How did James Neese (@TheStradman) go from living in his car to multi-millionaire? How much does he make on YouTube? What is his net worth? I did some digging. Read on.
I’ll start with his handle, TheStradman. At age 14, long before James was on YouTube and Instagram, he was sitting at his parents’ computer, trying to come up with a username for a Ferrari forum. His dream car at the time was a Ferrari Challenge Stradale. So he played off “Stradale” and went with The Stradman. Little did he know, that was the beginning of a multi-million-dollar brand.
TheStradman says his mom was really strict when he was growing up. She hand-selected wholesome role models he could look up to. His favorite was Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter. When TheStradman started his YouTube channel, it was important for him to “keep it clean,” so that other kids could look up to him. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that any kid of any age can watch his videos, and their parents can be okay with it.
In terms of content, James’ niche picked him. “I’ve loved cars since before I can even remember,” he said in an interview with Life of Palos. “My dad is into cars. I have three older brothers. They’re into cars as well. But I’ve kind of taken the passion to, like, a whole different level.”
TheStradman knows how lucky he is to get to play with cars for a living. He’s incredibly grateful for his 2.93 million subscribers (at the time of writing this) and everyone who’s supported him along the way.
Funny thing is, TheStradman always believed in himself. Even though he didn’t grow up with money, he never doubted he would own a Ferrari and a Lamborghini one day.
He never cared about anything else. He didn’t desire fancy clothes or a mansion. In fact, his parents taught him to be super thrifty with his money. This was actually a secret to his success. Because he lived dirt-cheap, he was able to turn what little money he was making at odd jobs into monthly payments for supercars.
TheStradman started YouTube as a passion project. He never saw it turning into the money machine it is today. “At one point I was living in my car, car spotting [taking photos of cars at car shows, for example]. It was never for the money,” he recalled.
“Once I saw you could make money—I have that business sense, you know, I’m an accountant by nature—I started crunching numbers. ‘Okay, so this many views earns this amount of money. What if we multiplied that by 10 times?'” he thought to himself.
“And then I would study other YouTube channels. And that’s when I started making more strategic decisions,” he added. Of course, as he began buying exotics, his views exploded.
Currently, TheStradman makes about $2 million dollars a year off of YouTube. That’s a combination of ad revenue, sponsorships, and merch sales. All in all, his net worth sits at roughly $3.5 million.
The hardest part of all of this? Dealing with the fame. The Stradman says he’s a big-time introvert. It took him forever to get comfortable filming vlogs in public. And to this day, the attention he gets while taking his Aventador or Bugatti out for a spin, gives him anxiety. But it’s a tradeoff he’s happy to make.