How Mr Beast Became The Most Famous Youtuber In The World
Mr Beast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, might be the world’s biggest creator on the world’s biggest creator platform, Youtube.
From a 13-year-old kid with 240 subscribers to a 23-year-old with 88 million subscribers and a restaurant chain of 1,000 locations. It’s hard to imagine what Mr Beast might achieve in the next decade.
Recently Colin and Samir sat down with Mr Beast to find out how he’s done it. Here’s what you need to know.
The Key To Building An Audience
Ask ‘how can I make my video’s better? Do that every single day for years, and the results will come.
Colin and Samir asked Jimmy what would help them get to 1 million subscribers.
Jimmy said followers are an arbitrary number and don’t matter. The question should always be, “what helps us create the best videos possible?” Subscribers and views are secondary to creating the best content possible.
No one is the biggest YouTuber in the world because they make the best thumbnails or write the best titles; sure, that stuff helps but at the end of the day, creating the best content possible is what matters.
Attention Is The Most Valuable Currency
“If you could post a piece of content and everyone watched it, then you’d be the most powerful person in the world.”
Mr Beast sees attention as the most valuable currency in the world.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Who do you think is more likely to be successful?
• A solo creator grinding by themselves for 12 hours a day, every day.
• A group of 4 friends grinding as well but sharing all their lessons with each other.
The group of friends will be so far ahead it won’t even be comparable.
Jimmy takes this to the extreme:
One time his group of friends did an 18-hour skype call tearing apart each other’s content and trying to find ways to do better. That’s all he did for that entire day, then went back to sleep.
What started as a skype group is now a list of people he calls every week and asks them to teach him something. Learning about his craft is fun for him, and he enjoys having conversations with other creators and entrepreneurs that he can learn from.
You Need To Be Obsessed With Your Craft
If he didn’t make it and only had like 5,000 subscribers, Jimmy said he’d probably still be working at McDonald’s and spending every other minute possible trying to grow his channel until he made it work.
No one was making Youtube videos when Jimmy started; everyone thought he was weird.
He was creating solo from the age of 13 till 18 until he met others doing the same thing. At that point, he had 10,000 subscribers.
Most kids his age talked about cartoons while he wanted to talk about dropshipping and creating content.
His first videos weren’t very good, and he used to get hassled by kids his age telling him he was awkward and sucked.
But he was obsessed and wanted to dedicate his life to it, so he spent all day and night grinding and learning about the craft.
Retention Is King
“This first impression might be all you get with someone forever.”
Jimmy is a perfectionist and obsesses over the first 10 seconds of his video.
In that first 10 seconds, you have to let someone know exactly what they are getting. He spends days thinking about the first minute of a video before shooting and during editing.
They often plan out and work on videos for months before they are released.
With long-form content, you need a break or a sub-plot to re-engage your audience, no matter the medium. On Youtube, these are videos that stretch past 15 minutes; for blogs, this is around the 2,000-wordmark.
Use interludes like “an ejector button that shoots you to the moon or a random grizzly bear appears.”
You don’t always need sub-plots or side stories. You can use other visuals or cuts and cool animations to keep people engaged.
The golden number for Youtube retention is 70%, i.e. If 70% of your viewers watch video’s all the way through, you’re going to win.
Don’t Lose Focus
“You need laser-like focus and keep doing what got you here.”
His main channel is the pillar content that drives everything else, so Jimmy is constantly working to improve the content on this channel. This takes priority over everything else.
The main focus is creating the best content possible by far and away. 99% of what a creator wants will happen if you do that, i.e. make the best content, product or service possible.
If he’s making the best videos possible, everything else will come naturally.
• It’ll make beast burger possible.
• It’ll make being the best YouTuber possible.
He watched many creators get distracted by other projects like merchandise or podcasting, and eventually, their main channel, along with everything else, starts to die.
Keep Reinvesting To Create The Best Content Possible
“I’m not a businessman. I’m a creator. I just want to make the best videos possible.”
Mr Beast has reinvested everything he’s ever earned from his content to produce more content.
• Initially, he did everything on his phone—recording, editing & publishing.
• He saved up months for a microphone, then another half year for a computer.
• It took him two years to save enough money to buy a camera.
For the last 8 or 9 years, he has continued to reinvest everything into creating content.
• Important to note he didn’t invest in ads, promotions, or anything of the sort. He just produced the best videos he could.
He made $10,000 on his first-ever brand deal and gave the whole lot away to a homeless person. He spent 3 hours on the phone convincing the brand to double their offer from $5k to $10k, so the video would get more views.
At a certain point, the primary channel ad revenue plateaued, so he created sub-channels like gaming and reactions to generate more money for his main channel videos.
At this point, Jimmy invests more into his videos than any other creator on Youtube. It’s easily $500k+ per video.
He said he’s run out of money many times and had to take out loans to fund the following video. Every video toes the line between profitable and losing money.
He only cares about making money so he can make better content.
And Create Content That Scales
If the content you’re creating relies on you, your scale is limited.
You can’t outsource your personality. So there’s only so far you can go, and all the creative weight is on your shoulders.
You have to be ready to create every day, which isn’t feasible as every creator faces real-life struggles and won’t always be in the suitable headspace to make.
So Jimmy focuses on storytelling and other entertaining ways besides having a fun personality.
Build A Passionate Team
“Hiring is a way to free up your time so that you can do more important things.”
The main differentiator between how Jimmy hires and others is that he only employs people interested in Youtube. It doesn’t matter if it’s a finance person, a logistics person, or HR. They must be interested in the craft first.
His first employee was an editor. At some stage need to give up some creative control to grow. Accept that it won’t entirely be how you want it, but perhaps just as good or better. Rarely is anyone that good at creating that someone else can’t do their job?
He thinks young people who want to get into Youtube should start interning for someone else. I.e. work for free until they learn enough to do it themselves.
Expanding The Mr Beast Brand
Mr beast has used his audience and following to expand his brand into other product lines.
He now has Beast Burgers in over 1,000 locations using ghost kitchens. I.e. you can’t actually dine in at the restaurant.
They will be opening physical stores shortly.
He wants to make beast burgers the best burger/dining experience possible – he doesn’t even care if it makes money or not.
He will take the same formula from Youtube and apply that to beast burger. I.e. take every single cent and reinvest it into the franchise. And continue to make it the best possible.