Lessons I Learned From a YouTube Master

The thing that amazed me the most was the screaming.

Those kids were screaming with absolute joy.

It hurt my ears.

We were in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at a Brave Wilderness live tour date. Brave Wilderness is one of the biggest YouTube channels in the world (over 8 million subscribers) and it has over 300 videos on the site. The episodes show educational adventures with animals and it's mostly geared toward kids. 

Recently, Brave Wilderness decided to come out with their first children's book and did a tour (ten cities in ten days) to meet their fans and support their book. Since Ft. Lauderdale is pretty close by, we wanted to go see it.

When we sat down, there were kids behind us saying things like, "I'm so excited right now my hands are shaking!" and some younger kids in front of us were standing on their seats in expectation. You could feel the eagerness.

And when the star, Coyote Peterson, finally hit the stage? Holy moly. It was deafening.

It was all one big screaming happy family.

And we'd seen this phenomenon grow from the very beginning.

A few years ago, we were at dinner with one of my old tennis students. We schedule these dinners regularly no matter where any of us are in the world, and we always go around the table telling what's been going on in our lives. 

When it got to Mark, he mentioned that he was starting a YouTube site with a buddy of his, and it was going to be about animals. He was going to be the producer/film guy and his friend was going to be in front of the camera doing the talking. He said he'd already recorded some episodes and they already had a few hundred subscribers on their YouTube channel. Mark was very passionate about it and we all thought, "Wow, what a quaint idea."

When we met again a few months later, we asked him about his YouTube thingie. He said he was working his butt off and they were up to about 800 or so subscribers. He even checked his phone a few times during dinner to see if anyone new had signed up.

The next dinner he was up to 5,000. The dinner after that he was over 10,000 and subscribers were coming on board fast. He hit one million not long after that. 

One million subscribers. From scratch.

It's just gone crazy from there. Hundreds of new subscribers per hour, videos with two million views, signing with big agents, being recognized in public, and now a book tour. There's a good chance the book will hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list in the children's category.

After the show, the three Brave Wilderness team members (Mark included) signed autographs and took pictures for almost two hours. One thing we noticed: every kid was smiling from ear-to-ear as they walked away.

We went to dinner with Mark when he was done signing but had to have him back to the tour bus by midnight. Atlanta was the next stop (sold out) and the driver wasn't going to wait. 

It was glorious.

So what's the lesson? 

The lesson is that fundamentals work. If you love something enough to work yourself ragged for it, something good can happen. If you also create something of value that other people love, something extraordinary can happen. 

That night was certainly valuable to those excited kids.

And it was to us, too.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.