The most popular YouTuber in the world speaks about the mental and emotional challenges of running a successful video entertainer career.
- Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, is the world’s largest YouTuber—with 128 million subscribers.
- He surpassed the previous largest YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, also known as Pewdiepie, on November 14, 2022—with 111 million subscribers.
- Donaldson appeared on the Lex Fridman Podcast on January 11 to discuss his success as a YouTuber. The conversation turned toward mental health, the challenges of operating a successful YouTube channel as a career, and the “grind” that is necessary to make his content, Yahoo News notes.
- “Normal people don’t want that life, and they probably shouldn’t. It’s not good for you,” says Donaldson.
Why It’s Important
Being a YouTuber is one of the most desired jobs among the younger generations. According to one Morning Consult survey, 86% of young people want to be social-media influencers. A similar study by The Sun reports that 75% of young people list being a YouTuber as their desired career. A Harris Poll study found that given the career option of being a teacher, professional athlete, musician, astronaut, or YouTuber, a majority of 30% chose to be a YouTuber.
As Donaldson notes though, the life of a social-media influencer is very difficult. It is possible to build a successful career as a YouTuber, as Donaldson and Kjelberg have shown. It still requires a level of dedication, focus, and effort that the easy-going and fun final videos that end up on YouTube don’t reflect.
He has no set schedule, works weekends, sleeps in the studio, and often doesn’t have time to enjoy the money he makes from his job. Once he gets in the “grind mode” to produce content, he says he will work seven to eight days in a row until he physically needs to stop.
Even with that effort, the odds of success are very low. About 85% of YouTube traffic goes to 3% of channels, and 96% of monetized channels earn revenue below the U.S. federal poverty line, Vox Media notes.
“Weirdly enough, the best thing for my mental health was giving into my innate nature to work. And the most depressed I get is when I try to restrict it, like, ‘I don’t work weekends’ or ‘I don’t work this day.’ What’s best for me is just to work when I feel like working,” he says.