Marcus Butler might be best known for his videos, but did you know that the YouTuber also runs his own business? We caught up with him ahead of the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 finale, where he’ll join Richard Branson and Tyra Banks on the judging panel, to find out more.
Tell us about your business, where did the idea come from?
A few years I started to make a bit of a change to my lifestyle as I wasn’t too happy with how I felt about myself. Despite thinking that I was healthy and going to the gym, a bit of reading made me aware of the effect that my diet was having on my overall wellbeing. At first it was overwhelming, there was a wealth of information out there from all sorts of sources, and often one thing seemed to contradict another. After spending a lot of time looking into what I could do, I began to cut out sugary and processed foods, replacing them with healthier, natural alternatives and soon started to notice the benefits.
During this lifestyle change, it became clear that finding healthy snacks was a time-consuming and sometimes difficult process – supermarkets had snacks that looked healthy but were packed with sugar and additives. Not only was it hard to find health shops outside of London, but being new to the health scene meant it was really hard to know where to start! Through this journey, SourcedBox was born; a simple and convenient way to discover healthy snacks each month.
What have been the best parts about launching SourcedBox?
The reaction to SourcedBox has been incredible - it’s made all the tough decisions and late nights completely worth it and is definitely one of the highlights. It’s been overwhelming to see how many people love receiving their box each month, and from reading blog posts to watching unboxings on YouTube the feedback across Europe has been amazing. It’s great to know that not only are we making our subscribers happy, but for many we’re also introducing them to new healthy snacks that will hopefully inspire them towards a healthier lifestyle. For me, it’s also been really exciting to have a business outside of YouTube, as much as I love making videos. I’ve always been interested in starting my own company having studied business at school and college, so to launch a business alongside two friends has been a great experience. Not to mention that it’s given me the opportunity to be a judge on this year’s VOOM!
There’s a lot of fun to be had starting a business
What have been the biggest challenges that you’ve faced in launching a business?
One of the biggest challenges was actually the launch itself. Myself and my business partner (and fellow YouTuber) Niomi have a significant audience across our social media and YouTube channels, so to some extent we had to work in reverse. We knew that we had a platform to share SourcedBox with millions of people, but we needed to ensure that everything was in place to handle any demand - be it big or small. We ran a pre-launch campaign to better understand the level of interest, and sold our first boxes in a limited window as a pre-order in December. Fortunately (and due to careful planning of course), we were well prepared for the demand for our first box, despite it surpassing our expectations and growing continually since!
What does launching SourcedBox mean for your YouTube career? Is this the end?
Definitely not! I’m incredibly thankful that I’m able to make a career out of YouTube as it’s something that I love. Similarly, SourcedBox is something that I’m hugely passionate about, and has given me a really exciting avenue to explore outside of my YouTube career. It’s not always easy to balance the two, but my commitment to each venture means that time management and organisation are key. Scheduling days for filming YouTube videos and days for SourcedBox meetings (or snack tasting – someone’s got to do it…) are a key part in ensuring the success of both. YouTube is very much an independently driven role, whereas at SourcedBox I have my business partners Niomi and Max to work alongside, and I hope that as we continue to grow so will our team.
What advice would you give to anyone else considering launching a business?
Do it, but make sure it’s something you really believe in or are passionate about. There’s a lot of great ideas out there, but the ones that really stand out and work are those where it’s clear that whoever is in charge lives and breathes what their business stands for. There can be some tough times along the way, every business experiences this, but it’s in these moment that having a real passion for what you’re doing can be the difference between powering through or giving up, and in the end this can become the difference between success and failure. There’s a lot of fun to be had starting a business, and almost everyone I’ve spoken to that has done it would do it all over again!
Tune in to Virgin.com on June 28th from 10.30am (BST) to watch Marcus on the judging panel of the Virgin Media Business VOOM live finale.