Road to 1 million subscribers with Jonothon Lyons aka Buddy the Rat
Sep 25, 2023 – minute read
Jonothon Lyons is an actor, writer, and theater artist with over 15 years experience in professional New York productions like Blue Man Group, Little Shop of Horrors, and Sleep No More. In 2020, he began street performances as Buddy the Rat in New York and clips went viral immediately across social media. He quickly started performing, filming, editing, and posting on YouTube as often as he could. In January of 2021, he noticed regular growth in subscribers on YouTube thanks to the introduction of YouTube Shorts. Focusing his attention on YouTube and experimenting with the volume of Shorts posted daily, he managed to grow his channel to 1 million subscribers in under 2 years!
Jonothon’s plan for the future is to travel across the world performing as Buddy the Rat in different city centers and to share his experiences with his YouTube audience through long-form vlogs and Shorts. His YouTube channel will begin to showcase travel videos centered around arts, culture and live performances across the globe. Thanks to YouTube, he already knows he has a global audience (including 30% of his subscribers based in India) so Jonothon hopes to travel and give his subscribers all around the world the chance to see Buddy the Rat in person. Jonothon breaks down his top three learnings on his journey to get to 1 million subscribers:
Audiences are driven to follow creators that are clearly creating based on their own interests and grounded in their own values.”
Don’t try to manufacture something unique: Only make content that you find genuinely interesting and that shares something special about you. The best way to stand out from the crowd is to simply follow your heart. Don’t try to manufacture something unique. If you just focus on what you are interested in, it will naturally produce unique content because you, yourself, are already unique. Audiences are driven to follow creators that are clearly creating based on their own interests and grounded in their own values. Nobody wants to follow somebody that’s trying to be someone else.
Have a Point of View: Know exactly what you're trying to influence people to do, think, or be. It should be centered around some positive change in the world you believe is possible. It’s very hard to find the motivation to keep producing new ideas and new content if you don’t have very specific and meaningful reasons for doing it. You can make a difference in the world, even if what you’re making is light, silly, entertaining content, as long as it has an underlying perspective. The Buddy the Rat project is all about illuminating the animal nature we all carry around inside and encouraging a collective understanding that we are not distinct and separate groups of people, but instead, one large and complex community. Some people may see my content as an outrageous comedy prank, but I have a deeper message behind it and that keeps me motivated.
The only way to find out if your dream of being a successful YouTube creator is achievable is to try. ”
Stick with It: Decide what you're going to do and stick to it daily for many years without giving up. It’s going to take at least 2-3 years from when you fully commit and start posting content multiple times per day to grow your subscribers. But the only way to find out if your dream of being a successful YouTube creator is achievable is to try. And trying means daily posting for 2-3 years without a break. It sounds overwhelming and it is, but that’s the nature of this industry as it currently exists. If you don’t take on the challenge, someone else will.