One of my favorite things about starting a new challenge in life is that you never know where you will end up at the end of it.
That’s the fun part about entrepreneurship, and it’s also why I encourage it very frequently for other young adults.
Along your journey, you usually end up encountering a slew of interesting people, new ideas/opportunity, and you often find yourself travelling down a path you never would have expected.
I’m incredibly excited to share this Young Money story with you today because it’s truly an example of what can happen in life if you just take a shot in the dark and try to build something.
I met Ben, the entrepreneur who is about to take over this post, in college last year, and he is by far one of the most open minded and driven people I met during school.
Ben’s been on This Online World before, and covered how to start a successful podcast a few months back.
If you want to learn more about how Ben has started both a successful podcast and a rapidly growing YouTube channel, be sure to read on!
Also be sure to checkout the previous posts in the Young Money interview series!
Growing up, I had a passion for two things.
The first was sports, and the second was something I later found out was entrepreneurship, and most of my free time was invested into one of the two interests.
I was starting side hustles before I was 10 without even realizing that was a thing.
I also invested almost every waking hour into football as my dream was to be the starting running back for my favorite NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I played the sport year round and trained throughout all of it as well. It cultivated into a decent high school career with a few championships and an opportunity to play at the next level in college.
However, I only ended up playing a season on the team and walked away after suffering a serious concussion.
I had attached so much of my identity and confidence to the sport, like many athletes do. After my concussion, I was terribly lost and confused as to where I should invest all of this new found time.
The First Side Hustle – YouTube:
Figuring out what to do next took some serious self reflection.
I took the time to write down all the things I knew I loved, and I recommend this strategy to anyone searching for direction or purpose.
I don’t care who you are, there will be things you do in life, big or small, that make you feel a certain way.
That indescribable feeling is your life compass trying to point you in the right direction.
I have always loved entertaining, inspiring and educating people. Few things give me the satisfaction like an engaged audience that I know I provided value for.
The only time I had ever really had the opportunity to experience this was through school presentations or performances. However, I was fascinated with social media and more specifically, YouTube.
I had been following the journeys of many entrepreneurs for a while, and I consistently found myself feeling similar and wanted to build a presence and lifestyle like theirs.
Starting a YouTube channel seemed like a great way to build and engage an audience, but like many people, I made excuses and quit before even trying.
I continued to toy around with the idea until my compass forced me into action.
While playing recreational football, I tore my ACL and meniscus.
I was devastated and immobile. After wallowing in self pity, feeling like I couldn’t catch a break, I went to YouTube to seek out advice on how to deal with my new situation.
Upon doing so I was surprised to find very little content of any value on ACL injuries and rehab. I decided this was my opportunity for YouTube; my opportunity to earn those subscriptions and grow.
I made a series of videos on my experience with the injury that have received over 200k views to date. Throughout this process, I fell in love with the platform and the ability to help others through simply doing things I enjoy.
Extra watching – See how Ben made his first YouTube paycheck and learn how to make money on YouTube!
Expanding The Channel:
While ACL recovery videos were a great start for my channel, the niche put me in a box with little room to grow.
Realizing this, I decided to incorporate my second long time passion, entrepreneurship.
I began making videos providing advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs ranging from tactical strategies, general mindset advice, and personal development.
During this time of starting my channel, one of my favorite YouTubers appeared on a podcast I listened to, and this was another light bulb moment for me and was something that dramatically changed my life.
I decided that, much like my knee, this was the push I needed to grow.
I decided to start a podcast.
The Second Side Hustle – Podcasting:
I had always wanted to connect with entrepreneurs, but I was also a kid from Canada with no connections in the game.
Starting my podcast, Do Dope Shit, seemed like a perfect way to bridge this gap.
I decided to structure my content with passion in mind while also aiming for growth, and I built a show around what I wanted to supplement in my life.
Let me tell you, having your content based on passion and desired personal growth will keep you extremely motivated and consistent.
I decided the direction for my show and you can find it in the bio of my podcast: “Benjamin Hayden Leavitt interviews doers who have followed their own path and created a career and lifestyle revolving around passion. He captures their stories, struggles and tactics to try and help you do the same.”
Podcasting is the most valuable platform for self-improvement, bar none.
I have made so many amazing friends and established relationships that will last a lifetime because of the medium, and I believe it has everything to do with the nature of podcasting.
Conversation has been a tool that humans have used to connect, learn, grow, laugh and educate as long as we have been around.
Every episode, I have an hour long conversation with someone I want to get to know, so we inevitably leave as friends while also creating a valuable piece of evergreen content.
I have been able to connect with people I otherwise never would have through podcasting while simultaneously improving my conversational abilities, a lifelong skill that is also important for business.
Extra Reading – Podcast vs YouTube – What’s Best For You?
Podcasting gave me a new skill and an outlet for my passion, but YouTube was still something I saw so much value in.
I figured creating a video on my podcasting experience would provide some value to my small audience, so I made one.
It went about the same as every previous video, and I thought it was a decent video but nothing spectacular.
It received the same amount of views as my other videos (under 100). I moved on and thought nothing of it.
Five months later that same video started receiving hundreds of views a day.
I didn’t think anything of it, and thought it was just a fluke.
However, it continued to grow and continues to this day, averaging about 600+ views every single day and has surpassed 115K views.
It ranks in very competitive keywords, has brought me a decent amount of passive and recurring income from affiliate revenue, Adsense revenue, and future sponsored videos and opportunities.
It also forced me to learn more about growing a channel and making money on YouTube/podcasting.
This has led to consulting jobs for paid clients and many more opportunities coming in the near future. At this point it isn’t crazy money, but it is extremely helpful and continues to grow.
Wins & Losses:
My biggest win turned out to be a complete surprise in the form of my first viral video.
As for the biggest loss, that would definitely be dealing with a massive headache and lost episodes due to poor software and a lack of knowledge.
Starting a podcast is a learning process, and I have made plenty of mistakes along the way.
To avoid any of these complications, I now highly recommend investing in a reliable and dedicated hosting service. I partner with Buzzsprout and use them as my host. If you are looking for a host, Buzzsprout is giving out a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up!
My advice to any other young people looking to grow is to simply start doing things, constantly.
Through doing that, life and the market will manufacture the right opportunity.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you see people “killing it” on social media, but it’s important to remember that Instagram isn’t reality and everyone is on their own path.
Your path will form, but only when you start learning, failing, and actually putting the effort into creating something.
I’d like to thank Ben for taking the time once again to share his story on This Online World.
I think Ben’s story is a perfect example of how jumping into a passion project can take you down a path you never would have imagined.
I also think that Ben’s initial venture into YouTube (ACL videos) and eventual viral video on how to start a podcast proves that you can succeed if you provide real value to the market.
Ben couldn’t find useful content on how to recover from an ACL surgery so he created it, and he was rewarded. His video on how to start a podcast is also one of the best I have seen on the topic and is transparent/honest, and the views prove it.
Niche saturation or competition shouldn’t scare you.
If anything, you should get excited when a subject you are passionate about has a growing audience around it. Focus on providing value, put in the work, and you can succeed on any platform.
Catch you guys in the next one.