Top Vegan

case study

It's May of 2023 and I just discovered a fantastic new cooking competition called Top Vegan.

I discovered it because it's a YouTube show and YouTube recommended it to me, which is what YouTube exists to do.

This show just launched a couple of weeks ago and already, YouTube is putting it in front of people like me who want to watch it.

That's the power of YouTube.

In this article, I'll be doing a breakdown of Top Vegan and pointing out the real opportunity that it appears the contestants are not seeing.

Hopefully, I'll be able to help you see the opportunity so you can take advantage of it.

About Top Vegan

The show is recorded in Columbus, Ohio by an independent production company (Clubhouse Films), as opposed to one of the major TV networks like the Food Network or Bravo (Top Chef) or HGTV.

The Top Vegan team is demonstrating that with today's technology, there's really nothing that the traditional TV industry can produce that regular people can't produce with camera equipment that you can buy anywhere.

That's not diminishing the professional experience of the Top Vegan team.

But 20 years ago, it was literally impossible for an independent team to produce a show like this and put it on TV because YouTube didn't exist 20 years ago and none of the audio/video equipment and video editing software necessary to produce a show like this existed at the consumer level.

The equipment would have cost WAY too much 20 years ago and you still would have no way of getting the show on TV.

But now, because of advances in technology, YouTube exists and is full of examples of TV-quality shows produced by individuals and small teams. And if it's on YouTube, it's on TV.

Just search for travel videos on YouTube and you'll see examples of the incredible shows that regular people are creating as they travel the world.

The Top Vegan team is showing an example of how a team of people working together can produce a cooking competition just like the ones from the traditional TV channels.

And people are going to watch Top Vegan on their television just like they watch Top Chef because 47% of YouTube viewers watch YouTube on their TV!

The biggest difference between Top Vegan and a show like Top Chef is Top Vegan doesn't have the big Hollywood budget, so the grand prize is "just" $10,000.

That's $10,000 that the Top Vegan team had to put together to offer as a prize, so I'm not diminishing it at all.

And it's $10,000 that will make a huge impact on the contestants, so again, I'm not minimizing it.

However, it is a small prize compared to the $300,000 grand prize offered by HBO's The Big Brunch.

But even HBO, with all the money in the world, didn't start out with such a grand prize. In HBO's The Great Soul Food Cook-Off which predates The Big Brunch, the grand prize was "only" $50,000.

HBO's grand prize budget grew and so will Top Vegan's.

But later in this article, I'll explain why even the $300,000 prize really isn't a lot of money for a skilled chef to be competing for.

The Top Vegan Contestants

Most of the competitors appear to be located in Ohio, but I looked up a couple of the cities that they're from and some of these people traveled more than an hour to participate in this competition.

One contestant is from Pittsburgh, PA, which is just under 200 miles away from Columbus, Ohio.

How is traveling to Columbus to compete easier for any of these chefs than just cooking in their home kitchen?

Especially when the grand prize is only $10,000?

Each of these contestants could easily produce a cooking show out of their home kitchen and make way more than $10,000.

Also, these people had to apply to be on the show. What about those who didn't get accepted?

And what are they going to do after they get eliminated since only one person can win?

There will always be way more applicants for a cooking competition than there are available slots.

But YouTube is available 24/7 for anyone to produce their own show, so why not just produce your own cooking show instead of applying to be on someone else's where all but one person will ultimately get eliminated?

Instead of applying to compete against other people and then worrying about getting eliminated, you can compete against yourself and just get better every week.

In this video, Cheron takes you on her journey of getting better every week, which she was only able to do because she can't get eliminated from her own show.

She can and does take risks with experimental recipes all the time and if it doesn't work out, she still gets to come back next week and try again.

Think Like A Business Owner

I'm encouraging you to get out of the mindset of applying to be on somebody's show when you can create your own show and produce a better result for yourself.

At the 5:00 mark of the Top Vegan video, contestant Nowel Addishin shares that she wants her own restaurant and hopes that being on Top Vegan will help her get there.

But there's no trace of Nowel on YouTube.

And Top Vegan didn't exist until a couple of months ago.

So if Nowel believes that a brand new cooking show on a brand new YouTube channel can help her get her own restaurant, why doesn't it occur to her that it can be her YouTube channel rather than someone else's?

She's applying her talents to grow someone else's YouTube channel when she could just as easily be cooking on her own YouTube channel.

I'm pointing this out because too many talented people will apply their talents to building other people's fortunes rather than their own.

If you want to own a restaurant, you have to develop an owner's mindset and get out of the employee mindset.

Selling Cookbooks for Passive Income

At the 9:00 mark of the Top Vegan video, contestant Chloe Graffeo shares that she wants to write her own cookbook someday.

Chloe has a YouTube channel that she hasn't posted on in 8 years.

Again, there's nothing that competing on Top Vegan can do for Chloe that she couldn't have done for herself by now by cooking on her own YouTube channel.

There's no good reason why Chloe's cookbook is still just a dream. Anybody can create a digital cookbook and start selling it on Gumroad immediately.

The Top Vegan Has Already Been Crowned

Her name is Nisha Vora and she crowned herself.

She's not even competing on Top Vegan.

Or rather, the Top Vegan contestants are not competing with her.

Nisha has 1M YouTube subscribers on her Rainbow Plant Life YouTube channel, whereas the Top Vegan channel has just 3400 subscribers, so far.

The Top Vegan channel will undoubtedly grow. With the quality of the show's production and the channel's focus on vegan cuisine, getting millions of subscribers will just be a matter of them publishing videos consistently, over time, which is the key to success on YouTube.

Nisha's channel is an example of what an individual committed to their own success can use YouTube to accomplish.

And take a look at Nisha's website, particularly the recipes page, which is basically a digital cookbook.

Nisha is a former attorney, now vegan cook.

What part of what Nisha is doing could Chloe not be doing if she really wants to have her own cookbook?

How did I find out about Nisha?

The same way I found out about Top Vegan: YouTube just put her in front of me.

I wasn't even searching. YouTube just put Nisha in front of me the same way it put Top Vegan in front of me.

And that's the same way YouTube will put you in front of people if you put yourself on YouTube.

Chef Eric Adjepong is another example of the power of YouTube. He started his cooking show on YouTube when the pandemic shut down his restaurant and how he's EVERYWHERE...including being a judge on cooking competitions instead of competing on them.

You can use YouTube to accomplish anything you want, but you have to get into the mindset of building your own platform instead of just applying for opportunities to stand on someone else's stage.

Grand Prize Money

I told you earlier I'd explain why $300,000 isn't really much of a grand prize for a skilled chef.

Here's why:

You can do this by build a paid membership community around your cooking show.

Let's do some math.

  • At a $30/mo membership fee, it would take just 278 subscribers to generate $100K PER YEAR!
  • Or at $20/mo, it would take 417 subscribers.
  • Or at $10/mo, it would take 834 subscribers.

Let's put those numbers in their proper context.

There are 330 MILLION citizens in the U.S. alone.

All you need is 834 of those people who are willing to pay $10/mo to learn from you to generate $100K PER YEAR from preparing just one recipe per week!

That's the power of a subscription model business.

And that doesn't even include revenue from additional upgrades available for your community members to purchase like digital cookbooks and training courses and one-on-one or group coaching.

For additional context, Netflix has over 150 million subscribers in the U.S.

Nisha Vora has one million YouTube subscribers.

Do you think she could find 834 people out of that one million who are willing to pay $10/month to learn how to cook from her?

By creating a paid membership community, you can provide a place where people learn how to improve their cooking skills and have fun doing it inside your private community of other foodies where none of the toxicity of public social media platforms exists.

And you can earn a fantastic living while doing it!

Your cooking skills can take you anywhere you want to go, anytime you decide to go.

By the way, this is what I teach you how to do in my Celebrity Chef Masterclass.


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