Interview with Bob from YouTube's "I Like to Make Stuff"

Bob and I discuss the importance of doing what you love and how to turn your passion into a career.

What if you could turn your passion into a career? Bob from "I Like to Make Stuff" was able to turn his dream into a reality; from custom tables to skateboards, this YouTube channel shows everyday people how they can make amazing projects. 

Jason: For the readers that aren't familiar with your work, what exactly do you do?

Bob: I make stuff! Honestly though, it’s crazy. I get to make anything that is of interest to me and show other people how I did it. Some projects are small utility items for the house and some are bigger, more ambitious and sometimes just for fun. I’ve made full size arcade cabinets, secret door/bookcases, furniture, pudding guns, etc. It’s really all over the place!

What did you do prior to YouTube?

I wrote software for about 15 years before I quit to pursue content creation full time. I started out building websites and grew into building applications for IT professionals as well as mobile apps.

How did you start your career on YouTube?

I was really looking for a reason to make some stuff with my hands, since I spent my days at the computer. With 4 young kids, I needed to be able to justify that time in the shop to myself. Showing other people how I did it in video form was a good way for me to get what I needed and teach others in the process.

Is this what you always wanted to do?

Well, I’ve always made things in some form or fashion. I never really thought about it becoming a career, but once I realized that I could make a living at it, basically learning how to make new things, I was hooked. The fact that there’s a market for it, and the technology allows it still blows my mind a little bit. It’s literally a job that didn’t exist just a few years ago. At this point I’m essentially a media production studio, which wraps up a bunch of my lifelong interests like film/video, music, making, etc.

What's a common misconception about what you do?

People often expect me to make my living off the profits from selling the things I make, but the truth is that I rarely, if ever, sell those items. My product is content. The projects are the subject of that content. They’re a vehicle for me to learn and teach new skills, but I have very little interest in trying to sell those items.

What was the best advice you've ever received regarding your career?

In all things, add value. Adding value to conversations, to others' projects, to others' lives is a way to always make an impact.

What advice do you have for other people that are chasing their dream job?

Remove weight, in the form of debt. Chasing dreams involves a lot of risk, and the fewer outstanding commitments you have, the easier that risk is to take. By paying off all of our debt, I had far less weight on my shoulders when thinking through the financials.

What was your proudest professional accomplishment?

Honestly, every time I get an email from someone saying that I inspired them to make something for the first time. Hearing that I’ve influenced someone to take a positive step towards something new is really the proudest I’ve been.

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career?

Email. That’s partially a joke, but also not. Email is the embodiment of the big problem, which is really about input. As soon as you put yourself out there, you’ll receive more incoming communication from people. That’s to be expected. At some point for me, the mixture of good, invited input got overwhelmed with unwanted input, but it seems that they all expected a response. Everyone can deal with that in different ways, but for me it’s been a real struggle to be available and accessible to the people who watch my content while trying to sift through the unwanted expectations of outsiders. It’s a little tough to explain, but all of the communication is mixed in one place. I have to sift through ALL of it to get to the good, real emails, but that’s getting more and more tiring.

Check out the I Like to Make Stuff YouTube Page, Podcast, and Patreon 

Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

Big nerd with passion for television, the 90s and ridiculous trivia.

Did you know that one of the first original television programs in America was "The Television Ghost," which featured dead people telling the stories of their murders.

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