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Here’s a little history of how my channel came to be. Back around 2007 I came across a huge lot of Apple iBook Clamshells and impulsively decided to buy them. I learned how to work on them and fixed up as many as I could using parts from broken iBooks to repair other ones. While I had them apart, I upgraded the hard drives and memory. I re-sold them to a few friends, and on craigslist, and even on ebay. I ended up making a decent profit on it, so I started to seek out more such lots and buy them. As clamshells became harder to find, I eventually moved to the white iBook G3 and G4 systems, and then eventually to the MacBooks. I called myself “The iBookGuy”
My side business was very successful. By limiting myself to just 2 or 3 different computers, I saved a lot of time because I could always stock the parts needed for those 2 or 3 models, plus I knew how to tear those units down and put them back together very quickly because I worked on them all of the time. And when one unit was not repairable, I could strip it for spare parts to use on other machines. Also selling the units was easy because they were essentially all the same. So my business was very streamlined and efficient. On a good month I could sell several hundred laptops.
Of course, I was looking for ways to reduce the fees I had to pay to places like ebay. If I could sell computers directly from my website, I could sell them cheaper to the end customer and actually end up making more profit. I just needed a way to get people on the website. So I decided to create some how-to videos related to the machines I sold and put them on youtube.
The irony is, the videos became very popular but had almost no effect on my computer sales. So I didn’t spend any more time making them. Eventually, around 2011, business started to slow down. My profit margins were shrinking. The prices of used MacBooks were falling so fast that I could no longer buy them and sell them at a profit. So I eventually decided to close down the business and sold out all of my remaining inventory.
Once my time was freed up from having to work on laptops all day, I noticed that my youtube channel was still growing in popularity. So I decided to monetize it and start making some new videos. After a year or so, I was making enough money to invest in some better video equipment and convert an unused bedroom in my house to a studio. Over time I started to run out of ideas for videos related to iBooks and MacBooks, so I started thinking of more mainstream concepts. This actually caused my channel to move from about 20,000 subscribers to well over 100,000 in just a few months. I was blown away at how many people liked my show.
I also created 3 other channels, which I’ll briefly touch on:
- Awesome Airguns – I briefly had an interest in airguns and since there wasn’t much of any good content about them online, I decided to change that. The channel had several problems, though. One thing is I couldn’t think of much content. The other was the fact that once a video became popular, many people would flag it as being “dangerous” and so it would get age-restricted and thus de-monetized. So I decided not to make any more videos for that channel.
- The Bullion Channel – I like collecting little silver coins and stuff. I noticed there wasn’t much of any good content about it online, so I decided to change that. But the channel was never popular so I didn’t create anymore.
- Cranial Pasta – I wanted to do a channel on science, specifically debunking things like bad science used in hollywood movies, or stupid conspiracy stuff like chemtrails. But I wanted to add some humor into it. The videos were extremely time consuming to make, and the channel never even made a single cent. So I abandoned it.
So I stayed with my core channel “The iBookGuy” and kept growing it. But eventually, I realized I needed to change the name since there would only be occasional episodes about Apple products, specifically iBooks. I wanted something that sounded very similar, but could be much broader. So I settled on “The 8Bit Guy.” Most people were happy with the name change, but I think some of my original audience were not. But, I can’t please everyone.
I also started up another channel called 8Bit Keys, which I’m very excited about. I’m actually splitting my time 50/50 between The 8Bit Guy and 8Bit Keys. It may not seem that way because 8Bit Keys episodes are generally easier to make. So I can put out more episodes.
Speaking of time. Lots of people ask me why I don’t make more episodes. I’d like to point out that I do work a full time job as an IT Administrator and I also have a family. I also spend 30-60 minutes per day exercising, usually in the form of walking or bike riding. So I have maybe an hour per day I can spend on making videos, except on the weekends. A typical episode requires about 8 to 20 hours to produce. I think 12 hours is about average. As such, I feel like I’m doing well if I can produce 2 episodes per month. Maybe some day if my youtube earnings are high enough, I could quit my full time job and do nothing but make new episodes. But I don’t see that happening anytime real soon.