Southern Alberta entrepreneurs become influencers with major online followings


Saws, power tools and an abundance of lumber fill a wood shop near Magrath, Alta. It’s just what you’d expect to see — but this one is a little different. It’s also home to one of the world’s most followed woodworkers on social media.“My best performing video of all time got 189 million views,” said Dusty Mitchell, owner of The Dusty Lumber Co., who is on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.His business has changed with the times.“I would say (in) about the last three years, that’s when I transitioned from barn wood distributor/furniture builder to full time content creator and it’s a lot of fun!” Mitchell said.As of publishing, The Dusty Lumber Co. has 3.2 million followers in TikTok, nearly 800,000 on Instagram, 1.7 million YouTube subscribers and 2.6 million on Facebook. Combined across all those social media platforms, it’s more than eight million followers. Story continues below advertisement Not only does he spend time creating videos, he plays close attention to the analytics of it all, following his likes and shares to find the best way to share content online.Mitchell said it’s one of his favourite parts of the online aspect of his business.While he has a large following on TikTok, Canadians do not make money from that platform. TikTok has a program called the Creator Fund but only adults based in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain or Italy can apply to receive funds from it. Story continues below advertisement Mitchell has, however, received the silver and gold play buttons from YouTube — a unique accomplishment. His success caught the eye of Facebook and YouTube, and now he works with their research departments.He said the entire experience of growing a following online and getting the industries’ attention has been rewarding and very humbling.Mitchell said it’s something anyone can strive to do, no matter where you live.“If you are passionate about something and you have a cell phone and you have an internet connection, you can convert your passion into a job on social media that is very rewarding.Mitchell’s friend Wayne Dick with Dick Industries Inc. in Lethbridge utilized those tips to build his own online presence with automotive work. Story continues below advertisement “If the thumbnail is me grinding or welding, that’s money — that’s the shot, that’s what they wanna see,” Dick said.It took him a few years to get 5,000 followers, then as he was on his way to an auto show in the United States, he said he got hacked just days before it started.He lost total access to his account and had to start from scratch.He was happy to see his few thousand followers returned rather quickly, but he said he hit a plateau. Story continues below advertisement He started to take some advice from Mitchell, and with regular posting he has grown to 250,000 followers across all of his platforms.“January 1 to January 10 we grew 1,000 followers a day on Instagram, which was unbelievable,” Dick said.As of publishing, Dick Industries Inc. has 157,000 followers in TikTok, over 34,000 on Instagram, nearly 14,000 YouTube subscribers and 84,000 on Facebook.He said his most viewed video is of of him teaching his daughter how to drive standard, which garnered around 12 million views.Dick said realizing he could monetize his hobby has been a game-changer.“I’ve actually got a five-year goal right now to be financially dependent as far as my personal life and my projects on social media,” Dick said.Big plans for a guy who says he just likes to tinker in his shop.Another thing Mitchell and Dick have in common — both of them have found success with their trades. They’re both self taught in, woodworking and mechanics respectively, and have had a passion for it since they were kids. Story continues below advertisement &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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