Who Is Derral Eves
Why would anyone choose to crawl through broken glass? I would never consider doing that as a bucket list item. Yet Derral Eves figuratively has, over and over and over. That’s why he is the expert marketer that he is. Derral’s genius mind and work ethic have been some of the driving force of some of YouTube’s greatest all-stars: The Piano Guys, Mr. Beast, etc. He is also partners with Dallas Jenkins in The Chosen and has put in the incredible amount of time necessary to build the audience to where it currently is at.
Derral loves causes. He loves building audiences to rally around things that truly matter. He shares how money is the byproduct of someone that chooses to reinvest in themselves, their business, etc. Derral was dropping so many truth bombs it was hard to keep track. So glad he took the time to be on the Lemonade Stand Stories Podcast. Enjoy!
Get to Know Derral Eves
When you think of YouTube, the name that should come to mind first and foremost is that of Derral Eves. There is nothing he does not know about the platform, and everything he does know he has either created or had a hand in, particularly when it comes to video marketing. You might even say that without Derral Eves, YouTube wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is today.
That’s quite a claim, and it’s not one that Derral himself would be likely to make. A family man at heart, his wife and five children are what he does everything for. The fact that what he does just so happens to make many millions of other people’s lives better in all ways, from big to small, is the icing on the cake.
As a child, Derral had a large family, something that he always enjoyed; it’s why he himself has five children. It was Derral’s five brothers who were his best friends as he grew up. Being close in age and similar in personality, it was inevitable that they would always be close. However, it hasn’t all been positive; Derral lost one brother to kidney disease, two other brothers have the same condition, and another has a heart condition. This was hard enough to bear, but in 1999 another tragedy occurred when Derral’s brother David was almost killed in an ATV accident that left him paraplegic.
Many people would have been weighed down by the enormity of the sadness these events brought along, but Derral chose to think about things differently, and instead of looking at the negatives, he saw what an inspiration his brother was. He saw him build his life back up into something from nothing, adjusting to being paraplegic and not letting it hold him back. David became Derral’s hero, and it was from his strength that everything else could come.
A Meeting of Minds
Derral initially chose to serve for two years as a religious missionary in Paraguay, doing what he does best — helping people become their ultimate selves. On his return, he met and fell in love with Carolyn, and they have now been married for over 20 years.
Something that both Derral and Carolyn agreed on right from the start is that they didn’t want to raise their kids in a big city. They are much more comfortable in a happy, friendly, small town, and that’s where they are going to stay. This is part of what drew Derral to the online world; it meant that he could remain in southern Utah but still connect with people from everywhere and anywhere, and he wouldn’t have to change his home to do it.
Although Derral definitely prefers to stay at home when he’s working, he also loves to travel — it’s great to visit new places, as long as he can go home again when he’s had enough exploration.
The Work Itself
Of course, Derral’s accomplishments at home are wonderful, but it is his professional work that he is most well-known for — and for good reason. Derral has always been fascinated with computers, even going as far as to create a computer virus when he was in the third grade! Ever since then, he has been driven to understand more about trends and niches online, and he probably knows more than anyone else on the subject.
Once he graduated from college with his bachelor’s in public relations and marketing, he created a web design and hosting company. From there, he bought more businesses, growing each one so that he could continue to invest online. It is online marketing, and specifically video marketing through YouTube, that has been Derral’s true calling, and his knowledge and influence have generated literally billions of video views — nine of his clients have a combined viewing figure of nine billion, and each has been awarded the golden play button.
Alongside video marketing, Derral is an expert in SEO, social media management, traffic conversion, and creating viral videos. An award-winning marketer, he is also a producer, with the religious show The Chosen garnering exceptional reviews.
For Derral, it’s all about being hands-on. Learning, gaining experience, talking to people, and listening — this is how he works. He might do much of it online, and a lot of his work might be linked to the internet, but there is something special about connecting with people that Derral just can’t forget, and it helps him with everything he does.
Derral Eves Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with a good friend Derral Eves, who is a legendary, legendary marketer. I’ve heard about him for so long. And then I’ve had the opportunity of meeting him. I’m trying to think of where we actually met him. I don’t know if it was at VidAngel or something. We have crossed paths over there. And then of course, The Chosen. We got to interact quite a bit while he was promoting the series, which is now what it is today and it’s great.
Charan: It’s interesting, because everyone always says, “You’ve got to learn YouTube through Derral Eves. He will teach you the ways and everything.” And so, I’m very, very honored and privileged that you are willing to sit down with me on the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, so thanks, man. Thanks for being here.
Derral: Anytime. I love talking. I mean, that’s what I do; I talk. That’s what working is. Haven’t you figured that out yet? It’s just when you talk to people, right?
Charan: Yeah, no, I love it. And you know what? You talk very well. It’s incredible.
Derral: Thank you. Thank you.
Charan: So, let me ask you this, because the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is all about people’s lemonade stand stories, right? When they were kids, they started a lemonade stand and they kind of marketed.
Derral: Never done that.
Charan: You’ve never done that?
Derral Eves Talks About Becoming an Entrepreneur
Derral: Yeah. No, no, because that was the wrong approach. Now, I’m not dissing on your podcast here, but I’m thinking, do you know what? If you’re just waiting for people to come to you, that probably isn’t the most effective. Sometimes it’s more effective to go to the people. And my strategy really hasn’t changed much. I think that there’s a lot of people today just expect, “Oh, I opened a business. Everyone’s going to come to me. They’re going to literally stop and come to me.” And so, luckily, I was a little bit of an outside thinker at that age and I have multiple notes.
Charan: Dude, I love that. So, how old were you would you say when you were like, “Hey, I better go to people?”
Derral: Well, I grew up, my dad’s an entrepreneur in so many aspects. He had a couple of businesses in the construction realm. And so, I always grew up, had to work hard. So, when I was younger, I was six, I think it was illegal at that time to have a job, but I was a paperboy. I was out delivering papers, just to have some spending money and stuff.
Derral: Because the cool thing about my parents, and you wouldn’t necessarily think it’s cool, but I always thought it was cool, but they’re just like, “Take care of yourself, man. The world’s not going to take care of you. You want school clothes? Well, here’s a way you can get money to get some school clothes, because we ain’t buying it for you. You want a handout?” That was by far one of the coolest things that my parents have done. And it wasn’t that they didn’t have the money; they had the money, but it was just more-
Charan: They just wanted to empower you guys.
Derral: They definitely did. And so, I had the paper route, that turned into four paper routes, that turned into a weekend paper route as well. And yeah, my mom and sisters and brother was driving around. And I kind of throw it out or I’d be on my bike or whatever. But it was something that taught me, “You know what? You got to get up early sometimes to make the money. And you got to look for opportunities.” And I always was looking for opportunities.
Derral: And so, that’s kind of where it started. And then I realized that, “Hey, working for someone else, I can’t expand my money without taking on another route.” And taking on another route equals taking on more time. And so yeah, I could do that. Well, what’s going to be the best way to do that? So, was it managing other people? I mean, I was 6, 7 and 8 when we were doing this. I did it till I was 11.
Derral: But I learned when I was 11 that this is not the most productive way, because the only way that you can make more money is to increase your routes, which takes more time. And then two, why would someone want to do a paper route with you if they can go directly to the source, right?
Derral: So, it’s like I just knew it was kind of a dying thing. But I was able to get enough money saved up that I was putting aside that my dad did one of the most powerful things ever for me. He says, “You see that money sitting in the bank? I know that that is meant for your mission,” where I was going to go dedicate two years of my life and it costs money. And he says, “You’re on your way to do that. And that’s a great goal to have. But let me show you how to really make money.”
Charan: I love it.
Derral: I’m like, “What do you do? What do you do?” And he goes, “I want you to go up to this guy’s house.” And it was a neighbor of ours that was 82 years old and he had a farm. And he was selling off some property and that was kind of his retirement, just selling off property.
Derral: And then he goes, “I want you to take the money and make him an offer.” I’m like, “Dad, I’m freaking 12. I’m 12.”
Charan: You’re kidding me? Okay. All right.
Derral: And he goes, “No, that’s what you’re going to do. And just so, you’re well aware, you don’t have enough money to even do it. And you need to have a discussion with him.” And so, I went out, and there was the guy there and I says, “Hey, I want to buy that property. Here’s some money.” And his eyes get about this big, and he says, “Where did you get that?” “I’ve been saving up doing paper routes and odd jobs for weeks and months and years and this is what accrued to. I didn’t spend too much because I don’t need much.” And I just say, “I definitely would love to have an opportunity to buy this property.” And he just laughed, because it’s just not going to happen. He says, “Look.”
Charan: Yeah, of course.
Derral: I says, “We can work on this. I’m a really hard worker. I see that you have a farm. I’m willing to come every day or a couple of times a week to help you on it. We can figure out a reasonable wage for what it is that can compensate for the deficiency.” I didn’t talk those words when I was 12, but that’s what I was telling him. And he’s like, “Okay, that’s cool.” And I says, “Then two, I have a side job, side hustle over here. I’ll do cash, $100 in cash a month.” And the property wasn’t that big. It wasn’t whatever, but it gave me a thing of looking for something bigger.
Derral: And so, I just basically did it from when I was 12 till I was 18. And my dad comes. “Okay, now it’s time to…” It wasn’t paid off quite yet because it was fairly expensive. And there’s only so much money you can put into on 100 bucks plus. It was like six or seven bucks an hour, I was working for this guy. But he goes, “Yeah, yeah, now it’s time.” And he goes, “Let’s just go ahead and flip it, and you’ll have enough money for your mission.” And I went and did that. I actually had more than enough for my mission. And then I got home and I had enough to buy a car.
Derral: And then I had a little bit of money that my wife and I, well, it was a year and a half of saving up. We bought another piece of ground. And so, we didn’t necessarily, we had a downpayment on it. And so, we were able to get into our first home when I got married, based off of something that my dad taught me. And even to this day, like side hustles and everything’s important. I do own a lot of businesses, but for me, it’s like looking for the opportunity that the money can work for you instead of you expecting the money to come to you.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting, and it’s awesome your dad taught you those principles earlier on, because so much of the time we’re spending our time, trading our time for money, right? And so then, it’s like, “Well, all right, if I want to be trading my time for money, then I got to be doing something where giving my time, I will make a lot of money,” right? But then what you’re even saying and suggesting is like, “No, make your money work for you.” Figure out ways to do that, so that you’re kind of exponentially growing rather than feeling like, “Hey, I got to put all this time in and I’ll get some back. And so, what if you put a little bit of time in, but it’s kind of compounded, right? And it kind of expands and grows.” And I love that you were thinking that from an early age. It’s amazing.
Derral: Well, all due credit goes to my dad and he retired young, and just kind of did… well, I don’t even know if he was retired. I mean, he just did investment, real estate, and he just do his little projects, but he’s always in his backhoe or dump truck, like “What’s going on?” And I didn’t know that we’d go on these projects that I’d worked for him, and he’d pay me, but sometimes I didn’t know that he wasn’t even being paid on the job. It was just he was blessed. God blessed him. And he wanted to help people.
Derral: I remember, putting in this trench. It was a big trench, all summer. and I mean, he paid me the whole time. And come to find out years later, that I was talking to the individual who did the trench. “Yeah, I can remember working for you in the summer.” And he goes, “You know that your dad didn’t charge me, right?” I’m like, “Wait, wait, what?”
Charan: No way. No way.
Derral: So, it taught me, too, is don’t always expect stuff as well. And my dad is a master at that. He always served more than when he was expecting to be paid. And then those opportunities were very abundant for sure.
Charan: I love that, man. And I mean, it’s really cool when money doesn’t become a factor anymore. You put that aside and you’re able to just go out and do good just for the sake of doing good. There’s definitely a freeing, uplifting feeling that comes when you’re not expecting anything. You’re doing it just for the sake of doing it, you know?
Derral Eves Talks About YouTube
Charan: No, I love that. Now, how does YouTube come into your life? Because that’s what I’ve learned. I’m so curious as to how you did that.
Derral: Well, it wasn’t invented when I was eight.
Charan: No, it was not, it was not. Yeah.
Derral: Totally, I had to figure that out. And I don’t even think the founders weren’t even born yet, but anyway-
Charan: No I don’t think they were.
Derral: Yeah, but the way that I discovered it was when I got home off of my mission, I would spend some time and I met a girl and she’s like, “Hey, this is getting serious.” And I go, “Oh, I got to get a college degree,” because that’s what’s expected of you. And I’ve always been a learner, but I’m not a traditional learner. I think there’s a lot of wasted time and efficiency and some of the stuff that happens in the education space.
Derral: And so, I just, I just had a goal. I’m a huge goal-setter; you have no idea. I’m literally a huge goal-setter. I just set a goal and it’s like, “What’s the fastest possible time that I can get a four-year degree?” because that paper is all it is, and nobody really checks it or whatever. But so, I knew I needed that. And so, she was my sugar mama for some time, and I locked in. She’s basically was in her final year of college and then she went on to, generally, a nice accounting job. And so, I just buckled down. And I just tried to get as fast as done, take as many classes as I could. And so, I actually got a four-year degree in a two and a half years.
Derral: Now, I was just grinding and going as fast as I could, but that’s where it started. I went and worked for, I got an internship and went to work for a regional hospital. It’s IHC, Intermountain Healthcare. If your listeners are from the Intermountain West, you probably know who they are. But I went to work for them and quickly realized that I don’t like to have constraints on me. So, I’m very talented and I don’t say this, arrogantly, but I’m very talented in the sense that I can do graphic design, but I can also program and then marketing just is almost, it’s just so inbred in me.
Derral: And so I got hired on in the PR department and basically, I did the corporate website, and this is back in 1999. So, it’s like back in the day when it’s HTML, all that stuff that you’re just kind of typing in. So, I did a corporate website, I did a website for us, and then I had 16 publications. These were magazines and newspapers that I would design, and I guess I got bored. And they didn’t have to outsource it anymore because I was there and doing it-
Charan: You were doing everything.
Derral: Yeah. Doing it was easy because I grew up on QuarkXPress, and they didn’t have any designer in any of Adobe projects back then except for Photoshops, so I was really good as a Photoshop Illustrator and QuarkXPress. And so, I was able to get through a lot of the stuff that they needed. And I started to count up all the different things that I saved them that they were outsourcing because I got access to the budget of what they’ve done in the past and what we’re able to save. And man, I almost saved him a million dollars from me coming into the company. And I says, I just, I’m one that a firm believer if you contribute, you should be blessed for what you contribute.
Derral: So, I went to chat with my boss’s boss, and as a CFO of the company, and went into what was like the CEO, but I was meeting with the CFO, because I knew that’s what I needed to do. And realistically, I should have talked to controller. But anyways, say, “Hey, we’re just talking about you being the CEO and the CEO of the company.” And this is not of Intermountain Healthcare. This is of just our regional area. Comes off and, “Derral, we love you. You did great. You’re doing great for the foundation. The foundation loves you. PR loves you.”
Derral: And I says, “Hey, perfect timing, I got accepted into the MBA program for hospital administration. I just want to let you in on that.” They’re like, “Oh, this is great. We can see in 15 years, you’re going to run this hospital.” I’m like, “Fifteen years? I want to run it in five.” I wanted to be in his spot at five. And then I brought up to say, “Hey, I just noticed I’ve been contributing a lot, dollar amounts, and very well. Did you see it?”
Charan: Saving time and money, yeah.
Derral: He goes, “Yeah, yeah. We’ve been able to divert that money to other places. It’s been great.” I says, “Can I get a $10,000 a year raise?”
Derral: And they’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I mean, we love you, but you’ll be making more than your appropriate supervisor.” And I’m like, “You kidding me?” This is actually what happened. I mean, I was only on the job six months, so it wasn’t anything huge.
Derral: I left, went outside, called my wife. I had one of those big old phones back in the ’90s. I don’t know.
Charan: Yeah, like the bricks. Yeah, the bricks.
Derral: Exactly. And I says, “Honey, I got to quit my job.” And she goes, “Huh? What?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I got to quit my job. I just can’t do this.” And she goes, “What happened?” And I explained to her, and this is why I love my wife. She was, “I’ll support anything you do.”
Derral: So, anything, caveat. “I’ll support anything you do, but don’t start your own business.” That was kind of the “but,” right?
Charan: Yeah, yeah.
Derral: And so, I quit. I didn’t have anything. We had a brand new baby. It was like, “Why would you do it?” Because I was literally de-motivated.
Derral: Because there wasn’t anything in front of me. So, long story short, I had a lot of offers. I didn’t want to move. I love where I live. I live in Southern Utah, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Derral: And so, I decided to start my own business. And my wife’s like, “Uh oh.” But we prayed about it as a couple. We’re very religious and we honor God. And we just had this peaceful feeling come in and that’s how it all started. So, I started an agency, did graphic design, web design. And then it turned into residual stuff, so we started a hosting company. And then also, an internet marketing company back in the 1999, so that was called AKA Spam. And that’s how it all began. And I started to grow those things and look at different assets to grow. And then hiring people and going from there. It’s ups and downs, and sideways all through that.
Charan: Of course.
Derral: So, don’t expect it was super amazing. Everything in line perfectly was hard. We had times we didn’t even know where the money was going to come. It was just blessings along the way. But to get to the point of your question on YouTube, I know this is the longest answer, but-
Charan: Dude, I love this epic-ness. Because here’s the deal, you have to decide for yourself, that you cannot be limited by a ceiling. And I think that’s what that that regional hospital situation was doing for you was like, “Well, oh, no, you are saving this money.” But there’s definitely a ceiling over your head and you’re not able to-
Derral: And that’s okay. And this is a very important point. I don’t want to discourage anyone that wants to go into that type of work, but realize, when there is a ceiling, there is a sense of security. So, you’re actually replacing, “If you want to have no ceiling, then it’s less security.” That means that I didn’t have my 401k matching, I didn’t have amazing health benefits and that was kind of harsh having a young baby. And then two, it’s just like you’re just making nothing when you first started on your own. In fact, you are making nothing.
Derral: But that’s how it all started. And so that sense of security, if you want that, that’s great, but I just don’t thrive in that world. So, everything led, company was growing and we got to 2005. And 2005, the internet was maturing. Internet speeds were a little bit faster. I had a lot of clients that we designed websites for all over the world. I realized that the world could become my marketplace instead of just locally where some people are still on dial up in 2005.
Derral: And so, went on to Craigslist to buy a desk because that’s what you do when you’re so cheap. You can’t go to Staples to buy a desk. You got to go Craigslist for a 10-buck desk or a free ask or whatever. And I saw this ad that says, “Hey, get this iPod. And all you got to do is sign up for this website.” Am like, “Oh, I like that.” Because iPods at that time where the size of a brick and held 1000 songs. It’s amazing. Steve Jobs just introduced this teeny little, his iPod Nano and you put it in your pocket, and no one can see it and all that other stuff. And so that’s what they were offering.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:20:38].
Derral: And so, that’s what they were offering. I’m like, “Dude, sign me up.” And so, I went to the place and there’s only a couple of moments in my career that my jaw hits the ground, literally, and whether I fail or whatever. But I saw video for the first time where you were able to hit play and it played. It didn’t buffer all the way to the end. So, you young folks, Gen Z-er that are just coming into it, when you hit a video back in the early 2000s, it would take maybe sometimes 15, 20 minutes before you can watch a video. Yeah, good luck on that.
Derral: But this platform, it could do it and then I noticed, too, that there’s cool videos. So, I started watching it. I love videos. I’ve always wanted to make Super Bowl commercials, stuff like that, this is great. And I started to eat it up. And I saw what was trending, what wasn’t. And then I noticed that they have these tools on the player that you could embed it on a website. And my idea is, “I have a lot of clients. What if I gave them a video that they can embed on their website? That is the future.” Because now when they load up their page, they can hit play and have that message.
Derral: And so, that’s what started it. And so, I spent a year trying to convince my clients to do it. And we had 865 videos to make, so we did it from… this is in October of 2005. We started 2006, so all of 2006. And then at October 2006 is when Google bought YouTube for $1.6 billion and then things got better, because in 2007, early 2007, all those videos that I created for YouTube, and also people’s websites started to show up magically in Google search. And I’m like, “Wait a minute, what’s going on? All I did is give it a good title,” but yet it was coming in searches.
Derral: Some of these outranked our website. So here we are putting hours and hours and hours and hours, hours and hours into it. And the light bulb went off to me: sell my SEO Company, which I did, because we did have some internet marketing type stuff. Sold that. And I went 100% on video because I knew all I got to do is produce a video, which I love to do. My manpower staff would go from 52 down to two, which it did. And I could hire professional videographers to go grab the scripted content that I need anywhere world, which I did.
Derral: And that was a model, because I could outrank any website. And I didn’t have to fight with Matt Cutts, the anti-spam czar, on trying to get my website ranking. I wouldn’t have to wake up at 2:00 in the morning and realize that all my websites got delisted, and I have to work on getting them back and all the other stuff that I was doing, I’m like, “Okay, boom. They’re done.” So, that’s how I found YouTube. And I spent a significant amount of time working with doctors, dentists, lawyers, pest control companies. I’d picked verticals and just get a video to convert. And then I would just kind of change it out for their location. And I’d rank it in different cities across the world, using Google and YouTube and made a lot of money. And then I learned that it’s more about, instead of having them buy a video, it would be better for them to buy a lead. And so, we switched it over to pay-per-lead. And that’s kind of that’s kind of how it all began.
Charan: That’s insane, because the thing is I know you went from there to now training other people on YouTube because, and so much, I feel, like, of your bread and butter has come from your own trainings. Because every time people talking about YouTube marketing and stuff, they’re always like, “Oh, you got to take Derral’s course” or “You got to study up on what he’s doing and what he’s training and teaching.” And I think it’s just incredible, because the proof is in the pudding, right? It’s not like you’re making stuff up. It’s you literally have done this for yourself. And now, you’re showing it to all of these people.
Derral: It’s getting stuff to convert, right? Regardless of if it’s a creator or a brand. So there was a tipping point and I want to tell you. So, there was another time that my jaw hit the ground. So those leads that we would create those videos? I always do a “toe in the water” campaign. For those that don’t know marketing yet or you’re learning marketing, but it’s just a test to see, “Does your copy work? Does your videos work? Is it, get to ring? How many views are you getting to get someone to call? And how many calls do you need to actually get a client? And really, really understand the conversion of that.
Derral: And so, I called up my friend, I said, “Hey, looking to go into pest control, just doing something. I know that you have pest control company. Let’s go ahead and do some videos for you. And of course, I’m going to charge you, but I won’t charge you what I’m going to charge other people.” And he says, “Yeah, let’s go do it.” And I love him to death. And so, we made some videos, and he made some videos, and we got them to rank, and they started all doing that stuff. And his business started to really, really expand. And so, he usually does the office work and works with technicians to get them out and does bids and does payroll and accounting, and he got so busy that he had to go out on the bigger jobs, because they didn’t have enough technicians to handle the work that was coming in.
Derral: One of the jobs that he went to was a piano store, and this piano store, they were spraying there, and he says, “Hey, do you anyone that knows marketing and YouTube?” He’s like, “Dude, you got to talk to Derral.” So, I get this phone call from an owner of a piano store. He says, “Hey, looking to do YouTube stuff and sell things online. Could you come talk?” I’m like, “Sure.” Come in, and went into to this piano store and saw, hundreds of pianos out there, just beautiful. Not too many people in coming to buy a piano.
Derral: And then I met this guy, and he goes, “Hey, just I heard that you’re into YouTube.” He goes, “I just hurt my back six months ago, and I was kind of out of commission. And all I was watching was YouTube videos. And I thought, hey, this would be great if we actually would do YouTube videos to sell pianos.” I’m like, “Dude, that’s genius. I love it. I know you’re thinking ahead.”
Derral: And then he showed me the video. That’s when my jaw hit the ground. And I’m like, “This is not an ad.” He goes, “Well, no, it is because you can see the Yamaha and whatever. This is just, this is good.” I go, “But this redheaded guy that plays a piano he’s really good. And this cellist. But you don’t have, you don’t sell cellos or whatever.” And he goes, “Yeah, but it’s good music. And that’s what we’ll sell. Right?” And I says, “Hey, that’s cool.” And I go, “How many grand pianos did you sell?” And he’s like, “Zero.”
Charan: Man, yeah.
Derral: I could tell you, you’re putting $10,000 plus in here. I go, “I’ve been making videos forever.” He goes, “Yeah. I mean, luckily, that one of the guys that’s here, he shoots and edits, so it doesn’t cost me that much.” But he goes, “We put a lot of energy and effort into it.” I says, “Well, I can tell.” And they had hundreds of thousands of views on their videos. And I do apologize if you hear construction going on.
Charan: No worries. Yeah, yeah, we hear it, yeah. We should make note of that. But yeah, go ahead
Derral: Yeah, but the thing that happened next was, I saw the true potential and so did he and he wanted to be able to quit their day jobs, quit the piano store and just make music and videos because that’s what he loved to do. And we started work together. And I’m marketing, I did websites and promotion, and all that other stuff. They made amazing videos, but I was able to be a part of something special where I saw good content creators that understood good content, good music.
Derral: And what that translated into is zero piano sales up to a specific time. But we had a strategy where they were able to start a founder’s club and get their big supporters to contribute to them so they can quit their jobs and focus in on music and YouTube. And they went from 20,000 subscribers up to 1.8 million subscribers in a short amount of time and hundreds of millions of video views. And I think now, I mean, they’re in the probably a billion video views, somewhere around there, and they have a million subscribers somewhere on there. But if you want to check them out, check them out, The Piano Guys. But that’s the moment that I found my jam and-
Charan: See, I had no idea you were involved with The Piano Guys. That’s amazing.
Derral: Yeah, that’s where I found my jam because I’m good at people. I’m really good at understanding people culture, because I’m a student of culture, I’m a student of history. I love to see situational relationships, good, bad. I just am curious by why people do what they do. And so I found my jam. I found understanding audience development. I understood how to leverage that audience. And I basically became the guy behind some of the biggest channels in the world. One of the channels for young Gen Z-ers that are entrepreneurs, yes, I’ve been working with Mr. Beast for two and a half years, and we own a couple of companies together.
Charan: That’s amazing.
Derral: He was just, he had over a couple, he had two million subscribers when I started working with him, but he’s getting a billion freaking video views every single month. Now, I can’t take credit for it. He’s an amazing creator at all, in all the world on that. But the reality is I have gifts, too, that can amplify a good creator. And my strategies and tactics have proven time and time again; that’s basically what I’ve built a career on. And I just love it. I love what I do.
Derral Eves Talks About The Chosen
Charan: Now and here’s the thing, like I remember we were at NRB in California in Anaheim, I believe is what it was. And I had this VR booth where we were doing some virtual reality Jerusalem stuff. And I saw you walking out and it was interesting, because The Chosen, which I want to kind of talk about right now was barely being developed. And so, there were four episodes that were airing. And we had this little tiny theater, but there was this other big theater. And that’s where that the guys that were doing the Kingdom Studios were at, right?
Derral: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: And they were the talk of the town. Everyone was going there. No one knew what The Chosen was. And I remember having this conversation with Jonathan Rooney, he was there at the time. And he’s like, “Yeah, I really hope that the show takes on.” I’m like, “I think it’s going to. I really do think it’s going to.” I’m like, “One, because you guys have Derral Eves, but also you’ve done a great job and you’ve got four episodes, and they’re really, really awesome and compelling.” And they weren’t even done at the time. I remember, they were just like, they’re kind of in the rough stages.
Charan: But The Chosen is an incredible, incredible success. And it has reached worldwide audiences. It’s helped a lot of people. It’s hilarious, because, The Chosen is made by Dallas Jenkins, who’s an evangelical Christian, I believe. I don’t know his exact branch of [crosstalk 00:32:12].
Derral: Yeah, he’s an evangelical in practice.
Charan: Evangelical, right. And it’s hilarious because I go to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which I believe is the same faith that you belong to. And my bishop always tells people to go watch The Chosen. And like so many people are like, “We have this group that we all get together and watch The Chosen.” And it’s just kind of an exciting time. And anyway, I wanted to know, how did you get involved in that project? And how did you make it come to life? Because you’re one of the exec producers, I believe. Is that right?
Derral: Yeah. I’m the CEO of the company. And then also, Dallas’s-
Charan: See, I didn’t even know you were the CEO. That’s crazy.
Derral: Yeah, Dallas’s business partner. And then the executive producer of the show.
Charan: Okay. That’s awesome. So, now I know Matt Faraci had some stuff to do with the show as well, like bringing it to VidAngel. But how did you become involved with it and-
Derral: Yeah, Matt basically felt inclined to have Jeffrey look at… Jeffrey Harmon, who is the head of content at VidAngel, head of content marketing at VidAngel, to watch the show that has the possibility to become something that they’re looking for, which was original content at the time. And Jeffrey watched it and he was moved by it. And he tried to convince Neil to watch it. And he’s like, “We’re not going to do an original show about Jesus.” And so Jeffrey had this idea of this multi-season thing. And so, he convinced Neil to see it. Neil hit it, and he says, “Okay, this is what we need to do.”
Derral: And at that time, they were trying to figure out how to make this happen. So, they had started to talk to Dallas to see if he was interested ,and Dallas was, but they didn’t have money to pay him. And he’s just like, “Where’s the money going to come from?” And Jeffrey is like, “Hey, this crowdfund this thing.” But you’re going to need some support. I mean, it can’t be our business that does it; it has to be your business that does, which was really wise. And Jeffrey was like, “Well, who do we? Who do we help? Dallas.”
Derral: Now, Jeffrey and I worked on seven projects up to the time I was the executive producer of the Squatty Potty Pooping Unicorn with Jeffrey, who was working with the launch and everything on that. And so, we had a lot of thing. He’s like, “I got to talk to Derral.” And what happened next was, I was putting on this conference of just these big YouTubers and brands coming in. It’s a conference that I owned, it’s called Vid Summit. And I get this random text from Jeffrey, he says, “Hey, my tickets still good?” I’m like, “Yeah, you turned me down. You didn’t want to come. But it’s still good.” And he goes, “I’m on a plane.” I’m like, “Okay, great.”
Derral: And this was the day one of Vid Summit, and he literally flew down. And he came with his little Chromebook. It was like this little, teeny little thing. It’s like six inches or whatever. It was amazing that or whatever. And he’s like, “You got to come see the show.” I’m like, “Jeffrey, dude, do you see now what’s happening here? I’m trying to put on a conference.” He goes, “No. You got to put on this.” I says, “I can’t. There are literally thousands of people here. The ask is, that’s a big ask.”
Derral: And I went to turn to walk away. And I’m like, “Dude, wait. He just flew all the way down here for this.” That’s all he came for. He didn’t come for Vid Summit. He wanted me to watch a video. I’m like, “Why can’t you just email it to me, my friend?” But anyway, so we found a room. And we got some other YouTubers like Peter Hollens and a few others that were all around this teeny little Chromebook. And he goes, he gave us the vision of what he thought. He’s like, “Hey, this will be a TV show about Jesus Christ and they had this amazing creator.” And he hit play.
Derral: And that’s when it changed for me, because I’m like, “Oh, this is fresh. Oh, it’s low-budget, but it’s fresh. Oh, wait, Nativity. Why isn’t it? Where’s Mary and Joseph. I don’t even see them there. It’s about the shepherd.” And I got connected with the shepherd. He was just, I don’t, people being bullied and he was being bullied. And I get very, I don’t know, protective, I guess. And here, he was just wanting to learn about the Messiah and went into the synagogue because they’re talking about the Messiah there. And he got kicked out of the synagogue. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, my heart was just breaking for the guy.”
Derral: And then what happened next was the deal clincher for me, was he’s going out, he got stopped by a man and a lady that was pregnant. And just they wanted to know where the well was for water because she was thirsty and so was the… they were all thirsty, right? And he says, “Hey, it’s over here.” He goes, “But do you know what? I got water.” And here he gave water to Mary. And I just I lost it. I’m like, “Here it is. Here’s Mary. Just moments before she has Jesus Christ.” I’m like that, that I get it.
Derral: Somebody comes knocking on the door, and the emergency is going on. And I had to go deal with an issue and I get it to go. And he’s like, “Whoa, whoa, you can’t leave. It’s coming to the good part.” I’m like, “Jeffrey,” I go, “I know where this is going.” I go, “I’m all in. If I just have to hold the light, I’ll hold the light.” He goes, “I want you to meet the creator next week.” And so, I went out, did my conference, finished it out on Saturday, flew home to Utah, drove up to Provo. And there I met Dallas for the first time.
Derral: And I’ve met a lot of creators in my life, just because I work with them on the behind the scenes stuff, but Dallas and I hit it off. We’re kind of similar in some ways, the way that we approach creative and business and so on. But then we’re different in other ways that we’re almost yin to the yang. And before I knew it, I was partners with Dallas Jenkins. Me and him, we’re starting a company in Utah called The Chosen. It’s a Utah company and VidAngel at that time was going to be our distribution partner. Now, it’s Angel Studios. Long story. They can talk about that if they already have it. But anyway, we were making a TV show. Dallas and I and it was, “Okay, what do we do.”
Derral: And so, that’s how it all started. Zero followers on YouTube, zero followers on Facebook, zero scripts that were written. It was just an idea. That’s what entrepreneurship is, it’s an idea and willing to make it work. And so, luckily, we brought some other partners on. I put a significant amount of money into it and so did some of the other partners is. Dallas was able to quit his job. And we were able to just focus in on that to be the number one most crowdfunded project of all time, in film and television. And it has everything to do with visionary people that can see more than just the paycheck. People that can see the impact. And that’s how it began.
Derral: Now, it’s been three and a half years ago, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge, and Dallas and I were crawling on glass with our team, because we were trying to make it happen. And Jeffrey and Neil were crawling on glass trying to make it happen. And that’s how it all began. And this is a really, really important point, because this will go back to how you introduced The Chosen. We had enough money to do four episodes, so we made the episodes. And it was great, right? And we had enough to do the last four episodes, but we were deficient. Some money that people promised us that never came in, that it actually came in at a different way. We’ll talk about that some other time.
Derral: But, we did this, but this is the best way to close out this story, with what I began with. We went to NRB for — it’s National Religious Broadcasters. It’s all the influencers in the religious space. And we went to NRB with a lemonade stand. Okay? We were hoping people would come to us. And I’m telling you, we had less than 200 people in a room that can fit thousands when we’re showing it. And I’ll take those 200 people. I’ll never, never not do it. But from my perspective, and from Dallas’s perspective, that first year of NRB was a bust for us. We spent a lot of money on it because a lot of great ideas. And we had nothing really to show for it.
Derral: We didn’t get any money coming from it. The exposure that we got, it was forgotten. It was swallowed up by someone that was spending millions on their production. And we walked away with nothing. And it wasn’t that it didn’t need to be premiered. We needed to see how people would react to it. And I think that that was worth the money is to see how people, because I was watching the sporadic audience of how they were engaging with the content; they loved it. And I think this would be big, but it was still, it wasn’t, “Oh, we knocked it out of the park.” It was now we just felt.
Derral: And it was because of that. It was because of that moment, we had to think differently. It was like, “This is not going to be easy. Just because we made it doesn’t mean that they’re going to want to watch it.” It doesn’t matter, that if they’re the most religious people and they love Jesus so much, they’re not going to watch it. We got to figure that out. And that’s where I truly do believe we had an amazing pivot. Because I’ve been trying to convince Dallas to do these behind-the-scenes videos a lot, but I was trying to get in his mindset that he’s the project. He’s the creator. He’s the influencer. He’s the Mr. Beast for The Chosen universe. He’s that creator for it.
Derral: And he was kind of dragging his feet all the way up to that point, but he got to a point where he’s like, “I don’t know what else to try.” And we’ve been doing so much. I mean, I didn’t even get my own family to watch. I mean, it’s just, it’s hard to get people to watch your content, right? And the moment, the moment-
Charan: Yeah, yeah, I was going to say real quick. I remember that first year at NRB, because I was there with you guys with this thing. And I remember there was this one woman, I don’t even know if you remember this, but it was you, I was talking to you. And I had seen you come in; you were utterly exhausted. It’s been every ounce of energy left. You actually took a knee. You’re just on your knees and I’m like, “Derral, how’s it going?” It was like, he’s like, “Dude.” It was just like, and I could just see it in your eyes, the amount of energy and effort that you guys have spent to get to this point where you’re like crawling through glass.
Charan: And it was just like, because everyone else had hundreds, millions and millions of dollars budgets for their production, the History Channel, the Kingdom Studios, all these different places. And you guys were definitely the underdogs. So, I remember it and yeah.
Derral: Well, it was and for everyone, and what he’s referring to is when I go to event, I go on event mode, so I literally don’t sleep for the times that I’m there maybe an hour at the most per day. And then it’s always about people and getting stuff done. And so, the more people that you meet, the more opportunities that comes. I get in event mode and I’m always running and I did a meet up earlier with my YouTube fans, and showed them The Chosen and we had that there. We actually had more people at that than we had at the main one. But it was just sharing the whole journey aspect of everything. And it was just like, “How many people can we talk to? And who can we set it up?” Because that’s the only way we can do it.
Derral: But I walked away with that. Dallas walked away deflated. And it was like, “Okay, what do we do?” And so I once again talked about our audience development on the platforms. And I says, “We just we got to take this more seriously.” And he’s like, “Dude, doing videos?” I mean, “No, no, no, but you got to do it more personal.” And that’s where it did shift. I mean, because that’s how we raised the money. And that’s what works is developing an audience that way is just being authentic, because that’s our brand. And that’s when he not reliant on ads or some miracle lemonade stand that would bring it in. It was just like, “Okay, we’ve just got to get more people seeing it.”
Derral: And we took a very active effort between the first four episodes to the last four on just how we were going to apply our marketing and then how we’re going to integrate. We increased the staff of our BTS social team, triple. And it was just like, “Hey, we just got to get more cameras, more footage, more everything.” And it was the moment that Dallas said, “Okay, I’m an influencer” and we took it, we took it on. And that’s the moment I believe the project changed because it wasn’t, “Oh, help us. And then I can make content and everybody wants to watch it.” It was like, “No, if this is going to happen, every one of us are going to have to take it head on, because it’s just not going to fall into our lap.”
Derral: And Jeffrey and Neil were that way, Dallas and me were that way, our team that we were building in the company that we were building, that’s what it was. We were grinding, sacrificing sleep to be able to put out what we did. And without that crawling on glass is what we call it, The Chosen wouldn’t be what it is today. And the biggest mistakes that companies make, especially in the startup space, and all this other stuff is when the money starts coming in that they go and spend it on stuff that doesn’t build what’s the infrastructure that’s needed. And they’ll go buy their Lambos, and all this other stuff.
Derral: And I do want to just close on this one, because I do have a hard stop because I have some stuff I got to do with Mr. Beast right after this. But it’s very appropriate. What happened when I gravitate to certain type of creators. And I gravitated to the Harmon Brothers, I’ve gravitated to Dallas, of course, this way. But I gravitate to people that don’t care for the money; they care for the cause or they have something greater. I’m a cause-driven creator, so when it’s a net-positive thing, I will take time out of my schedule to work with net-positive businesses and creators. That’s what I want.
Derral: And so, I get this random phone call, it was two and a half years ago. Okay? We already doing the shows and stuff like that when I was in Texas. And it was a text, it was a tweet, DM, and it was a YouTuber that I actually liked. I thought he had a lot of potential. He says, “Hey, can you talk?” Talked to him. We rattled off for about 40 minutes. He says, “Okay, where are you at?” I’m like, “I’m in Dallas.” He goes, “I will be there in six hours.” I’m like, “You’re not going to be… you’re in North Carolina. You’re not going to be there in six hours.” He goes, “I will be there in six hours.”
Derral: Sure enough, he was there in six hours. And we spent the day together. And I asked him very specifically a question. I says, “Hey, what kind of car do you drive?” And this is kind of my entry point, because most YouTubers are known for their Lambos and just very extravagant stuff. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. Right? But what he said next, I was all into on him. And he pulled up, he goes, he pulled up his phone. He goes, “I know where you’re going with this. And I drive a Buick. Here’s the car.” He showed me the Buick. It’s just this standard car that everybody drives. And he goes, “And the reason, let me tell you why I wouldn’t buy a Lambo.”
Derral: And he goes, “If I bought a Lambo, I’d have to buy my boys a Lambo, because that’s what you got to do. You can just take everything if you have, they helped me out to. That’s a lot of money that I could reinvest into my business and do it. I’d rather buy a Lambo and give it away because that’s content. And that’s a good thing to do. I don’t need to drive a Lambo, but I need to invest every dollar into my business and I want to be the biggest YouTuber of all time. He goes, “I want to be the biggest YouTuber of all time.” He only had a couple of million subscribers at that time. I bought in. I drank the Kool-Aid. I’m like, “Dude come to my conference at summit.”
Derral: So, he was sitting in the audience, hardly anybody knew who he was. And the next year, he was the keynote and he actually bought into the conference with summit. But he was a keynote and he grew 30 million subscribers plus at that time and now, he knows where he’s at, he’s probably 58 million somewhere on there, right now. But he will be the biggest YouTuber of all time. Pewdiepie is the biggest, but when Jimmy releases a video, Mr. Beast releases a video, he’ll get 30, 40, 50 million views in the first couple of weeks. PewDiePie releases a video, he’s lucky to get a million. And in that perspective, he is the biggest YouTuber of all time, but he will have the most subscribers because every month he’s getting 2 to 3 million people subscribing to him now.
Derral: But the reason why I bring that up is he’s not focused in on money. In fact, he’ll give every dollar away to get what he’s wanting to get to. Dallas is the same way. We’re putting the money back into the content, putting it back it into the company. I’m the same way. And if you as an entrepreneur think at any time that you can just take the spoils, and I’ll call it spoils for what it is, because someone invested, there’s a round of investment or whatever, and buy it with things that don’t build the company, you are the foolish entrepreneur that can always be and will be. There will be a time for it, but it’s not now.
Derral: It’s like, buckle down. You don’t need to remodel a freaking office. What you need is getting people to talk about you. You could be virtual; you could be remote. Yes, you can go to a random place that has a nice office space when you talk to investors, but you can go to investors. And yes, there’ll be a point where you need to look you’re established and go from there. But that’s where you put the money, not freaking what you drive, not your house, not all this other stuff. You’ve got to just hustle.
Derral: And if you go back and look at every single successful entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos. I’ll put him up there even though he gets thrown under the bus because he’s weird. Elon Musk. They reinvested their profits into their companies. And I mean, Elon didn’t even have a car. He was sleeping at the office, and he’d sleep at friend’s places. Jeff Bezos lived in his freaking Honda for years. Horrible offices. He could have put the money back into, but no. He used it to build. And that’s what they make them powerful.
Derral: And then, too, for The Chosen, that’s what we’re doing, too, because our goal isn’t to make billions of dollars or anything like that. That’s not our goal. Our goal is to get the show to a billion people and that’s our drive. And I can tell you, when you’re focused on cause-driven things like Mr. Beast is or as we are, the byproduct, the effect, the ripple effect of you being focused on where you’re at, you will have all the other stuff that you want. You will have the… people will be talking about you and people will be doing it. And you’ll have the money that’s there, but what I would do is 100% focus on the cause and not the things, so.
Charan: Man, Derral, seriously, wiser words could not have been spoken. I appreciate that. And I know you have a hard stop, so we’ll wrap up right now, but thank you so much, man, for your time and for your wisdom. And honestly, I’m excited to see where The Chosen goes, but not, more than The Chosen, I’m excited to see what you choose to do with the rest of your life. All the other things that are going on. Do you have any final words or any final things that you’re doing?
Derral: I think that last statement is my final statement. Just don’t give up. Keep going. You’re just inches away of getting more exposure and money, so.
Charan: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, man. I really appreciate you taking the time and joining me on this podcast.
Derral: Yep. Thank you, man.
Charan: Yep, talk to you soon.
Derral: All right. Bye now.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast. And we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.