Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been on the receiving end of “advice” about how to run our business on a daily basis.
This has come from agents, managers, CEOs of major media businesses, YouTube “experts,” internet marketing gurus, and other industry hangers-on.
I get hit with this advice at parties, meetings, run-ins with my neighbors and the inescapable pick-your-brain coffee meetings. It is inescapable.
The problem is that almost all of it is terrible.
It just took me too long to realize it.
In the early days, I listened and I even implemented some of it. This has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars and at least a year of my life. No exaggeration.
For the most part, these people all have good intentions. They’re just operating on an outdated paradigm of how things work. They also have a desperate desire to be successful in the “industry.” They aren’t interested in a 7-figure lifestyle, but a 9-figure...
I’m writing to you from my hotel room in Austin, TX. It’s Day 3 of the SXSW festival and it’s great to be back in Austin - which feels like my hometown even though I wasn’t born here. I’m listening to a great Twine Time playlist which really has me feeling the Austin vibe.
Adriene and I kicked off the festival with a panel on how we started Yoga With Adriene and how we operate a business where we give 90% of everything we make away for free. It went really well and I look forward to doing more of this in the future. I’ll share the recording as soon as SXSW posts it.
Thank you to everyone who downloaded the 30 Days of Yoga case study. The feedback was really great. While the foundational YouTube stuff is critical, sometimes you need some kind of “stunt” to move the needle. So if there’s one big thing to take away from that it should be: keep trying new things.
There were a couple of recurring questions amidst all the emails...
For the past 5 years, Yoga With Adriene has published daily videos in January. This started in 2015 with our first 30 Days of Yoga series. When we hatched the idea, YWA was still just a two-person company with Adriene and I doing everything.
Back then, the channel wasn’t growing very fast. I think we still had less than 100,000 subscribers. The response to the videos was great, but the audience was small. I thought that a daily yoga series in January could change all that. Especially, if we put in the extra work to promote it. We had a loyal audience, we just needed something really cool (and free) that they could tell their friends about. It might just be a shot-in-the-arm for the channel.
Once we started production, we quickly realized we had bitten off a lot more than we could chew. 30 videos is a lot more than it sounds like when it is just an idea on paper. After a few days of production with just me running two cameras, we hired an additional camera person for the...
I’ve been using Wordpress on-and-off for almost 10 years now. Unfortunately, most of this hasn’t been on my own website but for business-related projects.
Wordpress was the tool that I used to dig myself out of the hole I was in after The Spider Babies project collapsed. I had no job and my bank account was down to zero. The economy was tanking and jobs were scarce. This environment coupled with my unconventional job history wasn’t landing me any interviews.
I couldn’t even get Starbucks to return my calls.
With an empty bank account and zero job prospects, I ended up leaving Austin and moving in with my mom while I sorted things out. I decided that learning “internet stuff” was my best shot at getting a job. So I signed up for a free trial of a membership site called The Keyword Academy (which is no longer around) and learned everything I could about making money online - primarily through SEO optimized niche sites that were monetized through...
It's late on a Saturday night and I'm writing this while I have a little downtime on the set of an independent movie I'm helping out on. This is another movie directed by my friend Paul Osborne and I think it has the potential to be really great.
This is the same crew I worked with on Cruel Hearts after first moving to LA and it's great to get back together with everybody again. I don't have major responsibilities on this one, I'm really just helping out however I can - which explains why I have the time to sit around and type this while the rest of the crew works through a small but tedious scene.
After a very stressful and disappointing 2018, this year already feels like a fresh start. Creativity is flowing again and I'm staying to think about new projects and other weird things I'm interested in exploring.
I've also been thinking a lot about websites and blogs - and what role they play now that Facebook (and social media in general) has essentially taken over the internet.
We recently wrapped up the 2018 Yoga With Adriene Roadshow. The tour ran for 6 weeks with stops in Stockholm, Berlin, London, Amsterdam and Paris. I was lucky enough to tag along for two weeks in London (with a quick trip to Amsterdam). Each year the crowds get bigger and the experience gets more mind-blowing.
The photo above is from Alexandra Palace in London where over 2,400 people attended. It took two hours just to get everybody in the room and on their mats. The energy in this space was amazing.
This started with two people in a room with a couple of cheap cameras trying to make YouTube videos that would introduce people to the tools of yoga. We wanted to bring yoga into the lives of people who might not feel comfortable attending a yoga class.
Now we have the honor and privilege of meeting these people in “real life” at some of the biggest yoga events I’ve ever seen. The energy we poured into Yoga...
Ever since the first 30 Days of Yoga series, life has been a blur. I somehow forgot (or never knew) that these videos existed. They were produced by YouTube as part of the Creator Academy. Adriene talks about how to start a YouTube Channel and how to turn your viewers into dedicated fans.
We've learned a lot since these videos were recorded but everything we're doing now is built on the foundation that she talks about in these videos. So, whether you're already a YouTuber or are just thinking about starting a YouTube channel - they're definitely worth the few minutes it will take to watch them.
If these videos piqued your interest and you'd like to know more behind-the-scenes info about how we started the Yoga With Adriene channel, check out this episode of Audio on Video - recorded right around the same time.
When I decided to start making videos for the internet, I didn't have an amazing plan in place. In fact I had no plan. Other than the video production side of things, I really had no idea what I was doing. But I was fascinated by the possibilities of creating videos for YouTube.
So we went for it. We figured things out as we went along. We made lots of new friends. It became our full-time job.
Now, we've been making videos for YouTube (primarily) for over 5 years. Pretty crazy. This anniversary made me realize that I've been making Hilah Cooking videos longer than I've actually held down any of the "real" jobs in my career.
The anniversary also drove home the fact that I was feeling a little bit burned out. So was Hilah. As of January 1st 2015, we had made 375 videos for the Hilah Cooking channel. That doesn't include all the videos we've made for companies like Tastemade and Ulive.
Since the beginning, I had been obsessed with creating the perfect show...
Things have been a little quiet here since the launch of YouTube Black Book. That’s because I have been on “paternity leave.”
On October 28th, we welcomed our first child – Flint Dryden Sharpe – to the world. He is a healthy and happy little guy and aside from sleep deprivation, the whole experience has been amazing.
For the most part, Hilah and I have both been camped out at home. Our days have pretty much consisted of: staring at the baby, changing diapers, binge watching TV shows, taking long walks in the neighborhood and drinking occasional margaritas on the back deck while Flint takes his afternoon nap.
We’ve also welcomed a lot of visitors over to meet Flint for the first time – including a lot of friends we haven’t seen in far too long. It’s been great to catch up and get reacquainted. But, when the conversation eventually turns to how we’re spending our time these days and the fact that...
2014 may be another personal record-breaker for me as far as the number of videos I produce. It will definitely be a record breaker when it comes to the number of minutes produced. Even though I am producing more, I have started to downsize the amount of gear I use.
Last year, I went a little bit overboard. I had been using nothing but consumer camcorders for years. As soon as money started coming in from my various projects, I did what any self-respecting video geek would do - I started buying gear! It was fun but I ended up with too much stuff that ended up bogging down things when it came to production. There were too many options and too many things to think about. I am still a micro-budget producer and almost always a one-man crew. Time is always of the essence and I already have too much on my mind. So I started to downsize.
My production set-up is now what you see in the photo above. For outdoor shoots, that is the whole thing (except for a collapsible bounce-card...