Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by MagicLinks, whose technology offers digital artists a way to earn income as their fans shop and connects impactful sales drivers with brand sponsorship opportunities.
When Sierra Schultzzie first started her YouTube channel in 2014, her plan was to “try a little bit of everything” in the process of figuring out what kind of content worked best for her and her brand-new audience. Fast-forward five years, and while Schultzzie has sharpened her content strategy, zeroing in on making videos about body positivity and fashion, “try a little bit of everything” is still the core theme of her content.
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Schultzzie’s channel is a constant whirlwind of new adventures. In the last month alone, she has: let fellow YouTuber Molly Burke choose her outfits; tried cheap versus expensive Halloween costumes; brutally honestly reviewed the Shane Dawson x Jeffree Star merch collection; lived like Gossip Girl for a day; followed a 5-Minute Crafts tutorial to “become an Instagram star”; took a deep dive into the photos she was self-conscious about posting online; and tried one-size-fits-all (supposedly) clothes from Amazon. And, just this afternoon, she uploaded a forthright discussion about her experiences with weight gain, weight loss, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and trying to get pregnant.
The above grab bag of videos is a perfect encapsulation of Schultzzie’s channel, where her content may leap from topic to topic, but it’s all knitted together by Schultzzie’s good humor and willingness to tackle subjects many people find it tough to talk about.
For Schultzzie, constantly trying new things is all about growth. It’s grown her platform, of course, but even more crucially, it’s helped her grow as a person, and grow into a full-time creator. Her channel recently grew past the one million subscriber mark, and to celebrate this accomplishment, Schultzzie stopped in to tell us about her YouTube origins, how she connected with her audience, and what adventures she’s jumping into next.
Check out our chat with her below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Sierra Schultzzie: It’s a milestone I honestly never saw in the cards for me, so to actually hit one million subscribers is so surreal. When I started my channel, I was just looking for a fun hobby and to hopefully connect with some new friends online. I can’t thank my viewers enough for supporting me and believing in me and giving me this amazing platform and community. I never want to take it for granted!
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you do in ye olde days before YouTube?
SS: I grew up in southern California, and have a really great support system there! I’m the middle child of my family, and was always the “artsy one” in a very sports-oriented household. I definitely marched to the beat of my own drum, so I guess it’s fitting that I ended up in a creative but unconventional career like YouTube.
I was always keeping myself busy growing up, and had a lot of odd jobs that tended to relate to my creative passions! I worked as a drama camp counselor, a vocal instructor, a stage manager, and (believe it or not) a birthday party princess before I stumbled into YouTube. In a weird way, I think all the unique jobs and experiences I had in my teen years really prepared me to be a YouTuber.
Tubefilter: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel? Did you have a content strategy going in, maybe a sense of, “This is what I ultimately want my YouTube channel to be,” or have you developed your content’s voice over time?
SS: I was in my freshman year of college as a theatre major, and although I had been auditioning for a ton of shows at my school, I wasn’t getting cast. I kept getting told I just wasn’t quite “right” for the part. My then-boyfriend (now husband) Stephen saw that I was getting a little frustrated without a creative outlet, and suggested I start a YouTube channel.
After an evening of listening to me vent about being told I didn’t have the right look for yet another callback, he said something along the lines of, “Why don’t you start a YouTube channel? You’re weird and funny, and if you’re being yourself, no one can tell you you’re not right for the part.”
At the time, I just laughed it off. But it planted that little seed in my brain, and the next week, I spent all of the $100 in my bank account on a small light and microphone, grabbed the camera I had from my photography class, and filmed my first video. I fell totally in love with the process and never looked back!
When I started my channel, there definitely wasn’t a content strategy. I was really just trying to find my footing and trying a little bit of everything. As time went on, I learned what kind of content I really enjoy making, and was able to find an audience who liked watching that content, too! I doubled down on that. I think it’s important to make videos you love and feel passionate about — it shows through.
Tubefilter: Some of your most popular videos involve you being totally upfront about the daily “ugh” moments plus-size folks face, like being a size 12 in one brand, a size 18 in another, and a 5X in yet another. It’s obvious a lot of people are drawn to these videos. What draws you to making content about this part of your life?
SS: I think once we acknowledge our fears and insecurities, they become a lot less scary. As a teen, I put so much value into my size. It would tear me apart when I had to size up, even though it’s literally just a number on the inside of a tag that has no value. Once I talked about this online, I realized so many women felt the same way, and how ridiculous it actually is. By making content demonstrating how much sizing can vary, it helps me to laugh at the huge sizing variations from brand to brand, and hopefully shows other women that they don’t need to put any stock into sizing either.
Tubefilter: How do you come up with ideas for new videos?
SS: Most of my video ideas come from either my own life experiences, looking into my past videos to see if there’s any new perspectives we can explore, or recommendations from my audience! Since a lot of my content centers around current trends or seasonality, I’m able to really easily use affiliate linking with MagicLinks, which helps diversify my income so I’m not as reliant on just YouTube ads.
Tubefilter: What do you love about tackling brand-new experiences and challenges for videos?
SS: I think it helps me personally grow a lot, as a creator and just as a human. It almost forces me to face my fears and go out of my comfort zone, which can be challenging, but is so rewarding and has helped me on my own self-love journey immensely.
Tubefilter: How long does it take you to produce a video, from conception to upload?
SS: My content has really grown and evolved through the years, and with expanding my team, I’ve been able to put more work into each video since I have more time and more resources. I usually have a brainstorming session once a month, where I plan out the following month’s content. Then, based on that, I’ll create a filming schedule and delegate tasks to my other team members. My recreating celebrity photos series is my most time intensive, I usually spend about 40 hours of my own time on each of those videos, and I have seven team members working on it as well. They take me about 4 weeks to produce. My brutally honest reviews are my least time intensive; I usually spend about six hours of my own time on these, and have two team members working on them. They can take me as little as 10 days to produce if I need a quick turnaround!
Tubefilter: When did you start noticing your audience really picking up? Was there one specific video that attracted a lot of attention? How are you growing your audience?
SS: Last year, around November, I had 350K subscribers, so in the past 12 months is when my audience has really started picking up. It’s been crazy but so cool to know my content is affecting more and more women out there. The video that really started to snowball this growth was I Tried Size 12 Jeans at 12 Different Stores. The YouTube algorithm loved that video, for whatever reason, and started recommending it like crazy! Luckily, that video was on key with the typical content I create, so the new viewers who come in and like that video seem to stick around for my other content as well.
Tubefilter: What else do you get up to in your day-to-day life?
SS: YouTube keeps me pretty busy, but in my spare time, I like to go to Disneyland with my husband, go on hikes with my dogs, hang out with my family, and take any opportunity I can to travel! Especially to New York — I’m a big musical theatre fan, so I try to get out there at least once a year and see some Broadway shows.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content for YouTube?
SS: Connection. I grew up watching YouTube instead of TV because I related to the people on YouTube. I felt connected to them, and felt understood. Now, being on the other side of that, it really feels full circle. I love talking with my audience, connecting with them, getting to know them. I have a fantastic community of uplifting women who truly inspire me to be the best version of myself. My audience is really, really awesome. The kind of people I genuinely want to be friends with in the real world, so I just feel incredibly connected to them!
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? Any fun plans?
SS: I joke a lot that my ultimate “end goal” is just to be a good YouTuber, but it’s true! Sure, it would be cool to do more acting, or start a clothing line, or write a book, and I hope I get the opportunity to do all those things one day — but what I really want is just to create good content on YouTube that I’m proud of. We have my podcast now that I absolutely love doing, and I hope to continue with that! I’m also working on expanding my merch line to have more products, and I’m doing my first ever live show next week, which I’m so excited about. And Vlogmas is coming up, which I always do on my second channel.
You can add yourself to the ranks of Schultzzie’s more-than-a-million YouTube subscribers at her channel YouTube.com/SierraSchultzzie.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by MagicLinks.
Born in 2015, MagicLinks is the fastest-growing video influencer platform powering social commerce. Trusted in over 195k campaign videos, viewed by more than 21B fans, MagicLinks’ digital artist community has driven more than $750M in product sales for global brand leaders. MagicLinks is the global leader in authentic social commerce for video Influencers. Our technology offers digital artists a way to earn income as their fans shop and connects impactful sales drivers with brand sponsorship opportunities. Come join our vibrant community of premium video creators and be part of the magic.