We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.
This week, we spoke with Lachlan Power (@lachlan), a professional Fortnite gamer and powerhouse YouTuber with over 14.8 million subscribers. He has an additional 8.6 followers across TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch. Power is also the founder and CEO of PWR, a leading esports organization and lifestyle gaming brand, acclaimed for its high fan engagement, reach, and stylish apparel drops.
Power managed to maintain a YouTube career of 10 years—a lifetime in internet years—since starting in 2013. He rose to popularity for his quips and humorous commentaries on games like Minecraft, Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Pokémon GO. Now a big Fortnite gamer, in 2020, Lachlan was awarded his own Fortnite skin—only six other content creators, like Ninja and Loserfruit, have received the opportunity to have a skin.
Based in Australia, Power has paved the way for creators in his country while managing to establish a global presence as a family-friendly brand. Power’s prowess as a creator caught the attention of the traditional media industry: In 2020, he won a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, and in 2021, he voice-acted in Netflix’s animated musical Back to the Outback. In 2021, Power signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), opening the door to further media opportunities in television, publishing, and brand partnerships.
In an interview with Passionfruit, Power discussed managing the growth of his business, tips for finding quality people to partner with, the biggest challenges facing creators today, his favorite tools for content creation, advice for aspiring creators, and more.
The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Let’s go back in time to your first moments of internet virality. How did you harness that virality to pursue a long-term career as a creator?
One of my early moments of internet fame was the launch of Pokémon GO in 2016. As an Australian, I had access to the game before most of the world, and I seized the opportunity by filming a simple vlog-style video showcasing the game. The video gained traction quickly, and I capitalized on it by continuing to create content related to Pokémon GO. As a result, I was able to travel the world and capture Pokemon on camera. It was a pivotal moment for me and helped establish my online presence.
In terms of operation and management, how have you handled your growth in popularity? What challenges did you face as your audience grew, and how did you overcome them?
YouTube is challenging, and I’ve found that it requires persistence, organization, and the ability to manage a team. Early on, I did everything myself, but as I grew, I added an editor and other members to my team. One of the biggest challenges is coordinating and leading the team, but I’ve assembled a strong group of people who manage different aspects of the business. Balancing the hobby and business aspects of YouTube is also important, and I’ve applied business skills, particularly in finance, learned from my mother to grow my businesses.
My first outsource was an editor. Around a similar time, I was also working on a business in developing Minecraft servers which was another way I could monetize my content. I had a group of talented friends, creators, and developers who I worked on those projects with.
What qualifications or qualities do you look for in people you work with?
Over time I’ve built a group of people who work with me from financial and operational perspectives including agents, finance executives, talent managers, merchandise teams, and professional service firms. Generally speaking, when I am hiring creative talent for my team [and] PWR’s teams we are looking for people who really understand the YouTube and online gaming culture—it is such a hard space to describe but at its core, they need to have a deep understanding of what engages a viewer to click and stay watching as long as possible. Having that knowledge while working with me on creating content is what I value the most.
Of course, I also have some of my team who come from traditional backgrounds and don’t necessarily understand that culture, but balance and diversity are important.
What led to you founding PWR? What challenges did you face in creating the organization, and how did you overcome them?
I first started thinking about founding PWR after competing in the Fortnite World Cup back in 2018. I really enjoyed the competitive aspect of gaming and recognized there weren’t many organizations in our country/the world that helped develop the content potential of professional players. Personally, my biggest challenge has been allocating my time between my own content and that of what I’m building at PWR. I have been able to optimize my time since the inception, but I still find myself crunching to meet deadlines on both channels.
What lessons have you learned from your ventures in apparel launches and merchandising? What tidbits of advice can you share from what you’ve learned from your past launches?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned and something I struggle with daily is to let go of certain aspects of the business and to trust others. It’s a lesson I have learned and something I struggle with because there have been times when I have let go of oversight of some aspects, and the people I trusted with those aspects didn’t have the same vision or passion that I had for those things. This goes for apparel, production, and even game development. I am somewhat of a perfectionist, and it takes a lot of time for me to trust someone to do things with the care and diligence that I would do them with.
There are a few pieces of advice I would give in this vein: one, recruit diligently—hire the right people. Two, shoot for the stars but become comfortable with landing on the moon. Three, try to master one or two things first before starting on the next thing.
With all your experience in the content creation world, what would you say are the biggest challenges facing creators today?
From my perspective, one of the biggest challenges is how high the bar has been raised since I first started creating content 10 years ago. Back then I was able to do just fine playing Minecraft for 20-30 minutes and uploading it unedited. These days the average YouTube video demands so much more, and while it’s great for consumers of the platform, it makes it harder for YouTube channels to stay on top of their content.
Do you have any tips for creators facing those challenges?
Flexibility and speed were crucial for me in my early days of creating content. I would avoid having tunnel vision with regard to one type of content or format. Always experiment because things can change very quickly, and you need to be comfortable with change. The reality is you are competing with everyone else in the world and that makes the landscape unforgiving. Having really diversified content distribution and brand reach is also important so that you’re not relying solely on one distribution platform/content.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for creating content? What specifically do you like about those tools?
Recently one of my favorite tools has been a thumbnail A/B testing program which allows you to essentially have two thumbnails for a YouTube video and the program automatically swaps out the different thumbnail variations and gives you certain analytics about the effect of the thumbnail change. It’s not a perfect tool, but it certainly helps with refining thumbnail trends with the ultimate goal of increasing the CTR [click-through rate.]
What advice would you give other up-and-coming creators who are looking to grow their careers?
These days I would recommend investing time into building an audience through short form, [YouTube Shorts and TikToks.] It’s easier to create a viral piece on these platforms, and you can leverage this to build an audience. When you are ready to make the switch to long form, I would suggest working from a quantity perspective (frequent uploads) and testing all sorts of metrics (length, story, etc.). Take that data over time to focus on making a better video and eventually slowing down the rate of uploads to a pace that is manageable but still a quality performing video for your audience.