One Big Happy Life turned two years old last month. Two years ago, we decided to start an online business that would change our lives and the lives of thousands of people, though we didn’t realize it at the time. Today, I’m going to be sharing exactly how we built a six figure business in just two years while also working full time jobs.
A QUICK HISTORY OF ONE BIG HAPPY LIFE
In December 2016, I decided to start making videos on YouTube. I’d started a blog a few years before called One Big Happy but hadn’t been posting consistent content. I decided to try my hand at video even though I am a writer at heart because I had epic writer’s block. As much as I loved writing, it was painful for me. It didn’t come naturally which meant that I did it less and less until I finally stopped.
Video, though so much more complicated to execute, felt a lot easier at the time. All I had to do was put up a camera and talk. So that is what I did.
When I started our YouTube channel I was working in a job that I hated and I was miserable. The channel was meant to be a passion project. Something fun that kept my mind off of my horrible job while I worked to find something better. Pretty soon, Joseph joined me and One Big Happy became a family affair. It also became One Big Happy Life when we launched our website at the end of 2017.
Over the first year, our channel grew to 19,000 subscribers and made $5,000 in revenue.
WE RECOGNIZED THAT WE WERE BUILDING A BUSINESS
At the beginning of our second year, we realized that what we were building was so much more than just a YouTube channel: we were building a business.
We became an LLC, signed a partnership agreement, and started to be more strategic about what we were doing. We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about what we wanted from our channel and our business. We knew that if we continued to put in the work, the business would grow. And if we wanted the business to grow that we would have to reinvest in the business.
We took courses on blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, email marketing and more. We upgraded our video equipment.
We also took some time to learn more about what we wanted and what we didn’t want from our business. We made different types of content, worked with different brands, used different video format. Every experiment helped us learn a bit more about what worked and what didn’t. It also helped us hone in on what we ultimately wanted our business model to look like.
WE DIVERSIFIED OUR INCOME STREAMS
When we first started on YouTube, our focus was entirely on building our audience and views and building income through ad revenue. So we focused on creating consistent, quality content. We looked for ways to improve our thumbnails and to improve our video SEO so they’d do better in YouTube’s algorithm. All of that effort paid off as our ad revenue tripled over the course of the year. You can check out our online income reports from more specifics.
As we grew, we were able to more easily tap into another major source of income: working with brand. We started joining influencer marketplaces when we hit 5,000 subscribers. Once we crossed over 30,000 subscribers brands started reach out to us on a weekly basis. Now that we’ve crossed 100,000, brands are reaching out to us every day.
In addition to creating content on our own platforms, we started to working with other businesses to create videos and articles for their platforms. As part of those partnerships, we always identified ourselves as being part of One Big Happy Life and it was always clear that we’d created the content. It was a great way to use our video and writing skills while also aligning ourselves with brands that we liked and increasing our revenue.
We also launched our first course in 2018, YouTube Made Simple Foundations. Then later on we created a smaller a quick start program. In 2019 we’re retiring both programs and creating a new, comprehensive course to help online business owners grow and monetize using YouTube.
WE KEPT GOING EVEN WHEN IT WAS HARD
Building a business from scratch is hard, especially if you’ve never done anything like this before and don’t have a business background. And SEO and social media are particularly challenging because you are at the whim of an algorithm.
Inevitably there were times when we started to doubt ourselves. We’d worry that we didn’t have any new ideas or that people would stop listening. We worried that our audience would just disappear or that the algorithm would just go haywire one day and we’d lose everything all in one go.
Whenever we’d start thinking those thoughts, we’d remind ourselves of a couple of things. First, we’d remember that there is a person behind every single view that decided to invite us into their lives for a few minutes. That is a gift. Second, we’d remind ourselves that failure is inevitable if you don’t try at all. So if we gave into the doubt we’d definitely fail.
Third, we told ourselves to redefine success. We couldn’t control the algorithm or how many people actually watched our videos. We could only control our actions. And so we focused on what we could control: showing up and creating quality content week after week.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US GOING FORWARD
As amazing as it is that we’ve come so far so fast, we know that this is only the beginning. We are already on track to have an even stronger revenue year in 2019, having started the year out with our highest revenue month to date.
For 2019, our goal is to really get our focus for our business. Defining our message. Identifying how we can best serve our audience. And making sure that we stay true to that with everything that we do.
We will also be putting more time and attention into creating synergy between our blog and our YouTube channel. We want them to be interconnect, which means that we have to do a better job of putting our videos on our website and mentioning our website on our videos.
We are so excited for 2019 and can’t wait to see where it takes us!
If you’ve been on the fence about getting started with video, and with YouTube, now is the time to just get started! If you need some help, check out our free email course, 7 Days to YouTube Success.