The Highest Paid Stars Of YouTube

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What does it take to be a YouTube star? Forbes has put together a ranking of the world’s top earners and it includes people who have gotten famous, as well as rich, by “commenting on video games, serving up comedy, debriefing about beauty and dancing while playing the violin.”

The motley crew consists of:

+ the baker behind Nerdy Nummies ($2.5 million)

+ the prankster behind the Smile More Store ($2.5 million)

+ the stand-up comedian and singer who bills herself as Superwoman ($2.5 million)

+ the make-up expert ($3 million)

+ the video game commenter ($4.5 million)

+ the comedian guys who do Good Mythical Morning ($4.5 million)

+ the dancing violinist ($6 million)

+ the brothers who you watch reacting to watching other things ($8.5 million)

+ the comedians who do live-action skits ($8.5 million)

+ the guy who plays video games ($12 million)

It’s a young, attractive, and diverse enough crowd to make an excellent reality show. To the degree that someone should get on that, post-haste: what happens when a dozen or so extroverted entrepreneurs, with millions of rabid fans each, stop being polite and start getting real?

But what pleases me more is the degree of surreality at play here. Like, seriously, what were the odds that any of these people would make it big by uploading videos of themselves doing something that they love? Yes, they’re all photogenic, and that helps. They’re all, presumably, talented at the thing they’re passionate about. They’re consistent. They’re dedicated. Still, if they had set out to make money by commentating on video games or playing violin while dancing, there’s no way it would have worked, right? There’s a degree of serendipity at play that cannot be forced.

It reminds me of the way Cheryl Strayed broke through by writing an anonymous advice column for free. If she had tried to plan her life that way, she couldn’t have. People would have laughed at her. She would have laughed at herself. But it happened for her, organically. She was so good — talented, consistent, dedicated — at doing the thing she loved in public that the rest took care of itself.

Just Be Yourself is not a business strategy. But every once in a great while, Just Be Yourself is actually the best life advice you can take. Assuming Yourself catches on.

Image of KSI via Business Insider

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