Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we–in partnership with global creator company AIR Media-Tech–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 read that headline and you’re like, “Jeez, Tubefilter, take a break, touch some grass, eat a Snickers,” look–we didn’t come up with it. We stole it straight from SenyaiGrubs himself.
It’s been a running joke on Sir Grubs’ YouTube channel that hitting impressive subscriber milestones is “unfortunate.” And if that’s true, he’s been having a lot of unfortune lately, considering he’s gone from 400,000 subscribers to nearly 2 million in just four months. We spotlighted him back in December as a Creator on the Rise, but even we could not have anticipated how quickly his audience would grow.
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For those not familiar with SenyaiGrubs (aka Joe), he’s a 23-year-old Bangkok-based creator whose videos are full of dry humor, content creator cabal betrayal, Trojan Horse veganism, scandalous knowledge of U.S. presidents, and (we suppose) cooking skills. He’s also video editor by trade, and first got into the YouTube Shorts thing because he figured his clients would want to catch the short-form wave, and he ought to know what he was doing if and when they asked him to edit for Shorts or TikTok. His editing practice turned into uploading videos as “just a hobby” and now, he says, he tries to post every two days and it feels a little bit more like a job.
Over the past four months, Joe’s video editing work has grown, but thanks to all those filthy rotten subscribers piling into his channel, he’s still spending more time working on YouTube than other people’s videos. “Once I started spending more time doing YouTube than I was outside work, I felt it become work,” he says. “It’s still really fun and it’s still a wonderful thing to be doing, but it feels a little different. I want to make sure I don’t resent it in any way. It can still be enjoyable.”
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: So, hi. Usually when we do follow-ups to Creators on the Rise for Millionaires, it’s like a year later, but you’re growing really fast. Hopefully you’ve had some interesting stuff happen in the last few months, so I would love to just catch up on how things have been going for you.
SenyaiGrubs: For sure. Yes. When did we speak? I don’t remember.
Tubefilter: I think we talked like right around Christmas.
SenyaiGrubs: Okay, yes, I do remember. I had to do something with my parents right before we talked. The last four months, it’s been quite busy.
Tubefilter: Oh yeah?
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, I’ve had more work-work, I suppose, come in as well, freelance stuff, and then doubling down on YouTube and making sure I’m posting consistently. It’s been super fun. I haven’t felt burnt out or anything, which I’m grateful for. I know that happens to pretty much everyone at some point, but yes, it’s just been really fun. I’ve gotten to meet a lot more people and talk with more folks online as well. I’m sure you know, the creator community, especially in certain niches, isn’t really that big. What do you think? Do you think one person in a niche is only about one or two degrees separated from another?
Tubefilter: I think in some niches for sure, especially in culinary. Lisa Nguyen and Jeanelle were like two of the first people I spoke to for Creators on the Rise, and then they know everybody else I’ve spoken to.
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, it seems that way.
Tubefilter: Plus I feel like a lot of YouTube’s culinary scene focuses on various Asian cuisines, and the people who circle around that and who are really good at making that food also tend to link up. That’s just a big core part of YouTube’s food scene.
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, it’s interesting. I don’t know how to go about calculating or anything. I don’t know if you guys have stats, but dude, every other person is Asian in the food scene, it’s just so funny.
Tubefilter: A happy accident!
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, I’m all for it. It’s cool, I think there’s definitely more interest in East Asian culture or Asian culture as a whole. That’s very diverse. I don’t want to make generalizations, but in the last couple of years, it’s cool to see stuff I can relate to, and it’s nice to know that so many other folks outside of those cultures appreciate it as well.
Tubefilter: So I know you’re still in Bangkok. How long are you planning on staying there? Is it indefinite?
SenyaiGrubs: For the foreseeable future. There’s opportunities outside of YouTube for me here too, just in terms of the other work I was doing. I’m enjoying it. The lower cost of living is really, really nice. I went back to the States for just a few days in January to take care of some family stuff. I went to Chipotle and I knew it would be like $15, but it hurts so bad to pay $15 for one meal.
Tubefilter: It’s so bad. Fast food especially has been going up. Subway is highway robbery now. I’ve seen your series where you do your cost breakdowns and you’re eating for $3 a day and I can’t imagine why you would ever want to come back here.
SenyaiGrubs: I’ll return to the States at some point, but for right now I’m going to be here.
Tubefilter: I can see why. I had two questions based on what you said in your intro. First is, you said you’re getting more freelance work, which is awesome. Does that have anything to do with your YouTube? Like do you cross-promote at all or is that just word of mouth from clients?
SenyaiGrubs: Has nothing to do with YouTube. Most of the clients I work with, it’s almost all color grading now. They don’t know I do YouTube. I’m not trying to hide it, but it doesn’t have much crossover in terms of marketable skills for color grading, so not really related there.
Tubefilter: That’s cool. It just so happens that both are growing exponentially.
SenyaiGrubs: It’s keeping me busy, which is nice.
Tubefilter: Then you also said, I remember during our last conversation, you said that you wanted to try posting more regularly and now clearly you are. How have you done that? Have you put yourself on a schedule?
SenyaiGrubs: I think when we last talked, I was posting every day, sometimes every other day. I figured after getting more of the hang of what types of videos I want to post and the minimum quality I’m okay with, I decide to just go with every other day. Cutting back a little bit I think has helped improve the quality of the videos. Then it’s just made a little less stressful too every day, even if they’re Shorts, I don’t know, it’s pretty fast. I really commend the people who can post daily because that’s not really for me anymore.
Tubefilter: I talked to somebody a while ago who made a really good point. She was posting twice a day when she first started, and she found that her core audience members couldn’t keep up with her rate of videos, so her viewership was actually dropping because her most dedicated people couldn’t keep up with her.
Tubefilter: I really feel like there’s some merit in, I guess, leaving people hungry for more, or giving people space and time to think about stuff you make and come back to you.
SenyaiGrubs: That’s a good point. I know short-form media I think is more dismissible as well than longer videos or written media. I was thinking by posting less it would improve the quality that I can put into them, but also maybe the perceived quality as well, just to make them seem more valuable because, like you said, it’s making them more scarce.
Tubefilter: It makes sense. I noticed you’ve also been starting some series, like the president series has been really cool to watch. I was just curious where you’re coming up with these ideas. Do you have a set schedule for those, where you’re like, “I’m going to film one of these per week,” or do you just film what you want to when you want to?
SenyaiGrubs: Doing series or having formats to use has helped me post more regularly just because I don’t have to have 100% new idea every time. I don’t want to sound lazy or anything, like I’m trying to make a factory out of these videos, but coming up with a unique anecdote three or four times a week to tell while cooking is…It can be a bit taxing. It’s fun to have a series of videos where there’s some familiarity from video to video so people can enjoy watching them in sequence. Then, in terms of posting, I try not to do two of the same series in a row. Other than that, I just try and do whatever I want.
Tubefilter: When we spoke the first time, you were focusing more on food that you got from night markets, street food, and now you’re focusing more on dishes that you are making. I wanted to talk a little bit about that shift for you too.
SenyaiGrubs: I think it was like 50/50 up until the end of last year with cooking videos and what I ate, street food videos. Now it’s primarily cooking, and that wasn’t totally on purpose. I wish I could say it was some strategic move. I don’t know, I think I had ideas for a few of those series, like the presidents one. They were all cooking-related as opposed to eating-related. Just coincidence.
Tubefilter: That’s a very surprising coincidence. I totally expected you to be like, “This is my ~brand battle plan~. I’ve totally been doing this on purpose.”
SenyaiGrubs: I don’t have a five-year brand development plan. It’s still pretty much off the cuff.
Tubefilter: Do you have any aspirations for where you’re going to take videos next? Or is it still just whatever you feel like?
SenyaiGrubs: Yes. I don’t know. I want to be careful to not make it…I want to make sure I don’t end up disliking what I’m doing, because doing it as a job…Now, it’s what I’m spending most of my time doing. I’m still doing some freelance stuff. I guess I’m full-time, but three-quarters time.
Tubefilter: I think you definitely count as full-time, and then you’re just doing…more.
SenyaiGrubs: Once I started spending more time doing YouTube than I was outside work, I felt it become work. It’s still really fun and it’s still a wonderful thing to be doing, but it feels a little different. I want to make sure I don’t resent it in any way. It can still be enjoyable. I want to just continue making videos that are entertaining for people to watch.
Tubefilter: I have been curious, because I noticed you don’t really do brand deals. Have you been offered any and you’re just not into it?
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, the majority of them–well, honestly, not many came in until I passed…Oh, actually, it was interesting, right, the first month that I got 100 million views, the day after it read “100 million in the last 28 days” for the first time, I started getting way more emails, almost immediately. I don’t know if brands and agencies have just scanning websites and that’s their benchline. Prior to that, I didn’t really get many offers. Since then, it’s been a lot of scammy stuff. I’ll be doing an ad for a VPN in a week. I’m willing to take some money.
Tubefilter: Just not the scammy ones. Do you feel like hitting a million changed anything for you, or is it just keep going to the next day?
SenyaiGrubs: I wanted something to happen, have my third eye open and then see everything a brand-new way or suddenly become super confident, but no. It certainly was nice. I don’t want to downplay it. It feels cool to have worked at something that I didn’t know much about and have some level of success with it, but no, nothing major changed.
Tubefilter: No third eye.
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, no third eye, no spiritual awakening. I’m not suddenly way cooler or anything.
Tubefilter: Maybe it’s 10 million where you get the psychic revelation.
SenyaiGrubs: Is it 10?
Tubefilter: Yes, it’s got to be 10.
SenyaiGrubs: Yes. I got to hit 10 million then. All right, if I ever get 10 million and nothing happens, I’m going to come after you for it.
Tubefilter: All right, deal.
SenyaiGrubs: All right, cool. No, it was really cool seeing seven digits. I think around that time it really started to hit me, I guess that was only a couple of weeks ago, that it’s a lot of people. I know I always see the numbers on the screen and comments and I interact with the folks that watch my videos, but seeing a million made me realize that I’m very fortunate to have so many people that enjoy what I’m making. It really is a privilege to entertain a lot of people.
Tubefilter: You’re so nice in interviews. You’re going to have to shame some people.
SenyaiGrubs: Oh, yes. Oh, I can call some people out if you want. I got dirt.
Tubefilter: I’m sure your commenters get weirded out when you’re nice.
SenyaiGrubs: Oh my god. [laughs] It’s cool though. My mom was really stoked about it. She thought I was pretty cool.
Tubefilter: I think when I sent your first feature over to you, you said your mom read it. That’s so nice, genuinely, because so many people have parents that just don’t understand or don’t care.
SenyaiGrubs: Oh, yeah, my mom. I told her about it. I was like, because they were staying somewhere else in Bangkok, and I went back to my apartment. I was like, “I have an interview,” and she was like, “Can I read about it later?” I was like, “Yes, I’ll send it to you.”
Tubefilter: That’s good. Mom’s approval always the best. That is good. It sucks when parents don’t get it or don’t try to get it. Especially if it’s younger kids getting popular on YouTube or TikTok, it can be disappointing and also dangerous if you don’t understand the reach that your child is having. Obviously you’re older. I think you can take care of yourself.
SenyaiGrubs: Thanks. My parents think it’s entertaining that I’m making YouTube videos. They think it’s cool. It is cool to have their support.
Tubefilter: Well, aside from 10 million subscribers and global domination, do you have any goals for the next year or so? Any plans?
SenyaiGrubs: Yeah, I want to say just growth for the sake of growth, but it is fun to set goals, even if they’re just fickle things, like subscriber or view counts. I want to hopefully improve the quality of my videos, write better jokes, and make sure I don’t become corrupt. That happens sometimes.
Tubefilter: It does happen. Yes. Don’t let the VPN money go to your head.
SenyaiGrubs: Yes, dude. Oh, man. All that ExpressVPN money. Just watch.
Tubefilter: That’s pretty much everything I had for you, unless there’s anything else you want to add?
SenyaiGrubs: No, not really. I just feel pretty lucky at that I get to do something so fun and that people enjoy it so much.
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