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.
Darius Dinero was too young to be on Vine when the platform was big.
But while Vine was temporary, YouTube (knock on wood) is forever. And many of the unforgettable six-second videos Vine creators produced are preserved there, either reuploaded by their makers or squished into massive, nostalgia-invoking compilations.
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Dinero used to mainline these compilation videos–and if you watch his content, you’ll probably be able to see the spirit of Vine alive and well in his skits.
Like many of our other Creators on the Rise and YouTube Millionaires featurees, Dinero and his content started taking off during the pandemic. Dinero was in college at the time, and wanted something to do between classes and basketball games. He landed on video-making, and while it started as a hobby, by his senior year, he could see his presence was growing big enough that it could become a full-fledged career.
Now that he’s graduated college, he’s committed full-time to content creation. And he has big plans for 2023, including moving to L.A. in the hopes of collaborating with creators and landing big-screen acting roles.
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: If somebody’s reading this, and they don’t know who you are, they’ve never seen your content, can you give me a little bit of information about you, where you’re from, and how you got into YouTube?
Darius Dinero: A little bit about me…I started making content seriously probably in my freshman year of college. I started to make skits on Twitter and stuff. I missed out on the Vine wave, but I used to watch those a lot, and that style of things. Those are my favorite videos. Those were funny skits. I just went into me making stuff throughout high school here and there, doing some of those challenges on Twitter.
I ended up deciding–when I moved back home to go to my local university, because I’d been out of town–when I started playing basketball, and I needed something to do with my time. I just decided to put that into making videos while I was in college, and it ended up taking off toward my senior year. My senior year, close to that last semester. The beginning of semester is when they really started to go from, I think maybe 15K to 30K, to 100K. It was like a warm-up. Since then, 2021, I’ve just been trying to stay consistent.
Tubefilter: Did you finish college or go into content or both?
Darius Dinero: Yes. By the time I was big enough influencer to start making money, I was already in my last semester college.
Tubefilter: What did you major in?
Darius Dinero: Cybersecurity.
Tubefilter: Oh, wow. Okay. You had a whole other career set up then.
Darius Dinero: Yes, I was just always on my computer. It helped me because I was able to edit videos while in my internship.
Tubefilter: What was the catalyst? You said you had between 10,000 and 30,000 followers, and then you shot to 100,000. Was there a specific video that took off that you can remember, or was it just the consistency?
Darius Dinero: It was consistency. My first wave, I tried to capitalize off it during the pandemic, and I had a meme that I got popular for. It was like “Black Air Force Activity.” I still use those jokes, I still use that style in my videos. I tried to write that way. Then I came to a pause, and I was around 10 to 30,000. I think I paused at like 20-something, I can’t remember. I was stuck there, still making skits. Then when I made a video on Shorts. My TikTok took off before my YouTube. My YouTube got to that like 20K spot, and those same videos I was posting on YouTube, had already taken off on TikTok.
My TikTok started to go up. My focus starts to go there. Then I decided to post Shorts. I posted a Short…I think it was When Your Mom Goes Through Your Search History. It was my first Short to blow up. I started getting subscribers fast, and I just started to post Shorts like three times a day. I just kept posting.
It just really never slowed down since. I would say from then on, I just stayed consistent. I would say, yes, it’s definitely consistency that makes it, because the first time I got a viral video, I wasn’t as consistent, but now I’m consistent. I know how to keep that wave going. The second time around, I feel like I was ready, because I already had a lot of content.
Tubefilter: I feel like that’s a really common struggle, especially during the pandemic. I’ve spoken to a lot people who had one video take off, and then they really didn’t know what to do or how to build a platform or a business off that. Do you post the same content, the same exact videos on TikTok and YouTube, or do you optimize separately? I’m very curious.
Darius Dinero: It all depends. For the most part, I do, but they have different rules and regulations sometimes. I don’t deal with that anymore because I try to stay away from that in the content I make now. Once in a while I have to, but for the most part, I don’t.
It all depends. For instance, if I make long-form content on YouTube, that always might not be able to get posted as a TikTok or changed to a Short. I may not be able to find a minute that I like. Sometimes I’ll post just for TikTok, something I post just for Insta, if I feel it’s more of an Insta thing or a TikTok thing. I try to post on all three if I can and just see how well they do, because you never really know. For the most part, I try make content on all three because I never know which one is going to do well on what. Sometimes they do well on all three, sometimes only one does good.
Tubefilter: A lot of people tell me that stuff that does really well on YouTube will not do well on TikTok, and vice versa.
Darius Dinero: It all depends. Especially when you get an audience that expects something from you, because sometimes you blew up on TikTok for a different reason than on YouTube.
Tubefilter: Do you feel like you have separate audiences on YouTube and TikTok? Do you feel like you hit the same demographic?
Darius Dinero: I think that I have the same audience on TikTok and YouTube. I can just tell based on how they talk to me. A lot of them tell me they follow, it’s now becoming more to where they’ll follow me on anything and everything. At first, a lot of people just weren’t on the other platform. It was not necessarily a different audience, but for a while, my TikTok was at, I don’t know, maybe 200K, 300K, and my YouTube was only at 20K.
Over time, they started to come over to YouTube, and then it took off past TikTok, and I think that reason was because a lot of my YouTube videos, I originally couldn’t go on TikTok because of all their rules. That really helped me build more on YouTube. They’re pretty much the same now.
Tubefilter: I also hear a lot that TikTok.
Darius Dinero: It’s tricky. It’s scary. You never know what’s going on with your account.
Tubefilter: You may not have experience with this, but do you feel like there’s less of a creator-facing presence at TikTok? Like on YouTube, if you have a problem, you can generally find somebody.
Darius Dinero: Yes, definitely. I’m dealing with something right now, actually. They respond to me once, but then months go on, and I haven’t heard back from them. Definitely I think YouTube’s communication is better, which makes me feel more secure over there, because I feel like they actually at least will talk to me and tell me why something happened. Whereas on TikTok you may just get a broad answer that doesn’t make sense, or they don’t really tell you what’s wrong, or why they may have deleted something, which I don’t like because it doesn’t really help me figure out what to do next time to avoid it.
Tubefilter: I guess in happier news. YouTube is going to start Shorts monetization next month. [Editor’s note: This interview was conducted in January 2023.] Are you looking forward to that, do you have any plans for that, or are you just waiting to see what happens?
Darius Dinero: Can’t wait. I’m almost counting down the days, basically. I think it’s deserved. I think it’s well deserved for everybody who is putting so much work into YouTube Shorts. A video on Shorts can take longer than a live video. It shouldn’t be paid less just because it’s one minute or shorter.
Tubefilter: I’m glad you’re looking forward to it. Have you had communication from YouTube about it?
Darius Dinero: YouTube reaches out to me pretty frequently, I would say since I’ve gotten bigger on YouTube, it lets me know about everything when it’s coming. I knew about it a few months before I was excited about it. I didn’t know how it would work, but they sent me something within the last week or two.
Tubefilter: Oh nice.
Darius Dinero: Yeah it was for me to accept the terms. It’s a whole tab now. People will be able to see on YouTube Studio once they invite them, and they meet those requirements. Right now it just shows a few different sections, but it just lets me know right now that it’s active. I don’t really get to see too much on how much money. They’re explaining it enough for you to know that there’s going to be a few different ways you can make money. It’ll be easier to see once it comes up all the way.
Tubefilter: What does your average week look like now in terms of planning for content?
Darius Dinero: I try to take it I guess week by week, but ultimately what I want to do is be as consistent as I can during the week, making videos that I feel like are worth making. I’m a mixture between consistency and quality over quantity, but with short content, I feel like it gives you the flexibility sometimes to be able to make more content during the week. If you can think of an eight-second video that’s genius, and I can probably think of that depending on my morning, like I wake up and see how my brain is, that’s when I think up my ideas. In morning showers, those are when my thoughts come to me. Or I sometimes have stuff written down, depends.
The new year right now, my plan is to hold myself accountable. I do almost every day, but I do have those weeks where I have something going on, and I wasn’t able to post for those days, or I absolutely can’t think of anything, and what I do think of isn’t something I feel like making. But I think that I’m getting better every year with how to think of ideas. I just think it’s just creator block would be the only thing why I wouldn’t post, unless I had something else to do. For the most part, I try to post, I’ll say, 4+ days out of the week is normal for me. I’ll say that.
Tubefilter: How does your video progress work? Do you script? Do you have anybody who works with you as an editor or anything?
Darius Dinero: Right now with my location I pretty much do everything by myself. I plan on moving to Los Angeles where I’ll be able to meet people who I can maybe come together and make videos with them, see their process, and how they do things. For me right now, it’s pretty much just I make my videos.
Pretty much as soon as I wake up, I give myself a second, I check the time. I let myself wake up, and I wake up pretty early in the morning. That’s normal for me. About eight in the morning, I’ll say, sometimes earlier. Those are when I create my ideas. It’s for some reason harder for me when I don’t do it that way, unless something comes to mind during the day.
Even at nighttime when I shower, I’m laying down, for some reason, those are when thoughts come to me, so I’ll just sit there, I’ll maybe watch random TikToks. I’ll look at my TikTok that went viral, and if I can bounce off something, or do I want to make a part two or three. It’s good to have series. That makes it easy.
What helps me, I sit there in the morning and at least try to structure a title or something. Even if I have nothing, I’ll get in the shower, because I’m going to shower anyways. Once I get in the shower, I actually listen to music for that, and then I keep thinking of that idea. It’s weird. I sometimes almost lock myself in there. I’ve just been there for 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes in the shower thinking and by the time I get out, I’ll have something. That just work for me.
Tubefilter: I was going to say, the shower thought seems to be a recurring theme here.
Darius Dinero: Really! I note everything though. It’s all in my notepad in my iPhone. That way if I start an idea today, I can’t finish it, maybe tomorrow or a week later, I come back and I’ll be like, oh, that idea was really good. I have a clear picture of how I want to do it. I script as much as I can. Sometimes I can script the whole video quickly. Sometimes I have to script the video, take a break, come back to it. For the most part, everything’s done all in one day or the idea of the video’s already done, but I still have to record and edit. I pretty much do everything.
Tubefilter: Got it. Are you still interested in making long-form content, too?
Darius Dinero: Yes. I am interested in making long-form content. Right now I’m testing to see how the Shorts revenue’s going to be. I’m really thinking that short content is really the wave right now and a lot of platforms are pushing it. My plan is here is to just keep continuing with the Shorts, and when I do have a video idea that is over a minute, I will post it as a short- and long-form content, but I don’t want to just push out long-form content just to post it, if that makes sense, when I can think of something 10 times better as a Short.
That’s just how it goes for me right now. I’m hoping to move here in the summer and be able to collab a lot in my long-form content. I want those to be more short film-ish because I want to try to get into some acting roles, like comedy. But yeah, more short film-ish where I’m not just holding the camera in my hand, pointing at myself like I do when I’m making Shorts. It’ll be more, I don’t know, TV, movies, I guess, type stuff.
Tubefilter: What are your plans for this year to expand? Do you have any plans or goals for this year?
Darius Dinero: Yes. Ultimately my number one goal is consistency with myself. Just straight-up content trying to consistently put out the best content I can. Collaborations, people haven’t seen me collab with any big creators. I’ve met a few. I want to grow on Instagram. That’s probably one of my biggest this year, just all platforms. I want to try to just see a lot of growth this year from consistency. See what that can do for me. And just not being afraid to post and put myself out there this year. Try new ideas, just not put myself in a box. I would say those are my goals.
Tubefilter: What was it like for you to hit a million subscribers?
Darius Dinero: It felt really good. Funny enough, I hit it at 4 in the morning, 3, 4, 5, somewhere. It was really early.
Tubefilter: Were you watching the numbers?
Darius Dinero: Yes. I was watching the numbers. I didn’t want to miss out on it. Me and my girlfriend planned to watch it go up, but it ended up happening later than 12 a.m. We went to sleep, but I set an alarm, and when I got up, it didn’t happen for like another, I don’t know, 40 minutes, but I got it livestreamed. It felt really good, but it was funny because I was so tired, but I felt overwhelmed. It felt good. Felt like a long time coming. I feel like I’ve been on the platform for a while, just not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I felt good that I figured it out, to an extent. I had the people in there congratulate me. It was fun to share with them. That’s what I wanted to make sure I did.
Tubefilter: Really cool. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who say that once they hit a million, they can stop clock-watching, in a sense.
Darius Dinero: I guarantee, man. For me, it’s just, what’s next? I feel like I always got another milestone. That’s just something within me. Right now I want 2 million or 3 or 4. I feel like it’s just going to always be like that. I definitely feel like everybody should appreciate, though, every number they hit, because you’ll never re-hit that number again. It’ll never be that feeling again. There’ll never be another million for me.