It's a no-brainer that curiosity can lead you towards something awesome! Those who constantly tinker and experiment with their lives influence thousands of people they encounter. Today, we're bringing your way a conversation with someone like that. David Payette is a YouTuber and a constant learner who has aced the content creation game like nobody else.
In a nutshell: Who is David Payette?
Now, let’s jump into the conversation. 👇🏼
Thousand Faces Club: We love starting with this question — what was your childhood like, and how did it influence you?
David: I enjoyed writing as a child and owe it to my parents, who are good writers. I read and wrote quite a lot, but as a teenager, I fell in love with the piano and was determined to become the best jazz pianist in the world. It was my life goal, and I thought anything less would deem me a failure. So, I went to a music school and pursued it for a while only to confront the reality — I wasn't the best jazz pianist in the world, and I won't make it. I was good but not great, so there came the point in life where I had to figure out something else.
Thousand Faces Club: What was life at Apple like?
David: I left my first job at a convenience store because of radiation therapy and full-time school. Fortunately, my parents supported me throughout that period, and when I healed, I was ready to work again and took up a part-time job at an Apple store in upstate New York. For the longest time, I was a happy camper at Apple, but sometime during the journey, I wasn’t enjoying the work. On a rough day at work, I met a spiritual guy, Wayne Dyer. He pulled up some of his stuff which said there is no way to happiness and that happiness is the way. It led to an epiphany that I should first be happy and that exterior joys won't bring me happiness. I walked back into the Apple store with this newfound freedom — nothing at the store changed, but I've changed internally. The store became chaotic and painful, and eventually, it was time for me to leave.
Thousand Faces Club: Interesting! So what led to writing?
David: On quitting, I worked with local businesses for web designing and blogged to show business owners I could establish blogs for them. I took online courses on Lynda to learn WordPress and SEO; plus, while working at Apple, I understood that most people don't possess technical skills. My first post — Why does my iPhone battery die so fast, was a guide to fix that issue, which went viral six months later with five million reads. I made $10,000 that week, a miracle because I never made that much in a short time. It was then I realised I could write, and spent the next few weeks writing out of Starbucks.
Thousand Faces Club: Soon followed the YouTube journey, is it?
David: Absolutely! After running Payette Forward for some more months, I moved back to New York to expand, where I met David Lynch, my co-host. He was a pool attendant, and I found him extremely intelligent, resourceful, a quick learner, and all I could ever hope for in an employee and friend. When Lynch and I started making videos, we had around 1,000 subscribers, and I sent out an email blast to fetch over 1,000 subscribers and get us monetised on YouTube. We made $2-7 every day and wondered if we'd ever make more. But, we realised we were only getting traffic through organic search, which suggested our videos too. We kept creating consistently and got here!
Thousand Faces Club: Creative burnouts are common for every creator. How do you tackle them?
David: I think I'm fortunate enough for not experiencing burnouts because I understand the importance of rest periods. I put in the effort when I can but don't force myself to work when I can't. I've had times when I didn't write for two weeks but would have 14 posts from the previous week. Now, I'm grateful to have an excellent team that backs me up, and when I'm motivated, I do a lot more. When I'm not creatively productive, I support my team. Most creative folks tie their success to a publishing schedule, but Google recommends insightful information, and it won't change if you don't publish a video in a week.
Enjoyed reading this conversation? You might also like David Payette’s creator journey.