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SPI 562: An Update on My “On the Side” YouTube Channel

Today, I wanted to give you an update on my side hobby/side hustle at Deep Pocket Monster, my Pokémon YouTube channel.

In fact, this channel was the subject of the very first follow-up Friday episode of the SPI Podcast almost a year ago!

And it’s a great time for an update because some incredible milestones have happened recently. We passed 100,000 subscribers—which took less than a year, compared to seven or eight years for my Pat Flynn channel. I got invited to my first live Pokémon event, onstage. And the Pokémon International Company even reached out to me and sent me some cards that hadn’t yet been released publicly!

It’s been an exciting year for the channel. But it hasn’t been all roses.

I’ve been feeling pressure around creating content that I haven’t felt for a few years. And there have been people who aren’t exactly happy that I’ve created a successful channel in this niche so quickly.

I’m talking about all of that—the good and the bad—in today’s episode, so check it out.

SPI 562: An Update on My “On the Side” YouTube Channel

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, if he could go back to high school today, he’d make sure to sign up for drama, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Hey, it’s Pat here and I hope you’re having a great day. It’s Friday, which means it’s just you and I, and if you missed the previous episode with Neil Patel in episode 561, I highly recommend you listen to it because Neil and I, Neil’s been on the show before. We go back into the past, the way-way past, back to 2005, and talked specifically about how everything has changed since then, what has changed and where things are headed, not just in the blogosphere, which is where we came from, but in the world of content creation. You as a creator should definitely listen to that if you are interested in how to take advantage of what’s coming. So make sure to check out episode 561 with Neil.

Pat Flynn: Today, rather than continue that conversation, I wanted to give you an update because it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve spoken about my side hobby/side hustle at Deep Pocket Monster. This is a YouTube channel that I started and this YouTube channel is in the world of Pokémon card collecting. The channel started in January 2021. We were able to get to 100,000 subscribers in less than a year. Right before Christmas, we actually hit it. I remember because my family and I were at a Christmas light show thing happening in San Diego, and yes, I was checking my phone every once in a while, because we were about to hit that 100,000 subscriber milestone. I actually made it home in time. It was like 9:00 PM, put the kids to bed, came online, went live for the channel, and was able to actually welcome the six-figure mark in subscribership live with about 400 or 500 people there watching live. It was just a really cool celebratory situation, and I couldn’t believe it.

Pat Flynn: I was so happy because the Pat Flynn channel, which I started in 2009, took about seven or eight years to get to 100,000 subscribers, and this one just took less than a year. Currently, at the time of this recording, the channel is at 128,000 subscribers. The goal this year is half a million, which is just even insane to think about because my other channel, the Pat Flynn channel, is not even at a half-million yet. So it’s just incredible. There’s been a lot of things that have happened since then. I wanted to give you a little bit of an update and some lessons learned because there are definitely some lessons learned, for sure.

Pat Flynn: But first, let me talk about the positives. There’s been so many great things that have happened since the channel started. Even more recently, it’s really started to bring some more momentum in and so much so, that two really big things happened. Number one, recently there was an event in Dallas and a guy named Leonhart, who is one of the biggest YouTubers in the Pokémon hobby space, reached out to me and he said, “Hey, I’d love to invite you as a VIP to come over to the event and hang out and enjoy.” And I said, “Okay, I would love to do that,” because I thought tickets were sold out.

Pat Flynn: This event was really special because Leonhart donated about a half-million dollars worth of his collection to set up what was called the 90’s Pop Up Shop. He set up a venue essentially, that had a store in it, that looked like those card shops that were at the mall in the ’90s with the glass case with the cards and the packs that are hanging on the wall, and he built that. He built this really cool venue that allowed for people to come in, and take pictures, and meet each other, and meet some celebrities, and also get to pick some packs and open them up on stream. Well, the interesting thing was he needed a host for the first half of the live stream and he asked me to do it.

Pat Flynn: Even after just a year within this space, the number one, or one of the top YouTubers in this space, trusted me to get on his stage to essentially welcome the entire world to this event that was unlike anything else before. I actually opened the show with a co-host. Her name was Nekkra. She is a Twitch streamer in the Pokémon, mostly game space, like Pokémon go and Pokémon other games and stuff, not necessarily cards. So she and I, we worked together to welcome people on stage, to have them open their packs, and it was streamed live and there were 8,000 to 10,000 people watching live. It was crazy. A lot of people got introduced to me for the first time there, which was really exciting. It helped to grow the channel and that was really fun.

Pat Flynn: The event had some mixed reviews. It could have been perhaps organized a little bit better. I’m not going to go into that right now, but I did my best to show up and to not just perform on stage. And thankfully, I have a lot of experience doing that, never in the Pokémon space though, so there was a little bit of pressure. I did study. I knew what sets we were going to open. I wanted to pull some fun facts about them. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly how to pronounce certain things and whatnot. I did study. People are blown away that I get that serious about this stuff, but it’s a performance and you want to make sure you study and you perform. So that’s what I did and it paid off. It paid off very well. Leonhart and I are great friends and we exchanged a lot of kind words and we’re going to be doing more things together in the future, which is awesome.

Pat Flynn: I was also there and met up with a lot of other YouTubers in this space. I always talk about when you are in a niche, you want to immerse yourself into that space as much as possible. So I did that in two ways here. At the event, I did what I could to make sure to say hello to the fans of Leonhart, and I met some of my own fans there too, which was crazy. I got to sign autographs and take pictures and stuff, but I asked a lot of questions. I asked questions like, “What do you wish existed in the Pokémon space that doesn’t? What makes you the happiest about it? What is something that you wish was a little bit more convenient?” I’m always doing research. I’m always trying to figure out what else can be done to serve this audience, and I spent most of my time walking around and finding and talking to people there.

Pat Flynn: But I spent a chunk of the time also getting to know the other creators in this space, and there’s a lot of other top-end creators in the Pokémon space that, again, I’m the new person in here. So I got welcomed in very nicely, and everybody in there is just so kind. A big shout out to a guy named RealBreakingNate and SuperDuperDani and PokeRev, who was on the podcast before. I covered his origin story for his channel not too long ago here on the podcast, and I got to befriend all of them. That was really, really fun.

Pat Flynn: The cool thing about this, and the biggest difference I’ve noticed between an event like this and the entrepreneurial events I go to, and maybe this is unique to me because I do have a lot of years under me and a lot of clout and I have a huge platform in the entrepreneurial space, is that at this Pokémon event, there was no sense at all of when somebody spoke to me that they were trying to get something out of that conversation. I feel that quite a bit when I go to these entrepreneurial events, especially when it’s somebody who I don’t know and they’re shaking my hand or telling me things, and I just got to put that guard up a little bit, and it’s unfortunate because I can’t just open up all the time. Because a person might be wanting something from me and I don’t know it yet. Are they being genuine? Are they authentic? Are they not? I don’t know.

Pat Flynn: I’ve had a lot of people befriend me only to take advantage of the fact that I have this giant podcast and a platform, and then I never hear from them again, and it’s quite sad. I’m not going to mention any names, of course, but that happens. At this event, I could just nerd out at this Pokémon event and not have any worries at all, and that’s pretty cool. That was a lot of fun. So that was the first big thing to happen. That was an absolutely massive, massive, massive honor and privilege and I’m just so grateful. So big shoutout to Leonhart.

Pat Flynn: I also had brought my editor, Dan Patrick Norton with me and he’s my producer as well. He came with a Switchpod and a camera and was following me around. So if you want to get a little behind the scenes of what happened, you can look for a recent video on the Deep Pocket Monster YouTube channel and see what it was like for me to just immerse myself in a brand new space again. I didn’t even know anything about Pokémon over two years ago, and it was at the end of 2020 that I started to dive into this and I dove in headfirst, as you can tell.

Pat Flynn: Another thing that happened, this is a minor thing, but it relates to the 100,000 subscriber mark, I did get a verified checkmark on YouTube at Deep Pocket Monster, which happens and you could submit for that after you hit 100,000 subscribers, and I did get a YouTube Silver Play Button. This is my second play button. I got the first one for getting over a 100,000 on Smart Passive Income, which later changed its name to Pat Flynn, and then the Deep Pocket Monster channel, I just recently received that. I didn’t know this, but I did definitely execute it. You can actually order more than one. So I didn’t know this with the other one or else I would’ve given one to Caleb, but I did order more of the Deep Pocket Monster play buttons, and I gave one to each of my team members, the producer, and a couple of editors, which was really cool. I ordered one extra to send to all the moderators in the YouTube chat because it gets insane sometimes.

Pat Flynn: Our YouTube channel, when we go live, we get up to 2,000, 3,000 people at a time, which is just insane. So the moderators definitely have their work cut out. They don’t get paid, but I do want to recognize them and I’m sending this YouTube play button, an extra one, to all of them and they’re all going to sign it and then bring it back. Then every new moderator that comes in is going to see it. It’s just a way for me to, again, thank the moderators and make them feel like they’re a part of something because they are. I mean, this wouldn’t be the way it is without them and that’s really important.

Pat Flynn: Now here’s an even bigger thing that happened. Pokémon itself, Pokémon International Company [Pokémon Company International] reached out to me and they now see me as a valid influencer in this space, so much so that they have my address and they will send me products before they even hit the shelves. And this is big time. One of the dreams of a content creator in this space is to get products sent to you by Pokémon ahead of time, because here’s the thing, and this actually just recently happened. There’s a brand new set that’s coming out very soon at the time of this recording called Brilliant Stars. It’s the first set of Pokémon cards to come out in 2022. Well, I got in the mail, a couple of boxes of it two weeks ahead of time, before anybody else could touch it or see it. Actually, in the email that was sent along with this product, it was really cool because they said, basically they put an embargo on it, meaning I could not share any photos of any cards that were inside these boxes until February 11 at 6:00 AM Pacific, which was really cool.

Pat Flynn: I’ve heard about this, never been a part of it, but here we are. Myself and a few other creators, we’re going to be creating videos, and the beauty of doing this, is I get access to these sets ahead of time. So naturally, when these videos come out, the general Pokémon audience is so curious and so interested to see what is coming in these new sets. So it’s automatically going to get more views than normal. We knew this and we also are going to benefit from the suggested views coming from other people who are also the creators who get this early too, because people will see, oh, this person opened it. What did they get? Oh, okay. After that video ends, oh, so and so also got it. Let’s see what they got.

Pat Flynn: I knew that people were going to come across my video, whether they knew who I was or not. Again, I’m the sort of newbie in this space. So I really wanted to do something to make sure that when people saw this video of mine, of the set, that they are already going to see being opened from all their other favorite creators that they already know, that it was going to blow their minds and be very, very different. So traditionally, these other creators, again, who are now my friends, are opening these packs. There’s 36 packs in one of these boxes. They’re just opening them up one at a time and they bring their personality, they bring their excitement like they always do, but what do I have to offer?

Pat Flynn: Well, one thing that has helped me stand out in this space is some really creative storytelling and creative videos and high-quality stuff. So Dan and I, my again, producer, we decided that we were going to create this thing called Pick a Pack. And actually, this is something that we’ve tested in a few other videos, but essentially what happens is when you watch our pack openings, it is actually three packs being opened at the same time, and you, the viewer can choose one of them as we open them up, and hopefully you get the one with the better pulls, with the better cards. So it allows for a lot of gamification and for engagement and playability along with us versus, oh, I’m just going to watch this other person open. You get to open them with us and actually play a game and engage, and it’s become such a huge hit, this video that was just published a week and a half ago, that’s not even out yet.

Pat Flynn: Our video was published a week and a half ago. It has over 125,000 views and many of the comments say, “Wow, never seen you before, but I’m a brand new subscriber. Love this style of video. Can’t imagine how long it took you to edit,” and yes, it took a very long time. The secret is I wear my AirPods in my ears, and I have a metronome playing while I’m filming myself opening these cards. I open them all in the same time, in the same rhythm. Thankfully, my marching band experience plays a role here so I can open the packs and open the cards and flip them and change cards all the same for every pack. So that way, when they’re all aligned against each other, it’s just really mesmerizing rhythm of cards. We also are able to pick a tempo of a song that matches the tempo of the metronome, so it even adds a little bit more flare. So again, that’s my unique advantage, is the creativeness. I’d mentioned these positive things.

Pat Flynn: Anyway, the video is doing really well. I’ve basically, hopefully, impressed Pokémon enough to go, “Okay yeah, we made a good decision to send this guy stuff early.” So hopefully we’ll get all these kinds of things happening continuously with all the new sets that are coming out. That’s the thing. If we nailed this, we would know that there’s a guaranteed banger video coming out every two months from us that’s different from everybody else’s, which could only grow the channel even more. And that’s baked in now, I hope. We’ll see, but I think we did a good job.

Pat Flynn: Now, I also said there’s some negative things. So a few things, number one, I’m already starting to feel that pressure. Now with over 128,000 views, I’m feeling pressure just like I did around 2015, 2016 at SPI to make sure every piece of content is the best piece of content I can ever come out with, and it’s making me edit while I create. That’s not a good thing. When you edit while you are supposed to be in creation mode, that’s what I mean, like in the ideation creation phase, the brainstorming phase, I’m already editing going, “That’s not good enough. That’s not good enough. That’s not good enough.” And that’s not good to do that because some of those things that might not be good enough, might just need a second pair of eyes, or some more depth or more thought put into it to turn it into something that could become a banger video. And already I’m starting to edit those things out.

Pat Flynn: So I’m trying my best to not fall into the trap that I did in 2015, which was, “Hey, this isn’t good enough. I’m not going to publish it.” The podcast kept going, but my blog and videos, I just paused those because nothing was good enough. So that’s a trap that I feel the vacuum pulling me into that and I don’t want to go there. So that’s number one. So sticking with a schedule is really important and that’s helping a little bit make decisions and forcing myself to make decisions.

Pat Flynn: This is a good thing and a bad thing, but the way that we have found that works on YouTube is to find a YouTube title and thumbnail that works first. That’s the brainstorm, pick a title and a thumbnail and then go and film that video. Now it’s getting to the point where a lot of these ideas are being very creative, but they’re too creative, like I don’t have access to doing these things or I don’t have the resources. I’m not a Mr. Beast who could spend $3 million on a video, and as much as I’d like to open Pokémon cards while bungee-jumping off of the tallest building in the world, I wouldn’t do that anyway. But I’m just saying, I don’t have those resources, nor the time. I’m still doing this just in a little bit of time that I have during the week because SPI is still my main thing. That’s happening.

Pat Flynn: The other thing, and I’m already noticing this, is that as I continue to grow bigger and bigger in this space, there are some haters and yes, some jealous people in this space who are saying some things. I remember checking out the livestream chat and people are upset at me because I got a chance to go on stage while there are other creators in this space who have been around for longer, who are likely more knowledgeable than me, I’m not going to deny that, who didn’t get a chance to go on stage, and it’s like, why did I get to do it and why not them? So I understand where they’re coming from. I empathize. A lot of creators are jealous that I am getting access to these packs and Pokémon cards before anybody else does, and they’ve been doing it longer and they deserve a chance as well, and I agree with that.

Pat Flynn: However, you got to remember that Pokémon is a huge company and they want people who they know their videos are going to perform and they’ve gone above and beyond, and they’re doing something different. It’s interesting, because a lot of these people who seem to be complaining, you look at their videos and they’re getting just a couple thousand views per video, and they’re even saying videos that are just actually not in alignment with Pokémon’s brand a little bit. And it’s like, well, I understand where Pokémon is coming from, but I do empathize and understand where these other creators are coming from. I mean, it’s very easy to go, “Wow. Why not me? Look at him. Where did he come from?”

Pat Flynn: But you know what I always say, and I’ve had real conversations with people about this, who reached out to me in hate actually, and they go, “How could you become an overnight success? It’s not fair. You just have a lot of money. So you bought your way into this,” which again, I see where they’re coming from, but that doesn’t stop anybody from being creative and coming up with some ideas that are different. And that’s really why Pokémon reached out to me.

Pat Flynn: But here’s what I always say. I say, “You know what? Yes, it just took a year to get to 100,000 subscribers. Yes, it looks like I am an overnight success in this, but the truth is, I’ve been on YouTube since 2009. That’s 13 years I’ve been on YouTube now.” It only just so happened that in year 11 that I created this Pokémon channel, but there were 11 years of mistakes and failures and trials and errors and starts and stops and falling downs and getting ups, and through all those things that I’ve learned and all the conversations I’ve had and the conferences that I’ve been to and the tens of thousands of hours that I’ve put into it, it makes sense that when I started this new channel, that it was going to do really well, or at least better than if I started it 11 years ago.

Pat Flynn: And every time I’ve said that a person goes, “Oh well, I’ve only been on YouTube for three years,” or “I’ve only been on here for four years.” I’m like, “That’s awesome. You could learn these things that took me eight, nine years to learn in year four, and you could do much better. So keep going.” So just a little bit of perspective, and I hope this doesn’t come across as, “Oh, I deserve this.” I often have again, that imposter syndrome, and I think the best thing is I’m always being honest, and I think that’s what helped me here. I’m honest in the fact that I just started Pokémon. I’m honest in the fact that I did have a head start on YouTube. I’m honest with the fact that I do have resources to buy cards and show them on great-looking videos. I’m not denying that, but I also know that I’m working really hard to learn more about my audience than anybody else.

Pat Flynn: I’m working really hard to understand the way YouTube works more than anybody in this space. And that has to happen because I cannot compete with some of these guys on Pokémon knowledge or experience. So I have to compete where I can, and this is where it’s at. But again, the beauty of this is, at least with the people that I’ve met in person, that everybody is very welcoming in this space, or most people are, and it’s just been a tremendous community to be involved in, and I’m just really excited to see what happens.

Pat Flynn: So a little bit of an update of what’s going on in the Pokémon world. If you want to check out that channel, you can check out Deep Pocket Monster and you’ll see a lot of videos with “open-mouth Pat.” What I mean by that is, in this space, it’s pretty common to have a YouTube thumbnail with an open mouth. In fact, they call them open-mouth Pokémon YouTubers and we’ve tested this, and it does get more clicks. If people are clicking your videos, they’re able to then see the value that you have to offer. So anyway, it’s just an ongoing experiment, having a lot of fun, and I hope that if you do enjoy Pokémon that you do subscribe to the channel. You could check it out. Again, it’s at Deep Pocket Monster.

Pat Flynn: I hope I continue to share more successes, and there will be failures, I guarantee it, along the way too, but so far so good. It’s just been a fun experiment. Oh, as far as income, you know me, I’m always transparent with this stuff. The YouTube channel itself gets about $5,500 to $6,000 per month in ad revenue now, which is just incredible. I’m so grateful for that. A lot of that goes back into the channel, for sure. We have 800 paying members of the YouTube channel. This is through YouTube memberships. They get access to a special Discord server and special emotes that are in the live chat and coupons to the merch store at and a few other things. So we have 800 members paying $2.99 a month. So that adds up. Then, every once in a while, we get a sponsor for our videos and we’ve gotten anywhere between $2,000 and $5,500 per video.

Pat Flynn: So wow, what an amazing opportunity, and I’m just so grateful. Again, we’ll see where it goes. A lot of that income that comes, that does sound like a lot, and it is. It’s being for the team and to buy product to give away, because I don’t need the extra money, but it’s been fun to give to this audience and to learn about them. It’s cross-generational, from little kids all the way up to adults that are my age and older. It’s just really amazing. So, that’s the story of Deep Pocket Monster, the update from February 20th, that’s the time of this recording. We’ll see where we are at in terms of subs. We’re at 128 subs now. If you want to go and see the growth projections, you can go to Deep Pocket Monster on YouTube and see how many subs we have now. It might be just above over 128, or it might be closer to 150. We’ll see. We’re trying to master this YouTube algorithm and we’re doing everything we can to learn about it.

Pat Flynn: Anyway, hope you enjoyed this episode. Thank you so much, and make sure you hit subscribe to this podcast. You can get next week’s episode coming your way and the next great interview into your feed. Looking forward to serving you again. Cheers, peace out, take care, and as always, Team Flynn for the Win.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Garland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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