For the fourth installment of I Did It My Way, we connected with Boston’s own YoAnty, who manages a highly-successful YouTube channel about sneakers and product reviews. Anty, one of the nicest human beings in the ‘Sneaker YouTube’ space, shares with us the beginnings of his YouTube channel, how he began his channel with an iPhone 4 and advice for people wanting to get into YouTube.
I Did It My Way Appetizer
I Did It My Way Entrée
coiski: Is there one moment or person that was the catalyst for you starting your YouTube channel?
YoAnty: So when it came to starting my channel, it all happened organically like 6-7 years ago. I never meant to start a YouTube channel. I looked at YouTube as a place for helpful videos or overall content. Basically, I started off doing product reviews on watches, hats and then eventually shoes. I always wanted to help people out, and before I’d buy something, I always wanted to see better images or reviews and the video aspect with sneakers brought a whole new life in regards to getting better reviews. My main focus when it came to sneakers was trying to help the viewer.
coiski: What is your biggest and/or most successful YouTube video to date?
Anty: My video that has the most views is my Adidas Springblade review, and I think that just goes to show the unpredictability of YouTube. You never know what video is going to do well. You can have an idea or kind of direct a video to get views from the title to the thumbnail but never in my wildest dreams would I think that Springblade would be my most viewed video. Timing is everything, and when that shoe dropped people were very curious about it because it’s a weird looking shoe with blades coming out of it. I got a lot of non-YouTube sneaker people that watched it; maybe parents checking it out like, ‘Oh, my kid want these; let me click on this video and check them out.’ But typically my most popular videos are my vlogs; people seem to like those.
coiski: At what point during the management of your YouTube page did you say to yourself, “I made it; this can be a full-time thing?”
Anty: I think around the time I started getting involved with Finishline and doing some traveling because of it. Like this is way more than just turning on the camera; there are companies that want to invest in me. I think when companies started sending me places, I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually pretty legit.’ But I’ve never once considered doing it full-time because, to me, it’s unpredictable and I’ve been doing YouTube for six or seven years and have had a full-time job the entire time. To me, it’s a great source of second income, and I want to maximize how much money I can make. I know if I went to YouTube, full-time, it would be too much of a risk. So now, I have less pressure when I do videos because it’s not my job and always will be a hobby, so it’s great because I look at it as just a fun thing I do and not a job.
coiski: Is it tough to diversify your content all the while remaining engaged with your target audience?
Anty: I’d say with YouTube – and Sneaker YouTube with how much they’ve grown over the last couple of years – it has become more difficult to create original content or new, fun ideas. A lot of stuff has been done, so it’s definitely more challenging to come up with new ideas for sneaker videos. You can only do so much, and lately in the last year, it’s been a challenge to come up with new, original sneaker content. It’s the people that can go above and beyond – they’re the ones that stand out. A guy like Mr. Foamer Simpson, who basically refuses to stay in the same old lane, continues to break the mold.
coiski: What’s the end goal for your channel? Is there a benchmark you’re looking to reach?
Anty: What’s so funny is I remember back in the day if people had a sneaker channel and had 10,000 subscribers you were the top dog. That was huge! I remember when I started and had no subscribers, I was like, ‘There is no possible way I’ll have 10,000 subscribers.’ I was like, ‘if I can get to 10,000, I’ve made it.’ It was from there that I realized, ‘Oh wow, this can be something.’ Then, when I hit 100,000, it was a big moment, especially because, then, YouTube sends you a plaque. That’s when you know you’ve really built an audience. My goal has always been to produce quality content often and finding that happy medium between quality content and pace.