How a football geek turned his hobby into a business
Konstantin Hert, or Konzi, has achieved world-class status in the football business with his hugely popular YouTube channel freekickerz.
Konzi who? Konziwoo, as he calls himself on Instagram, played club football only up under 10s. Nonetheless, the 29-year-old is often seen out on the pitch alongside elite footballers like Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
This is because Konzi runs freekickerz. With over four million subscribers, freekickerz is the world’s largest YouTube football channel, and currently the largest YouTube channel in Germany. The video clips, showing shooting techniques, equipment, and weekly football fails, are regularly watched by several million people.
Konzi’s success story resembles others spawning in the digital sphere today – and it comes with many imitators.
‘We’ before ‘I’
Community. This is at the center of Konzi’s approach. The close-knit group of football enthusiasts elevates his recognition and it has made him a sought-out idol for teenagers to take selfies with.
The community is also the secret to why he has been able to create – without the help of a publishing house – a social media empire equivalent to mass media, thanks to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
“Along the way, I’ve developed a feeling for how an authentic dialogue with the community works.”Konzi, Football YouTuber
He also regularly brushes up on his skills required for running digital channels, such as editing techniques and photography. He’s also prepared to learn from his mistakes. “If I’m honest, my videos have not always been that good,” he says.
3 assists for scoring big
Thanks to its magnitude and fame, freekickerz has been attracting sponsors, many of whom have kept an eye on the channel for some time which means Konzi has learnt to think more and more like a businessman.
What began as a hobby during his economics studies has become Konzi’s full-time job – one from which he makes a living. Konzi highlights three lessons that are useful for anyone aspiring to turn their passion into a profession:
1. Be persistent
“Find out what you can do better than others and make it your project. Always stay on the ball and focus on the goal, even if success is not immediate. You will, no doubt, be criticized – but just get up again and keep going!”
2. Be willing to learn
“Make the effort to continuously improve your skills. Ask and actively source tips and tricks from others. Think like an athlete – if someone tells you that you won’t make it, train harder, and prove your critics wrong.”
3. Enjoy the recognition
“It’s incredibly motivating to see so many positive comments under a video, or to find out you have inspired other YouTubers. Draw strength and encouragement from these moments. It will help you take the next steps.”
This approach has taken Konzi to the top. Naturally, the pole position among fellow YouTubers makes him feel proud.
“It’s just like in the world of sport,” he says. “You want to be the best. But if, one day, another channel would overtake us, I’d view that with a ‘sportsmanlike’ attitude as well.”
What are his goals now that he’s number one? “There are always new things to learn and things that can be improved, especially on social media. The most important thing for me is to continue to enjoy what I do – because then our community is happy as well.”
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