Imagine this: You have an amazing job that you love. You work with high-end clients and make a great living. But then your health starts showing signs that this path isn’t right for you. What do you do?
That’s the situation Emily D. Baker was in when she said goodbye to her career in law. What followed was the start of the unbelievable journey we’ll hear about in this episode.
Emily now hosts one of the top entertainment news podcasts, The Emily Show, and is among the most successful streamers on YouTube. So how did she do it?
I’m willing to bet that this will become some people’s favorite episode because Emily shares the exact steps that led to her massive success. We talk about the trial and error of finding a niche and the decision that helped Emily stand out online. These principles are the driving force behind her growth to over 660K subscribers on YouTube.
Emily regularly has tens of thousands of people watching her live streams. We get into what it takes to manage those kinds of numbers in real-time and why creating a sense of community is a vital element.
In fact, you’ll want to listen in to hear about the time I got myself in trouble with her superfans. The power of community is no joke!
Emily D. Baker
Emily D. Baker is everyone’s favorite legal commentator and the host of The Emily Show, where she gives a fresh take on legal commentary in the news and pop culture stories you want to talk about. With her signature smarts, sass, and cursey words, you’ll laugh out loud as you learn how to think critically about the facts behind the headlines.
- Find out more at EmilyDBaker.com
- Listen in on The Emily Show
- Connect with Emily on YouTube
- Why Emily left a high-paying law career to become a YouTuber
- How to find a niche and stand out online
- Why your content might not appeal to some people
- Gaining a following on multiple platforms without even trying
- How Emily grew from 3K to 70K subscribers in under a month
- Community guidelines and setting expectations
- Managing live streams with over 30k participants
- How going live on YouTube can grow your audience
- Allowing your community to shape your growth strategy
- Find out more about my favorite community platform, Circle [Affiliate link]
- Subscribe to Unstuck — my weekly newsletter on what's working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox.
- Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram
SPI 621: How Emily D. Baker Quit Her Job & Became One of the Top Creators on YouTube
Emily D. Baker: I've gotten very comfortable with who I am and how I show up, and I very much want my content to push some people away. It pulls in my community like a magnet but also rappels the people who aren't for me.
It's always been about building community first. And my community is, I think, as you've seen, highly engaged. And very passionate. And that was more important to me. You wrote the book, you know exactly what I'm talking about with Superfans.
Pat Flynn: I want you to imagine this. You have an amazing, amazing job that pays very, very well, very prestigious. You're working with high end clients and you're doing some amazing things. And then all of a sudden your health starts to deteriorate. What do you do? Well, that's exactly what happened to our featured guest, Emily D. Baker, who right now her business is just on top of the world. In fact, she's one of the top streamers on YouTube, and she's not a gamer. You know, a lot of the streamers on YouTube are gamers and, and those kinds of things. She is in law. That's what she went to school for. That's what she was doing until her health started to give her signs that maybe she shouldn't continue down that.
And her journey is one of the craziest that I've ever heard, and it wasn't until she fully found herself and what makes her unique that she really started to find a groove and she has now one of the strongest communities I've ever, ever seen have personal experience with her community. We talk about a lot of the interactions I've personally had with it, and not all of it was great in fact, but there are lessons to be learned here.
And Emily drops some knowledge bombs for you today, and I cannot wait for you to listen. This may be your favorite episode. I'm, I'm gonna bank that this will be some people's favorite episodes. And Emily, this is the first time you're being introduced to her, some of you're gonna fall in love with her. Definitely.
And some of you are gonna wanna stay away. You'll hear exactly what I mean when we start discussing why that's okay with Emily D. Baker. You can find her, The Emily Show is her podcast. You can find her on YouTube, Emily D. Baker, You catch her live. You'll see her with sometimes upwards of hundreds of thousands of people watching live.
What does she do? She's gonna tell you all about it. Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Let's dive right in.
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, he knows 100% that he wouldn't be doing what he's doing today without the support of his wife, April. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: Emily, welcome to Smart Passive Income. Thanks for coming on the show today.
Emily D. Baker: Thank you so much for having me on the show. It's, it's such a pleasure to be here. I've listened to your podcast for, I don't even know, I don't remember. Sometime in like 2015, 2016. Like it's been so long. It just feels like forever at this point, so I'm happy to be here.
Pat Flynn: Let's actually go back to then when you discovered SPI for the first time, like what was your business like back then? Cuz right now it's going insane. It's going bonkers and I want to catch up. But take us back to maybe the beginning, even before 2015, What was your business like?
Emily D. Baker: Absolutely. Everything has shifted, so it'll be, it'll be fun to catch up.
But I graduated from law school and started with the District Attorney's office in Los Angeles County. So I was a Deputy district attorney for over 10 years as I started going through health issues, spinal fusion. Back problems. I was realizing that I was going to have to step away, and it was in that time in 2015 when I started my YouTube channel doing tech reviews and all the 2015 kinds of things, like what's in my bag and unboxings.
Pat Flynn: You were a tech reviewer. I didn't know this about you.
Emily D. Baker: I was a tech reviewer. My very first video that did well was like an iPhone 6 tech review. I couldn't do anything legally related. Because I was still employed by the county and I needed to make sure I was doing things that did not put me in jeopardy with my employment, cuz that was still my full-time employment.
Pat Flynn: So you weren't able to use this like expertise that you had because of that. So you found tech other people were doing Tech, Marcus Brownley and, and so many others.
Emily D. Baker: And I love MKBHD, These were the YouTubers that I watched. And so I was looking for community really through, through YouTube because as I was going through health struggles, I wasn't always at work.
My colleagues were very busy and the YouTube community is a on tap 24 7. Somebody's always around on YouTube, so there's always a community to have a chat with or engage with, and the tech community is a space I really liked. So I started doing that kind of stuff just to really build community outside of my employment. Cuz you know this from architecture. When you work in a professional job, it can become your life, your identity, your social group. It's everything. So finding community outside of that was important to me, and that started in 2015 with watching channels like, you know, iJustine, and MKBHD, and then doing streams with other tech creators.
Talking about, most of them are broadly tech. I'm Apple agnostic, so I would be the Apple fan girl talking about, you know, what's coming with the new releases and things like that. So that's 2015 and that's when I started exploring what happens if I leave the DA's office. Started looking for what would the entrepreneurial thing be, and that's how I found Smart Passive Income.
Like what is my entrepreneurial thing if I leave the district attorney's office? I left at the beginning of 2017.
Pat Flynn: Okay, so So you decided to leave. What led you to that decision, because that's a tough one. I mean, you've dedicated your school and most of your life to that, and now it's like I'm gonna be "playing around" on YouTube now.
What got you to that point of confidence to make that tough decision?
Emily D. Baker: I mean, it's quite a long story. I actually did a TED Talk about that decision and the emotional side of that decision. But on the practical side, I was concerned about my health. I wasn't home very often. My husband was self-employed and was working quite a lot as well.
And our life was not working well as a family just based on how much stress there was. As I was having health issues, it became clear to me for my supervisors and bosses, not all, but a good number of them, that my career was going to stall, and I felt like I still had so much more to give, to not be sitting in an office really pushing paper because I wasn't in court anymore because of my back and my health. LA County's very large, and so depending on where you live in the county, you can be assigned to a courthouse two hours away from your home. I couldn't commute that long with my back, so it was all of these conversations and I was like, You know what?
I've gotta give something else a try. I knew that if I had a year or two to make something work that I could, but even if I didn't, I knew that I could go back to either the DA's office or law in a more traditional. So at that point I was like, I have to just make, I have to make the decision. I have to make a leap.
I can't do this anymore. And every day I was like, I loved being in court. I did not love just doing paperwork. I am ready for more than this. I think I have more to offer. And when I gave my boss my notice, he's like, You're great at this. I'm like, I can't do this anymore. It's not about the fact that I'm good at it.
I know I could still make money being good at this, but I think I can be good at something else too. I took the leap. It's hard to leave something you're good at that's paying you in a reliable way that has health insurance.
Pat Flynn: Right. I mean, Wow. Good on you to, to make that decision for, for you, your family, your, your health and your mental health too.
I, I'm sure was a big reason for that. So you were doing tech reviews on YouTube at the time? Now you opened up the possibility of you to do law stuff now on YouTube. Is that when that happened and you made the switch? What happened next?
Emily D. Baker: So I started wandering around the entrepreneurial spaces and finding people who are like, Oh, you're a lawyer, I can talk to you. Could I ask you a question? So I started doing consulting, kind of some dumb for you products, digital shop, things like that. I worked with a few business coaches who were like, YouTube is not where your people are. So I stopped doing things on YouTube for a number of years because I couldn't see how to transition what I had been doing with tech and community and having fun and then being lead generation, they're like, Look, if this isn't generating clients into whatever your product shop is or your consulting services, it's just not worth your time. And I took that on very seriously for a number of years. And then when Chris Ducker and I started working together, he was like well, if you've wanted to do a podcast, why aren't you just doing a podcast? I love talking to you. I think people would enjoy your podcast. A podcast is a great way to explain what you do. And by that point, in 2018, I was answering the same questions over and over and over again, and I was like, I need a library of these answers where I can just refer people to them to free up some of my time.
And that's how my podcast started. My YouTube channel at this point is at like maybe 3000 subscribers and completely on ice. Just I talked about my back surgery, I unboxed some things, maybe bought a purse and it was just iced. It was just sitting there chilling.
Pat Flynn: Just left it behind. Wow. And you had mentioned one of my best friends, Chris Ducker.
I wanna give him a shout out. I know he's been a major influence on where you are now. And we'll, we'll, we'll get to that story. And I remember when you and he started working together, but it's gonna be great cuz I get to now uncover the full story. And again, big shout out to Chris. How are you involved with Chris?
What programs were you a part of and and how did he help you?
Emily D. Baker: So Chris and I were both speakers at a Hal Elrod event in San Diego. And I spoke before him. He spoke after. We both have Pokemon in our talks. I mentioned Pokemon in my Ted Talk. I'm a huge Pokemon Go nerd. My kids like the card game and so I like Pokemon Go the card.
I can't figure out how to play the card game. I still can't. But I love Pokemon Go. And so I talked about it and then he talked about it and I went show afterwards. I'm like, Are you just, you're just stealing my jokes, man. And he's like, I'm not stealing your jokes.
And he pulls out his phone, he's like, Level 40. And I'm like, Of course you are. And at that point I was like, Level 39. I'm like, Can we just go play Pokemon? He's like, Of course we can just go play Pokemon. So we went out and played Pokemon in San Diego and then went out for barbecue the next day and started talking.
And he is like, I really think there's so much room to grow and I'm like, this is my hesitation with business coaching. This is where I've been. And I gave, kind of gave him the the down low backstory and he is like, Okay, I understand that's where you've been, but let's talk about where you're going. And so I joined his round table, which is a very small group product where we got together a couple times a year and we did monthly kind of intensivess.
And he really helped me look at what I liked doing, what I didn't like doing and what direction we were going in, and that was tremendously helpful. And so in that year, I started shifting everything in my business and started dialing in to really what was more unique about me, what he noticed right away and what I had started to notice but wasn't sure of is that when I showed, to speak on stage or as a podcast guest, people are like, Oh my God, I enjoy you so much. But then my web presence and my social media presence was very stuffy, traditional lawyer. He's like, There's very much a disconnect with who you are as an entrepreneur. I'm like, You're right.
So he really did help me uncover how I wanted to show up in business and what I liked doing in business. And that's where the podcast started and that's where leaning into cursing in my content and leaning into the way I like to do things really came from, He's like, There's only one of you, there's a million lawyers and there's a ton of lawyers that serve the entrepreneur space.
There's a ton of lawyers that have contracts available and consulting available, but you are uniquely you and you need to lean into that more. And that started a trajectory that led to me now having purple hair, being a YouTuber, cursing in my content.
Pat Flynn: I mean that's personal branding and that's what Chris is good at. Right? And he was able to see that in you. You brought it out and you had mentioned like these little things like the purple hair. And for people who aren't watching this right now, you have like purple in your background. It's become sort of a theme for you and you do curse in your content and people, you know, adore you for that.
While it also pushes some people away, I'm sure. That's the point. As you know, I don't curse here on this show and thank you for, you know, knowing that ahead of time we had Noah Kagan on at one point. I had to spend four hours editing out all the cuss words cuz he didn't know. But anyway, shout out to Noah, by the way. I want you to speak to the fact that you being, you can also push some people away.
How do you still stay true to yourself, knowing that it still might push people away and it's like different than what the others are doing. And you had mentioned you come from this more traditional background like that, that's a tough thing to fight against and like what got you, other than some mentorship, like what triggered you to just go, You know what, I'm gonna be fully me.
Tell me about that.
Emily D. Baker: It's exhausting to not be fully of you. I didn't want people to meet me in person and be like, Oh, that's not how you seem in your podcast or in your content. I'm in my forties. I've gotten very comfortable with being me through, not just working with business coaches, but also therapy.
I've gotten very comfortable with who I am and how I show up, and I very much want my content to push some people away. It pulls in my community like a magnet but also rappels, the people who aren't for me. I do not have the energy to explain why I'm awesome to somebody who's like purple haired lawyer. I'm out.
Good. Be out. We, our community is perfectly happy with the people who are on the same page as me. And it just keeps your community of people who are on the same page. And there are some people who will pop onto my content and be like, You cursed. I can't with you. I got a comment once I was covering a horrific criminal case with some of the worst allegations involving kids you could ever see.
And someone's comment was, I can't with your filthy mouth. And I'm like, Oh. But these underlying allegations are fine for you cuz this is horrific stuff that's happening. But if it's my curse words that turn you off, you are free to go. It is the internet. Goodbye. So I really was okay with that starting and I knew that there would be some spaces or some brands that would be like, she curses in her content, we don't wanna work with her.
I'm fine with that. It's always been about building community first. And my community is, I think, as you've seen, highly engaged. And very passionate. And that was more important to me. You wrote the book, you know exactly what I'm talking about with Superfans. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
Pat Flynn: You're, you're doing it exactly the way you should be. And we've seen the results. And why don't you tell us now, where are you at, what are you doing now? You're not doing tech reviews anymore. What, what are you doing? And you had mentioned the last time you had like 3000 subs on YouTube when you had left it off, but now fully yourself, fully engaged, fully doing what you're about to share, share with us what you do, and then reveal what's the community like now?
Emily D. Baker: So I shifted in 2020. I had started my podcast and loved it, and my podcast started as doing mostly things that would lead into my business of law. But it was breaking down the law for entrepreneurs. This is how this relates to business. And I started pulling in some pop culture cases to help teach those lessons.
I like to story tell, I like to teach through example and people would be like, Oh, I remember those facts. Cause that's how I remember things too. And in 2020, I was really leaning into what was going on with paycheck protection program and the changing laws with independent contractors. But then Kanye West went wild on Twitter as he does about the music industry and started sharing all of his contracts.
And these music industry contracts are hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal work from the top firms in the country that we never see. And I was enwrapped like you couldn't talk to me. I needed to stop everything I was doing and read these contracts. And a friend was like, This is what you like doing most.
Why don't you just do this? And I was like, I don't know if I can just do this. I do consulting. He's like, But how much do you like doing consulting? I'm like, Well, actually I love my clients, but I don't love doing client work. I like making content more. And the podcast showed me that I liked making content more, and in 2020 when everyone was trying to figure out what was going on with their online business anyway, it was kind of a perfect time to tell my clients, Look, you are stressed. I'm stress. Let's just stop what we're doing. And we'll figure it out after this turns into whatever it's gonna be. We don't know what's gonna happen with Covid, so let's just pause everything. And so I refunded most of my clients that had work in progress and said, Let's just, you support your family and your business.
You've got kids home from school, your distance learning, and I'm gonna go see what I wanna do and see what content looks like. And that Kanye West case, I put it up on an Instagram live and on YouTube, and people were like, Oh my God, can you break down this legal stuff more? And I was like, Yes. So my channel at that point, that was the end of September, 2020, by the end of October, 2020, I celebrated 5,000 subscribers and I was so stoked. I was like, I grew 2000 subscribers in like a couple of weeks. I was floored. By the end of November, 2020, we were at over 70,000 subscribers. I'm like, I what?
Pat Flynn: Huh? Seven zero. 70,000.
Emily D. Baker: 70,000. In a month. In a month. Because I leaned into covering the things I was most excited about talking about, which was all these pop culture legal cases that I kind of touched on.
I felt like, talking about pop culture, legal cases was what I was doing when I was messing around and not working. Like this was my distraction, like I should be doing work, but I really wanna see what these new Britney Spears filings say I should be doing work, but these YouTubers are getting sued and I wanna know about it.
And so, After talking with Chris and with others, it's like, why are you saying I should be doing work? Why isn't this just the work? And I'm like, You're right. This is just the work. Let's do it. And in that shift of subscribers, my view count shifted to over a million a month. And I started looking at the money I was making.
I was like, I could do this. I can, I have this space to do this. And so in October, 2020, I was like, What does it look like to be a full-time content creator? From October, 2020 to May, 2021, we grew to over a hundred thousand subscribers and the watch time stayed consistent. And today, where are we? July, 2022.
We're at over 660,000 subscribers. And the watch time's gone from like a million to 2 million views a month to 10 to 30 million views a month. And the podcast is number one in multiple countries in entertainment news. Top 200 in like 10 countries in news. And the podcast sponsors are like, Hey, how can we work together more?
And then the YouTube sponsors are like, Hey, how can we work together more? And then that grew with my community that into YouTube memberships, into a Patreon community with the members only podcast. And I am. Very happily, a full-time content creator. And now I have so much that I wanna talk about that I want to duplicate myself because there is just not enough time in the day to cover all the things I wanna cover.
And every day I wake up and I'm like, What's happening today? It's the perfect blend of, covering cases that I'm invested in and stuff that's new and novel that's happening. I'm very adhd and so content creation works well in me wanting to look at new things all the time, cuz I'm not doing the same old thing every day.
It's like, Ooh, what did the lawyers do today? Ooh, what new filing happened? Ooh, a real housewife pled guilty to wire fraud. Really that happened? Okay, let's talk about it. And then it's not just YouTube. Like the Twitter's over 170,000. Instagram's over a hundred thousand. The amount that I promote those channels is practically zero.
And people are like, Are you on Twitter? I'm like, Oh yeah, I have a Twitter handle. I have not promoted other stuff. I've just grown on the platform, I've grown. My audience will find me whether I'm at the grocery store, the airport, a conference, Twitter, Instagram. They know where I am. And so when I get asked, How did you grow your other platforms? I didn't. I grew YouTube and I grew a community, and my community's like, Oh, where else are you that I'm at? And that's, that's it.
Pat Flynn: That's what I'm always telling people. I mean, people are like, I need to be on each of these platforms. I need to post five times a day on each in order to show up. If you fully show up in one place, your fans will find you elsewhere.
Yes. And that's what's happened to me. That's what's happening to you. How does it feel now to have your, She's gonna hit a million subscribers at some point shortly here and to be doing exactly what you love doing. How does that feel looking back at everything in all the journey? It took to get here.
Emily D. Baker: I didn't realize how much I was driven by finding things that were fun and I, again, I loved being a district attorney, though it was stressful.
Being a trier lawyer is fun. It's, it's exhilarating. I played division one sports in college. I played water polo. It's hard, but it's fun. I am very much driven by, I don't mind if it's hard. I will do all the hard work, but I want to really have fun. This is the most fun. I love what I do. I love my community.
People are like, You live streamed on Friday. This last Friday I live stream for five hours. They're like, How did you live stream for five hours? I'm like, We were having a really good conversation with the 35,000 people that were on the live stream on Friday. We ended up trending a, a really stupid hashtag.
It was an inside joke on Twitter. We trended number one on Twitter worldwide and ended up with Twitter giving a little explanation that I was doing my livestream, like it had the hashtag and then it said, what YouTuber, Emily Daks hosting her Friday night live stream. Cause we were trending number one on Twitter. Because we were making jokes in the chat and just the law's been really heavy lately and we all needed a minute to laugh and so we ended up streaming and having great conversations for five hours because I enjoy my community. And so when people were like, How do you stream for this long? I'm like, haven't you ever been at dinner with a friend where you're like, Oh my God, we have to get going. They're kicking us outta the restaurant. That's how streaming with my community feels every single time. And sometimes there may or may not also be drinks involved. And then I forget what time it is.
Pat Flynn: That's amazing. So in addition to, I mean, you're teaching along the way, right? It's information and such. And you are, you know, this is a term that a lot of people use with the style of teaching, which is newsjacking. It's taking what's popular in the news right now that everybody's gonna be following anyway and adding your own style or own information or own elements on top of it.
And that's exactly what you're doing. And I think that's really smart. Similar to musicians covering other people's music, but doing it in their own way, that's. Interesting and fun. And it's like the door in is the thing that everybody's interested in, but then they get interested in you and the way that you do your music or your information and whatnot.
And I know that the Johnny Depp case, like was pretty big for, for you. And so I'd love to know, like, while that was all going down, tell me about like your day and like how much content are you creating when, when that's happening? Cuz there's always like when the case was happening, there's new stuff to talk about every day. And do you ever feel overwhelmed to keep up with your fans who are wanting more of you.
Emily D. Baker: The Johnny Depp case was interesting because I went into that case at over 200,000 subscribers in May, and then we were over 600 by June. So that case absolutely blew up my channel, but it wasn't just that I was covering the case, I was then giving commentary to legacy media as well.
So I was covering the case during the day and then doing news at night or in the early morning all around the world, and so it was very long days. I live streamed the trial gavel to gavel, so six plus hour days and I live streamed commentary over the trial that was streaming live. I was only going to do limited aspects of the trial.
And I actually went to a friend's conference in the middle of that to talk in, where did we, I don't even Texas. We went to Texas and it Dallas, I think. And while I was gone, my audience was like, Where have you gone? We're invested. We watch you for six hours a day. Where are you? Come back and cover the trial day to day.
And so I looked at my husband, I'm like, Well, my community's asking for me to cover the trial day to day. Let's see how it goes. And the streams went from, 20,000 and 30,000 people and at verdict we had 370,000 live concurrent viewers and were one of the top, I was the number two top viewed stream throughout the trial every single day.
And that was my community being like, We wanna be here and talk about this, and we all wanna watch it together. It really did feel like we were all experiencing this trial live together. So the days were very long. I would get up, I would sit down, I would stream. I took a break on the stream at lunchtime, I found it much easier for YouTube to populate captions and for my software to keep up if I did the stream in like three and a half hour chunks.
So I would take like a half an hour chunk break in the middle. For me to like go to the bathroom and grab food, and for the processing not to get so behind on YouTube. If you put up a six, seven hour video, it takes a long time for YouTube to process it, to put captions on it and things like that. So I found that my watch numbers went up because I was breaking the stream down and it was easier for people.
And I think that. Gets a little weird about recommending streams over about four hours. I've noticed that my streams under that four hour mark get pushed more than the ones over. So there was some strategy in that too, to work with YouTube. But I did notice that my stream was on the trending page for live streams most days, and that brought in a lot of new audience.
Some that say it's, some of that. Were like, Why do you keep cursing? And I'm like, It's okay. That's what I do. If that's not for you, there's other people that are for you. YouTube is vast and broad. That's incredible. So that trial really did grow my channel, but it also grew my profile more within traditional media, and then I ended up being profiled in the LA Times, which was kind of a surreal experience because defense attorneys I worked with at the DA's office that I hadn't heard from would reach out with the kindest emails. Like, I opened the calendar section and your face is on the front of my section today. You have purple hair? I'm like, Yeah, hi. Things are going well. Good to hear from you. So cool. People from high school, people from college just who had lost touch have seen me now either on their news, on their radio or, or something like that. It's just, it's. Surreal and amazing.
Pat Flynn: That is absolutely incredible. Do you, with the huge, vast size of your audience now, and fans like ravenous fans, ones that I remember we had a little tweet exchange and I think some people just misunderstood your response and thought that you were getting aggressive with me and then they, they came outta nowhere.
Emily D. Baker: I didn't even mean it cuz I was being cheeky because you're, you were talking about super fans and community and content, and you were talking about making content, really that's sticky, I think that people want to kind of binge and watch and I was like, Yep, , this is what my content is. You come in for one video and you're like, What is everything else she said on the Britney Spears case over the last two years, there's rabbit holes on my platform that you can go down and watch for days of content. Cuz my content is so long and so we were having that exchange. But what I wasn't mindful of is during that time a lot of the YouTube streamers of this trial were getting attacked by legacy media.
So people I think had their kind of spy sense up a little bit about any conversation about content. And it wasn't about that at all. You and I knew that.
Pat Flynn: No, I knew there was a miscommunication. I thought it was just so cool that you had like your fans be there for your defense before we even knew exactly what the misunderstanding even was.
Emily D. Baker: No, it's fine. It's good. We're good, but I forget that my audience has grown. So people that don't know when I started an entrepreneurship, cuz I think you and I originally met before I left the DA's office in San Diego at a Boss Mom conference. Yeah, like way, way, way. That would've been like 2017. It was before I gave my TED talk, so it was before I gave my notice at the DA's office. I knew I was leaving, but I hadn't quit yet. So everyone in my circle before this journey kind of knew my entrepreneur circle adventure, and kind of knew the people in that space. That space, though it can feel vast, is kind of small, and so my audience has grown so much that a lot of people know me as a YouTuber and don't know who I know in the space and don't know that you and I would've known each other and have interacted together in a, in a friendly way, .
Pat Flynn: I thought that was just hilarious. But again, it speaks to just the power of the community that you've built and how vast it is and how awesome it is. And do you ever feel overwhelmed or worried about that responsibility because now you have, I mean, you could say anything and they would do it kind of thing. Like how does that sit with you?
Emily D. Baker: Well, with great power comes great responsibility. We all know this, we've all learned this very well, but I feel. Very solid in my values, and I take my community more seriously than anything.
My community comes before subscriber numbers, before sponsorships, before ad revenue, before anything else. If it's right for my community, and it may be isn't right for the YouTube algorithm, I'll cover it if it's not right for my community, then I won't, even if it might be a trending topic that I could otherwise jump on, my community kind of informs all of my decisions along with my own values.
So it doesn't feel overwhelming to me cuz I know where my boundaries are and I explain that to my community and I explain that in my streams. I make the analogy to school kids a lot because when your kids start a new school year, the teacher spends like the first week or so explaining the classroom guidelines and expectations, and you, if you've ever been around a group of like third graders and their teacher raises a hand or two fingers and everybody is immediately silent, you're like, That would never work at my house.
That works at school. Well, the teacher set the expectation of what they expect in their space and what's acceptable and what's not acceptable. You do the same thing with your community and your content. If you're intentional about it, this is what's acceptable. This is what's not acceptable. This is how I engage and interact, and you are my community.
And I would ask you to respect the space you're in when it's mine. If you're engaging with me on YouTube in my space, we have some basic chat rules, no name calling, and people are like, Well, there's no free speech here. Well, not if you're mean. No, there's not. There's plenty of room on the internet to go name call.
It's my house. Exactly, this is my chat and my community and it's like, well, I'm gonna unsubscribe. Please do. Because we we're not about subscriber numbers we're about community and the messages I get daily just support that people who have been inspired by the fact that I have ADHD and dyslexia and went to law school, people who are inspired by the others they've met in community.
I had two members of my community come to a live podcast recording I did in Nashville. Who had been coworkers together and had been friends and had not seen each other, but saw each other's names in my chat and reconnected and flew together to Nashville to spend a girl's weekend and come to the show cuz they reconnected in my community after having lost touch.
And I was like, this is the point. This is what I love. So it doesn't feel overwhelming. I knew my values coming in and I knew my boundaries. And I tell my community if I am exhausted and can't do a stream, I tell them what's going on and I respect that. They respect me. If I don't wanna cover a topic that might be trending or difficult, I will tell them what I'm doing and why I keep them in the loop on the process.
And they treat me with the same respect. They're like, You know, we didn't love this video and this is why. Okay. I respect that. We wanna see you collab with so and so, or we don't wanna see you collab with so and so. I'm very mindful of my space in my community. I'm not always aware of how much sway there is until I'm on a live stream making a joke about a hashtag, and then it trends on Twitter, number one, worldwide, and I'm like, We, we did that on a Friday night. Okay.
Pat Flynn: Thank you for that. That's, that's really helpful and it brings a lot of perspective. Can I ask you some quick hit questions about your live streams actually, you know, I'm in the Pokemon now and I have a Pokemon channel and I've been doing.
Emily D. Baker: Yes. I love Deep Pocket Monster.
Pat Flynn: Thank you. It's been super fun and we have a community and it's quite large and we have live streams with up to 2000 people and I can't even imagine, you know, 300,000 people, that court case and you know, on average maybe 20 to 30,000. Tell me about how you best manage a chat room of that size. Cuz sometimes it can get kind of outta control.
Emily D. Baker: I've not had out of control issues. We have a lot of moderators. There you go. We have a very formalized process with our moderators. Our moderators are thoroughly vetted. There is like a onboarding period with our moderators, and our moderators are very deeply dedicated to the community, and so it is really protect the community first.
So if there are people that come in to troll, we just eat them. There's no, there's no room for that. And that doesn't bother me at all. The community first not viewer numbers and not how many people are in the live chat. So I find that it doesn't get out of control too much because once you lay the groundwork and YouTube lets you put the chat guidelines on YouTube, before they enter the chat, they have to agree to the guidelines.
So you can tell everybody the rules. The audience also wants to protect the community. It feels like an old school AOL chat room where you get to chat with your friends, and my community also values it, so they also self moderate, and if somebody's getting outta pocket, they will point it out to the moderators.
I also have a producer who's with me in kind of the back end of my software because we were getting so many super chats, I couldn't flag them to try to answer the questions during the live streams. And it made me feel horrible. I'm like, You guys, I'm trying to focus on the trial and give commentary and flag it.
And then we brought my producer, who's also my editor and head mod into the back end of the streams to really have somebody help me manage and then if something is happening, With a microphone crackle or somebody can't hear, she can let me know kind of in the back channel so we can keep an eye on it.
And there's been one or two occasion, one covering difficult topics that I've just gone to, members only chat, and I've let people know, Look, I hate going to members only chat, but there's a lot of trolls. And there's times when the bot comments will get in and all set subscribers only mode. There were times during the trial we set it to like 30 minutes cause we were getting so many bots and they still come in
They'll subscribe and still get in. But YouTube gives you so much control over your streams. From subscribers only mode to members only mode to blocking certain words. Don't hesitate to use those tools as your community grows because if your goal is to protect your community in alignment with your values, your community will appreciate it and they will grow.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, a hundred percent. Thank you for that. When people start streaming, you know, I've had a lot of people ask me to offer some advice for streaming and you know, when you're starting out, it's very important to make sure everybody feels heard, everybody you know, you interact with everybody, you call everybody's name, and it's very easy to do when you're small but when you're growing bigger, it's impossible to answer everybody's question, to recognize everybody. How do you, at your level, with that size group, still make people feel like they belong and still sort of allow them to feel like they're a part of something versus just, you know, Another name that's gonna say something and not, you know, the chat goes by so fast it can so just people feel left out immediately sometimes.
Emily D. Baker: The chat does go by very fast, but I think the chat is its own entity too. It's not just about me, it's also kind of a watch party where they're chatting with each other and we've really fostered that environment where part of being in the chat is not chatting with me. It's chatting with the chat. The chat is its own thing and we saw that so much last week. If you don't know why we were trending a hashtag, it's because you missed the chat. The chat has become its own community and its own inside joke. As much as me engaging with the chat, I also set the expectations very clearly when I'm talking about a topic I will not pull questions from the chat because I'll get distracted and I won't finish the topic, so I let them know when I'll answer questions, how many questions I'll answer. And really set the expectation in my stream. I normally do a intro to exactly what I'm talking about. I don't think I've ever in my life said we're waiting for a few more people to come in.
It is the fastest thing to click me off a live chat ever. But we start the live chat. This is what we're talking about today. We'll do our welcomes and hellos. I timestamp that so the replay crew can skip past it if they want to. And that's when we acknowledge people coming in. Wherever they're coming in from.
And I always ask what people are drinking, cuz some days it's coffee, some days it's whiskey, some days it's water. And I love seeing where everybody's coming in from and what their beverage of choice is. So that's what we do. And then as I get into topics, I cover that topic and then we do time for q and a as best I can.
And I let everyone know that I try to get to as many as I can, but really I pull the things that catch my eye and I also have a night bot set. So that we don't do all caps in the chat, cuz it, they're harder for me to read being dyslexic and they are too attention grabbing and I feel like it, I feel like I'm being yelled at when it's all caps.
So they get timed out and they know, they're like, Oh, we can't do all caps. I'm like, Correct. That's okay. Don't worry. You learn it's fine. So we set the expectations. I really think. Knowing what your expectations are and leading your community versus being dragged along behind your community matters.
Pat Flynn: Beautiful. I have one more question to ask you, but before we get to that, can you tell everybody where they can go follow on YouTube and your podcast and all the places?
Emily D. Baker: Absolutely. I am at The Emily D. Baker all over. I mean, there is only one of me, and the podcast is The Emily Show on all your favorite podcasting platforms and on.
Pat Flynn: Go ahead and subscribe to that. Check out Emily on YouTube, and I'm gonna be following along because I have so much to learn when it comes to live streaming, and that's something that I've been really, really enjoying. I mean, there's just nothing like that live interaction and when, things that unplanned happen, you just kind of roll with it,
And it really has me come outside of my comfort zone. Yeah. But that's where I find that the best connections in community growth happens.
Emily D. Baker: Live streaming is so much fun, and here's why I picked live streaming. I didn't wanna edit all the time. Live streaming is so much fun and for me it was easier and shifting out of, a job that was very much more difficult. I wanted things to be easy. It is still long hours, it is still a lot of work, but my goal in content creation is how can I make it easier and engaging with my chat makes it easier for me. But there's also boundaries around that that make it easier for me. And I time stamp all of my videos to make it easier for the chat and easier for the replay.
And I think that's why the replay value on the live streams are so high and that's why I do questions at the end. So people who just want the topical stuff can go and hear that and people who want the chat and to chat with the chat can see it. I leave the chats up on the replay so people can watch the chat.
There's a few videos that I had to edit something or had an issue with the chat and they didn't go up and the comments were flooded of, Where's the live chat? Cuz even the replay crew wants to see what the chat is. Because it is now, the chat is their own entity. They're also my research attorneys.
They're my friends. They are very wise and it's incredible what you can do when you have that connection with your community. It's streaming is so much fun. I love it the most. I don't think it gets nearly enough love, cuz you get some of bigger YouTubers who don't stream and people think streamers are for Twitch or streamers are for gaming.
Streaming is for anything where you wanna talk about something with a group of people that are also interested in it. Like Pokemon or like Law .
Pat Flynn: Exactly. And YouTube has definitely been supporting us streamers now with more things like gifted memberships and raids and, and things like that.
And, and we've been taking an advantage of that at Deep Pocket Monster and. I'm sure more stuff's gonna come for us too, which is great.
Emily D. Baker: The gifted memberships are so fun.
Pat Flynn: We had a guy, his name's Bob, who gifted 300 memberships yesterday on one screen. He was just going ballistic. I don't know.
Emily D. Baker: That's so touching though. You're just like, It was just crazy. Oh, thank you. It's just incredible.
Pat Flynn: And it's a beautiful way to like, it's not just like a super, Super Chats were great as well. Yes, they are. You know, to get your comment sort of shared and highlighted, but like the gifted memberships. Help me as the creator, but it also awards the community who's been actively, you know, participating as well.
And that's just such a cool thing to do for, for each other in, in there. And you're, you're right, the chat takes the life of its own and, and I love it. I wanted to finish off with the fact that, you know, you've moved away from your law work, you've like traditional law work, you've moved away from having even clients now revenue is coming from many more different places.
Can you give us a breakdown? You don't need to tell us exactly how much money you're making, but just what are all the resources now and Yeah I'm sure it's doing pretty well. YouTube ADD revenue alone is likely doing well with those numbers.
Emily D. Baker: The thing about my audience, Is that in being a slightly older creator talking about law, I don't have a 13, 14, 15 year old audience, so my CPM tends to trend a little bit higher than most, and that's delightful.
I also end up regularly being one of the top super chatted creators on the platform, on any given live stream, and that's amazingly supportive. So my YouTube revenue comes from ad revenue, from super chat revenue, from Super Thanks Revenue, which I didn't even know were were a thing. And then I started seeing a separate breakdown.
I was like, Wait, what are the ? So from super thanks revenue and from channel memberships on YouTube, I have a membership program over on Patreon. Then I have regular sponsors on the podcast and regular sponsors on the YouTube channel. So that's really the big, Oh, and merch. I totally forget the merch. The merch store does so well and it's running so smoothly that I almost forget that it's there.
But the merch store also does really very well, merch. Oh yeah, lots of merch, LawNerdShop.com. We had some of our busiest days with, there was a 900 order period of like 48 hours during the trial, and I was like, What's happening? But there are times I say things and people are like, We need a shirt.
And I'm like, We can make that happen. So the merch store is mostly things that I say regularly. Sometimes things that kind of poke at the law a little bit or poke at the trial that I'm covering at the moment. And it really is a community driven effort. I didn't think I wanted to ever be a YouTuber with merch, but there was a live stream where the chat was it very insistent, and I was like, Okay, if you want that on a shirt, I'll put it on the shirt.
And that's kind of my tagline that has cursy words in it. Facts not foolishness, but it's a word with F that doesn't say foolishness. And so those shirts ended up on merch. And then other things, and it's because the community asked for it. So when I get asked, How do you choose what to offer your community, I ask them what they want and then they tell me, and then I tell them, if that works for me. At the moment, the community very much wants a discord.
I do not wanna do that at the moment. So we don't, But it's a give and take. The purple hair started with my community. We were joking about what we were gonna do to celebrate a hundred K. The chat was like, I feel like we need to dye our hair. And I'm like, I will totally dye my hair. And we've done other things.
I did an ASMR reading of the Constitution for a a subscriber goal. I did a after dark episode on a very spicy trademark issue that involved an adult toy and Ringo Starr. And so I've done things that the chat has asked for that are cheeky and they're like, We should go with purple hair. I'm like, We should go with purple hair.
I love it. And so after a hundred K, I dyed my hair purple and here we are at 600 K and now I can't get rid of it.
Pat Flynn: So what's gonna happen at a million is the big question.
Emily D. Baker: I have no idea. We, we haven't even started to discuss it yet because we went from 200 to 600 so fast. I feel like I'm still catching to it and the live streams really, as my channel started to grow, my first live streams that I was doing during early 2020 had 10 people, and then 20 and then a hundred, and then 200. I was like, there's 200 people on this live stream. And then we were at, you know, regularly at like 5,000, and then we were regularly closer to 10,000.
And then after the trial, I was expecting that we would get back into the 10 to 15,000 range, and we are in the 30 thousand range for our streams. And that's been surprising to me. I thought it would, I'm like, Oh, it's gonna go back to the numbers kind of we were at before. It is, there's no, there's no going back at this point.
Pat Flynn: I follow a lot of gamers on YouTube who stream and they're very well known and they don't even have numbers like that. And you're doing law and that's absolutely incredible. I'm, I'm just so, I'm just so happy.
Emily D. Baker: It's bananas. It's okay to say it's bananas. It's bananas, but it. It's great and it's given a voice to a community that wants to learn while they're entertained.
I mean, there's a lot to say about infotainment and again, I had never even heard of the term Newsjacking. This was Chris Ducker when we were talking about the podcast. I was like, Look, I like telling stories through cases. He's like, Then use cases that are happening. He's like, It is, It has a term.
It's called Newsjacking. I'm like, Wait, what? So when people ask what the intentionality was behind this trajectory, it was building my community and what's the next right step to build my community? What's the next right thing that my community wants? We started having some quirks with the membership on YouTube, and a lot of people were like, Could we do a Patreon?
Could we do like a member's only podcast and stuff? I'm like, We can do that. Let's do that. And so it's all been with my community so it doesn't feel forced. And it's been even before we branched out into merchandise in the community, YouTube alone was more lucrative than the DA's office. And now we are orders of magnitude more than that. And it's been an absolute blessing.
Pat Flynn: What a story. Wow. And I cannot wait to see where this goes. Emily, I'm just so proud of you and I'm so inspired. I'm so thankful that you came here today to tell us the story. Everybody's gonna be following along. So one more time. Where can people go to subscribe and, and follow your journey?
Emily D. Baker: Absolutely. I'm at The Emily D. Baker on all your favorite social medias, and the podcast is The Emily Show on your favorite podcasting app. I will just, I will meet you where you're at, so come check it out.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much, and have a awesome day.
Emily D. Baker: You too. Thank you.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoy that with Ms. Emily Baker, she's just absolutely incredible. You can check her out on her podcast, The Emily Show. You can also find her on YouTube. And again, like I said earlier, if you find her live, you're gonna find hundreds of thousands, potentially at least tens of thousands of people watching her live and the way her and her team choreograph that interaction and bring entertainment infotainment into this space that's typically pretty dry, right, law and information. It's just a work of art. Emily, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate you.
This is session 621 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. If you wanna get just a handy place with all the resources, links, notes, and et cetera from this episode, heading over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session621.
Community is everything. Emily's building hers, We're building hours over at SPI Pro. You can check that out and apply for the next open enrollment period, which you can find SpiPro.com. I'm building a community over at Deep Pocket Monster. If you are not yet building a community, what are you doing?
This should hopefully inspire you to do so, and one of my favorite tools to building community with is in fact Circle. If you wanna check out Circle, it's like a beautiful marriage between the best of Facebook groups and the best of Slack all in one spot. And it's a place that you can control. That isn't owned by social media platform, so go ahead and check it out.
You can use our affiliate link if you wanna check it out and try it for free even. You can go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/circle. Highly recommend I'm an affiliate and I'm also an advisor to the company and I promise you're gonna love it. Build your community now. Thank you so much. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the SPI podcast.
Until then, peace out, take care. And as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. 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 Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.