Lorenzo started his youtube channel Lego Spongebob in 2013 when we was 12 years old. His 5th video went viral and got millions of views and launched his youtube career. At the age of 18 he now has 142k subscribers and works full-time on his channel.
I met Lorenzo at a Halloween Party a few weeks ago and learned about his success. I wanted to interview him curious to know his story and what lessons it can reveal about being an entrepreneur online.
You can listen to my interview here.
Doing What You What You Love
One of the first things that stand out about Lorenzo’s story is that his passion turned to profits unintentionally.
In 1993 the Nightmare Before Christmas was released in major movie complexes across the country and eventually was distributed via VHS. When Lorenzo was only a boy he saw the movie on tape at home. After the first viewing, he was spellbound. The story told via stop-motion animation captured his imagination. He watched the movie end to end three times in a row. With this experience, his passion for stop-motion animation began.
A few years passed and some friends of the family showed him how he could create his own animated videos with a camera and some action figures. On a lark, he thought it would be fun to re-enact one of his favorite sows Sponge Bog Square Pants with his lego characters.
He created 5 videos and uploaded one a week. The videos soon went viral.
Lorenzo’s story surely demonstrates the adage: “Do what you love and success will follow.”
Pressure to Produce
Being a youtuber is not without challenges. For one, there is pressure to produce. Youtube rewards people for producing fresh and consistent content.
Lorenzo posts once a week on Wednesdays. Each video is between 10 to 20 minutes long and takes 20-40 hour to produce. In addition, with 142k subscribers, he feels a responsibility to his loyal fans to keep them engaged with his channel.
Income is Unpredictable
Secondly, the income has peaks and valleys. Lorenzo’s income is tied to how many views his videos get. The number of views is under pressure from other channels and changing youtube policies. Youtube changes their algorithms often and viewership can drop precipitously without warning.
In fact, youtube has declared that in an effort to prevent the marketing of products to children it may demonize channels that are targeting children thus threatening Lorenzo’s very livelihood.
The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma
Lorenzo faces many of the challenges of any entrepreneur.
How should he adapt to face the challenges to his business?
Should he market his channel to increase viewership?
What would this cost?
What would be the return on his investment?
Should he seek outside counsel or expertise regarding building his business?
Should he diversify?
The Future is Bright
While Lorenzo may be experiencing headwinds to his current channel one thing is for sure. At 18 he has experienced phenomenal success. How many 18-year-olds do you know who have 142k subscribers?
What this tells me is that Lorenzo is talented and his future looks bright whatever he decides to do.