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.
Taylor and Vanessa Bouslog had been bugging their mother about YouTube for months.
The duo, who were just 15 and 12 at the time, watched dozens of family-centric YouTube channels, and were keen to make their own. But their mom, Laura, was concerned about the two of them putting themselves out on the internet. After weathering their regular requests, she finally gave in. Fine, she decided. Over one summer, they could give it a shot. The deal was, though, it would be a family endeavor. Laura, who was a teacher and also had the summer off, was going to be there with them every step of the way.
That started with figuring out How To Do YouTube. None of them had any experience, aside from a video editing course Taylor was taking in high school. Laura ended up tearing through the YouTube Creator Academy, the platform’s suite of free online courses that help teach creators everything from setting up a channel to editing basics to finding their first viewers. Then she gave the go-ahead, and the sisters set up their eponymous channel Taylor & Vanessa.
As for help finding their first viewers, it turned out the Bouslog family didn’t need much of that. Their first video, uploaded April 24, was a $100 mall haul challenge — a trendy undertaking they’d seen on the channels they often watched. It got thousands of views (it currently has more than 300,000) and their subscriber count began to tick up. Taylor, Vanessa, and Laura had already agreed that if they were going to commit for a summer, they were going to commit, and that meant uploading nearly every day.
Their first months on YouTube saw them keep a blistering pace of five to seven videos per week, most of them challenges, shopping hauls, and slime-related content. In less than 90 days, they netted more than 100,000 subscribers, joined the YouTube Partner Program, and received a hefty first AdSense check (we’ll let them tell just how hefty below).
By the end of the summer, Laura had another decision to make. Managing Taylor and Vanessa’s channel had become a full-time job for her, and she couldn’t do both it and continue teaching. So, she could let her daughters’ channel go at least semi-dormant for the school year…or she could take a chance and turn Taylor & Vanessa into her family’s primary focus.
Two years later, Laura is the “momager” of a channel with more than 800,000 subscribers that just had its best month of views ever — 12 million. The family has switched up its content strategy so they’re no longer producing at a breakneck pace; instead, they put out three to four videos per week, and take breaks when they need to. Their overall content, however, hasn’t changed; part of Laura’s day-to-day is keeping tabs on what’s trending on YouTube, so plenty of the sisters’ videos still revolve around slime, popular challenges, and prank wars.
Soon, things for their YouTube career will become a little bit tougher — Taylor’s gearing up to head off to college, and for the first time in the history of their channel, she won’t be living with Vanessa. They’re planning to have her carve out the time to drive home from college a couple times a week so she and Vanessa can film the next week’s videos together.
It’s certainly not an easy situation, but like everything to do with their channel, Taylor, Vanessa, and their mom plan to tackle it together.
Check out our chat with them below.
Tubefilter: So first, tell us a little about you! Where are the two of you from? What did you do in the days before YouTube?
Taylor Bouslog: We’re originally from Indiana, but moved to Florida about five years ago, when my dad’s job transferred him here. I don’t know…I think we did a lot of the same stuff we do now.
Vanessa Bouslog: Yeah, we’ve tried to keep our life as normal as possible. We are both still in high school and have other activities. I’m on my cheer team and we travel for competitions.
TB: I use to do cheer as well, but now I’m taking dance. We love to hang out with friends, and travel. You know, normal kid stuff.
Tubefilter: How did you decide to launch a YouTube channel together? Why did you pick YouTube in particular as the place to share your content?
TB: We knew other families that were doing it. It looked like a lot of fun.
VB: And we begged our mom forever! At first, she didn’t want us to put ourselves out there like that, but eventually we wore her down, haha.
TB: Our mom was a teacher and always had summers off with us. So, she decided we could all do it together over one summer, just for fun. She went through the YouTube Creator Academy and learned how to make and publish videos on YouTube.
VB: Taylor was taking a video editing course in school, so she was able to teach Mom how to get started editing. It was really fun coming up with challenges and watching the channel grow together. It felt like a family business.
TB: Then it all just exploded! We hit 100K by the end of July. It was crazy! We were so grateful for all of our viewers. Then we had a huge family decision to make. The channel was pretty much a full-time job because we were publishing seven days a week.
VB: Mom was spending hours and hours a day editing and doing the thumbnails. There was no way she could teach and still help with the channel. We all sat down and decided to continue this journey as a family. We were excited, but I think she was terrified, haha.
Tubefilter: What would you say is the Taynessa “brand”? What can viewers always expect if they tune in to one of your videos?
VB: Our brand is our bond as sisters. We of course love doing crazy challenges and funny skits, but really it is just us having fun with each other. We get so many comments that our viewers wish they got along with their siblings the way we get along, or that they wish they were our sister.
TB: Yes! And of course some think it’s all just for show…but we are really close and we do really like spending time together. Mostly, haha.
VB: Of course, we don’t always get along! That’s not realistic. But when we are doing our videos, we really are just having so much fun together. That’s what really comes through no matter what the video is about.
Tubefilter: When did you get your first check for online video revenue? How much was it for?
TB: We published our first video April 24, 2017, and our first paycheck came in June, just two months later.
VB: We got $1,573.66. I remember it, exactly. We were so proud of that. Hahaha! It seemed so crazy that we were making these videos together as a family, just having fun, and we were getting paid for them.
Tubefilter: $1,573? That’s a lot of eyeballs in one month for a brand-new channel.
TB: Our channel grew very quickly. We had 100,000 subscribers with in the first 90 days after starting the channel. We were publishing everyday and following all the trends so we could be easily found. None of our videos exactly went viral. We just worked really hard, published videos daily, and got very lucky.
Tubefilter: Have you gotten any checks outside of AdSense? Maybe for a sponsorship or brand partnership?
TB: Yes, we do brand partnerships fairly, regularly. We’ve worked with Sony, Disney, Michaels, Amazon, Mattel, Spin Master, and several others.
Tubefilter: You’re both in high school. How do each of you balance making videos with school, extracurriculars, and everything else? Is time management tough?
TB: I’m a senior this year, I am so excited! I think that time management is always tough for any student, not just because we do YouTube. Trying to balance school, homework, sports, and friends is hard. Most of my friends have some kind of job, so I don’t think it is any harder than being a normal teenager.
VB: My cheerleading actually takes more of my time than YouTube does, and our channel takes a lot! I practice all week, plus travel to competitions on the weekends.
TB:We are so lucky because our mom is the one that puts in the most hours for our channel. She left teaching to help us run this, and we couldn’t do it without her.
VB:Yes, we make the videos, which can take a couple hours per video, but our mom does everything else. She does all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the channel possible, and gets zero credit most of the time.
TB: It is a full-time job for her every day. If we didn’t have our mom to do all of those things, we couldn’t do school, cheer, dance, and everything else we love!
B:Yes, we love you, Mom! We couldn’t do this without you!
Tubefilter: What was that Semaphore Moment for you—the first time you realised you were a professional YouTuber?
VB: The first 100 times we got recognized in public. We would be like, “Wait, you have seen our videos?”
TB: Our first brand deal was a biggie, too! It was in October 2017, about six months after we started the channel. It was exciting to see our monthly revenue increasing every month, but the first time a brand wanted to pay us to promote their product was insane.
Tubefilter: How have you shifted your content strategy over time? You do lots of trendy challenges, like 24-hour challenges and slime-related challenges. How do you keep track of what’s up-and-coming on YouTube, and hop on that rising tide?
VB: Well, we do watch a lot of YouTube, haha. But our mom does a lot of that. She has learned so much about the YouTube algorithm, and she spends a ton of time on YouTube watching the trends or looking for ways for us to be creative and stand out.
TB: When we first started doing YouTube, we focused a lot on slime and slime challenges because that was huge. We also focused more on quantity versus quality. Now, we just focus on making three to four really good videos each week.
Tubefilter: Who else is on your behind-the-scenes team? Do you have an editor? What about a manager or network?
VB: I love our team. It is small and mainly family, but it works. We’ve already told you about our “momager” and the endless list of things she does for us. There is also our dad, who builds us whatever we need when he comes home from his full-time job as a financial manager.
TB: Yes, he recently built us the fake wall for our “don’t stick your hand in the wrong hole” challenge [below]. He’s been in a monkey suit, and we’ve played pranks on him and tortured him in countless ways, including asking him to help us clean up after some of our extra messy videos. If you watch our channel, you know that’s a big job!
We also have a full-time editor now. We’ve been working with him for about a year. Our Aunt Jenni is our techy guru. She handles all our tech issues.
VB: And of course we have Semaphore to help with our brand and sponsored content as well as our accounting and a bunch of other stuff. We never do a brand deal without going through Semaphore. They are great. Plus, we signed with a network when we reached 150K subscribers.
Tubefilter: Do you have a set filming and uploading schedule? Does that schedule change between summer and school time?
TB: Yes, our upload schedule is Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. If we have a busy week and we don’t have as much time, we will change from uploading the two weekday videos and just upload one on Wednesday.
VB: Our film schedule is always changing depending on the time of year. During the fall when we are in school, we try to get as many videos done on the weekend as we can. But January through May, we travel on the weekends for my cheer competitions, so we film more during the week. Also, if we are going to be travelling — which we love to do — or go to a YouTube convention, then everything gets prefilmed, which means filming double the weeks prior. In the summer, we are more relaxed.
Tubefilter: Have either of you ever faced creative burnout? What do you do to combat it?
TB: Yes, definitely! Last year was a tough year for us. We were making five to seven videos a week, and our views dropped by like two-thirds of what they had been. This went on for months. Just month after month of putting in so much time creating and seeing our views continue to drop was so defeating.
VB: At first, we thought the solution was to produce more videos trying to prop up the views, but this totally backfired on us, because all we did was become more and more frustrated and more and more tired. We feel our videos showed how tired and frustrated we were. We could see it, and our viewers were commenting on it.
TB: At one point, we all decided to just take a breath, step back, and stop chasing the views. We took a short break. When we started doing videos again, we decided to only do four for the week. We started making more time in our lives for the other things we loved. When we did do videos, we were like, Let’s just have fun with it and not care how many views it gets.
VB: Because we were doing less videos, we got to choose which ideas or challenges we were most excited about. Our editor was able to do more with the footage we gave him because he wasn’t having to crank out a video every day either. So not only were we having more fun and better ideas, but our video quality was better too. Slowly, over time, the views came back. Now, even though we are doing about half the videos we used to, the payoff is way bigger.
We have more room in our lives for the normal things and for the things we love. Now, if we are feeling like we need a break or need to take a step back, we listen to that feeling and know that the channel isn’t going to die, it isn’t the end of the world, and in the long run it will be better.
Tubefilter: What do you think is the most vital skill you possess as a creator?
TB: A sense of humor! This is so important, and we have had to work on this ever since we started YouTube. Not just so we can make funny videos. No — you need a sense of humor because none of us in this family went to school for this. We are learning every day, and a lot of times that learning comes from our mistakes.
VB: You can’t take yourself too seriously. No one is perfect, and everyone has a bad hair or skin day, but not everyone has themself recorded and put on the internet every day. At first it really bothered us. Our mom would edit the video or thumbnails and want us to see them, and we couldn’t. I hated the sound of my voice. I literally couldn’t hear myself talking. Now, we are so much better. If we say something wrong, if our hair looks crazy, if we lose the challenge, we laugh at ourselves. We can laugh off just about anything.
Tubefilter: What’s next for each of you and your channel? What are you building toward?
TB: We have started some additional channels. We each have an individual channel, and we opened a vlog channel. The vlog channel is the newest, and we are building that slowly. We don’t do a lot of vlogging, but we want to do more of it, so now we have a reason to, haha. Our individual channels are meant to explore more of the content that interests us individually. So that has been fun, and we are slowly growing those channels.
VB: We plan on continuing YouTube for as long as we enjoy it. That includes when Taylor goes off to college next year.
TB: My college is only a short drive away, so the plan is for me to come home a day or two each week for a few hours each time and make some videos, then go back to college. We will see how that works out, haha, but that is the plan for now.
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