Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in content creation but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ryan Didoshak, founder of Hot Garbage Sports Media, located in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business bridges the gap between a complex historical game with colloquialisms and generic talking points to a fun and educational 10-15 daily video so others can enjoy Canada’s National winter sport. We use our niche education as a high-performance credited hockey coach from Hockey Canada with over a decade of experience in the highest levels of the sport and combine it with fun hockey chatter and a positive culture to make our examples and video content accessible and enjoyable to all of any background. Our core customer is a blend of rookie hockey fans who may be shy to ask “obvious” questions and hardcore lifetime fans looking to upgrade their skill. There is nobody who does what they do online, on YouTube, or in classic media. We use YouTube to reach the largest audience possible and have a focus on continuously upgrading our editing, video quality, and presentation. We have a unique ability to teach the game, and our “secret” sauce is our organic ability to communicate complex narratives into simple but sized bits.
Tell us about yourself
I am a business professional with a full-time job at a Government Crown Corp. I have a B.Comm with many letters and majors behind my name, and I worked for Apple Inc. Air Canada and other gigantic world companies. I grew up playing hockey my entire life, loved the game, and wanted to give back at age 24. I started coaching local teams of 12/13-year-olds with a focus on creating great men and women ready for society vs. just great players.
I am known for creating a team-first atmosphere where players gain life confidence and game confidence all in one program. I began taking high-level certifications, and after ten years, I had 15000 hours of experience and obtained Hockey Canada’s highest-ranking certifications (meaning I’m qualified to coach the World Juniors as pro hockey does not require any certification). Once COVID hit, I had nothing to do and got into watching YouTube videos after work. I figured I could do it if I could learn Adobe and Video editing / graphic design. I started self-learning the programs after investing in my monthly Adobe subscription.
I’m a grinder; I spent 4-7 hours a day self-learning while holding down my full-time job as a manager with a team of 100+ employees at my day job. It was SCARY getting on the internet, and my first videos are cringe-worthy! But I kept getting better each and every time I made one, and I started gaining success! Every time I got a positive comment from a viewer, I kept going; I realized it wasn’t as scary as I thought, and when my friends started calling me asking, “are you this guy on YouTube omg, we just saw you!” Or an old elementary school buddy I hadn’t seen for 25 years messaged me to say he and his dad watched me together every night! I knew I was onto something.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Knowing I can get through the lows! As a business owner whose job is to produce content, there are many times when you want to quit. I didn’t make more than $100 total after putting hundreds of hours into my product along with my own money. It felt like, “why am I doing this to myself” my TV was calling my friends were out and about. But then success started, and I knew that if I kept my head down and kept pushing forward, it was bound to happen! It did… when I least expected it.
On YouTube, it takes an average of 200-300 videos and 1-2 years before you can be monetized, meaning Google keeps all of your money, and all of the work you do is only to prove to YouTube you are worth paying in ads. It takes 4000 watch hours from viewers plus 1000 subscribers before YouTube will review your channel to determine if you will be a business. When you have videos getting 100-200 views at best, that can be a long time for most. Average YouTubers can do this in 1-2 years. I was able to do this in 3 months! During the 2021 NHL playoffs, I even had two videos break 20000 views! Imagine that; it’s like an entire arena of people who are there to watch you. The Internet seems like a number but in real life, visualizing that many people watching you is humbling.
My biggest accomplishment by far after this is the community I have built! I have over 5000+ people and growing by 100+ a day subscribing to me, joining my chat groups, and supporting each other. Being a person that was able to bring so many together feels great! But to summarize, my biggest accomplishment is getting through the “muck” and staying with it, and continuing to stay with it when it feels like it’s stuck or when I feel too tired. Just going forward is key!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
At the time, you are 100% committed. You don’t get to choose your show to work and have to believe in what you are doing. You don’t take a paycheque, and I still don’t; everything gets reinvested. It’s all about building and supporting, building and supporting.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Decide if the grind is for you, there is no place in business for those looking for a balance.
- Be a self-learner - dedicate to upgrading your skills with free videos online or invest in places like SkillShare online. You don’t need formal training. It’s all out there if you want to get it. For free!
- Always improve and change every day. COVID has shown us you need to be ready for anything and can’t expect what your business was yesterday will be viable tomorrow.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
You can do this! Whether you are just starting or established, no matter what happens, no matter your background, health, or life situation, you can do this! Always forward; that’s the motto. When you are stuck, you go forward. When you don’t know what to do, walk forward; standing still won’t work, and being patient is a virtue, but you can still go forward even incrementally while being patient.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.