My Job is YouTube: His & Her Money

In this episode of "My Job is YouTube", Chicago-based husband and wife Tai and Talaat of His and Her Money, tell the story of how debt almost prevented them from getting married, to how they started their channel and now help thousands become financially free. They talk about their path from watching YouTube videos to learn how to climb out of debt, to now becoming full time YouTubers. Tai and Talaat offer practical tips to other creators interested in growing their channel.

0:00 | Intro
0:50 | The backstory: $30,000 in debt
3:42 | What do you teach exactly?
5:42 | How “expert” is enough?
7:30 | Getting started with low views
10:39 | Advice for small business owners

These are the stories of #YouTubeImpact.

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People look at the channels that maybe
have a million subscribers and they think

«Well, if I don’t have a million
subscribers, I can’t make a living.»

Taalat and I do this, we do this full-time.

We have three children,
we run our business full-time.

This is all we do, and we’re
making a good living with this business.

And so I don’t want
you all to underestimate

just because maybe you have
a few thousand subscribers

or a few thousand views
that you can’t make real money.

You can.

Imagine you’re weeks
away from getting married

but you haven’t let your fiancée in
on one little detail.

You’re $30,000 in credit card debt.

Awkward.

How does that start to a marriage
end up with a couple running

a hugely successful
financial education business

and YouTube channel,
all while being completely debt-free?

Let’s meet the creators
behind His and Her Money.

Hey, Tai and Taalat.

Not to focus right in
on the rocky beginning

but it’s an important part of your story.

Can you tell us how you got
in and out of a $30,000 hole?

Yeah, the mess started
on this side of the marriage

because I grew up in
a two-parent household, middle class

cheering me on, encouraging me
to do my best but they were frugal

I think,
is the politically correct way to say cheap.

And so when my friends were coming to school
with the brand-new Michael Jordan shoes

I was coming to school
with the brand-new Pro Wings.

Now, I know
many people don’t know what a Pro Wing is

but that is the Payless
shoe store version of the Jordan.

So the jump man was a little awkward,
it wasn’t quite moving in the same direction.

And so I was coming to school
with stuff like that.

I didn’t get anything name brand.

And when I graduated high school

I immediately went into the military
and I had my own money for the first time.

I was thousands of miles
away from home and I told myself

«I’m going to do exactly
what my parents didn’t do.»

And so, because
they didn’t buy me anything name brand

I bought everything name brand.

And my spending was just out of control.

I didn’t know what I was doing with money.

I just knew I had money and
I wanted to spend it and get nice things.

And so, because I didn’t have
the understanding of how money works

and how to be a good steward over it,
I blew it and ended up in a bunch of debt

over $30,000 worth of debt,
and had nothing to show for it.

Taalat and I,
we’re high-school sweethearts

so we met in high school

and after high school
he went off to be in the army.

And I thought that his finances —
I thought that he was a rock star

because here it is, he’s making
good money from the government

and he doesn’t have
to send his money anywhere

but literally just spend it
on himself and also save for the future.

And so prior to getting married
in pre-marital counseling

I found out that he lied to me
about how much debt he really was in.

And that’s really how it came out.

I was afraid because
she was completely debt-free.

She had put herself
through college debt-free.

She had a degree in finance and was working

in one of the largest
financial institutions in the world.

And here I was,
with a pocket full of debt

saying, «Will you marry me?»

And so I tried to create this plan
where I would get rid of the debt

before we walked down the aisle,
but it didn’t work.

My lie was exposed.

I had to tell the truth.

And we almost didn’t get married.

Not so much because of the money,
but because I was dishonest.

And so we had to do a whole lot
of praying and a whole lot of talking

and thankfully, 15 years later,
here we are, husband and wife.

And because we got on the same page

because we came clean and
really put everything out on the table

we were able to get out of that debt
in the first year of our marriage.

And then a few years later,
we got really radical in the home

that we live in right now.

We decided that we weren’t
going to wait 30 years to pay it off.

We were going to do it in five.

And so, five years from
the day that we closed on the house

we walked into the bank
and made our very last mortgage payment

and now we are a completely debt-free family

trying to help
other people do the same thing.

I do feel like there’s this phase
that so many young people go through

including myself, which is learning
the hard way about credit card debt.

I got up to $7,000
when I was 24, and suddenly realized

«Oh, I actually do
need to pay for this stuff.»

Would I have avoided that
if your channel was around back then?

I mean, what do you teach
exactly on the channel?

Yes. If our channel was around back then

I do believe that
we would have been able to help you

because one of the things that we teach is
you don’t have to necessarily compromise.

We still do the vacations,
we still buy the things that we still love.

Taalat is still a spender,
that didn’t change.

We just make sure that we have
the money for it, and we make sure that

we don’t do it at the expense of
not having our kids’ college already set up

having our own retirement accounts set up

also other wealth-building strategies set up.

And so we tell people that you don’t
have to stop doing the things that you love

or buying the things that you love.

You just need to make sure
that you have a plan.

And so, our channel helps you do just that.

Now, can you give us a broad-strokes overview
of your business around YouTube?

You obviously have the channel.

I saw some ads on your videos,
so you’re making ad revenue.

Are there courses or coaching or merch?

I mean what does the whole business
look like, all the revenue streams?

Yes, we make money through ad revenue but
we also make money through sponsorships.

That’s simply
where you partner with another company

and you may mention
their name in your video

maybe a coupon code or
something like that in the description box.

And you do have to disclose it
properly that this is a sponsored video.

But we do make money by way of sponsorship.

We also make money
through our own products.

And we do that
by pushing that through YouTube

by either mentioning it in videos.

So we have a monthly membership community,
we have books, we have courses.

At one point we also had merchandise

like t-shirts and
things like that as well, too.

So we’re always thinking of ways
of how we can grow the business

and how we can get the message out there,
and we do that through YouTube.

New creators to the education space
on YouTube, I think, struggle to have

the confidence to say,
«Now, I’m going to go from being a student

to being the teacher,»
and I know from researching you all

that you started on YouTube
watching financial education videos

and then decided to start making your own.

How do you recommend
that creators build the confidence

to make that leap?

How do they know when
they’re expert enough to be the creator?

You have a story,
so that makes you an expert at something

because we’re all on a journey,
but you may be a mile ahead of me.

And that’s all that you need.

I need to know how you got up there,
because I’m back here.

I used to be a teacher,
a classroom teacher

and one of the things
that older teachers would tell you

especially if you’re teaching a new subject
from one year to the next, they’d say

«You just got to stay one
chapter ahead of the students.»

You got to study one chapter
ahead of the students and you’ll be fine.

You’ve been through something.

You’ve learned something.

And so, YouTube is
a great place to showcase yourself

because you can be real,
you can be authentic.

Like we said earlier,
we don’t just tell what we got right.

We also tell what we got wrong and
the lessons that you can learn from both.

And you’ll find that a lot of people
want to go on the journey with you.

They don’t want to be talked down to.

They don’t want to see
just people on the mountaintop

and they’re in the valley low.

Again, they want to see people
who may be just a little bit ahead of them

who they can identify with, «You know what?

«They look like me.
Their story is similar to mine.

«Their background is similar to mine.

«I can identify with this person.
Let me keep following them

«Maybe I can learn and grow,
and maybe I can avoid some of the pitfalls

«that they fell into,»
because you’re willing to tell your story.

No matter where you’re at in the journey

you have something
that will help somebody that’s behind you.

What about when starting a new channel
with all this enthusiasm and energy

you’ve decided to do it,
it can be pretty discouraging

to see your first video only get views
from you hitting refresh

or sending it to your
parents and family members.

What do you recommend
for someone starting a new channel

and trying to do what I call
«budging the boulder» to give it momentum?

So one of the things… we can only
share really our personal experience.

We didn’t set our
expectations high whatsoever.

We did not know that His and Her Money
was going to grow into the brand

that it has been today,
simply because all we wanted to do was serve.

And so if you keep that in the forefront,
that even if one person finds your video

and they learn something and
it changes their life, then you did your job.

We received an email one time
from someone saying that she found our video

and at just the right time.

I think we went live on our video.

Just the right time and
she was contemplating suicide

literally this is life or death,
hope and hopelessness.

And so we were like, «Wow.»
If we would have waited simply

because maybe we weren’t getting
the 1000 or 2000 or 3000 views

then maybe she would not have been reached.

So think about the people
that really need you the most.

And so don’t set your expectations too high,
especially when starting a channel.

I mean, be realistic.

It’s going to take some time for you
to literally grow your channel over time

and use this as an opportunity
to be able to get your message out

in a pure way, like a pure way.

One of the things that we told ourselves,
we didn’t want to buy followers

we didn’t want followers
to feel pressured into following us.

We wanted our true tribe.

And so by doing that over time,
just by giving service over and over

and value over and over,
our tribe started to grow.

Our tribe started to talk about us.

Our tribe started to share our videos and
also follow us and purchase our products.

Yeah, and I think that you also got
to understand how powerful YouTube is.

Like today, I saw a comment
from a video we did three or four years ago

about conflict in marriage and
how to avoid it or how to deal with it

and somebody said that
this is an on-time video.

Now, on-time,
but we recorded it three or four years ago

but it was on-time today.

And so you have to have
that long-term perspective in mind.

You might have 10 views today,
but you don’t know.

You could really help somebody
two years from now, five years from now

from what you did today.

So put your best foot forward.

That was our mentality.

That wasn’t a cliché, what Tai just said.

That was literally our mentality.

If 10 people watch this video

we’re going to give those 10 people
everything that we have to offer.

And you don’t know who’s watching.

I mean you don’t know, it could be
the one person that can literally change

the trajectory of your entire company

your entire business,
and you don’t know who’s watching.

That’s the beautiful thing about YouTube.

Everybody is watching it, right?

No matter their economic status,
no matter their race, no matter their beliefs

no matter what group they belong to.

People, they watch videos and
somebody could resonate with your message

and it can literally be
that one person that can change your life.

One of the reasons we’re doing this
whole series is to try to put a spotlight

on all of the amazing small businesses and
medium businesses around YouTube channels

because you hear about
the big superstars on YouTube

but you often don’t hear about

these amazing small businesses
that people are building, like yourselves.

For those watching
who have a small business

and are thinking about YouTube

what’s your one piece of advice,
like practical advice on getting started?

When I tell you we tell everybody,
if they even approach us

if we’re at church, they’re like,
«I’m thinking about this idea.

«I’m thinking about starting a business.»

We’re like, «Make sure
you also start your YouTube channel.»

YouTube, again, for us,
has been such a vital part of our business.

And I’m so happy that you all are doing
these spotlights because you’re right

I think people look at the channels
that maybe have a million subscribers

and they think, «Well, if I don’t have a
million subscribers, I can’t make a living.»

Taalat and I do this, we do this full-time.

We have three children,
we run our business full-time.

This is all we do, and we’re making
a good living with this business.

And so I don’t want you all to underestimate

just because maybe you
have a few thousand subscribers

or a few thousand views,
that you can’t make real money.

You can.

One of the things that we live by is just
make sure that you move in excellence.

Excellence does not mean perfection.

I think so many times the reason
why a lot of people don’t get started

on their YouTube channel
is because they feel like

«I need to have it just right.»

No. Excellence means

«OK, I’m going to
give it my best with what I have.»

If that means my cellphone,
the camera on my cellphone, if that means

borrowing a camera from someone,
I’m still going to move in excellence

but I’m not going to allow
perfection to stop me from moving.

Absolutely, and I think that
you got to have a long-term view.

You have to be willing to do
video after video after video

because, number one, on your first video,
you’re not going to be at your best.

You need the reps yourself just
to get comfortable in front of the camera

to find your voice,
to find your personality for YouTube.

And so don’t give up at video 10
and say, «Man, I’m not getting this.

«Just forget it.
I’ll just go back to what I was doing.»

Have a long-range view.

Just keep making content.

You’re helping somebody

and if you stay consistent,
you will reap the benefits.

That’s one of the core things
that was key for us.

We showed up every single week,
multiple times a week

and we kept bringing value.

So bring value on a consistent basis
with a long-term view, you’ll be alright.

Thanks so much for your time.

Everybody, make sure you go visit
His and Her Money and subscribe.

Really enjoyed the conversation.

— Thank you, we did too.
— Thank you so much for having us.

A lot of fun.

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