Entrepreneur: Matt Panella

Biz: Matt Bangs Wood

Tilt: New construction building, from start to finish

Primary Channel: YouTube (220K) 

Other Channel: Instagram (39.9K)

Time to First Dollar: One month 

Rev Streams: Advertising, brand partnerships, merch

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Study the competition: He didn’t jump into creation. He researched what videos in his niche had the most views, how they were produced, etc., so his content would stand out.
  • Be yourself: Matt found his audiences appreciated his authentic and relatable personality as opposed to those video creators who “act” in their role as hosts or narrators.
  • Don’t work on commission: Single payment compensation often works better for creators who sell a lot of product as well as those just starting out.

The Story

Construction has been a part of the Panella family for three generations. So when Matt needed to work at the age of 15 to support his soon-to-be family, he joined the construction business and became a protege of his father and grandfather.  

Grateful for all he had learned about building, Matt was eager to share it. His video success was immediate. “I figured I had one heck of an opportunity to teach since I learned so much from my dad. So I picked up a camera, and I just started recording,” he explains. “I would record one day, and the next, I would put the video up. People actually watched my stuff. I had people saying, ‘Hey, thanks for the tip’ and ‘I really appreciate it.’ So I tried it, it worked great, and then it just spiraled out of control.”

#YouTuber @MattBangsWood learned a lot about building from his dad so he picked up a camera and started recording. It worked so well that it spiraled into a #ContentBusiness. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Since Matt launched his YouTube channel in 2019, he has gained over 220k subscribers. Between ad revenue and brand partnerships, he has grown his annual income to more than six figures. 

Research what already works

With thousands of construction videos already on YouTube, Matt knew he was going to have to stand out.

“I sat down and tried to figure out what was going to pop off,” he says. “I did a ton of research on construction topics. I found that the most viewed video was how to frame a wall, one of the most basic things you can put up. I knew homeowners that want to DIY things were going to need that very thing – the basics.”

In his research, @MattBangsWood found the most viewed construction video on YouTube was how to frame a wall. He created his own video that now sits at the top of searches for framing. #SEO #YouTube #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

So that’s what he did. In partnership with Norske Tools, he made a video on how to frame a wall. “I took this paid deal, found my keywords, and made the video. Right now, if you search the word “framing,” that’s the first video that pops up,” he shares. To date, that video has 2.4M views.

“That video alone has gotten nearly 30,000 subscribers to the channel over the course of nearly three years. But everything has just been organic. I’ve been hitting YouTube recommendations for years now. I have never once paid to promote anything. It has all organically fallen into place,” Matt says.

Be genuine

Matt noticed something during his research. “I could tell everyone was just putting on a face or putting on a voice that simply wasn’t them. So, when it came time to film, I said, ‘I’m just gonna hop out there and wing it.’ Every single video from the start of the channel all the way up until now, I’ve never changed my voice and have never changed the way I act or talk,” he says. 

His audience absolutely loves it. “I’m a pretty humble person. I don’t ever think of myself as much, but when I go to trade shows, people kind of trip out. You know you can meet celebrities, and then they turn out to be different in person? That’s not me. You can watch me online and then meet me in person, and nothing’s changed. So I feel like people can connect with that more,” Matt says. 

His advice for content entrepreneurs? “Just be yourself. Never ever chase the money. I know a lot of people that have gotten into it, and the first thing they think about is how much money they’re gonna make,” Matt says. “I never once thought about how much it could bring in. I care about the value that I could bring to others. And I think that’s where a lot of the growth has come from.” 

#ContentEntrepreneur advice from @MattBangsWood: Just be yourself. Never chase the money. #YouTube #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Not only has his charming personality earned him a loyal online following, but it has brought his family’s construction business an incredible amount of work. “At this point, all of our contracts and every single home that we’ve built in the last year and a half has come from YouTube,” he says.  

Don’t take commission deals 

Working with brands for the past three and half years has taught Matt a few things. First, if you can, wait for brands to initiate contact because then you, the creator, hold the leverage. “You’re able to really negotiate and figure out what you want,” he says. “As opposed to going to them, they can think you’re desperate. Every deal that I’ve gotten so far has either been a connection that I’ve known that has reached out or just somebody that has found me.” 

Brand deals can be done in many ways, but Matt cautions, “to never take commission deals. When I look at somebody offering me a commission deal, it basically tells me that they don’t trust me enough to make sales for them. When they offer me a lump sum of cash, I know for a fact, they have faith in me and the audience that I bring and that they know I am a valuable person.” 

@MattBangsWood says #ContentEntrepreneurs shouldn't take commission deals. It can be an indicator the brand doesn't trust you enough to bring in sales for them. #CreatorEconomy #SponsoredContent #AffiliateMarketing Click To Tweet

He continues, “Say you are offered 2% commission. So, $100K in sales at 2% is $2K. If you can sell $100K in product, you’re worth more than $2K.” 

Non-commission compensation can work for creators in other ways, too. As Matt explains, “When I was just getting started, I took a $1K deal for one video. It would have been the equivalent of selling $50K in product. There’s no way that at that point, with 3K or 4K subscribers, I could have sold $50K. Getting paid that lump sum was a lot better deal.”

About the author

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was 6 and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 26 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. Currently, she is based on Maui and, when not writing or parenting, she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.