This article is part of a series of case studies, where I showcase successful online entrepreneurs in a variety of niches and their inspirational business success stories online.
The Path Less Traveled
Introducing Ryan Wilkes, an ‘almost famous YouTube Vlogger.’ Ryan already has a significant and loyal loyal following on YouTube and his social media sites. With stunning video imagery he creates, I truly believe he’s on the cusp of achieving something quite special.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/ryanwilkesn
Ryan moved from Canada to New Zealand to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and fell in love with film making along the way. His passion is creating videos of all shapes and sizes. Visit Ryan’s website at Wilkes.Media and prepared to be wowed and inspired by the amazing imagery and video creations.
An interview with Ryan Wilkes
Q. Tell us about yourself and your website/Vlog?
My online brand, The Path Less Traveled, is all about inspiring people to explore. Whether it’s their own backyard, their hometown, or overseas, I just think that everyone should go on more adventures and be exposed to new people, places and ideas that challenge their own beliefs. The ability to be able to interact and communicate effectively with people who are different from you is so important, and leaving the comforts of home is a coming-of-age experience that I hope everyone experiences in their life. And in my opinion, the sooner that people do this, the better.
I want to encourage young people to be patient, not rush into life, and take some time to explore the world and be exposed to things that they wouldn’t encounter at home. Because once you have roots (mortgage, family, etc.) it becomes harder to travel. On the other hand, people think that in order to travel they have to go to some far off exotic destination which just isn’t true.
Travel and exploration is really a state of mind. I guarantee that there are places in everyone’s hometown that they haven’t explored, or somewhere just a short car ride away that they’ve never seen. I want to encourage people to stay curious and reconnect with that child-like curiosity that is in all of us, because it keeps us young, creative, and grateful.
Q. What’s an interesting fact about you that we wouldn’t learn from your online presence?
In highschool, I was a high level athlete (rugby and athletics) and was at the top of my class academically. I actually didn’t pick up a camera until I was 24!
Being an athlete for my entire life has made me really interested in physical human performance and nutrition. So I’ve dabbled in powerlifting and bodybuilding over the years and I’m a bit of a nutrition nerd.
Q. How did you first get into this niche?
After moving to New Zealand in 2015, I wanted to show my family and friends in Canada all the amazing places that I was exploring in my new home. I started making short GoPro videos and posting them on YouTube. From there, my skills improved, I upgraded my gear, and people started to notice my work.
Q. What has been your biggest success in this niche?
This journey has always been about encouraging other to travel and giving them a sneak peek into different destinations that they may be considering visiting. So whenever someone contacts me and thanks me for a video that I made because it helped them plan their trip in some way, it is a great feeling.
My work on YouTube has also been noticed by a few tourism boards here in New Zealand, so I am very proud to say that I’ve done work with several organizations to help promote tourism in this beautiful country.
Q. What has been the most challenging part of your online journey so far?
As with most creative pursuits, it can be difficult when you pour your heart and soul into a project, put it out there, and then it’s so quiet that you could hear a pin drop! No traffic! This happens occasionally when I post something new on YouTube. It sucks when no one sees or appreciates my work, but it also presents a good opportunity to remind myself why I began doing it in the first place. Even if it helps one single person, it was well worth the effort.
Q. Name three essential tools of your trade and explain why are they so important to your business.
- YouTube! – What an amazing platform, not only is it where I post my content and interact with my community, but it’s also where I am able to learn about film making, editing, freelancing, develop my skills further and network with other travel creators.
- My Cameras – Now I do not think that the type of camera you have makes or breaks your video, but my cameras need to be intuitive, durable, reasonably compact, and take excellent photos and videos. So number two for me would be my Panasonic Lumix GH5 and G85, both of which are excellent for travel film making and photography.
- The Time Ferriss Show – Tim Ferriss is a serial entrepreneur and on this Podcast he interviews people who are the best in the world in their particular field in an attempt to tease out the tips, tools, and tactics that these amazing people have used to achieve their success. Tim is an exceptional interviewer and I’ve picked up a lot of valuable tips from his podcast.
What do you think are emerging trends in your niche in 2018?
2018 is a pretty exciting time for video creators because Facebook is beta-testing it’s new video platform which will compete with YouTube. As someone who posts videos on both platforms, I am watching this space closely. Depending on Facebook’s execution of the platform, I think we could see some creators migrate from YouTube to Facebook. I plan on trying to use both.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in your niche and why?
Play the long game. YouTube has become a very busy place in the last 3 years. It is hard to stand out! If you want to succeed as a video content creator, be prepared to make a long term commitment to it. By no means have I “made it” on YouTube, but I have a small community that is steadily growing each day, and I’m thankful for every single one of my subscribers. I have been on YouTube for 2 years now, and I know that it is just the beginning for me.
One thing that I would encourage aspiring travel creators to do is to visit places that most of the world has never heard of. In September 2016, I went to Tonga and made about 15 videos from my time there. At the time there was hardly any good quality video content about traveling Tonga, so now when you search on YouTube for Tonga travel, my videos are near the top of the list and are my most-watched videos. If you go to Phuket, Bali or some other popular backpacking destination, it is going to be very hard to get your content noticed because there is so much of it already out there. So, take the path less traveled (pun intended) and find somewhere new to show the world!
Q. How would you describe your progress in your niche?
While it’s still early days and I’m not making any significant money from my online presence, my work on YouTube has led to a lot of freelance video work. I have worked with Tourism New Zealand, ChristchurchNZ, Hurunui Tourism, Bare Kiwi, and many local businesses around Christchurch, all because I have been able to use YouTube as a test tube for my video work.
Interested to learn more?
If you would like to learn more about Ryan Wilkes and The Path Less Traveled please visit Wilkes.Media
Your feedback and comments are always welcome, so feel free to drop me a note in the comments section below, or visit me over at Wealthy Affiliate.
Thanks for reading, Cheers, Karen