5 Million YouTube Subscribers and 5 Lessons Learned

youtube May 28, 2019

I woke up this morning to see that the Yoga With Adriene YouTube channel had rolled past 5 million subscribers. We knew this was coming but all our projections showed it would still be another week or two - so it was exciting to see we had achieved this milestone earlier than planned.

When Adriene and I started on this journey, we never imagined getting to this many subscribers. Adriene and I talk a lot about “thinking big” and “manifesting” things. (It works.) But 5,000,000 is such a big number that it wasn’t even on our radar. It took us almost two years to get to 150,000.

Since this feels like such a milestone, I thought I’d share 5 things I learned while on this journey.

1. Have a Mission You Believe In and Stay Focused

When we started out, our goal was just to make enough money to quit our day job and make YouTube videos part-time while we focused on art and making movies.

Once we achieved that goal and didn’t have to worry about...

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Channel Fuel YouTube Accelerator is Now Available

youtube May 21, 2019

I know I haven't written in a while, but I've been hard at work not only on Yoga With Adriene and the secret indie film - but also on wrapping up a massive YouTube course with my good friend Tom Martin. 

The course is called the Channel Fuel YouTube Accelerator and I'm excited to announce that the course is now available for a limited time:

This is easily the best and most comprehensive course on YouTube keyword research and search engine optimization. 

I've always considered myself something of an "expert" at this type of thing, but Tom takes things to an entirely new level. I had great success with individual videos and keywords, but it was scattered and inefficient compared to Tom's holistic approach.  

Normally, when you're making these internet things, you spend as much time "launching" as you do actually creating. The problem is that Tom and I are both incredibly busy working on YouTube...

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How We Made an Online Course

youtube Apr 29, 2019

This year, when I haven’t been working on Yoga With Adriene - I’ve been cranking away on a new online course with my VidPro partner Tom Martin.  The course is the Channel Fuel - YouTube Accelerator and it teaches a comprehensive system for YouTube keyword research, implementation, and optimization.

This is what Tom has been doing full-time for the past 7 years and he is easily considered the expert on this subject. This is the first time he’s taught his complete system (outside the corporate world). 

It’s pretty mind-blowing, even for someone like me who has had considerable success with search optimization. I realize now that I was just a dabbler. This course teaches a replicable system that will leave you with a complete metadata system in a box - for whatever your topic is.

I’m happy to announce that the course is now complete - and it’s much bigger than I thought it would be. We are putting the finishing touches on it...

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You're Not Ready (+ my "side hustle")

moviemaking youtube Apr 07, 2019

I don’t talk about it very often, but my “side-hustle” is making movies.

After landing in Los Angeles I started volunteering on my friend's projects. I did this for a few reasons:

  • I love making movies and being on set
  • I wanted to get to know more people in the industry
  • I wanted to keep improving my skillset so that I am ready for my own projects

So far, these have been small movies. Very low budget. There aren't any superheroes, explosions or movie stars. But they’ve been very creatively and personally satisfying and there is an audience - particularly in the SVOD market.

The first project I worked on in LA was Cruel Heartswhich is now on the festival circuit (and winning awards).  This year I’ve been assisting on a new project from the same director and it’s been amazing. On projects like this, I’m happy to assist wherever I’m needed and have basically been an Assistant Director of Photography.

While I was...

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Bad Advice (+ The Yoga With Adriene "Funnel")

yoga with adriene youtube Mar 17, 2019

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...

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Why I Quit

yoga with adriene youtube Mar 10, 2019

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...

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How To Start a YouTube Channel - with Yoga With Adriene

yoga with adriene youtube Jul 13, 2017

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.

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We've Been Making YouTube Videos For Over FIVE Years

hilah cooking youtube Mar 25, 2015

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...

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YouTube Camera Gear Update – Down-Sized Edition

camera gear youtube Jul 17, 2014

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...

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EMPOWER - Behind The Scenes

yoga with adriene youtube Jul 15, 2014

In January of this year we launched the first Yoga With Adriene product. It was called REBOOT and it was a 4 video online class designed to help people get over their "holiday hangovers" and establish a consistent at-home yoga practice. We had no idea what we were doing. It was the first online video product that I had ever launched and everything that could go wrong pretty much did.

Despite the chaos, REBOOT was a huge success. With the help of the REBOOT community, we gradually worked through the technical issues and polished up the class. It was a significant turning point in the Yoga With Adriene project. In addition to the videos and instruction, we created a closed Facebook group for people to share their experiences.

It was in this group that all the elements came together and a thriving community started to take shape. This group allowed Adriene and me to communicate directly with people from all over the world who were fans of the show and liked it enough to invest their...

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