On today’s episode, I’m talking with Samir, from Colin and Samir. Their show is my absolute favorite podcast that I watch—because it's on YouTube.
Colin and Samir have an amazing story. In this episode we unpack their journey and discover a bunch of new things about how their show came to be. While it feels like an overnight success, it's most definitely not—there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way.
Besides the story behind their success, Samir has some amazing tips for you. So if you are a creator of any type, this episode is definitely one you'll want to pay attention to.
Samir shares some very good advice—especially at the end for those of us in this new creative space—about how we can start thinking about the future of creation, not just on podcasts and YouTube, but in general.
There’s so much valuable information here, and I’m grateful we had a chance to speak to Samir.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode with Samir Chaudry.
YouTube From Scratch
This course will be added to the All-Access Pass in early 2023.
Learn how to start a YouTube channel and get your first 1000 subscribers, so that you can qualify for YouTube's monetization program. This is a course for beginners who do not yet have a YouTube channel.
Samir Chaudry is a YouTube Creator based in Los Angeles. Samir and his YouTube channel and podcast co-host Colin Rosenblum have a long history of working with Creators. They got their start working on their first project, The Lacrosse Network, a YouTube sports network dedicated to lacrosse. Today they tell stories about creators and are fans of YouTube news and culture.
- Colin and Samir’s website
- Follow Samir on Twitter
- Colin and Samir on YouTube
- The Colin and Samir Show on Apple Podcasts
- The Colin and Samir Show on Spotify
- The Publish Press newsletter
- Colin and Samir on Instagram
- Crooked Arrows movie
- Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel
- The Jack Coyne Chronicles
- Will Smith Bungee Jumps Out of a Helicopter!
- Colin and Samir: Yes Theory gave us ONE WEEK to make a MOVIE
- Follow Pat on Twitter and Instagram
- Power-Up Podcasting®
- SPI Pro
SPI 567: The Origin of the Colin & Samir Show - One of YouTube’s Most Popular Podcasts
Momentum is one of the most powerful forces in the world, but to catch momentum you need repetition. I’m doing the same thing every week, and I’m getting better, and better, and better, and better at it.
We’re in this period of momentum where we know there’s an episode every Monday. We know what we have to do. We know the value we’re trying to provide. We know how we’re monetizing it.
Now that we know all those things, we’re trying to create this effect of momentum, and that’s being reflected in our growth.
That is Samir, from Colin and Samir. My number one favorite podcast that I listen to. I actually watch it, because it’s on YouTube.
Colin Samir have a really amazing story. Today I was able to unpack a lot of that and discover a lot of new things about how the show came to be. It definitely feels like an overnight success, but it’s most definitely not. There have been a lot of ups and downs, or a lot of people moving away and then coming back.
There’s a lot of drama and all this great stuff, and some really amazing tips for you. If you are a creator of any type, this is definitely one that you want to pay attention to, because Samir brings the goods for sure.
The stories, and also the very, very good advice—especially at the end—for those of us in this new creative space, and how we can start thinking about the future of creation, not just on podcasts and YouTube, but just in the world in general.
Such valuable information, and I’m so grateful we had a chance to speak to Samir. I fanboyed a little bit during the beginning before we hit record.
So, I am very, very happy for you to sit back and relax, and enjoy this.
Here he is, Samir, from the Colin and Samir Show. You can check them out where all podcasts exist and especially on YouTube.
Samir, welcome to Smart Passive Income. Thanks for joining me today.
Thanks for having me. I’m excited.
Your partner, Colin’s not with us today, which is totally okay. So, you know, we’ll have some fun things to share and I’d love to, you know, maybe someday in the future, get all three of us in a room together. chatting because I just absolutely love your podcast and what you’re doing on YouTube.
And I’ve just have been very inspired. In fact, in what you’ve talked about with a lot of the creators that you’ve had on. Honestly directly beneficial for the growth of a lot of the stuff that I’m doing right now. So I
That’s awesome. That’s great. Yeah. You know, it’s funny, everyone always assumes that Colin and I are constantly together, I think because they just see us on YouTube together. There’s a lot of people who also assume we live in bunk beds, which at one point in time was not untrue. So yeah.
But you guys are friends, right? It’s not like a Adam and Jamie from MythBusters situation where they’re like cool on camera, but then not really cool off of camera.
Yeah. We’re like mortal enemies. No way. I would say, I would say more than friends. We’re like brothers. Like we, we definitely are, are very much like family. and it’s, it’s been, you know, 10 years of us working together and not ju not only, you know, working together, but also going through the ups and downs of what it is to be a creator.
And I think that that that bonds people together in a different.
Oh, absolutely. I saw a short that you guys created, very recently that shared your YouTube growth.
And in fact, your revenue that you had generated over time, and it was like so small to. Just recently it’s like hit some tipping point that has you like in the upper echelon of, of YouTube. Dad. Love to go back to the beginning first. In fact, I know your YouTube channel started in 2016, but you said 10 years. What were you in Colin doing? 10 years ago. How did you first meet up?
Yeah. So this is our second YouTube channel together. the first go was after I graduated college, I, had an idea for a television network about the sport of lacrosse. I grew up playing lacrosse. I played in college. I coached lacrosse. I just, I absolutely loved lacrosse. And, felt like there was just no media coverage.
There was like a magazine that we would all get. but there just wasn’t much media coverage for the sports. So I wanted to create a destination for that. And I actually built a pitch to go
Try and turn it into a TV network. And over time, I went to school in Northern California at UC Santa Cruz. And I started getting in touch with people who worked at YouTube and specifically one guy that worked at YouTube, who I had dinner with.
And he kind of explained to me what was happening on YouTube. Now, growing up in LA. YouTube, not real. Like that’s for like cat videos. It’s not for sophisticated, you know, Hollywood stuff like I wanted to do.
But you know, over time starting to recognize actually, wait a second. No one. No, one’s going to like grab my hand and be like, yeah, that idea you have is great.
Let’s, let’s do it because it wasn’t that great of an idea. and even if it was a great idea, those are just not doors that unlock and just open for you. So I think over time I recognized, oh, if I’m going to do that, it’s going to have to be on YouTube. Actually paired up with a buddy of mine in, LA, and we just started a YouTube channel called the lacrosse network and started uploading content about lacrosse.
This was anything from, you know, highlights of, of a, local high school game to, you know, news And, analysis. We ended up live streaming on YouTube, and this is back in, in 2012. And about two months in, we. We saw this trailer for a show about the Colorado club lacrosse team. And we were like, wow, there’s not that many people making videos about lacrosse.
And this looks like it’s like a, it looked like an MTV show about lacrosse. Like it was like about college kids. It was high energy. It was, super cool trailer. And, and I reached out to the creator of that And, the creator of that was Colin. And so, yeah, so we, we ended up distributing his show on. And then, over time, you know, convinced him to move out to LA and work with us at the lacrosse network.
And when Colin got out to LA, probably in like June of 2012, him and I ended up on camera together. And that was, you know, the first experience of recognizing like, oh, YouTube channel is not really like a TV network. It’s more of this two way conversation between creative. An audience. And then what we recognized over time when you’re creating for a niche community, like lacrosse is not just a conversation between creator and audience.
It’s also audience to creator and it’s also audience to audience, where, like, if you are aggregating people within a community, they will find each other in bind together. And your channel actually operates as that, that place for them to hang out.
What was the strategy on YouTube back then for you guys and your lacrosse channel?
Because it’s obviously changed in terms of like the algorithm and what YouTube is looking for. What was your strategy back then to grow?
You know, we always said that if we’re making good content, we’ll grow, that’s it like if we’re actually providing value to the audience, we want to be speaking to, they will share our content. And if we’re not, then they won’t. So that was like, if we were growing. We knew we were making the right content.
Now We were creating for a niche audience. So our total audience size was not very big. but what we knew was, you know, at the time in 2012, what we thought the. The strategy was, and what it kind of was at that time was uploaded upload one to two videos a day. now again, in 2012, there’s no Instagram video.
There’s no Facebook video. There’s no other place to upload video. So we’re uploading 15 second highlight clips to YouTube.
You know, and so we were like, we need to upload one to two videos a day and we need these videos to be shared and they need to be, you know, of all different types and varieties.
It wasn’t what YouTube is today, where it almost feels like it’s a show. It’s a single focus on a channel. This was as long as it fell into the topic of lacrosse, it was going out.
And then from a monetization strategy, what we thought the strategy was, was upload to YouTube and then YouTube pays you.
We found out we were completely incorrect. You know, a couple months in, when we got our first ad sense check and it was like, or not AdSense check, but it said like estimated revenue on the channel. And it was, I think, like 40 cents. And we were like, oh man, this is, this is not how this works. so we had to quickly, you know, figure out how we were going to make money all while we’re, you know, trying to grow the channel, within this niche.
It was at your full-time for both you and Collin at the time, it was like this channel. Wow. And so to see like 40 cents come in is kind of disheartening. You’re putting in all this hard work and it’s like, wow, this isn’t paying off. Like we thought it would. Although I imagine that there’s some community being built now and some back and forth conversation, which is always a good payoff as well.
But how did you eventually get to the point where you’re like,
We, we money, how.
So it was interesting is like, that was, that was the driver was the fact that there was an audience there every day we could see the same, you know, usernames coming back, having inside jokes with the audience, starting to develop this feel of this like digital community. I think that feel was like, oh, there’s something, there’s something here because we were also members of that community. We wanted this to exist.
So. you know, at the same time, we’re, you know, 21, 22 years old, and also recognizing, you know, I’ve just asked Colin to move to Los Angeles. You can’t, you, you gotta make money. so we, essentially, the best way we could understand ourselves was that we were a creative studio, like a creative shop who could make internet videos.
So we essentially would, we turned to anyone who would offer us money to make internet videos. And that was not that many people, but there were some people who. Needing internet videos or some people who like, could understand us as like guys who just understood the internet. So we made websites for people.Like we would make their Squarespace websites for a thousand bucks.
We made stickers for a company like did graphic design, just basically anything that someone would pay us for. And we tried to just market ourselves as like creatives. And so we didn’t really get paid directly from making videos about lacrosse.
We turned ourselves into like a creative agency, or like a creative shop. and and, granted, this was like, very small amounts of money. but we just needed anything to keep, keep the fuel going. My, my dad is in the fashion business. And so that also helped us, you know, solve some problems where it’s like, Our team started doing my dad’s like photography and lookbooks and, able to like, you know, get some help from there to, create content for him.
So yeah, it wasn’t, it was not easy. it was not a. When you look back on it, it was not a reasonable thing to be doing for three young professionals, but we really, really believed in what we were doing with the lacrosse network. Like when I look back on that time, almost, it feels unreasonable that we were all sitting in a room every day for nine to 10 hours, making videos about lacrosse being like this thing is gonna work.
But we really believed that. And a lot of that was because of the audience and because of the community.
I mean, I know from my experience, lacrosse is just a, such a tight community. I didn’t play lacrosse myself, but like news spreads around that community really quickly. And, you know, I had attended a few lacrosse games. I went to Cal and watching the lacrosse team is just so much fun. and then I had experienced actually, I don’t know if you heard the movie crooked arrows, it’s kind of like a mighty ducks.
C-level movie, but I actually did the, I actually got hired, a Hollywood producer, found my show, my podcast and asked me to do the social media for that movie. And I got to go to Boston and watch the filming and meet Brandon Routh. And it was just so weird and just, I got to know, lacrosse at that time and it was just such a special place. but it is definitely niche for sure. And so how long until like the column and Samir that we know now. Happened. And why did that happen? Why? I mean, are you still doing the lacrosse stuff? I,
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. So I’ll fast forward, but we spent, You know, two and a half years doing that altogether, just every day, working as hard as we could. We turned it from one channel about lacrosse into 60 channels. so we signed multiple different creators. We signed the leagues. We were the biggest distributor of live sports on YouTube for one of those years.
We just went all in on becoming this like modern day sports network. And in 2014, our company was acquired. so the company got bought by a company called whistle that was looking to kind of build out more sports on YouTube and become this, this sports multi-channel network. their premier client was dude.
Perfect. So we got bought by the company. Not only did they buy the lacrosse network, but they also hired all of us to come in and help with. You know, there are other clients and figure out, you know, how to, how to bring sports to YouTube. So at a pretty early stage, we then, you know, not only we’re working on lacrosse network, not only were we working on the business of the lacrosse network, Colin and I were also the hosts of the lacrosse network.
And then additionally, we were also working. On creator strategy for creators, like do perfect creators like Bernie Smith, I’m working on brand strategy for companies like Nike Adidas under Armour Powerade, figuring out how to bring them onto YouTube. So we had a really good opportunity. to actually get paid a full-time really good wage, with benefits, with, you know, stability with, with more team members to, to really learn about YouTube and to learn about the media business and the, and the niche media business, and how that works.
That’s incredible. It almost feels like the lacrosse startup was a startup, right. Where you’re not necessarily even making profit, but it’s there to incubate something that then gets acquired. I didn’t even know it was acquired. That’s really cool. And congrats on, on that. What, what, what was that like? Was that a big celebration momentous moment or was that.
Hard to do. I know I’ve spoken with a lot number of people who’ve sold businesses and it could go either way. It’s like, yes, I’m exiting. Move on to the next thing or, oh my God, that’s my baby.
It was never going to be an exit cause it’s still needed to be operated by us. We were the faces of it. We were really like in something that’s that niche. You can’t really pass it on and be like, you run it now.
And when you’re so tightly connected to it, so I was never going to be that. But I would say it was one of the more challenging experiences of my life to go through the legal process of it all to go through. you know, that that experience was really challenging, but it was a celebration in the. We were validated. We were, we were not validated for years. Right. And I think validation as a creator or creative or entrepreneur or someone who’s trying to do something new, it’s hard to come by. And most people were like, this is a pretty bad idea.
You guys have, like you’re spending years of your life making videos about lacrosse on YouTube. it’s not gonna work guys like there and no one’s paying you. so like, You know, this doesn’t work. and I think that validation of, of the acquisition and then being an environment where everyone thought the idea was good and that it had value and that they could understand what we were doing.
That to me was, was a big win. I wouldn’t say it was a win in the, in the fact of like maybe what you dream about with an acquisition where you’re like, that’s my. Moment. Right. I’m going to just, my life is set. Now Yeah. What we realized was like the next day I woke up and I was really excited.
There was an article in variety about it. It made me feel like, feel very special, but I got in my car and I started driving to our studio space and I was like, everything’s the same? Like I’m gonna work on making the same? videos. I’m going to serve the same audience. I’m the same guy.
Like all this is, is an opportunity to do more of this.
And I think that that was a very important lesson to learn early on as a creator for me, that achieving success as a creator is just achieving more opportunities to do the thing you like to do, which is create. And there’s really like that is the life of a creator. And that’s what you should be excited about.
If you’re going to be a creator. If you get really good at making a certain type of video, the only Path is that people are going to pay you to make that type of video, right. Or let, you’re going to get opportunities to make more of that thing and do more of the thing that you like to do. So you better really like to do it. and lucky for us, we really love doing it.
But you’re not doing lacrosse videos anymore. Something had changed
And where was that shift?
So I think like our passion for YouTube continue to grow, during this time I think Colin and I became essentially, you know, like spokespeople for, for YouTube in the sports world. Right. We would go around. We’d gave, we gave talks about it. We gave talks to athletes. We would meet with NBA players and be like, here’s why you should be on YouTube and, found ourselves to be just so passionate about.
The what YouTube had done to our life. and we got to work with a lot of athletes and bring them onto the platform and, and figure out their stories. And over the next couple of years, we learned a lot about how to turn, you know, a niche YouTube channel into a business, how the sales process work, everything like that.
And our love for YouTube I think, was at the forefront, in front of our love for sports con. And I think, you know, I, I will always love sports content. I think sports offer the best opportunity for storytelling, but I wanted to explore the world outside of sports. Colin did as well. around this time as a as well, Casey Neistat was doing his daily vlog. and I think, there was an infectious nature to that for any young creative. That’s why we see so many people who are inspired by what he did today.
Because you saw this world. He was using YouTube as a platform to tell stories about his life and himself and his experience And making movies out of everyday life. and I think for me, I took a step back at that time and I said, that’s really cool. I want to do something like that.
And so we call it and I went out to dinner one night and with basically no plan, actually not basically with exactly no plan. We were like, Hey, what if we leave the company and start a channel called Colinists?
And just make stuff. And this was in 2016.
So I, you know, called my dad and I ran the idea by him and he was like, well, why like.You guys are doing really well at this company right now. Like they probably will give you the autonomy you want. They probably would let you do something like that. And as a creative for me, I was just like, I just need something brand new.
I just need to do something new again. and so, you know, I think a week later we, we, we, let the company know we were going to leave and because there was so much to wind up, it actually took us, I think, six or eight months to actually leave.
And, you know, then during that time we started brainstorming ideas for what would we do? and we stepped out of the company in August and I remember, you know, by the first week we were both Like what do we do now? Like what is calling it smear? and we had absolutely no idea. So. We just picked up cameras and started filming. If you go back and watch our first videos, our first video is like about a street in LA where we would get coffee. And it’s just us like trying to explore and express ourselves. And I remember when we uploaded that first video, it was like 2000 people watched it. And we had a show on the lacrosse network that was like probably a hundred thousand people were watching every week. I think like 2000 people watched it.
And they were very clearly lacrosse fans who were like, what is this? Like, this is not what Colin and Samir do. What, what is this? And. I think in that moment, we were both kind of like we had thought that we were jumping from, you know, YouTube creators with an audience to just being YouTube creators with an audience and doing it in a different space that we own, that we could express ourselves differently.
We started to realize it was like, no, we had an audience for some, one very specific thing that we did. There is not an audience for Colin and Samir. The artists, the creator is the guys who want to tell stories about anything. and that began the long road of what has been the Coliny in smear saga.
That’s a beautiful origin story. And I’m curious with a successful YouTube channel under your belt at that time, when you were seeing very little numbers in a totally new space That you’re in, was that, Hey, we can do this. We’ve done it once before, like let’s go or is it wow. Maybe we made the wrong decision.
What was going through your head?
It was the ladder. Yeah, but what’s interesting is like, in any times of stress for calling and I, any times of like very, a lot of question, a lot of like concern about career, we typically. That Gar safe space is just creating, like creating through it.
And I think that was a positive to try and create and try and find our voice. But I think it also reduced our opportunity to actually think about what we were doing and be like, what is this? How does it work? And, you know, answer some of those questions. So pretty quickly, I would say over the next couple months, as we started uploading more and more, we found ourselves telling stories about.
Creators telling our own story about our creator journey. that was the stuff that we were most interested in. but we, we kind of experimented with a lot of different formats and we found ourselves pretty quickly back in that mode of.
This doesn’t make us any money. So we need to turn into a creative agency again. and that was a pretty humbling experience to feel like we were going back in time, to go from, you know, sports, media executives, creators who are, making, you know, high six figures to then back to being like, can we get $2,000 to, to make this video? it was a very humbling experience.
It’s also inspiring because you sort of, yes, you had this opportunity to make more money and go deeper with this, the lax stuff that lacrosse. But you decided to follow your passion and scratch that new itch that you had, and that many of us entrepreneurs and creators have, which is just, I just want to create and to go into a new space.
I mean, that benefit can be so great for your mindset, your mental health to just, even if it’s not understood how it’s going to pan out, like at least you’re trying something new and that’s, that’s really opening for sure. How, how long until, so it sounds like you already started to get into a little bit.
Well, let’s, let’s uncover other people’s stories, other creators, how did they do what they do, but you’re supplementing this with more brand strategy stuff. So the agency type stuff, but eventually based on some of the shorts and some of what I know about the story, like the YouTube stuff, and the just telling stories about other creators began to take center, fold and take up all of your time.
How long until from, from September 6th, 2016, you started the channel till, until that happened, because it definitely doesn’t sound like it happened overnight.
Honestly, January 20, 20,
Wow. So. for three, four years,
Years. Yeah. About.
How did you know that? Or what, what was it? Just, you saw a dollar amount and you’re like, wow, let’s, let’s go deep into that. Or was it a feeling.
Well, when we were creating, across those four years, I mean the channel was not growing. there is not much that was happening. We had these interesting moments throughout and we were covering in a very similar way to the lacrosse network. We were covering. The community that we were a part of, when it was lacrosse, it was, we both grew up playing lacrosse.
We want it to cover that community. You want it to bring media to that community? When we left whistle, it was, we are a part of the creator community, but we didn’t know if that even existed yet. Right. In 2016, it wasn’t really, as the term creator economy. Exist yet. There was no even creators. I don’t think it was YouTube offers.
That that’s what it was referred to. I don’t think creators was a term. And so we would walk in the door at like Gatorade or under Armour, Nike and tell stories about other creators that inspired us to be like, because we weren’t saying, Hey, spend money on the lacrosse network. We had to first say, you can spend money on YouTube.
YouTube is a legitimate place where we’re creators are making. Good content. So that was our first kind of like pitch that we had to give to all these advertisers. and that for us was something that we just naturally talked about. We were really passionate about creators. And so that’s what we talked about. on our channel.
There wasn’t really that big of an audience for that. Or at least also the way we were telling the stories. So we were not as, as you know, in tune with what was going to work or, how it was going to work. So over those four years, you know, as we’re doing the creative agency work, there was a couple of pops, you know, like we told a story about, or, or gave feedback to Casey Neistat’s beam, on our channel. And that caught the attention of the people in the beam office that then we ended up in New York at their office, got to meet people and got to meet a creator named Jack coin. who worked at beam And then went on a road trip with Jack after beam shut down. And there was like a really cool storytelling around that, about the Jack coin Chronicles and chronicling this guy who has like quit his job or left his job and was, you know, on the rise as a creator.
And so getting access and telling these creator stories, we told a story about will Smith, when he joined YouTube and then his team reached out and we got to go and, and, and produce this heli bungee jump with yes. Theory and will Smith.
I remember that.
We produced a content with the guys at yes. Theory and made two documentaries with them.
So, so during these four years, we were collaborating with the creators that were inspiring us. and that led us into a lot of rooms that, that opened our eyes into what is the career of being a creator. So, you know, for us, as we get to the point, I would say, you know, for years, the reason I knew we were making it, or we were, we were in a position to make, it was because of.
In December, 2019, Collin. and I actually called it quits. we were like, this channel doesn’t make any money. I think maybe we had gotten close to crossing. I think we had just crossed a hundred thousand subscribers.
But. We just couldn’t figure out how to monetize it. No one was, you know, helping us sell ads.
We couldn’t figure out how to, how to how to build any monetization.
And we had kind of finished our last production project and Colin was like Colin and I both sat and were like, this is just not working. I think we should both just go get jobs. Like it’s been, it’s been three and a half years. Like this is probably not going to work.
And. Colin packed his bags. He, he, you know, kind of closed up shop here in LA and drove across the country to Philadelphia, with his girlfriend to, to move to Philly. And in January of 2020, a brand that we had always wanted to work with was Samsung. And we had met a few people over these four years who. You know, we’re plugged into that team. And, in January we got an email from the team at Samsung, and they wanted us to work with them on their unpacked event in San Francisco.
So we ended up flying Colin from Philadelphia to San Francisco, and we ended up doing this project with them.
The project went really well.
And so then they offered us a contract to be on their team galaxy and. To be on team galaxy, you know, was not only to get opportunities to create a lot. but also an annual contract that gave us enough money to actually justify being creators for a year. and that, that really changed our lives. Like that was a moment where. You know, we kind of had to look at each other and be like this there’s some sort of like divine intervention. That’s like don’t stop doing this. like, here it is Here’s, here’s an opportunity.
And that gave us the financial base to build what is now, today, the Colinist sphere that you see.
Right after he moves, then that
Yeah. Yeah, it was incredibly stressful because he was in Philadelphia and then, you know, it’s 2020. So, you know, all of a sudden we’re hearing about this thing, the coronavirus, and you know, we’re like, are we, you live in Philadelphia? I live in LA, like, how is this going to work? Now we have to create all this content. And, you know, in March we essentially just moved calling back to LA and then he’s just been here since, and we’ve built the company since then.
Well, and then you got a new studio, I
Other, other things kind of happen that
Yeah. I would say like, what really happened is we got a new studio, which is really important for creators and was really important during the pandemic for us, because both, both of us had partners who are working from home as well. you know, we were trying to find opportunities to create, and we just needed a space to work together.
So we got a studio and again, having the recurring revenue and a base of revenue allowed us to figure out how much we could spend on a studio. And we then hired a, an editor to help us, cut content. And then we just started experimenting. And again, like our topic, we were very clear about our topic.
We wanted to tell stories about creators. We weren’t sure how that was going to. You know, be monetized over time, but the Samsung partnership really opened our eyes to recognizing that if we were speaking to creators and our mission statement, which we kind of always knew was that we wanted to speak to creators.
We want it to educate and empower creators. And a lot of that was because we felt when we first started uploading to YouTube,
We would have really loved to have a channel like this, where we could turn to understand. YouTube better to understand what this career of being a creator was to understand what, how others were, were building their roadmaps, because there’s not one roadmap for, for doing this career of being a creator.
And so we knew that, and what we recognized was Samsung, you know, being partnered with them. They also had this mission of educating and empowering creators. And so we started to recognize like, what we needed to do was be hyper clear. What we were trying to do, and then find the brands and companies that had the same mission, like who was mission aligned with us. And so we started kind of crafting different types of episodes. We started doing a lot of explainers with a series called the breakdown, all the while we’re podcasting. And then over time, over that year, as we had, our first editor in, in Jesse, he, he is a audio engineer.
So he started working with us a lot more on the podcast. And then we were like, oh, we should get some better mics. And we got some better mix. And then we were like, well, we have the studio. Is it crazy to just set up cameras and film the podcast? and then we did that and we looked at it and we were like, oh, that’s a really cool look.
What if that was the primary content on this channel? What if all the value was put into this talk show? Once a week and that allowed us to open up, say, okay, we know the audience we want to speak to we know the value prop we want to educate creators. and then we know as well, we can dial into this process of, creating a show every week that if we build it in this kind of podcast style, we can make this every single week. and if we can make it every week, then we can communicate to an advertising. Hey, we have an episode next Monday, would you like a slot in that episode?
And we know there’s going to be creators watching this episode and we know our mission is to educate them. So we need to build a script around something that’s educational or, you know, and so you start to start to take out a lot of the variables of, of, creating and, and add constraints to it that actually open up consistency that opened up opportunities for monetization that also opened up opportunities to recognize.
Well, I need a team member to do that. Now, now that I know that happens on a weekly basis. Okay. We have someone to film it. What about someone to help us, put graphics on? What about someone to help us write scripts? What about someone to help us research? What about someone to help us turn this into a newsletter? Like you start to open up. As you get really clear about who your audience is, what the value prop is, what your process is, and then how you’re going to monetize it. Once you kind of answered those four questions, you start to get really clear about, oh, this is a real business. This is starting to grow.
And then it’s a snowball effect. Like momentum is one of the most powerful forces in the world, but to catch momentum, you need repetition. You have to be. I’m doing the same thing every week and I’m getting better and better and better and better at it. And we feel right now, that’s what we’re in. We’re in this period of momentum where we know that there’s an episode every Monday, we know what we have to do.
We know the value we’re trying to provide. We know how we’re monetizing it. And so now that we know all those things, we’re just, we’re, we’re trying to create this effect of momentum. and that’s being reflected in, in, in our growth.
And you can lean into it. Right. You know where you’re going, you can lean that direction. That’s so we’re going to clip that by the way. Cause that’s a huge, huge moment of learning for all the creators watching and listening to this right now, your, your podcast started out as an audio show, then that’s so interesting.
You know, I have a lot of people. I teach podcasting and I have one of the number one YouTube videos on how to start a podcast, but it’s audio, right. And over the, over the years, videos become an important component of that for many, you know, with the Joe Rogan experience and, you know, a way for him with MKBHD and, and, you know, everybody’s like, well, how do I do video with a podcast?
And I say, well, You can’t just have two talking phases. You gotta have something and go check out calling. I always say, let’s go check out Collin and smear because they’re doing it right. So like thank you for being a good example there. And through the years, obviously you are now interviewing some of the top creators on YouTube, Mr.
Beast, and so many other people. And it’s just awesome because you’re also getting access to other creators and learning how to create better yourself. What’s some of the best advice that you’ve gotten from those who’ve youth.
I think there’s some, there’s all, I’ll break it up into like some tactical advice. And then some just kind of overall creator advice. I would say from like a, a, tactical perspective, I think. the first thing that, that really stuck with us and we learned this from yes theory. We learned this from Mr. B’s.
We learned from every creator we talked to, but it’s like the game of YouTube. And, and then the, the job of being a creator, like one of the things to remember is that if people don’t click, they don’t watch and that’s not to suggest. You know, clickbait at all. It’s to suggest like packaging ideas and thinking about when you’re coming up with an idea, is it easy to visualize?
Is it easy to package is it’s intriguing? does it, does it spark any curiosity? Does it leave any questions on answered? Like how do you package this idea to make it more tangible and to make it. You know, interesting to click on. That’s a really important part of YouTube. If you want to be a creator, you have to accept that that’s a massive part of what you’re doing.
And these are constraints that are really positive for creativity, but there’s some times where we want to make an episode and we sit and we tried draft the thumbnail and we try and create what it looks like and think about how to package it. And we can’t come up with packaging and then that we just can’t make that episode.
Or it can’t be, you know, a main priority that week. Maybe we could try and open up new formats and we can put it on an, on our newsletter or we can tweet about it. But if you’re going to make a YouTube video, that is packaging is one of the most important parts of it.
I’ve noticed the title and thumbnail changes that you make. I pay attention to that. And I, and I see you doing that in real time. So I I can attest to the importance of that on my Pokemon YouTube channel, which is exploding right now. We put, we, I mean, we build 20 thumbnails for per video. And you said, if, if we have a good idea for a video, it must have a title and thumbnail that’s clickable or else it’s not getting, it’s not getting filmed.
It’s just such a massive part of, of, of YouTube that I think you have to lead with the title and thumbnail lead with the packaging of the idea.
The second thing is I think the hook like structuring videos with, if, if you do get someone to click on it, what’s the first five, six seconds. Like, is it interesting?
Are they validated with that’s the video I actually wanted to watch?
You can watch in your retention data like massive creators. It’s like 70% of people are still watching after 30 seconds. That means 30% of people. If you have like a million people watching episode 300,000 people after 30 seconds where like, this is not the video.
That’s that’s, a big challenge. Right. And, and it can dramatically change your performance and, if you’re capturing attention. so that’s, that’s the second thing I would say. and then the third thing I would say, just cause we, we haven’t talked to show. It is a bit looser, you know, like when you watch the type of, I’m not in a bed, it’s completely different format than when you watch, like what’s really working on YouTube right now, like a Mr. Beast or, you know, Matthew beam or any of these creators are starting to pick up Eric. there’s like a style and a pace to that. That’s that feels like that’s how your videos should feel like. But I would say that you take a step back and what you learned from that is just how to progress a story and to ensure that.
You’re telling a story in a way that is not. this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened, that’s, that’s a very predictable way to tell a story. and this is directly from the creators of south park and something that we, we, talk about a lot, but when you’re telling a story on YouTube, you want it to go, this happened, but then this happened, therefore this happened.
And when you tell a story like that, it has these, these turns that essentially allow you to keep someone’s attention, right?
If it’s like, And even for us in a talk show, that’s educational, we can still do that. Right. We can still say like, here’s three lessons we can learn, but there’s one thing that’s really unexpected.
Right. And then like all of a sudden you just created some type of packaging to your idea where it’s, oh, I want to stay to hear that one. so even just thinking about that, a little bit of how you’re telling a story and ensuring that it’s not a predictable way to tell a story.
No, that’s so true. Cause a lot of these big YouTube channels, like Mr. Beast, right? There’s a cut every five seconds And that is, what’s holding a lot of people. Plus they are just great storytellers, but then I watch a lot of. it shows like yours and a lot of other blogs, you know, if people’s lives and they’re not that interesting to cut every five seconds, but because of the way they frame the story and they unlock a new, well, what the heck was that? every five minutes? Well, I can’t not watch the rest to find out what happens, right.
Exactly. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And I think that rec I’ve heard from a lot of people that, you know, they’re like, well, I don’t make videos like Mr. B. So I can’t take that advice.
I don’t have a $3 million to build a squid game
Yeah, but it all just comes down to like, you know, the storytelling devices and how you are laying out this idea. and working on that is, is what I would say is extremely important. And I think that goes for even entrepreneurs who are not making videos, like thinking about how are, how is this story being told to the consumer is really important. The, the macro advice that I would say is some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten, and it’s, it’s hard to imagine.
But every creator, whether it’s Marquez, Brownlee, Mr. Beast, Casey Neistat, like any of these creators that, that we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to. One of the things that we recognize is that they all share this radical focus on a single craft.
And, you know, Mr. Beast, if you watch our, our, you know, two hour long interview with him, most, not most, but a lot of the answers to our questions, when we ask him or I just want to make the best videos in the world, and there is this. Radical focus to that.where he, he mentioned to us like, one of the mistakes creators make is that as they start to as they start to grow, they get a lot of opportunities and they say yes to a lot of those opportunities.
And that takes the focus off the primary craft, which is making videos. And that is way harder than I anticiPated as we’re starting to grow, we’re getting more and more opportunities, more and more exciting things. Hey, can you fly to Dubai to do this speaking engagement? Hey, can you, you know, come over here and make a video with us?
Like all of them are dreams come true. Those are all like, dude, that, that would be amazing to go do that.
The primary craft is making a best-in-class show every Monday and we’re not there yet. And we probably won’t ever be there. Right? Like you’re always trying to improve this show. So recognizing what to say yes to and what to say no to, that’s really hard when your primary craft is making an excellent video every week.
You have to put as much focus as you can into making that video. And, you know, that discipline, I would say is one of the biggest challenges and that, again, I think that goes spans across any entrepreneur or anyone creating anything. What’s the primary craft. And how do you improve that thing every week?
And also makes me just super grateful that you said yes to this interview amongst all the other things that you had the possibility to do. But I know that you are also in this to help creators like those who are listening and watching right now. I’d love to also finish off this conversation by talking about the future for creators, because you produce an episode with Colin.
That was about the idea. And I talked about this on the show already. So people have a little bit of context, but it’s about this idea of we as personalities. We as brands, we as YouTube or creator. Could essentially treat our company like, like a company on the stock market where we could shell share bits And pieces of it.
We could sell part of it. I think the title, which definitely caught my attention was, Mr. B’s should sell his channel or something like that. can you talk to where things are headed with Ethereum and NFTs and all this other stuff like in layman’s terms? How can we begin to think about the future for Korean?
Absolutely. And I think that’s also an example of packaging, right? Like we wanted to make an episode about web three and fractionalized ownership. There’s a world where you call it web three and fractionalized ownership for YouTube and no one clicks on it. Right. And so that’s, that’s like, you can’t, you don’t even have the opportunity to share that idea if you package it like that for us, like, you know, Mr.
Beasts should sell this January, Mr. Buson selling this channel. And then, you know, the side of Mr. B’s face is opening up and there’s money coming out of it. All of a sudden, you’re like, I got to know what this is. And then hopefully we, if you click on it in our first five seconds, you’re validated with like, ah, that’s a pretty interesting idea now it’s not for everyone, but yeah.
Or it could be an interesting idea. So when I think about, web three and NFTs, I, I try and boil it down to very simple concepts. So the other day, do you watch you for ya? Okay. So euphoria is like a big, big show right now on HBO. And there is a musical artist in it named Dominic Fike and my wife and I have been listening to Dominic Fike, for years, like, we really, really liked his music when he was very small.
And I think everyone can emPathize with this feeling like my wife said, like it’s so crazy that we’ve been listening to him for so long and almost a sense of pride that we were fans of him before anyone else. Right. And if you’ve ever been to a concert before and you have the ticket stub where you’re like, I liked that artist before they blew up, I believed in them before they blew up
And FTS and, and, you know, ownership in a creator or, or, you, know, fractional ownership of a channel is almost a verifiable representation of that.
Of, I believed in this channel, since, before they blew up, you get comments, we get comments all the time. I’ve been here since 4,000 subs. I’ve been here since 50,000 subs. Right? What if you could verify that What, if you, what if you had 50,000 subs, you had an opportunity to say, I believe in this channel so much, I’m going to I’m going to buy a piece of it now, you know, the way we suggested it was, there’s a potential for, you know, owning a future part of the royalties.
I don’t know exactly how logistically that’ll happen. But there’s a, platform called Royal. That’s doing it in music. And if you look up Royal nausea recently, Essentially sold portions of the royalties to his song, that was going to release. And, you know, there’s, I can’t really speak to if that’s a good investment, if that even is a realistic scenario where someone could be trading on, you know, a security that is a YouTube video or a, or a channel, but it’s happening in music. And I think that the ownership component of it.
The, I believe in this artist, I believe in this creator, I think that is really powerful. And, you know, with the knelt boys and they’re, they’re, you know, Medicard that they just launched the full San Medicard. I think that’s represent representative of it. I think with Gary V and V friends, that’s representative of it where you’re almost like I believe in this person and wherever they go next, I want to be a part of it. I want access to, those things. I also just want to, for my own personal identity show, that I own this thing that I believe in this creator.
And I think those human basic human emotions matter. And I think web three has just unlocked the ability to take action on those emotions, to actually be like, I believe in this. Now, what do I do? You know, do I buy their merge? Do I subscribe to their Patrion? Or do I have this token that shows that I own a part of this journey or that I have ownership over something that’s connected to them?
Is that something you and Collin are thinking of implementing in some way shape or form on your channel Monday?
Yeah. I think we always like to teach through doing right and like, You know, we, we don’t want to talk too much about things that we don’t have experience in. we did sell an NFT last year, and it was a very positive experience at a super cool, opportunity and something that I think went way better than we anticiPated. we haven’t done another project in crypto yet, I think because we want to make sure. Whenever we do has a very, positive community element to it.
And actually one of the hardest things for us right now has been trying to hire someone to support us on that is specifically for the community side. And so we want to make sure that that’s a really good experience, like when you are able to, to buy into something like that We want to do one of two things. We want to make sure we have a team and a process in place for it. a lot of what we do when it comes to process is we run things internally before we put them out externally.
So even the, the show that you see right now, it was running just in-house in our office for. Probably four weeks before we put it out on YouTube, our newsletter, the published press. We wrote that internally for two months before we released it publicly. So anything on the crypto side, like whatever is going to be on the other side of it, we want to be able to run that in house and make sure that we have that process ironed out.
But I would also say there’s something that we said in that episode that Colin mentioned to me one day that I thought was really interesting about, like the. Air Jordan’s like those air Jordans right now on line sell for like $35,000. And you have to ask yourself the question why, right? The person who buys it for $35,000, they aren’t buying it because that shoe is better at being a shoe. They aren’t buying it because it has better ankle support or helps you play basketball better. they’re buying it because ownership matters. And I think recognizing that and thinking about. You know, even for us in an NFT project or a crypto project, part of the utility, is just that ownership, a feeling a sense of ownership in a community, feeling a sense of ownership on the internet.
Whereas I think, a lot of creators right now are going really deep into utility and promising a lot of different things. and I think ownership is just something that really matters.
Thank you spirit. I mean, that’s fantastic. I could talk to you for hours about this stuff, but I know you’re busy, man. And so why don’t we end here and I’d love for you to share where people can go to watch and, or listen to yourself and Collin, where should all the people get all your.
Absolutely. I think, you know, on YouTube, just search, calling and smear, you’ll see our channel and we released a show there, every Monday.
And then if you want to read more about the creator economy, we release a newsletter every Tuesday and Friday, and that’s called the published press. So if you just search the published press, you’ll be able to subscribe to that and check that out.
Thanks Samir, I appreciate you. Thanks for the motivation and your time today.
Thanks so much, man. This was awesome.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Samir.
I’m so sorry that Colin wasn’t able to join us, but I hope that I’ll be able to chat with him in the future, and maybe get into a room with them one day and have an in-person interview or do something fun with them, because I just am absolutely in love with their show and everything they talk about. They just continue to level up.
To hear the history and the stories, and how long this took, like I said earlier, it feels like it’s been an overnight success with the rapid growth. But, as we all know, it never is like that.
I’m so grateful that Samir came on to tell us the truth and the story, and the strategies and what they’re thinking about now to grow their channel even more. I hope you take some inspiration from that.
Let me know what you think. Also, tag us on Twitter or Instagram if you heard this or saw it, @PatFlynn, and we’ll put in the show notes with all the links, resources, and stuff so you can find everything else, too.
All you have to do is go to smartpassiveincome.com/session567. Again, smartpassiveincome.com/session567 to get the show notes, the links, and all that stuff.
You can check out Collin and Samir, of course, on YouTube, and wherever podcast exists, and on Twitter. They’re just fantastic.
I’m inspired. I hope you’re inspired. Thanks again. I appreciate you for tuning into the Smart Passive Income podcast.
I look forward to following up on Friday with you and our next guest coming in next week. We have such a great lineup continuing throughout the year here. So make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already.
Until next time, cheers, peace out, take care, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.