YouTube has become the go-to for most aspiring content creators. Zimbabwe, with its many digital hurdles, has been no exception to this trend. We are seeing many YouTube channels by Zimbabwean-based content creators sprouting. The financial prospects to be realized are staggering; some Zimbabwean musicians have been having good runs on YouTube so far. We have barely scratched the surface though and today I want to inspire you. I shall be looking at the highest-grossing YouTuber in the world right now – 23-year-old MrBeast (real name Jimmy Donaldson).

Brief Overview Of MrBeast

MrBeast’s real name is Jimmy Donaldson and is based in the US. In 2021 he was the highest-grossing YouTuber in the world with total revenue of over US$54 million. He started creating YouTube content when he was just 11 years old but has grown over the years. His YouTube videos mainly entail him or other people doing daring stunts; for example, spending 50 hours in solitary confinement or spending 50 hours buried alive. Those two videos have views of over 170 million and 167 million respectively. That gives you an idea of his typical viewership for all his videos. He has several YouTube channels now which translate into over 200 million subscribers in total – jaw-dropping! The idea behind him having several YouTube channels is ingenious.

After realizing that most of the world does not speak English he decided to create additional YouTube channels. Then he dubs over his English videos with say, for example, Spanish or French voiceovers using famous actors or celebrities. By so doing he has widely expanded his subscriber base. Another remarkable thing is that he once mentioned that he has around 100 or so employees. He is also famous for doing a video where he recreated Squid Game. What is mind-blowing is that it got more views than the original Squid Game itself. These are just some of the remarkable things that summarize who MrBeast is. However, if you are observant enough there are striking lessons you must have drawn from this already. Let us deliberate on more things to learn from MrBeast.

The Importance of Saving And Reinvesting

MrBeast says that when he started he was not making any money. Then it moved to a point where he was making roughly US$1 per day. Then as his income grew he would always use it to buy stuff like microphones, a PC, and so on. For him to buy his first microphone and a PC it took him roughly 6 months of saving. From early on he caught the importance of saving what you make and reinvesting it into your venture.

Starting Early, Passion and Obsession

That is so evident when you get to know MrBeast’s story. When he started uploading YouTube videos, there was no financial benefit from it. It was a time when the YouTube Partner program was not yet a thing. Yet he was hooked and still gave most of his time and effort into creating content. It goes to show that at times the returns are not immediate, coming much later on. Essentially from the ages of 11 to 18, he did not quite make money in the real sense. What spurred him on what the passion for what he was doing.

It is also notable that he started quite early – age 11. This is a recurring theme I have noticed in most iconic success stories. Of course, we cannot all go back to childhood to start early. Starting early can be contextual, varying from individual to individual. For instance, starting something as soon as a New Year starts; is an example of starting early. It is the principle of starting early that matters. If there is one shouting thing about MrBeast it is a hyper-obsession with his craft. He even says that over the years it was even difficult to talk to people because all he would ever want to talk about was YouTube. That obsessiveness is best unpacked in the next point.

The 10 000 Hour Principle

It is said that it takes 10 000 hours to master a skill. He would spend countless hours learning how to edit, figuring out what is trending, video production, and so on. He had to self-teach himself all the necessary aspects relevant to being a YouTuber. This was catalysed by the fact that he had 4 friends that were also obsessed with YouTube. So at one point, they decided to spend 1000 days in a row, daily speaking about and doing nothing except the subject of YouTube. During that time they hyper-studied all there is to YouTube. How to make a good thumbnail? What makes a good thumbnail? It was about exploring what to do to go viral.

For example, they would take or consider 1000 thumbnails and analyse to see if there is any correlation to the subsequent views. They would also look at videos with say, over 10 million views and micro-analyse camera angles, pacing, and the like. They would do these discussions via Skype. He says it was typical to do this from 7 am to 10 pm daily. Interestingly they all ended up having millions of subscribers on YouTube. MrBeast says it was during these discussions that he learnt all that has made him the success he is today. He surpassed the 10 000 mark and the results are plain for everyone to see. Clocking 10 000 hours or more to master a skill is gold!

There is so much more I can talk about on what you can learn from MrBeast. These 3 lessons, if internalized well, can redefine Zimbabwean YouTubers in a major way. These same lessons can also apply to anyone and any field of endeavour. Start early, be passionate, be obsessed, save and reinvest, and clock in 10 000 hours or more to master a skill.