TJ Hunt started making videos as a kid, on his MacBook, with his friends. Freshman year of college, after his girl broke up with him, in an attempt to lift himself out of his depression, he picked back up the camera and began filming car stuff.
“It was therapeutic,” he told Adam22 in an old interview on the No Jumper podcast. So he just kept going. 1.88 million subscribers later, I’d say that breakup was a blessing in disguise.
Over time, TJ realized people came for the cars, but stayed for the stories. They could live vicariously through TJ’s vlogs; join in on the banter with TJ’s buddies by leaving their comments below his videos; share their opinion on his latest girlfriend; and keep coming back to see the next chapter in TJ’s life.
Transparency was big too. TJ decided early on not to filter himself in his videos. For example, if he was filming himself in the garage, working on a car, and his socket wrench slipped and he banged his knuckle, he’d yell, “F*ck, that hurt!” instead of censoring himself to appease the more prim and proper crowd.
Reverse-motivation was a driving force in TJ’s success as well. What I mean by that is, TJ didn’t set out to make millions of dollars and have a fleet of exotics. His thought was, “I need to bust my ass at this whole YouTube thing so that I never have to go back to ‘living that box life.'” He hated studying in college. The rigorous schedule. Living like a robot. All he wanted to do was make enough off YouTube to avoid that.
In 2016, TJ launched his clothing brand, Hunt & Company. They sell T-shirts, hoodies, sweats, hats, stickers, posters, pins. Slowly but surely, they’ve scaled it up to where they’re processing upwards of 10,000 orders per month currently.
More recently, TJ’s gotten into the car parts game. From bodykits to brakes, wheels to grills, he’s got his hands in all of it. Then there’s brand deals—the most impressive of which is his sponsorship by Monster Energy. Meguiar’s car care products is a close second. And don’t forget AdSense income. TJ gets a share of all the ad revenue generated when people watch his videos.
All told, we estimate TJ Hunt’s net worth at about $5 million dollars. If you’d like to follow in his footsteps, here’s his advice to you: “You will only succeed if you’re 100% truly passionate about it. You cannot guarantee success if it’s not your obsession. So for me, I knew there was no area for failure because I was obsessed.”
By being all-in, TJ was willing to forgo that extra hour of sleep. Turn off the baseball game. Put down the Xbox controller. Skip that night out, drinking with friends. And instead, use that time to build his business. And here’s what the payoff looks like: