How many 18 year olds do you know that have built a business with an audience of 1.4 million strong, have launched their own clothing line and still have their feet firmly on the ground? Probably not many.
Some might say Adam Beales is living the dream but to say so almost feels dismissive of the hard work, perseverance and unfaltering dedication Adam has put into building his YouTube channel into a business.
Upon interviewing Adam it’s easy to forget that he’s only 18. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it, doing so with a mature attitude and not a hint of arrogance. More importantly, while he may be 10 years in the game (yep, you read that right) he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
When did you first take notice of the influencer and YouTube space?
Around the age of 8 or 9. YouTube at the time was very pre-mature and the idea of having a career on the platform was nonsensical.
What inspired you to get involved and start creating your own content on YouTube?
A love for people’s reactions to what I create. I felt extraordinary whenever I could make people feel different emotions just through video. Whether that was happiness, sadness, excitement or inspiration; the viewer’s reaction was one of the driving forces to why I first started producing content.
Can you remember how you felt when you first published your first video?
The first video I ever published on YouTube was 10 years ago. At the time, I was recording with my rubbish Nokia phone which had the same image quality as a potato. However, I tried to make it work. The video included myself and two mates who were neighbours of mine. The premise of the video was simple. My mate went to sit on a chair, and the chair vanished, therefore my mate fell to the ground. Just a simple video cut off before and after moving the chair made the effect possible and I guess, that’s where it all started.
How does that compare to how you felt when you reached the 1 million subscriber mark?
Eerie in a good way! I find it crazy that I am producing content for over 1 million people. However, the practicalities of recording and editing videos have stayed the same. I always want to maintain a healthy headspace when recording videos and not put myself under a lot of pressure due to the fact of how many potential watchers are going to see that video. I feel that if you’re too pressured, you start to scrutinize every single aspect which can be damaging in the creative process. Ultimately, although I am producing content for a bigger audience than ever before, it doesn’t feel different in the sense that I am still loving what I’m doing and enjoy every aspect of the YouTube process.
How did you build confidence in the field?
By doing it! By living through the hate comments and criticism but also take on the positivity. It’s a mix of both this criticism and positivity which builds a person’s character and ultimately, improves their confidence over time.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I structure my days in two. One day I plan and film, the other day I edit and upload. I find that in this industry, you need structure and routine especially if you’re self-employed. I also oversee my clothing line orders/customer service etc. I also look through my emails in the morning to catch-up on all enquiries. I do enjoy a wee cheeky Netflix session at the end of most nights.
What are you most proud of?
Reaching 1 million subscribers. I feel so so happy when I know that I have brightened up someone’s day just by watching my videos. There are comments I receive on a daily basis, which detail how I have helped them in their lives and to me, that gives me the drive to create more. My viewers’ feedback is by far one of the most rewarding aspects of doing YouTube.
What excites you the most about being part of the growing YouTube industry?
Being part of a movement which is going to grow exponentially in the next decade. YouTube is going to be the new TV. Children nowadays have their heads stuck in phones and iPads instead of looking at TV screens. They’re all watching YouTube. And it is this generation and wave of people, who grow up with YouTube, who will adopt it as their main source of entertainment; rendering traditional TV less sought after.
What’s the hardest part of the business you’ve carved out for yourself?
Self-learning business by actually doing real business I guess is the best way to learn. At times, you may learn the hard way but the same lesson is taught nonetheless. I have read over and signed many contracts, collaborated with many brands, keeping communication up between myself and clients; it’s a whole world of its own – the business world! However, the most challenging aspect of YouTube and keeping an online presence is always staying relevant. YouTube at times, can be so fickle, so battling through the low periods is just as important as celebrating the highs. Perseverance is the best attribute a person can have if they want to start, and stay, within this YouTube industry.
You’ve recently started working with Disney. Can you tell us a bit more about how that came about?
Thankfully, both Disney and BBC expressed interest in my brand and came to me for collaboration. I started working with Disney last October for our first branded video partnership. Due to the huge success of that video and the keen interest from Disney, I was thankful enough to work with them again in April for another branded partnership. Now, this time, Callum and myself received the lucky opportunity to be on Disney Channel UK where we will be featured during prime-time slots for nine weeks from October to December of this year. We are thankful and really excited; and can’t wait to see what the future brings.
In terms of your entrepreneurial journey, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
That’s a really hard question! I guess the dream would be to have various sources of income and not just through YouTube and branded opportunities. I would like to get into TV, writing, acting etc. I want to grab this opportunity with both hands. In terms of entrepreneurial journey, I would like to hope I can invest my money in various avenues such as property and other ventures. But I hope to invest more of my time and money in the future in philanthropy. I love helping charities with a good cause and the people who benefit from that.
When did you first recognise you had an entrepreneurial spark in you?
Around 10 years ago when I used to charge people to come into my house for a ‘movie night’. My mates would pay 50p each for admission. My mum provided all the food and drink from her side so I guess it was a pretty good business deal on my end! Rocking out every weekend with my £2.50 that I made from ‘movie night’; thinking I was Lord Sugar.
How do you filter out all of the competition and comparisons within the industry?
I don’t. Having competition is healthy. In a sense, it can make me very competitive and as a result I strive for more.
Starting at such a young age, how did you have the foresight to understand the business side of creating content and growing a following?
I didn’t. I first started YouTube because I had a passion for video-making and video-editing. The business associated with it came later. I got ultimate satisfaction by producing content that people can watch and react to. The business side of creating content came along only in the past two years. It was mostly a self-taught experience. There’s no teacher in this game who says what I can do or what I can’t do. I had to figure it out all myself. And I’m thankful that I had to learn it that way because being taught business in a classroom is undeniably different from the real world. Living through experiences make the best lessons; and I did just exactly that.
What are some of the tips you’ve picked up along the way?
Be yourself and be humble. In terms of business, always evaluate both sides of the deal. Always question why a certain brand wants to work with you and keep striving for more!
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see content creators making?
Creators who start purely due to the hope of financial success. YouTube is not a lottery where you can just pick up a camera and become a millionaire overnight. It takes creativity, hard work and sleepless nights to make it work. You have to want to do it. People just see YouTube as the finished 10-minute video. However, they do not see the behind-the-scenes work outlined in this interview. Therefore, a lot of people see it as an easy option to ‘get rich quick’. This is wholly untrue.
Who inspires you?
My family. My family have been so supportive over my YouTube career. I am so happy that I can take my family on this journey with me. YouTube has enabled us to have so many great memories. They inspire me in everything that I do. I am very thankful.
What do you see new YouTubers and influencers ignoring that they should add to increase their traffic and following?
Quality over quantity. A lot of new creators think bashing out 10 new videos instead of investing their time in effort in 1 video is better. However, it is the complete opposite. Always keep consistent. But always keep quality parallel to consistency because people don’t want to watch under-produced content.
What motivates you?
The love of making people smile (or even laugh if I’m lucky).
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a YouTube channel?
Don’t think about it, DO IT! Do what you love and you will succeed.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m in the preparation stages of my Ireland Tour starting early next year. Also, coordinating with Disney and BBC with these new deals coming in. And of course, always thinking of the next video idea – ready to shoot, edit and upload!