We were honored to interview one of our friends and one of YouTube’s biggest stars, Alpha M., a.k.a Aaron Marino, the king of men’s lifestyle, fitness, grooming and fashion advice videos. We’ve known Aaron since he had about 15,000 subscribers on his YouTube Channel. Now he’s near 3 million, has one of the largest fan bases on the platform, has starred on Shark Tank (twice) and has more business ventures than he even knows what to do with. Be sure to check out his visit to Grooming Lounge a few years back and his ridiculously entertaining and informative channel, which we highly recommend you subscribe to. Also, be sure to read his answers to our queries below…
What do you like most about being Alpha M YouTube superstar?
I love the feedback from the audience. You get a whole range of feedback from viewers and that’s fun. It’s really special when you hear from viewers that you’ve had an impact on their life. I’m making more than just a video, I feel like I can really help guys and that is cool. On the flip side, the negative part is the negative feedback out there. People can be ruthless. And, it’s hard to take constant criticism. I’d read the comments from watchers for a long time and I don’t have the thickest of skin -- so sometimes it hurts.
What's more impressive, your first 2,000 subscribers or when you hit 2,000,000?
The first 1,000. Hell, the first 50. When I first started I had no idea what a subscriber even was. I didn’t do this for the money. I was just making films. Then I hit 10,000 and realized that people actually wanted to hear what I had to say. Then I started working with companies like Grooming Lounge and realized there might really be something here. To put in perspective, it took me 8 years to get 100,000 subscribers. 8 years! But it only took me 1.33 years to get 900,000 subscribers to finally reach 1 million. Think about that.
If there is one book that someone should read professionally or for fun, what would you recommend?
I’m not a big reader. That’s one of my weaknesses. I learn everything the hard way. I’m a doer -- not a reader. But I really do like Ted Talks. My favorite is my Simon Sinek and his video on always Start With Why?
If you had one piece of grooming advice for men, what would it be?
Alpha M: I’ve got two. Develop a grooming routine. Whatever you come up with, make sure you do it on a daily or weekly basis. Keep it simple so that you know you will do it. My other one is get started as early as possible so that your skin doesn’t get all wrinkly by 40. When I was in my 30’s, I started and it was already too late. So, using that moisturizer when you’re in college will make a big deal. Drink a lot of water too.
What is the ONE piece of advice you would tell Entrepreneurs and/or YouTube influencers who want the same success as Alpha M?
Alpha M: I think the key for entrepreneurs is to keep your eyes open. Listen to the universe. Try to think about what success looks like for you. More than likely the first idea or even second won’t work, but the later ones will crush it. Allow yourself to reevaluate your goals.
For YouTubers, the number one piece of advice by far is that you have to be AUTHENTIC. Don’t be something that you’re not. People reward that connection and will know if you’re phony otherwise. That’s the key if you want to have a big audience.
You got a deal on Shark Tank, but after it was over you pulled out. Do you get to meet the sharks personally or was it strictly business?
Alpha M: It was strictly business. What you saw on TV was the only interaction that I had with them. Cuban was probably the sharpest, but Barbara was incredible and knows her stuff too. They are all fantastic and all have niches where they dominate. It was an amazing experience.
What’s your favorite television show?
Alpha M: I was a fan of Shark Tank before I got on it. But outside of that, I can’t get enough of the show Alone on History Channel. It’s like a mix of Naked and Afraid and Survivor and it is must-watch TV. You really see people’s mental state when they are put to the test. Gotta’ watch it.
Where do you see influencer marketing going in the next few years?
Alpha M: Influencer marketing is on the brink of exploding right now. We haven’t even scratched the surface. And, things move so quickly. Big brands are just starting to realize the power of it to reach their audience. Crazy money is being thrown around right now. Eventually, it will hit a bubble and only the cream will rise to the top -- those that are authentic and can connect with their audience.
What is your favorite grooming product? Favorite Grooming Lounge product?
Alpha M: Well, I love Pete & Pedro Putty. It’s my own line but it really is the best men’s hair styling aid out there by far and ideal if you want a matte hair look. Grooming Lounge has amazing stuff and I love what you guys are all about. My two favorites from your line are The Best Smeller Body Wash and the Beard Master Shave Oil.
If you weren’t a YouTube star, what would you be doing?
Alpha M: I like creative stuff so I’d probably be a hairstylist. Or a Sushi chef. Just love watching those rolls get rolled up! Can’t get enough of California Rolls or maybe it’s the ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Who knows?
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
Alpha M: Really two things. First, is the one-year anniversary of my Tiege Hanley product line. We want to be the big player in the men’s skincare industry and we’re off to a great start. The other is I really want to improve my Alpha M YouTube channel content. Everyone is copying my stuff and doing the same thing -- so I want to do mine better by getting more creative and being first and cutting-edge.
Where is the most surprising place that someone knew you on the street?
Alpha M: Geez. I think the weirdest spot is when I’m at the airport and the TSA agent is checking my bags/stuff and then is like “I really love your videos.” Totally weird. And, it’s happened like five times. Bathrooms at the mall too, I don’t want to shake your hand after your bathroom visit, so I guess we pound elbows in that case!