Non-Zero Days

This Guy Will Never Make it on YT

Phil DeFranco is one of the most popular YouTubers in the world. His channels boast over 9 million subscribers and more than 3 billion views.

He’s won “Streamy” Awards almost every year since their inception in 2009.

DeFranco and his shows have earned accolades for Best Vlogger, Best News Web Series, Best Writing, Best First-Person Series, Best News and Culture Series, and Show of the Year numerous times. His influence on the culture of YouTube is nearly impossible to overstate.

In other words, he’s a big deal.

But the successful man millions of viewers watch and listen to every day did not start out as the polished, high-energy, and beloved presenter he is now. In fact, his beginning was something else entirely.

Phil’s first videos in late 2006, under the name “SXE Phil,” are hard to describe without using the word “cringe.”

But those early videos also provide an incredible lesson in the importance of small, consistent steps towards a goal.

If you looked at Phil DeFranco’s career and success without knowing where he started, you might be tempted to think that his channel was simply destined to be one of the most popular of all time, that YouTube gave him preferential treatment, or that he got lucky. You might assume that his presentation style, tone, and charisma were always what they are today and that he was as good as he is now from the outset.

Recent comments on Phil’s oldest available video even take this for granted with jokes.

Some commenters even offer retrospective praise, “from the future”:

The truth, however, is that DeFranco’s channel has evolved over time and Phil himself has grown as a person in the same way that we all grow and evolve whenever we commit ourselves to a path and stick to it.

For Phil, that meant making one video at a time as often as he could, until eventually he was making videos every day. The earliest videos weren’t great, but bit-by-bit, they constantly improved. Phil’s work ethic and consistency brought regular viewers and subscribers to his channel, and the feedback from those viewers gave him the information he needed to produce even more successful content and learn how to be a better YouTuber year after year.

Even if your goal isn’t to be one of the most-watched YouTubers of all time, you should be inspired by the knowledge that DeFranco’s success wasn’t built overnight.

Yours won’t be either, and that’s ok.

Just get started.