Updated: Oct 10
Imagine showing off your Toy Collection to a growing online fanbase, and then doing it full time with no signs of slowing down. His Youtube channel has reached 124,000 subscribers and with his social media accounts collectively put's him at 315,000+ followers. This guy has " done it " meet TodayIGrewUp! I got the chance to ask him for some insights on how he approaches and manages his channel and what that looks like for him. Let's see what he has to say.
1. What got you into sharing Toy Story videos on youtube?
I was always into toy hunting and collecting movie props such as the hoverboard from Back to the Future (my first movie prop) and props from other movie franchises I loved. In 2009 when it was announced Thinkway Toys would produce "movie inspired replicas" of the Toy Story characters my mind was blown. I knew I needed to collect all of them. I saw these new toys as "movie accurate" and true to life props at the time. Having something in hand from an animated movie adds to the excitement and a layer of fantasy comes to life for me, which I find super fun. This led to me building a huge Toy Story collection and getting recognized on YouTube for it. Making videos on YouTube was a positive coping skill for me, my escape from reality and my everyday 9 to 5 work life I never loved.
2. How do you personally approach content creation?
I always try to do something new and creative that hasn't been done before. If it has been done before I try and make it my own. I try to take something already famous and then add my own unique creative spin on it and that seems to work really well for me. I make content after my passions of what I love and not just for the "views" at the end of the day. I always tell people to do what they love and not for any other reason. Being genuine, authentic and passionate will get you far.
3. What would be a weekly schedule approach? Do you use any software to schedule the post? If so, which ones?
When you first start making content you have to be realistic to your own capabilities and resources otherwise you will get burnt out really fast. I have a really great memory so I used to just memorize everything I had to do in my mind and recite it. What I did was start small posting 2-3 times per week and now after many years of creating content, I post almost every day. I do not use software because I am old school for scheduling. I now use a giant white board on my wall with dry erase markers to keep myself organized and I love hand writing in journals with pen and paper because always being stuck to an electronic device can get tiring as a full time content creator. At the end of the day my best advice is to do what works best for you because everyone feels differently about how they organize their time, tasks and approach.
4. Any social media growth tips that have really worked for you?
This is a loaded question because it does not have a simple answer. Growth will always be dependent on how hard you are willing to work to attain it. Yes there are many tips to gain quickly but what has worked best for me is to be organic, post authentically, passionately, honestly and an audience will find you for it and help support you. Post consistently, give people what they want to see from you. Building a community was always my goal, drawing people together as a collective collectors spot for us to share our love and passions has helped propel my growth online because my mind is focused on building community and not solely on increasing "numbers." I do what I do not for numbers, money or fame but for the love of what I do. That seems to work best for growth in my experience. If something does not work do not be afraid to try something new and reinvent yourself. Your growth or lack of growth online should never be a true value or measure for your personal success story. Find your creative niche and an audience will find you and love you for it. My best advice is to do your best and do something because you truly love to do it and believe in it with your whole heart. If you build it, they will come, if not reevaluate why that is and figure it out.
5. How do you come up with content ideas?
I usually reflect on what content I have already created in the past. I analyze what did well for me and what didn't do so well for me and learn from the audience. I try to keep my audience happy and give them the content they love from me while also making what I love to make and it becomes a fun balance, drive and motivation to create new content. Brainstorming is my strong suit and I was just born with the ability to not run out of ideas. I am constantly thinking of new video ideas and it comes very naturally to me.
6. Who are some of your inspirations?
Before I became a bigger content creator I drew inspiration from many other popular YouTubers. Creators such as Mr. Beast, LA Beast, JP and Beyond really impressed me with their creative talents online. I knew that I was meant to create videos when it started becoming more natural for me to do it. The more I made videos the more inspired I became to carve my own path and not compare my success with anyone else. Those YouTubers taught me that if you dream big, work hard and never give up, anything could be possible and they were right.
7. What are some funny or interesting experiences you've encountered because of your social media presence?
What I really find funny is how creative others online are. I created a fan show on my channel to feature other people's content and a mail monday show for exploring other people's drawings and letters. I find it so funny to see others so excited about what I do because I do not take myself so seriously and it really is fun to see that sometimes other people do. I remember being recognized like a celebrity at Target or Disneyland and that is when I realized wow I guess I am more popular than I thought.
What I find most interesting is companies like Robosen, Pixar, Entertainment Earth, Numskull designs, my favorite band MxPx and Disney have all collaborated with me in some way at this point in my career and that has been really fascinating and interesting to experience. I never thought my brand I built would be working or collaborating with such huge million dollar companies who are very well established so I find that very interesting.
8. How have you been able to monetize beyond ad revenue?
Having multiple revenue streams as a full time content creator is key. I get paid in a multitude of ways some including my own personal website store bringing in sales, google adsense for my video views, affiliate marketing through retail distributors and the amazon affiliate program for example helps, TikTok paid sponsorships, paid public relations campaigns, other major company paid sponsorship opportunities. These are just some examples of how I pull in multiple streams of revenue and get free products in the process. I usually get approached to work with brands because of my popularity and I usually do not reach out myself at this point which has been a huge help so I have more time to focus on building and maintaining my social media presence on multiple platforms.
9. Any tips for people that want to make this a full time thing?
My tips would be to not let failure define or discourage you. Along the journey to full time content creation there will be many failed attempts, trials and tribulations. It took me 2-3 years to really take off full time and I wouldn't sleep that much to get there but it paid off because I believed in myself and kept trying. I always tell others the best thing you can do is always work hard, dream big, put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything and making impossible into possible and that is how our dreams can come true. It worked for me. Maybe it can for you too. How bad do you want it? That will define your success. I have been on YouTube working hard for 10 years so my success did not come overnight.
10. Tiktok Vs Youtube? Do both platforms complement each other for audience building?
I find for me TikTok has really helped me continue to build my YouTube audience up. I think of TikTok like a highway billboard advertisement. Like a freeway sign or quick commercial for your content, TikTok is a quick 60 seconds or less spot to show others what you are all about. If they like your content they usually go over to check out more on YouTube which is my intention. I link people from TikTok directly to YouTube and I know it works when I read my comments on YouTube saying "hey I found you on TikTok" that is when you know the hard work to post there really can pay off.
11. Have you noticed any algorithm changes in the past few months?
Algorithms are a very complicated subject because they never have an easy answer. I believe changes happen all the time and that is why as a content creator you have to pay attention to it daily. If there is a dip in your views you must explore why that is happening. Sometimes changes in the algorithm are not the content creators fault but it can be if you do not catch up with it. Tips I recommend to have the algorithm help you is post content you know always does well on your channel and double check your video retention and click through rates, check your channel and content settings, playlist, hashtags, thumbnails these really help make it or break it for you. I have consistently been able to establish 1-3 million views per month collectively across all of my videos because of this.
12. Have you integrated Ai into your content creation or other operations?
I have not done that yet because the content I create falls more into things you can tangibly hold in your hands. If I do find the need for AI in the future I am open to using it. I think AI is so new it is not fully understood yet how to really use it to benefit from it. I know that will change in the future but for now I am not ready to jump in that world as of yet. If I see it could help positively impact my content creation in any way in the future, I would be open minded at that point and on board with trying something new.
In conclusion: I really enjoy the insights that @TodayIgrewUp had to give in this blog because he brings it back to the core and that is keeping it about your audience and having fun along the way. Sometimes as social media influencers and entrepreneurs we can forget the very things that got us to our destination in the first place. Thanks again to TodayIGrewUp for sharing.