Evan Carmichael – Crushing It on YouTube

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Evan Carmichael, Experienced YouTuber

Crushing It on YouTube

About Evan Carmichael

Evan Carmichael #Believes in entrepreneurs. Gary Vaynerchuck called him the DJ who inspires people and Ed Mylett called him the modern-day Napoleon Hill. At 19, he built and then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was a venture capitalist raising $500k to $15M. He now runs a YouTube channel for entrepreneurs with over 3.5+ million subscribers and 300 million views, wrote 4 books, and speaks globally. He wants to solve the world’s biggest problem, people don’t #Believe in themselves enough. 

Forbes named him one of the world’s top 40 social marketing talents and Inc. named him one of the 100 great leadership speakers and 25 social media keynote speakers you need to know. He’s set 2 world records, uses a trampoline & stand-up desk, owns Canada’s largest salsa dance studio where he met his wife, and has a giant Doritos bag in front of him all day long to remind him that he’s stronger than the Doritos. Toronto is his home. He’s a husband, father, TSM Fan, and Teemo main. 

What you will learn

This week we sat down with Evan Carmichael to talk about his experience as a YouTuber. Evan has 17 different YouTube channels and over 3 million subscribers. So what was Evan’s motivation for getting started in YouTube? “Ultimately, your purpose comes from your pain. So whatever you struggle the most with as a human is what you want to help other people with. I struggled so much as an entrepreneur in my first business- quitting on my partner. And I felt isolated and alone and just didn’t know what to do. And I’m just, I’m still making videos now. 13 years later, for 19-year-old Evan and all of the 19 year old Evans out there in the world who are struggling to believe in themselves in their own business”

Transcript

Alan Olsen  

Welcome to American Dreams. I’m here today with Evan Carmichael. Evan, welcome to today’s show. Evan what was your motivation for starting your own YouTube channel.

Evan Carmichael  

Sure, I think ultimately, your purpose comes from your pain. So whatever you struggled the most with as a human is what you want to help other people with. And so I struggled so much as an entrepreneur in my first business quitting on my partner. And I felt isolated and alone and just didn’t know what to do. And I’m just, I’m still making videos now. 13 years later, for 19 year old Evan and all of the 19 year old Evans out there in the world who are struggling to believe in themselves in their own business. Alan, I didn’t know. I had, like nobody on YouTube at the time in 2009 had a million subscribers. Nobody was posting educational entrepreneurial videos, right? It wasn’t a, this is the big plan. I’ve got it all mapped out, I know how it’s all gonna work. I just I’m a visual guy, I’d much rather see something, then listen to it or read it. And so I thought YouTube was the only video platform at the time, I’m going to make video content, and I hope it helps a few people. And, you know, I guess fast forward to today, and we’ve had some success.

Alan Olsen

So what’s been the biggest challenge of running your own YouTube channel.

Evan Carmichael  

The biggest challenge was belief that I could do it, you know, belief that my message was, was worthy that somebody would want to hear from me that my story mattered. The biggest fight I would get into with my agent was him just telling me that I need to be famous. Like I don’t want to be famous due to Steve, I don’t want to be famous. And it wasn’t like it was years of fighting with him. And he’s, you know, he was helped blown up, Mel Robbins and Grant Cardone and some other pretty big names and in thought leadership education. And it wasn’t until he said, but the more people who know you, the more people will hear the message. And as soon as it became about, okay, the message is valuable. Now I need to be more public, I wouldn’t have done an interview like this. It’s like, why does he only want to talk to me, I don’t know that you should have somebody else on somebody else has a better story than me, that would have been my default response. I don’t know, five years ago, seven years ago. But the the realization that hey, maybe somebody can learn to my story, pushed me to get in front a little bit more?

Alan Olsen  

How do you come up with your video ideas to keep your community engaged?

Evan Carmichael  

That’s a combination of what do I want to make with what are people asking for? And I think that’s at the success of any any successful business, not just a YouTube channel, not just a podcast or a show. So what do you love doing with Where is there demand, if you take something that you just love doing, but nobody cares, you have a hobby, great can be a really fulfilling hobby, but it’s just a hobby. And if you take something that everybody wants, but you don’t really care about, you’re never gonna win, because you’re doing work that you hate. And there’s somebody else out there who loves doing that thing. And so don’t spend your time doing work that you hate. So it’s in that combination of like, What do I love doing with? What do people actually want, that every business can become successful? So for me, we get a lot of feedback from the audience. People leave comments, like, Hey, I’d love to see a video one blank. And maybe I know how to do that. And maybe I really resonate with that. Or maybe I don’t, and then we don’t. Or just starts with me saying, I think this could be a cool idea. And then I try to make that video and put it out there. And sometimes they take off and they do well. And we do a lot more. And sometimes it completely flops is like okay, cool. Well, nobody liked that. Move on to the next idea. I think the key though, within all of that is we’re not so attached to this thing having to work. A lot of times people when they’re first launching their YouTube channel, their business, their podcast, whatever, we put so much pressure on the on the launch being perfect. And then if it doesn’t work out, we feel like a failure, where for me, it’s just okay, we’re going to try that. And I’m going to try this. I’m going to try that and something’s going to work and that that thing yesterday didn’t work cool. I’ve got 80 more ideas. I’m going to try until I find the thing that does work.

Alan Olsen  

Now what system or process do you have are used for your filming and editing? Is there a particular methodology?

Evan Carmichael  

Um, I think that’s evolved over the years. At the beginning, I probably spent way too much time trying to figure all this stuff out. You know, my first video took me a full day to record because I was trying to was one video. It’s like six minutes. It took the whole day to record because I was trying to get it perfect and the camera and the lighting and my friend came in he was a professional videographer and he filmed me and I had to memorize my script and over the years has gotten a lot more streamlined and faster and I’ve cared less about would have been perfect and more about me just showing up and trying to connect more to the heart unless of the head. If we had done this interview even three years ago, I would have said, Okay, I need to know what are Allen’s questions going to be? I want to know what his questions are. Because I wanted to have an answer, because I would be afraid of I don’t want to disappoint your audience. I don’t want you to ask me some questions. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I don’t know. But what would end up happening is a give a really prepared, rehearsed answer, which then doesn’t actually bring the most value to your community. And so instead of like, I don’t want to know the questions, I don’t want to know, you know, what you’re going to ask me, let’s just go with it and hope that I have enough inside me to be able to share. And so I wish I had done that sooner. You know, if you’d look back, I probably wouldn’t have made changes. But like, if I could talk to Evan, who started his channel, the beginning, like don’t be so stressed out about seeing the perfect words and have the perfect lighting and gear and editing process. Just go make create. And the more you can connect in your heart instead of your head and what you think is perfect, the better results you’ll actually have.

Alan Olsen  

And once the video is produced, how do you promote it? This is a big area that a lot of people say how do I get my people to see what I would have done.

Evan Carmichael  

So this is where YouTube’s actually very different than every other platform. If you look at even a podcast, for example, you can have the greatest podcast of all time, you can have a great session with somebody but but now it’s still on you to get the message out. There’s not a lot of built in podcast distribution, where YouTube gives you distribution. So YouTube is a huge search engine, YouTube does an awesome job at surfacing content to new people. So it’s not just about creating content, it gives you the built in distribution. So with YouTube, we’d be looking at even going in making this video. The target should be how do I get people who have already watched the Evan Carmichael interview, or are already fans of my channel to now discover who Alan is. Right? that that can happen. And so it’s going into beginning thinking about the subject matter, you’re going to talk about the thumbnail, you’re going to use the title you’re going to use to get people to go watch the video. And the best way to win is on the platform. So the best way to you to grow your YouTube channel is to win on YouTube. It’s not telling people to go from your Instagram account or your Twitter to go watch this latest episode, because they don’t spend the time. If we’re doing a 25 minute interview, that goes to YouTube, somebody who’s on Instagram, does not want to then spend 25 minutes watching a YouTube interview. So even if you do promote it there, they’ll click on it, spend 30 seconds and then go back the Instagram because they want like some fast piece of content. So the way to win is not across different platforms. It’s to win on the actual platform. And it’s the same thing for Instagram, like when on Instagram, don’t try to get you from YouTube to Instagram, understand the ecosystem that you’re playing in and winning there. So the promotion is less about what you have to do. Off platform and more about how can you understand how YouTube’s algorithm works so that you can win on platform. 

Alan Olsen  

You know, there’s a lot of chatter on the internet today about well, you have to pay to play. And you have opinions about paid promotion.

Evan Carmichael  

And it has a it has a spot. It just depends on what your goals are. So if somebody is going to start a YouTube channel cool, what my number one question is, what are you selling? Like, what’s your business is? Is the business just to be an influencer and try to build up an audience and sell advertising against your show? Or are you a coach Are you do you have products, you have services, you have books, I was working through a model yesterday, but just finished 11 hours of YouTube training over the past two days with my community. It was insane. And we had one guy come on, and I get my model to host a show where he only needs to have a couple 100 subscribers and he can build a multi million dollar business off of that show. So just depends on what are your goals? You can always buy views, you can buy subscribers, you can buy attention, but does it help you lead towards your business goals or not? So to answer that question, maybe pay to play could work. But what are you trying to accomplish? And then if I understand your goals, we can devise a better strategy. 

Alan Olsen  

So I want to roll into real life of what what we’re doing here on this channel. Currently, I have been access to 26 million views taking this up to 100 million views and subscribers for about 53,000 subscribers on YouTube. And I want to take that to 100,000. If you were me, how would you focus your efforts in in that timeframe? I want to do all this within a year.

Evan Carmichael  

So the easiest thing now is tweaking your thumbnails and titles like step number one, is you go back into catalogue, and we’re updating our thumbnails and titles. Whenever I’m helping a channel, and I’ve helped not just my channel, but some pretty big channels, you know, million subscriber plus 10 million subscriber plus. The easiest number one hack is not even the new shows coming up. Most people focus on what I’m doing next. It’s, it’s fixing the catalog. So if you have 2000, interviews that are all like, 20 minutes plus length, yes, yeah. Then you ask great questions, which is awesome, you’re probably getting great information out of your guests. Just in those numbers. What is telling me is you have not done a good job in optimizing the thumbnails and the titles of those videos. And if you’ve done 2000 interviews like this, and you’re pulling gold out of people, you should be over 50,000. Us. So it means the content is good, I hope unless you’ve just gotten so much better. Or you know, maybe you sucked at the beginning, I don’t know. But like you probably have good content. And if it’s that many in this long form, if they’re all like one minute clips, and that’s a different story. But you have long form, then yeah, the number one thing even just doing that should take you over 100,000 Like really dialing in your thumbnails and titles strategy, just that in the next year, without even if you never make another video, you don’t even release this one and never produce another piece of content that should take you over 100,000 subscribers. Beyond that the content strategy. You know, it’s sort of looking at who we’re bringing on, how much does it resonate with our audience? Potentially going more, you know, twice a week is a is a commitment. And it’s hard, you know, booking guests, and it’s it becomes this machine to be able to make that happen every week. I would definitely throw in if you have that much content, two to three mash ups per week. I don’t know. Are you doing any mashups.

Alan Olsen  

Now, right now? Not right now,

Evan Carmichael  

that’s a huge opportunity. So there are themes, how many like give you them 2000 episodes, you’ve had 2000 guests, maybe there’s some repeat guests that come on, they’re cool. But you have 2000 episodes, there are some consistent themes that you talk about. Maybe on this one, we’re talking YouTube and marketing and others is more personal development or other things. But then what you do is you take clips, so you take a five minute clip from this one, and you mix it with another five minute clip or a 10 minute clip from somebody else’s show. And then you make you have a marketing mashup or you have a growth mashup or you have a success mashup. And you take in just clips from those different episodes and push them together to have a hour long mashup that is high value around the theme. So when you have a guest coming on, there’s there’s one guest with multiple themes depending on the questions you ask. Cool that works. The mashups are one theme with multiple guests. And the best part about it is requires zero Alan time. This is a team project and so like access to Alan to say, Alan go make four videos a week and interviews plus now I mean, you could was a lot of work. Alan’s now got to find new people to come on and prep for the interview and get the questions and in you know if you want to do that cool. But to go from two videos a week to four videos a week with two mashups that are in there are three mashups that are in there is zero Allen time except for guiding strategy. And it’s somebody on the team to help just pull out the best clips and edit them to form mashup. So for anybody with a content catalog, that’s a super easy way to build and grow the channel too. And looking at, you know, at least in the 45 minute range for the mashups, but it’d be to try to target an hour plus on those videos. And just doing that, if your goal is 100,000 subscribers in the next year, just doing that guess you know, 100,002 Right, like this is a very achievable goal for where you’re out right now. We have two strategies that just in isolation should take you over 100,000 Combine them. Now we’re off to the races. This is exciting. I’m excited.

Alan Olsen  

I am excited to thank you. This is excellent, excellent advice here. And so when you know when you look at your team members, who are the critical members to do mash up how big is a team that you managed? 

Evan Carmichael  

So we manage two people in a team now, what are the tips? Okay, but but we’re I’m also a little crazy. Like, I don’t think my team should be the thing that people model nobody else has, has the structure that I do. But we’re also making content at a scale that is also not what I would recommend, right? Like we have, we have two hour plus videos going out every day on our main channel of shorts going out everyday on the main channel, four or five shorts going out on the dedicated shorts channel, another 15 Shorts going out a day and another shorts channel, a Spanish channel with a million subs, a Russian channel with almost a million subs, and other channels that I’m forgetting. So it’s like, the research and the editing. And the team that takes the pull all that off is is is pretty intense. So I wouldn’t stress out about necessarily matching, like where I’m at now, if you want to use that as inspiration. Cool. But for most people, even just inside thought leadership education, podcast interviews, you’re looking at the host, right, like Alan’s here asking questions. Cool. And then you have somebody doing the tech. I don’t know how tech, like you are Allen versus you got somebody helping you like, What microphone do you use? And how do I make that I’m in I’m in focus, and what camera are we I don’t know what this is, I don’t know what camera I’m using, I don’t spend any more time on that. So you need someone, typically to film you. I know you need somebody to edit, you know, and ideally, the Edit person also knows how to do thumbnails and titles. So in that, you know, two or three person operation, you can you can build to a million subscriber channel, it doesn’t have to be something crazy. Maybe you get some input, you know, from from experts or consultants. I come in and consult with a lot of the big channels. And I’ve trained three people now and how to go off and do it right. Like if you wanted me to help you with your channel, I might give you some pointers, but you want somebody to do it. Well, I can give you somebody to actually work with you, you know, every week on fixing your thumbnails and titles and catalog and all that kind of stuff. So maybe with a little bit of outside expertise. But a two or three person team is is more than enough for most people to get their content going up.

Alan Olsen  

So how much time do you personally spend on Youtube? 

Evan Carmichael  

On YouTube? Yeah. I guess it depends, like, Does this count? Yeah, you know, I don’t know that. Is this work? This is fine. You This is going to your YouTube is it gonna mind? I don’t know we’ve taken a clip and put it on mine. Maybe how I structure my days might be a better indication. So Mondays I spend the whole day mentoring my team. So the whole day is wall to wall 25 minute meeting, five minute break 25 minute meeting five minute break. And it’s really just about how do I help my team grow? I care about being HR driven CEO, right. Like, if you don’t care about mentoring your team, then cool now you freed up, I would free up entire day of my calendar at 42 people, it’s still not enough, like a full day for me isn’t even enough to get through everybody. And I feel bad about that. And then I don’t have an answer, you know, for how I how do I skill, the 100 people. But that’s Monday, it’s just team Tuesday’s YouTube day. And that’s when I’m filming content, strategizing for the channel, looking at my data and analytics. And it’s just all day, YouTube, YouTube, YouTube, YouTube. And some days are heavy filming, and some days are heavy strategy. But that’s what I’m focused on for the whole day, Tuesday. And chunking. The time like that really helps me so my team doesn’t, doesn’t message me on a Tuesday, because they know Monday is my Mentoring Day, unless it’s like super urgent. And I try to build a no like a no crisis business. So like I trust you, there’s a problem, you try to solve it. If you really, really, really, really, really need me then message but you’re interrupting like my filming or doing something else. Right. So kind of training the team how to treat you, but also giving them the rope to go and make their own decisions. Wednesdays I project day. So it’s like whatever I want to work on. It’s open. I just finished writing a new book. I wrote that, you know, and promoting that now on Wednesdays and thinking about my strategy on Wednesdays and just freedom, whatever I want to do whatever I want to work on wherever I want to go. I think as entrepreneurs, we get all these ideas, and then we don’t have time in the calendar to ever focus on them. So that’s my Wednesday. Thursday is my public facing day. Interviews. My membership community. We’re filming this on a Thursday. Yeah, that’s my public facing day. It’s 25 minutes on five minute break, next interview all day long. And then Friday is my CEO day it says what does it mean to be the CEO of my company? And anybody can do this, like, what does it mean to be the CEO of your business where you’re working on the business instead of in the business? And then that’s what you decide to do on a Friday, at least for me. So that’s my typical work week. So if you’re looking at just like YouTube strategy, filming, then it’s one day a week on Tuesdays. If you’re gonna throw in stuff like this, then it’s also two days a week you’re gonna throw in mentoring my team who helps to participate YouTube videos, well, then that’s Monday as well. And it could also be Wednesday and Friday. If I’m doing SEO and project work or on YouTube, I don’t have a defined like it only has to fit in this time. A Wednesday project might include YouTube or might be my book or might be something completely different. But that’s maybe a little window into how I run a typical work week.

Alan Olsen  

So Evan, what is one question that no one has asked you yet regarding and how you use YouTube?

Evan Carmichael  

Oh, man, I have no idea. I’ve been asked a lot of questions. There’s no question I wish people would ask me. I mean, I think it’s the question I wish people had asked me is, whatever is actually on their heart, but they’re too afraid to ask, like, how can I help? I’m here to help you to help your audience. If there’s a question that matters to you or to your audience. That’s the one that I want to answer. And like, that’s the one that I want to always lead with. So yeah, there’s no like, Oh, I wish Alan asked me this. Like, whatever’s on your mind. That’s what I want to go down.

Alan Olsen  

Okay, I’m gonna give you one final question here. Let’s go. What advice do you have for aspiring YouTubers that are starting from ground one?

Evan Carmichael  

Expect to suck at the beginning. Expect to suck like you might look at Alan and say, Wow, he looks so great. And he gets all these guests on and it looks so professional. And he asked these great questions. It looks so comfortable in front of the camera and like, I wish I could be Alan. Right?  But Alan wasn’t Alan either at the beginning, you know, Alan sucked at the start, go watch episode one. I don’t know. I haven’t seen episode one. But it’s probably not as clean and polished. Then there’s mistakes and flubs and, like Episode One is supposed to suck. So just expect to suck at the start. Don’t take that as you suck as a human. Like, that’s the problem is we make something it sucks. We watch ourselves back on camera and like, oh my gosh, I was so bad. I can’t believe was that bad. And then we internalize that they feel like well, well, we suck and I’m just not good at this. And it’s not meant for me and I’ll never do it. No, like you get on a bike and you fall off this. This is the nature of learning any skill. It’s just a skill. So expect to suck at the beginning. And then create, go make like, make another video another video and another video. It took me 350 videos until I wasn’t completely embarrassed by my stuff. Like I couldn’t watch it back. I would press play God so bad 350 videos, and 700 videos until I inspired myself where I watched the videos like you know what, like, I’m, I might be getting good at this thing, huh? 700 videos in. And I think most people can get there a lot faster than it took me to get down that path. And we just have these unrealistic internal expectations for how good we should be. So extract the sock and then just go create and keep making content.

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