Vlogs

Steh Hiesher

How We Hit 2 Million Views by Posting Prank Videos on YouTube.

Side Hustle
October 26, 2020
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Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

Hello, we’re the Hiesher Family! We are based out of Pennsylvania in the United States. My wife and I create vlogs, tutorials, and prank videos for YouTube and Instagram as a side quest from the monotonous game of “regular” life. We started posting content regularly in the summer of 2018. 

    

Our tiny operation consists of my wife and I, with the kids making guest appearances from time to time. Our brand name came from a nickname I received when an old employer regularly misspelled my name. This happened so often that I was referred to as “Steh Hiesher” more than my actual name. I had a YouTube account in that name since 2008 but never intended to create my own videos. So when the channel began to take off, the name kind of stuck. Haha! We have discussed changing our brand name to “Wife Scare” now that we’re gaining more followers, and that is what we’re known for. 


Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

I started my YouTube channel in 2008. This was merely a platform to share videos with long-distance friends and family. I had no idea I would log into my account one day and find one of my silly videos going viral! Haha! In February of 2018, I had seventy-eight YouTube subscribers. I uploaded a silly video of me scaring my wife. This is something I had done since we met as high school sweethearts over 15 years ago. I had a few clips totaling about 1 minute. The video was public on YouTube. I shared it with our family and friends. It had about 50 views.

Fast forward three or four months, and I randomly woke up one morning and had hundreds of emails and notifications. Our video was at 90,000 views and climbing quickly. We were getting more comments than we could keep up with. It’s was the craziest thing we’ve ever had to happen to us. People from all around the world were laughing with us, at us, and begging for more! That video hit 1,000,000 views faster than I ever imagined and continues to climb as one of our most popular videos. It has around 2,000,000 now. 


As I’m typing this, we now have around 22,000 subscribers, 300 videos.  We are so thankful to all of our subscribers. While we would love to devote all of our time to creating online content, Andrea and I still have to supplement our income with other ventures and work. Fingers crossed that we will share bigger and better videos with our online family as our channel grows. We never specifically had a plan or inspiration for this incredible journey. It was purely an accident, a good accident. We didn’t find YouTube, it found us. Haha! 

     

There have definitely been times where we lost motivation. Our videos weren’t getting the views we had hoped for. We ran out of ideas, or “haters” made it less than fun to continue. The thing that always brought us back to uploading was our loyal subscribers. We are both continually blown away with positivity and love for our family! They have opened our eyes to how thankful we are for everything God has given us.  Our channel is growing faster than ever now, and we are so excited to see what happens next. 


How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

Most of our content is just little snippets of our life. We take cameras with us everywhere and attempt to capture a little bit of everything from the momentous to the mundane. Our viewers also play a massive role in shaping our content. They give us tons of feedback and ideas about what they enjoy.  Whenever we get stuck, we ask our kids and our followers for ideas. 


What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

Before this all started, I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved filming and editing videos. Now, I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m having fun. We like to think our videos are slowly getting better. LOL. I’m almost embarrassed to talk about the “equipment” I’m using for our channel. I’m using the term equipment very loosely. Haha! In 2018, I had a three-year-old HP laptop and used Windows Movie Maker for all my videos. In 2019, that laptop died, and I couldn’t afford another one. I didn’t want to stop creating content, so I started using my iPhone SE in 2013. Haha! I used the Videoshop app for all my editing. I still can’t afford a MacBook Pro, but I did buy a new iPhone. So I currently edit all our videos on my iPhone with Videoshop. (Facepalm) but it’s where we are at right now, and it works.


As far as the camera goes, I started with our first viral video being filmed on my iPod touch; then, I moved up to my iPhone. In 2019, I bought a GoPro Hero7 Black with some of our first YouTube earnings! This was an exhilarating moment for us! I also use a small gimbal with my iPhone sometimes. If our channel continues to grow, I hope to move up to better equipment. I also couldn’t do what I do without my trusty air horn! Haha! The platforms we use are YouTube and Instagram. I use epidemic sound for nearly all of my audio tracks. 


What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

We didn’t have many fears going into this adventure. It wasn’t something we ever planned to do. We invested so little time into it. Nothing was on the line. It was a “what’s the worst that can happen” scenario.  It felt very natural for us because of how easy and fun it was to develop content. It was just us, being us. 


As our video gained popularity, we got more and more comments. Some were nice; many were not. We have a stable relationship and are both confident in who we are and our beliefs, so it hasn’t been too difficult to let the negativity roll off our backs. One thing we both love is how loyal our followers are. They police our comments section better than I ever could. They do an excellent job of chasing off the haters.  The “ban hammer” also gets swung from time to time. I try only to do this when someone is disrespectful to our family or followers. Our goal is to spread joy and laughter.

There’s no place for hate and negativity on our channel. Neither of us is particularly fond of being on camera. Our audience is the most significant boost of confidence you could ever imagine. Now, talking to the camera feels like talking to a friend. Our entire family and most of our friends are entirely used to a camera following us everywhere we go. 

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

In the beginning, I had that one video that went viral. After that, I started posting 1-3 videos per month. We began to notice a trend of what viewers enjoyed. So I started posting more regularly. At one point, I was uploading several videos per week. This became too much work for us and didn’t appear to affect our channel, so we cut back to once a week or so. 


Our channel gained traction quickly and unexpectedly. We gained 1000-2000 subscribers a month for the first year. Then it slowed way down to maybe 100-300 per month. It was at this time we thought our 15 minutes of fame were winding down. We were sad but thankful for all the fun we had. We continued to post videos and reply to comments, but many of our videos struggled to get views. A few months ago, our channel began taking off again. Ten thousand subscribers came quickly, then 20,000 came and went even faster. It could all stop tomorrow, but we are grateful and excited for every chance we get to share with our viewers. We’re just enjoying it while it lasts. 


The thing to take away from our story is that the internet is a fickle beast! I’ve stopped trying to understand it. In the beginning, I spent hundreds of hours watching other content creators. I tried to learn tactics. I watched YouTube classes. I took surveys. I planned out every little thing, and it appeared to make no difference. No, we just post when and what we feel like, and it’s working for this moment.  One thing I’ve always strived to do is reply to the comments. People are taking time out of their lives to watch our videos and leave comments. It’s our pleasure to respond to as many of them as we can. We absolutely love our interactions with subscribers. 


The video that put our channel on the map was “Wife Scare Volume 2”. Without that video, our channel would still have 78 subscribers, and we would not have had the incredible journey that we have been blessed with! 


For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?


That’s a tough one. My best advice is,

Do it because it’s something you want. Be sincere! Don’t let anyone discourage you and never change who you are.


Something I’ve already struggled with are the missed opportunities. I have missed out on many good videos because I didn’t have my camera, or I didn’t feel like vlogging, but that’s a double-edged sword. Taking breaks and missing things prevents us from getting burnt out. My advice for someone starting out it is to get feedback from others. It’s not always easy to hear, but it’s very helpful. Do you talk too much, do you say “um” a lot? Is your intro too long, etc. Getting an outside perspective on those small details makes all the difference. 


Another thing that has really helped us is getting involved with other people who make and share content similar to yours. My Instagram account has definitely grown because of this. “Sharing followers” is a win-win for everyone. The creators get more traffic and the viewers get more content that is similar to what they enjoy. 


How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

We would love to say goodbye to our regular jobs and devote all our time to our channel. For now, we are just thankful for our followers and enjoying every minute of life. If it eventually turns into a sustainable source of income, we will be over the moon! 


Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

Having a video hit 1 million views was unbelievable for us! I will never forget that! Reaching 10,000 & 20,000 subscribers was also incredible! We are a small channel by comparison to the “real YouTubers,” so the fact that we get anything from uploading videos is such a blessing. We recently were able to pay our monthly mortgage bill on our home with our monthly AdSense revenue. That may seem trivial to some, but it's something we always thought would be cool but never imagined we would get there.


What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

To be completely honest, we don’t have a strategy. We focus on our fans. We always try to be real. We never compromise our morals or creed. And if it ever stops being fun, we won’t hesitate to walk away. We haven’t collaborated with any of the YouTubers yet. (But we would love to.) 


We have had one of our videos shared on a TV show called “Right this minute.” We have also done some review videos for products made by Tacklife and the Kickstarter campaign, “Hulkman.” We also have something even bigger and better coming very soon. We’re not at liberty to share any info about it yet, but we can’t wait to share this exciting news with our fans! 

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

Many different groups and companies have contacted us over the past year. From electronics and cosmetics to health programs and television shows! We are very cautious and skeptical about most offers. Our brand/name and channel are very special to us, and we would never want to sign anything that would change our channel’s direction. We have created videos and tested items for Tacklife, Hulkman, and some other Amazon sellers.

We are currently working with a company that dwarfs all our other offers. You’ll have to wait a little longer to see what I’m talking about—wink...wink. We have never been paid for any of the partnerships we have been involved in. When we test products, the companies allow us to keep the items free of charge. My biggest advice to people that might be dealing with decisions on whether or not they should take an offer is to wait, be picky, don’t settle, or sign away any part of your brand. If you’re getting that type of attention, then you must be doing something right. Hold out until that offer comes along that you can’t resist!

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