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The MrBeast Success Story: From 0 to 48.7 Billion Views

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MrBeast Success Story From 0 to 48.7 Billion Views
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These days, it’s not that shocking to consider becoming a content creator a viable career path–especially on YouTube, which can easily be monetized. This is in part thanks to the content creators who came before us, paving the way and proving that this dream could, in fact, become reality.

One such pioneer was unassuming Jimmy Donaldson, nowadays better known as MrBeast. By analyzing the MrBeast success story, YouTube creators and entrepreneurs alike can take notes on his content strategy, public relations, business acumen, and even philanthropy.

The Origins of MrBeast

Originally hailing from North Carolina, Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson was once a self-described “introvert” who moved from state to state as his mother pursued a military career. While he wasn’t very interested in academics, he did have a few passions in life: sports, legos, and ultimately, YouTube, when it went live back in 2005.

Before he was “MrBeast,” Jimmy Donaldson and a friend hopped on the emerging YouTube trend, posting reaction videos and content featuring the two of them playing video games.

However, everything changed when young Jimmy (then 14) witnessed a creator in his feed quit his “real job” to become a full-time YouTube creator. From there, the goal ahead became clear–and the passion to pursue a video creation career was unleashed.

Challenges Faced

Like most YouTubers starting “from scratch,” MrBeast didn’t have access to the highest quality equipment in his first several videos. In fact, he worked with what he had, leveraging a second-hand laptop and a borrowed microphone as he left home for college.

He didn’t know much at all about production quality, SEO, video angles, thumbnails, how to curate high-performing or “viral” content, or any such pillars of success we now associate with a high-performing YouTube channel.

What’s more, his mother was considerably nervous about his passion for the platform. She didn’t understand the value of the work he was putting in and urged him to study and get a comfortable 9 to 5–what she saw as a more guaranteed path to “success.” However, when Jimmy dropped out of college to pursue his content creation journey, she realized that her son was on his own trail.

Especially in the early days of the internet, there wasn’t as much by way of strategy for creating a successful YouTube channel. In this sense, MrBeast started out by posting regular content, assessing–through trial and error–which videos seemed to be drawing in a larger crowd and which were underperforming.

When he quit pursuing his college degree, he was able to devote more time to studying YouTube’s innermost workings and algorithm. Together with his friend, they researched, shared ideas, and experimented with content ideas and strategies, gathering more and more followers all the while.

The Turning Point to Success 🏆

MrBeast first hit the scene in a significant way with his video content poking fun at other creators with the “worst intros,” and began to see even more success through bizarre antics–such as watching paint dry, or his first viral video of himself counting up to 100,000 (which, after editing, was still 24 hours long).

With this newfound confidence, he found himself a platform on which he could practically demand engagement, as seen in the example of his video “Make This Video the Most Liked Video on YouTube,” which today has over 30 million likes.

With his success came sponsorships…and with that money came even more views. MrBeast continued his signature content style of zany, somewhat silly, and clearly goal-driven content creation. With the $10,000 granted from his first sponsorship, he filmed himself giving the money away to a homeless man he met on the street and uploaded it to YouTube.

This became a successful content model for him, and, as more money poured in, MrBeast found new ways to surprise his audience (and those with whom he shot his videos) with unprecedented philanthropic acts.

MrBeast Now

Suffice it to say, today, MrBeast has a much higher production value, a significantly increased budget (to the degree that he regularly gives away tens of thousands of dollars), and a list of philanthropic acts he’s funded. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Digging 100,000 freshwater wells in Africa
  • Planting 20,000,000 trees after raising $20,000,000
  • Pulling 30,000,000 pounds of garbage from the ocean

While these acts of generosity are unequivocally good things to do for the planet, MrBeast has also been a little bit more direct with his offerings, including, but not limited to:

  • Tipping waitstaff, delivery staff, and Uber drivers $10,000
  • Offering a homeless man a home
  • Buying out the groceries at a grocery store and distributing the wares amongst the shoppers
  • Opening a restaurant providing free food
  • Buying a car lot and giving all the cars away for free

It’s no wonder MrBeast is now known as “YouTube’s biggest philanthropist.” With a whopping 258 million subscribers and more total video views than there are people on the planet, his “zero to viral” status is something to draw inspiration from–whether you’re just starting out on your YouTube journey or are simply looking for fresh inspiration.


Clearly, you don’t have to come from money or influence to make it big on YouTube. One of the most wonderful characteristics of this online space is that, as long as you have access to internet  and a capable device like a smartphone or tablet, it is something of an equalizer in terms of class and financial background.

Burgeoning YouTubers should take heart that, while it pays to implement some strategy, based on the MrBeast success story, it’s equally important to remember to have a little bit of fun when you’re filming, too.

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