Always be yourself and surround yourself with people who support that. Being in a big world every single day, it’s easy to feel pressure to be someone you’re not, and it’s easy to follow the wrong crowd. If you can focus on yourself, accept yourself for who you are, be your biggest supporter, you can accomplish so much.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen Sharer. Stephen is one of the fastest growing social media personalities with a loyal fan base of over 6.5 million YouTube subscribers. A leader in providing family friendly content with a positive message of “Staying Awesome” and “Sharing the Love,” Stephen and his family have engaged over 2 billion viewers to over 400 viral videos of positive family fun. Stephen has always been socially conscious, in high school serving as a coach for Special Olympics and a mentor for Best Buddies and now committing his time to paying it forward by granting Make-A-Wish dreams and private meet and greets with critically ill fans.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve been creating videos and performing since I was young, so I was naturally drawn to that aspect of making YouTube content — my favorite after school activity as a kid was actually filming videos and creating content with my friends. Once I got a bit older, my funny videos gained traction and won a few awards, which led to a turning point where I had record labels reach out to me asking to create music videos for their artists like Blink 182, who actually licensed my footage. This is when I learned the influential power behind social content, and I knew then I wanted to be able to continue making it as a career.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
The response from fans has been the most interesting thing since starting my career as a YouTuber. The positive response and messages I receive every day from my fan base of Sharers has been incredible. Whether it’s a drawing sent to me by a fan, or a tender-hearted message about how I positively impact their family every single day. I never could have predicted this response when I first began this journey. I have now participated in 3 Make-A-Wish requests and it has been amazing to have that opportunity to create short videos for children and families going through a hard time.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
When I first started, I often was forgetting to hit record or not turning on the microphone. The things that come so naturally to me now were so foreign to me at first — imagine filming a whole vlog without any sound, or performing an entire epic scene or stunt without having ever started the recording.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Always double check the steps in your process, no matter how simple they might be.
Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
With so much content out there, it’s important to me as a creator to use my platform to make a positive difference in the world. Share the Love is my brand, my motto behind every video I create. I want my channel to be a place for families and people of all ages to be able to enjoy G-rated content, feel inspired to create, get out and explore and feel motivated after watching me. My videos are fun and upbeat, and they all include family-friendly, positive messaging. My motto is “Share the Love” and I encourage my fans to do this every day.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit that grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses, is a cause close to my heart because it truly embodies the “Share the Love” message. I have been lucky enough to meet several children through Make-A-Wish to help turn their wishes into reality. Most recently, I spent the day with James, a young boy living with Muscular Dystrophy who happens to be a huge fan. We had an epic day spent at the Sharer Family house where we explored in the woods, played with Nerf blaster, went to an arcade and even got to make a vlog together. The ability to put the “Share the Love” message into action and have a positive impact on kids and families like James’ makes the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of being a YouTube creator worthwhile.
Was there a tipping point that made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
When I was making videos in high school, I made a Blink 182 cover video with my swim team just for fun and it ended up getting about 20,000 views. A few months later, AT&T, who was sponsoring Blink 182’s tour at the time, reached out and asked if they could include my video in the band’s music video. This really opened my eyes to the power of video. While it wasn’t for a few years that I decided to take on YouTube full time, this was definitely a pivotal experience for me and made me realize that regardless of the number of views a video gets, if you reach the right set of eyes it can have a tremendous impact.
Are there 3 things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
In today’s world, it is so easy to get caught up in the negativity around us. As a society, we often forget that there is so much to be grateful for and so many reasons to Share the Love. I am so passionate about the Share the Love message because it is a reminder to do three things: have fun, give back and spread positivity. I use it to try to encourage others to do these things in their own communities. With the pressures of life, it can be easy to get in the trap of taking life too seriously, and if we committed to having more fun as a society, we’d be taking steps in the direction toward a happier way of life. Then of course, it is obviously important to focus on is paying it forward and giving back to the community. In addition to that, spreading positivity is something that sounds so easy, but many of us forget to do. I’ve chosen to use my content to spread positivity, but anyone can take small actions like complimenting somebody, standing up to a bully, or even remembering to smile more, saying “Please” and “Thank you,” and appreciating people for what they DO versus focusing on the things they don’t…these things go a long way! They may seem like small steps individually, but put together we can create a tidal wave effect of sharing the love.
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?
I end every single video encouraging my fans to “Stay Awesome and Share The Love.” This phrase has become a catchphrase for me and is often quoted by my fans and their families too! They make me realize that the message of “Share the Love” is bigger than just a YouTube channel — it’s a social movement. If you want to use your platform for social good, you have to seek out ways to move beyond the platform. One of the ways I have done this is through my official merchandise line available at StephenSharer.com, where we sell apparel and accessories with our brand message on it. When you wear something with a positive phrase like Share the Love, you are making a statement about what you stand for. Everyone has something special to offer and representing yourself with a strong and positive message like this helps bring out the encouragement in all as well as inspire others to Share the Love too.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Always be yourself and surround yourself with people who support that.
Being in a big world every single day, it’s easy to feel pressure to be someone you’re not, and it’s easy to follow the wrong crowd. If you can focus on yourself, accept yourself for who you are, be your biggest supporter, you can accomplish so much.
2. “Enjoy the little things in life.”
My YouTube career took off extremely fast (I was one of the top 100 YouTube channels in the US). A lot of major milestones were accomplished that were beyond anything I could imagine. It’s important take a step back and to make sure to reflect on every accomplishment, no matter how big or small they seem at the time.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d love to continue to expand the reach of the Share the Love message and keep encouraging more positivity in the world. If we all were able to accept people for who they are, compliment them on the things they accomplish, and contribute a little more positivity every day, you could make a person’s day a little brighter and create a ripple effect and encourage those around us to keep spreading happiness and sharing the love.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t mention a person’s past mistakes when they are trying to change. That’s like throwing rocks at them while they are struggling to climb a mountain.” This quote is important to me because it reminds me that everyone is going to something whether you can physically see it or not. And it reminds me to treat everyone with respect and appreciate them for the things they do, no matter the size.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Taylor Swift is one of the most influential people for me. It is amazing how she transitioned genres while not just maintaining, but growing a multi-generational audience. On top of that, she is a marketing genius, an incredible businesswoman and, most importantly, she always gives back. She is a strong believer in herself, connects with her fans often and is very involved with her family.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me on YouTube and Social Media here:
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!