How this second grader makes $22 million per year
Ryan seems like a regular elementary school kid. He attends school, goes to Chuck E. Cheese and loves toys. Unlike his peers — and the majority of adults for that matter — Ryan makes millions! Forbes reported that Ryan made $22 million from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018.
Probably makes you feel like your 2018 accomplishments aren’t much of accomplishments anymore, huh? Read on — his money making gig will surprise you.
1. Ryan isn’t like other kids
In some ways, Ryan is just like any kid. He loves cars, trains (especially Thomas the Tank Engine), Legos, playtime, and his mom and dad. He has two younger twin sisters named Emma and Kate. His parents, Shion and Loan, say he does piano lessons, soccer, tennis, and goes to elementary school. Something sets Ryan apart from other kids, however.
Unlike other kids his age, Ryan has some fat stacks of cash in the bank. Imagine a kid taking their love of toys like superheroes, PlayDoh, Minions, and being able to profit off of them. That’s what Ryan does.
NEXT: Here’s how Ryan — and his parents — got the inspiration for Ryan’s business.
2. Watching other kids on YouTube inspired Ryan
Like most kids, Ryan loves toys. He started watching toy reviewing channels on YouTube. In particular, some of his major favorites were EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya. Ryan’s parents say this was because these YouTube personalities did a lot of videos about Thomas the Tank Engine (Thomas held a special place in Ryan’s heart).
“One day, he asked me, ‘How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?’” his mother explained in an interview with TubeFilter. Clearly, Ryan was influenced by what other kids were doing on YouTube and his natural love of toys.
NEXT: You won’t believe how young Ryan was when his business started.
3. Ryan’s business started when he was three-years-old
Little Ryan’s business started in March 2015 when he was just three-years-old. That’s pretty young to convince your parents to start a toy-centric business! It started off pretty slow at first. However, Ryan’s family kept up the hard work and eventually, it paid off. They started getting double the amount of attention about four months into it.
In particular, one entertaining video published online called “GIANT Lightning McQueen Egg Surprise with 100+ Disney Cars Toys” garnered a lot of views. After that, Ryan and his family started gaining more and more fans that were interested in Ryan’s business.
NEXT: The number of fans Ryan has is jaw-dropping.
4. Ryan has 17,695,809 subscribers!
His business has tons of viewers — as of Jan 2019, it has about 17,695,809 subscribers. There are a lot of people much older than Ryan trying to do what he’s doing. However, these people have barely reached the amount of fame and fortune that Ryan has. Of course, he has a ton of help from his parents.
However, Ryan is the face of his business. His parents couldn’t have gotten their more than 17 million subscribers without Ryan’s charm and fun-filled personality. Most of Ryan’s fans are fellow kids who want to watch another kid like them online.
NEXT: This is how Ryan makes his stacks of cash.
5. Find Ryan on his YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview
Ryan’s $22 million business is Ryan ToysReview, a YouTube channel in which he and his parents (and now little twin sisters) review new toys and play with them. It’s spun off into various ventures and other YouTube channels even, but the real bread and butter are Ryan’s toy reviewing videos.
The Verge describes Ryan’s channel as “a mash-up of personal vlog and ‘unboxing’ video, a blend of innocent childhood antics and relentless, often overwhelming consumerism.” This perfect combination has perhaps led to Ryan’s success (Forbes said that Ryan was YouTube’s highest earner in 2018.)
NEXT: This was Ryan ToysReview’s most popular video.
6. This video got over 1.6 billion views
Ryan has got over 17 million subscribers to his incredibly successful YouTube channel but there are some videos that are more popular than others. The one with the most views at the moment is one of his “surprise egg videos” (big plastic toy eggs he unboxes to reveal a surprise toy).
One video on Ryan ToysReview’s YouTube channel entitled “HUGE EGGS Surprise Toys Challenge with Inflatable water slide” published in April 2016 has generated over 1.6 billion views as of January 2019. The video shows Ryan toting around big toy Easter eggs and climbing around a water slide.
NEXT: Ryan’s YouTube videos aren’t only about toys.
7. His channel also shows family life
Ryan ToysReview got popular for his genuine reviews of toys and fun-filled playtime with his parents. However, the popular channel won over loyal fans with having videos that reveal and share the family’s lives as well. Videos include all family members — Ryan, his mom, dad, and two little twin sisters.
Videos feature the family going to Disneyland, Ryan getting a haircut, running a fever, and Ryan exploring his family’s spooky attic. Videos like this are fun because they help fans learn more about the background of their favorite YouTube video host.
NEXT: Here’s what Ryan’s family did with all the extra video content.
8. Ryan’s family started a second YouTube channel
Sometimes when YouTubers have a second brand or aspect they want to portray online, they’ll start a second YouTube channel for fans. Ryan’s parents are extremely involved in his YouTube career, so they decided to create a second channel dedicated to mostly family life. It seems like a good idea considering they have so much content!
Some fans might want to strictly watch toy review content on Ryan ToysReview or seek out family-oriented content on their second channel, Ryan’s Family Review. They have several other channels listed under “Ryan’s World” (e.g. The Studio Space and VTubers).
NEXT: Ryan’s parents made sacrifices in order to focus on his burgeoning YouTube career.
9. Ryan’s mom quit her job to help his YouTube career
Ryan’s parents help him a lot with the channel. Once Ryan’s mom saw how her son’s YouTube channel was taking off, she decided to quit her job as a high school chemistry teacher to work on the channel full-time. While we might expect his parents to be Dance Moms level crazy, they really seem to be quite reasonable with Ryan’s YouTubing career.
The Verge says Ryan’s parents take a sensible approach. His mother told TubeFilter: “We try not to interfere with Ryan’s pre-preschool schedule, so a majority of the filming takes place during the weekend, and then we’ll edit while he’s in school.”
NEXT: Here’s how Ryan’s parents get his toys, and what happens to them after they’re reviewed.
10. Ninety-nine percent of Ryan’s reviewed toys aren’t branded
If you watch Ryan’s videos you’ll see him unboxing and playing with not just one or two toys, but sometimes hundreds of toys! Surely their family home wouldn’t be able to store all those toys. What happens to them after they’re reviewed, or when Ryan doesn’t want to play with them anymore?
According to Ryan ToysReview’s “About” section on his YouTube page, the family donates most of the toys to charity after Ryan reviews and plays with them. To acquire toys, Ryan’s parents buy them. Ninety-nine percent of their videos aren’t branded, the parents told TubeFilter.
NEXT: Ryan ToysReview took the channel to new heights by signing with this company.
11. Ryan ToysReview signed with Pocket.watch
It seems like Ryan’s parents wanted to take him from YouTube reviewer to tiny mogul status when they signed him with Pocket.watch. This is a two-year-old company that promotes YouTubers. They get YouTubers’ names on merch like clothing, books and other products for consumers. Ancillary companies like this have popped up in the wake of YouTube careerists.
Pocket.watch has other clients like Ryan that make their careers on YouTube. They helped Ryan start his own line of toys. He was the first of all their clients because of his large audience (over 17 million subscribers!), Pocket.watch told the Associated Press.
NEXT: This is how YouTubers make their money. It’s simpler than you might think!
12. Making money as a YouTubers depends on your views
So, how exactly did Ryan rake in $22 million in 2018? Sure he has his toy line and other ventures, like an app and early reader book, but his main money maker is YouTube hands down! Not only does Ryan make cash off YouTube but other stars like Jeffree Star and Logan Paul do, too.
Vertical Insight says advertisers on YouTube will pay your channel if viewers click on the advertisements within your video. If you have a million views and no one clicks on the ads within the video, you don’t make any money.
NEXT: Ryan is able to rake in the dough outside of YouTube as well.
13. This tiny mogul appears in an app and book!
It’s common for entertainers to have other ventures to support their main gigs (e.g. clothing lines, books, music, etc.). Ryan ToysReview is no different. In fact, he has several ventures that fans can acquire. One is a fun app (created with Pocket.watch and WildWorks) called Tag with Ryan.
No matter if you have an iOS or Android device, you can now download the app and play Tag with Ryan! Pocket.watch announced in February of 2018 that it would be making an imprint with Simon & Schuster and several of its YouTube collaborators (including Ryan!) will appear in books.
NEXT: This is the majority of kids’ dreams.
14. Fans of Ryan can buy toys from his line
Probably most interesting to Ryan’s young fans (more than apps and books!) is his line of branded toys. Carried at places like Walmart and Target, Ryan’s toys incorporate elements of things that he cares deeply about. Released in August of 2018 at Walmart, Ryan’s World toys involve some unboxing. Kids can be just like Ryan but IRL!
The partnership was done in collaboration with Pocket.watch. The company is a pro at this because they help develop merch and products for YouTubers that are kid-oriented. Ryan’s World toys started out at Walmart with many events to help promote the brand but now they’re available at Amazon, Target, and more.
NEXT: Here’s what Ryan’s toys are like.
15. Ryan’s World toys allow kids to “unbox” just like him
Some of the toys that you can buy from Ryan’s World are a Giant Egg with a surprise toy inside (retails at $79.99 on ToyWiz.com), a spaceship (also $79.99), an “Instant Slimy Blaster” (a squirt gun with slime inside?), plush stuffed animals, t-shirts with Ryan’s branding, and more.
The toys are branded in a happy, colorful style, much like Ryan’s videos. Ryan’s ToysReview says you can buy his toys and clothing from Walmart and Target. Various other retailers sell Ryan’s World products as well including Kohl’s, Amazon, ToyWiz.com, Gamestop, and eBay.
NEXT: Ryan collabed with a company that grows a common snack for kids.
16. Ryan also has a partnership with Halos Mandarin Orchards
Open any kids’ lunch box and you’ll probably find a small citrus fruit of some kind packed in there as a snack or side for lunch. It makes sense that Ryan ToysReview would partner with Halos Mandarin Orchards in California — many kids eat these Halos citrus fruits! Fans of Ryan are likely to buy the product if it has their favorite YouTuber collabing with it.
Parents that harp on their kids to eat healthy probably appreciate this collaboration too — growing children need to get in their Vitamin C! A sponsored clip from Ryan and his family shows Ryan traveling to California showing viewers how mandarins are grown and packaged for sale.
NEXT: Forbes reported a surprising accomplishment from Ryan ToysReview.
17. He’s one of the highest paid YouTubers
Business publication Forbes reported that Ryan was the number one highest paid YouTuber of 2018. He earned $22 million before taxes from his YouTube channel, toys, and other ventures. This is according to estimates made from data from Captiv8, SocialBlade, Pollstar, and interviews with industry insiders. This measured his earnings from June 1, 2017-June 1, 2018.
Other people on the list were mostly video gaming channel producers like Vanoss Gaming, Jacksepticeye, and PewDiePie. Video games are not just for nerds now! Ten years ago we couldn’t say the same. Makeup e-commerce entrepreneur Jeffree Star also made the list and so did prankster Jake Paul.
NEXT: Could they outshine Ryan ToysReview someday?
18. Ryan’s younger sisters might be video stars too someday
Ryan’s twin little sisters are just as cute as he is. With their wide doe eyes and cute smiles they might make great YouTube stars too someday, don’t you think? Emma and Kate have made appearances in Ryan’s ToysReview videos, often playing with Ryan and his new toys or getting into family shenanigans.
There’s been some talk of Emma and Kate trying their hand at their own YouTube videos. Ryan’s parents, Shion and Loann, told NBC that there aren’t any firm plans to start the twin girls’ YouTube careers anytime soon. The sisters are very interested in what Ryan is doing, however.
NEXT: Ryan’s impact on this group of viewers is really sweet.
19. Many of Ryan’s fans are other young children
“Ryan is a celebrity,” Jim Silver, editor of toy review site TTPM.com told WHDH. “Kids watch his videos. He’s entertaining.” Kids like to see Ryan on screen because he’s relatable, adds Pocket.watch CEO Chris Williams. He says that Ryan’s relatability is what makes him so popular. Ryan plays with toys just like other kids do.
The impact that Ryan has had on other kids is very sweet. According to the Washington Post, kids write in and tell Ryan how much they like this channel. Parents write in too, some saying that Ryan has helped their autistic child become more talkative.
NEXT: Here’s how toy sales are affected.
20. Ryan’s reviews affect toy sales positively
Ryan’s had an impact on both toy sales and the entire toy industry itself, say experts. Toys that are featured on Ryan’s channel, Ryan ToysReview, can see a spike in sales, Jim Silver tells WHDH. Kids do mostly find out about new toys when they’re playing on the playground, Silver said.
That concept might play a big part in whether or not children end up buying Ryan’s World’s own line of toys. We imagine that kids will want to have surprise eggs and such of their very own after watching Ryan open hundreds of them on this YouTube channel, however!
NEXT: Ryan’s success is due to several factors.
21. He’s one of the youngest successful YouTubers ever
Silver told The Verge when Ryan was just five-years-old: “He’s really the youngest success that we’ve seen. Most of the time the kids were in the 6-plus range, just because of the vocabulary and the maturity to do a review.” Ryan’s reviews got across to kids just fine — even at three-years-old.
On Forbes’ list of highest-earning YouTubers in 2018, Ryan made number 1, beating out makeup e-commerce businessman Jeffree Star, the controversial Logan Paul, and Dude Perfect. There aren’t many other children that have reached levels of success that Ryan has in doing YouTube videos. There’s plenty of kid entrepreneurs, however.
NEXT: Ryan’s ToysReview has changed over time.
22. Ryan’s channel has changed over time
Ryan’s YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview, mainly started out just doing reviews of toys followed by footage of Ryan playing. Slowly they started adding more special editing effects, some with cartoon images even, and varied content. The Verge reports it seems that Ryan seems to be reciting a script in his more recent videos rather than speaking off the cuff.
Ryan has also added to the number of toys that appear in his videos. At first, it was just one or two, but sometimes he has dozens and dozens of toys he’s playing with all at once. Video content about the family’s home life and adventures and even some science projects for kids have been added to Ryan’s channels as well. What can’t this kid do?!
NEXT: What will Ryan’s parents do if he decides to quit his lucrative YouTube channel?
23. Ryan’s mom says he can quit anytime
In its profile of the young entrepreneur, The Verge brought up the fact that Ryan might not want to do his Ryan ToysReview YouTube channel forever. It must be great to rake in those millions and be one of the richest kids ever in history under 21.
Despite all the cold hard cash, there must come a point when Ryan won’t want to do this anymore. He might have different interests or not want to play with toys anymore because “they’re for babies.” His mom, Loann, told TubeFilter that Ryan is free to stop at any time.
NEXT: When does playtime become business?
24. The blurring lines between playtime and business
“But would Ryan feel comfortable asking his parents to stop, or have the language to express how always being filmed makes him feel?” The Verge writes. It’s a good point, kids might not know exactly how to communicate complicated feelings to parents — especially if millions of dollars are on the line.
Once he gets older, Ryan might have a more varied vocabulary to be able to communicate this to his parents. One can’t speculate exactly how Ryan feels about his YouTube videos — we aren’t his family nor can we read his mind!
NEXT: This is what his parents have to say about Ryan quitting YouTube.
25. It’ll be obvious when Ryan wants to quit, says his parents
If Ryan wants to quit doing Ryan ToysReview, Ryan’s World and his other lucrative ventures, his parents told NBC that it won’t be a problem. “You can tell if kids don’t want to be in the video,” said Ryan’s dad, Shion. “You can tell by watching them. So it’s very important that the kids actually want to be in the video.”
If Ryan doesn’t have the language for indicating he wants to quit, his parents will be able to tell. Shion has a point — kids usually throw a fit when they don’t want to do something. In any case, Ryan and his fam are set financially with their $22 million earnings.
NEXT: Ryan is probably breaking some world records!
26. Several factors make Ryan successful
Why Ryan told NBC he thinks he’s successful is because “I’m entertaining and I’m funny.” Hard to argue with that! Seeing Ryan running around pretending the floor is lava or playing with the hottest newest toys is likely to put a smile on anyone’s face. Some experts say that Ryan’s ToysReviews plays upon the popular concept of “unboxing.”
The concept is simple but it’s become a money-making endeavor for many a YouTube star. The YouTuber basically unboxes various products, shows them to the camera, talks about them, or reviews them. This could be a shopping haul or new products.
NEXT: Why “unboxing” is a phenomenon in the YouTube video world.
27. Viewers love this “unboxing” trend
You’d think that videos of cool skateboard tricks, comedy sketches, or music videos might be the most popular videos online. Sure those do well, but viewers go ham for “unboxing” videos — the type that Ryan ToysReview often does. One, in particular, posted by FluffyJet shows someone opening a Kinder Egg.
It reveals a Slinky Dog toy from Toy Story, the camera lingers on the toy so that viewers can see every angle. The process is repeated with several other Kinder Eggs. It seems like it would pale in comparison to other videos, says CNN, but this video garnered more than 43 million views as of 2019.
NEXT: Learn more about “unboxing.”
28. “Unboxing” will be the subject of a new documentary
The documentary is titled Unboxing (of course) and will be produced by the company that represents Ryan, Pocket.watch. Paramount Players, a division of Paramount Pictures, acquired the film. It’s unclear when production will start but we’re sure lots of people are interested in exploring this phenomenon of “unboxing” that’s sweeping the nation.
TubeFilter reports that the documentary is supposed to follow an 11-year-old YouTuber around as she unpacks her father’s secret safe on her channel. This will inadvertently cause chaos all over the town. Wonder if Ryan will make an appearance?
NEXT: Who are the other YouTube stars doing similar things to Ryan?
29. Jeffree Star, Dude Perfect, PewDiePie, and other wealthy YouTubers
Forbes names the other highest paid YouTubers in an article at the end of 2018. Ryan ToysReview came in at number one with others trailing behind. Jake Paul (brother of controversial Logan Paul) came in at number two with $21.5 million and Dude Perfect was number three at $20 million.
Others on the list were DanTDM, Jeffree Star, Markiplier, Vanoss Gaming, and Jacksepticeye. Irish video-gamer Jacksepticeye earned the least on this list — a whopping $16 million. Not bad at all! These stars do a lot of unboxing like Ryan as well as video games, makeup, and more.
NEXT: This is what you need to do to have your own YouTube success story.
30. How do you start a successful YouTube channel?
Video platform YouTube has 1.8 billion users every month, according to Business Insider in 2018. Having access to that huge of an audience can truly launch a brand — if it’s done in the right way, of course. So, how do you make a successful YouTube channel like Ryan ToysReview?
Social Media Examiner suggests several things you can do. Posting to YouTube several times per week is important, developing a video producing workflow, hook your audience in at the beginning of the video, and add end screens to promote your video, channel, and website. If you’re involving your child like Ryan’s parents, make sure you keep your child safe (e.g. Ryan’s parents refuse to disclose Ryan’s last name and whereabouts).