Maksim Sulimau is what one may unapologetically call a true multi-brand of a digital creator. He successfully runs nine thematic YouTube channels and sells merchandise under his own brand, YouFact. He was awarded with the Gold and several Silver YouTube Play buttons. While broadcasting content in five languages to an international audience in 150 countries, he managed to develop ten new projects that are about to be launched. And all that is in addition to Maksim’s real-world activities.
In November 2022, Maksim Sulimau was a judge at the Follow Your Heart, an international festival of short films in Miami. Two years earlier, he judged the School of Bloggers – an international competition for students aged 11 to 17 that was jointly organized by the education ministries of the CIS countries.
Besides, Maksim Sulimau, on numerous occasions, has been welcomed by top-level international media outlets such as Forbes, Ok Magazine! and Cosmopolitan. But he doesn’t think of himself as a star. Rather, a businessman who is good at efficiently managing a team spread out all over the world.
Do this man’s talents ever fail him? What thought process allows him to come up with his brilliant ideas? Let us dig in.
Most recently, during a Miami short films competition, as a member of a celebrity-filled panel of judges, you were tasked to select the best out of the worthiest. As a video creator with tremendous experience, what is your opinion regarding the format of a short film? Should bloggers be studying how to make shorts?
To be honest, the selection process was very rigorous. Out of the three hundred films that entered the contest, only eight made it to the finals. I truly admire the nominees. They managed to instill a deep meaning in each of their mini-features.
Admittedly, expressing profound ideas and true feelings in such a limited time frame is not an easy task. But films that made the cut did so remarkably.
It is my opinion that to succeed with a short, you must structure the plot and screenplay impeccably. Some of the films that we watched were built on a single actor’s performance, who literally had to “carry out” the entire picture. And believe me, this is incredibly hard. But that is precisely what many videobloggers should learn how to do.
And what about your younger colleagues that participated at the School of Bloggers? Have you discovered especially talented ones?
As you know, young people today are well adapted to rapidly changing trends, so they are more intuitive, in my opinion. They have a very good understanding of the digital world. Clearly, while they may lack professional skills, some of their ideas are actually respectable. Many of the participants produced content for socially-oriented projects, and it was delightful to see how they were able to come up with a clear idea, determine ways to implement it and achieve a specific result. Their structured and organized approach was truly admirable.
I’m not certain that all contestants will necessarily make blogging their future profession. But at the very least, most of them overcame the fear of public speaking or filming themselves. This is certainly a useful life skill for almost any profession. Perhaps some of them will undertake public speaking, become journalists, and if not – still will be able to enjoy the freedom of self-expression and feel more confident in public. Yet proper education is crucial for anyone. I think we should not stop the learning process but continually develop skills in a variety of fields. And if at all possible, work on your YouTube channels (laughs). If your priorities are set right, one should not interject with the other.
Your YouTube projects, every single one was a success? Not a single failure? Please be honest.
As luck would have it, no failures. YouTube is a daily grind. You put the efforts in, obtain experience, learn how the algorithms work, and it eventually pays off. At the moment, I am focused on technology-centered channels, where I publish at least two videos a week. Production on other channels is less frequent, but all of them generate steady income.
Let’s discuss your channels in more detail. At this point you have nine. Tell us a little about each.
My two YouTube niches are gadgets and technology and infotainment. All of my channels are nested under the same YouFact brand, but each channel’s target geography is indicated in its name ending. For example, YouFact Tech is an English-language gadget channel with over 500,000 subscribers as of today. YouFact Technologien is in German, YouFact Tecnologias – in Spanish, and YouFact Technologies – in French. The name of each makes it obvious that all of them are focused on the subject of technology. All other YouFact channels contain “Es,” “Fr,” or “De,” ending in their respective names, indicating the channel’s language. These channels cover everything and anything under the sun. There are also YouFact Live channels that feature daily life segments. And finally, my biggest channel so far is YouFact in Russian.
Can you describe your target audience?
It is extremely diverse. Based on analytics data, my videos are watched almost in all countries where YouTube is available. That more or less includes 150 countries.
What makes such enormous outreach possible?
That is because my channels are made in a variety of languages. English alone is spoken in fifty-eight countries.
In other words, if you created ten more channels in other languages, your coverage would extend to the entire globe?
…And that, by the way, is exactly my plan (laughing). The YouFact brand is due to expand in 2023. I am venturing into several new niches, to target teenagers and to cater to men and women of all ages and social statuses. My reel titled “All your pain in one video,” for example, has been viewed fifty-five million times. That is more than the entire population of Canada.
How do you generate ideas?
I am an analyst by nature. I am able to understand and feel trends, effectively conduct research, all to find a common denominator and to quickly implement any given idea. However, sometimes I do plateau, but that is more of an exception.
Is there a way for you to predict whether a new project will be successful? Can you figure it out intuitively, or do you normally have to conduct a massive market research before the launch?
While I do like to calculate and analyze everything, the truth is that in business, you cannot do well without intuition.
Would you say your intuition is well-developed?
I consider intuition one of my greatest assets. Throughout history, an infinite number of brilliant ideas were born, but only a small fraction ever came to fruition.
Why? Is it due to laziness or undecidedness?
Mostly due to lack of funding and an appropriate marketing strategy. I approach every single project with the utmost care, I hire a suitable team, and that allows me to guarantee a successful outcome.
Does Maksim Sulimau ever make mistakes? May I have an honest answer?
He certainly does. But I tend to view every disappointment or unpleasant discovery as nothing more but a learning experience. My business brings me full, top-level satisfaction, and, in turn, causes the same sort of emotions.
You know, every fall is a great opportunity to jump even higher. When everything is simply stable, there is absolutely no room for growth. This is not how I like running my business. Mistakes happen all the time, or I would not learn anything.
What sort of mistakes specifically?
Hiring an unsuitable team member or wasting time on selecting a cooperation partner that turns out to be a failure. At the same time, if not for these mistakes, how would I find just the right employees and partners?
Now confess, where does your inspiration come from?
Very often, I find it in the comments section under the videos. Communication with subscribers is the best source of inspiration for producing new videos. If you’re talking about the bigger picture, my inspiration comes from all the rapid changes happening in the modern world. We live in an era when technology, science and medicine go through quantum leaps in their development. This inspires me to create something truly worthwhile.
Your team now consists of thirty members, all working from different locations. What is your secret to successfully managing them?
My company has a clearly arranged organizational structure. It is comprised of departments headed by highly qualified managers. Each of them has its own team responsible for particular projects. As the owner of the business, I do not engage in the actual process of production. My role is to generate ideas and approve the end product.
I suggest we allow ourselves a little dream – where is Maksim Sulimau and YouFact in five years’ time?
I’m a businessman. My job is not dreaming but planning (laughing).
Alright, what is in the plans for the next five years?
Jointly with our partners, we are developing Sharky, a mobile app and browser extension designed for online shopping. The goal is to make it a leading app in its market segment. The American market is the most competitive market on the planet, so we do not expect it to go too easily. But I am a blogger and an influencer. I have a massive source of traffic, and I lead a large team, so I am confident that I can do it. In addition, I am opening ten more YouFact channels in other languages.
Hindi, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, etc. This will help promote the product as much as possible and bring it to the world markets. The Sharky app is an innovation; it will be sought after by many.
Why is that?
Sharky will help to save money on shopping and remain within budget.
You do not stay still.
I wish to never stop growing, to conquer a country that is new for me. My utmost desire is to become the best in what I do.
And to conclude, what is your ultimate goal?
I want my company to go public and list it on a stock exchange with its own unique product.