I’m still alive! I want to thank everyone who reached out to ask if I was okay. It was great to hear from everybody. I even finally met up with a few of you in real life. We should do that more often!
Here’s a Quick Recap since the last time I wrote to you:
- I’m still going strong with Yoga With Adriene + FWFG. In addition to the studio in Austin, we opened up an office here in Los Angeles.
- Took an actual summer vacation to London and then on to sailing in the Mediterranean with some close friends and fellow entrepreneurs.
- The indie feature I helped produce a few years ago (Fluorescent Beast) finally had its world premiere
- I helped open a fitness center in Greenville South Carolina
- Launched a brand-new YouTube channel
- I’m almost ready to launch a direct-to-consumer e-Commerce company
So I have been a little busy.
I’ll be writing about all of these projects in the weeks to come, but most of you are here to read about YouTube, so let’s start with that.
Earlier this year, my friend Sean Russel Herman reached out for some YouTube advice. During our conversation, I found out he was in the early stages of opening a fitness center in Greenville, SC. He thought a YouTube channel would be a great way to complement what he planned to teach in the physical location.
Initially, I met with him because I thought he might be a great instructor for the FWFG app. But it quickly became clear he was working on something that had the potential to be an entire brand of its own.
I met Sean a few years ago when he was an actor in a low-budget thriller titled Cruel Hearts. I was working on that one behind the scenes. We hit it off and have stayed in touch, even over the pandemic when we both migrated out of Los Angeles. We’ve kicked around ideas for several projects over the years — most of them crazy independent movies. But this new concept seemed like a perfect project for us to work on together.
In addition to being a great actor and formidable martial artist, Sean is a former professional surfer, active meditator, and student of all different types of movement practices. Musou Movement combines all of his skills and passions together.
I flew out to Greenville to see what he was up to. Greenville was awesome and once we got together, it was hard to ignore the potential. Momentum was already building and I got swept up in it.
Fast forward six months to today and Musou Movement is open, the YouTube channel has launched and we are signing up new members every day. It’s been an exciting endeavor to be a part of, and trying to keep up with Sean’s energy and enthusiasm has been keeping me on my toes.
The first Musou Movement location opened its doors on October 1st in Greenville, South Carolina.
Starting a YouTube Channel From Scratch
This is the first brand-new channel I’ve started in over five years. I’ve continued my work as a YouTube consultant, but all those channels have already been established. I can come in, look at the analytics, and use that to decide what to fix.
But a new channel is totally different. You’ve got nothing to work with. The tools are even much more limited until you hit certain levels. To be honest, I’d forgotten about what it was like to start from scratch.
And I was a little freaked out.
I was over-analyzing everything and had no idea what to focus on. I had VidIQ and Ahrefs fired up generating reports for all kinds of keywords related to martial arts, primal movement, and functional training.
Then a good friend gave this advice: “It’s a great concept so just start throwing stuff against the wall and see what sticks.”
Lightbulb moment. This was the biggest thing I’d forgotten about in the early days. You just have to start, keep going, and keep experimenting. Once something hits, you identify it and go all in.
As of this writing, we are a little over a week in and so far nothing has hit. We’ve got 41 subscribers, 6,803 views, and 318 hours of watch time. I realize that’s not bad, but for me – it is a little frustrating.
The analytics from the Musou Movement channel so far.
But while the current analytics might not look like a major success, slowly but surely people are finding and watching the videos. Usually, this is via the embeds on the website which isn’t optimal for the overall channel, but I’ll take it.
The HUGE upside is that the videos are directly translating into membership sign-ups for the physical location. Sean is even using the videos to help people prepare for coming into a live class. If members do watch the video before coming to class, he can spend less time teaching some of the basics. Members also feel much more comfortable because they already know something, and have already connected with Sean through the video.
Gyms and fitness centers are a hard business, but these videos are doing the heavy lifting for us, helping us chart a course for profitability.
It’s funny how often we fail to take our own advice.
I tell people constantly that YouTube serves many purposes. It’s not just about building a huge audience and raking in AdSense dollars. It’s also a very effective tool for promoting a business and educating and informing customers.
In upcoming emails, I’ll be sharing a lot of deep behind-the-scenes information about this channel as we build it. If you want to follow along and observe what I’m doing in real-time, subscribe to the channel here. I’m even making Shorts for the first time ever. If you’re curious about something I’m doing, send me an email and let me know.
Major Takeaway From Week One: Thumbnails
Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails. I’m as tired of hearing about the power of thumbnails as you are. But the “gurus” are right. They truly have a huge impact, even if your strategy is still heavily dependent on search.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your thumbnails. If a video is underperforming, make a new one. I don’t have the thumbnail split-testing feature on this account yet, so I’m doing it all the old-fashioned way. Our first video was very slow out of the gate. I made a more simple thumbnail and the views quadrupled. I can’t confirm this but based on my test accounts, it does seem like YouTube pushes the video again if there is a thumbnail change.
Thanks for reading. I hope everything is going awesome with you and your endeavors!
PS – A few years ago, I started a Facebook Group called VidPro. It was really thriving for a little while – before everybody bailed on Facebook. I had to get back into Facebook to start running ads and suddenly had great memories of the old VidPro days. So I’ve started occasionally posting there again. If you’re still on Facebook, check it out. There is still a great group of YouTube people there, so it’s a great place to connect and ask questions. I’m not sure it’s even possible to revive a group like this but I’m going to be there playing around with it for at least a little while.