Toasty Bros

How Both Degree Holders Left Their Full-Time Jobs to Share PC Hardware Reviews and Guides on YouTube.

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November 20, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

We are the Toastybros, a name that doesn’t tell you much about what we do, to be honest. We focus on teaching people how to build gaming PCs for a wide range of budgets. We are based out of Louisville, Kentucky, and have been creating content on this channel for about six years. We recently made the jump to doing this full-time at the start of this year and have had great success in doing so.

It took us a few years to get there, but ours has always been a goal to do this full-time. Now we have a team of two helping us out behind the scenes and are very happy that we took the Jump. That team being Zack, our graphic designer and the first person we brought on to help us out very early in the channel's history, and Mcallister, working for us as a video editor for several months now. 

Now how did we come up with the name? In all honesty, the story isn’t that interesting. We just sat in our A+ Computer hardware class and started tossing out random names. The channel started as a variety channel where Jackson and I could share our similar passions and grow the brand that way. Eventually, we realized after making a $200 PC build guide for his mother that PC hardware should be our focus. I (Jackson) often compare the name ToastyBros to “Apple,” a very familiar name and company. Steve Jobs said he wanted a simple, easy to remember the name and didn’t mean anything specific. It’s honestly just fun having a quirky name too!

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

Since early elementary school, Jackson and I have known each other and got closer, starting in the 7th grade. There we began to share our similar interests in gaming and started creating YouTube channels to share that passion. We always loved the idea of being our bro. Those channels eventually failed because we couldn’t stay consistent with it, but ultimately, we thought it was time to take one more crack at it during our sophomore year of high school. That is how the Toastybros channel started. 

Until about six months ago, Matt and I both had full-time/ part-time jobs aside from YouTube. We both worked at a Pizza buffet for a few years as our first jobs. Jackson worked as a mechanic for a few years as well. We graduated from Sullivan College, Matt, with a Business and Marketing degree and Jackson with a Computer Engineering degree.  I would say people such as LinusTechTips were huge inspirational characters for us. We kind of think of ourselves as a more “budget” friendly version of them at times. 

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

Our brainstorming process is pretty simple. Most of the time, our content revolves around a few different things: Budget Gaming PC’s, Budget Gaming Setups, and the occasional sponsored product showcase. We try to stay in this realm because it is how we grew our audience. We use Trello for all our business’s organization and organize our months to plan advertising spots and content to ensure we are not behind. We create a new card and start with a budget in mind. Our audience tends to like budget-focused content more, meaning stuff that the average person can afford, so we lean that way most of the time when planning out our videos.

A mental block is rare when you have the team we have. One of us may struggle to develop an idea, but we always seem to balance that with groupthink and base our brainstorming on what has worked in the past. 

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

We use the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, which contains: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects. Sometimes we use Sony Vegas as well for editing. We are on pretty much every social media - Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Discord, and even Floatplane. We also have two other YouTube channels called ToastyDIY and ToastyClips that have some cool content. 

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

Anyone fears failure, I think. Failure stops many people from creating what they believe in, so many people work a typical 9-5 job and are content with it because they want peace of mind. Luckily, Matt and I started young before we moved out of our parents’ houses, which allowed us to attempt, and if a failure happened, it wasn’t the end of the world. That is also why both of us got college degrees, I think as well. We knew they could help slightly with our YouTube career (assuming that happened) but would also be a great back up plan in case YouTube didn’t work out. 

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

When we started the YouTube channel, we attempted to post content three days a week. We knew that consistency was key in growing a YouTube channel. As we began to grow, we then experimented with posting content two days a week to give ourselves more time to make better content. At that point, we started to grow much faster. Now we post 2-3 times a week depending on what kind of opportunities we have presented to us.

As far as funding goes, we started the channel with no “start-up” money. We made videos about things that people we knew got and what we bought for ourselves. We were young, working part-time jobs. Until the YouTube channel was monetized, we grew our channel that way. The hardest part was staying consistent when the numbers didn’t look right. There were also times in each of our lives when we were not fully able to contribute to the channel as we wanted, so sometimes, the other person had to pick up more of the load. However, we were both able to overcome this and grow the channel to what it is today.

It did take a few months to see the initial traction on our channel. Our first video that took off was our mineral oil PC build, which is where you submerge PC components in mineral oil, a non-conductive solution, and give off the effect of a PC in a fish take. That video now has over 3.5 million views and is still our highest viewed video. The funny part is it has not been monetized for the past three or so years due to us using copyrighted music. 

Our day-to-day is when we come into our office and meet with our team and create content for a few hours a day. We mix in some brainstorming and use Trello to organize the upload schedule. It’s not a perfect system, but we have been happy with how productive we stay.

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

The number one piece of advice Matt and I would start with is to be persistent. Don’t stop just because you see low numbers. Even when ToastyBros was at 80,000 subs, we were only making about $100 a month, and we tell a lot of people that, and they’re shocked.

Sadly with any business, you aren’t going to become rich overnight, but if you keep on pressing, the future will typically hold good things for you.

It took about a year of creating videos before we even got monetized to make money! We also use A LOT of our money to put back into the company. From buying things to make our content better for paying contractors for goods and services, we could be taking a lot more money home, but we choose not to. That is a big reason we have come so far at such a small amount of subs. We are at about 225,000 when writing this, yet we have about 2,000 sqft worth of commercial office space and a three-car garage for other content creation. We think that putting money back into the company is one of the smartest investments you can make! 

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

As we both mentioned, it took a while to commit fully. We didn’t quit our part-time/ full-time jobs until about six months ago (around 175-200K subs). It’s always good to have a backup plan/ cushion to fall back on. Once Matt and I felt comfortable and had plenty saved up in the business, we decided it was time to go YouTube full-time, and we have loved it since then! 

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

The best highlights in my eyes of our time being content creators would have to be the events we have attended and the opportunities we had to meet people we have looked up to for years because of what we were able to create. 

For example, we got the chance to go to CES in 2019 and have it fully funded by a PC hardware company. We were able to meet like-minded creators and leave that event more motivated and inspired than before. These highlights are what makes content creation so awesome. It also helps that the people who make the same kind of content are genuinely good people who care about each other. 

If I were to choose a milestone that is financially based, it would be going full-time. When I was younger, I always told myself that if I had the chance to make a liveable wage doing YouTube full-time, I would do it over any ample job opportunity out there. Being able to live this lifestyle is more than worth it. 

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

I will start by saying using other social media to help promote your brand is essential! Matt and I basically run different social media (Jackson runs Instagram and Facebook, Matt runs Twitter and most email traffic, and we both run Discord). This way, everyone gets slightly different content with each social media they follow. 

Collaborations are a great way to grow your channel and just have fun doing them overall. We have noticed collaborations don’t help grow your channel as much as you’d think, but even then, it is extra content, and it does attract new people to channels. We’re working on a collaboration with “the tech fam,” which consists of about eight other tech channels like us. 

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

Sponsors are a big part of our business. Every video we release on the channel has some sort of sponsorship incorporated into it. Usually, these are pre-roll ads, but we have recently been doing fully sponsored videos to support what we do. When we first started the channel, we reached out to specific brands, but now most of the opportunities we need to come to us have trouble keeping up with all the advertisements’ requests. We have become a bit more selective over the years we work with because of that. Still, we are generally open to working with any tech company to feel our audience will be interested in buying a product or service. 

The best advice I can give for sponsorships is to know your worth. Collaborate with people in your space and learn what your value is and stick with it. Companies have bigger budgets than you think, and they will go a long way to give you the smallest amount they can so they can maximize that budget. Always negotiate if they offer outside of your average budget and be willing to throw out larger numbers at times and see what companies will say. We change our rates on our media deck every month or so, depending on our growth. Don’t stick with the same rates forever as you increase in value.

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