Peanut butter filled baths, BMXing in Canada and car drifting events are just a few things that can be found in over 300 of Adam Lizotte-Zeisler’s, also known as Adam Lz, YouTube videos.
Lz’s hobbies—driving cars and BMXing—are paying the bills and paving the way for future business students. The first spark of his career happened to Lz when he was 13 years old and hit the upload button to post his first video on YouTube.
“Now YouTube is such a popular career, it’s been blowing up a lot lately,” Lz said. “I think that’s because people now realize you can make money off it. You could be anywhere in the world and share what your passions are and make a living.”
A lot has changed for Lz since his first days online. The 21-year-old senior business major is a home and business owner.
YouTube as a business can mean something different to each content creator. Ad revenue is one way YouTubers can profit from their videos; however, some have started creating and selling merchandise tied to their channels.
YouTube wasn’t always lucrative; it started in 2005 as a simple online format to upload and share home videos for entertainment. Eleven years later, young adults like Lz are appealing to the millions of viewers who flock to the site daily.
Lz started when he was a teenager by making videos of things he likes: BMX bike riding, car videos and small clips of his life. Over a span of seven years, Lz has used these videos to develop a business and a community of over a million subscribers.
“My videos are successful because it’s what I enjoy and am passionate about,” Lz said. “I always put myself in the viewers' shoes — if I won’t like it, no one else will.”
Lz’s first endeavor into merchandising started in his bedroom. Boxes, labels and shirts scattered the room and Lz’s free time was taken up just to fill orders. Lz’s business now has a new home: a warehouse that houses six employees who work to fulfill an average of 400 orders a week.
James Harvey, Lz’s store and brand manager for his labeled merchandise LZBMX, was happy to step in and help Lz upgrade from working in a stressful bedroom to creating a full-on warehouse of operations.
“Adam has given me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do: designing BMX art and shirts,” Harvey said. “This is exactly where I saw myself and he’s given me the opportunity to do that and build the company with him. It’s been really exciting watching the store grow.”
Between Lz’s store, channel, hobbies and school, Lz said the hardest part of his life is managing time and relationships. Lz has an array of friends who make appearances in his videos and in July of this year Lz married Nicole Frye, who is in almost every video Lz produces.
Frye described YouTube as a combination of positive and negative experiences. While Frye said she is thankful for what the site has done for her and Lz, that doesn't mean there aren't downsides to being watched by millions. According to Frye, it’s hard to have a private outing with her husband without being recognized.
“People think YouTube is very simple,” Frye explained. “They don't understand how much time and effort it takes. It's very time consuming and a lot more different than what people just see.”
For Lz, finishing his degree at UCF this December will be the final step to take before diving in fully to his online career. His ties at UCF will be lasting, however, as students and teachers marvel at his career choice.
“I spoke in one of Cameron Ford’s classes to talk about what I do and how I do it,” Lz said. “When students heard the amount of money that could be made off something like this it opened up a lot of eyes.”
As YouTubers like Lz continue to gain traction, the idea of the nine-to-five job may slip away from young generations that wish to pave their own paths. Until then, Lz remains one of the first at UCF to build a career from the bottom up — online.