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.
Salem Furrha has always wanted to be famous.
While raising their eight kids with his wife, Samah, he “tried to live through” them, he says. He hoped one would hit the NFL. Become a famous singer. Something. Anything! He even tried shooting for fame himself. He even tried doing content creation himself on platforms like Instagram, but says it “didn’t do that well, honestly.” That wasn’t too bad, because Salem was busy. Along with the kids, he had a full-time, long-term career as a football coach. That occupied a lot of his time, and he assumed it was what he’d do for at least another couple decades.
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Then one of his kids started posting videos on TikTok. In December 2020, she had a video hit 300,000 views.
For Salem and the rest of the Furrhas, that 300k was a glimpse at what was possible. Salem launched his own TikTok and posted a couple solo videos before trying one where he chased all the kids out of the family room as a joke. Boom. That one took off.
“[A]nd we haven’t looked back since,” Salem says.
It’s not hard to see why: In three years, the Furrha Fam TikTok account has grown to more than 10 million followers (which is why we’re featuring them on this special edition of Millionaires). Several members of the family, like daughter Fifi and her husband Kareem, have also spun off into their own accounts. Fifi and Kareem’s cat-forward account has 14 million followers.
With all this fervor surrounding his family, Salem has achieved the kind of fame he dreamed of–but he’s not planning to stop at digital content. He, Samah, and their kids have recently begun putting together a reality show pitch deck for TV networks and streaming services, and hope that in five years, they’ll be up there with the likes of the Kardashians.
Check out our chat with Salem below.
@thefurrhafamily We wanna know it all 😂 #bigfam #fyp ♬ original sound – The Furrha Family
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Great to meet you! So we have a Millionaires column where normally we celebrate people who just hit a million, but sometimes we do 10 million special occasion features. I know you guys are above 10 million, but we thought it would still be an interesting thing to get to profile you and your family.
Salem Furrha: That’s perfect. I think we’re at 5.3 million actually for YouTube.
Tubefilter: On TikTok you guys are almost at 12, right?
Salem Furrha: Yes, we’re at 12 for TikTok and we also doing well on Snap and Facebook and all the rest are doing really well.
Tubefilter: Good to hear! I’m familiar with you and with your family, but for anybody who isn’t, give me a little bit of introduction about you and how the family came together.
Salem Furrha: I’m Pops and they call me Coach. I used to coach football for 25 years, but my daughter started a TikTok back, beginning of COVID, in December, I think 2020, if I’m not mistaken. She had one that went viral and we thought it was all cool. At the time, it was like 300,000 views and we’re like, “Oh my god, 300,000 views.” I decided to open one up and I did a couple videos by myself and they did okay, they didn’t do bad. I did one with all the kids in it. I chased them out of the family room one time because they coughed and you weren’t allowed to cough back in the COVID days, and that thing just took off and we haven’t looked back since, honestly. That’s how we got started, anyways.
Tubefilter: Sudden virality can be really intimidating to deal with. How did you go from that one video being successful to committing to this as a thing you’re going to continue to do as a family?
Salem Furrha: Honestly, we have a passion for it. It’s fun. I’m one of those persons that read the comments and read the direct messages. I do. I read them and we get a lot of direct messages the same, “My god, you guys make me laugh. I’m in the hospital right now and you guys don’t understand what you guys are doing, my mental health has gotten better since your channel. You guys are the only channel that I let my kids watch.” These kind of comments just keep us going, motivated. We’ve been putting up a video once a day for the last four years. Maybe we’ve missed one or two three days the most, but we’ve been consistent and tried to entertain and make people laugh since COVID days, yes.
Tubefilter: What’s the schedule been like? How much time are you spending per day filming and that kind of thing?
Salem Furrha: We film like two days a week and we got a group chat with all the family members. We have ten family members. Well, we have more than that considering our daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws, but we all try to pitch in ideas throughout the week. We all vote on the ideas, and if everybody’s okay with the idea, we will put it into fruition on the two days that we film. We’ll film five, six, seven videos within two days.
Tubefilter: Wow. You’re planning out pretty well ahead?
Salem Furrha: Yes, you got to. Sometimes we’ll do daily vlogs. We’ll just do them on the spot that day, but for the most part, that’s how we keep organized.
Tubefilter: How do you strategize across multiple platforms–because, like you said, you’re doing well across basically every platform there is. Tell me a little about that.
Salem Furrha: Yes, usually what we post on TikTok, we’ll post up on the rest of the channels, but our YouTube takes a little bit– Our YouTube long-form is a little bit different. We’ll spend a special day for YouTube long. That’s the only one that we really change up the content, but the other ones we’ll place the one we did on TikTok across the rest of it. They usually do about the same views-wise. You can tell if it does good. The algorithms on I think YouTube and Instagram are more consistent than TikTok, so we base our video performances on Instagram and YouTube. Sometimes TikTok doesn’t– The algorithm fluctuates so much. It’s not a good gauge if it was a good video.
Tubefilter: It’s interesting that you’re doing really well on Instagram. I feel like a lot of creators are struggling there.
Salem Furrha: Yes, Instagram is one of the hardest platforms to gain followers. We’re up to almost 1.8 million right now, and it’s been a struggle to gain followers, but, hey, we’re taking it one day at a time and every day is getting better. Also Snapchat is really hard to gain followers.
Tubefilter: Is it? Okay.
Salem Furrha: It’s very hard. Yes.
Tubefilter: Yes, it’s like a whole different– From the creators I’ve spoken to who do Snapchat, it’s like it requires a lot more time where you’re actively on the platform.
Salem Furrha: I take that back. You’re right. Snapchat is one that we do our own content. It’s different content, so they’re shorter videos. Snapchat, really to go viral on Spotlight, it’s got to be five seconds or less, honestly. It’s a different animal for sure.
Tubefilter: Oh, wild. I feel like that’s a lot of strategizing.
Salem Furrha: Yes, it is, but if you got a passion, if you love what you’re doing, it’s not that difficult if you have a passion for it. We do, we have a passion for it now.
Tubefilter: You coached football for 25 years. Did you ever think about doing this as a career before COVID?
Salem Furrha: Growing up, I’ve tried to live through my kids, to be honest with you. Playing football and try to get one of them to hit the NFL. I’ve always wanted somebody to be famous in our family, and I tried doing videos and Instagram way before COVID days, and it didn’t do that well, honestly. But I’ve always wanted to be famous. My passion has been to be famous somehow, some way. I don’t know why it worked out this way, but it worked out decent, so I’m pretty much famous right now. I believe it because everywhere I go, I get people wanting pictures and stuff, and it’s across the world. It’s not just in the United States. We’re probably more popular worldwide than we are in the United States, actually.
Tubefilter: That’s really interesting. Do you happen to know where your biggest concentrations of fans are?
Salem Furrha: I would say the Middle East is probably our biggest fanbase. Dubai, the Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, all the above, yes. We’re really big in those areas. We just took a trip out there and it was amazing how many people knew us.
Tubefilter: Again, I feel like you and your family are doing well with things that a lot of creators tend to struggle with, because we certainly speak to a lot of creators who struggle to reach international audiences.
Salem Furrha: No. We’re actually doing really well. International, I think we’re doing better there than we are in the United States, so like the U.K., we’re big in the U.K. We’re big in Australia. We’re big. Oh my god, Africa, we’re big. It’s crazy. Actually, I did a charity event in Kenya, and they don’t even have internet at this village called Wajir, it’s the poorest village in Africa, and we went down there to donate some money. They knew us. I couldn’t believe it. It was crazy. No internet, can you believe it?
Tubefilter: Clearly, it’s important to you that you’re able to do this with your family. What’s that experience like?
Salem Furrha: Oh my god, we love each other, but we’re normal. We’ll have our ups and downs. We’ll cry together, we’ll laugh together, we’ll butt our heads together. But at the end of the day, we love each other, and that’s the most important thing. We love to travel together. We do everything together. We’re not perfect, but for the most part, we stick together. That’s the key.
Also, it’s important to have a good team. I’m very, very pleased to say that I teamed up with Viral Nation now, which is very, very, very important to our success going forward. We’re working together on the reality show with them as well, and they’re so organized. The best decision I made is to move my family, my management team to Viral Nation. They’ve been amazing. They’re so professional, so organized, and got me organized, which is I really needed that.
Tubefilter: That was going to be my next question, actually, was in terms of the team behind the camera, how do you and your family split responsibilities for managing content production? Do you have editors?
Salem Furrha: Yes, we share the responsibility. I handle Snap. I got my other kids, one of them will handle the Instagram. I got one who will handle TikTok. We literally split the duties up so everybody’s not overwhelmed, and that’s the best way to do it. We share responsibilities as far as editing the TikTok, the shorter videos, but Viral Nation handles our bigger editing in our videos. They actually send a videographer to our house every Saturday. That’s when we do our long-form for YouTube.
Tubefilter: Oh, nice, okay. What made you want to get into long-form?
Salem Furrha: We’re working on doing a reality show with a producer in Viral Nation. That’s the main reason. I think that gives you a gauge if people are interested. Are they going to watch you for more than that 30-second video? We just put up a video, I think, about two weeks ago. It’s got over half a million views on it. It ended up 15-minute video. That’s the reason why we want to start long form. We want to engage ourself and prepare ourself for the reality show that we’re preparing to do.
It’s still in the early stages. We’re just finishing up the deck. We’re going to be, hopefully, taking it out to the networks around Thanksgiving time. Yes. Nothing’s signed in stone. I don’t know if I should talk about any of it right now…
Tubefilter: No worries!
Salem Furrha: That’s the deal. We are working. We’re focusing to try to get a reality show. We are in this. Hopefully, we can get a deal cut soon. I got a great team behind me. I can tell you that much.
Tubefilter: What has been your favorite thing about being able to do this? Have this platform?
Salem Furrha: Again, it’s making people’s day. You get some sort of gratification when you get these direct messages saying how great we are and how people love us. To me, that’s motivating. I used to coach football for 25 years. I used to motivate my kids and tell them I love them and I’d do anything for them. This is how you motivate. I think the fans have motivated us. That’s why we keep going. We want to continue to bless people. We want to continue to make people laugh. We get a joy out of that. We do.
Tubefilter: A lot of your content focuses on comedy. Where did that comedic tone come from?
Salem Furrha: Honestly, my kids, I have eight kids. Each one and my wife have their own characters in their own way. Everybody’s funny in this house. That’s the crazy thing. We could do a video with any one of them and it’d be funny. We’re just naturally funny. You know what I’m saying? I don’t know how to explain it. It’s very hard to explain. If you lived in this house, you’d understand what I mean, but, we are just naturally funny. We’re laughing all day in this house without the camera being on. Let’s put it that way. Everybody’s funny. The way we interact with each other, the way we argue with each other, it’s all funny. It’s just normal, relatable comedy, honestly.
Tubefilter: Has it been a struggle to carve out time for your family to be together off-camera?
Salem Furrha: No, we don’t, because we do spend time together when we’re filming. We do when we’re not filming. We’re always going to dinner together. We all live about, I’d say, within five miles. One of us lives about 15 miles away. The rest of us live within, I’d say, a two, three-mile radius. We’re always seeing each other, we’re always at the house. This family time is there. We’re very close-knit in the fact that we even live close to each other.
I’m moving out of the house. I’m leaving right now. We’re moving about a half mile away. My son has bought my house that I’m living in now. He’s actually living with us now. We’re really spending a lot of time together right now.
Tubefilter: I see. Do you have any other projects you’re working on with your family? Any other business ventures, anything you guys are working on?
Salem Furrha: Yes, we teamed up with Viral Nation. We have a big Muslim clientele that follow us as well. We’re working on a halal cereal. I don’t know if you know what halal means. It’s got to be no pork or nothing to do with pork or pig. We’re working on a cereal that has a Muslim audience. It’s called halal cereal. That’s one project we’re working on. Also, we’re working on a podcast. Me and my wife are thinking about doing a podcast. We’ve been working on that as well. We’re really picking up our YouTube now. We got, like I said, Viral Nation is sending a video team every Saturday. We’re doing that, the reality show we’re working on. Am I missing something? Let me see.
Tubefilter: That’s already a lot.
Salem Furrha: I know, that’s a lot as we speak. Yes, so that’s the main projects that we’re working on right now anyways.
Tubefilter: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Salem Furrha: In five years? Hopefully, we have a successful reality show that’s on TV. My family is getting stronger and healthier. We continue with health with our family. We’re on TV. That’s the number one goal.
We also just opened up a coffee shop too. It’s called the Caffeine Club. My son was in charge of that. He developed the coffee shop here in Costa Mesa, California. It just opened two weeks ago. We actually use our family brand inside the store. We got pictures of our faces all in the wallpaper. It’s unique. We’re there to support him. It’s really gratifying to see your son develop something with his own design and his own vision and put it to fruition. We’ve been there to support him.
I think that’s the benefits of being successful. You can branch out to be in other businesses and try to create a different income that way as well, which that’s really a good goal as well. That’s the ultimate goal to get branded bigger across the country, whatever, and try to be more business successful.
Tubefilter: Is it going to be a one-location coffee shop or are you looking at franchising?
Salem Furrha: I think he wants to open more. He wants to make sure this one’s successful. Of course, you got to make sure the first one’s successful before you move on to the next. So far, he’s doing really good, really good. Every day is getting better and he’s really happy with the sales. I think his goal is to definitely do multiple stores for sure.
Tubefilter: What’s the one core thing you want our readers to know about you and your family?
Salem Furrha: We appreciate your support. We’re going to continue to try to entertain you. We are going to hopefully come out with a reality show and you can see us in more real moments. I think that’s what the supporters want. I think that’s what we’re going to try to bring to them because I noticed that when we do more real-time or live, when we do live, what’s the word I’m looking for? When we do real-life situations, our views usually go up better. I think that’s what the people want. They want to see us in real-life situations. We’re going to bring it to them. Again, we appreciate the support and we want to thank God and thank all of our supporters as well.