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.
If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the last…oh…three years, you probably know Pokémon cards are having a huge moment. Suddenly both old-time, original 90s cards and new packs are hot commodities for dedicated collectors and those looking to make a quick buck. Logan Paul got in on them, and so did thousands of other creators.
But for RealBreakingNate, Pokémon isn’t just a viral trend or a way to make cash. Pokémon is his passion–and has been for most of his life.
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As a child of the 90s, RealBreakingNate grew up when the original Pokémon anime made its way over from Japan and onto Cartoon Network. He remembers the first waves of cards and stuffed toys in big box stores. And, like many people, he held on to that love as he grew up. So, by the time YouTube debuted, he not only knew he wanted to make a channel, but he knew exactly what he wanted his channel to be about.
He uploaded his first video in 2015, and thanks to YouTube’s Pokémon community, growth was pretty steady. But it was in 2020–thanks to a confluence of lockdowns and Pokémon craze–that things really started to take off. And once YouTube dropped its TikTok competitor, Shorts, RealBreakingNate was really rolling.
Over the past year, he’s gained nearly half a million subscribers, and recently he crossed that golden threshold to become a full-fledged YouTube Millionaire.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: I’ve seen some of your videos, and I’m sure we’ll have readers who are familiar with you, but for anybody who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know your videos, can you introduce yourself, like, where are you from and what kind of stuff do you make on YouTube?
RealBreakingNate: I go by RealBreakingNate on basically any social media platform. I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I focus primarily on the world of Pokémon, and I present it all in a family-friendly format so any age can watch, families, young, old, it doesn’t matter. To me, it’s content for everyone.
Tubefilter: What made you get on YouTube originally?
RealBreakingNate: I’ve always wanted to entertain people and make people smile, make people laugh and just genuinely happy. For most of my life, I didn’t know how I would do that. Especially living in Indiana, I always felt like you had to be somewhere big like California, New York to do something like that, but then when YouTube came along, it really changed the game for how people can create content and entertain people and put their voice out there.
In 2014, YouTube had been out for a while by then, but I kind of started to realize, like, “Hey, this is something that I could do.” This is something that I started to realize that anybody could do. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, anybody could do this. It doesn’t matter how big of a city or how small of a town, and so I decided to just give it a try. Going into it, I didn’t really understand how things worked, and so I just learned everything along the way. I just wanted to be myself and share the things that I enjoy.
I ended up doing a Pokémon video, and everybody really enjoyed it, and I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t realize that so many other people enjoyed this as well online,” so I did another one, and I did another one, and it just made me happy because that’s what I really wanted to do, is just share my passion of Pokémon with everybody. It was nice to see that everybody just wanted to enjoy it with somebody else, so I decided to just dive into it in 2014 and then I went full-time with it in 2017.
Tubefilter: Got it. What was the trigger to make you go full-time?
RealBreakingNate: I was working a job at a donut shop in my local town. I was getting up every morning about 5:00 AM, going into work, working an entire shift, coming home, filming a video, editing the video myself, and then uploading the video. Then I would just do the exact same thing the very next day. It was just day in, day out the exact same pattern.
Eventually, the light bulb went off in my head, and I was like, “I feel like I could do so much better if I just had more time to dedicate to this.” I enjoyed working my job at the donut shop, but it wasn’t my passion, it wasn’t my dream.
I thought, “Well, if I just had more time to do this, then I really feel like I could do something big and make something special out of it.” Honestly, one of the hardest decisions that I ever made in my entire life was believing in myself. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was believing in myself to go full-time with YouTube, but I’m so glad that I did that. It was a very scary decision. I talked with my wife about it. She had just recently lost her job as well, so it was a very scary time, but she believed in me, and I had to believe in myself as well for the best decisions that we’ve ever made.
Tubefilter: That’s good to hear. I know it’s a huge commitment.
RealBreakingNate: Right. It’s a scary one, too.
Tubefilter: How have things changed for you and for your channel since you went full-time?
RealBreakingNate: I would say for me it has definitely helped me be more of myself, if that makes sense. It helps me feel more comfortable with who I am. A lot of my life I was afraid to always be myself, and I feel like creating content, being on YouTube has helped me open up and to love myself more. I don’t know if that sounds weird, but that’s what I feel like has been one of the biggest changes going full-time with it, and I absolutely love it.
Tubefilter: No, that’s very cool. I don’t think that’s weird.
RealBreakingNate: Okay, cool.
Tubefilter: That’s very cool.
RealBreakingNate: Sometimes stuff makes sense in my head, I just hope that it comes across the right way.
Tubefilter: Yes, I get you. What is your current kind of production process like?
RealBreakingNate: It’s me and my wife here in our house. We don’t have a separate studio or anything. Everything is done inside of our house and you typically upload four to five videos a week, and we’ll come up with an idea, and the idea just stems from something that we personally want to do. It’s not something that– I don’t go with ideas that are based off of what’s going to get me the most amount of views. I don’t do things that way. I do things in a sense of what do I genuinely want to do? What would I like to watch on YouTube right now? That’s what I go out and do. Typically when a video goes up, most of the time it’s filmed about two days in advance.
Luckily now, early 2021, I’ve hired somebody that edits my videos full-time now, but from 2014 all the way up to early 2021, I edited almost all of my videos except for a handful. That was just learning, myself, to edit thumbnails and edit videos and everything, but to me, it’s a very relaxed and chill process because we’re just genuinely doing what we want to do, and if we don’t feel like uploading one day, then we don’t force it. We don’t do that. We don’t want to put out something that is just to be putting out a video for views. No. We just do what we want to do, essentially.
Tubefilter: That’s very cool. Where do you– Let me think how to phrase this. I feel like it’s very cliche to ask where your ideas come from, but I feel like with you guys, since you’re involved in the trading card market and you’re so involved with current happenings in Pokémon, how do you come up with what is worthy of a video and maybe what isn’t, that kind of thing.
RealBreakingNate: It can be hard to come up with an idea, so to speak. Like I had mentioned, we just do what we want to do and what we feel like doing at that time, what we would want to watch, but there are time periods where I will go through a week or so to where we just don’t have any ideas that we feel like we would want to watch on YouTube, so a lot of times, it can just– some of our ideas just simply stem from us just going out and about and just doing life out and about and then randomly an idea hits us.
I think when we are able to clear our mind, that’s when it opens up a little bit more for those ideas to start to flow in a little bit better, but I try to– I’ll go to tournaments, I’ll go to local Pokémon Leagues, we’ll go to events, we’ll just do everything. There’s no sitting down a certain day of the week just trying to just plan out videos for an entire week. We just go with the flow and see where it takes us. I know that’s probably not the best way to do things when it comes to content creating, but it’s what works for us, and it’s what we like and to me it feels genuine.
Tubefilter: Yes. I mean, if it works for you, then nobody can criticize.
RealBreakingNate: Right. We always want to be, make sure when we’re creating content. Like I said, we don’t want to just make a video just to be making a video.
Tubefilter: I did see you make– Your videos are quite long, and then on top of that, you make Shorts as well and then you do some live streams. How do you balance the–? I mean, you’re making a lot of stuff.
RealBreakingNate: Yes. Personally, I don’t know how, to be honest. Within the past couple of years, we’ve obviously seen the rise in short-form content with platforms like TikTok and then Instagram picking it up with Reels, and then YouTube really pushing Shorts as well. It’s something that you can easily, when you create vertical content, it’s something you can easily put on every platform. You don’t necessarily have to record a vertical video for each platform.
It’s just trying to figure out where to put things in the mix. When it comes to YouTube Shorts right now, I’m really trying to figure out the best way to put them onto the channel with just, I don’t know, I’ve been putting them up on days that I don’t typically upload. Almost like a bonus type of content and not replacing it with a regular video, if that makes sense.
RealBreakingNate: When it comes to live streaming, I don’t do a whole lot of those. I’ll do a few throughout the year, but I typically like to stick with prerecorded videos because I enjoy the storytelling and videos and the edits and everything that goes into that production. Prerecorded videos is my favorite thing to do.
Tubefilter: Got you. Yes, I feel like you can really tell looking at your channel.
RealBreakingNate: Yes. It can be hard to juggle everything, for sure. I think short-form content being thrown into the mix has really maybe thrown a lot of people off their game on what they should be focusing on because it is now getting to the point to where it is important to focus on both of them. As I go along and the more that I do short-form content, the easier it becomes. Whereas, I’m so used to doing 20- or 30-minute videos, for the longest time, I had a very difficult time trying to figure out how to put that idea into 60 seconds, but over the years, I’ve learned the best way to do that.
A lot of times now when I do short-form content, it’s when I’m normally out and about filming a regular video, I can do a shorter video of that same kind of idea and give people two different ways to watch it almost.
Tubefilter: Yes, I got you. How do you– Because a lot of Pokémon videos in general involve purchasing cards or that kind of thing. How do you balance, do you think about investment versus the potential views, or how do you balance that?
RealBreakingNate: Do you mean investment, like investment in the channel?
Tubefilter: No. In, say if you’re going out, I know one of your videos is like you have 24 hours to find every Pokémon card. If you’re going out somewhere and you’re buying something for a video, do you think about income versus revenue generation?
RealBreakingNate: Typically not. I will say in the very beginning, I had to know how things worked because I didn’t understand how the CPMs worked and everything, so it was kind of learning over the years how all of that works.
Now, for a video, I don’t go overboard with videos. I don’t spend thousands and thousands on videos. I just go out. For example, you mentioned completing the set in 24 hours. I was buying those cards because I genuinely wanted those for my collection. I really wanted to complete the set. Our entire house is filled with Pokémon stuff. We’re huge collectors of– It didn’t matter what sort of return was on that because that was something I genuinely wanted to do. I genuinely wanted to complete that set and try to get the cards for my collection.
Tubefilter: Got you. Okay, very cool. What has been your favorite part of being on YouTube?
RealBreakingNate: Getting to meet everybody in the community. Just getting to travel, getting to go to events, hearing people’s stories. Hearing people’s stories is one of the best things ever. I travel somewhere, maybe it’s a Pokémon Tournament, maybe it’s a big event like VidCon, whatever it may be, and then you get to meet fans, whether it be a fan of the channel or a fan of just Pokémon in general. Then you get to hear their stories and what they love about the channel or what they love about Pokémon, and you get to connect with each other. That is just one of the best feelings ever, is just meeting people and hearing their stories, and that’s what I value the most, is I value the community of all of this.
Tubefilter: I feel like from a semi-outside perspective, I feel like has Pokémon has a uniquely passionate community on YouTube.
RealBreakingNate: Oh, absolutely. The great thing about Pokémon is that it’s for everybody. Everybody can enjoy Pokémon, and one of the neat things is that everybody has a favorite Pokémon. There are so many Pokémon, hundreds and hundreds, and it’s so neat that you could talk to a hundred different people, and every single one of them could have a different favorite Pokémon and have a different story in a different journey. Maybe one person really enjoys the video games the most and maybe one person really enjoys the anime and another person enjoys the card game the most.
It’s just such a big community, but at the end of the day, Pokémon is something that makes all of us happy, and I think that’s what we enjoy the most. We enjoy being happy and being around other people that enjoy the things that make us happy. It’s a very unique community and a very loving community.
Tubefilter: Perfect. Yes, that’s definitely the vibe I get.
RealBreakingNate: Oh, absolutely.
Tubefilter: Very cool. It’s close to the end of my questions. I would ask if you have any plans or any kind of upcoming goals for yourself, for your channel?
RealBreakingNate: As far as upcoming goals, I feel like a lot of people want to start big companies or they want to have multiple channels or a big house, whatever it may be. I just want to be able to do this for the rest of my life. I just want to be able to create content, share my passion with the world, and continue doing what I’m doing and enjoying Pokémon. That’s what I want to do. This is literally– what I’m doing right now is my dream. My dream is nothing else in the world that I would rather be doing than this right now. I just want my wife and I to be able to do this for as long as possible. That’s the goal right there. That’s the goal.