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Diary of a made man

Hacking YouTube – How to Start a YouTube Business

by Ian Balina

A year ago

In this episode, I sit down with Drew Morisey, of How to Rap, the world’s first rap coaching company and learn how to start a YouTube business.


Who is How to Rap Drew

Ian Balina: So me and Drew go way, way, way back. I’m glad to be here and today is going to be a special show where we show you how to hack a system in a totally different way, using YouTube and your own business.

All right, Drew, so I want you to tell us about yourself.

Drew Morisey: Well, I’m a young guy originally from the East Coast, DC, that’s where we first met. I started a rap coaching company about.

Ian Balina: Wait, wait, wait, wait. A rap coaching company?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, yeah.

Ian Balina: Did you guys hear that? A rap coaching company.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Okay, so basically rap coaching is where I’ll shoot videos and I’ll explain the ins and outs of how to flow, rhyme like the best rappers in the game. First started with the kind of rap like Eminem and they I would go through this multi-syllable rhymes, that was intonation, all that. And over time, once we had some following, I was able to go to more like life. Almost like how to set up your schedule so that you’re recording at an efficient level.

Ian Balina: So you’re basically getting people who have this goal or dream of being a rapper and coaching them?

Drew Morisey: Coaching them.

Ian Balina: They’ve got a mentor who guides them towards that dream.

Drew Morisey: Exactly. Me being a guy that’s been rapping fifteen years, and I’ve seen some success in the industry. It was something that I think needed to be done. You can learn how to play guitar online. You can learn how to sing online. You can find all kind of stuff.

Ian Balina: So how did that idea of turning rapping or being a rap coach into a business?

Drew Morisey: Well, honestly, the truth is that I was coach writing for a guy who, his business was basically teaching people how to start their own YouTube business and this was back in like 2014, so this was an error which was kind of a wild, wild west, for YouTube. It wasn’t like now, where if you’re like, “I want to be You Tuber,” it’s kind of-

Ian Balina: Now it’s kind of blown out.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, blown out.

So back then he was pretty much like, “All right, what I’ll do is go [inaudible 00:02:30]. I can’t pay you that much.” Because I was a college student. “But, I want you to make this business coaching people on YouTube. Just tell me something that you’re really good at?”

I was like, “I dunno. Rap.” He’s like, “Okay. You’re a genius, Johnson.”

That’s basically how it started out. I would love to say that I saw in the stars that I was like, the final frontier for music education is rap. It wasn’t like that. But, I wasn’t aware that people needed to know this information and nobody really had it at the time. So.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: There were a couple guys doing it but.

Ian Balina: Let’s kinda step back. You mentioned you’ve been rapping. Being an artist for the last 15 years.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Take us through that journey.

Drew Morisey: So, I grew up. I’m 29 now. I grew up in the late 90’s where rap was very musical. This is the height of Jay-Z, Noss, TMX, Tupac, all of that. It was just an era in which … Everyone has to be an entrepreneurial now. That’s kinda like the cool thing now.

Ian Balina: Want-a-preneur, as they say.

Drew Morisey: Want-a-preneur, exactly. Back then, everyone wanted to be a rapper. Still, sometimes now as well. I started writing raps, sort of idolizing these guys. Like Eminem, Jay Z. I think in hindsight, it kinda gave me acceptance. I’m like a skinny kid. It’s not like I was tearing ’em up on the court.

Ian Balina: Uh-huh.

Drew Morisey: It was a way to get girls. It’s a way people really admire you no matter what their demographic is. I don’t know if we can curse. A person, can freestyle. People are gonna give you props.

So, I started doing that. I was a rapper all the way into college. Started doing shows. Traveling a little bit. Then I joined a band. That was right around the time I met you I think.

Ian Balina: Yeah, I think so.

Drew Morisey: I was about 21 at the time.

Ian Balina: I was back in college too I think actually.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. You were still in college.

Ian Balina: We go way back, I told you.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, man. It’s real.

Ian Balina: Back to when I was broke too.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, exactly. This is the origin story if you will.

So, yeah I was in this band and I was the rapper. Around this time I learned how to play guitar as well.

Ian Balina: Was there any ultimate vision back then. Were you trying to blow up? Were you on the come up? Did you have any goals?

Drew Morisey: Honestly, yeah. Definitely. I wanted to be Hove. Wanted to be where Drake is now. Whatever.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: That wasn’t necessarily where I ended up. I think that where I’m at now, has so much more potential. The way I like to say it is 29 is like I’m old in rap years. Young in business years. You know what I mean?

Ian Balina: Absolutely.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, as far as the band, it had its thing. Then I kinda moved on and started building life. I was always rapping. I was always doing freestyles. I was always doing songs. I’m sure back in the day I’m probably freestyling life. Moving around. Hanging out.

Ian Balina: Yeah.

Drew Morisey: It was sort of a gift. I was fortunate in that regard. Just the right time right place. I’d been doing this thing for a while. This thing called YouTube comes out, there’s a platform. It’s a niche, that just isn’t being spoken to.

Ian Balina: So you mentioned earlier that you didn’t really see YouTube as a viable channel to go to. Until this guy that you’re working with kinda “Hey, why don’t you try YouTube?”

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Is there a reason for that or were you just thinking about something totally different? Why YouTube?

Drew Morisey: Now, truth be told. I’d done a couple training videos on how to do guitar. So, I’d done some YouTube, like how to solo. [inaudible 00:06:21]. I’d done a couple. So I think maybe I was aware that it was possible. It wasn’t that I was avoiding it, it was just … I hadn’t made the business connection.

As I said, in 2014 the idea of starting a business and doing a YouTube channel is kinda foreign. It wasn’t like it is now. Everybody’s got a [00:07:00] YouTube channel.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: Everybody’s got a YouTube channel.

How to Grow a YouTube Channel

Ian Balina: So, for people who are at home. Can you give us some metrics in terms of the growth of your channel?

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: I think you recently just had a new achievement right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, I just broke 100K.

Ian Balina: 100,000 subs?

Drew Morisey: Yup. 100,000 subs. Well, the way it works, and we were kinda talking about this earlier before we shot the interview, is you get a viral video and that will expand your number of subs.

When I was first starting, it probably took me two months to get 1,000 subs. That’s partially just, I didn’t have the equipment up. The editing wasn’t there. I wasn’t as comfortable. This was also in 2014, less people were on YouTube. There wasn’t a YouTube phone app like that.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: Then, it took me only like three months to get to 10,000.

Ian Balina: Wow, okay. That’s still pretty fast though.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. What I was doing was I was doing these videos based on how to rap like Drake. How to rap like Eminem. I was pretty ruthless about-

Ian Balina: Some kind of writing in the way of that trend.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Writing trends.

Then, what really happens is you hit a plateau. For awhile. I would say, just to try to think of numbers to give folks, if you’re not able to clear 1,000 subs a month. It’s going to be very hard to reach that 100K, with any real speed.

Ian Balina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Drew Morisey: I’m doing about 9,000 a month. Now. It fluctuates between seven and ten. Let’s say eight to nine. The more viral based material I do-

Ian Balina: The faster that goes.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, but I mean that’s, for the people listening, that’s a personal decision. How much you’re gonna do it. However much you gotta do it just for the numbers.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: How much to build a great business.

Ian Balina: Right. One thing I kinda have issues is with, me personally, big guy. Posting online. Doing videos. Is let’s say you make a video, like a fluffy cat. He gets like two billion views. Those views might not really be quality view, right? So, how do you differentiate between quality views? People you wanna work with long term. So basically, customer lifetime value.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: How do you work with that?

Drew Morisey: I personally track that based on my other social media. Also, on how much I’m getting contacted directly.

For example, this is one thing we need to work on, I have 100,000 subs on YouTube, but like 5,000 on Instagram. So, I’ve either gotta find a better way to communicate the value that they’ll want to search me out.

On the other hand, the people on Instagram hit me up. It’s like five a day. Also, things like being recognized, like I got recognized in person twice yesterday. Like in LA. They were all cool people. They were just like genuinely.

Ian Balina: No creepers?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, no. Like one dude just started rapping. Like “Yo, Drew. Yo, I’m sitting with my boy.” I’m like “Oh my god.” That’s value.

Ian Balina: Nice.

Drew Morisey: Things like that. How much can I trickle my audience to other opportunities? Whether it’s in person, buying products or other social media.

How to Run a YouTube Business

Ian Balina: All right. That’s nice. So, in terms of the growth and also marketing part of your business, how do you manage that as a business? Right now, having over 100K subs, it’s not really just a YouTube channel.

Drew Morisey: Right.

Ian Balina: Now it’s a full business.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. I do ads of course. I get certain profit that way. What I do is I have a paid mastermind. That’s a pretty common business tactic. I’ll have monthly charges and we’ll do calls and lessons. You’ll be a member in a paid mastermind program.

The videos, a lot of them what I’ll do, is I’ll be like give them free content, [inaudible 00:10:33]. [crosstalk 00:10:35].

Ian Balina: Netflix model.

Drew Morisey: What’s that?

Ian Balina: Netflix model.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Exactly.

Ian Balina: Premiums right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, so I’ll do that and then a the end I’ll be like “If you’re interested in coaching, check out my coaching class.” I’ll send the link in the video description box to a sales page. With copy that I really spend a lot of time on.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: For anybody who’s trying to do paid mastermind work, I would suggest spend a lot of time on your sales pitch. That way.

Ian Balina: Basically, the landing page?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, it’s landing page. It has a sales video and etc. I leave it at that, where in the video if I do a really good video for you. I just say, “If you’re interested in coaching, go check out the page.” The page itself is bomb.
In the video, it doesn’t seem like I’m overselling you. When you land where I want you to land, you’re in. So, that’s kinda how I do that.

I also have a couple of video courses. I want to do more, but that flow right now and writer’s block.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: One advantage there, is if somebody asks you about these programs, or about these problems, I can always just point them right there.

When Do You Monetize a YouTube Channel

Ian Balina: So, what point in time did you start to monetize and start having the mastermind [crosstalk 00:11:49] program?

Drew Morisey: Trying to think. So, the first thing I did was I built a free mastermind. Then, it got big enough.

Ian Balina: Was there growing out?

Drew Morisey: This was early, this was in two, three months into the channel. When I had like 5-600 subs or whatever it is. I was just like I reached out to people. I emailed them directly. Like “Yo, thanks for watching. Anyone who subbed.”. When you have that small numbers, you can just literally do that. Or if you’re running your own operation like you can just pay somebody to do it.

Hit up each sub and as them to join. Also, ask them what their issues are. Now, you’re basing your videos off of what the market wants and not what you think in your head. Just like the biggest rookie move. 90% of people early on and watch [inaudible 00:12:38]. They [00:12:38] up because they mess up. Sorry, I’m a rapper. They mess up because they do videos that they want to see. But who knows if 1,000, 100,000 people want to see it.

I, personally would love to make more Jay-Z videos, but the youngins don’t really like old.

Ian Balina: Like Jay-Z?

Drew Morisey: Not really.

Ian Balina: They want something like [crosstalk 00:12:59] Raine or?

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Vego and all this. Which I’m down with. Anyway, started with that free thing.

Ian Balina: Free masterminds.

Drew Morisey: Free mastermind. So, I’m able to see what they really want. What their issues are. Then also so I can build some, not value, but like chops. Like stripes. I can say well I coached 50 people, even though I’ve coached 50 people free. Or coach people-

Ian Balina: Still coaching.

Drew Morisey: Right. Like I can legitimately say that I coached people in Europe. Just ’cause I had a free Dutch 17-year-old.

Like, let me coach him.

So, I did that. Once, there was enough interested and the group was good enough, I decided to make two different ones. I was like “All right. Anyone who’s really serious, I’ll take to the next level.” We have this other group. Which at the time was 17 a month. I got five or six people down.

Then, once I knew, I was like “I know somebody will pay for my services. Rap coaching isn’t as crazy as we think.” Once I knew that, after

Ian Balina: So, wait. That was a tipping point?

Drew Morisey: Yeah. At least mentally. Emotionally. The whole point before that, the idea of coaching somebody. And somebody paying you to learn how to rap. Unless you’re Lil Wayne or somebody. Just sounds ridiculous.

Ian Balina: So, was there a sweet spot in terms of number of people in that group, where you were like “okay, you know what, let me start charging for this now”?

Drew Morisey: Good question. I think 20.

Ian Balina: 20?

Drew Morisey: Yeah. I mean I-

Ian Balina: So, the first 20 were the lucky ones, right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, they were lucky. Unfortunately, you learn a lot in business. Like sometimes people don’t respect free [00:14:43].

Ian Balina: Uh-huh.

Drew Morisey: Free stuff. So people don’t respect that free stuff. Now, I’m very cold-blooded about it. I’m like-

Ian Balina: You have to right now.

Drew Morisey: Of course, you still want to build a lot of value with free content. Like you’re doing with your channel. Like I did. Just be very aware of what you start to do coaching in your personal time and energy. You really want to be like, it’s better to charge more and have less clients.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: It’s also emotionally tough.

Ian Balina: Oh man, yeah. Same thing kinda happened with me when I was doing my business side, right?

Drew Morisey: Right.

Ian Balina: After a while, it kinda comes to a point where it’s just better to charge more and have fewer clients. You making the same money but you have less clients, right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Less work in a way and more free time.

Drew Morisey: Right. Exactly, and you’re working with … Honestly the higher the cost is the better the client.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: Not saying all rich people are awesome.

Ian Balina: But good quality client.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Exactly.

Ian Balina: Kinda respect your craft.

Drew Morisey: Right. Exactly, ’cause it’s like you’re gonna eat a meal you paid 1,000 dollars with a lot more, like appreciate the chef’s work than Mcdonalds. Even, if they taste relatively the same.

Ian Balina: Right, yeah.

Drew Morisey: Terrible example, but you know.

Drew Morisey’s Favorite Book

Ian Balina: So, let’s kinda get into you as a person. What hobbies do you have besides rapping?

Drew Morisey: I like to go out and get girls. We’ll even say it that way. I play guitar. Big reader. I love reading books.

Ian Balina: What’s your favorite book?

Drew Morisey: The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker.

Ian Balina: Okay. Sounds pretty-

Drew Morisey: It’s heavy. It’s Bill Clinton’s favorite book. We have that-

Ian Balina: What was it called?

Drew Morisey: The Denial of Death. So, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. Basically, it’s a psychoanalyst who found out that he was gonna have cancer. Or he had cancer and was gonna die. So, he wrote this book pretty much explaining all that he ever learned about death. Pretty much pauses that all human behavior comes from fear of death.

Uplifting read. I like the happy stuff.

Ian Balina: I’ll have to check that one out.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, it’s sick. It’s Bill Clinton’s favorite book. Like I said it was full of surprise. 1974. So, it’s good stuff.

Drew Morisey’s Biggest Life Hacks

Ian Balina: All right. So, this show is called Hacking the System.

Drew Morisey: Right.

Ian Balina: Share with us your biggest life hack that you’ve come across.

Drew Morisey: Biggest life hack. I would say … I’ll answer it in two parts. There’s one what my unfair advantage as a person. Which is sort of like its own life hack. There’s something that I do very well that nobody else can do. Or not many people can do.

So, for me in that case, it’s like I can process complex information and see patterns pretty quick. That sounds like pretty much anyone who’s intelligent. Something like learning how to rap.

I can listen to Eminem, Jay-Z, and Noss. Over time I can just be like, “All right, so this is the pattern.” The same way learning [crosstalk 00:17:46]. Right. And that’s the same how I taught myself YouTube, SEO, keywords. Just seeing the patterns. I can learn a language or something pretty quick.

As far as a life hack, I would say the stuff we’re doing now. Which is doing … The world is full of favors. I’m just learning. Which is like, we’re doing this interview. If I need something for you, you’ll look out for me.

Ian Balina: Oh yeah, of course.

Drew Morisey: Or if partying and there’s a girl if I give you a hot girl, man like you gonna take my phone call. You know what I mean? Or whatever it is. Trying to answer it in a cool way, but value for anybody watching is-

Ian Balina: Value for value, right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah. Value for value. In fact, ideally a little bit more value than the person gave, before. That’s something I’m learning. If you give me a 7.5 girl, I’m gonna get you an 8.5.

Ian Balina: Yes.

Drew Morisey: Sorry, if [inaudible 00:18:51] like their cars.

Ian Balina: It kinda seems … It kinda resembles Garrett B’s motto of 5149.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: If you’re gonna give 51%, then you only take back 49%.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Like the notion of jab, jab, jab, right hook.

Drew Morisey: Exactly.

Ian Balina: Same thing in the business world.

Drew Morisey: Yeah. I think that’s really big. I think I was only able to, quote on quote, “win”, on the rap coaching. Because I did give so much value. I gave two years, three years of videos, in something that most people are like, “what is that”. So. I feel like the value was there for somebody to believe that could really learn it.

Ian Balina: Cause I saw you from day one and I saw you blow up over time, right?

Drew Morisey: Yes.

Ian Balina: There was no overnight success?

Drew Morisey: Not at all.

Ian Balina: I saw that process. That journey. Step by step by step.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: You always there ended gently. Your case after the booth right. Rapping-

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Writing [inaudible 00:19:44]. Just kinda seeing you sort of step by step building your business.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Very impressive.

Drew Morisey: Thanks, man. I have to say actually, shout out to Ian only because the reason I bought a DSLR. Before you started this show, for a while you were practicing running your own channel. I remember you got like some really good lighting, you remember that?

Ian Balina: Yeah.

Drew Morisey: I literally was like, I gotta get that kind of camera. I don’t even know what DSLR was.

Ian Balina: Nice.

Drew Morisey: You were a direct influence on that because I saw your videos and your interviews. I was like, “Man, I gotta step it up.” So.

Ian Balina: That’s nice I appreciate it. All right, so we are almost about to end this show.

Drew Morisey: Cool.

Drew Morisey’s Three Life Tips

Ian Balina: Give us kind of three life tips. For people out there who … Whether they are trying to take their hobby. Turn that into a business. Or maybe they’re trying to go on YouTube. What three life tips would you give them?

Drew Morisey: One, build habits. I know that sounds cliché, but what I mean is you have to do something so long that your brain can turn off and be creative with it. Me, when I started out in rap, I did 30 videos in 30 days. The first, if just a habit of a video a day, just to get through those 30, just so finally I could make a joke in front of the camera.
Similarly with, gym, girls, business. Like we’re talking about networking and I’m starting to do it so much, that it’s becoming a habit. So, when you’re in town. I just came back from LA. Just for this interview. I’m going back to LA tonight.

Ian Balina: Appreciate it.

Drew Morisey: Of course, but that’s a habit I had to develop. Me, five years ago, I would have been like, “Man, I’ll catch you on the flip side, you know?” You know what I mean? I realize I’m in the habit of those connections. That’s one I would say.

There’s like … What you like to do ’cause society tells you it’s cool. Then there’s what you actually what you’d love doing. Don’t become a rapper just because you like how I rapped here. You won’t have a passion to do it long term. Do it because you’re that kid like I was. Memorized Eminem and Jay-Z, to this day I could probably record the blueprint. The entire thing.

Don’t get swept up in a wave. You won’t even watch Hacking the System. Somebody else is doing it and like “yeah, I want to be a businessman like Ian or like Drew.” You may not really want to necessarily. I mean hopefully people watching this want that, but you know what I mean?

Similar to me. If you had told me five years ago that I’d be coaching rap. Or that I’d be doing like business interviews. I would have take a shot of whiskey and spit it in your face.

Ian Balina: Right.

Drew Morisey: What I was doing. But here I am.

Ian Balina: So, it’s kind of a personal path, Right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah, be flexible enough to know … To not necessarily do something just because it’s the new thing.

Also, even with things like Hacking the System, Ian has books coming out. You work corporate. But maybe somebody who can watch this and get the most value out of it by your Amazon business tips. You know what I mean? They don’t need to necessarily be like, “I need to do everything Ian does.” Find what really works for you and build it from there.

Ian Balina: Absolutely.

Drew Morisey: Then, three I’d say travel. Just travel. Period. I know you know like that’s a life tip, because-

Ian Balina: Any places you recommend?

Drew Morisey: Right now. The last place I really went was Central Europe. So, I’m big into that right now. Budapest. Really, one place I tell people to go, go to Berlin. Go to Berlin. It’s artsy. It’s young. It’s clean. It’s easy to get around. Safe.

Most people speak English really well.

Ian Balina: I’m actually planning a trip there this year I think.

Drew Morisey: Oh, sweet. Yeah. Keep in touch on that as well. We chat about traveling all the time. So.

Ian Balina: All right. I think that you dropped lots of game on us.

Drew Morisey: Thanks, man, appreciate it.

Ian Balina: Getting your passion. Your hobby. That you’ve been doing since you were a child and turning it into a viable business.

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: Now, you have a business that’s about as well off, right?

Drew Morisey: Yeah.

Ian Balina: 100K. I think you’ll definitely go up there. Maybe a million.

Drew Morisey: We were just talking about that goal and I see the vision that will happen. It’s just-

Ian Balina: Keyword there “Will happen”.

Drew Morisey: It’s like half-

Ian Balina: That’s the attitude right?

Drew Morisey: Right. Yeah. I know how to do it because we literally just mentioned it.

Ian Balina: The blueprint.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, right. So, good stuff.

Ian Balina: I totally appreciate your time.

Drew Morisey: Thank you, man.

Ian Balina: It’s been a pleasure.

Drew Morisey: Yeah, always.

Ian Balina: All right, that’s a wrap. Thanks for checking out the show. Make sure you give it a like. Subscribe. Drop a comment. And review. Check out my website. Want to drop game every single week? Check me out on social media. Instagram. Facebook. Snapchat. Let’s go out there. Make this money. Hustle the greatness.


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