Welcome to Creators Going Pro, where in partnership with Semaphore — a creator focused family of companies providing business and financial services to social media professionals — we profile professional YouTube stars who have hit it big by doing what they love. Each week, we’ll chat with a creator about the business side of their channel, including identifying their Semaphore Moment — the moment they truly went pro.
Brad Mondo was born into the salon life. But while the third-generation hairdresser always knew he wanted to hold a pair of shears for a living — and has found success in being a model-slash-stylist to the stars with clientele like Vanessa Hudgens, Heather Marks, and Shay Mitchell — he’s also always had creative ambitions in a medium where he can lend his expertise to more than one individual at a time.
Mondo joined YouTube in April 2015. He started uploading with the intention to make it a full-time business — and, over the past two years, he has.
Mondo, who is now 23, currently boasts 1.7 million subscribers and more than 183 million views on YouTube, where his hairdressing expertise is netting him more than 12 million views a month, and plays a crucial part in his popular reaction and advice videos. He has a large audience on other platforms, too: 258,000 followers on Instagram, and 29,000 followers on Twitter. He’s represented by manager Leila Marsh, attorney Anita Sharma, and Metro Public Relations.
Mondo has big plans for this fall, including an original makeover series featuring a few lucky fans. But before all that, he’s chatting with Tubefilter about his path to success.
Tubefilter: Tell us about your background. How did you get into hair styling and when did you know you wanted to be a professional?
Brad Mondo: My dad’s a hairdresser and was a salon owner for most of my life. So I’ve been in the hair world since day one. I was a kid who was always interested in the arts. I loved painting and was fascinated by the fashion, hair, and makeup industry, so I thought what better than to follow my dad’s footsteps and become a hairdresser. Becoming a hairdresser meant I could make people look and feel beautiful, as well as keep up with my passion for the arts.
TF: Why did you start making videos?
BM: I’ve been OBSESSED with YouTube my entire life. I’ve been watching people like Shane Dawson and Jenna Marbles for as long as I can remember. I made my first YouTube video around age 12. Those videos never went anywhere and are never to be seen again. I then began to post a few things at age 16 and then a few more at age 20, and then at age 22, I took it seriously and said “I’m going to make this my career,” and I did! I started making videos because I wanted to be my own boss and be a part of this super cool online community that is YouTube.
TF: When did you get your first check for online video revenue and how much was it?
BM: I remember how stoked I was when I got my first check from YouTube. It was for the minimum payout of $100. That was maybe two years ago. At the time, I didn’t have direct deposit from YouTube, so I remember going to get my mailbox and seeing the first check and being like, “Wow, I made it, I did it.”
Outside of AdSense, my first check was around $1,000 for a brand deal.
TF: When was that Semaphore Moment for you—the first time you realized you were a professional YouTube creator? Did you consciously change your professional goals to include YouTube, or did it happen organically, over time?
BM: I don’t think I can pinpoint an exact time I realized I was a professional YouTube creator, but it was definitely a surreal moment being recognized on the street for the first time. I was so nervous, probably more nervous than the girl who came up to me asking for a photo. It all happened so fast, I couldn’t really step back to think what was going on.
I consciously changed my profession for sure. Everything I have now, I have because I wanted it to happen, and made it happen.
TF: Your video topics include everything from experiments to advice videos. What do you consider to be your personal “brand” of video? What kinds of content do you notice appeal most to your subscribers?
BM: I’m in the midst of morphing the image people have of me on YouTube. I’m known as a hairdresser who reacts to hair fails. I love doing those videos and I think they’re super entertaining, but I’m more than that. My videos will probably always be hair-focused, but I’m working on doing bigger production videos and more intricate video concepts. The viewers want real, and notice when true effort is put into videos, so that’s what I believe appeals most.
TF: What’s your production schedule like and how big is your YouTube production team? When did you start bringing people on board?
BM: I’ve been uploading three or more videos a week for a little over a year now. I film, and then my editor and I work closely together to get the video up a day later. Usually, all my videos have a one- or two-day turnaround time.
I have taken a break from posting for the last two weeks, as I’ve been filming the first season of a huge fan makeover series. The series will include eight episodes of crazy cool makeovers I did on my fans. The trailer will be out this week! So for that, I had a team of around 10 people working on it doing lighting, sound, directing, casting, editing, etc.
TF: Are there any differences between how you operated your business as a hairdresser to the stars versus how you operate your business as a YouTuber?
BM: For sure! I was never my own boss before. Being in a salon, I was always told what to do and when to do it. Now I call all the shots. Which can be fun, but also insanely difficult. But overall, I wouldn’t wanna be doing anything else. I love having total creative freedom over everything I do. I’m such a control freak, lol.
TF: What’s next for your channel? What are you building toward?
BM: The fan makeover series, as I mentioned above! Make sure to check it out — when you see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of the girls, you will hardly recognize them. It’s insane! I have another major announcement coming soon, so stay tuned!
Photo courtesy of Brad Mondo.
Semaphore Business Solutions provides customized services for clients across the country, taking an all-encompassing approach to meet all your financial needs. Whether you’re a veteran YouTube entertainer or just starting out, managing your business correctly is crucial to avoiding major headaches down the road. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can help you put a plan into motion to grow, as well as to keep more money in your pocket, with advanced tax strategies. Semaphore Brand Solutions has established itself as a leading influencer marketing agency representing our exclusive talent relationships and services to the most recognized brands and agencies.