From stuntman to photography business owner: how Keydrin thrives with passive income from Sellfy

By Zane Skuja read
From stuntman to photography business owner: how Keydrin thrives with passive income from Sellfy

Keydrin is a talented photographer best known for his unique portrait photography. What started out as a passionate hobby in 2011 quickly grew into a full-time business—924 Photography.

As a self-taught content creator, Keydrin now hosts his own YouTube channel where he teaches photography and videography. He’s also very active on Instagram where he has built a loyal following of 116k and growing.

As his popularity and expertise grew, so did requests and the demand for in-depth tutorials. Eventually, he came across Sellfy as the best place to sell his products. And now, thanks to the passive income his Sellfy store generates, he’s able to focus on content creation.

Read on to learn more about Keydrin’s journey, Sellfy’s impact on his business, and how he built his audience on YouTube and Instagram.

How did you start your photography business?

I kind of just fell into it. I used to be a stuntman, actually. So, my wife and I went on our first cruise back in 2011. Back then, I had a little point-and-shoot camera and saw another guy taking pictures on the ship. I wanted to see what he was doing and I asked him. When I came back home, I went to Best Buy and bought my first camera, which was on September 24th. And, that’s where the business name—924 Photography—came from.

From that point, I started shooting everything. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with this. I was shooting books, landscapes, and cars. And when I became better, people started asking for paid photos. I agreed to it and wasn’t charging much, and I was giving them tons of images for pennies on the dollar.

I tried portrait photography, but my wife told me that it wasn’t really my forte, which I didn’t take as a bad thing, but rather as a challenge. So, portrait photography is where I put my focus on and that’s what I ended up doing. I’ve been doing this for almost 12 years now.

Can you tell me more about how you grew your following?

It started with Facebook groups. There, I saw many people posting in Facebook groups and getting ripped apart, so I was afraid to do it. But then, one day, I decided to put myself out there because I figured that the feedback would help me grow. As I began posting in the groups, I started getting better. I also spent countless hours studying on YouTube and practicing my craft. I was very determined.

Then, I moved over to Instagram. It seemed that it was very hard to gain followers there because of the algorithms, and it still is today. So, I think it was about three years ago that I decided I was going to buckle down. I had around 5,000 followers and I started putting out my best content to gain more organic followers.

I set myself a goal for Instagram. I posted good images, tagged the right people, and used the right hashtags and my stuff started getting shared and more people saw my work. I ended up having 22,000 followers by the end of December 2019. And, then in January, I set myself another goal to have 40k followers by. I passed that. And, by the end of 2020, I had close to 90k.

Now, in 2021, I have 115k followers so far.

How did you create your first product?

I started investing in other people’s tutorials to better my craft. It wasn’t until I started doing that when I realized I can make extra income with my own tutorials. I didn’t know how people would receive them, but I just made my first one – an in-depth dodge and burn tutorial. There, I showed every single step I did to edit my photographs.

Then, I thought about pricing. I saw a lot of people pricing it really high, but I wanted to make it affordable for everyone, so I made it for $62. From that point, the tutorial started making good track.

So, I made another one on color grading. I took a similar approach – I learnt all about color grading and became a color grading master. There, I teach people the basics of how to color grade so they can create their own style. And now I’m trying to become a color grading master in video, too.

Why did you choose Sellfy to start selling your digital products?

Sellfy was recommended to me. I saw another creator Manny Ortiz selling presets with Sellfy, so I decided to join as well.

I had friends who wanted to make me a website, but I found that Sellfy makes it easy for you to just upload your videos and products.

Keydrin’s Sellfy store

Yesterday, I released my new tutorial, and it took me maybe five minutes to put up everything that I need.

You just upload, write your description, set your price, and get a link that you can put on your Instagram bio. It’s just that easy.

What’s your favorite part about being a YouTuber and creator?

The people. I love seeing them grow. When I see people’s businesses thriving after buying my stuff, that’s the joy!

They keep me motivated when they comment and say, “That is a gorgeous image.” Some people don’t know that those little words can support somebody without having to buy anything. And, also, by just giving a like or a comment of how they’re doing. That keeps me going.

Keydrin’s video of a photoshoot for a lens review on his YouTube channel

And, what’s the most challenging aspect of being a creator?

The people are also the most challenging because a ton of following comes with ton of responsibility. People message me day in and day out. They don’t have any sense of your time.

So, you as a content creator have to learn how to switch off and be with your family. At first, I was 110% in it all the time. We could be watching a movie and I would answer somebody right then. I came to a point where I had to scale back and prioritize what I was doing.

Another challenge is the demand for the content that comes out. I edit all my videos and pictures, and that is even more time-consuming. And, I also manage my online business. I do it all.

I don’t think people really understand how much it takes to put together a YouTube video.

So, to balance that out, I have another hobby where I ride motorcycles and fix cars because I’m in the car community. I’ll take breaks from photography and just film cars to take a mental break from portraits.

How has Sellfy impacted your business financially?

Sellfy is probably 90% of my business now. When I first became a content creator, I could not do client work because it was just too much. I would try to do client work, YouTube, and then manage my Instagram, which is a job all in itself.

Sellfy allowed me to stop doing client work and focus on content creation.

I was able to save up to buy new gear or have companies just send it to me. We also bought a new home and paid off our cars. So, Sellfy has helped tremendously.

And, if you don’t think that $35 or $62 or even selling products for just $9.99 will do anything, let that start stacking up because those $9 or $10 will add up. If you do the math, $10 on 100 people is around $1,000. That can be money that can help you buy a new lens or camera. And, that can be what you make while you’re asleep.

And, now, I make money with Sellfy while I’m asleep.

I can be out doing my car stuff and I’ll get notifications of people buying my color grading tutorial. It’s just very rewarding when you see that people are investing in themselves and they’re supporting you by buying a tutorial that you put tons of time into.

What marketing strategies do you use when launching a product?

For my recent launch, I made a 40-second promo enticing people to get it. You have to grab their attention and it has to be something that they might be interested in.

And also, in Sellfy, once people have bought something from you and signed up to your newsletter, you can just send a mass email out to announce a new product launch.

And, also, some days prior the launch, I would make Instagram Stories to get people hyped up about the product. And then, once the product is launched, I post a video in my Stories and on my YouTube, and a preview of the video in Sellfy, so that people not following me on social media can see what they’re getting before buying the product.

What advice would you give to other creators starting their journey?

Hone in on your craft. Whether or not you have lots of content, post your best work because that’s what grabs people’s attention.

Once you hone in on that and you’re in the market to give people educational content, the next step is to gain followers. If you’re trying to reach more people, know that they’re probably on YouTube and Instagram to learn things.

For example, if you’re a carpenter and you want to sell your work, why not show people how to do stuff or just your process? It doesn’t have to be a detailed process. Post it.

And, if you’re not good at videography, you can hire somebody to make you a good promo. Visuals help.

Whether you’re selling wood pieces, car products or anything else, you can put it on Sellfy and start selling and start promoting. Most people are on your page for a specific reason. So, if you’re an entertainer, they’re on your page because they want to be entertained. If you’re a photographer, they are on your page to see photography work and to learn new things.

And last, but not least, never quit because if you’re persistent enough, you’ll make it for sure.

In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Keydrin Franklin
Photographer
YouTuber
Zane started out in Sellfy as a Customer Support rep and quickly became fascinated with clients' business stories. Having worked in Customer Experience and Marketing projects, she is now part of the Customer Success team and enjoys interviewing Sellfy creators.

In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Keydrin Franklin
Photographer
YouTuber