Entrepreneur and Biz: Frank James
Tilt: Personality-type theory (Myers-Briggs, etc.) with a comedic spin
Primary Channel: YouTube (1.02M)
Time to First Dollar: 1 year
Revenue Streams: YouTube ads, sponsorships, merchandise, affiliate links, and Ko-fi (buy-me-a-coffee tipping service)
Our Favorite Actionable Advice:
- Adapt your storytelling, not your tilt: A seemingly tiny niche (personality types) would likely attract a tiny audience, but Frank James found a technique – comedy – to draw in over 1M.
- Create a lot of content and turn it out consistently: When marketing your content, you better have a solid base so audiences can see what you’re all about and return regularly to consume more of it.
- Love what you do, not just the topic: Communicating with audiences as an entertainer or educator is the job of a content entrepreneur. To succeed, you better be passionate about that.
The Story of Frank James
In 2017, Frank James started a casual YouTube channel that joined several others in the small niche of personality-type theory. He was particularly interested in exploring a subject of his recent fascination – the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
MBTI is a personality test and theory published in the 1960s and influenced heavily by the works of Carl Jung. It divides people into 16 basic personality types with a distinct prioritization of cognitive functions.YouTuber Frank James has found a huge audience for his channel built around the 16 personality types identified in #MyersBriggs. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Frank sees the benefit of learning about Myers-Briggs as twofold. First, it affords people a chance to understand themselves, including why they might struggle with certain tasks. Secondly, it provides a better understanding of how other people operate, making it easier to determine how best to communicate with people different from oneself.
Here’s how Frank explains the 16 personality types in four minutes:
Frank was introduced to the subject after his brother’s friends guessed Frank’s type. When Frank took the test a few months later that proved their guess correct, Myers-Briggs captured his interest.
After a sporadic year of posting videos on the subject on YouTube, Frank decided to get serious about the channel. At the time, the largest Myers-Briggs-focused YouTube channel had 22,000 subscribers. It wasn’t long before Frank had surpassed it.
He created videos more frequently, monetized the channel, and pursued more views. His content evolved, too. He created more educational videos and focused many videos around his personality type – the incredibly rare INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging).
On May 31, 2019, Frank debuted his first comedy sketch on the channel – 16 Personalities at a Job Interview – experienced a sudden burst of popularity. (The video has amassed over 2.8M views to date.) Since then, he has made Myers-Briggs comedy sketches a staple format of his videos and used his casual, relatable sense of humor more frequently in his educational content.16 Personalities at a Job Interview was Frank James' debut comedy video on his YouTube channel. It's garnered over 2.8M views. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet
Going full time into a content business
In June 2019, Frank’s channel was bringing in enough revenue that he realized it was a viable business. By the end of that year, his revenue streams had become stable enough so he could go part time at his day job in early 2020. With the help of his girlfriend at the time (now his wife), his content had become his full-time business.
Today, Frank’s YouTube channel has over 1M subscribers.
Beyond YouTube, Frank connects with his impressive audience on his website and through motivational emails, podcasts, Facebook, and Instagram. Fittingly, YouTube Adsense is his primary revenue stream. He also earns money through sponsorships, merchandise, and affiliate links.
Frank also receives direct contributions from his fans like many other YouTubers. He favors the Ko-fi digital tipping platform because the casual, “buy-me-a-coffee” attitude of Ko-fi fits better with Frank’s relation to his audience. It also doesn’t require contributors to sign up to make ongoing contributions..@Kofi_button is a revenue stream for #YouTuber Frank James. He likes that his audience can "buy him a coffee" with its tipping feature without committing to ongoing contributions. #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet
For Frank, the joy of being a YouTuber comes from building and interacting with his audience. The ability to share the content he creates with so many others is the reason he creates any at all. If given the choice, he says, between a highly viewed channel that earns no money and a highly profitable channel that has no audience, Frank would create the former.
Advice for content entrepreneurs
From his years on YouTube, Frank has learned how content entrepreneurs can succeed:
Be consistent and turn out a lot of content
If your audience can’t find enough content, they are unlikely to be swayed by your message or attached to your brand. Moreover, if your content is produced so sporadically that your audience can’t anticipate new content, they will lose interest. Once you’ve captured an audience, it’s important to produce content consistently to retain them.
Keep improving your content
Nothing’s perfect, and interests shift. Frank says if you keep your content – even successful content – the same, then it will eventually fail to meet your audience’s growing standards or retain their interest. This is especially true on large public platforms like YouTube. As Frank puts it, “YouTube is always like riding a wave.”
Good technique remains the same, but if you don’t adjust to the changes in the water, you won’t stay afloat. Keep your winning strategies, but always ask yourself what you could do better.
Be specific to your audience
Frank emphasizes the importance of “always looking for what content should work for your niche.” The internet is a big place. Content entrepreneurs need to be distinct to rise above the noise. That distinction – your content tilt – is what attracts an audience in the first place and what keeps it growing. Don’t let your content wander away from what your audience is looking for.
Don’t start with money in mind
Most importantly, Frank believes you have to be drawn by “the love of communicating with an audience and being an entertainer or educator, whatever you are … and not for the money. The money follows that.”
That advice follows Frank’s path. He created his YouTube channel so that he could share his interest in personality tests with others. He brought in humor so he could attract and interact with a larger audience. He grew it into a business so that he could get paid to do what he loves.
About the author
Leo Bonacci writes, proofreads, and edits for The Tilt. A student of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, he’s a fan of classical mythology as well as the English language. Leo’s interest in storytelling extends to his great enjoyment of movies and film, from low-budget schlockfests to cinematic masterpieces.