He is the CEO of a successful company. Known for his philanthropy, he donates millions to good causes. He has expanded his business to include merchandising and fast food. His net worth is $54 million. He is twenty-four-year-old college dropout Jimmy Donaldson from North Carolina in the US.
Better known as MrBeast, Donaldson is YouTube’s highest-earning creator, according to Forbes magazine. With 94.7 million subscribers, his videos have clocked up ten billion views — more than there are people in the world. They are usually lavish stunts, challenges or giveaways, in which he hands over enormous amounts of money. He also has millions of followers on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
COUNT TO 100,000
Donaldson started out posting videos at thirteen in which he played Minecraft and other games while providing commentary. His MrBeast6000 channel was moderately popular. Studying the YouTube algorithm, he branched out with reaction videos and funny compilations. His subscriber numbers rocketed in 2017 with a video in which he counted to one hundred thousand. Filming took over forty hours; he had to speed parts of it up to keep it down to twenty-four hours. Whether anybody watched the whole thing through is uncertain, but it did get him a mainstream following and sponsors. He hit it big the following year, when he started using his sponsorship money on random acts of kindness, giving away thousands of dollars to low-income people such as pizza deliverers, Uber drivers and the unemployed and homeless.
twenty million trees
Donaldson has a knack for understanding his audience. His content resonates with a generation hungry for a particular blend of entertainment. MrBeast videos are a mix of excitement, compassion, silliness and glee. In one, he ubers across America. In another, he adopts every dog in a shelter. He raised $20 million to plant twenty million trees through the Arbor Day Foundation and he has literally watched paint dry.
Creating such content is a huge enterprise. Donaldson employs sixty staff, including his friends Chris, Chandler and Karl, who often appear in his videos themselves. He earns a lot in sponsorship, but gives much of it away to subscribers, friends, family and strangers. He even set up a separate channel called MrBeast Philanthropy as a vehicle to give back to communities. Other channels include MrBeast Gaming, MrBeast Shorts and Beast Reacts.
business is yummy
Besides YouTube, he is also an entrepreneur. He set up MrBeast Burgers, selling burgers online, Feastables, chocolate bars on which you can “feast like a beast”, and Shop MrBeast, which sells merchandise.
MrBeast runs a tight operation, balancing entertainment and worthy causes, profit and charity. And right now, he is YouTube’s highest earner. Yet despite his success, he remains humble. He lives in a modest home, he apologises to his mum for swearing and his favourite food is steak and ketchup.