Four Canadian digital creators running thriving,
sustainable businesses on YouTube
In a world of rapid digital transformation, YouTube has emerged as an unrivalled catalyst for Canada’s flourishing creator economy. The video-sharing platform has catapulted the careers of musicians and scientists alike, providing them with an outlet for storytelling and community building–two essential pillars within every successful business centred around creativity.
Research from Oxford Economics shows that YouTube’s creator ecosystem directly contributed more than $2.0 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2022. As YouTube continues to cement itself as an economic generator in the country, it also proves to be an accessible entry point for Canadian creators across the country to amass an audience, build content businesses and simultaneously shape the country’s cultural fabric. Meet some of the Canadian creators shaping culture below.
From clutter to creativity
From her home in Windsor, Ontario, Cassandra has taken a simple hobby aimed at sharing her love for home organization and turned it into an expansive business venture. Today, the Clutterbug brand has four best-selling books, a podcast, an HGTV show, over 94 million YouTube video views and a growing 800,000 subscribers.
Tell us about the Clutterbug business and how you started.
When I first launched my channel, it was just a fun hobby! I was excited to share my love of home organization, but I never could have imagined it would turn into an incredible career. YouTube is the driving force for my business because it connects me to people across the globe who are also interested in home organization, decluttering and cleaning. It has allowed me to turn my passion for helping others get organized into a thriving business. The best part? People can watch my educational videos for free.
How have you been able to monetize your digital business?
YouTube offers an excellent way to monetize videos through their partnership program, but outside of that, I have been able to diversify and create additional revenue streams through books, online courses, affiliate links, sponsorships, licensing, digital sales and more. I see YouTube as the top of my sales funnel, as it consistently drives traffic to my website, which helps me grow my mailing list and my business as a whole.
A lesson in cross-cultural cuisine
Bilal is a Toronto native whose online culinary voyage has become a delectable exploration of his Pakistani heritage and a testament to his love for food. His journey, under the pseudonym GoldenGully, began as a creative outlet during the pandemic and has evolved into an inspirational story of culinary discovery and sharing the rich tapestry of Pakistani cuisine.
You’re an immigration paralegal by day, and content creator by night. How do you do it?
Growing up, food shows and the Food Network channel were my favourite things to watch. In my senior years of high school, I found myself trying to replicate Gordon Ramsay recipes and other chefs I found on YouTube. I always enjoyed cooking but never actually shared it online. Fast forward to summer 2020, I found myself having more time at home just like everyone else. I decided to record and edit my recipes on my computer, and share them online as a creative outlet. Now, I’m really focused on providing as much value to my audience and keep doing what I enjoy.
What inspires you, and how do you come up with new ideas for videos?
I knew that if I wanted this to be sustainable, I couldn’t be doing something that I didn’t like. So, I continue to make lists of potential video ideas that I believe I would enjoy making, while also engaging with all the comments and messages of my viewers to see what they would like to see. The community love for the content I’m creating is the main ingredient in GoldenGully’s success.
When Steph & Den embarked on their digital entrepreneurship journey in 2020, they had a clear vision from the very beginning. They wanted to create intentional content, and strike a delicate balance between their personal interests and topics that resonated with viewers. This strategy was rooted in financial literacy–they were experiencing significant finance milestones, from renting their first apartment to tackling student loan debt, and these were moments that many Canadians could identify with.
Tell us a little about why you started a channel, and what niche you’re in
We were going through a lot of firsts–renting our first apartment, starting our first corporate jobs, starting to invest and pay off student loan debt for the first time–and all of those things involve money! At the time, all of the personal finance YouTube channels we watched were American. We saw the gap that we could fill by bringing a Canadian perspective. Since starting our channel, we’ve gotten a lot of messages saying that we’ve given people information and ideas on how they can take action themselves from our videos. We’re empowering people.
You recently completed the CNCPT accelerator program–an incubator launched by YouTube and HXOUSE. How was that?
When you’re a creator, you’re often experimenting with different strategies to grow your channel or strengthen the engagement of your community. Sometimes that can be an isolating process. The CNCPT Accelerator provided us with a space for exchanging tangible growth strategies and reinvigorating our creative energy. It’s easy to become absorbed in perfecting content, but to sustain a thriving channel, one must also focus on the business side, ensuring a seamless and profitable operation.
Among many artists emerging out of Montreal’s vibrant music scene, Loïc Reyel demonstrates the power of song and dance to his local community and to his YouTube audience of more than one million subscribers. Reyel delivers a unique blend of short and long-form videos that captivate viewers across several countries, including Canada, the United States, and his home country, Cameroon.
Tell us about your passion for dance, and how you’re sharing your talent with the world.
Initially, I joined YouTube as a dancer. However, witnessing the growth of my fan base and recognizing the platform’s immense potential, I decided to expand my horizons beyond dance. I chose to share my secondary passion, singing. As I observed my progress as a dancer, it inspired me to commit more deeply to singing and combine my two passions.
How do you stay motivated as a digital creator?
Through consistency and creativity. I aim to consistently upload top-tier dance content, ensuring my audience remains engaged and eager for more. Furthermore, I intend to push my creative boundaries by introducing innovative concepts that may differ from my usual content. I envision enhancing my musical and artistic journey through collaborations with fellow artists and dancers on the platform.
So, what lies on the horizon? Well, as digital content creation continues to nurture Canadian culture and empower creators to expand their global audiences, it is redefining the future of Canadian media in ways that are both imaginative and diverse.
1 Founded in 1959, Second City popularized the art of long-form comedic improvisation, which thrives on a two-word ethos: “Yes, and…” Performers were encouraged to follow the lead of their fellow players, embracing the chaos as they wrote live comedy in real-time.