October Startup Spotlight

When YouTube was founded in 2005, no one could have foreseen that the video sharing platform would become an entrepreneurial hot-spot. Professional YouTube creatives generate a product, work with key strategic partners to achieve business goals, develop healthy revenue streams, and engage with their customers to better direct their products and brand. Sounds a lot like running a business, doesn’t it? A professional YouTuber is now, well, a thing. Not only a thing, but a legitimate commercial venture for hard-working creators.

Tyler Anderson ’19 is one such creator. His YouTube channel, TylersReelFishing, has more than 112,000 subscribers, and he’s uploaded more than 800 videos that have garnered 15 million total views. Did I mention he’s done all of this in just five years?

Founded in 2013, TylersReelFishing started off as “a way for me to have fun making videos of my friend’s fishing adventures.” It quickly morphed into a full-fledged business. “As a YouTuber, you can make a good amount of money, but it almost always comes from multiple revenue streams.” When Tyler first began his entrepreneurial adventure, he started off leveraging Google Adsense. “On every video, I have Google place ads in front of, and in the video itself.” While this did earn a profit, he saw a real change when he began working with key partners such as corporate sponsors. “Sponsors are crucial for success as a ‘professional YouTuber,’ as we are often referred to. We must have companies that believe in us enough to pay us to use their products in our videos.” Last but not least, selling merchandise can be very lucrative if you have an active audience, and Tyler says E-commerce is becoming an important revenue stream, as well. When asked if he’s ever had to deal with negative feedback or “internet trolls,” Tyler simply responded, “[I’ve] received many negative responses, but in my opinion, that is mostly out of jealousy from people who don’t have the drive to do this themselves.”

Tyler has been fishing since he was just 3 years old and was introduced to the sport by his grandfather. “I have vivid memories of my grandpa taking me fishing for bluegill and bass off our dock on Lake Travis; He was my fishing buddy growing up.” His passion was the impetus for starting his business. “Every entrepreneurial venture has to start as a passion” says Tyler “and that is where TylersReelFishing started; a passion for the outdoors and catching little green fish.”

The videos on TylersReelFishing range from educational tips to fun challenges and interviews with other fishermen. “With YouTube, you can really create whatever content you desire” says Tyler, “I have several video series that I plan months in advance.” All of these videos take a lot of time to develop, film, and edit before they can be added to his channel and deemed ready for viewers. In addition to the stress of creating entertaining content, the pressures of owning a business as a student can really stack up. Tyler is a senior telecommunications major, is pursuing a minor in visualization, has a second channel dedicated to his love of music, and handles the daily minutia of running a business. When asked what the most challenging part of being a student business owner is, Tyler resolutely said balancing his time. “As a 21-year-old college student, I want to go hang with my friends a lot, but I know that if spend too much leisure time, my business will not [be] as successful as it could be.”

Entrepreneurs have to make tough decisions when it comes to their most valuable resource, time. “My favorite quote about entrepreneurship says this: “Entrepreneurs work now like no one else would, so they can live like no one else will.” In the end, the extra time Tyler has poured into his business has been worth it. “I love meeting people and hearing stories, and owning my own business has allowed me to interact with people all around the world.” When asked what his plans are post-graduation, Tyler is certainly interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career. “I definitely want to stay in the fishing industry doing videos, but could see myself starting other businesses outside of fishing especially in the software and Ecommerce areas. I just love people and learning more about their stories!”

Tyler Anderson is a student, a fisherman, an entrepreneur, and our October Startup Spotlight. This dedicated young man has made a business out of his lifelong passion and has discovered a love of entrepreneurship that has helped shape his future.

If you’re interested in supporting Tyler and his business, make sure to visit his channel TylersReelFishing and subscribe to his videos.