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PewDiePie: Career, Net Worth & How Felix Rose to #1 On Youtube

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Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie online, is a Swedish YouTuber best known for holding the title of the YouTuber with the most subscribers for over five years.

How did he do it, though?

Here we’ll go into how PewDiePie rose to #1 on YouTube in just a matter of years and how his career has progressed since.

Who is PewDiePie?

PewDiePie was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 24th, 1989.

Growing up, PewDiePie was interested in gaming and art. He enjoyed games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario.

He spent most of his free time gaming or making art, which he sold to save up for a computer to game on.

He went to college at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg to get a degree in industrial economics and technology management.

He dropped out of college in 2011 due to his lack of interest in his degree.

At this point in his life, he started focusing on making YouTube videos under the PewDiePie name.

His parents weren’t supportive of this change of direction, but he managed to make it work.

He first started the PewDiePie channel in 2010, making gaming videos.

The earliest video still available to view is a video of him playing the popular game Minecraft with a friend.

He was unsure that videos in the gaming niche would help him gain traction, but that was what he wanted to make, so he stuck with it.

He has been known for consistently ranking high on YouTube, especially in the gaming category.

In 2012, he saw his channel hit 1,000,000 subscribers, a huge feat back then.

One source estimates that up until 2016, there were only about 2,000 channels with over a million subscribers.

Due to such massive growth in the website’s popularity, that milestone is more commonplace.

PewDiePie is one of the most notable entrepreneurs of this generation because he was among some of the first to make a career out of YouTube.

Highlights of PewDiePie’s Career

Here are some highlights of PewDiePie’s over-decade-long career.

  • July 2012: PewDiePie hits 1,000,000 subscribers
  • September 2012: PewDiePie hits 2,000,000 subscribers
  • August 2013: PewDiePie beats popular channel Smosh for the most-subscribed channel
  • December 2013: PewDiePie beats YouTube Spotlight channel for most-subscribed
  • December 2013: PewDiePie beats YouTube Spotlight channel again for most-subscribed, holding that spot for 1920 days
  • 2018: PewDiePie and T-Series feud begins
  • March 2019: PewDiePie loses the #1 spot to T-Series
  • April 2019: PewDiePie briefly regains the #1 spot before losing it again days later

PewDiePie’s Controversies Explained

PewDiePie is no stranger to controversies.

He has had quite a few throughout his channel that has left the internet split over supporting him.

Controversy #1

In January 2017, PewDiePie faced his first major racism controversy.

Before this, he essentially got away with his actions, like keeping a racist doll in the background of his videos.

In a now-deleted video, PewDiePie used the n-word.

He apologized, and the internet primarily moved on until September of that same year when he used the n-word again in a live stream.

The backlash from doing this wasn’t just online. PewDiePie lost a contract for his YouTube Red series Scare PewDiePie.

Controversy #2

A co-founder of a video game developer called Campo Santo denounced PewDiePie for his racist actions and encouraged other game developers to follow in Campo Santo’s footsteps in filing copyright strikes against PewDiePie videos that feature their game.

During this time, PewDiePie got criticized for fostering an environment for the alt-right to grow.

He got into hot water for shouting out a YouTube channel that often used racist and homophobic slurs in their videos.

Due to the PewDiePie vs. T-Series feud, PewDiePie got called out for racism towards Indians that stemmed from both his and his fan’s actions.

Throughout the feud, PewDiePie got criticized for perpetuating racism, and negative Indian stereotypes, especially with the diss track PewDiePie made about T-Series.

Controversy #3

In July 2022, PewDiePie was criticized for racism and ableism when he mocked a deaf Black woman for her voice and long nails while using ASL.

PewDiePie has also faced much backlash over antisemitism over the years.

His largest controversy surrounding antisemitism came from a video where he paid people on the popular freelancing app Fiverr to hold up a sign that said “Death to all Jews.”

This event caused a tremendous amount of backlash.

While PewDiePie apologized for this, stating he didn’t think they would do it, many people didn’t accept the apology due to the way his actions as such a large creator were both harmful to Jewish people as individuals and as a whole.

How Much Is PewDiePie Worth?

Since PewDiePie is so largely successful and likely the largest YouTube celebrity out there, how much exactly does he make off YouTube?

How does he make his money?

How Much Does PewDiePie Make?

Due to the way ads work on YouTube and outside sources of income, it is hard to give an exact number for how much PewDiePie makes on YouTube.

How much you make off of ads depends on your YouTube niche.

The more niche you get, the more you make, but the more saturated a niche is, the less you’ll make in the niche.

PewDiePie is known for monetizing YouTube back when the website was still very young, which makes the way you can earn money off of it much different back then than it is now.

For the sake of simplicity, we will consider PewDiePie’s earnings with the current practices.

On a single video, PewDiePie typically gets anywhere from 1 million to 5 million views.

PewDiePie largely makes gaming and reaction videos, which puts him in two different niches.

Depending on your YouTube niche, you’ll make different amounts of money from ads, and you’ll get different types of sponsors.

Socialblade estimates PewDiePie makes anywhere from $99.8k to $1.6 million a year.

This number comes from how many views PewDiePie gets per day, which Socialblade says he gets around 1 million views a day.

Since gaming is a wide niche, PewDiePie may only make around $3 per 1,000 views.

This calculation comes out to $3,000 per day.

If PewDiePie gets paid $3 per 1,000 views and gets a million views per day every day for a year, he’ll make $1,095,000 in a single year.

This number doesn’t include how much he makes from other sources like merchandise, brand deals, and sponsorships.

Since PewDiePie is Swedish, he spent most of his career in a very high tax bracket, keeping only about half of what he made every year.

How Much Is PewDiePie’s Net Worth?

Most estimates of PewDiePie’s net worth land around $40 million, but PewDiePie indicated in a 2021 YouTube video that this number is inaccurate.

He doesn’t indicate whether it is high or low, though.

It is hard to accurately estimate just how much PewDiePie’s net worth is without knowing exactly how much money he has and how much things such as his house and apparel line are worth.

PewDiePie may also invest his money to grow its worth and make sure he can live off of it if he ever stops making money from YouTube.

He may not even know it himself if he hires people to take care of his finances for him.

A $40-$60 million estimate is what most sources agree upon, though, due to his immense wealth from YouTube and other ventures.

How Did PewDiePie Build His Net Worth?

PewDiePie started selling Photoshop art and working at a hotdog stand after dropping out of college.

He made YouTube videos as a hobby and built his channel to #1 just three years after making it.

1. Brand Partnerships

PewDiePie has partnered with companies like GFUEL and Clutch Chairz to make his own themed products for fans to enjoy.

He has PewDiePie-themed headphones, keyboards, and computer mice, too.

2. Sponsorships

As of 2019, GFUEL is PewDiePie’s biggest sponsor, which allows money to keep coming in the case of YouTube demonetizing his videos.

3. Business Ventures

PewDiePie and his wife, Marzia, have a clothing brand together called Tsuki, which is supposed to be a high-quality, ethical, and sustainable clothing brand.

4. Merchandising

PewDiePie has had many merchandise lines over the years.

He currently sells a wide array of products, from t-shirts to duffle bags.

One article says that PewDiePie sells over $6 million worth of merchandise every month.

PewDiePie has partnered with companies to make things like PewDiePie gaming chairs and keyboards, which have his iconic black and red stripes.

5. Additional Possible Sources of Income

In addition to YouTube views, PewDiePie also has a membership system where people pay monthly for specific perks.

PewDiePie released a parody self-help book in 2015 during the YouTuber book era.

It has sold over 100,000 copies since.

What Lessons Can You Learn From PewDiePie?

PewDiePie is such a great success story.

There are probably a lot of things we could learn from him.

These are things like following your dreams even when it’s scary and finding your niche in life.

These are great to remember if you want to start a YouTube channel!

1. Follow Your Dreams

PewDiePie dropped out of college because he realized it wasn’t making him happy.

He then focused on what made him happy: playing video games alone and with friends.

These gaming videos got him to number one, and over a decade later, he still primarily makes gaming content!

2. Don’t Give Up

Despite not having his parents’ support after dropping out and having to work at a hotdog stand and sell art online to make ends meet, PewDiePie kept at YouTube and turned it into something he could live off.

3. Find Your Niche

PewDiePie didn’t know whether he would be able to make money off of gaming on YouTube because there weren’t any large gaming channels back in 2011 since the website was still very young.

He still did it because he knew what worked for him.

It turned out well, with other people loving gaming videos as much as he loved to make them!

Inspiring Quotes from PewDiePie

Over the years, PewDiePie has offered much insight into things like life, love, and having a career.

Here are some notable quotes.

  • “Life is too short to focus on things you hate. Focus on what you love instead.”
  • “You have to be honest. You can’t love someone out of sympathy.”
  • “I’m so lucky to be in a position to help people, and that’s so appealing to me.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions about PewDiePie.

How much does PewDiePie earn a day?

PewDiePie likely earns anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 a day off from YouTube alone.

Other sources of income may add several thousand more to that amount.

Who is the richest YouTuber?

It is estimated that Jeffree Star is the richest YouTuber.

This is because he owns a cosmetics line outside of YouTube.

Where is PewDiePie Now?

PewDiePie lives in Japan with Marzia, who he married in 2019, and their dogs.

In 2020, he said he considered himself retired from YouTube and does it as a hobby.

He still uploads videos regularly, though.

The Bottom Line

PewDiePie is an example of adapting and growing with YouTube as the website changed over the years.

He managed to stay #1 for over five years and is still viewed as the most famous YouTuber out there by many.

PewDiePie rose to number one by working hard and doing what he loved while playing all the right angles to ensure success.

He found what worked for him and kept at it while still finding his work fulfilling and being happy with his life.

If you have any questions about PewDiePie, leave a comment!

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