October 15, 2020
Today’s guest is pretty much the coolest dude on the entire planet. If you’re an adventurer at heart and want to make money while having the freedom to travel the world, keep listening. Today we got to chat with Dylan Magaster, a travel YouTuber who owns the production company FLORB sharing stories of alternative living with over 632k subscribers and growing. He also recently started a second Youtube channel named after himself, Dylan Magaster, where he shares more travel, lifestyle, and philosophy videos.
Dylan flew to South America at the age of 21 with only $1,000 in the bank and his camera gear. He backpacked for 6 months, converted a van, and began creating influential short documentaries showcasing Alternative Living. After nearly two years in a van, Dylan decided to move to the Mediterranean in pursuit of adventure. With only 7 days of sailing experience, he bought a 1979 Morgan 382 sailing boat and has since been living aboard The Arianrhod. Currently, he has sailed over 6,000 nautical miles to 3 different continents. He has traveled to 27 countries thus far while sharing countless inspiring stories of Alternative Living.
Dylan’s main passions are Adventure, Storytelling, and Sustainable Living. Now, he is the CEO of FLORB, a successful film production company based in Los Angeles, California, USA
We chatted with Dylan all about how he got started traveling, how he started and grew his Youtube career, how his production company FLORB came about, what it’s like living on a boat in the Mediterranean while also being the CEO of a pretty large production company, and how to create a life you’re passionate about. There’s LOTS of goodness to unpack in today’s show. Basically, today we’re talking to a real life traveling pirate business man. He’s the coolest. Dylan is living a life that a lot of people dream about attaining one day, and we hope his story inspires the heck out of you. It certainly did us.
Dylan grew up in Kansas City and lived there all the way through high school. He started community college and ended up dropping out to pursue Youtube as a career. When he started his channel, he knew that he wanted to make it his job, but he also wanted to travel. He wanted to travel long term but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. He looked at different blogs and resources online on how to travel longterm and make a living out of it. He came across a few different blogs about travel hacking and how to use credit cards to work in your favor. When Dylan bought his first camera, he put it on credit to get the points and paid it off immediately. He then began to travel and make Youtube videos.
He flew to South America for $17 by travel hacking a plane flight to Paraguay from Kansas. He traveled for three months with a backpack before flying back to New York City and traveling around New England for three months.
Dylan bought a van to convert and lived in that for two years. He traveled around North Ameria and drove all the way down to Cabo. From there, he decided he wanted to expand his living space a bit more. He decided to move to the Mediterranean and buy a sailboat. He made this decision in November, and by May 6 he had bought his boat in Barcelona and they began sailing on Mail 11.
Their maiden voyage was 111 miles to Mallorca, which was about a 28-hour sail. For the past two years he has been sailing around the Mediterranean living on his sailboat and spending some time on land, when it’s called for.
When he made the decision, he just started to tell people that he was doing it! He figured if he told enough people, it would force him to do it! Sure enough, it worked!
When Dylan started Youtube, he was working in a country club kitchen training to become a chef. He decided that he wasn’t too excited about working in a commercial kitchen. He learned that people were making careers off of Youtube and knew it was what he wanted to do. It was the path that would allow Dylan to have the most flexibility and freedom to allow him to create the life he wanted to live.
He bought a camera and went through multiple different channels. He did bad sketch comedy videos as well as challenge videos. All of the old school Youtube stuff, Dylan did!
Dylan knew he wanted to travel, but he wasn’t making money with Youtube. He figured if he was going to start traveling and make Youtube content, he needed to figure out what content to make. It limits the style of content you can make while you are in the midst of traveling. Dylan Googled “travel Youtubers” and it popped up with Fun for Louie, Ben Brown, and a few others who were the OG travel Youtubers. Dylan figured that if they could do it, so could he.
That is when he flew to South America and began to make travel content. Turns out it was a lot harder than he thought it would be. He shifted away from making travel content when he was in New England. He filmed short documentaries on Alternative Living. Some of the first documentaries he filmed were about a cabin, a treehouse, and a tiny house. This was the initial birth of FLORB.
FLORB didn’t have a name yet, but this was the start of the style of content that led to the production company. FLORB is a contraction of the words “floating” and “orb” because we live on a floating orb and that is crazy!
Dylan worked on these documentaries for about 5 months before they because semi profitable. It was another year and a half before it became an actual company.
At the moment, FLORB is responsible for two kinds of content on two different Youtube channels. One is FLORB and the other is Dylan Magaster. Under FLORB they make short documentaries on alternative styles living such as tiny houses, van dwellings, tree houses, and anything that is not the traditional dwelling unit. They are slowly expanding into other types of eco-projects such as a feature on the Eden Project based in Cornwall, England. The Eden Project built two big biodomes where they took an old clay mining pit and built a rainforest in it. It was definitely a favorite project to film! FLORB’s main focus is short documentaries that are a tour of something.
On Dylan Magaster they make short videos more focused on travel and philosophy of life. On FLORB they have experimented with a few travel series but decided it was better to create a separate channel so that the viewers can get exactly what they want. They make short videos that encompass what it means to travel. Rather than just showing how they went from point A to point B and this is what happened, they show the adventure along the way as well as the lessons learned and how it changed Dylan as a person. These videos are a bit more in-depth into the actual experience of travel rather than a documentation of what physically happened.
The channel also acts as a place where they can experiment as artists and try things. They can create videos that they want to make on Dylan Magaster and see what the viewers think, whereas FLORB is a bit more structured.
When it comes to building a Youtube channel, it is really difficult. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is easy. It’s normally some type of slow growth and burn. Ideally, you will end up in an exponential situation where your growth speeds up.
If you are trying to grow a channel, you have to be committed to it. You need to know that this is what you are doing and you are going to get it to “x”, whatever that is for you. In order to do that, you have to be very honest with yourself and the content that you are making.
As a creator, you spend so much time, energy, and effort into something that you make. There is so much value in it to you because you have put all the effort into it, but you have to be really honest and objective about what the value is that you are providing to the viewer. If you are not providing them with value, there is no reason that they should watch it. We are all trying to people’s attention on Youtube. Attention is the currency of Youtube. Understand that people’s attention is incredibly valuable.
On FLORB, the channel has lived longer than Dylan has lived and will ever live. Some of the videos have hundreds of years worth of minutes watched. In order to do this, it has to actually provide value to people. The last thing you want to do is waste all of that time. Be really honest with yourself. Dylan always comes back to the question, “What value am I providing to the viewer?” Figure this out for yourself. Is it instructional, entertainment, philosophy, or artistic value? You have to be really critical and harsh of yourself to determine whether or not that is actually there.
Numbers are not motivating to Dylan. It does nothing. But, when someone says that they saw his video and how it affected them, that is what is motivating.
With Youtube, there is a bit of a disconnect. You can see the comments, but it’s harder to connect. You have to figure out how to manage it and know that x amount of people are watching your videos and finding value, but it is just showing up as a number on a screen. Understand that there is a person behind that number because it is easy to get used to seeing numbers over and over again. Knowing that you are providing value to people is very motivating.
If you are not adapting to the current situation and you aren’t willing to adapt, it’s not going to grow. Be responsive and understand what is going on in your space, in your niche, and with your people. Then, figure out how you can contribute.
When Dylan first started, it was just him for multiple years. Occasionally he would work with mangers and agencies, but before being on the boat he didn’t have a team that was in the content creating business. Now, there are three people that work full time with the company and they have a few independent contractors that work and they are looking to still expand and grow.
Dylan doesn’t edit and shoot everything. The independent contractors will film and then Dylan’s team will edit. Sitara, on Dylan’s team, does a lot of the managerial type of tasks to help run the business.
It’s a lot of work for the three of them, but they manage it and are looking to expand.
Practically, they take trips and do a ton of filming, then come back and go into the editing. When it comes to the travel videos, they film as they go. They try to do most of their editing on anchor.
There are multiple ways you can make money from Youtube. The one most people participate in is Youtube Monetization which is built into the platform. When you upload your content you hit the button saying that your content is safe for monetization. Youtube pays you based on ad impressions and they source all of the advertisers.
There are ways to make money like Patreon, selling merchandise or a service, and working with brands independently to build ads into your videos. It is usually a form of advertising, crowdfunding, or selling something.
It’s practically the modern day gold rush.
When Dylan landed on the short documentaries on Alternative Living, he landed on it out of happenstance. But, he also landed on this because when he was in high school he was obsessed with tiny houses.
When it came to making the short documentaries, he knew he loved the concept of not living in standard housing but he also loved the filming and editing.
He moved into the van out of necessity more than desire. He wanted to keep traveling and didn’t want to live out of his backpack, but he knew he was broke and needed a van.
Dylan eventually knew he needed more space, still wanted to travel, and wanted more adventure so he bought the boat.
The way Dylan looks to build his life is in terms of skill acquisition. What are the skills that he wants to be equipped with for his life? He thinks about this very specifically as a career and also practically.
When it comes to living a life that you are passionate about and pursuing your passions, you have to have some sort of strategy. You are not just going to get there by just running around. You have to know where you want to go and develop some sort of plan. For Dylan, that plan was to build a Youtube company because that would allow him the freedom and adaptability to create the life he wanted. You need to figure out how to provide the freedom for yourself for whatever it is that you want to do. Do you need to start a side hustle? Quit your job? Start a hobby? Move? What is it that you need to do and what is the proper strategy. Once you figure this out you have to execute it and do it in a realistic time frame. It’s not going to happen overnight. Everything takes time and is difficult. Once you have your strategy planned, start working towards it. When you make progress towards it you will feel good!
Develop the strategy and figure out the system in which it is going to get you there. As you move towards your goal be honest and objective with your progress. Then figure out how to adjust your plan as you are moving to get where you want to go.
There is a quote that is “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” If you aren’t prepared, it doesn’t matter what is coming your way. If anyone is lucky it’s just because they seized an opportunity. It’s rare that something amazing just falls into someone’s lap. There is so much preparation that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see.
Delegation. Even if Dylan is doing something for the team that is going to result in the best job, it doesn’t mean that he should be doing it. You have to figure out what your time is worth and what you should actually be focusing on. The whole concept of competitive advantage is counterintuitive but it is really helpful. You have to learn how to delegate and let go of some of the things that you hold on to and micromanage. Allow there to be some flaws. If you are wanting to do anything large and substantial, you need a team, and if you need a team you need to be able to direct them and delegate your responsibilities.
The biggest lesson Dylan has learned from travel is to slow down. Growing up, he always felt like he was behind in life. While yes you need to be motivated and productive, you shouldn’t rush. Rushing leads to mistakes and unhappiness. If you are rushing through life you aren’t going to enjoy it. It’s important to slow down so that you can get everything done properly. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
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