This is a transcript of Episode 43: Randy Shear on Becoming The Youtube Blogger UberMan (Transcript) You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here. You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.
Announcer: Welcome to the Rideshare Guy Podcast, the site that’s dedicated to helping drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder. So whether you drive for Lyft, Uber, Sidecar of anything in between, we’ve got you covered. And now here’s your host Harry Campbell.
Harry: What’s going on, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Rideshare Guy Podcast, episode number 43 and today we’ll be talking with Randy Shear on how he became known as the world-famous YouTube blogger UberMan.
But first, before we get into that, I just want to say a quick hello, let you guys know what I’ve been up to lately and I haven’t done an update in a while but life is good these days. Wife just started her fourth year of medical school and I actually just joined a co-working space here in Long Beach called WE Lab, so now I work from home, coffee shops and my co-working space, definitely a cool environment for entrepreneurs. And you know, if you’re looking to start a little side business or side hustle, I’d definitely recommend it. I’ve only been working there for a few weeks, once or twice a week, I’ve already met a couple people who I may be able to partner with for my business. So if you’re pursuing something like that, definitely look in to see if there’s a co-working space in your area and, of course, if you’re in Long Beach, you might even see me at the WE Labs downtown.
So like I mentioned in the intro, today we’ve got the world famous YouTube Rideshare blogger, UberMan Randy Shear, and he’s actually the one who inspired me to start my channel almost a year and a half ago. Actually if you haven’t checked out my YouTube channel at therideshareguy.com/YouTube, make sure you check out mine first before you look at UberMan’s. But either way, he’s definitely a guy that I respect and I was thinking about it the other day, “Man, I can’t believe I haven’t had UberMan on the podcast.”
We’ve done a couple of YouTube interviews and things like that before but he’s got a really cool story and I also really enjoy what he does because he’s all about helping drivers too, as you’ll hear on the podcast. So we’re going to learn a lot about him, what it is he does, how he grew his audience, and kind of everything going on in the world of UberMan. So hopefully you guys will enjoy it.
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I also want to give quick shout-out and a big thanks because you guys killed it, man. Since the last episode, I asked for some five-star reviews and thank you guys so much, everyone who left a five-star review. I really appreciate it and I’m just going to give quick little shout-outs here: Surge, looks like 77Sking04, Fred84044, Jeranoid, Jose Diaz all the way from Puerto Rico, Debra Cadabra, Danielle Pfiefer 0331 and Frank Harris. So thank you guys very much for leaving me a five-star review in iTunes.
If you haven’t done it yet, check out therideshareguy.com/itunes and I’ll give you guys a shout-out on a future episode. And of course, like always, this episode and all the show notes, all the links, all the videos that we’re going to mention talking about UberMan, all of his cool videos that we talk about in this episode are going to be found at therideshareguy.com/episode43.
Also make sure you stay tuned to the end because Randy is actually going to share with us his number one tip if you’re out there looking to start your own YouTube channel. Right, if you’re looking out there to become a professional YouTuber, a professional blogger, Randy UberMan is a professional YouTube blogger, so I figured there’d be probably no better person get that advice from him, and even if you’re just looking around to mess with a few videos, you’d be surprised. We’ll talk a little bit about how much he’s making on some of these videos and just from YouTube and not even, you know, there’s also other opportunities that you can take from there. So definitely hope you guys enjoy this episode and let’s get it going.
Interview with Randy Shear
All right, Randy, how are you doing today?
Randy: Pretty good, how are you doing, Harry?
Harry: I’m doing well. Actually I don’t know if I’ve ever called you Randy before. Should I call you Randy or UberMan?
Randy: Randy is fine.
Harry: I was starting here at my notes and I see Randy Shear, I’m like, “Who the hell is Randy Shear?”
Randy: Yeah, a lot of people don’t know my real name so…
Harry: Well, I guess I can empathize with you on that because a lot of people call me the Rideshare Guy so…
Randy: Yeah, yeah.
Harry: Cool, all about that branding. But for those in my audience who may not have heard of you and may not know your name, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Randy: Okay, well I’m a YouTube personality that goes by the name UberMan. My real name, as you just said, was Randy Shear. I’ve been doing YouTube for several years before even Uber. I was doing YouTube for cell phones, technology videos, and things like that. I’m also an Uber driver and my goal is to help new and existing drivers with tips and tricks to assist them in maximizing their profitability while driving on a rideshare platform.
Harry: Awesome, that sounds great. Obviously very similar to what I do and we’ve known each other for a while and I don’t know if I ever actually told you, you were the one that inspired me to start my YouTube channel. So I saw how well you were doing, I was like, “Man, I should give this a shot.” I’m really awkward at doing videos but maybe one day I’ll be near your level.
Randy: Well, you’ve got a blog that’s out of this world man, so I’d say you’ve done really well for yourself.
Harry: Awesome, cool, well thanks for sharing that info and yeah, that is cool. I didn’t realize until I was looking at your channel more in depth the other day that you do have a bunch of other videos that are I guess I’d say non-Uber related. I don’t know if those are primarily from your pre-Uber days but it looks like you were doing a bunch of cool reviews. Kind of had a little experience in this YouTube blogging thing.
Randy: Yeah, I had a few subscribers, maybe 1000 or 2000, that was about it. But I used to hack into the operating system on Android phones and I would root them and I would test out…there’s an Android developer forum, I can’t remember the name of it, but I would test out ROMs for them.
Randy: And do reviews on YouTube and that’s kind of how my YouTube channel got started.
Harry: Oh, very nice, all right, so I never knew that, I guess I learn something new every day.
Harry: Well, obviously you’ve gained a lot of your success and most people probably that do know you came out to find out about you through Uber, so why don’t you tell us when you signed up for Uber and we’ll take it from there.
Randy: I signed up with Uber in November of 2013 and I was one of the very first drivers in my market to get started.
Harry: Right on. I think that’s…man, my math is not good, was that three and a half years ago?
Randy: Almost three years.
Harry: Almost three years. So there you go, you’re right, my math sucks. That makes you really old in rideshare years, I think.
Randy: Yeah! Not many people make it that long.
Harry: I’m trying to think when I signed up. I’m pretty sure it was after that, though, so you’ve been around for a while and it’s kind of cool too because you signed up where? Out in Oklahoma City, right?
Harry: So you must have been one of the very first drivers.
Randy: Yeah, yeah. There was no business, nothing.
Driving for Uber & What’s Changed
Harry: Yeah? Interesting. So what’s changed the most since you first signed up to be a driver three years ago?
Randy: That’s a loaded question.
Harry: Yeah, I know if you could answer that in less than 10 minutes, let us know.
Randy: Oh I can do that, I can do that, I got that. I’d say the biggest change is rates and I think almost any driver that’s been around for any length of time would probably agree with that. Rates when I first started were, I don’t remember exactly but it was around 2.25 a mile. And now we’re down to 70 cents a mile. So rates have changed drastically, and along with the rates going down, the way Uber does things out here has changed as well. I try to do regular meet and greets with drivers, I just got through doing one.
Harry: Oh, cool.
Randy: Where we paid for doughnuts at Krispy Kreme and got the drivers together so we can all hang out and try to discuss what’s going on in our market in ways that, you know, we can work together to make more money. And I was talking to a bunch of drivers and I did not know that Uber doesn’t require you to send photos of your car anymore.
Randy: They also don’t require you to go to their office to get on-boarded anymore, and when I first started in 2013, you had to send them pictures of your vehicle, you had to do an online video thing, you had to take a test, you had to watch these online videos, you had to take a quiz, and you had to get a certain number right or you had to do it again. And then you had to go to the office hours and you had to speak to somebody in person and sign some documents on an iPad. Apparently none of that happens anymore.
Randy: So that’s another change and that leads me to the next change: they don’t even need to see your vehicle anymore and I’ve noticed, in some of my Uber rides I take out here, some of the cars…I’m just surprised, I’m really shocked as to the low quality of some of the vehicles that are driving around out here. Some of them are damaged on the outside, some of them have pretty bad damage on the inside.
Randy: And that’s not something I ever used to see back in the day.
Harry: Yeah, it’s definitely kind of interesting, you know, because you’ve been around for so long so you’ve seen some pretty big changes. And I guess a lot of what you’re talking about, though, you’ve been able to sort of persist and I know that you still drive for Uber and obviously you do your channel and everything. I mean what do you think has been your secret to kind of sticking it out with Uber? Do you think it’s anything in particular?
Randy: Yeah, it’s surge pricing. That’s the secret for me. And unfortunately I understand that not all markets have surge pricing and in a lot of markets, it seems like surge pricing will only last like five minutes and then it’s gone.
Randy: For a lot of drivers, that’s not something that’s going to work out for them. But I’m definitely lucky that my market will…every weekend without fail we get surge pricing, usually around 4X or higher.
Randy: And it lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. So you can usually take several really good runs and make some pretty good money on the weekends out here.
Harry: There you go, so that’s a pretty good incentive to stick around.
Randy: Yeah and I’m curious to see how things are going to continue evolving as time goes on, so I want to continue to be a part of that as well. And if I’m not driving anymore, then I mean, I can’t really be UberMan, I can’t really do a YouTube channel because, you know, if I’m not driving, then I don’t know what’s really going on with drivers that are out here working every day so…
UberMan YouTube Channel
Harry: Yeah, definitely. So let’s talk a little bit about your YouTube channel because one thing that you talked about that sort of stood out in my mind is the fact that the sign-up process has changed a lot, right? When you first signed up, you were talking about quizzes and all of this other stuff and I’m thinking to myself, “Man, Uber doesn’t do any of that stuff anymore.”
Randy: Yeah, apparently not.
Harry: You could basically just get signed up and be driving, maybe in a best-case scenario, within three to five days and never meet a single person from the company.
Harry: Which is a good thing in one respect but it also is a bad thing because, as I’m sure you know, that a lot of drivers don’t have any training and they basically have no idea what they’re doing and I think it sounds like that, in effect, has sort of benefited you because I know a lot of your videos are about those types of topics, right?
Randy: Yes, yes.
Harry: Okay. So as far as, you know, your YouTube channel, you talked a little bit about when you first started it back in the day doing the tech reviews and things like that. When did you make your first Uber video? Do you happen to know? Or approximately?
Randy: You know, I don’t. I don’t know. It would have been shortly after I started with Uber in November of 2013, so I’m going to, I would guess within six months of that because I couldn’t find any information.
I was having trouble as an Uber driver in my city because we were brand-new and there was just no business. I didn’t know where to go. And I asked Uber, before I left the office, after they had me in there and sign all the paperwork and all that junk, they give me a phone, a little iPhone 4, and they send me out the door and I looked at them, I was like, “Where do I go? What do I do?” and they’re like, “Just turn on the app and go.” And I was like, “Okay.” So I went right in front of the office and I sat in my car and turned it on and nothing happened, and so I was kind of discouraged.
It took a while for the market out here to pick up and I was having issues with passengers, I was having issues with the app. When they first released it out here, the app was horrible, GPS, everything was just bad about it. So I decided, since I couldn’t really find anything on Uber, I would just start doing it myself and I wasn’t really getting paid anything for it or anything.
Randy: I just wanted to help other drivers that were going through what I was going through.
Harry: Awesome, so that’s a cool story. I mean it sounds like you probably went to Google and Googled to see how to do this Uber thing and there was no information and you said to yourself, “I might as well just create it and talk about it.” Is that sort of why you started doing the Uber videos?
Randy: Yeah, yeah. I just wanted other people that were basically thrown out there, because that’s literally how it worked when I first started, they just handed you a phone and said, “Go, drive.” And you don’t know where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to do. So I thought it’d be helpful and, in the long run, I guess I got in at a good time. It’s all timing, I guess, and some luck, some timing because it all worked out really well.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. And you know, one thing that I think a lot of people who have built successful businesses that I respect, one thing about your business that I respect is that it sort of came from a place of helping people, it sounds like. You weren’t out there to go and you weren’t making videos because you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to make $1 million or I’m going to make $10,000 or thousands of dollars off of these videos,” right? You were sort of thinking, “Hey, I’m struggling with this. I’m sure there’s other people who are struggling with this. If I make a video, maybe it’ll help someone.”
Randy: That’s exactly what it was because, when I started, I had a small subscriber base of maybe a thousand or two and they weren’t…well, I guess it was all technology, so maybe it related, maybe I gained some momentum from that, I really don’t know. But yeah, there were no referral bonuses, I didn’t have any codes that I was promoting, I just wanted to make videos so that anybody out there that was having a hard time figuring out what to do with Uber could come to my channel, watch it, and hopefully get some help.
Harry: Yeah. That’s cool. I’m curious to know, were you a big YouTube user yourself? Were you on YouTube, looking up videos? Is that kind of how you got…
Harry: …excited about making the videos?
Randy: Yeah, yeah, I watched a lot of videos and I thought I could do that so…
Harry: I think that’s definitely a good way to put it. So obviously your channel has grown a lot since that initial 1 to 2000 subscribers and probably that first video. I’ll go back and try to find your first video and I’ll post it in the show notes.
Randy: All right.
Harry: Just so people can see what your first video was like. But…
Randy: I can actually, I can do that, that’s nothing. I should have thought about that a minute ago.
Harry: We’ll see. I wanted to put you on the spot and see if you remembered or not.
Randy: Yeah. Yeah, you know, my very first video is going to be, it’s going to be bad, it’s going to be really bad because this is like probably before I even did my tech videos. I have no idea, I just hope it’s not highly inappropriate or something.
Harry: Well, that’s why it’s fun. Because when I look back at the first blog post I ever did, I think it’s pretty bad, too. So I think it’s always funny to look back three years ago and see the first thing that you did when you were first getting started and see how bad it was, sort of fun. So I’ll definitely share that in the show notes, we can figure that one out later.
Randy: All right.
Harry: But so obviously you did, I’m curious to know a little bit though about how you grew your audience because you started with that initial 1 to 2000 subscribers. Was it just posting videos consistently or just posting a video here and there and people just found them? Or did you have to go out there and tell people about these videos you were creating?
Growing the UberMan YouTube Channel
Randy: I mean it was all organic. I didn’t go out and try to spread the word to anybody. I didn’t tell anybody because as far as I was concerned the channel was really going nowhere at that point. It was just a small channel, so I didn’t promote it to people, I didn’t really talk about it. And there was absolutely no consistency with the videos at all, just like there really isn’t today either even though I’ve gone through the whole…I forget that class that YouTube had me go through with the lady that called me on the phone and walked me through a bunch of stuff.
Randy: She highly recommended that I become more consistent with my videos, but that’s…maybe someday but I’ve changed a lot of things that she recommended but that’s just one thing I don’t think I’m going to change because things that happen, in my opinion, can’t wait.
Randy: So if I have an experience or a local driver or any driver shares with me an experience with me that I feel is beneficial to other drivers, I’m not going to hold onto that information or news that comes up. I’m not going to just sit on that information because I only want to upload videos on Friday.
Randy: So, you know, I’ve never been consistent, I don’t think I ever will be.
Harry: Interesting. It sounds like you sort of want to get it out there. If you’ve got good information to share, you sort of want to get it out there as soon as possible.
Randy: Yeah, that’s the way I look at it. I don’t care if it means I’m going to lose a few views or whatever. I’ll be fine.
Harry: Interesting. So it sounds like, at the beginning, you were just sort of releasing videos sporadically and, I mean, it sounds like… Were there other people doing Uber videos or were you one of the first people doing Uber videos on YouTube?
Randy: If there were other people doing YouTube videos, I didn’t know about them. That’s the first place I looked was YouTube and I didn’t find anything. There was a guy, can’t remember his name, I think his name’s Alex or…I honestly don’t remember. There was a guy that got into an argument with one of my viewers and said that he had the first YouTube channel out in California, but I don’t know, I don’t care if he was the first or not, it’s not worth fighting over.
Randy: My channel’s bigger than his and that’s what matters. Just kidding, just kidding. We’re all here to help other people out and hopefully make a little money in the process.
Harry: Yeah, it’s a cool story though because I think one of the challenges that a lot of people that create content face is that they write something, they put it out on a blog or something like that and then nobody reads it, right?
Randy: Yeah, yeah.
Harry: And typically promoting yourself or marketing yourself is a tough thing to do but it’s sort of necessary when there’s a lot of competition. It sounds like you got into a really good space at a really good time because you went yourself, YouTubed I guess, what do you call it when you look something up on YouTube, YouTubed?
Randy: I YouTubed it. Just like Ubered and Pokemoned and everything else.
Harry: You YouTubed it, didn’t find anything, and imagine, if you were YouTubing it, how many other people are doing that. So it sounds like, organically, since you were really one of the first ones doing it, you probably gained a lot of subscribers that way.
Randy: That’s what I think, I think that I really got lucky. I mean I got into Uber at an opportune time, at the best time. I mean there’s no better time to join Uber than when they’re brand-new in a market. Rates are going to be better. And after a while, I don’t know, maybe a year or so after having my YouTube channel up, I started seeing comments from drivers. And I was showing off the surge pricing and explaining what it is, how it works, and drivers get really, really upset about it. They’re like, “Well, don’t expect it to last. Surge pricing will be gone before you know it.” Well, they were wrong. I mean maybe, I don’t know, apparently I’m just really lucky because I live in a market that, even though the rates suck, we still have amazing surge pricing that makes it worth the driving. I just happened to get into YouTube at a perfect time, you know. It’s like the perfect storm. Everything just came together at the right time, so…
Harry: That’s great. I like to say that it pays to be lucky but it also pays to be good. So when you can kind of combine the two, that’s when you typically are going to see some good results. And obviously you’ve grown your channel a lot, and so it’s good to get a little bit of a behind-the-scenes look at how you did it at the start. And so you didn’t have a ton of consistency but you did…you were helping people.
One other thing though that I think a lot of people struggle with is sort of taking that first step, whether it’s signing up with Uber or even making that first video on YouTube. And you talked about the best time to do it is when it’s new, when it’s brand-new, right?
Harry: But obviously not everyone has the right mindset because there might be challenges, they have to figure these things out. Do you think you’re just that type of person where, if you see something new and exciting and cool, you’re up for figuring it out yourself if there’s no information already out there?
Randy: Yeah, that’s me. I’m a problem-solver by nature, always have been since I was…well, since as far back as I can remember, I was picking up electronics that stopped working. I could take them apart and fix them, you know? With no knowledge of how any of this works. Same thing with cars. I’m an ace as a mechanic and I didn’t really get any training or anything, I just learned. And that’s what I do. I’m especially good with technology, so I love a challenge.
Harry: That’s cool and I mean obviously it’s something that you’re very passionate about too. I think, for a lot of people, they sort of see the risk as they’re wasting a lot of time or they’re wasting a lot of energy but I guess if it’s something you’re passionate about maybe that’s not the best way to look at it.
Randy: Yeah, yeah. I mean if it’s something you’re passionate about, then it really shouldn’t matter. I don’t look at it as a waste of time or energy anyway, even if my YouTube channel had flopped, because at least I went out there and tried, you know?
Harry: Yeah, yeah. That’s sort of what I’m getting at, like taking that first step of you going out, signing up for Uber, you going out and creating that YouTube channel. What’s the worst that could happen, right?
Randy: Yeah, I mean the worst that can happen is you’re going to become successful and you’re going to have to deal with a whole bunch of really crappy people. That’s the worst. Anything else, what? Your YouTube channels going to flop and you’re not going to get any subscribers? I mean who cares? At least you went out and did it, you know?
Harry: Well, that’s a good transition to the next topic I want to talk about. Because obviously we’ve sort of highlighted the positives so far, you growing your channel and doing all this cool stuff, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But since you brought it up, I mean, what are some of the down sides? I mean you have a channel, you’re up to tens of thousands of subscribers now, and what are some of the down sides that come along with that? I mean I’m sure people expect a lot out of you now, right?
Downsides of Running a YouTube Channel
Randy: You know, a lot of people don’t understand. I get a lot of comments, I get a lot of private messages because I have the YouTube channel, I have several Facebook groups, and all of this is designed to help people, you know? Because not everybody uses YouTube and not everybody uses Facebook, so I wanted to make sure I had enough content out there that people could find it if they needed it, and that will be my downfall. I get so many messages and comments and there’s so many drivers out there and it’s good to know that I’m still helping because I get a lot of comments letting me know that, “This video helped and this video helped, thank you so much for helping,” and that’s great.
But there’s a lot of people out there that are just really crappy people. I mean some of them are just downright hateful. Some people have said they hoped I would die and I’ve even had people when I’ve done some videos of my children or us out somewhere telling me that my, well, they’ve said some horrible things about my children too and they don’t know me and they don’t know my children. And when that kind of stuff first started happening, it’s a really awkward feeling. I even got a letter in the mail once.
Randy: Which, the address was wrong on the envelope, but they were real close. They got it and the post man knows who I am, so… And it was a video that I did and they said that I need to take responsibility and it was something that I didn’t even do. But they were like, “You need to take responsibility for this and you need to do a video,” and I’m just like…it can be scary. And that makes me wonder how people that have millions of subscribers, how they deal with it.
But that’s the biggest drawback for me when it comes to the hate, I call them haters, and really they’re just people with a difference of opinion. And that’s fine, I can respect that, I can agree to disagree. But when you come at me and just tell me that I’m dead wrong and there’s just no way, well, that’s not always true. There’s two sides to every story and two people can be right even if they don’t see that or understand it. I’m a pretty open-minded person, I try to get along with everybody but it’s difficult to deal with a lot of these haters that come on there, especially when they say threatening things to you.
Harry: Yeah. Well, I can imagine obviously you can deal with stuff on your own if they’re talking crap about you or when they start talking about your family or your kids or your girlfriend. That in my view that crosses the line but…I think YouTube has the craziest commenters out of anywhere. I’ve got content on YouTube and my blog and my podcast and all these different places and obviously everyone, you know, you get haters once you start getting a decent following and everyone handles them differently. But I will say I think YouTube has the craziest commenters. So how do you deal with that?
Randy: Used to, I responded, and that started a whole chain reaction of they comment back and then you comment and then they’re all internet warriors, every one of them. “Well, I bet you won’t come here and I’ll bust you in your mouth,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to fly 3000 miles so you can fight with me.” I don’t have time for that anymore. Unless it’s a comment that just sits wrong with me, like really, I just get a feeling about some things, I may respond to it but 99% of the time, when I see one of these crazy comments, I just ban them.
Randy: You know, I click on their name and then I go directly to their YouTube page and then I block them there and if they’ve got a Google Plus account, I block them on their Google Plus account too and then I move on.
Randy: Because I’ve got 100 other people with legitimate questions that need help to deal with. And I don’t have time for people like that.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. And it’s sort of funny because you might be helping hundreds of people but it’s that one or two comments that sort of sit poorly with you.
Harry: I had a video that I released on YouTube the other day and it got 50 up votes and then one down vote and I’m just like, “Dude, who left that down vote? Come on, man, who would do that?”
Randy: I gave away a $100 gift card and a Google Oculus and I got down votes on those too. And there was nothing, you didn’t have to send me anything. It wasn’t a thing of you’ve got to PayPal me a dollar each and I’ll pick…it was nothing, it was just free, free. And people thumbs down two videos where I’m giving away free stuff and I’m just like, “How?” Those are the real haters. Those are the real haters, right? How can you thumbs down getting something for free?
Harry: Yeah, definitely. But obviously, at the end of the day, I think a lot of people, they don’t really see this side. If you’re a user and you’re looking at someone’s channel and you sort of see all this success they’re having and how many subscribers they have and they don’t know about sort of the some of the down sides of it, so I appreciate you sharing all of it for sure.
Randy: Oh yeah. It’s a job, I mean that’s what a lot of people don’t understand is they think you just make a video on your cell phone and upload it. And there’s editing involved and you have to come up with content too. I mean, content doesn’t just happen, you have to come up with the content, you have to make the video, edit, produce it, upload it, and then you have to deal with…I’ve got 21,000 subscribers now. I’m gaining about 12 to 1300 a month.
Harry: Wow, nice.
Randy: And it takes me six to eight hours a day just to go through and answer comments on YouTube and Facebook. I mean, it’s becoming a full-time job now.
Harry: Yeah, that’s definitely a lot of work.
Harry: So talking about, I know there are a lot of people out there though that may not even realized that people are making money on YouTube. I mean, I tell people I’m a rideshare blogger and they’re like, “What the heck, you can make money with a blog?” And I say most blogs don’t but it is possible and I can only imagine, when you tell people you’re a YouTuber, that you probably get an even more polarizing response, right?
Randy: Yeah, yeah, and you know it seems to happen more when I’m driving for Uber and I’ve got a little decal on the back of my car that says UberMan on YouTube. It’s not ridiculously big because I don’t want passengers to freak out or anything. It’s just a little decal and honestly it’s more for police. My license plate also says UberMan on it, and you know, I used to have, I’ve had some bad encounters with the police and it seems, with the decal on the back and you know that I’m on YouTube, then police almost just automatically assume that they’re going to be recorded.
Harry: Oh, interesting.
Randy: So it seems like my experience has gone up and I get pulled over less. I’ve got a license plate on the front with the old Uber decal on it that lights…well it doesn’t light up, it’s reflective like the side of a police car. So when headlights hit it, you can clearly see it’s an Uber car. And since I drive the bar rush, I call it the drunk rush, when cops are always looking for drunk drivers, so when they see a license plate that says UberMan or they see an Uber decal on a car, it seems like they really don’t bother me because they can pretty much safely assume I’m not intoxicated.
Harry: Got you. Okay, cool. Well, one thing you mentioned, though, about…it seems like you’re spending a lot of time responding to comments and doing all the Facebook things and things like that but obviously at the end of the day your main, I guess, you would call it job, is creating these videos, right? So how do you come up with the topics for your videos? Because I know there are a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs out there, especially in my audience, people who maybe want to YouTube about their experiences with whatever topics, so how are you coming up with your topics?
Developing Topics for YouTube
Randy: There’s a couple ways I do it. It’s either when I’m out driving and something happens that I haven’t done a video on yet, which is becoming more and more rare, then I’ll make a video about that. People always love to hear drama, people love drama, so if something like that happens, then I’ll just come home and do a video on it or I’ll do it while I’m in the car. Otherwise…
Harry: What would be an example of something happening that you’d make a video about?
Randy: Oh, you know, people would just love a video of somebody getting sick in my car.
Harry: Got you.
Randy: Or someone damaging my car. I mean, people love drama. Someone that threatens me. I’ve done videos on people that have inappropriately touched me while I was driving, you know, people really love that stuff.
Harry: I might have to watch that video, yeah, that does sound pretty good. And when you’re saying video you’re not talking about actual footage of it going down…
Harry: …but you kind of recapping it afterwards?
Randy: Yes, and that’s something that people really need to understand because I actually just got done watching some videos from an Uber driver that records his passengers and then he posts them on YouTube. And he had some good videos, he had some good content but Uber does not tolerate that, Uber will deactivate you in a heartbeat, and in most cases, you won’t be reactivated. It’s okay to record your passengers as long as it’s legal in your state.
Randy: But you cannot post them on a public group, on a social media site. They find out about that, you’re done.
Harry: Yeah, that makes sense too. I know if I was a passenger I wouldn’t want someone recording me and then putting it on the internet.
Randy: Yeah, yeah, that’s not okay and seems that there’s more and more people coming up with this great idea and what they don’t understand is that they’re not going to have Uber anymore to make these videos.
Harry: Yeah. Okay. So you said the first way that you sort of come up with your topics is from things that are happening out on the roads. Is there a second way or a third way?
Randy: Yeah, yeah. I watch for trends. I mean, my Facebook group is a great place for people to connect and I like to, I don’t comment so much on things anymore. The group is kind of taking care of itself now. We’ve got a few administrators that make sure that inappropriate content stays away and we have to approve every post and that really helps keep the B.S. down on the page.
But I will go there regularly and read through people’s issues, people’s problems, and if I see a trend or a pattern of multiple people are having a similar issue and they can’t figure it out, then assuming I already have the answer for it, I’ll do a video on it to try to help everybody at the same time. It’s much easier for me to address concerns from multiple people by doing one video and then just letting them all see it rather than trying to answer each individual person’s questions about the same problem. So it’s really, I just pay attention. And news obviously. You can Google, just Google Uber and if you see something that looks like it’s going to be a good video, just do a video about it, put it on your channel.
Harry: Yeah, no, actually I really like that idea of sort of seeing, kind of curating what questions are being asked the most because it would take a lot of time, I mean your 6 to 8 hours might turn into 12 to 16 hours if you’re responding to each Facebook comment individually saying, “Okay, here’s the situation,” and you’re probably just going to be answering the same questions over and over. Have you found that most of the questions being asked, you know, they sort of fall into just a few different categories and that sort of works out well for your videos?
Randy: No, not so much.
Randy: That’s why I’ve got so many videos. I’ve got I think I’ve got over 700 videos now. And now, the thing is, though, some of the videos, as they age, they seem to lose popularity. Or they don’t show up in searches, I don’t know what it is. But some of the videos, I’ve had to do them three or four times on the same subject.
I get a lot of people saying, “Hey, you need to do a video about this, you need to do a video about that,” but I mean the subject range is vast. People have trouble signing up, people have trouble with the apps. I’ve had people ask me if I can help them get their car registered on the Uber platform and I’m just like…I guess a lot of people don’t understand I am not Uber. I’ve had people tell me, “You should be ashamed, your company is horrible, and you’re evil,” and I’m just like, “I’m not Uber, I’m just a guy that does YouTube videos on Uber.”
Randy: But the content varies a lot, it really does.
Harry: Yeah, and you do have a really popular Facebook group, which I believe, what’s it called? UberMan Driver Network, is that the current name?
Randy: Yes, yes.
Harry: I’m a member and we’ll leave a link in the show notes, so anyone who’s listening can join up there and see what kind of questions are being asked. So I was curious, though, what is your, because you’ve done 700 videos, wow, that’s about…a lot more than I’ve done. What’s been your most popular video to date?
Randy: The most popular video is actually a more recent one, I was kind of surprised. And you know, this is one that I don’t know where the idea came from. I guess it was because I got so many questions about the sign-up process, so I did a video to the best of my ability to explain how to do Uber. “A to Z, ” I think the video was called.
Harry: Okay, yeah, I saw that one. I think it was “A to Z Uber,” kind of walk-through or something like that.
Randy: Yeah, yeah, it was basically everything that you should need to know to sign up, get started, and take your first trip. So that has become the most popular video and I was really surprised about that because I had another video, I don’t remember what it was but it has been number one forever and this video very recently took it over, so…
Harry: Wow, awesome.
Randy: Apparently it’s a good video and I’ve gotten a lot of positive commentary back on it. It’s helped a lot of people, and at the end of the day, that’s what makes me happy. Knowing that I’m still able to produce videos and help people because that’s what this whole thing started with.
Randy: And as long as it’s continuing that trend, I’m happy.
Harry: Yeah. I mean is this your full-time job now? Being a YouTube blogger?
Randy: Yes. Yes. Uber used to be full-time, but again, back then rates were $2.25 a mile, so YouTube is now full-time and Uber is part-time on the weekends or during a big event or something. If I’m not busy, I love to go out there and take runs, I love driving people around.
I enjoy it, I mean some people hate doing Uber but I still really enjoy it. And I think as long as you’re not working 60 hours a week. Uber has always been fun for me, and I think a lot of people enjoy doing Uber and then they decide they’re going to quit their job and go full-time and then they hate Uber because any time you take something that’s fun and you turn it into your job or your career, when you’re spending 40 to 60 hours a week working on it, a lot of times it becomes a job, you know. It’s no longer fun, it’s a chore.
So I think that’s another secret for me is keeping it part-time and still being able to enjoy taking people around and meeting new people and discussing what’s going on in their lives. I love telling them that I’m on YouTube because they’re always like, “What do you do other than Uber?” It’s like, “Well, I’ve got a YouTube channel.” They’re like “That’s it?” That’s it, yeah.
Harry: I’ve got a YouTube channel, it’s got 14 subscribers.
Randy: They take pictures, you know, they’re like, “Oh, you’re famous.” I’m like, “I’m far from famous, far from famous.” But you know, it’s still cool when they take pictures because they always assume you’ve got a billion subscribers or something, but it’s just a lot of fun. I have a lot of fun doing Uber part-time.
Harry: That’s cool. I mean I think if I was probably meeting a YouTube blogger for the first time, I think people would probably ask the question, “Wait, you can make money with YouTube?”
Randy: Yeah. A lot of people don’t realize that YouTube has monetization.
Randy: And that you really can make money with YouTube. I have a really small subscriber base but what I make with YouTube is almost enough to cover, well, it covers my rent entirely and one of my car payments.
Harry: Wow, wow.
Randy: So…but it’s work. You don’t just get to throw any random video. I mean sometimes I do, I’ve done some Pokemon videos lately, but that is related to Uber because drivers get bored sitting around and I figured this was a fun game to go out there and you can drive around and try to catch some pings while you’re catching Pokemon, so…
Harry: Boom, perfect. Yeah, and then of course I think there’s probably also some ancillary products and services that are related that you can kind of take advantage of as a YouTube blogger, just a blogger in general too, right?
Randy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry. My allergies are killing me today.
Harry: No worries, I’m going to leave this in, I’m not going to edit it out, so don’t worry.
Randy: Okay, great. I get contacted by a lot of people, I’m sure you do too. A lot of people contact me and they want to sell their products and everybody is offering a discount, you know, “We’re asking 29.99, but for your subscribers, we’ll make it 19.99 and then on top of that we’ll give you 10% commission for selling them.” And that’s all well and good and that’s fun and everything. I think what I enjoy though actually, they think I’m just going to promote their product without ever looking at it. It doesn’t work that way because I need to make sure this isn’t something that’s going to blow up or it’s going to break or catch on fire or something like that, so…
Harry: Give it a thorough, honest review.
Randy: Yeah, I make them send it to me first and then I’ll check it out. People get upset because I sell stuff on YouTube or my online store but there’s really not that much. Because out of the stuff I get sent, I don’t promote the majority of it.
Harry: Interesting, cool. Well, I’ve just got a couple more quick questions for you and I’m just curious, what are your plans going forward for the future? You’re a full-time YouTube blogger, you’re doing Uber, you think in the kind of near to immediate future keep doing the same stuff or do you have other plans?
Plans for the Future
Randy: For now I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working, it’s working well. My YouTube channel’s growing.
Harry: Right on.
Randy: Yeah, the only thing I can see changing in the future is I may actually have to hire somebody to help with the comments. But they’re going to have to be somebody experienced, you know, it’s going to have to be somebody that’s in the industry and understands it.
Harry: Well, maybe if we have an aspiring entrepreneur listening out there, they’ll take this opportunity to figure out a way to give you a really good pitch and make it a no-brainer to hire them.
Randy: Yeah, that would be great.
Harry: That’s what I’d hope for my audience at least, that they wouldn’t just email you and say hire me, they’d make it so you couldn’t say no, I know that’s what I would do if I was trying to get hired by UberMan.
Randy: Yeah, let me know that you know the industry, that’s my biggest concern with hiring somebody to help is that, I mean…
Harry: And also that they understand you, too, that they understand sort of your philosophy.
Harry: And how you do things, right? Because that’s probably most important to your business.
Randy: Yeah. Because my YouTube channel, I mean, it’s me in a sense. It has its own characteristic and it comes through on the videos, but it also comes through in the comments. So you can’t be too nice and you can’t hate everybody either, there’s a balance you’ve got to have.
Harry: Yeah. So last question, what would be your number one tip, your number one piece of advice to an aspiring YouTube blogger? Someone who wanted to be UberMan, the UberMan of rideshare or a different industry or just grow their YouTube following? Because that’s obviously your specialty. So I’m curious to know, if you could boil it down to one like actionable piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Randy: You need to find something that is trending at the time and hopefully something that will continue trending. I mean content is really everything.
Randy: Because it is the content that got me where I am and if I had tried doing the same thing about, I don’t know, clothing or something, maybe it wouldn’t have taken off. You’ve got to have content that is hot, that people are wanting to see videos about. And it definitely helps…you know what, people don’t even care about video quality so much. I had a green screen set up, I went all out on it, and none of that matters. People are just fine with you doing vlogs on a cell phone. So I wouldn’t worry too much about your equipment or your surroundings, just make good content. And try to get to the point.
Randy: I think that’s a big thing that I had to learn over time, some of my older videos are 10, 15 minutes long, a lot of my newer videos are between two and five minutes.
Randy: That’s something that my subscribers complained about for a long time is, “Would you get to the point?” So cut out all the b.s. if you can and just get to the point of the video, get it done and over with so that they can move on to watching another one of your videos.
Harry: Boom, I love that, great advice and sounds like content is king.
Randy: Yes, yes absolutely, you can’t, I mean you can’t go take videos of traffic and post them on YouTube and hope to get a bunch of views from it because it’s just not going to happen.
Harry: Awesome, cool, well, I appreciate you coming on and if people want to get in contact with you, we’ll leave links to your Facebook group, to your YouTube channel and maybe a couple of the videos we talked about during the podcast. What’s the best way if they want to get a hold of you?
Randy: If they want to get a hold of me, email me at, well, leave a link because it’s [email protected] is the email that I use for business, it’s an old business account from a previous company that I had. I just continue using it, and by the way, real quick, the very first video that I ever did, I was bragging about my 1993 Ford Taurus SHO with a system bumping in the back and that was March 24th, 2008.
Harry: Boom, that is a long time, I think I was still in, oh no, I was going to say I was still in high school, but no, I think I was in college during that time, so you’re not that old I guess.
Randy: I’m 36, I’m 36, yeah looking at some of those older videos is just…wow.
Harry: We’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. Randy UberMan, thanks for coming on and great chatting with you.
Randy: All right, thank you, Harry, have a good one.
Harry: All right, thank you to Randy UberMan Shear for coming on the podcast and sharing his story. Definitely quite a few things stood out to me and I’ll keep it brief since that was sort of a long interview. And if you guys have made it all the way to the end, you definitely deserve a little pat on the back. But I thought it was cool to kind of see Randy’s humble beginnings, sort of starting off as a little bit of a YouTube tech blogger, just doing a few tech videos on stuff that he was passionate and stuff that he was interested in. And I mean it sort of paralleled my story in a sense that I really started my blog because I wanted to help people. I had this experience that, hey, I’m struggling with this and if I’m struggling with this, I’m sure that other people are.
And so I think I really enjoy interviewing people who end up creating businesses or full-time lines of work where a lot of that is based off just helping people. And obviously UberMan does a lot more than that, he’s creating videos and probably replying to emails. And maybe not everything that he does directly helps someone, but that’s really kind of at the core of his business is that he enjoys helping people.
And to be honest, running a business or doing anything where you’re helping someone, like individual driver, feels really good, right? If you’re working a job where you’re kind of just dealing with rich clients or rich people all the time and those are the people that you’re helping, it’s nowhere near as rewarding and I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s not near as rewarding as helping someone who maybe isn’t as fortunate or someone who just needs the help. And you definitely encounter a lot of that, so it was cool that UberMan shared a lot of that and even the downside too, right? A lot of people might see that Randy has 21,000 subscribers and think life is great, but they don’t know kind of the crap that he has to put up with when it comes to people chastising him over this and chastising him over that and sending letters to his house and leaving comments about his children, that’s sort of the stuff that sucks and doesn’t get talked about a lot, so I’m really thankful to Randy for sharing that so we can sort of take a look behind the curtain and actually see what it’s like.
And we’ll leave links in the show notes to a lot of the videos we talked about but definitely cool story. And if you guys are out there, I know that a lot of people have thought about maybe doing videos or just looking to these alternative forms of producing content, whether it’s videos or articles, or podcasts or anything like that, so it’s definitely cool to hear Randy’s story, see what he’s been up to and hopefully you guys enjoyed it.
With that, I just want to say thanks for listening, and like I mentioned in the beginning, this podcast was brought to you by Xero, it’s spelled X-E-R-O and it’s a beautiful cloud accounting software. Their new app Xero TaxTouch is a freelancer’s best friend, so no matter where you are, you can capture and categorize all your expenses with a single swipe, gather everything you need for taxes and filing that schedule C, and basically turning your phone into a tax prep without the surprises beast. So make sure you save time, you’ll thank yourself come tax season, download a free trial of Xero Tax Touch today. You can do that at therideshareguy.com/xero, X-E-R-O, make sure you check out the show notes too, therideshareguy.com/episode43. You can also subscribe to our email list, get notified of new articles, new podcasts, new videos, and of course, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks for listening and stay safe out there.
This is a transcript of Episode 43: Randy Shear on Becoming The Youtube Blogger UberMan (Transcript) You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here. You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.