Ali Abdaal is an entrepreneur, doctor & YouTuber. His YouTube grew primarily thanks to productivity related content, but his financial success is due to a range of digital products & online courses. Ali’s products (self)reportedly make around £3,642,200 annually.
Following a recent video where Ali broke down his expenses (which total £1,235,993 per year), I thought I’d take a look at his business & products to see if he’s a calculated CEO or a very talented individual who has become lost in his own success.
My end of 2022 update on Ali 🔮
The following article was written early this year, but since then some of my observations & predictions came to their natural conclusion, which Ali revealed in his How I Failed in 2022 video.
To put it simply, Ali realised the limits of his business knowledge & experience. He reveals they missed their revenue target by around £2 million, & spend the money he anticipated to be profit in 2022 despite not achieving his financial goals.
It’s not clear whether missing these targets was completely due to sales targets being missed or also due to underperforming in output, but Ali has said he just doesn’t see his biggest revenue source (his courses) being massively scalable.
In the below article, I said how Ali seems inexperienced & impulsive, which he seems to agree with in his video. He explains that the excessive spending on studio & office space was a result of him assuming he couldn’t fail, which is classic hot hand fallacy.
Luckily Ali is in a good position where he can slice off excess spending to improve his profitability.
What are Ali Abdaal’s products & businesses? 🤑
- His YouTube channel – through affiliate income & advertising on videos.
- The Part-Time YouTuber Academy course.
- His two podcasts.
- Courses on Skillshare for productivity, video editing & well-being.
- His stationary company essentiali.
- His education website for medical student university applications 6med.
- His book deal.
- & more which make up smaller portions of income.
Why I think Ali’s business knowledge is questionable 🥴
It seems like Ali is investing in Part-Time YouTuber Academy how a Silicone Valley advice book would suggest, which could be a very bad longterm decision. How I see it, Ali’s current course isn’t going to scale infinitely, whereas some of his expenses look like he expects them to scale like Deliveroo.
I would anticipate his Part-Time YouTuber Academy has legs, but will not continue to sell out each class in 5 years.
He spends a lot of money (around £380,000 per year) on a team despite his YouTube content output being not huge, which doesn’t include £56,760 in paying for “coaches”.
Many of these team members (of which there are around 16) are recent hires. Based on a recent video where he discusses his book collection, it would seem like a slightly rushed decision. He mentions feeling under educated on the process & needing to read further on the subject.
Whilst Ali is definitely a bright & ambitious individual, in many of his videos he doesn’t appear confident in his abilities as a business leader & often seems impulsive. One year stating he wants to move his life to the US & document the life of an American college student, & then the next he’s looking to build a YouTube empire.
Unsurprisingly, these aren’t great traits in a business leader, but very good traits in an influencer.
Additionally, in his video with Elizabeth Filips where they discuss his decision to leave medicine we see Ali in a different light. Ali attempts to justify leaving medicine to become an influencer & how it not only gives him more joy than being a doctor, but also allows him to save more lives in the long run. The logic is flawed, & indicative of his gullible & often overly literal nature when learning information through studies or books by people he respects. I speak more on the subject if you click on this article, which I wrote after the first version of this article.
Why Ali’s expenses are a calculated decision 🤓
If Ali wanted to, he could cut his expenses by a lot. Looking his video, I would anticipate that he could slice off £400k pretty easily. Maybe he’s not overestimating the interest in his YouTuber course, maybe he’s actually thinking outside the box.
Looking at his prior job listings, I anticipate Ali is potentially doing a few things:
- Creating an all-in-one YouTuber service & ecosystem. Start with the course, join the paid community, & then potentially he’s looking to add even more after-sale services to increase the revenue per client. Things like a monetisation tool, editing, video SEO service, etc.
- Make his course business less reliant on his personal brand by advertising through other influencers & maybe even getting other influencers to make courses. Potentially even courses for other platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
- Expanding to make more courses about YouTube & video editing, diversifying the content further. I did find one mini YouTuber course he does for $350, which could be the start of more to come.
- Lastly, he may just be trying to make his life as simple as possible; outsourcing as much as he can whilst retaining quality & control. Maybe he’s not planning big moves, & instead just wants to have lots of free time to do things he loves (like increasing his type speed).
When you consider the above, all the expenses begin to make a lot more sense.
The verdict: smart or mad? 🤔
Time will tell for Ali, but I imagine the future is rather bright. He’s taking a huge risk not squirrelling away all his money for a rainy day, but considering the influencer economy is around $10,000,000,000 (yes, thats 10 billies baby) Ali could have the chance of creating the influencer industry’s equivalent of Hubspot.
Or, maybe he’s outsourcing 90% of his responsibilities & is being too confident in the consistency of this annual revenue. Perhaps he’ll regret it in two years when his earning drop by 70% & he has to fire some staff.
Regardless, we look forward to watching his journey.