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 creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by creator fintech company Karat Financial.
Tati Mitchell loves to make things.
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As you probably know, our YouTube Millionaire installments usually feature…well…YouTubers. But this week we’re featuring Mitchell as a special guest who’s hit one million followers on not just one, but two separate TikTok accounts. In fact, her main TikTok account, @therealtati, is now at 5.4 million followers–but we’re focusing on her second account, @goodeatswithtati, where Mitchell shares her love of food with 1.2 million followers.
Like many creators we’ve spoken to for both YouTube Millionaires and our other weekly series, Creators on the Rise, Mitchell started making content during the pandemic. When COVID lockdowns kicked in, she was on the front lines, working full-time morning and night shifts in the patient clinic and dietary department at her local hospital. But the stress of COVID took a toll on her (something she’s not alone in dealing with), and to relax and relieve stress, she dove into something she’d always wanted to do: make videos.
Mitchell quickly found virality with her comedy videos, which were often filmed around her house in the predawn hours before work. She jokes that one of her filming sessions was interrupted by her mom, who wanted to know WTF she was up to, talking to herself in the middle of the night.
As her main account started to take off, Mitchell wanted her audience to see more of her personality–and that inevitably involved food. Food is a major part of Mitchell’s life: she grew up cooking with her grandmother, runs a cheesecake business, and (now that she’s got enough of an audience that content-making is generating full-time income for her) is exploring the possibility of opening her own restaurant.
We’ll let her tell you all about @goodeatswithtati below.
@goodeatswithtati Buffalo chicken Eggrolls 🥰 #buffalochickeneggrolls #goodeatswithtati #fyp ♬ original sound – 👑QUEEN OF FLAVOR👑
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Let’s start easy! For somebody who’s reading, who may never have seen one of your videos, who are you and where are you from?
Tati Mitchell: My name is Tati, I am from Detroit, Michigan, born and raised. I moved to Clinton Township when I was about 11 years old. That’s like, the suburbs of Michigan.
Tubefilter: When did you start making videos?
TM: I started creating videos when I was around 15 years old, but I nevertook myself seriously. I always knew that I wanted to make videos for the internet for a long time, because that was what I was passionate about, but I could never actually afford the equipment growing up—like the camera, the new phone, I couldn’t afford it. So I just had to wait and work hard until it was my time to shine. And during quarantine, when I first blew up, that’s when I started my cooking page, Good Eats with Tati.
One of my videos blew up and then I was like, “Okay, I can do this.” At the time I was working two full-time jobs at the hospital—a morning job and a night shift—and I was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s the pandemic happening, I’m around sick people, I don’t want to be caught up in this.”
So that’s when I started staying up until like 6 a.m. and just created content in my bathroom or standing in my kitchen. I gained like 300K in one day, and I was like, “Okay!”
It wasn’t even my intention to do it full-time. I was just doing it for fun. Then I started this little relationship with another creator named Devin, and in July of 2021 I decided to quit my job and fly out to New Jersey to come visit him and make content with him. And yeah, ever since then, it’s just been a journey.
@goodeatswithtati Breakfast #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok #goodeatswithtati #fyp #breakfast ♬ original sound – 👑QUEEN OF FLAVOR👑
Tubefilter: That’s a huge commitment, quitting your job. How did you decide to commit to that?
TM: At the time I was not getting any brand deals just yet. Uh, wait, I lied. I got two brand deals. And that was way more money than I was making working 40 hours a week. And I was like, let me just go ahead and just take a leap of faith. That’s what I did. I just took a leap of faith. And I was like, “Okay, I did this.” And yeah, I just was thinking—I say this all the time, like I was just being delusional. I was like, “Yeah, I can do this! I wanna be good!”
Tubefilter: Something we’ve heard a lot is that platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts can be good for new creators because they erase the barrier of needing an expensive camera or editing software. Do you have any thoughts about short-form platforms playing a part in accessibility?
TM: I feel like making short-form content engages the audience quicker because our generation is always on social media. I feel like our attention spans are shorter because we’re always on our phones. But I honestly want to start doing long-form video because I want to showcase my personality more, and right now I can only give like 60 seconds of me, but I would rather give [viewers] 20 minutes of me in a vlog.
Tubefilter: So now that you’ve built a following with short-form, you’re able to get into a place where you can invest in long-form?
TM: Yeah. And honestly, you don’t really need a $1,000 camera to start making videos. My camera that I have now, I have a Canon G7 X, and it was gifted from YouTube. But I feel like even if I wasn’t gifted this camera, I still would’ve gotten a camera off Amazon for like $200. I feel like if you honestly want to get out there and start creating your videos and showing people who you are and you can’t afford it, you can just start off with your phone. If you can, start off with a little camera, because the quality matters, but it’s you—you’re the person, you’re what people want to see.
Tubefilter: So we’re zeroing in on your food page because that’s the one that most recently crossed a million followers. How did you fall in love with food?
TM: I’ve always been in love with food, ever since I was a little baby. My grandmother, she cooked soul food. Growing up, I always made sure I stayed in the kitchen with her. I was under her wig every single day. Every time I went over there, I was always under her. I was cutting up her vegetables for her. Cutting up greens for her. I was season for her. I got inspired by my grandmother, she’s a big inspiration for me cooking, and yeah—that’s when I fell in love with cooking.
I think when I was about 12 years old, the first meal I ever made….I can’t even remember because I been cooking so much. I don’t remember the first meal I made, but everyone thinks I’ve only ever been in love with like savory, savory dishes. I also love sweet. I have a dessert business, though it’s not really open right now. It’s a cheesecake company.
@goodeatswithtati Philly cheesesteak fries #goodeatswithtati #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok #fyp #phillycheesesteak ♬ original sound – 👑QUEEN OF FLAVOR👑
Tubefilter: Oh, you really have a lot going on. What does the average day look like for you?
TM: The average day for me…Basically I wake up around 8:30 every day, I’ll eat some breakfast, wash my face, brush my teeth. I’ll go the gym for an hour. Then I’ll come back home, straighten up a little bit, and I try to brainstorm.
Sometimes my brain grabs up a lot of thoughts so I’ll just take time to relax, try to meditate, and listen to music. Social media sometimes can be very draining, because you—this isn’t for everyone, but for me, I want it to be forever for me. I want to continue making content. I want to continue to have my place be on social media.
But yeah, I’ll try to brainstorm my ideas and see what I can come up with. I’ll ask my supports what they want to see for me next. After I do that, I’ll take a nap, around like 4:30. Then I may go out to dinner with my friends, and come back and chill.
Tubefilter: How much time goes into the average TikTok video, and then into the average cooking video?
TM: So the average cooking video, I have to figure out what recipe I’m gonna make. And I like to get my angles right. So it would probably take me 20 minutes to make a cooking video, because I keep refilming the same part if I mess up or I don’t like how I filmed it. But for a regular TikTok, it’s literally like, one copy. One time. Because I feel like if I redo it, it’s not going to be my genuine reaction, and I feel like my audience will know, “Oh, she’s forcing this.” And I hate that! So if I don’t get it right the first go round, I won’t redo it.
Tubefilter: That’s the first time we’ve heard that.
TM: Yeah, like I try to do a one-hit winner and if I don’t hit it the first time, then I’m like, okay, let’s do [something else] another day.
Tubefilter: Are you pretty spontaneous with the videos you film, then? Or do you have a list in your head where it’s like, “Okay, I want to do this and this and this”?
TM: I’m very spontaneous when it comes to short-form videos. If I see a funny duet on my For You page, I’ll do that and just post it. But I feel like once I get into longer-form videos, I will have to have a planner for what I want to create.
@goodeatswithtati Rotel dip #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok #goodeatswithtati #roteldip #fyp ♬ Squidville – Emmanuel Jackson
Tubefilter: What kind of long-form videos are you looking to get into?
TM: I want to do vlogs. I want to do videos with my friends. I want to just talk. I basically want to do a whole lot of videos, to be honest.
Tubefilter: You mentioned you’d gotten a couple of brand deals before. Are you getting more regular brand deals now?
TM: Yeah, right now I believe I have like six or seven brand deals a month.
Tubefilter: What kinds of companies do you work with? What makes a company appealing for you to work with?
TM: The brands that I shop at—like I love Walmart. I love shopping at Walmart. So when they reached out to work with me, I’m like, “What?!” I would never have thought in a million years that I would be working with Walmart.
I like working with clothing brands, like Pretty Little Things, Fashion Nova. Whatever brands I shop at—if they reach out to me, that’s what makes me more prone to work with them.
Tubefilter: So aside from getting into long-form content, do you have any other plans or goals for the rest of 2022?
TM: Yes! One of my goals is—and this is just to start it—I want to look into buildings so I can open up a restaurant.
Tubefilter: Oh, that’s incredibly ambitious.
TM: Yeah. It’s gonna be based in Michigan. And I have no clue what I want to do.
Tubefilter: Like a full-scale restaurant, or an expansion of your cheesecake business?
TM: I think a full restaurant, but also a bakery. Just a cute little storefront. That’s been my dream for a while.
Tubefilter: We’ve seen a lot of creators move into using their online presence to support a business.
TM: Yeah, and I’m glad I have this support. I know my supporters would definitely come check it out. I’m very grateful […] and I appreciate that because I want to take advantage of this opportunity while I still have the chance. I would hate for all of this to go to waste. No one knows how long these platforms are going to be around, so I’m going to have a backup plan for a backup plan.
Tubefilter: To wrap up, do you have any advice for other up-and-coming creators?
TM: Just be yourself when you post. Stay true to yourself no matter how high a level you get on. Remember the humble beginnings you came from—never forget where you came from. Always strive for greatness and always look out for the people who were there for you when you were coming up.
Mitchell is represented by Zach Cole at Slash MGMT.
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