Alfie Deyes interview: From bedroom vlogger to million pound brand

In a small room at Web Summit in Lisbon this week, Techworld sat down with YouTube megastar Alfie Deyes from the PointlessBlog.

Just like his extremely popular videos, he was cheerful, funny and eager to talk about the potential for upcoming projects away from the YouTube spotlight.

Read on for the full interview.

How did you take your brand from the bedroom to the boardroom?

So I started creating YouTube videos nine years ago, just out of my bedroom, you know, balancing the camera on a stack of books.

Back then YouTube was nobody's job. It wasn’t a career path, it was just something that I loved watching and thought I’d get involved with.

Fast forward quite a few years and I’m doing things that I never thought I’d be doing.

Now I'm going on world tours and have number one best-selling books, working with really cool people like Jamie Oliver and working on really cool projects.

I’m at the stage, in the last couple of months now, which is a new stage for me in which I’m growing my own personal team.

I’ve been employing people recently and we’re ready to really start working on some projects with the right people and do new things that have never been done before that are super interesting.

And I suppose you could kind of call it investing, but if we’re talking about investing and you’re looking for money, there are people that are going to be able to give you it far easier than I can.

What I’m looking to bring to the table is - I’ve got 12 million YouTube subscribers who are watching my life every day online - so for anything that I get involved with, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I don’t have to work on things that I don’t want to be working on.

So they know that anything I’m working on, any brand, any company, any project, any campaign or new investment that I make, anything I touch, is purely because I believe in it.

And I’m fully at the stage where I can start working with the right people to make cool stuff happen and bring all of my audience onboard with me.

I’m super excited for that, I’m ready!

What projects are you working on?

I have an online ecommerce company called The Creative Store that I started up a year ago and that’s going really well. And that’s predominantly at the moment where we sell merchandise for lots of YouTube channels.

And we had a pop-up shop in London that 32,000 people came to over the course of a week.

I mean yeah, there’s been loads of cool stuff that the company has been doing.

I’ve been working on a lot of cool stuff on my YouTube channels and been investing in property quite heavily and I suppose for me I’m looking to meet the right I’m not going to be somebody that sticks in some money to a company and hope it does well. I’m not looking for that.

I want to really have an input, really build that social strategy, get my audience fully onboard, film the process and really grow some really new cool companies and projects that have never really been done before.

When did you feel the shift from something you were doing that brought in some revenue to something much bigger, like books and tours etc?

I’ve always been very much into the backend and the business side of YouTube. I’ve never wanted anybody to just handle that, I’ve always been involved in emails, involved in meetings, going to everything. I fully want to know 100 percent what is going on at all times.

I’m involved in all my financial accounts and everything that goes on because I’ve always been interested in that.

So I suppose it’s just a natural progression, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can expand the team and put time and effort into new things.

So if we say a year from now, what’s the vision?

I think I’ll still be making YouTube videos, 100 percent. I can’t imagine myself stopping that.

I mean, I’ve been doing it nine years, I started when I was 15, 16. I could have done three degrees in that time!

But I’m all up for just going on this new journey that I’ve already started and while I don’t know exactly what the outcome will be, but I think that’s what’s exciting about it.

What I’ve experienced is this big [he gestures], and I’ve done really well in it, don’t get me wrong, but the more people I chat to are standing here, here and here. And it’s like woah I’d love to get involved in that.

Being here at Web Summit and chatting to people in Brighton and London, I’ve met so many people that are doing amazing stuff within the same ecosystem that I’ve never even comprehended before because I’ve been so stuck in the bubble that I have been, which is great, and I’m still in that but I’m now working on things outside that.

I’m looking for great partners just to make amazing stuff happen I suppose.

Deyes also offered tips on becoming a successful YouTuber. Read that here.

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