Zach Hsieh, 22, and his team are known for not only providing great content but also for constantly giving back to those in need.
Zach Hsieh, who goes by “ZHC” on YouTube, is one of the biggest artists on the platform, with over 22 million subscribers. But to hear him tell it, Zach's only just beginning.
“I know we have some big plans,” Zach said to Inside Edition Digital's Leigh Scheps of his career. “Not sure how long it's going to take to get there.”
Though a timeline isn't clear, Zach's goals are as large as the canvases on which he hopes to create art.
“I've thought of something before where we would do a huge mural on a mountain, so something like that, just crazy ideas like that," he said.
Zach has many dreams and ideas for future video content. And he’s come a long way. When Zach first began, his channel was quite simple. And over time, he built it up to be something incredible.
Zach has made a name for himself and has also gotten a chance to work with other big YouTube names, like Charli D'Amilo, Addison Rae, and Mr. Beast.
And you’d never know it by looking at his videos, where he sports his signature teal hair and matching shirt, but Zach’s actually pretty shy.
“I guess even though I have a following, it doesn't mean I'm not shy,” he said. “I think now I still am shy. I think I got out of my bubble a little bit, but the shy part of me is always there.”
Zach explains that his passion for art began at an early age. To pass the time, he would doodle comics in class.
“I probably practiced a little bit too much, I'd say. I'd probably practice over a hundred hours a week for a couple years.”
And he says that "Captain Underpants" was one of his favorites.
“I feel like Captain Underpants was a huge inspiration for me because when I was a kid, I had trouble reading chapter books. There were just so many words, and I couldn't stay focused, but I feel like when I saw those Captain Underpants books, it was almost like graphic novels where there's a picture on each page. And that kept me very entertained.”
“The stories were hilarious,” he added. "And I would always practice, I forgot what it was called, but I think it was called Flip-o-Ramas, where they have little flipbook scenes. And I would just do my own after reading those books.
“I think that's where I fell in love with cartooning and these graphic styles.”
Zach enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York City to continue honing his craft. And that’s where he says he started really getting into YouTube.
“I started out having a small following on Instagram, and a lot of people wanted to see me post a couple of things on YouTube. And I never really went on YouTube too much, but I knew of the platform, and people just kept pushing me to try it out.”
“So I started to post a couple of videos here and there, and after a while, I found out I was having a lot of fun, just creating content, making videos, doing funny skits to entertain people.”
Eventually, Zach’s channel took off, and he dropped out of school.
“First of all, I want to say I very strongly believe that education is very important,” he said. “For me personally, it was hard for me to focus in class, and I just thought the classroom setting might not be for me. So instead, I took the path of learning myself online.”
“I'm very lucky to have parents that are so supportive of what I'm doing,” he adds. “However, they weren't as supportive of me dropping out of school, which is understandable. They were pretty worried at the time, but I think they're a little more at ease now.”
One thing Zach said he dreamt of years ago was being a Marvel comic book artist. But as the years went on, his dreams took a turn, and he went down a different path.
“I definitely knew I wanted to be an artist. At the time, I was a comic book artist. But then I started falling in love with YouTube and video creating and editing," he said. "So, I decided that I wanted to keep the comic book style.”
However, if Marvel called, Zach says he would still consider it.
“I don't think I would drop everything, but I might take on a few projects here and there," he said. "It still sounds really fun.”
One content creating giant that has called Zach up to work for them? YouTube itself, with which he’s partnered to host the series “Instant Influencer.” And he says the opportunity has taught him many things.
“Well, honestly, by doing 'Instant Influencer,' I learned so many things. But I think the biggest takeaway for me was just production efficiency. I saw the YouTube team working, and they're just like a fully automatic system.”
Last year, Zach and his team gave away $1 million worth of products. They also made a major contribution to a school in Denver, Colorado. And recently, Zach surprised several kids at AdventHealth for Children in Orlando, Florida, when he hand-delivered them iPads and decorated the halls of the hospital.
Much of the income Zach earns through YouTube ads in his videos and sponsorship deals either goes back into producing his projects or towards donations, he said.
And what the audience sees is not created by Zach alone, who said he has the help of more than 24 people to create content.
“I think a lot of people don't realize how many people actually put their time and stuff into this, and there are so many people helping me out. And honestly, if I was just filming by myself, they probably would get a video once a year,” he said.
And for Zach, one of his biggest challenges is learning balance.
“There are a lot of bright sides about doing YouTube, but I think the biggest thing for me is learning how to balance work life, personal life, because obviously it is a lot of work, and I just need to kind of balance it out," he said. “Because if I didn't have people beside me to tell me to slow down a little bit, I'd probably still be working seven days a week, the entire day.”