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There have been hundreds of people who have contributed their time to help me pursue my curiosity about gear and deliver it to you. There have been over 3000 people who have donated money, either monthly or as one-time gifts, to get us to this point. I am forever indebted to those people and owe it to the community to make the best possible content I possibly can. Thank you. Let's see where this can go…
First 6k subscribers...
I started making highline tutorial videos in 2016 as a hobby while I was a painting contractor. I just paid for everything myself and ad revenue was non existent for the first few years.1000 views on a video was a HUGE deal back then.Software and camera stuff was really the only investment I had specifically for the videos because I already had the gear and was already doing the projects. I had 6k subscribers at the end of 2018.
It got expensive...
When I started breaking stuff is when it got expensive… fast. I boot strapped my “science” projects and bought crane scales off eBay and pulleys from tractor supply store. Because I was so enthusiastic about chasing the requests people sent me, I started to ask for donations. Likes and comments and views gave me just enough dopamine to keep going, but it was the donations that were an amazing confirmation people valued the effort. The money helped of course but it was the stoke that fueled more progress. The joke has been for the longest time 200% of your donations go back into the channel. I went from 6k to 14k subscribers in 2019
I'm a big Youtuber...
I felt like a big youtuber in 2020! It was the first time several videos hit 100k views and I made more than I spent… barely, if you count ad revenue which doesn’t pay the bills when you are creating niche content. I was still painting at this time so it was great this “hobby” that took an healthy amount of time wasn’t cost me what I was making in my main job. I went from 14k to 36k subscribers in 2020.
I'm all in...
Believing this channel could turn into something special, in 2021 I went all in. I sold my house and rental, closed my painting business, and cashed in everything while it was at the top of the market to buy myself time to make this super sustainable enough. I rented a room from my welding friend and built out a lab in a space in the back of his shop.That is where I made a drop tower. The donations that came in covered most of that initial investment and I put in a lot of sweat equity to keep the costs down. he flywheel of stoke was spinning.
We have a lab now...
I have a bad habit of spending more on the channel than I make. The joke has always been 200% of your donations go back into the channel. In 2021 I went all in and built out a lab in a space I rented and made a drop tower. The donations that came in really fueled the fire of stoke.
Time to Start a Store
How do we make this channel fully sustainable? Donations have got us to this point which is amazing but it isn’t enough to hire anyone. We got an amazing amount of about $5k a month in income but it cost $5k a month to run the channel (without payroll). Promoting EG’s store wasn’t as successful as I hoped. Delayed shipments due to drop shipping back ordered items and poor communication was not a good receipe for success, no matter how much it is promoted. So I took my life savings and used space I already had and decided to start my own store, where we ship things the day you order them 6 days a week. Touching all the gear and having a direct line to the manufacturers is making the content better. Also, promoting my own business is much more natural and feels less “youtubey”.
I have about $200k “on the shelf” and we sell about $30k a month on average. That is about the minimum required to pay the two employees that I’ve hired. Their primary tasks are of course the store stuff but also to help make the content. We are not making any profit for me to live on or add more inventory yet but supporters are supplementing that enough to help us get to the next step. The goal for 2024 is to get $300k on the shelf and sell about $50k to $70k monthly on average. For context, after $30k in gross sales a month, about 10% of the gross sales = profit. All the proceeds will go back into better niche inventory options for the audience and being able to double the output of helpful content we can put out each week. Thank you for helping us make great climbing content by supporting our store.