By Matt Rowland
It takes a certain something to be a successful vlogger, an almost indefinable quality that makes viewers stand up and take notice. Whatever this quality is, TiaVapes has it in spades. In just a little over three years, her YouTube channel has generated over 10 million hits and almost 100,000 subscribers. She’s the bubbly blonde with a non-nonsense attitude that really knows her stuff.
VM: So, Tia? You’re all over the web! Your YouTube channel is a big hit. And you are always posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. What’s it like to be one of the most popular vaping vloggers on YouTube?
TV: Being a vlogger is really fun and exciting, and sometimes it’s a little overwhelming! There’s a lot of pressure to stay relevant. In the vaping world, sometimes a new, hot product comes out, and within a month, it’s completely obsolete. And if you review it too late, then your social media fills up with a lot of haters posting nasty comments.
VM: What does a typical day-in-the-life of Tia look like?
TV: A typical day is really just a normal day like anyone else. I have errands to run, bills to pay, and animals to take care of. But instead of going to the office, I work at home on the Internet. I answer a lot of emails, respond to lots of YouTube and social media comments, and spend lots of time on Twitter. A couple of times a week, I might spend the entire day filming videos followed by a day or so of editing.
VM: Sounds like a lot of work. Do you work 9-5? 7-days a week?
TV: I don’t work 9-5. And while I don’t always film a video every day, I guess you could say that I work 7-days a week because my business depends on social media. And that’s pretty much an everyday thing.
For the YouTube Channel, I try to post six or seven videos per week, and there’s more time involved behind the scenes than what you see on film. Experimenting with the different vendors’ products, setting up the products for the video shoot, and editing the videos afterwards takes more time than you might think. So, I really never have a “day off” because there’s always a Twitter message, a YouTube comment, and an email to answer. But when you love what you do, it’s never really “work,” is it?
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VM: That’s a great way to look at it. Do you have a support team of writers, video camera operators, or other staffers? Or do you do everything on your own?
TV: My friends and family, including my parents, grandparents, and especially my wonderful fiancé, always support me in everything I do. But professionally? I handle all business matters related to TiaVapes on my own. If a fan gets an email or sees a Tweet by TiaVapes, I’m the gal who wrote it. However, if I happen to have a question about some product or issue that I am researching, my longtime friend, fellow vlogger IndoorSmokers, is always ready to offer tips, advice, or anything that I need.
VM: I’ve seen some of your videos where the two of you partner together. I always think that’s so cool that fellow vaping vloggers can also be friends, which reminds me. I seem to remember you tweeting last year about an online stalker situation. Care to elaborate?
TV: That person wasn’t a stalker. He was a hater! He just wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept posting derogatory comments all over the place, on my Twitter feeds, Instagram, my website, and, of course, my YouTube channel. But he hasn’t been an issue for over a year now. Luckily, if someone starts to get a bit aggressive online, many of my fans who really like me will sort of manage the situation for me before it gets out of control. But the Internet is filled with trolls. That’s just a part of doing business online.
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VM: That’s a great attitude. So, what’s your procedure for taste-testing multiple e-liquids in a single sitting? I assume you drip vape?
TV: Well, I used to use these 510 dripping attys, which are cheap, disposable, little tubes with a bare coil and wire mesh. Now, after so many fans suggested that I get an RDA, I drip vape using the Troll RDA. I just change the cotton with each different e-liquid.
VM: Speaking of your fans, you seem to have a huge fan base from all over the world. How do vapers from the U.S.A. compare to those in other countries?
TV: You know, I really don’t notice any differences. Everybody vapes the same, likes the same vape mods, and shares the same trending e-juices. UK Vapers fight for UK vaping rights. German vapers fight for German vaping rights. And everyone helps each other regardless of their country of origin. We share each other’s petitions, and give each other advice. It really is one big, happy, Vape Family, a global community of vapers. It’s kind of nice, really. Vaping is one of those things that really does break down all cultural barriers.
VM: With so many fans, have you ever considered starting your own product line, like TiaVapes E-juices or VapeQueen Box Mods?
TV: I have considered doing an e-liquid line, but I don’t have any plans in the works, if that’s what you mean. And I don’t think that I would ever make some sort of vaping hardware, simply because I don’t think that I have the resources for something that ambitious. But, I don’t even know if it’s a good time to begin a new product line, with all of the anti-vaping legislation being proposed around the world, especially here in the U.S.A. We need to make a big breakthrough in the vaping community and secure our vaping rights before I would jump into marketing my own e-liquid.
VM: Do you have any advice for people interested in becoming a professional vlogger?
TV: The most important thing is “consistent content.” You don’t have to post 7 videos a week like I do, but you have to maintain some sort of schedule. You can’t post two videos one week, and then wait a month before posting your next. You have to be consistent because YouTube changes so fast, and vaping videos become irrelevant so quickly because the technology is advancing so rapidly.
Another tip would be to involve your audience. Ask them questions. Get them to help you rate vape mods and e-liquids. My audience of viewers is like my extended family. Sure, we talk about vaping, but we also talk about lots of other silly things, too.
And my third piece of advice? If you want to make a living on the Internet, then you have to have a thick skin. You have to be able to ignore the trolls who leave those nasty comments. If you’re starting a vaping business to help people quit smoking, which is why I started TiaVapes, then you need to focus on that. You’re helping people improve their health and maybe even save their lives. And for me, that makes everything worthwhile.