GEORGETOWN — What started as an educational figure for Georgetown church youth and student pastor Shawn Goins is now a business venture with thousands of young fans.
Handyman Hal, Goins’ YouTube character, has amassed over 6,000 subscribers over the past year for his videos teaching kids how to build and fix things.
Goins, a construction worker, also works at the Refuge in Murrells Inlet and originally created Handyman Hal to teach the children he worked with a spiritual lesson. Jason Wheeler, a freelance media producer, was helping the church with its video and media projects when he saw Handyman Hal, and said he immediately saw how entertaining Goins was for children.
Goins and Wheeler became a two-man team, with Goins directing the character of Handyman Hal and Wheeler filming, designing the animations, and editing music videos. When the duo started in April 2020, they were just making simple videos in their backyard due to COVID-19 — like how to build a swing set and a lemonade stand.
The channel really started to take off with a video in July 2020 where Goins “fixed” Coastal Car Wash at Pawleys Island, Wheeler said. As of February 2021, Wheeler reported having had over 100,000 views and now has 357,000 views. Their most recent video, posted on June 9, already had 24,000 views as of 2 p.m. on June 10.
Over the summer, Wheeler said, he hopes to post at least one video a week on the channel because the kids will be out of school and have more time to watch. Video ideas mostly come from Wheeler, Goins said, but as the channel has grown, more local businesses have approached them for a feature on the channel.
Goins said he didn’t expect the chain to grow the way it did, and he’s even had relatives contact him to sell merchandise and come to events like birthday parties. Both of these things, and more, are in the works as extensions of the channel, Goins said, and he said he’d like to eventually make the channel his full-time job with Wheeler.
Making money on YouTube is a tall order, Wheeler said, between understanding YouTube’s algorithm and the fact that it’s illegal to advertise directly to children. Both had to get creative, so their ads are usually aimed at the parent listening to their child watching Handyman Hal, Wheeler said.
Wheeler also submitted an application for the channel to be on the YouTube Kids app, which he said would significantly increase their views and chances of ad revenue, but he said they have yet to hear a response. to their candidacy.
While the views and attention are great, Goins said, what drives him is his ability to combine his two passions: working with his hands and having a positive impact on young people.
In the future, the duo hopes to grow the channel into a full-time business with large-scale shows with events. Being able to give back to the community of children not only in South Carolina, but around the world, is the best part of being Handyman Hal.
“I love molding and shaping (kids), watching them grow and mature in the right way,” Goins said. “It’s my heart, and it’s an avenue where I’m actually able to do that.”
To watch Goins’ videos, visit youtube.com/HandymanHal/videos or his website www.handyman-hal.com.
Follow Demi Lawrence on Twitter @DemiNLawrence.