Want to Succeed on YouTube? Ask Yourself This One Question, Says E-commerce Expert Sarah Chrisp.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Sarah Chrisp, founder of Wholesale Ted, a YouTube channel with actionable advice for entrepreneurs with e-commerce stores. It was condensed by The Oracles.
What was a defining moment early in your life?
Sarah Chrisp: When I was 9 years old, my father bought me Rich Kid, Smart Kid by Robert Kiyosaki after I told him I wanted to grow up to be a millionaire. He had read its precursor, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and assumed this was the “kid version” — which it isn’t.
I barely understood it, but I went back to it each year and read a little more every time. While it isn’t perfect, the book taught me important concepts about time, money, and wealth. It gave me a huge headstart with a financial education that most children never receive.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Sarah Chrisp: To sell products online and succeed on YouTube as I have, you have to create something new and better for the customer or viewer. There is no step-by-step process for this, which requires experimentation and research. There will be failures along the way.
That’s why the most essential trait among successful entrepreneurs isn’t intelligence — it’s grit. I’m incredibly resilient and will keep trying in the face of failure. With grit, you see failure as a valuable learning opportunity that will give you a higher chance of succeeding next time.
What are the core values that guide your business, and why did you pick them?
Sarah Chrisp: Creating great products that serve our customers. Many young entrepreneurs are obsessed with Facebook advertising strategies, while their products are an afterthought. If they just shifted their focus from gaming algorithms to offering quality products that serve a need, they’d quickly discover that you can sell great products with imperfect marketing.
This e-commerce knowledge also taught me to succeed on YouTube. I see each of my videos as a product, even if it’s free. My videos don’t succeed because I use the right keywords — they succeed because I ask myself one question as I write each script: Is this serving the viewer?
What’s your favorite quote?
Sarah Chrisp: I have many, but one of them is a lesser-known quote by the Greek dramatist, Sophocles: “It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.”
When I have a goal, I take responsibility for achieving it. If I fail, I don’t blame outside factors or others. I allow those factors and people in my life. Assigning blame and making excuses might make you feel better, but it doesn’t get you closer to your goals.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Sarah Chrisp: When you’re young, every year feels like an eternity, and you want to make money now. As a teenage entrepreneur, I was bad at shipping products on time. I’d already made the money, and found the fulfillment part “boring.” I just wanted to focus on making more sales. Not only was this rude; it undoubtedly ruined what could have been long-term relationships with my customers.
I would tell my younger self that business is a marathon, not a sprint. Now, a huge part of my focus is perfecting the customer experience, mostly because I feel ethically obligated to. But as a bonus, this also creates repeat buyers and more money.
What’s the biggest common leadership mistake?
Sarah Chrisp: The worst leaders are unwilling to relinquish control, which is especially prevalent in the YouTube community. Editing is the most time-consuming part, and yet most YouTubers spend long, stressful hours doing it themselves, always on the edge of burnout.
For example, when my friend David was stressed, I begged him to hire a video editor. At first, he pushed back but he finally did. He went from working five days a week to two and now has two channels instead of one, resulting in more money.
How do you hire top talent?
Sarah Chrisp: By treating my employees as customers rather than underlings. I’m lucky to have great employees; my business would not be where it is today without them. So, I make sure to create the best possible work environment by providing enormous flexibility and letting everyone work on what brings them the most joy.
How do you prevent burnout?
Sarah Chrisp: As I’ve shared on YouTube, I almost crashed from burnout. I was able to overcome it by learning the science behind how and why it happens.
Studies have shown that neurons fire in our brains when we work. As we increase our workload, more neurons begin to fire. If we do too much, our brains switch to survival mode and start firing neurons together. This means that when you try to use certain parts of your brain, such as logical reasoning, it will also fire other parts that aren’t helpful for that, such as the parts that trigger emotions.
Now, I rarely work after 6 p.m. Give your brain a meaningful rest each day.
What are you working on right now?
Sarah Chrisp: YouTube is a fantastic place where knowledge and expression flow freely. But unfortunately, many content creators can’t live up to their potential because they rely on unstable advertising revenue, so they have to balance video creation with full-time jobs.
I find a great deal of joy helping others make more money from their YouTube channels so they can continue sharing their knowledge and perspective with the world. I’ll be speaking at VidCon U.S. about ways to monetize your YouTube business, such as low-cost, high-profit merchandise stores using print-on-demand.
What are two things on your bucket list?
Sarah Chrisp: I want to visit as many countries as possible. Travel has helped me see how lucky I am, which gives me so much gratitude. Science has also shown that your brain forms new connections as you overcome the challenges of navigating a new environment and culture. This makes you more creative as your brain adapts to different ideas and combines them to find new solutions.
The second item on my bucket list is ensuring that my parents also get to see the world. I wouldn’t have the business I have today without them, so I want them to benefit from it as well.
The words and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee alone. What worked for them may not work for everyone. Any claims in this article have not been independently verified.