Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
When Katie McRose booked her first sheep shearing job on Craigslist at age 14, she had absolutely no idea what she was doing.
But she’d grown up around livestock, and she had proper shearing tools on hand. All she had to do was figure out how to use them. So, she packed them up and asked a friend to meet her at the client’s farm.
The inexperienced duo ended up doing a “terrible job,” according to McRose, but amazingly, the woman who’d hired them was happy enough to start recommending their services to her fellow farmers. The more jobs McRose and her friend completed, the better they got, and the more McRose fell in love with the work. By the time McRose was in high school, Right Choice Shearing had become a real gig, and was generating enough business that McRose’s mother pitched in, helping her manage her schedule and ferrying her to jobs.
Then, when McRose was 16, everything changed.
@rightchoiceshearingSeptember shearing of a Rambouillet Ewe using 9 tooth combs. ♬ original sound – rightchoiceshearing
Her mother discovered she’d been dating Darian, her longtime best friend (and now wife), in secret. Katie was promptly kicked out, and on top of losing her home and the support of most of her family, she lost access to her shearing tools.
Keeping her business going meant starting from ground zero. Katie had to keep a roof over her head and put herself through high school while repurchasing all her shearing equipment and rebuilding her client base. She went back and booked a job with that very first client, and slowly got back on her feet.
After high school, Katie and Darian went together to Texas A&M. While they were both earning degrees in animal science, Katie brought Darian in on Right Choice Shearing, telling her it was “easy money.” Darian “fell for it,” Katie says, and the two have been shearing full-time ever since.
Though Katie’s mother wasn’t willing to stand by her, one very important member of her family remained supportive: her grandfather. We’re used to seeing stories about young’uns convincing the old folks to join social media, but in Katie’s case, it was her grandfather who urged her to start a YouTube channel. For years, he pushed her to use social media to share her skills, her passion for animals, and Right Choice Shearing with the world.
In June 2021, she followed his advice. She started a channel for Right Choice Shearing and uploaded 10 videos of various lengths that showed her in action, shearing sheep, llamas, and alpacas. The videos generated a few hundred thousand views, and by early August, her subscriber count had ticked up to around 5,000 people.
August was the game-changer. Katie still doesn’t know why, but suddenly, a 59-second upload from June 21 caught the algorithm updraft and took off. Within days, it amassed more than 20 million views. View counts began to rise across her other videos, and she ended August having bagged nearly 40 million views total. September came, and traffic didn’t slow. Right Choice Shearing brought 40 million views, and its subscriber count jumped to 229,000.
Last month, Katie and Darian’s channel brought more than 76 million views, and they’re now up to 400,000 subscribers. (They also have a thriving TikTok account with more than 2.2 million followers.)
For Katie, going viral means being able to share not only her skills and her passion, but also an up-close look at farming, an industry she says struggles to combat “anti-wool, anti-agriculture organizations spreading misinformation and horrific videos of people doing monstrous things to animals.”
“I just want to share the other side of the story,” she says. “Farmers don’t have money for billboards and ad campaigns. We have to show you from our perspective what it looks like, and social media can help bridge that gap.”
Check out our chat with her below.
Tubefilter: Tell us about the two of you! Did you grow up on farms? How did you meet?
Katie McRose: Darian and I met when we were both three years old. We started pre-K together in a small Catholic school, where we became inseparable. Our first “dates” were crawling through the tubes at Chuck E. Cheese–play dates, of course.
I moved away after that year, but Darian and I kept in touch, letters, phone calls, and Christmas cards. We attended birthday parties and big events together, but lost touch after fourth grade. I moved back during middle school, but we did not reconnect until high school.
We dated in secret through college and both earned a degree in animal science, graduating Texas A&M sitting side by side. We both came from country living backgrounds. Darian was raised on 400 acres, and I grew up on much smaller plots.
Tubefilter: When and how did Right Choice Shearing become a business for you? Why is it a traveling business?
KR: I started Right Choice Shearing at the age of 14. I had no idea what I was doing answering a Craigslist ad for sheep shearing. I hadn’t ever shorn a sheep before, but I had the equipment and a friend to help, so we just faked it until we made it. We did a terrible job but, being excited that anyone was willing to do it, the client told all her friends about us.
The next place had llamas, then some alpacas. We definitely didn’t have any idea how to handle those, but we just kept on. My mom helped take me to jobs and schedule all the work when I was living with her, but in my senior year of high school, I was kicked out of the house because of lies I told to hide my relationship with Darian.
At that point, I had to start all over. I had to buy new equipment, find my old client, and finish high school by myself because I wasn’t given anything. My first year at A&M, my business partner and friend who started this with me and I had a falling out. I looked at Darian and told her I couldn’t do this alone. I asked her if she wanted to make some easy money. She fell for it, and has worked with me ever since.
Our senior year of college, we weren’t sure what we wanted our future to look like. We knew we had a passion for shearing, but how could we fit that into a corporate job? We couldn’t. We decided to take the leap, and the first year out, we crushed it with 300 jobs, then 450, 575, and just this last year, almost 600.
The reason we travel to the farms is animal comfort. The animals are less stressed in their own environments than hauling them somewhere else. Most small farms don’t have a trailer, nonetheless the skill and knowledge to successfully load an entire herd to bring to the shearer. Some places do a group shearing where multiple farms are brought to one location, typically to the best place to set up. Those are few and far between.
Tubefilter: You started uploading videos to YouTube in June. Why did you decide to start a channel? Was there any particular reason or inspiration?
KR: I started this channel in hope to spread positivity about the industry I live in. There are so many anti-wool, anti-agriculture organizations spreading misinformation and horrific videos of people doing monstrous things to animals, and I just want to share the other side of the story. Farmers don’t have money for billboards and ad campaigns. We have to show you from our perspective what it looks like, and social media can help bridge that gap.
My grandfather was the reason I pulled the trigger on starting the channel. He has believed in me since day one. He never doubted my drive and passion, or looked down on my choice to work outside rather than in an office. He has been telling me for years to start a channel so others could share my passion. I took the leap because one person believed in me. I owe everything to him, and I hope I honor him in the way that I share my craft.
Tubefilter: When did your channel start to take off? Was there a specific video that went viral and brought a lot of views, or did viewership kind of pick up across the board?
KR: Right Choice Shearing’s YouTube channel began going viral with a video called Penns Peeled Mats. It’s about a sheep that hasn’t been shorn in several years, and the fleece is one huge mat. The Short was scooped up and shared so quickly. It had 40 million views in such a short timeframe.
That led to a raise in my other videos, of course. Then some of my longer videos began circulating, and the channel was off. 100k subscribers in 30 days. Growth has been consistent 100k every month since. I have no control over it. Last month, a video I posted in August took off out of nowhere, and now it has 40 million views, too.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you? How much time do you spend at work versus making content? How has making videos fit into your lives overall?
KR: There are no average days in this lifestyle. We live in totally different worlds depending on the month. In shearing season, March through June, we have been working seven days a week for 60 days straight. We had a grand total of three days off in those months this year. Two were injury-related, and one was a cousin’s wedding.
Those aren’t short workdays, either. To get every animal done before the summer heat, we work 14 to 18 hours each day, servicing an average of between five and eight farms a day, with the most being 14. During this schedule, I would make videos in the car between jobs or at 2 a.m. in the hotel room. Once summer came around, I started on longer videos for YouTube. The only thing is, I’m not an efficient editor, so a 20-minute video takes me 20 hours of time. I’m certain it will get better, but I’ll have to struggle through a bit more to get good at it.
Now that we are in the off season, my days are filled with family, random adventures, and building a cabin by hand. I finished out our small home last year in the off season, and this year am building a shed, furniture, and cabinets to wrap up that project. These days look much different than the hectic noise of the spring.
Tubefilter: Do you think you would have uploaded content to YouTube without YouTube Shorts? Do you think Shorts is an important component of YouTube for creators?
KR: I would have uploaded without the Shorts program, yes, but I know my channel wouldn’t have grown with this speed. People enjoy my short videos, and I have so many of them, they fall into a rabbit hole of satisfying shearing. Then they watch my longer ones. I feel that Shorts are like mini channel advertisements. If they like the trailer, people are more likely to check out the full movies.
Tubefilter: Have you earned any money from YouTube’s Creator Fund for your Shorts viewership?
KR: I have earned money from the Shorts program. I’ve made approximately $1,500 a month extra from the program.
Tubefilter: Has the growth of your channel changed anything for you professionally? Has it driven any business to your company? Do you have any new plans or goals? Do you plan to continue making content?
KR: Thankfully, Right Choice Shearing, the business, is extremely well established and not in need of expansion. We are actually busting at the seams with work. There are not enough shearers for the amount of work available, especially small, hobby farm work. I think, if anything, social media will be a strain on our business. We are already tapped out on how many people we can take in and contact, but we have to also juggle inquiries from around the U.S. to include places we don’t service. Having to deal with that during the shearing season will definitely prove to be intense.
We plan to continue making content over the winter months and then again when we start up in the spring. I have tons of footage, I just have to make time to put it together.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite thing about being on YouTube so far?
KR: My favorite part is the kindness in the comments. I never dreamed I would have fans, but I recognize a few fans and look forward to their remarks on my upcoming content.
Tubefilter: What’s next in the immediate future for you and your channel? Where do you see yourself in five years?
KR: I feel like I should have a grand answer for this. I feel like I should have some kind of awesome plan and future for my channel, but I don’t. Opening this door to social media has been a wild ride. I post videos when I get excited about one. I share content on the day I feel the passion. I never expected one million views on a video, nonetheless to hit one million watch hours or 400k subscribers. I didn’t plan for it to become what it is today, and I don’t know what it’ll be tomorrow.
Maybe I will get to be an influential person in the shearing world. Maybe I can bridge the gap, even just a little. Maybe I can spark others’ passion, encourage people to be authentic and walk through opportunity’s door. Maybe my channel is taken down tomorrow and Right Choice Shearing falls off the map.
The beauty is, I’ve accomplished what every artist hopes for. I’ve touched people’s lives. I read it in the comments every day, received multiple DMs with heartfelt stories and even met people in real life that have found comfort in my videos. They bring people together, help them through dark and scary times, and bring laughter to a quiet room. Once you’ve experienced that kind of raw connection with a stranger, subscriber count, watch hours, or bonuses don’t matter like they did.
I truly believe I was put on this earth to help these animals and their owners. I hope that I can grow this channel to reach more people and continue to mend the gap, but I’m just along for the social media ride. I have no expectations, and that makes it so much easier to enjoy.
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