Hi! My name is Chris Sharpe, and I’ve been making a full-time living on YouTube for over ten years. I realize that makes me an old-timer, but it also gives me a different perspective on things that I am excited to share with you.
I got into YouTube after failing to make a living as an indie film director. My first micro-budget feature film was a minor success, won some awards, and even got an international distribution deal. I used all the momentum from that one to make a bigger second film – but all did not go as planned. The movie crashed and burned, and I ended up broke, depressed, and unsure of what to do next.
In the aftermath of that failed production – which I’ll talk more about soon – I decided I needed to really learn “internet stuff.” So I dove deep into the world of search engine optimization and learned how to make micro-sites. I picked it up pretty quickly and, within a few months, had some tiny sites up and running that made a little bit of money. Maybe, more importantly, I was able to use them to get an actual job.
Soon after that, I started trying to really figure out what was going on with YouTube. It was still early days, and the YouTube Partner Program was so new that not many people even had access to it. But it wasn’t about the money. If I couldn’t successfully make movies, I wanted to make shows for the internet. We actually called them “web series” back then.
I pitched my good friend (and now wife) Hilah (who was one of the actors in the failed movie project) on the idea of doing a funny cooking show. We had no idea what we were doing at the time, but video-by-video, we figured it out. That channel was Hilah Cooking and was successful enough that we were both able to quit our day jobs after a little more than a year.
YouTube was all I wanted to do. I was in love with the platform, and I still am. Since I no longer had a day job, I had much more time on my hands. The strategy we’d developed for Hilah Cooking worked so well, and I wanted to see if I could implement it again in another niche. I reached out to Adriene, another friend from the Austin indie movie world, to see if she’d be interested in hosting a yoga channel. She was. That conversation led to Yoga With Adriene – which is currently the #1 yoga channel on YouTube, with over 11 million subscribers.
Life has been a whirlwind for the last 12 years. The success of these channels has taken me all over the world. I’ve made incredible friendships with people I otherwise would never have met. (The photo above is of Adriene and me before a 2000+ person event at Alexandra Palace in London.) Many doors have opened, and I’ve worked and consulted with companies I could never have dreamed of otherwise. We’ve had some huge successes, and we’ve made some major mistakes, but it’s been an amazing experience.
And I feel like I’m still just getting started.
On this site and in my free newsletter, I’ll be exploring all of this in much greater detail, as well as pulling back the curtain on some new projects I’m working on right now. My focus is on YouTube, the creator economy, and digital businesses.
I’m glad we found each other. Talk to you soon!