The Richard Branson of YouTube

Profitable animation on YouTube, the way to hack revenue from Shorts, and scaling a portfolio of channels

The Creator: Oliver Gilpin

It's one step to be a Creator and start hiring someone. It's another step to then know how to incentivize them, manage them, and try and get to a situation where they're doing the right thing without you looking. That's kind of the ideal situation, and that's where incentives really come in.

Over the last few years, Oliver Gilpin has quietly built a global portfolio of animated, educational YouTube channels with millions of followers in more than half a dozen languages.

But he hasn’t done it alone.

See, Oliver isn’t your typical Creator. While he’s deeply creative, and launched several of the channels himself, he’s been willing to do something more creators need to: hand over the reins to someone else.

Today, Oliver has around 70 people working on his business - producing content, dubbing voiceovers, managing channels, and more - around the world, and all of them are incentivized, through participation in the success of their projects, to have an ownership mentality.

Did I mention that Oliver is a digital nomad? When I spoke with him, he was near Machu Picchu, in Peru. If I remember right, he was off to Bali after that.

How does he make animation work on YouTube? And how does he successfully scale dozens of channels in many languages while seeing the world?

Let’s get into it!

Oliver loves collaborating with smart, creative people. If you’re looking to start a channel and have an idea - or find something else he’s doing interesting and just want to connect - reach out to [email protected] and CHECK THIS OUT.

The Business

The goal has always been to do what Richard Branson did for Virgin, which is his holding company and has lots of different franchise brands in different niches in different industries.

The goal is to do something similar, but just on YouTube - so you have different niches, but the base of the business is that we know how to build media brands, scale them, and make revenue from them.

That’s why I started my first channel knowing I wanted to make many more. The first was OtherWorldly, the second was MrSpherical, and that really succeeded. Within ninety days, we had 100k subscribers from nothing, and no promotion, just purely growth. Within a year, we did a million subscribers.

Zero to a million.

Breakdown

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Observations

You’ve probably noticed that Oliver owns a LOT of YouTube channels. That’s because he does a fantastic job of two things I believe more Creators should be doing:

  1. Hiring, incentivizing, and trusting talented people to run channels for him, and

  2. Working to maximize the value of each asset (video or channel) he creates.

The secret to his approach is tapping into the global talent pool - a path less traveled by other Creators.

A lot of Creators are like “I can't hire an editor overseas because they're gonna be crap.”

Okay, well, I've just taken it to the next level - like, I'm hiring people to run my channels overseas, and they're doing great.

It's about how good you are at talent sourcing, how good your are at hiring, how good you are at just understanding what good talent is, really.

That's what it is. If you understand that, you can hire someone in the cheapest country possible, and you'll still find someone incredible. That's the key.

I think there's a stereotype that people in these other countries, like Philippines or Argentina, are going to somehow do worse work, when actually, no - if you incentivize them well, and they're getting double their average salary in the country, then it's going to be quite the opposite.

Actually, they're going to be much better.

This approach is largely available to Oliver because his portfolio of YouTube channels are animation channels. He’s not limited to real-life production, and therefore can hire the right people for the right job at the right price wherever they are.

Thus, he can have animators in - for example - Argentina produce videos for his English-language channel, that he then hires an American VO (voiceover) artist to voice and run.

That’s not all though.

By reinvesting some of the earnings from the English-language versions of each video into dubbing versions in other languages, he makes much more than he would have - in profit - if he had stopped at the English-language video.

The best part? He doesn’t have to manage this process himself - he basically hires a local animators and creator-CEOs for each channel, and incentivizes them to build it themselves.

We get into more detail on this in The Stack, but here’s a preview:

A lot of other creators who do languages, they tend to hire an agency that does hourly pay or a fixed payment maybe per video that's dubbed. So they might pay, let's say $20 per minute of their video that's dubbed, which means if you do a 10 minute video, you pay $200, and then on top of that, you've got to do the editing. So you might want to re-edit some of the subtitles to different languages. You might want to have someone to do community posts to engage the audience and make a community within that language.

So you end up having quite a few roles to get split, and our approach is not to do that. It’s to try and decentralize it as much as possible.

Essentially, we try to find people who are good at VO [voiceover], have some basic channel management ability, have some basic editing ability, and they're usually a VO artist who is maybe a hobbyist starting to be professional. They are still in the “building their portfolio” stage and they're therefore a really suitable person to take the brand and treat it like their own channel, like treat it like they're a Creator themselves.

So this is a really nice approach, because these guys who are running the channels, it's like their own project, their own creation almost, which they're entirely managing themselves. They have control over it, autonomy, and that creates an ownership mentality that serves in them caring about it. So you get the whole package, basically.

Incentives are the key to Oliver’s recruitment and management strategy, as they enable him to hand off entire channels to VO-artist-channel-managers that he finds in other countries, and trust that they’re working to build the channel as if it was their own.

Incentives are really hard to get right. As a former Partnerships leader, I’ve messed incentives up myself in the past - so I know how challenging they can be, and I’m convinced he’s got it figured out. We’ll get into more detail on exactly how he incentivizes in The Stack, so keep reading.

YouTube recently released a feature that enabling a single video to have multiple audio and subtitle tracks, so that one channel can be the hub of a Creator’s global audience. Oliver, however, prefers to operate multiple channels - one for each language.

Why?

The reasoning behind having different channels is that…with our brands, we're gonna try and create brands that can get sponsors in each language.

Without being able to edit the individual video track, you kind of have an issue where you can't do that, right?

So right now it doesn't make so much sense for us to merge them all into one channel like MrBeast has. We're going to keep them separate for now, and in the future, for languages which are maybe not really going to earn in sponsorships, then yes, we'll put them on the main channel, because then you get more views as a total figure, which is obviously useful social proof-wise.

We'll wait a bit longer before doing that.

This is super interesting. Since Oliver’s content is animation content, it’s actually easier for him to get different sponsors in different languages / territories, because he can just edit them into the existing video. In order to do that, though, he needs to be able to have unique video as well as audio, which requires a separate video channels on YouTube.

I wonder if YouTube will eventually let a channel have unique video tracks as well as audio tracks on a single video, depending on the language/territory.

Oliver’s been able to grow his top channels fairly quickly. He attributes much of that growth to two things:

  1. Consistently posting high-quality videos

  2. Leveraging the distribution opportunity from YouTube Shorts

The thing many Creators struggle with is how to convert Shorts viewers into long-form viewers, and Creators who primarily make long-form content have lamented the decline in viewership and CPM they attribute to the rise of Shorts.

Oliver has a different perspective:

The way I define the issues some Creators have in terms of converting Shorts viewers into long-video viewers is that the issue is a difference of value proposition, and it tends to be the case that in animation, the value proposition in a short video tends to transfer into a longer video easier than most YouTube formats, like challenge videos.

A one-minute challenge video interviewing somebody on the street is quite different than a 10 minute video interviewing people, but a one-minute animation of, let's say, India vs Pakistan or something, and then you make a lengthy video about the history of those countries…it just feels a bit more related. The values are just a bit more clearly tied, I feel.

That's kind of what we tend to find works, so we're happy with it.

His approach to funneling Shorts subscribers to his longer form content isn’t one I’ve heard before:

Shorts subscribers definitely helped, and it also helped us as part of the transition. We also did 2-3 minute videos, so Shorts subscribers would subscribe. They still watch the one-minute Shorts, but then they also get promoted in to browse our 2-3 minute videos. They watch those, then they can move on to the 10 minute videos after that.

So it's kind of like somewhat stepped.

He takes a stepped approach, pushing 1-minute Shorts viewers to 2-3 minute regular videos, and then from there to 10-minute long-form videos. As a result, he’s the first Creator I’ve heard directly from who has found Shorts to contribute considerable value to his long-form video business!

That said, he is aware that the economics of Shorts aren’t great, and has many complaints about how YouTube has handled monetizing Shorts - easily summarized by his quip:

Shorts creators are the loss leaders of YouTube. We take the hit.

So far, Oliver has made a ton of progress on extracting value from his content assets on YouTube. What he hasn’t yet done - but is starting to explore - is syndication off-platform. That said, it’s not a huge priority.

We are looking into Snap, and we kind of actually are on Snap, but we haven't really made much progress there. We're gonna reevaluate our strategy there. That’s something we're going to focus on.

I have a Creator friend who usually makes Shorts for YouTube - on interesting facts, so like the oldest person to ever live or something like that - and he's making $20k a month in the past few months on Snap, just making originals - he's not reposting his content. He's making original content. But it's crazy, they pay a $6 CPM or something like that, and it potentially is pretty immense. So that's something we're gonna try and leverage.

Otherwise, on the other socials - the thing is that, if we do the YouTube algorithm promotion right, then the brand is going to grow significantly on YouTube anyway. If we're gonna earn on YouTube anyway, the brand's gonna grow anyway.

Right now, the priority is grow brands on YouTube, and then I think it makes more sense to do the other socials once we hit a…not stagnant point, but the point where your channel becomes and A player in the niche, and it kind of sits making videos as opposed to growing.

Then that's the time, I think, to expand more into other socials that don't earn.

He feels there’s more opportunity to grow his revenue through different languages on YouTube than by syndication to other platforms.

In terms of monetization, I think that the other platforms don't really have much in terms of monetization.

In terms of growth, I definitely agree that other platforms do it well, and it can work really well.I have some interesting cases I can reference.

So there's one person on TikTok who posted Solarballs videos from YouTube, and he got a quarter of a million followers posting our content for $0.

It would be fair to say there is good opportunity to grow - obviously not financially, but there is opportunity to grow in terms of views.

So yeah, we haven't had the time to prioritize it. It’s a good idea. But right now, I'm more interested in languages, and at a later point, we do that.

I find this very interesting. He’s running a smart bootstrapped business, prioritizing slower revenue-based growth over faster pre-revenue growth.

YouTube provides the best ongoing monetization, and he sees a huge opportunity in educational content for non-English languages on the platform.

I'd say that I am definitely very much interested in the Education space’s growth - like, that is actually my priority. I find it quite interesting because you're reaching more people who are uneducated, and therefore maybe even benefit more from history education or space education.

For me, that's kind of the main reason.

He’s also wise enough to stick to his strengths - something not enough Creators (or people, for that matter) do.

The second thing is, I don't understand the platforms of TikTok and Instagram in terms of growth. I don't know how much time to invest versus how much reward I get. That's kind of a difficult calculation.

But I know when it comes to languages, what the guaranteed thing is.

Two of his properties are currently generating most of his cash flow - MrSpherical and Solarballs. For MrSpherical, despite the channel having the most subscribers and viewership, YouTube’s AdSense isn’t the profit center because so much of its viewership is Shorts based. AdSense covers most of the costs, but he generates the majority of his profits from brand deals.

We started to earn $1000-$1500 a month, and gradually increased. In 2022, the highest month we had was $16000 for our AdSense on MrSpherical, and that was mainly because of long-form videos.

It’s declined significantly from there, unfortunately, so our views have also declined I think. We’re like half the views, because that was a very very peak month. Now the revenue is ridiculously low. It's like $4000 in a month. It's crazy. So although we get like 10, 15, 20 million views in a month, because we're mostly getting Shorts views, it just pays like nothing.

So it looks like it makes a lot of money, but it really doesn't.

The memberships, we don't really promote it very much, but it's like $400-$500 US dollars per month for MrSpherical memberships. And then for sponsorships, that's where the money comes.

In the past we've done deals that range from $15-$30 thousand US dollars for one video sponsor on MrSpherical, so that's basically where the money comes in - sponsors. Now with the recession coming… where is that going to really go? But for now, that's where the money is.

We're gonna try and make two long videos a month, get sponsors, maybe $10, $15 thousand dollars, and then you profit per video like $10, $15 thousand dollars because the AdSense of long videos tends to cover our animation cost. So the sponsorship is basically profit.

Solarballs is a bit different. Here, he uses a GENIUS strategy - posting short videos as both YT Shorts AND as "regular” full-length videos. This works because Shorts drives growth but the full-length algorithm is different and treats the content as different, so the views they end up getting on those are monetized much more highly.

What I'm saying is, instead of posting these 1 minute videos as Shorts - which earn next to nothing - we were posting them as short videos, like 1 minute 10 seconds, which isn't a YouTube Short but it is a low length, short length video. And therefore YouTube just promotes it like a normal video. You therefore get normal YouTube money instead of Short YouTube money.

So yeah, that that was that was a lot better. Even then, we've started doing like 3 shorts maybe on Solarballs, just like remixing our content and posting it, because it's a separate algorithm, separate audience in a way, so we might as well.

But in terms of creating original animation for Shorts, it just doesn't make sense. It’s just a waste of money, for the most part, unless you're in the early stages.

Remixing and reposting the same short video as Shorts and long-form videos means more opportunities for the content to get seen and hit in the algorithm - and the “regular” post of the short video will generate 100x the revenue ($5 CPM vs a $0.05 CPM).

As for growing his business, the thing Oliver is constantly thinking about is growing his capacity.

I'm more interested in…creating capacity. What I mean by that is - brands that people thatare successful in some capacity - so capacity is like building more brands that have the potential to scale. That's more of a personal interest for me.

Plus, I know my skillsets…and as I hire more people, I'll find more people who are better at the scaling side of optimizing revenue streams across various platforms.

So it's a mixture of interest plus my general personality plus my skillset, which means I'm more interested in brand-building from the ground up, more so than capitalizing on what I currently have.

And most Creators - that's totally opposite to most Creators. Most Creators are like “I've got a channel, let's make lots of money” and that's kind of… that's fine. I've got a pretty unique personality in that regard.

Lightening Round

#1 tool to save time and money?

Notion

With free money, who would you hire?

I would hire an integrator - somebody to oversee all of the channels for me, like a Chief Operating Officer.

Biggest risk to the business?

I would say it’s: Can we can we get sponsors consistently? I want to scale lots of animation brands, and I kind of need sponsors to make sure that I have nice finances. So - can we get sponsors through a recession? That's the question. Yeah, can we get well paid sponsors through a recession.

What’s contributing most to your growth?

The ability to step back from each channel and then make a new one because I have time.

The Stack

In The Stack this week, we cover:

  • The unexpected platform (it’s not Slack, or any other B2B business you can think of) that Oliver uses to manage a 70-person media business including comms, payroll, and project management

  • His strategic approach to hiring and incentivizing animators and Creative Directors that has sucessfully created an ownership mindset among his team, leading to nine channels with over 100,000 subs and more than 20 with over 10,000.

  • The problem with “small YouTuber tools” and a views-based Creator mindset.

And much more. Subscribe now for access.

The Stack

Business Management

Communication - Discord Servers

Discord servers is the way we organize each team.

We have one Discord server which is just everyone who gets paid. Everyone just sends their invoices once a month, and that's kind of how that works.

Then, each channel individually has its own team. Some animation companies who work on YouTube, they treat animators as if they can animate anything they want on any channel. We try and have animators specifically working on certain channels, because that’s somewhat more specialized in terms of them getting the style. It's also more interesting to them, because they feel more invested in that particular channel as opposed to just animate anything we give them.

So that's the approach - to try and split the team by channels, and each Discord server is how we run it for each channel.

Oliver uses Discord the way larger companies use Slack - splitting channels out by team, and using specific channels to communicate and aggregate information.

This is clever - Discord is a free platform, and has most of the same features as Slack. It’s not as secure for corporate purposes, but that doesn’t really matter for Oliver.

Finances - Xero + Finance Manager + Wise.com

  • Wise.com for bank + debit card

  • Xero for bookkeeping and taxes, along with an outsourced finance manager

I've considered using Stir, because obviously there's not many people who have all these AdSense shares to deal with like I do…but so far, we haven't used it. We've managed to just have the finance manager, who runs the organization, handle that. Probably, we will automate it at some point, but right now I'm fine to just ask her to do it.

The finance manager works 100 hours a month, and she's actually an accountant in the Philippines. She’s fantastic. She also helped me with the incentives thinking, as a check on me in terms of “what percentage do we give this person?” These kind of questions. She’s a good thought partner in that regard.

Content Creation

Animation - International Outsourcing

Oliver’s team is huge - roughly 70 people globally work on his channels! His approach to managing and incentivizing them is brilliantly inspiring.

Everyone is legally a contractor. So we have 70 people, roughly, who are contractors, though we set up the financial incentives so they care like they're an employee and that's a key difference.

Oliver’s overall strategy is hinged on the idea that animation done in the West on YouTube is unprofitable, because it’s expensive ($35+ hourly) and the economics of YouTube wouldn’t cover the costs. Thus, to have a successful animation channel, one needs skilled animators who are in countries with lower wages and costs of living.

So the general approach is: animation on YouTube that is made by Western animators is just unprofitable, period. Animation is too expensive, and YouTube money is not good enough, so there's a big risk to hire someone for $25 - $35 an hour to do animation.

So that's not what we do.

We only make channels where we can have a cost structure which has animators abroad - so they might be in South America or Southeast Asia or in Eastern Europe.

If anyone looks at animation content on YouTube that's really succeeding, like The Infographics Show or there's this Meet My Story animated channel, these guys all have teams outside the West. They have them in South America, Eastern Europe etc. There's like two exceptions I know, which is Cory Crater with NewScape Studios, who has Game Toons and some other properties. He has a team in the US. There's also Shane, who has some Minecraft properties as well. But everyone else that I know doing animation, they have teams abroad because it's just too too expensive.

So that's how we do it in terms of what the difference is. Obviously if you're hiring in a country where the average salary is $500 US dollars a month, you can pay $1000 a month and they're very very happy with that.

He doesn’t stop there, though.

You can hire someone as an employee, but that doesn't mean they're going to care about doing anything more…right? How do you incentivize them beyond that?

Well, whatever we're doing - AdSense shares, sponsorship shares, profit shares, all this kind of thing - bonuses - that's how you get someone to care.

It's so easy to have a contractor who works for you 10 hours a month and they're going to care more about the channel than an employee that just gets a salary and does 40 hours a week.

It's the financial incentive that really matters more than whether they're technically legally employed or contracted, in my experience.

Rather than paying hourly, he pays per minute of animation - thus tying his fixed costs to the actual quantity of “product” produced - and then he incentivizes the animators to do great work by cutting them in to the upside of the channel.

I don't tend to pay salaries. What I tend to pay is per minute of animation cost. So again, this comes down to the incentives alignment, which is:

“Okay, I don't want somebody to sit around waiting to animate stuff, I want somebody to produce. So if I can pay you a rate where total monthly earnings is pretty fantastic for your country, but at the same time you're motivated to actually produce animation minutes, then it's kind of a win-win for both of us.

The last thing I do there, which I think is really useful, is if you pay per minute of animation or you pay per minute of video editing - whatever the situation is - then the issue with that is you are incentivizing somebody to rush. So how do you solve that?

The way I like to do it is like try to create an incentive that is the direction you want, but then also have a counter-balance to that incentive, because otherwise you're gonna be pushing someone in the wrong direction.

So the counter balance of that incentive is to pay them 5% of AdSense from the video they animated, and then they get to benefit from the quality. So if they make the animation at a good pace, but they also have some quality to it, then you get the benefit of them carrying out some quality as well.

So that's how I do it and it works really well. People are happy with the the rate, and they're incentivized in a way that aligns with what I want, which is quality animation that's done at a relatively fast pace.

The results speak for themselves, as he built 5- and 6-figure revenue channels in less than a year.

Another approach that he’s not taking but has thought of is to partner with locally-focused agencies, rather than the ones that work with international (US) clients, as the local agencies will charge local rates without the international business premium. This could be a hack for aspiring animation Creators who don’t want the headache of managing a team, and would rather just have a single vendor partner.

You don't want to find an agency that's also welcome for international clients, because then they're going to be charging Western rates. Find an agency that's working with local clients. It’s a bit of a hack, I mean I'm not doing it myself as I'm focusing on building my own team, but it's a good approach as well to really scale fast.

Asset Management - Google Drive

  • Included in GSuite

Project Management - Discord Servers and Google Sheets

Generally, we're not making lots and lots of videos. More like one a week. So, there's not too much complexity there to manage. I think it could be more organized to do that? But I'm not really a very organized person in terms of thinking about these kind of systems, so it just hasn't really happened, and nobody else on my team seems to be either. They're more creative people. But it's working well enough, so it's not a disaster yet.

Yet again we see a consistent theme across Creators - they use the systems they’re used to from before they were Creators (as consumers). There might be better, smarter, more efficient ways to track his business operations - but using Discord for chat and Google Sheets for logging information works, and he hasn’t had any catastrophic problems with it yet, so there’s no reason to change.

Creator Economy products that are aiming to improve Creators’ workflows need to catch Creators either at the beginning of their journeys, or at a pivotal point where they’re having issues with their existing workflow. Otherwise, they’ll keep doing what they learned how to do as consumers.

Video Distribution - Direct to YouTube

I love Oliver’s take on the various tools peddled to Creators to help them with ideation, finding trending keywords, getting more views, etc.

I don't believe in keyword stuff very much, so I don't really see so much use for those tools. I've tried VidIQ like six months ago, it was somewhat useful for video idea research, but not very much.

To be honest, I kind of left the world of “Small YouTuber tools” a while ago and I kind of haven't gone back to see, like, how do I use them as a “Big YouTuber”. I feel like they're mostly targeted to smaller YouTubers

One of the pieces here which might be interesting to comment on is - I think in the space of getting views on YouTube, there's an interesting kind of self-reinforcing cycle.

People who want to start making content, they generally want to get views and therefore they look for content on YouTube that talks about views. Therefore, these gurus on YouTube talk about how to get views. And that then reinforces the idea that, you know, you get views by doing keyword research, you get views by doing this and that - it basically just keeps this cycle going where the YouTube expert has to make the video talking about views even if the better thing is to talk about:

“Okay, let's make a better thumbnail. Let's make a better title. How do you develop curiosity in the viewer?”

Those are the better questions, but they’re not the questions which viewers are conditioned to look for, and therefore, they’re not the questions that get pushed as much.

So I feel like those tools are more designed around that niche. I might be wrong, and I'm sure I am wrong in some ways - like the AB testing of thumbnails, I've heard of TubeBuddies and it sounds pretty cool - but I haven’t looked into it too much.

Personally, I think there’s a lot of value in these tools for conversion-driven Creators looking to drive views for the sake of funneling to transactions. For Creators like Oliver, who are producing content they are trying to entertain people with - and monetize through that entertainment - it does seem like their time and effort would be better focused on simply making the content…better.

International Localization - Contractors hired in each territory

There are a bunch of companies popping up that will localize and distribute English-language YouTube videos - both through subtitles and dubbing - to make a Creator’s content accessible to audiences around the world.

Oliver takes an approach similar to his approach with animators - he hires individuals in each territory to do it for him. With localization, though, he’s more focused on hiring full-package creator-types who can really own the channel and the community as if it’s their own.

A lot of other creators who do languages, they tend to hire an agency that does hourly pay or a fixed payment maybe per video that's dubbed. So they might pay, let's say $20 per minute of their video that's dubbed, which means if you do a 10 minute video, you pay $200, and then on top of that, you've got to do the editing. So you might want to re-edit some of the subtitles to different languages. You might want to have someone to do community posts to engage the audience and make a community within that language.

So you end up having quite a few roles to get split, and our approach is not to do that. It’s to try and decentralize it as much as possible.

Essentially, we try to find people who are good at VO [voiceover], have some basic channel management ability, have some basic editing ability, and they're usually a VO artist who is maybe a hobbyist starting to be professional. They are still in the “building their portfolio” stage and they're therefore a really suitable person to take the brand and treat it like their own channel, like treat it like they're a Creator themselves.

So this is a really nice approach, because these guys who are running the channels, it's like their own project, their own creation almost, which they're entirely managing themselves. They have control over it, autonomy, and that creates an ownership mentality that serves in them caring about it. So you get the whole package, basically.

A big through-line to Oliver’s approach is incentives, and his internationalization strategy is no different. He really meaningfully incentivizes his local partners to make the channel their own. Add to that the nature of animation content, and his team members really feel like they own the channels, and are invested in the quality of the content and community.

We don't just pay them per video. We pay some people per video plus a percentage of AdSense, maybe like 10% or 20% for some channels. For the Russian channel, we do 50/50 in AdSense, and then sponsorships, we maybe do a 35/65 split or something like that.

So we slightly change the percentage depending on sponsors or AdSense. But there's kind of a mixture there, and it's worked really really well.

We've been able to find great talent. Dubs get very well received. If you translate the comments, they're usually saying “This is this is a great dub!” It's really quality, people really like it, and the channel managers themselves - as I said, they feel like it's their own channel in a way. So it's a thing they care about. They post in the community, reply to comments and it works really nicely.

It’s a model that I recommend if Creators have the content where they can do that. For example, MrBeast couldn’t do it. Real-life creators have a harder time doing it because the VO person can't really say “This is my channel” as they're obviously just dubbing, right? But with animation, you can feel more like it's your own channel, because there's no face.

I definitely recommend Creators have some kind of AdSense share as part of that incentive, and preferably find someone who can do all the pieces, because then you just have much less cost, you have much less bureaucracy, you have much more care for the channel, and it works very well in my experience.

Team

Representation - Relationships with a variety of agencies

Oliver has had a few companies reach out with sponsorship opportunities. Interestingly, he gets a lot of mobile games deal - likely because Madison Avenue brand marketers haven’t yet figured out the animation space, while mobile game marketers are less concerned about brand and more concerned with reach and performance marketing.

Regardless, Oliver currently has relationships with a variety of agencies, and prefers non-exclusive partnerships because he can also can source his own deals.

Given how he’s resisted working with agencies across the rest of his business, you might think he’d want to hire someone to handle his brand deals as well - and initially, he did try!

I did originally think… let me hire someone internally who can do this for me. So I did hire someone who I tried to train up, and I went through Justin Moore's course Creator Wizard, which was great. But I realized - I prefer to just scale brands, and have someone else take the c

…Once we have like 10 brands then it's like - “Okay, you can hire someone really good who is quite expensive, and it's kind of worth it.”

But with 2-3 brands that work for brands, it's not so worth it to have somebody in-house yet.

Operations - Independent Creative Director of each channel + “Corporate”-level business management

So the way it works is, as I said, I try and have each channel run independently - which requires having somebody who cares about the channel like it's their own, like a small business owner, in a way.

So to do that, I hire someone who is good at the creative work, overseeing work, directing creative work, managing people, and having a vision. So that is what we call the Creative Director, or the Chief Executive you might call it now. The key nuance here is that this person - we're not trying to hire someone who can wear every single hat. So these people usually have a background in YouTube, and maybe, hopefully, animation. Or they have a background in animation management for TV productions. Those are the two niches we go for.

They’re pretty great at the creative thing. They so far haven't had any experience really with the business side, and I don't really expect them to. I think it doesn't make so much sense to expect that of them as well. So for now, the approach is that person handles all creative work, and then I'm going to build a kind of a separate function, which is what I would maybe call a holding company function, which is then helping to support each of those subsidiary channels with the business side of the creative, with the business side of the channel. Basically separate those out, have a business function which supports those channels, and then each channel runs independently creatively.

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