. It’s little things like that which help differentiate them.

3) They have a schedule of when they’re going to put content out, and make sure their audience knows it. Jenna Marbles, a comedy YouTuber with 15 million subscribers, sticks to putting out a video every Wednesday. One of my favorite YouTube accounts, Blimey Cow, uploads their main videos on Mondays, and call the series “Messy Mondays.” They have a consistent, clear schedule and stick to it.

4) Their videos look good, aesthetically. Every single YouTuber I looked at when writing this blog used a professional camera with a quality microphone. This model can translate to the importance of having well-designed websites and apps.

5) They have a ‘call to action’ in every video. It’s amazing how consistent successful YouTube accounts are in calling upon people to “thumbs up, comment, and subscribe”. Some even add incentives, or have a clip they replay at the end of each video to remind people to do so. YouTuber Rclbeauty101 (7M subscribers) holds sweepstakes for things like MacBook Airs and tablets, where the only thing you have to do to enter is be subscribed.

6) They form partnerships. Whether it’s promoting a product at the end of their video or joining together with another YouTuber for a video, the most successful accounts seek out partnerships.

I was amazed by how closely YouTube success models mirror traditional business success models. It’s super cool to see patterns like this appearing across so many different platforms.

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Learning from All Sides of the Interent



I love learning about internet-based companies, but while researching I realized how many people have internet-based careers without actually having a traditional business. For example, Ben Shapiro, one of my favorite political commentators, uses the internet as a platform for his podcast, show, and columns even though he doesn’t have a full-on company. It got me thinking about how multi-faceted the internet is. There are so many opportunities, you don’t even have to have a traditional company to get into the internet space. You can have a YouTube-based show, a blog, a podcast on iTunes, a website, and a social media presence, all completely dedicated to your personal brand. A lot of people make millions of dollars a year just off of one of these internet-based opportunities. For example, in 2015, over 40 YouTubers made over a million dollars for the year.

I think the opportunities outside of traditional internet-based businesses can teach us two important things about traditional internet companies: 1) The internet is truly a flourishing and growing content driver.  2) While it’s important to have discretion with how you expand your business on the internet, you don’t have to choose just one platform. You can expand to any and all platforms that effectively help your company’s growth.

It’s important to keep in mind everyone who’s succeeding in the internet space, and look at what they’re doing right, not just traditional companies.

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TheFineBros Find Themselves Less Fine After Fiasco

In case you’ve never heard of TheFineBros let me ask you this; have you ever watched a “reaction” video? perhaps one titled “elders react to…” or “kids react to…”? if the answer is no then below you will find and example to watch. If your answer is yes then you can just watch the video for kicks and gigs.

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Vlogging: A Hobby or Career?

During the early 2000’s, the concept of video blogging came to life. This new form of media brought a more personal quality to the digital world. Looking beyond still photos, people were able to capture their lives through short videos and share them with the digital community. Viewers not only became familiar with the vloggers appearance, but also began to connect with their personality and chose to invest their time into the vlogger’s channels.

Now, this concept may seem invasive or narcissistic–why should we care about what people are doing on a daily basis? Yet, there was a tremendous positive response from the digital community, specifically the YouTube community. Quickly the video blogging concept expanded exponentially to genres such as gaming tutorials, beauty tutorials, comedy films, DIY tutorials, travel guides, everyday life and much more.

Here is where it gets interesting: some vloggers not only vlog as a hobby, but rather as a career. The top Youtube bloggers have created an incredible brand for themselves, establishing an immense following of loyal fans. Starting with a few simple videos, these vloggers have launched a career of film making, book writing, key note speaking, and a variety of other paths.

An example of such success is Zoe Sugg, an English 22 year old who has conquered the beauty/lifestyle vlogging genre. In 2009, Sugg created her channel, “Zoella,” which focused on beauty and fashion tutorials. After experiencing social anxiety and panic attacks, vlogging helped Sugg cope and overcome her struggles. After 2 years of vlogging, Sugg gained a large following on her channel and her popularity escalated. 7 years since her channel launch, Sugg’s vlogging journey has led her to achieve a following of 10 million subscribers, establish multiple YouTube channels, produce a beauty product line, and publish a book.

To learn more about Sugg, watch this adorable video:

A second example is a pair of British twin boys named Jack and Finn Harries. Their Youtube channel, “Jacksgap,” originated during their gap year in between high school and college. Jack uploaded his first vlog 4 years ago, which currently claims over 3.2 million views. Since then, the Harries twins have curated a multi-platform brand which eloquently tells their adventurous, free-spirited story. Their vlogging experiences have led them to travel internationally, partner with global corporations, advocate for social justice and impact the lives of millions.



… and now


These avant-garde millennials have pioneered another avenue for web-based careers, demonstrating once again that a career does not have to be a 9-5 day job. Instead, a career has the potential to be unconventional- something that has the ability to impact the world.


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Do you want to walk in love.?

Decided you want to walk in love.?

If you are reading this right now, then you decided to walk in love. for a little bit.  Maybe you are sitting, looking at your computer, scratching your head, and wondering if you want to walk in love.  This might not be what  you think it is.  If you want to walk in love., that is so great, but I have a different story to tell.  A better one.


The Story Behind walk in love.

walk in love. was founded in 2005 by T.J. Mousetis.  He wanted to go on a missions trip with his dad to Russia, therefore, he knew he had to raise enough money.  His solution seems so simple.  Mousetis made the decision to purchase 100 royal blue shirts, and print the phrase “walk in love.” on each one.  Every single shirt was sold, and his dream to go to Russia, on a missions trip, was fulfilled multiple times.  But what happened next in this love story?


The Passion and Success Behind the T-shirt

Mousetis quickly found a new passion for T-shirts, printing things on them, and sharing thwalk in love.e good news of Jesus Christ with those around him.  Only 3 years later, in 2008, walk in love. began to grow even more.  The t-shirts were demanded by friends and fans, and Mousetis began to gather quite the following.  He quickly realized that he could not do this alone.  The story gets better.



Mousetis Falls in Love

As he was in the beginning stages of starting this new clothing company, Mousetis began his journey with someone else.  He decided to reach out to a girl from his church over Facebook… and within a year they were married.  Brooke Courtney, Mousetis’s wife was able to help him along his journey as the new photographer.  They soon became known as T.J and Brooke.  Her skill was able to capture the essence of what Mousetis intended to portray to his customers and to the world.


The Brick-and-Mortar to Only Online

walk in love. was undergoing a lot of different changes.  T.J. and Brooke were able to provide a new website, new shirts and styles of shirts, and even a kiosk in one of the local malls.  Soon after that in 2001, with the support from those around them, they decided to open up their own brick-and-mortar store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Only 2 years after that, they opened the same store in New Jersey.  T.J. and Brooke had to start to pivot from their idea of selling both online and in stores.  They thought the best thing for walk in love. would be to focus all of their attention online.   Currently, you can buy all of their products online, and also use their new app VRSLY for everyday inspiration and encouragement.

Check out this pep talk from T.J. Mousetis!


Check out their other sites!

walk in love.

T.J. and Brooke

T.J. Mousetis

Brooke Courtney

T.J. and Brooke Blog


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Climbing the Ranks

YouTube is reworking their ranking algorithm.  Videos that can capture their audience’s attention longer will get higher rankings than those that just have more clicks.  The logic behind it is simple: Holding someone’s attention is more important than just getting it.

That logic also has some important implications for entrepreneurs trying to leverage the internet, and more specifically, the viral video to their advantage.  Here are 7 tips on creating stronger engagement:

1. Don’t waste your time trying to beat the system

Instead of spending valuable time trying to hack into the ranking algorithm, dedicate your time to making a better video.

2. Know your audience

This seems simple, but what might be funny or interesting to you and your peers might be completely irrelevant to your target market.  Do your research.

3. Give them a reason to stick around

Just like a good story has to capture the reader’s attention in the first sentence, the first 5-10 seconds of the video are crucial in keeping the viewer’s attention.

4. Plan ahead

Great videos don’t just spontaneously appear.  Put in the time to do a story-board, gather materials, and present a decently polished video.  Just because the video is short doesn’t mean that it won’t take any time to create.

5.  Have energy

No one wants to watch a stiff performance.  The more dynamic your presentation, the better (without crossing into being obnoxious).

6. Take risks

You’re an entrepreneur, so put those unconventional thinking skills to the test.  The best part is, the most you have to lose is some time.

7. Pay attention to the headlines and descriptions

Your video might be great, but without the correct keywords, no one will be able to find it.  Use Google Keyword Analytic to see if your word choices are popular.

One of the main things to remember is to be consistent in producing videos and don’t give up too soon.  Building a strong and loyal audience takes time and dedication.

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