Bobby Parrish: YouTube Entrepreneur, Not an Overnight Success (#148)
Our Guest Today: Bobby Parrish
Bobby Parrish is the owner and creator of FlavCity. He and his wife produce weekly videos on the FlavCity YouTube channel and daily recipes on Facebook, Instagram.
He is “Out to prove that home cooks can be rock stars in the kitchen and you don’t have to be a chef to cook like one.”
This episode may be for you if you are…
>> An online content creator (a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, etc.) who are looking to up your game, monetize your work, find potential next steps in your success journey, seek inspirations in growing your brand, relate to another content creator and real tactics that work.
>> Looking to start something new on your own – but you aren’t sure if you are good enough. We help you get rid of those excuses and quite your lizard brain.
>> A busy professional looking to change your eating habit and cook more at home, following recipes that are healthy, delicious and last for a week! #MealPrep
Bobby Parrish YouTube Entrepreneur, NOT An Overnight Success – powered by Happy Scribe
How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after top 1% of the world, we dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self made artists.
I always want to learn from other people and see what they’re doing. Probably the biggest themes was, number one, be consistent with your content. Pick a schedule, stick to it and get it out on that schedule. So your fans or your ecosystem know that and just keep doing what you’re doing. And that’s the most frustrating line ever because everyone would say, like, oh, you’re great. It’s amazing content. Just keep doing what you’re doing. It is true what people say, like, your work will be rewarded, but it will test your patience big time. In a world of a lot of noise and viral videos, it’s very hard to stay focused on your core. We learned that we need to find niches and subcultures of cooking. Cooking is too broad. So we found a meal prep and I found there was a cult following for that. It’s something I believed in. So I think finding what you’re good at, it could be as niche or micro as you think it is. There’s going to be millions of people who love that. So don’t think about going macro. You have to go micro and be the best person at meal prep or the best person at green tea or whatever your specialty is.
Just do that. It doesn’t work that way. And there really is no secret sauce and you can’t pay someone to teach you how to do it. You just have to go through the painful process of building a business. It’s a business and it’s very painful. I would love to produce two videos a week. We only do one because so much work goes into it. But it’s about quality, not quantity. I’m not going to throw stuff out there just to be out there. It has to be my rules. My videos have to look like the Food Network. They have to be a seamless. Look. From TV Food Network to YouTube Slave City. Then I know that we’ve done our job production wise. So when people tell me now they can’t do something or they don’t know how, that’s just an excuse. It’s a crutch. In today’s world, in 2018, there’s no excuse not to do anything anymore. You can literally do whatever you want and it goes back to what you’re saying. 99% of people won’t do it because they’re lazy or they’re scared. But if you want to become anything, you can literally do it now on the Internet.
Hey, guys, it’s your girl feew, and you’re listening to a new episode of the Faze World podcast. Today on the show, I am joined by Bobby Parish. Bobby is an unusual guest on the Face World. He’s a Chicago native and a YouTube sensation. Or maybe we call him YouTuber these days he’s known under the home cooking category specifically he is known for meal prep and his channel is called Slave City with over 1500 followers on YouTube and even more on Facebook and Instagram. You won’t believe that Bobby was a stock trader and worked somewhere in the.
Financial district in Chicago at one point.
Before he became a YouTube entrepreneur. But wait 1500 followers, that’s it? What about those YouTubers with millions of followers? This is Wile of Bobby who tells a compelling story of how he works with other brands strategically and turn his hobby into a fulltime gig which by the way most YouTubers, even those with millions of followers haven’t learned how to do. Bobby and I hit it off right away. We’re both makers and he was so.
Quick to reveal his trade secrets.
You may be wondering how did I discover Bobby and introduced him to Face World podcast? Well I found him through YouTube no surprise because I was learning how to cook for myself. Look just like anybody else, podcasting and freelancing are super fun but I really didn’t take care of myself and I was honest about it in 2016 and into 17 during some of my recordings didn’t matter how hard I worked out at the gym, my diet just wasn’t working. I felt sloppy bloated because I had no time to cook and ended up eating frozen food and dying out constantly. Bobby by the way just wasn’t what I was expecting after all, most YouTubers who cook in front of the camera are women either very young women towards targeting millennials or older moms whose recipes are just so irresistible but who is this guy? I almost clicked away but the pictures looked so compelling and has said some of those that whole 30 which happened to be a diet that worked for me really well for 30 days. Bobby also has his own style. He talks to the camera with so much great energy in inviting you, the audience to join in making it look so easy without taking himself too seriously.
He has great night skills but clearly that is through his own practice rather than a 20 plus years of being a professional chef. So I thought to myself hey if this guy can do it, I bet I can too. His wife is the camera woman by the way, also the producer and the video editor. Bobby cannot give her enough credits attributing their success to her hard work and perseverance for over seven years. Yes, you heard it right, seven years, which I found during the recording. Seven years is no overnight success, it is sweat and tears. It’s strategy and commitment. I think this episode teaches us precisely why we cannot buy into the common belief of an overnight success or viral videos. Consistency and effort are everything so I.
Really hope you enjoyed this episode.
I did not even want it to end so if you love it like it. Invite one more friend to listen in. It will mean so much to us if you click the subscribe button. Without further ado, please welcome Bobby Parish to the Phase World Podcast.
How I discovered you is quite a journey I didn’t expect. I’ve had my podcast for three and a half years, and I would watch a movie, go to a show, and I see these amazing people and I reach out to them. Thanks to your website, I had a very direct way to kind of reach out to you via a contact form for my listeners who have not heard of you. I think they should have at this point, is that I started cooking recently, as in a couple of months ago, and before that, it’s just really timeconsuming. I’m a very busy working professional, like you were as well. And I realized I was following a lot of women and so funny, a lot of them are so young or moms, like old Korean moms. And then all of a sudden one thing you popped up and I said, Whole 30, and there was maybe one insta pot. And it was just I loved your energy and you were such a great salesperson. Just by watching you talk about the food, I couldn’t help it. I would go to Whole Foods right away, buy everything, and the food will come out with that energy like you portrayed on the video.
So I would love to learn more. There’s a lot I want to learn more about you.
But tell us how Flavor City come about.
How did you find that name? What was your persona?
Yeah, so cooking has always been a big part of my life. I definitely think that my mother instilled the cooking bug in me because she was a phenomenal home cook. And I just remember these amazing homecooked meals that she would always cook almost every night of the week. So that got me started. And then even in college, I remember having like a tiny apartment and still cooking with one really crappy nonstick pan and one toaster oven and just making meals and actually inviting people over back then. So I’m also a product of the Food Network, so I got hooked on that probably 1516 years ago and was just kind of amazed at everything. Not just the food, but also the cinematography of it and how it flowed. And so as I graduated college and cooked more and entertained more and we used to throw underground dinner parties that were really popular on the north Side of Chicago, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to try my own cooking show and before the Internet. It’s obviously impossible because it’s such a small knit club where you have to know someone or have to be born into the royalty of broadcasting.
So it wasn’t until about seven years ago exactly. It’s funny because my wife got the Facebook push yesterday. They’re like seven years ago today, and they showed a picture of us doing our first video. So it was kind of funny. That was what it looked like seven years ago. And then we were kind of like a little sad that we’ve been doing this for seven years and putting that much blood and sweat into it also. But it just came to the point where my wife is an amazing painter and so she wanted a great camera to take pictures of her canvases to put on her website. And I’m kind of a cheapskate and I’m like, well, if we’re going to buy a $1000 camera, we’re going to make a cooking video. And so we made the first video. It was a labor of love. It took hours and hours to shoot. It took many more hours to produce and to edit, and then we put it on YouTube. And at the time, I thought it was the best thing ever. And looking back, it was so bad that I deleted it. It was embarrassing, but that’s how it started.
And then for the first few years, it was really a hit or miss. We just kind of put videos up whenever we wanted to. But then about three years ago, we went to VidCon, which is the YouTube Developers Conference in California, and we saw all these people making a business out of it, a living out of it, having massive followings. And so we picked up on some really key points to turn this into the beginning of a business and be consistent with it and treat it as an entrepreneur would treat a brand new business.
Wow, I had no idea. I mean, I’m so intrigued. I’m so glad you mentioned the number of years because seven years of recording and I couldn’t even find the end of all your videos. I really wanted to see the first video is because there’s so many misconceptions with content creators online these days thinking overnight success, building so much buzz and having if I hear the word viral one more time and the fact that people are surprised that I’ve been running the podcast for three and a half years. They’re thinking like, oh, how much money have you made? How many downloads? Is it really worth it?
Yeah, it really is. I mean, sometimes you see these stories on the home page of Yahoo where it’s like, Overnight Sensation has millions of fans, and I think that boggles people’s minds as to like, oh, that’s how it should be for everyone. And it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve never had a viral video. It’s been the hard way, the slow way of trudging and just making content and putting it out there. And it is a labor of love. And you meet other creators, whether they’re podcasters like yours, video creators, bloggers, and very few people, I’d say 99% of people have had like, that overnight Sensation. It really is a long game. And for years we would talk to creators who are bigger than us and kind of pick their brains, because I always want to learn from other people and see what they’re doing and see if we can implement those tools too. And one of the biggest themes was, number one, be consistent with your content. Like, pick a schedule, stick to it and get it out on that schedule so your fans or your ecosystem know that and just keep doing what you’re doing.
And that’s the most frustrating line ever, because everyone would say, like, oh, you’re great, it’s amazing content, just keep doing what you’re doing. But that doesn’t mean shit. When you’re getting nothing back in return and you’re putting all this work in the videos and nobody’s seeing them, it’s much easier to say, keep doing what you’re doing when nothing is happening. But there always is that tipping point where, like, you don’t know when it’s going to happen, you don’t know what it’s going to be. But like, all of a sudden a piece of content hits or a theme of content hits and next thing you know, I think it took us, I want to say, like, three years to get 30,000 subscribers on YouTube and then less than a year to get 70,000 more and get our 1st 100,000. So it is true what people say, like, your work will be rewarded, but it will test your patients big time.
I couldn’t agree with this more. It’s so refreshing to hear you say that because there are days and nights where I’m literally the last thing I want to do is stay up at midnight and record a voice intro. And I’m standing there thinking, wow, I truly have nothing better to do at this moment, but I love my guests, but this is such hard work and even recording and such I mean, this is work for you and it is for me. And I’m thinking showing up really is 99% of the difference, right? Most people don’t show up.
Yeah, I even say more than that. I think 99% of people can talk about it, but only 1% will follow through. And I think that’s true with everything in life. And I think that’s why it’s so important to actually put your money where your mouth is. And it’s hard and it takes a long time to learn your field, but just doing it in the first place is a win. But then when you actually get to the point where you’re getting rewarded with whatever it is you want, whether it’s sponsorships, fans, community, then it makes it that much more worth it. But more than half of it is just doing it, putting yourself out there, putting the work into it, doing the voiceovers working hours and hours. We learned how to film, we learned how to edit, how to produce, how to build a website, how to do food photography. We learned all of that just my wife and I. And luckily we live in a time when you can learn that online. And so, like I said, if this was 1995 or 2000, you’d be screwed. You can’t learn any of this. You can’t produce your own videos.
But now, like, that middleman, that wall has just been knocked down. And the only thing stopping you from becoming the entrepreneur or the creator you want to be is you. If you’re not going to just do it, which most people don’t, then shame on you. You’re not cut out to do this and you should probably do something else.
Yeah. So I’m bubbling with so many questions and I love you how you lean right into it with I mean, truthfully, there’s a huge difference. I noticed over the past few years to talk to people who have shipped, to people who have launched and put something out in the world, even if they’re felt embarrassed and completely challenged by it, but it’s out there. And YouTube can be just sometimes some of the comments, not yours, but many other comments, can be the lowest denominator.
It’s the most brutal ecosystem out there, for sure.
Absolutely. And I feel like that ecosystem has changed drastically in the past seven to ten years. Went from a community kind of intimate to now. People are just delivering something that I feel like they could get them more subscribers or what other people want, rather than focusing on what you want and what you came into this in the first place.
Yes, it’s very easy to fall into that trap. And you look at YouTubers in general, and it seems most of them are like teenagers or young, 20 somethings. And then you have creators like you and me who I feel like I’m a dinosaur. Like I go to these conventions and they’re all just young kids and I feel like, man, if I would have started this when YouTube first started, it would have been easier. I would have had a million followers by now. But I would say it still is a young man’s game. But it’s so important to stay focused on your point of view. So I do cooking videos. I make healthy meal prep recipes that home cooks can follow that will help them with their health goals. Be super creative in the kitchen and usually done in 30 minutes or less. Now it’d be very easy for me to go look at other trends and be like, oh, edible slime is trending like crazy. I’m going to make slime. Or these challenge videos where people do crazy stuff. Those are gimmicks that might work here and there, but I drill down on the analytics of YouTube a lot.
I’m a numbers guy, so I’m coming from finance. And even if I made a slime video where I made the world the best slime, it might get a million views, but it’s not going to bring me more fans than if I made three of my normal meal prep videos. It’ll be a one hit wonder. And no one’s going to stick around for my other videos because I’m not the slime guy, I’m the healthy food guy. So in a world of noise and viral videos, it’s very hard to stay focused on your core, and you may need to switch it. I mean, for the first year plus, we were just making general cooking videos under the umbrella of cooking, and they weren’t doing well. And it was pissing the crap out of us because we would put our sweat into these videos and nobody would see them. And then we were fortunate enough to be selected for something called YouTube. Next up, it’s like a weeklong academy for upandcoming YouTubers. They select them, you apply. And it was an amazing week where we learned so much, and then we learned that we need to find niches and subcultures of cooking.
Cooking’s too broad. So we found Meal Prep, and I found there was a cult following for that. It’s something I believed in. And ever since we did that, our chart went straight up. So I think finding what you’re good at, it could be as niche or micro as you think it is. There’s going to be millions of people who love that. So don’t think about going macro. You have to go micro and be the best person at Meal Prep or the best person at Green Tea or whatever your specialty is. Just do that.
If after listening to the episode, you decide to hit your kitchen to make some delicious and healthy foods, be sure to let both of us know. Look forward to hearing from you.
I really love the meal prep series. I didn’t realize I was so drawn to that until I realized that whenever there are only two of us, usually when you have a family, whatever you cook, everybody consumes right away. It looks exactly beautiful. And for us, I immediately went to Home Goods or Amazon, wherever the link that you had, and I started purchasing the containers. And it felt so good to make these meals and to lay them out so beautifully in like a bento box, almost.
Exactly, yeah. And you put all the work into it and then it’s there for five days because Meal Prep is about putting an hour in on Sunday or Monday and having five to seven meals for the week. And before I kind of stumbled upon this trend, part of me was like, well, I don’t know if I really get that because I have time. I work from home and I can cook every day. But then I stepped back and I’d be like, well, very few people have that luxury, and very few people have time to cook anymore. I think the number one reason why people don’t cook anymore is because they don’t have time. So if you can say, well, I take your idea. And I step on it because I say, here’s my meal prep. Do it. And you’ll have five to seven meals throughout the week, and you won’t sacrifice quality health money. It’s a no brainer. It’s a total win win. And then within that subset of meal prep, I can tailor it towards, oh, you’re on whole 30. Here’s a bunch of recipes. You’re on a keto diet? Here’s a bunch of recipes.
You’re trying to lose a weight? Here’s a bunch of recipes. So it’s really like a no excuse way to get you to cook, because that’s why my channel exists. I have no other purpose as to motivate you to cook and get in the kitchen.
Yeah, I mean, I was so happy when I opened up the little container the next day. Right?
That’s a great feeling, because you open the fridge like, oh, yeah, I have that I made yesterday. Thank you, God, I don’t have to cook.
And it’s so one. Exactly. Thank God I don’t have to go through that process again. And I love the proportion because you’ve got the carb, you got the fiber, you got the protein, and I never used to I don’t know why I didn’t realize this before, but I mean, you’re the reason why I realized I don’t need to have all these crazy containers that don’t even stack in the tiny fridge. And I remember having to take out every container too much or too little or something and create a huge mess and plate after plate, and now I open, it has everything that I need. It just makes me so happy.
It’s such a great feeling. It’s really it’s kind of how we organize our house to where less is more. Like I hate clutter. I hate unnecessary stuff. My wife and I do the Marie condo in our house. We spark joy by eliminating all things that don’t bring joy in here. And so I feel the same way in the kitchen. Like, everything has to have a purpose. If it brings clutter or it’s unnecessary, I just don’t want it in my fridge, in my body, in my kitchen. It just doesn’t belong there.
Yeah, I love this. One thing I skipped over while you’re talking about the long game is that there was a tipping point that you went, I think, about three years in from 30,000 to, say, over 100,000.
So what happened exactly?
Yeah, it was meal prep. That’s exactly what it was. We were just making general umbrella cooking videos on how to make a steak one week, how to make beef tacos one week, how to make Greeks chicken. And then we realized that YouTube is the second biggest search engine besides Google, and you have to treat it like you would an SEO or an algorithm. So all of a sudden, I got turned on to basically I was trying to hack YouTube to find where there’s needs, and we found that meal prep. There was a huge need, but not a lot of videos out there. So from the first video we did, which I think was the first meal prep video we did was in September 2016, the video immediately performed like three times as well as any video we had done that year. So from that second on, I’m like, all right, we’re only doing that, and we’ve only been doing it since.
Wow. It’s incredible. I think your journey is quite fascinating. And you mentioned and I read in your about page that you came from a finance background, which I guess not so surprising. Chicago, Boston and tell me about that.
What your role was.
I would like to learn a little bit more about your life before YouTube.
Yeah, so I worked in finance for 15 years before I decided to switch over to Flavor City full time. And the interesting thing about that is that I didn’t hate my job. I wasn’t in a position where I couldn’t wait to get out. I loved it. I was a stock and options trader for 15 years, and it was great because it allowed me the time and the financial luxury to transition to Slave City because I worked from home for myself for the last ten years of the 15 years of doing it. And so the stock market is only open until 830 till 03:00 P.m. In the afternoon. So I’d have a lot of time to cook and create new ideas and recipes, and that’s what allowed me to kind of transition to it.
Oh, wow. Who can imagine? It didn’t even occur to me. Some of my clients are actually in hedge funds and financial services and wow. So that’s incredible. I think a lot of people who are thinking about a transition into full time podcasting or YouTubing is that they might not have either the financial hygiene or the financial means to do that.
Yeah, it makes it a lot easier when you have the financial means to transition over slowly. I think I read something like a year ago that resonated with me about there was this couple, they were serial entrepreneurs, and they always said that when one was starting a new business, the other one was still working. And then after it went well and they sold it, then the opposite would happen. So it always makes it easier when you can slowly transition into your passion project or you have the cushion to do it. It might have been a different story if I had to just go full throttle into it without the financial resources behind me, but I still think that’s a crutch. I don’t believe in complaining or blaming or justifying. So even if you have to give up what you’re doing for money, I would still do it. Because if it doesn’t work out and you give it, say, a year, big deal. Just go back to what you were doing before. It might be a little harder if you’re married with a kid, but I still say if you don’t do it, you’re always going to regret it.
And whether you have some cushion or not, you have to do it. There’s no doubt about it.
So people go in and do it.
Do it. Just do it.
Yeah, just do it.
It’s so true because when I talk to other podcasters these days and I create a sort of a support network and a virtual hangout and I hear people trying to time the market, trying to time the number of episodes, and I’m like, just forget all that. Just put it out there. And then the next thing you know, they’re still tooling their thumbs, still making excuses six months or a year later. So the transition is quite fascinating. How long have you been running Slave City? Full time?
Since January of 2017.
Oh, wow. So that was precisely almost a year ago. And how was that decision made? What are some of the factors that went into it?
Yeah, so it was nice because I was able well, going back, obviously 90% of the content we made in the previous years, we weren’t getting paid for. It was basically free content that would live on YouTube. The advertising revenue you earn on YouTube is much smaller than most people think. And then you do it just to build the community. And then all of a sudden we started getting to a size of having fans where I started getting incoming emails from brands saying, hey, we’d like to sponsor your video, or, hey, we’d like to have you use our product in our video. So I earned some money doing that in 2016, much more than 2015. And then I kind of saw the trajectory going. And it just so happens that digital marketing is really, and I call it in the wild, wild west right now. It’s taking off and so many brands are either just getting in the space or about to get in the space or feel like they’re going to be left out and they’re throwing money in the space. Now that I knew this was going to all of a sudden be a very viable business after the numbers we put up in 2016.
So I felt comfortable in 2017, in January, to stop trading, stop my job in finance, and just focus solely on Flavor City. And what I mean by that is produce as much content as possible to get out there because that’s my marketing. My marketing. I don’t do any cold calling to anyone. I probably should, and I could probably forex my business if I had the sales team or if I did it myself. But I’m a creator and I don’t want to be focused on cold calling people. I want to create. So I’m just fortunate enough that last year we had so many incoming projects that it was a much better than expected year that this. Year. I have super high expectations. So going back to that, though, is that I never got into this to make money. I got into this purely to put my content on the Internet to help fellow home cooks. That’s it. I think if I would have done it to make money, I would not have been successful. And that’s hard to say because some people, they need money immediately. And I would say this is not the business for you.
Because as you know, making money is very hard in the beginning, and if that’s your main focus as opposed to creating content, you’re going to fail.
I couldn’t agree with that more. And I think also I’ve been very lucky. Lucky enough to have the financial means. I’ve always I never spent more than I made. So I felt really comfortable to do this and do it for me and for my friends and for the future kids I might have, and to leave something for the world and to be remembered. And I think a lot of other people I’ve spoken with are so focused on where do you get sponsorship? So it’s so funny that I encouraged by an entrepreneur, Dorie Clark, she said, you need to read that article. It’s called how to Make Money as a Podcaster without the downloads. And that became the most popular ebook I’ve ever written. And it’s awesome talking to you. And then I can recall a few other folks I’ve interviewed. It just so refreshing. Like, it makes my heart pump to feel so good about learning the truth of why people are doing this, how they’re actually doing it, instead of all the news articles, viral blog articles that.
Follow these ten steps so you’re guaranteed.
Make money and your sleep. It doesn’t work that way.
It doesn’t work that way. And there really is no secret sauce. And you can’t pay someone to teach you how to do it. You just have to go through the painful process of building a business. It’s a business and it’s very painful. And it’s funny because I don’t have the biggest following per se. I think right now we have 1400 subscribers on YouTube, which I’ve worked so hard for that. But we put out such consistent, high quality content that is so micro that I know for a fact that we get paid more for sponsored deals than people who have a much bigger following than us, because it’s about quality, not quantity. So I would love to produce two videos a week. We only do one because so much work goes into it. But it’s about quality, not quantity. I’m not going to throw stuff out there just to be out there. It has to be my rules. My videos have to look like the Food Network. They have to be a seamless. Look. From TV Food Network to YouTube Flavor City. Then I know that we’ve done our job production wise.
So I want to definitely give a big shout out to your wife because I realized that you were talking to her. But the funny thing is, regardless whether it was just someone that you certainly were close to friendly with, I can imagine being a best friend. You know, that energy. And a funny thing is, I finally heard her in one of the videos where you’re jokingly saying that, oh yeah, the poached egg thing, and you said you have to return them at a restaurant. And your wife said, oh, I was so embarrassed. And before that, I didn’t realize that she was the one behind the camera. And in a way, I felt very included in the way I felt like I become that friend of yours as you’re talking to me with a smile. Because most of the other people who don’t have the luxury of having a spouse or a friend to shoot this, I know they’re talking into a camera with nobody behind it. And that energy is drastically different. It’s such a lovely feeling.
Yeah, it is. I’m very fortunate to be able to share the experience with her. And to be 100% honest, she does more work than me. Slave City would not exist without her because she does the filming, the editing, the photography. So oftentimes people see me and they think that I’m everything behind Slave City. But I joke because I smile and I cook and I tell jokes, but she’s the one who does the really heavy lifting. So she learned how to edit all the videos herself via YouTube tutorial. She learned how to do food photography. So we would love to actually include her more in the videos, but then you’ll start losing the video production and there’s no one to hold the camera. But I think, like you said, over the last eight months, we’ve kind of been including her more in terms of candidness. And people pick up on that and they’re always like, we want more desi, and I want more desi too, just like we can’t quite do it. But on the Facebook lives, it’s much more candid with her. That’s actually my favorite platform. Every Wednesday night at 06:00 p.m.. Chicago time, we do live cooking with Flave City and she holds the camera, but sometimes she cooks and we interact with people in real time.
And it’s an amazing medium that you can’t quite get on YouTube, but on Facebook you can. And it’s the most fun thing we do by far.
Hi there. It’s your host Faiwu, and you’re listening to the Phase Row podcast. Today on the show, meet Bobby Parish, Chicago native YouTube entrepreneur, teaching you how to meal prep with delicious and healthy recipes.
It’s so fascinating to me and I’m so happy to hear that. I feel that these days, especially with younger folks, the dynamics of relationship change. Literally every restaurant I walk into, the couple’s be sitting there playing with herself on the entire time with nothing at all to say to each other, but you guys are so completely opposite. You have this baby that literally like a baby you’ve nurtured for more than seven years. And also when you watch those most of YouTubers and especially Instagram sensations or famous people, usually the relationship actually come after, as in they’re working with a photographer, then they fall in love and then they are like Inseparable. But for you guys, actually, the relationship at first and then you learn to work together. So tell me, what was that like?
Yeah, so that was interesting. So, like I said, the only reason we started doing the videos in the first place is because my wife is a fantastic painter. She paints oil on canvas and they’re all over the house. They’re fantastic. And she wanted a camera to take photos of them, to put them on her website. And so once we bought the camera, which I think was like $1500, then I’m like, alright, well, let’s use this opportunity to jump into the videos and we have a great relationship. We both worked from home anyway. Usually when I tell people that, they’re like, how? How do you do that and not kill each other? So just the fact that we were able to do that, I guess, was off to a good start. And then we started from the very beginning, making the videos together, learning photography together, learning everything together. And now we have it down to like a well oiled machine where it’s just like boom, boom, boom.
Yeah. Wow. That’s really like a seamless team experience, you know. I know there’s so much learning and for people who haven’t stepped into sort of our world and our world is a little bit different, but you look at yourself today versus when you’re just working, when you’re just working fulltime in finance, what is that main difference? I mean, the way the energy within yourself, I mean, how have you transformed?
Well, it’s interesting because I was working for myself already in finance, so that sense of being independent and being solely responsible was there already. But my wife used to work in corporate a job, and she hated it. And so for her to quit that and then work independently for herself and then do this independently too, I’ve seen such a transformation there. But I think the coolest thing to me is that I didn’t go to culinary school. I’m not a chef, I’m a home cook, just like you, just like everyone watching me. I didn’t have a video background. I didn’t know anything about building a website. So the fact that we, one by one, conquered all these things and got them done and put them together to build this amazing platform we have is the most satisfactory thing. So when people tell me now they can’t do something or they don’t know how, that’s just an excuse. It’s a crutch in today’s world, in 2018, there’s no excuse not to do anything anymore. You can literally do whatever you want. And it goes back to what you’re saying. 99% of people won’t do it because they’re lazy or they’re scared, but if you want to become anything, you can literally do it now on the Internet.
Yeah, that is very true. And you mentioned last year was super exciting and even going to be ever more exciting this year. What are some of the highlights and projects and people you worked on?
Yeah, so focusing on this year, my goal is, once again, quality, not quantity. So we made a good amount of money. We actually beat my goal of last year for 2017 revenue, which I was very happy about, but there were times that I felt we were working too hard and it took away from the creative process. And I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. And so once you start to do that, then it’s kind of like, well, why am I doing this in the first place? So I don’t want to take projects that are going to make me work so hard that I’m going to regret it. So I’m trying to focus really only on ones that can be enjoyable and the scope is big enough where it can last the whole year or a couple of quarters. And I guess in your business too, a lot of deals are oneoff. Someone will come to you saying, we need this thing. We need it done in three weeks, and then that’s it. And it’s a nice paycheck, but then it leads to nothing else, and you just bust your ass. And then you don’t know where your next revenue is coming from.
So I really try to focus on yearly deals with brands that really make sense for me to work with and cut out the ones that just don’t make sense. And I’m going to be spinning my wheels and be burned out afterwards.
So, I mean, maybe there’s some NDAs, you might not be able to name some of these brands, but like, what are some of the projects entail? Like, what are they about to yeah.
Well, I mean, so last year I had a great partnership with the National Pork Board, where every month I did a Facebook Live video and a blog post with an original recipe based upon the theme every month. And that was really fun because it challenged me to take any cut of pork I wanted to and make a seasonal recipe and share it with everyone. So this year we’re going to be doing a project with a salad kit maker who is releasing new stir fry kits. And it’s going to be all throughout the year, and it’s going to be something where people it’s a product that people love and even I use, and it’s something that I can totally take creative liberty. I noticed now as I become kind of like a bigger influencer they give you more independence, whereas in the beginning they almost take the creativity away from you and they overmanage you and strip away your creative voice. And what’s the point of coming to a digital creator or what they call an influencer if you’re going to put the words in their mouth? Whereas now it’s kind of like, here’s the product.
Like this week, actually we just released a video for Plated. It’s a meal kit delivery service. But I love the company because it takes away your excuse not to cook. They’ll ship you the recipes you choose online in a box, prepped, ready for you to go. So you don’t have to shop, you don’t have to prep, you just have to cook. And the recipes are unbelievable. And they just said, order it, make a video, hit a couple talking points and that’s it. So having the creative freedom to create whatever you want with a product you truly believe is the best way to get the result that everybody’s going to win at.
I love those examples when it comes to travel and then making meals, maybe you’re learning something new because maybe they’re the things you’ve never made before. And how does that work when you have done something you’ve never done before? And on video, do you practice a few times? Do you like to make the same meal like 20 times?
That’s a good question. So if it’s a recipe that I’m really unsure of or is really different, I’ll have to practice it a couple of times. But to the point now where I just know the flavors are going to work and I don’t even practice ahead of time. I literally do it for the first time on camera. And then if I was wrong about a certain quantity of like lemon juice or honey or vinegar, I could adjust that for the recipe. But I think that spontaneity is what makes it really fun for me. Whereas most people don’t know that. I think they assume that I research the recipes and I do, but I don’t practice them because this isn’t like a Food Network show. It’s going to be produced. This is real, it’s being done and it’s out.
There another question. This sounds like such a not a YouTuber but person who consumes the content is how many days a week do you cook?
In front of the camera or in.
The kitchen, I guess would be both then focused.
Well, I cook every day for personal enjoyment and personal consumption. But our schedule now is we film a video on Monday, that’s production day, that takes hours. And then Tuesday through Thursday we edit the video. Friday it goes out on YouTube Friday morning, every morning around 830. And then every Wednesday evening we do Facebook Live cooking videos. And then almost every night I do Instagram stories, recipe videos. So that’s fun because I’m literally making whatever I was going to make anyway. But I’m just doing out of Instagram stories and it’s extremely candid and there’s no editing and it’s very fun.
So we talked about revenue streams and I think some came up already. So sponsorship brands working with you directly, which is great without the middleman, and sounds like there’s some affiliate links that kind of sprinkle throughout.
Is there anything else that we missed?
Yeah, there’s also YouTube ad revenue. So the ads you see before every video, they don’t pay nearly as well as people think they do. They think you make a lot of money from it unless you’re literally getting millions of views on a consistent basis. I’d make anywhere from like $500 to $800 a month from YouTube ad, which is nice. It’s nice passive income, but it’s not something to support yourself off of. And then I get contacted for sponsored Instagram posts here and there where someone wants me to use their product as part of a recipe for an Instagram post. I call that passive income too, because it’s not something where it’s sustainable, but it’s nice little side revenue. But it really is the sponsored videos. And I think it’s only going to become that way more for all video and digital content creators. I think I’m very fortunate, and all content creators are very fortunate right now because like I said, it’s the wild, wild west of digital advertising. And what you said earlier, if you go online and you look for cooking, you’ll find a lot of girls, you’ll find a lot of bakers, but you don’t find a lot of straight white guys.
I tell people it’s the only time in my life where I’m a minority because I’m about the most boring, bland white guy in the universe. But on the internet, being a cook and a chef, I’m a minority. And so I think people see that. They’re like, oh wow, there’s a guy who can cook. His recipes are good, he’s kind of funny. And then when brands see that, they’re like, oh, well, we’ve already worked with so many women or so many bakers, let’s work with this guy. So I think that’s why I’ve been successful with getting some brand deals that have been very lucrative.
Another intimidating thing, as someone who just started cooking more recently, is that my chopping, my knife skills are just not there. And I know you’re very good with your knife, but came from experience, but.
At the same time, you’re not one.
Of those crazy guys. You’re just flipping the knife around and just all you see is like, I can’t do that. And I didn’t feel intimidated by you. I was like, I think if he can do it, I think I can get there too.
Yeah, that’s what I love to hear, when you just said that last thing, if I can do it, you can do it. I always tell people that, and I think that’s what’s cool about my videos, that I’m constantly dropping little tips and techniques very casually, but they’re like mind openers for someone like you. Like, I didn’t know that’s how you chop an onion. I didn’t know that’s how you chop parsley. I didn’t know that’s how you store kale once you get a home from the grocery store. So also, I think the style of the video I make it’s a twelve minute video where I’m literally cooking and talking the entire time. A lot of people on YouTube do this style where they’ll do an intro to the camera and talk. Hey. My name is X-Y-Z. Today we’re making this. And then it goes to all hands only with a voiceover. And for me, that’s very impersonal. My videos are all about me. I’m the brand, not my hands, not the food. So by once again emulating a Food Network show, you get to know me and my wife Dessey, and tons of little tips throughout the process.
And at the end you’ve learned how to make a recipe, probably learned a handful of really cool tips and hopefully gotten to fail. Like, you know, me and you want to watch more of my videos.
Absolutely. And you are so approachable. And yeah, when I went to your website, I noticed something you’ve, Ben Smith, recognized. You’re a very recognized figure. I noticed your pictures with a lot of celebrities and not just celebrity chefs. So how did those opportunities come about and how did you feel like during that time?
Yeah, it’s fun because a lot of those come at like, trade events or food and wine shows or we’ve been on a couple of Food Network competition shows, which was really fun. Those are like little validation bumpers every once in a while, like a pat on the back, but ultimately it means nothing to me because I care about helping you.
That’s beautiful. You said I always ask this question, and could you look back to when you’re about ten years old? What were you like and what are some of those interests you had at the time? And the reason for me to be interested in that is that you’re still clearly very young, but not so young that you don’t remember anything that actually happened.
Yeah, I think at ten years old I was a momma’s boy, and whereas my brother, who’s like three years older than me, was the opposite of that. And so I literally remember times where, like, I would be hanging out with my mom in the house or usually in the kitchen watching her cook. And I remember one time vividly where my brother was in the backyard with his friend doing beer bongs, like, right outside the window, and my mom saw that and didn’t even care. Yeah, that’s him. Whereas I was inside helping her cook or unload groceries. So it was such a snapshot of, like, who I am and who he is because he’s just such a different person. But I think I was just like at ten years old, I was just very open to the influence of everything. And I think I’ve been very curious about everything in life because I’ve never really had a real job. I work for myself in finance. I work for myself now. I sit in my pajamas all day until I have to film a video. Then I actually brush my hair. So even though I’m in my 30s, in my mind I’m really like in my 20s, like my low twenty s.
I don’t view stress and responsibilities as something that should get in the way and slow me down. And I just go about the world with curiosity, and I want to know why things happen. And I think that’s the same thing a kid does, but it doesn’t mean you stop it when you get older. Otherwise, I would have never gotten to where I am right now, and you never would have been where you are right now, and we wouldn’t be talking.
Yeah. Thank you for telling us those stories. And it’s just really eyeopening. And what I noticed with a lot of guest answers is who they were as a ten year old points to almost directly at who they are today. And I think to remember especially certain moments and stories is an incredible experience, and I think we forget that sometimes or just stop looking back to who we are and why we do what we do. So what do you do with selfcare? Like you mentioned, 2017 for me was also way too hard working, and I had to step back and look at what I was doing. How do you check in with yourself, with your wife, and like, hey, are we on the right track?
Yeah. So luckily we both work from home, so we can kind of like, dial it down when we need to. One of my intentions for 2018 was to start meditating every day. So I started reading a book by Tim Ferriss called Trap of Mentors, and it seemed like a theme that everyone who was in the book was doing was meditation. And so I’ve been doing that every day, and I find that it’s a great way to start the day to do that. And I go to the gym about four to five days a week. That’s something I’ve been doing since the day I turned 16 years old. So I think that the balance of that, just having to work out and meditate and eat really clean food will offset however hard I have to work, but to the point where I don’t want to work, to the point where I feel like it sucks, like you said. So obviously that’s unavoidable. It’s going to happen at times when you have to bust your ass, but if you plan far enough out, then you don’t have to put yourself in those situations too often.
Right. That’s very wise. So thank you so much.
Awesome. All right, Fayette. I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much.
Hi, there. It’s me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you enjoyed what you heard, it would be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Phase Role Podcast. It literally takes seconds. If you’re on your mobile phone, just search for a Phase Role Podcast in the Podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.
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