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.
Stanimus spent six years streaming full-time on Twitch.
That’s six years of 40+ hour work weeks, six years of building an audience, and six years of learning Twitch’s ins and outs to make the platform work for him. Six years of investment. Six years of his life.
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So, when he realized he needed to throw it all away and start over on YouTube, it wasn’t an easy decision–to say the very, very least.
Not an easy decision, but still a necessary one for him. After streaming for so long, Stanimus realized he felt like he’d hit a “ceiling,” he says, and on top of that he’d come to see the moneymaking process on Twitch as “hustling for tips,” where he was relying almost solely on viewers paying him during streams with things like subscriptions–which run $4.99 a month, but creators only get half of that after Twitch’s 50% cut–and donations.
He ended up quitting Twitch “cold turkey” in 2021 and switching entirely to YouTube full-time. With that switch came a switch in genre, where he shifted from gaming content to reaction content, but there are echoes of his Twitch experience in his YouTube videos. He still uses the same setup he used when streaming, and credits the skills he built on Twitch entertaining a live audience for a lot of his ease on camera making YouTube Shorts and long-form uploads.
Over the past two years, Stanimus has had to rebuilt his audience from the ground up. And it’s working for him: His channel is now at 1.4 million subscribers and over a billion lifetime views.
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: What was it like for you to hit a million? Was it a long time coming? Was it just “we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” or was it a big thing for you?
Stanimus: For me, it didn’t really hit until way after because I was just in work mode. It came at me fast because I’m a Shorts creator, and I feel for a lot of Shorts creators when you hit a million, it doesn’t really hit you the same as somebody who does long-form because it’s easier, so that’s where I’m at. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything like that, but it just didn’t really hit me the same I think as it does for a lot of other people who do long-form videos.
Tubefilter: Tell me a little bit about you and your background and how you ended up on YouTube.
Stanimus: I streamed on Twitch for six years and I did pretty well with it, but I reached almost like a ceiling. I started to explore the bigger realm of content creation and found YouTube to be the next big move for myself, and I basically had to quit Twitch cold turkey and move over to YouTube, which was really hard at first, but once I got started into it, it was the best decision I ever made.
Tubefilter: That seems really intimidating.
Stanimus: Yes, it is. Especially when you have a week-long or a schedule throughout the whole week for Twitch. I was streaming Monday through Friday, six hours a day. It’s a lot of hours and there’s a little bit of prep and work you have to do afterward too, and it is just a lot of hours for working for tips. I realized that there was a bigger world out there for me, and I just put my big boy pants on and started studying YouTube, and it was like ripping off the Band-Aid.
Tubefilter: I feel like I see echoes of Twitch content in your YouTube content, because obviously you’ve got the streamer’s setup in your videos, so it seems like a natural evolution.
Stanimus: It is actually. I would say that if I didn’t do Twitch before YouTube, I wouldn’t have the interaction and personality down. I take a lot of the experiences from my time on Twitch and apply them to the way I make my YouTube videos, and people just connect with me on a greater level than, I think, if I just would’ve only been doing YouTube this whole time. I just understand how to talk to an audience, and it’s years of entertaining a live audience translates into now talking to the camera, essentially, and people like it.
Tubefilter: It’s a very specific skillset.
Stanimus: It comes to me naturally now, but starting out, it was a lot more rough. I do a lot of reaction content and I think that just treating the audience like they’re a Twitch audience helps me just connect with people easier.
Tubefilter: It’s funny, when I first saw one of your videos, I assumed they were filmed during a Twitch stream. Then I realized no, this is the way that the video is presented. That was really interesting.
Stanimus: Interesting. It’s actually interesting on my end to hear that from somebody.
Tubefilter: You do Shorts, but you also have longer-form videos that feel a little more journalism-y. How do you approach the mix of short- and long-form?
Stanimus: During my transition from Twitch to YouTube, to have an understanding of YouTube, I gave myself a project and I was like, okay, let’s create a video series that I will grind out to build up my YouTube skillsets and I started a series called The Feed, and the idea was to make at first it was like 10 videos. Okay, let’s make 10 of these types of videos, and then I made those. I’m like, okay, now let’s do 50.
Then it was like, okay, let’s just do 100 episodes of The Feed and it started off with me covering internet pop culture, gaming culture, newsy stuff and I would just explain it like a Philip De Franco style or there was this YouTube channel that fell off, but I really liked him. It was called Esports Talk. It had this guy Jake Lucky and this other dude named Hunter that would just cover streamer news, eSports news stuff, and I really liked their format and pacing and I was like, hey, if I can make something like that, that would be a good exercise for me to start learning how to do YouTube.
I started The Feed and it was kind of journalismy but over time I realized that when I would cover wacky stuff and react to it, it just got a better response from the audience but I do have a little bit of a journalismy background. That’s not really my goal of what to be. I was doing that as an exercise to learn and it just stuck to a certain degree in my videos. If I can in a reaction video, I will also do research into what happened after the video because the viewers always wonder what happened. If I could find out, I’ll add that to the video so they can have a payoff, a conclusion into a Karen video, or something.
Tubefilter: I’ve actually never spoken to somebody who’s quit Twitch and moved over. Do you feel like your audience from Twitch has followed you to YouTube, or did you have to start from ground zero?
Stanimus: They did not follow me over whatsoever.
Stanimus: That’s the way it goes, because people on Twitch, they want to watch Twitch. When I left Twitch, they just went to go watch someone else.
Tubefilter: Oh, that’s rough.
Stanimus: Just to touch on that because I’m really passionate about this. I love helping smaller creators get started. I even run a subreddit called r/smallstreamers, and it’s probably like the only small creator community out there that is just 100% geared toward how do you get better? How do you improve, how do you grow?
There’s no following each other or watching each other or supporting each other, none of that matters because that’s where a lot of small creators get stuck and I just have a big passion for like, guys, I spent years figuring this out. Let me speedrun you. Let me give you the knowledge so you can actually have a shot at this and one of the best things that you could do starting out as a creator is not going to Twitch don’t stream, go get videos instead.
Seriously, don’t stream. It’s like a time vampire where you put in all these hours hustling for tips when you should be making content that ads run on. Because the whole internet is based on ads and that’s where you can grow as a creator. You could make some money and you can have a much bigger reach. I started off streaming for years and I did acquire some very valuable skills doing that but I’m one of the very few people that would be able to start off on streaming and succeed at it.
I’m not trying to talk too highly about myself, it’s just, I knew when I first started streaming that I was going to make that work. Then when I was done streaming, I was like, okay, I need the transition to YouTube. I knew I was going to make that work. I’m like a brute force, will-it-so type of person. It’s not very common. I was able to make streaming on Twitch as my starting platform work, and not very many people are going to be able to do that. If I could give people some advice, it would be don’t stream, go start making videos. Start off with like TikToks and stuff. Start there and then work your way up.
Tubefilter: I don’t know if you know this, but there was a Twitch executive, I think it was this past summer, somebody asked a Twitch executive how you should advertise yourself and grow on Twitch and he was like, “Make content on YouTube.” Just straight-up admitted it.
Stanimus: They don’t have any systems on Twitch to help you. The only way you’re going to grow on Twitch right now–through Twitch and not from some offsite platform–is basically some social engineering. It’s like you have to go back to your high school days and be the popular kid in school, and you do that by hanging out with the other popular kids and getting them to like you. It’s really that. If you’re going to grow naturally on Twitch, it’s a lot of people, they’ll just hit the “go live” button and hope you get lucky. In reality, what you got to do is so much more than that.
Tubefilter: Do you feel better being on YouTube? Are things going better for you?
Stanimus: I feel so much better being on YouTube because I actually have a shot here, you know? I do miss the community aspect of Twitch, and I think that’s what sucks a lot of people in. I feel better making money from advertisers and stuff like that versus trying to extract money from my loyal audience and depending on them, you know what I mean?
Tubefilter: Yes. The tip hustling, that really hit for me. That makes sense.
Stanimus: Yes, and these are people that come and want to see you win and stuff like that. It’s so much money from them directly and it just that changes the vibe, where on YouTube, they could just watch for free.
Tubefilter: Yes, and the ad-supporting means that they’re giving you money indirectly just by watching.
Stanimus: Yes, and even on YouTube, I have memberships on there. On YouTube, you can set your prices. I set up 99 cent tier on YouTube, so if people want to have all the benefits and stuff, it’s 99 cents, it’s not five bucks. I call it the Thrifty Boys, so they can just have everything for 99 cents. You can have all that stuff if you want it, and it’s not breaking the bank of the viewers. Five bucks is a lot of money.
I think they do this on Twitch too, but on YouTube, you can have an evolution of the little icon, little emojis. I have a little Pokemon egg, and after three months, if you’ve been a member, it starts to crack open, and then a Pokemon evolves. For 99 cents, you can get that instead of five bucks.
Tubefilter: Oh, that’s cool.
Stanimus: It matters to people. They want that stuff and they want that feeling of supporting. I get that, from the culture of Twitch. I get that feeling of wanting to support a creator you like and you want to see them win, but Twitch takes half of that subscription and YouTube takes I think 70%-30%.
Tubefilter: Yes, it’s 30%.
Stanimus: Yeah, instead of 50%-50%, which is way more reasonable than Twitch is and you could set the price. If you want it to be 99 cents like this, just pay the 99 cents instead for the people that want to have that feeling of supporting their favorite creator. I like the 99 cents here because it’s cheaper for the viewers. I don’t want to make money off of the viewers as my primary source. I do want to make money from viewers if but I want them to get some value out of it. If it’s not very important, let’s say it’s like emojis and stuff like that, it shouldn’t be $5, it should be way more accessible than that.
It’s a lot of money. That’s just, it’s a lot of money. Nine bucks is a lot to subscribe. Like, you know, that’s like Netflix right there.
Tubefilter: There is a difference where on YouTube, with advertising, brands are paying it instead of viewers. And brands can afford it.
Stanimus: Yes, brands can afford it because they’re selling stuff.
Tubefilter: Interesting. When exactly did you start on YouTube?
Stanimus: Man, I technically started back in 2007, a long time ago. have two accounts. There’s Stanimus. It used to be PapaStanimus, I just shortened it to Stanimus recently. Then I have PapaStanimus Gaming. The PapaStanimus Gaming account, the oldest uploads are from 2007. Because I was in the military and I had some footage when I was in Iraq that I uploaded just for fun. Some of those videos got a lot of views back then, and I was like, oh, it was a lot of views to me. One of them got like 50,000 views or something and I was like, whoa, that’s crazy. Ever since then I was like, I want to try this YouTube stuff, but I never really got around to it until recently.
I have years of uploads of just screwing around, but I never sat down and said, okay, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to figure out the whole world of this now. I’m not just uploading for fun. I am uploading with a purpose, and that was I would say 2021 is when I decided I am going to understand the algorithm. That’s when I started Googling, or not Googling but YouTubing, how does the YouTube algorithm work? How do you make good thumbnails? How do you come up with good titles? How do you come up with video ideas? How do you edit and have good pacing? How do you sound? How do you be more better spoken in your videos?
All the different things that you need to learn, I just started looking them up right on YouTube and studying hard. To backtrack to small creators, If anybody reads this that’s trying to get into YouTube, my advice is literally just start asking questions on YouTube and go down the rabbit hole. Just one question at a time. How does the YouTube algorithm work? How does you know? Then you’ll find, oh, there’s like 12 algorithms or more and they’re all pretty simple and they’re all different from each, like there’s an algorithm just for search and you can understand that and build content around that concept.
2021 is when I started asking a lot of those questions and pursuing what I do now.
Tubefilter: Obviously it’s working, because you’ve gone from zero to over a million in like a year, so.
Stanimus: It’s the Shorts, man. They’re overpowered.
I want to make it clear I don’t see my million as the same value as like MrBeast’s first million. It’s just different, Shorts are a different breed, but it is a way to grow your channel really fast and it’s still a loyal following. It’s still a million people that chose to hit that button at the end of the day.
Tubefilter: Can you walk me through the decision to switch to Shorts and reaction videos? How do you decide this is something that’s worth covering, worth making a video about? What’s your production process?
Stanimus: Well, after making so many videos now, I’ve gotten to the point where I can find a viral video and be like, “My audience is going to like this,” or “I could make this funny for my audience. I can make them like it.” [laughs]
As for my reactions to the videos, it’s not the first time I’ve seen the video, but it’s the first time I’ve had to react. I don’t necessarily plan the reaction. I might come up with a few things that I want to say. I try and ask myself what the audience would be asking when they’re watching the video, so we can watch it together and be thinking the same thing. Then when I do the reaction, it’s an improvisation. That’s my Twitch coming out, so I just sit there and I don’t really know what I’m going to do, but I say, and play and I’m recording and I hit the video and I start doing my thing. What comes out just comes out with the exception of maybe a couple of years I thought of beforehand that I want to work in. It’s just understanding the audience.
Someone gave me some advice once and they said he or she who understands their audience the best wins, so I’ve put a lot of time into understanding what they like. My audience are people-watchers, that’s the way I describe them. They like to see people doing things and we can judge them together. If it’s somebody doing something negative like Karen videos, which is what got me started, then we’re going to laugh at the Karen instead of being angry. For things like memes and stuff, I just have a specific type of humor and I know if I stick to that humor and find videos that are along lines of that, then there’s people that are going to relate to that, and those are the perfect audience members, people that relate to my humor.
Tubefilter: Got you. You said you had a pretty strict streaming schedule. Do you have a strict posting schedule on YouTube, or is it not as strict? Do you have a specific post like, “I post X videos per week,” that kind of thing?
Stanimus: Actually I do, and that helps keep things going for me. YouTube will say, “Hey, it’s good to take breaks, and you don’t have to post all the time,” but on the back end in the analytics, it’ll be like, “Hey, congratulations, your YouTube channel grew 50,000% in the last 28 days because you’ve been posting more videos.”
I tend to listen to that versus what they’re saying with their PR speak, so I upload three Shorts a day on my main channel and on my second channel, PapaStanimus Gaming which will be hitting a million next year, it’s also three Shorts, three gaming Shorts. Then, after that, if I have energy, if I have time, if I’m feeling it, if there’s subject matter to cover, I have ideas or whatever, then I’ll make some long forms too. Ideally, I would like to do one long-form and three Shorts per channel per day.
Tubefilter: That’s a huge amount of production.
Stanimus: It is, that’s why I’m struggling with it. I can do the Shorts, but getting the long-form in there…
Tubefilter: You need an editor.
Stanimus: I have an editor!
Tubefilter: You do?
Stanimus: Yes. I have several editors.
Tubefilter: Oh, good, okay. I’m sitting over here like, “Please don’t do this by yourself.”
Stanimus: The thing that I need to scale at this point is I need someone to help me conceptualize. That’s what I need help with because I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what people want to watch, what’s going to work, what’s not going to work.
Tubefilter: Do you have a manager?
Stanimus: I don’t, I don’t have anything like that.
Tubefilter: That might be something to consider. I know there’s a lot of management horror stories, but I have talked to a lot of people who work with reputable management companies who have entire teams or entire daily meetings for idea conceptualizing, so that might be something you want to look into.
Stanimus: Yes. I definitely need help. That’s where I’m at, because I can’t do it all and I need to expand. I need to get some people to help me. It’s just scary because I understand what the audience really likes and it’s hard to teach someone that.
I’m looking for someone who can do a few things, like someone who can hold a camera, because I want to go do some out-in-the-world type content. So hold a camera, but we can also talk ideas with each other. Maybe this person can edit too.
Tubefilter: So you want a creative partner?
Stanimus: I want a creative partner, yes.
I have a friend that has over 40 YouTube channels and doesn’t make any of the content on them. Doesn’t show his face, doesn’t use his voice, and instead, he just found multiple different niches that have proven to work. Then he hires out all the different tasks. Let’s say there’s a certain niche…He has a Karen channel, so he has a guy, he pays this guy to just find Karen videos and compile them. Videos on TikTok on Reddit or whatever. Then he has another guy that will write a script and then he pays another guy that will do the voiceover of the script and another guy that will edit it and another guy that does all the uploading.
His job is literally just training everybody. Finding them and training them. His channels do really well because they’re just all based off of proven principles and different niches.
I prefer to be on camera, so if I could hire people just to make all the other moving parts happen and I could just be on camera all day, I’d like to do that.
Tubefilter: How many editors do you have right now?
Stanimus: I have one main guy that I go to for a lot of stuff, but I have, I don’t know, like six other people that I can go to if my main guy is not available. It was really hard to find editors at first, but once you get on it in that world, it becomes a lot easier.
Tubefilter: Do you have people recommending each other to you?
Stanimus: Yes. Actually my current main editor was the friend of my last main editor. He realized he didn’t really like editing. [laughs] I think I made him quit because I made him do too many subtitles.
The joking aside, he was just, “I don’t want to do any more editing, but thanks for everything you taught me about one.” Previously, he had gone on vacation once, and I was like, hey, do you have any friends that you can recommend? He had a friend, so he recommended his friend and that’s who does most of my editing now. It’s easier to have one guy that you can always go to, that you could depend on and you know what you’re going to get, but sometimes you need more people, so I have other people on standby just in case.
Tubefilter: Has anything changed for you since you started on YouTube? Personally, professionally, has your trajectory changed at all?
Stanimus: At this point, I do do YouTube full-time now. It pays enough to cover my whole life. Even my wife’s side of things. So she was in accounting, and now she full-time just works for me, essentially, or with me. She helps me with a lot of stuff. She does our accounting. That’s one thing that she does but we got her set up with her channels so I was like, hey, I’m making enough money with my channels to just cover everything, let’s give you one year to figure out your channels and see if you can figure out how to be a creator because this is our life now. She has one channel where she does like little skits and stuff. That was in my eyes, for her, it was a channel for her to learn. Then we have a second channel that we just started that is a lot more focused and that is a dog walking channel.
She does dog walking. She went from accounting to just walking people’s dogs through these apps. The idea is to film those experiences and tell stories to the viewers of these dog-walking experiences because there’s other people doing it. There’s a dude that he works at Subway and he has a body cam on and he just makes sandwiches.
Tubefilter: Yes, Milad!
Stanimus: And there’s an ice cream guy…
Tubefilter: Dylan Lemay, yeah.
Stanimus: There’s another guy called BikeDasher. He does Door Dashing.
Tubefilter: Yes, it’s hugely popular. People just want to watch people do their jobs.
Stanimus: I was like, she loves dogs and always wanted to work with them. I came up with a channel concept for her of just dog walking and telling stories through dog walking. It’s working out pretty good. It’s a good start. She’s a good experiment too because content creation is not really her main passion.
Tubefilter: You’re proving out your theories, then?
Stanimus: Yes. I believe that you could become passionate about things. I think that especially when she’s getting a lot of views on something, I noticed she’s like checking her phone a lot and stuff and looking at it. I’m like, yes, okay. That’s what it’s all about right there. I think the hope is after one year can she become passionate about content creation, because I know that I could come up with all kinds of ideas she would be able to do. But will she want to do them after one year? She doesn’t have to, she can do whatever she wants, but wouldn’t it be cool to make a living just making fun videos with dogs and stuff? That would be amazing. That’s like a dream job. I’m trying to see if we can set her up with that.
Tubefilter: Got it.
Stanimus: To answer your question, that’s the trajectory of our life. It’s like, okay, how do we make content that satisfies viewers and rewards us so we can keep making more content that satisfies viewers? That’s basically, to simplify it all, it’s all about that.
Tubefilter: Do you have any other goals or plans for the next year?
Stanimus: Oh, yes. My goal for next year is to crack long-form, to see if I can start getting like 100,000 views or more on long-form.
It’s going to be through evolving the content. I’m still going to do reaction stuff, but I want to do more than just that. I want to go out and do stuff with the world, like just interviewing people, or just what if I went downtown, into the craziest part of downtown, and I just find people, put a camera in their face and just be like, “Tell me something your mama doesn’t know.” Just get random stuff and talk to people. I think that would be a lot of fun. Doing like, challenges and things like that with me and my wife. Stuff that’s funny. Make people laugh.
Tubefilter: Is there anything else that you want to touch on or anything you feel like readers should know about you?
Stanimus: Like I said earlier, I’m really passionate about helping smaller people get started. If anybody wants to get into this, the best thing you can do is study. I know nobody likes to hear the get good advice but really it is that, but a lot of people don’t know how to get good and how you get good is just by going on YouTube and asking questions like how do I make a YouTube video? Just start there and go down a rabbit hole.
There’s so many people that have so much to say about how to make videos right on YouTube or even just how to be a better streamer or how to make TikToks or whatever you want to do. This world is exploding and anybody can get into this. I know a lot of people are thinking about doing it and they totally should just because of how big the space continues to get.
This might be old outdated data like by a year or two but in the last three years, YouTube has paid $30 billion to creators alone as their cut, that’s insane. That’s insane. It’s like, guys, if you’re reading this, I somebody was reading this, get into YouTube or get into content creation if it’s something that you’ve been thinking about. Just start. If you start then you beat like 99.999% of anybody thinking about it.