Tim Burton, better known by his YouTube channel and social media handle, Shmee150, has uploaded thousands of videos, which have racked up more than half a billion views already.
Before becoming internet famous, he sold electronics for a bit, then went and taught snow skiing in New Zealand. But a nasty fall sent him back into the real world, where he worked tech support at an investment consultancy firm based out of London.
Starting in 2008, purely as a hobby, Tim would take photos of exotic cars he spotted when he was out and about and post ’em to Facebook, as well as several online forums.
In January of 2010, he launched his YouTube channel, Shmee150. In his early videos, he never showed his face, keeping all the focus on the cars.
It would take three years before his channel was profitable enough to where he could walk away from his day job. A few years later, with even more money coming in, he began building his own car collection.
Shmee’s tagline? Simple: living the supercar dream. “It’s about sharing the experience, being very positive, sharing a passion for cars, and, I suppose, trying to inspire people in some way as well,” Shmee said in a recent interview, looking back on his success.
“And when I’m creating a video with a new model car or whatever it might be, I’m trying to give that impression that you get when you are in the real world position of looking at it,” he continued.
“It’s not necessarily a full critical review; it’s not the full journalistic approach; it’s more a demonstration and explanation—an informative, infotainment-style type piece.”
For example, Shmee150 might switch driving modes and talk you through how the car responds. He might geek out on the aerodynamics. Or give his take on the overall design of the car in question.
He doesn’t overthink his content. Shmee shares what he enjoys: the details and engineering facts that excite him. He does his due diligence, too.
Shmee spends plenty of time hanging around the actual engineers and designers who created each car he features in his vlogs. He’s always trying to uncover little-known facts and interesting stories he can then share with his millions of loyal subscribers.
“If you’re a person who’s, let’s say, looking to purchase a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, generally, when you go to drive it, you’re not necessarily going to want to know what it’s like to drift it on a racetrack… because you’re not gonna do that in the real world,” Shmee said.
“So I’m more trying to say, you know, maybe you had the previous generation, so what’s changed on the new one?”
“Or, what are the first things you’ll notice when you get in the car? So it’s more that kind of approach. The experience kind of approach, as opposed to the technical review,” he added.
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Shmee150 is thought to be making upwards of $3,000 per day—just in YouTube ad revenue. Add in sponsorships, merchandise, and joint venture deals, and it’s no wonder he’s got an estimated net worth of $13 million dollars.