Is reaching one million subscribers on your YouTube channel the ultimate goal!? Some channels make it look so easy… but in our second episode of Creator Stories, Evan Carmichael shares the importance of needing to have a mission or a purpose as to why you are doing YouTube if you want to see success.
AUDIENCE: One million subscribers. A million subscribers yeah right one.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: When I uploaded my first video to you tube on March 2nd, 2006. I don’t even think there were 1,000,000 people on the platform. I just wanted a way of introducing my girlfriend at the time to my family back home across the country.
Then other people started watching, which kind of creped me out, but today is actually not uncommon for channels to have millions of subscribers it is no longer creepy anymore either. It’s actually a sign of status and achievement.
AUDIENCE: Getting to one million subscribers is so much harder, than I thought it would be so much harder. It’s been extremely more difficult. I have kind of given up on that goal. But I’m close, I only need, hold on, 999,986 subscribers.
On the outside, some channels just make it look really easy to grow your channel. But what you don’t see is everything happening behind the scenes of that channel that leads to that growth. I’m in Toronto, Canada to meet with Evan Carmichael to learn more about what it really takes to get to 1,000,000 subscribers.
What goes on behind the scenes of big channels like Evan’s that actually allows them to achieve that goal.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: MR. Schmoyer, in the house.
- SCHMOYER: Hey, Good to see you. This is it, you made it.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Toronto Dance Salsa.
- SCHMOYER: This is your studio. Awesome looks great, tell me the story behind this, how would you get started with Salsa.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: So the place is called Toronto Dance Salsa. It’s the largest dance studio definitely in Toronto, in Canada probably North America. We’ll teach about 5,000 people how to dance every year.
I started dancing because I really want to do it with my first girlfriend, and she hated dancing, so we didn’t do it, and after we broke up after 5 years together, I felt a huge hole in my life and was lonely, and so I thought, I’m going to come and try dancing, because it was something that we couldn’t do together.
So I came here, I met a whole bunch of friends, ended up meeting my wife through school. I became an investor in the business, and then the owner wanted to shut it down, and she wanted to move on and do other stuff, and I thought this business cannot die.
Even though it’s not a typical, scalable, huge business that I like to build, I needed to stay in it because of the impact it had on my life, an impact that it had on other people and at this school, it’s not just about learning dance moves, it’s about the human connection that we make to each other.
So, I think that you’re purpose comes from your pain, and my pain and suffering and being lonely coming of that relationship brought me here. And now has allowed us to build this successful business.
- SCHMOYER: That’s great.
- SCHMOYER: Evan’s journey on you tube, started long before the dance studio. Prior to success on YouTube, you actually started a business that was a big deal for you. Tell us about that story.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Yeah, so I was 19. I had to decide between taking the dream job that I wanted, making six figures traveling the world, and doing this startup or making $300 Bucks a month. And I didn’t want to live with regret, that’s what kind of made me make that difficult decision.
And we sucked at the beginning, it was really tough. I was making $300 a month, I was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell my friends, and when they want to go out for pizza and beer, I had to pick one thing a month that I could do because I didn’t have enough money.
I was saying, I’m living entrepreneur life, you know, I’m busy, I can’t come out. I felt really ashamed of myself that I couldn’t afford to go out with them.
- SCHMOYER: Eventually grew that business, right? From what I heard.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Yeah, so I told my business partner that I quit. That was the worst day of my life. We’re on the phone call and I just, I told him I quit. And I just hung up the phone, I was at my mom’s house, I just started bawling.
I was crying my faceoff, stuff coming of my nose, my eyes. My mom came up and put her hand on my shoulder and I didn’t even know what she told me, I was just lost. And I just woke up the next day and said I can’t quit on this, I can deal with it failing, but I can’t deal with not knowing, I can’t deal with the regret of not knowing.
And I just realized you know I’m not the first guy to try to build the software company before. Modeled success, modeled the masters, and looked at Bill Gates, who is the most successful software person I knew. Saw how he built his business from the start, from zero to one and then applied that to my company.
Within a couple weeks I have my first deal of 13,500, which for me was money, you know? When you are making $300 Bucks a month and you close a $13,500 deal that was huge. And then kept doing that, to the point where a couple years later, we got acquired and sold my business, is a super quick turn-around by model and success.
- SCHMOYER: What do you feel is like the main lesson you learn through that journey?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Yeah, I’m a big believer that your purposes come from your pain and I just struggled so much, that then I wanted to make the path little bit easier for other people. I don’t want them to feel as alone, like I felt starting my company.
And so I started actually being a speaker and helping other people. Doing speeches and then my website and then my YouTube channel. I never had any intention to being you tube famous, I wasn’t I want to have 1,000,000 subscribers when I first started, it was this is what I have struggled with, and I wish that this was around for me when I was in that painful period.
I think humans are good, I think we are built to be good. And I think whenever you’ve struggled through something, and then you want to use that pain to then help other people for going through it right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Evans tried to help other people going through a painful period, just like he did, ultimately, is what lead him to making his first You Tube videos.
- SCHMOYER: Tell me a story of, what happened to that business that brought you to wanting to start on You Tube now.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: So You Tube started for two reasons. One, I was getting asked to help people with their business problems and I thought, instead of typing out of 30, 40 minute email, I would just make a video. I’m more visual and it would help that person, and if anybody else saw it, great.
But it was more to help that one person. Also, I learned by model and success. Billgates saved my company even though I have never met him. And so I want to share those stories of other famous entrepreneurs and that was the genesis. But it was never what the ambition to do something big.
As people started watching, and I started getting feedback, is it hey can you answer this question? He can make this video? We started growing, we started getting more attention, and I thought this is something that could actually turn into a business.
Immediately, I said hey how I turn this from a video a week that I was making, to a video a day. I need to get an editor, I need to build a team, and so now we’ve 8 got people who work on my YouTube channel and were putting out two the three videos, pretty much every single day.
- SCHMOYER: What was the point in your journey to 1,000,000 subscribers, you’re like this is a big obstacle, and this is more difficult than I thought, for you to keep going?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: One of the hardest things for me was just getting comfortable in front of the camera. Even this, like we’re filming outside, there’s people walking around, people might be watching us, that was super nerve racking for me.
We were in my dance studio when I started filming there, it’s a mall, there’s people walking behind, when I first started I would have to, I don’t have auto-focus on my camera. someone on my team, or my sister, would have to come in, auto-focus and then leave the room because I wasn’t comfortable with having somebody else there so took me 350 videos before I wasn’t totally embarrassed by my content.
- SCHMOYER: 350?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Yeah, 350, I would look at it and just want to die. I’d be so embarrassed by the content and 700 until I was inspired by myself. So I was super camera shy, super introverted, so that was a real big obstacle for me to overcome.
- SCHMOYER: What push you to keep going, like after a 100 videos, why didn’t you just quit?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: It just knew that it was helping people, right? My purpose comes from my pain, I want to help entrepreneurs. Knowing that the videos I was making was helping at least one person, if I was answering one question for one person, I knew that person liked it, and they emailed me back, and left comments.
And so knowing that the work I did matters, pushed me through to the discomfort and you know the self-worth issues, and all that stuff to keep going. I think when you feel like the work that you’re doing is important, and it’s touching lives, it’s what you do with your channel all the time, and then you’re more willing to deal with the pain and the suffering.
- SCHMOYER: Yeah.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: If you don’t, if you’re not on a mission, if you don’t like the work that you’re doing, you’re unlikely to keep going.
- SCHMOYER: For other creator who has a goal of reaching 1,000,000 subscribers like you have, what do those creators need to really consider along that journey?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: First, it’s going to be a ton of work. It’s a lot of work to get good at whatever you want to do, it’s going to take a lot of work, and so don’t be too hard on yourself if your first versions of your product, your videos are not that good.
And second, you have to be mission-driven and that comes from your pain. You have to feel like the works you’re doing matters that you would want to one day show your grandkids this video. It doesn’t mean every video you make is going to be great, and worthy of it, but if that’s your intention every time going in because you’re mission driven, you feel proud about the work that you’re doing, some of them will pop.
- SCHMOYER: Where do you feel like most creators go wrong in that journey?
EVAN CARMICHAEL: I think first off, just patience, it’ll take a long time, and that’s okay. If you love the work and you’re mission driven again, then you will make it. But just having the patience, don’t expect your first video to be amazing and pop right from the start.
And two, I think people a lot of times, are just trying to hit the 1,000,000 subscribers, and they are just chasing the goal, where you have to enjoy the process, right? You have to feel like the work, if you felt like every video you made matters, and then the subscriber goal, and the view goal, is the secondary objective, that’s when you actually start to live.
- SCHMOYER: It seems to me like most people want to skip the hard work, they want to skip the pain, they want to skip the process and just get straight to the goal. 1,000,000 subs, they want it to be easy. It seems to me what you’re saying though, is you can’t skip that process. You need to go through the pain, you need to do the hard work, and it’s actually good for you because that what develops you into a character that’s actually worth being broadcasted to 1,000,000 people.
EVAN CARMICHAEL: Anything worth doing is not going to be easy. Anything worth doing is on the other side of a lot of difficulty and pain and hard work, and that’s the best. I don’t see it as a negative; I see that as something amazing.
Any entrepreneur that you look up to and what they’ve done came through a lot of pain and struggle and suffering and then they made this beautiful gift for the world and I think that’s the opportunity for every creator who’s watching this video.
When you feel like you’re mission driven and the work you’re doing is really important and its changing lives, actually changing lives, that’s how you get to 1,000,000 subscribers and have a huge impact in the world and the end of the day feel like the work you’re doing really matters.
- SCHMOYER: It’s natural to prefer something that’s easy, over something that’s really hard. We’re all looking for short cuts, for hacks, for tips and tricks to bypass the pain, but no matter where we look, the principal for achieving success seems to be that we need to have a higher mission that actually compels us to embrace the pain.
In the same way that any good story needs conflict, our story needs it too in order to develop our character to become the hero that our story needs.
So on your road to 1,000,000 subscribers, embrace the conflict, and the difficulty and the pain that no one sees because the transformation it creates in you is where real success comes from.
I know all of this is much easier said than done, so for those of you who are members of this channel, you will find the link in description below to an exclusive video where Evan and I sit down and talk about how to find your mission, and turn that into success.
You can also tap the video you see on your screen here to go to the next episode of this creator stories series. And subscribe here, and I’ll see you guys over in the next video.