My name is Brad Gosse. I am a full-time comedian/creator. I started Publishing humor books in 2019. In late 2019, I made my first TikTok video. Within a few months, I became a full-time creator. I was selling a lot of books by reading them on TikTok. With that, I decided to go all in.
I have a full-time cartoonist on staff who draws my ideas because I have no talent when it comes to art. Other than that, I do everything myself. I do everything from video creation, editing, book layout, writing, publishing, marketing, engaging with fans, shipping out autographed merch, and of course, I am also the chief knob polisher.
My brand name is my personal name. I don't think my parents used any websites in the 1970s to come up with my personal brand. My dad told me he just always liked the name, Brad. My association with that name is a little different because growing up, the name “Brad” was always associated with the tall white guy on the football team. He was always good-looking, great at sports, and had a hot girlfriend.
But of course, those movies were never about Brad.
They were about a protagonist stealing Brad's girlfriend.
I may be tall, but I'm definitely not good at sports.
Before becoming a creator/comedian, I was a business owner. I have been an entrepreneur since I was 24 years old, running various online businesses. I'm good at marketing things online. With this, I assumed I would also be good at marketing “me”.
I recently sold my company VectorToons. This allowed me to focus on creating. I chose content creation mainly because I'm self-absorbed. Some people hate watching themselves or hearing their voices recorded. I'm the opposite. I can't get enough of myself. This is why making videos was easy for me. Also, I crave attention like a nine-year-old whose father went out for milk three years ago.
I have been inspired by comedians, speakers, and creators my whole life. When I was in my teens, I would go to see punk rock legends like Henry Rollins or Jello Biafra do "spoken word" shows. Now I’m inspired by comedians like Jay Oakerson and Bo Burnham. I was always fascinated by the idea that people could be paid just to tell you stories that might be funny or might just be interesting.
My favorite quote is from Gandhi, who said,
Making content is all about engagement. Clicks ain't sh*t, no cap.
What keeps me motivated is the smile on children’s faces, right before they realize that I’m just here to make them laugh because their parents are dead. Also, the money and attention from strangers. Those help a LOT.
I wish I had a system I could break down for you here. But apparently, I tend to just keep my mind open to anything becoming an idea, no matter how poor. Some of my best ideas happened in the shower. The problem is, I don't shower much. I try to keep on top of what the kids are saying. Their slang for things is different from my old man's slang. The more I lean into those memes, the more I become the voice of a generation.
I also keep the notes app synced across my various devices. I can’t tell you how many ideas hit right before I fall asleep. When that happens, I get up right away and jot it down. This allows me to rest because I know the idea won't be forgotten. I'm constantly making notes when I watch TV or have conversations, among others.
Sometimes, I use idea mapping software to help me plan product ideas and business development strategies but not to create content.
When I get blocked creatively, I have a few strategies.
1. Get as far away from forced creation as possible.
2. Distract yourself with non-creative activities. Sometimes all I need is a long drive or a shower.
3. Play video games.
4. When all else fails, sugar gets me going. A donut can often get my brain working.
I also can switch to administrative-type tasks for my operation when my creativity is tapped.
I use a few apps in my day-to-day business. My favorite app for creating books and graphics is called Comic Life. I've been using it for 20 years. When it comes to video editing, I use an app called TimeBolt on my computer and VideoEasy on my iPhone. It allows me to automatically edit out the silence in my videos creating a rhythmic jump-cut style that I like. I also use an app called FileMaker Pro for managing most of my data and automating administrative tasks. I would say it's my favorite piece of software ever and it's completely underrated.
I'm on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Telegram, and your mom's pull-out couch.
I don't use any software for scheduling posts or uploading content. Other than the tools in-app for YouTube, TikTok, etc. Here’s a list of tools I use day-to-day.
My biggest fear starting out was that nobody would find me funny. There's a big gap between making our friends and family laugh, and making strangers laugh - especially when those strangers are on the Internet. People online can be extremely cruel.
Thankfully, I have always seen negativity as an important ingredient. I feel like if I can make an equal number of people hate me and love me, I'm going to stay relevant. I don't get upset with trolls or negative commenters.
I often argue with people and troll them back. Eventually, they retreat to their corner and remind me that they are just a teenager on the Internet and that I shouldn't be bullying them. True story.
I mentioned it before. I'm very comfortable in front of the camera and I am the farthest thing from a perfectionist you could ever find. My books have typos and grammatical errors. I don't slow down to edit for the most part. In fact, I believe some of my videos of me reading books have gone viral partially because of the typos people feel compelled to point out. Anything to increase engagement. Right, Gandhi?
In the beginning, I posted every time I had an idea, no matter how crappy. Some of my old videos are cringe-worthy but I kept them up because it's important to remind myself that not every piece of content is a home run. I don't follow a schedule and I'm not consistent. I'm just not wired that way.
There are some weeks where I create three or four new books and crank out dozens of new videos. And there are some weeks where I do absolutely nothing productive. I've learned to be okay with both scenarios. Once in a while, I will feel guilty when I'm not productive. I think creative people need to embrace the bursts where everything flows and some of their best work gets done. In those times, we never ask ourselves why it's happening. But when we feel lazy, we ask why. I think you can't have one without the other.
My budget has always been tighter than your grandmother's pension check. I believe if you do things correctly with content marketing, you can build a business with very little cash outlay. I got my first hundred followers within about seven days. But I also got a community guidelines violation in that seven days. Within a couple of months, I had over 10,000 followers. I uploaded about 100 videos at that time. Every stupid idea and a few good ones got published.
Eventually, I discovered a formula for me where I would create a children's book for adults and read it on TikTok. But by the time you watch the video, the book was already available on Amazon. I'm still using that formula 2 1/2 years later. I have published almost 100 books.
If I could do things differently, I would have done more, sooner. Earlier on, I hesitated more than I do now. I think I was still unsure about the whole thing which may have slowed me down. I waited too long to create merchandise and to build a mailing list, among others. Even forming a corporation was something I procrastinated on.
My advice to a new creator is simple: Do all the things in your head. Do them now. Find a way to do them cheap or free. But do them all.
When you begin to get all the ideas out of your head, new ones will present themselves. And your audience will show you what they like and what they don't. That's the fastest way to find what you do best. Don't get stuck thinking about lighting and cameras, etc. I shoot with my iPhone and a WebCam. I haven't spent a fortune on equipment other than the cool background in my office and some lighting. I think some people spend too much time trying to be slick. If your content sucks. It doesn't matter how slick you are. Nobody goes to a restaurant that has bad food and good service. But we will all put up with bad service when the food is amazing. Make good content now, cheaply. Improve with time.
I dropped out of high school in 10th grade. I taught myself everything I needed to know either through books or online tutorials. I believe you can learn anything you want without leaving your home. I committed to using TikTok because that's where my audience was building up the most. Still today, my YouTube channel has a fraction of the followers that my TikTok account has. So I focused on the platform that was rewarding me the most.
My biggest obstacles have been getting videos removed for community guidelines violations and temporary suspensions from TikTok. The platform is extremely punitive to creators like me who tend to push boundaries with humor. A lot of people get very upset when I talk about sensitive topics because they associate jokes with the real thing.
Self-doubt sometimes creates obstacles for me. I run on a delusional confidence level most of the time. But every once in a while, self-doubt creeps in and tells me I'm not good enough. Thankfully, it's rare. I would say I sometimes let my health slip when I'm productive. I have to be reminded to leave the house and go for walks. Once I do, I feel much better.
A few of my favorite milestones include:
My dad always taught me to celebrate milestones because nobody else is going to celebrate for me. I like to treat myself. I’m an only child so I spoil myself. It's the lifestyle I am accustomed to.
I posted content nonstop. That was my strategy. I published a lot of books and a lot of videos. My content has been shared a number of times which has helped drive engagement and sales. I have done a few collaborations with other TikTok creators. Most of the time they are fun, but not worth the effort from the perspective of building an audience. If I spent more time making my own content, I'd be better off than spending that time seeking collaborations. Having said that, I'm glad I do my collaborations because it's great to meet other creators and make friends with other people doing what you do.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is, for me it wouldn't make sense to dedicate a lot of time chasing down creators to collaborate with. It's almost better when it happens organically because we liked each other's content and became friends on TikTok. Collaborations are easy when both creators have respect for the other’s work. I have tried to seek out blogs, news sites, reviewers who might want to talk about me. Unfortunately, my content is offensive to most, which means they're not gonna talk about me.
I have only done a few brand deals but I have found it's very effective when you reach out to a company asking for a discount on their product in exchange for you doing a video review. I never offer an endorsement, I always offer an unbiased review. Many of these companies will check out my credentials and decide whether or not I'm a good fit. Most companies have turned me down. But the ones that say yes, often offer a product for free. I have gotten everything from a fake fur coat to a new sofa.
So far, I have not done any paid brand deals, just a free product in exchange for mention or placement. I would only work with a brand whose product I would purchase on my own. The thing is, I have my own product and I place it in every single video. That's my own published work. So I'm a bit vertically integrated when it comes to brand deals. They are nice to have but I don't need them.
I'm not comfortable sharing my earnings numbers. This is my full-time business and I'm not a starving artist. But I don't think the amount of money I make is relevant. If you are a creator, try not to compare yourself to other creators especially when it comes to money. It's easy for me to look at Kevin Hart and wish I had his paycheck.
But that doesn't have any impact on my work. I just need to do the work. And make sure I have as many opportunities for people to buy things as possible.