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Why Did Nate Black Leave Channel Makers

I’ve received a lot of questions about the events surrounding Nate Black leaving the Channel Makers YouTube channel and I’ve heard even more speculation. Due to the misinformation and false assumptions that have spread, it’s become necessary for me to explain those events.

The purpose of this post is to cover the major events surrounding Nate leaving Channel Makers and the Income School team. My goal in this post is to stick to facts and the timeline.

This is not a list of complaints against Nate. This is merely a list of events that are pertinent to Nate’s leaving Income School and the speculation and rumors being spread.

February 2020

Income School, created and owned at the time by Ricky Kesler and Jim Harmer, hired Nate Black to do the following, as per his offer letter.

  • Managing Email Campaigns and Growing our Email List to drive product sales
  • Planning, Scheduling, and Running webinars for Project 24 members and for our broader audience to drive product sales
  • Networking with other influencers to grow our affiliate program
  • Other marketing activities to both grow and diversify marketing for Income School products

At the time of his hire, Nate signed the Income School At-Will Employment Agreement which included sections on confidentiality, non-competition, and work product. To the best of my recollection, he didn’t raise any concerns about the agreement at the time that he agreed to it. The text of these sections of the agreement is as follows.

6. Confidential Information. Employer will provide and make available to Employee certain information regarding its business, including without limitation: actual and potential client and customer names, addresses, telephone numbers, number of customers and revenue, and specific characteristics; research and development materials; pending projects or proposals; methods of production; computer techniques and capabilities; proprietary computer programs; business plans and projections; pricing information; estimating programs and methodology; the techniques used in, approaches to, or results of any market research; seo techniques and other internet marketing techniques; other marketing data; advertising sources; Employee salaries, contracts and wage information; and financial information about Employer; whether written or verbal, or contained on computer hardware or software, disk, tape, microfiche or other media (“Information”). This Information is of substantial value and highly confidential, is not known to the general public, is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy, constitutes the professional and trade secrets of Employer, and is being provided and disclosed to Employee solely for use in connection with his or her employment by Employer.

In consideration of his or her employment pursuant to this Agreement and being made privy to such confidential and trade secret information belonging to Employer, Employee hereby agrees to hold in confidence and not to use or disclose any of this Information or derivatives thereof to third parties, except to the extent authorized by Employer and only when necessary to fulfill his or her duties hereunder and when treating this Information as a trade secret belonging to Employer.

Employee further agrees that he or she: 

  • Will regard and preserve the Information as highly confidential and the trade secrets of Employer;
  • Will not disclose, nor permit to be disclosed, any of the Information to any person or entity, absent written consent and approval from Employer;
  • Will not copy or duplicate, and will not permit any person to copy or duplicate, any of the Information without Employer’s written consent and approval;
  • Will not make any use of Information for his or her own benefit or the benefit of any person or entity other than Employer;
  • Will return all Information to Employer within twenty-four (24) hours after requested by the Employer and will not retain any copies or derivatives of the Information.

7. Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation. Employee agrees that during his or her employment with Employer and for two (2) years after termination by either party (“Term”), Employee shall not directly or indirectly compete with Employer from any area within 150 miles of 124 N. Seneca Springs Way, Star, Idaho and also from Rexburg, Idaho. 

This covenant not to compete specifically includes the prohibition against directly or indirectly (for example, through any third party or on-line method) soliciting, communicating with or otherwise contacting any of Employer’s Customers for the purpose of conducting any internet marketing-related business with them. For purposes of this Paragraph, “Customer” shall mean any person or entity contained in Employer’s account management or contacts system and with which Employer has done business or solicited for business during the Term. Employee further agrees that he or she shall not directly or indirectly act in the capacity of an advisor, consultant or risk manager to Customers, nor directly or indirectly assist or aid any other person or entity, either through any kind of ownership or as a director, officer, principal, agent, employee, employer, consultant, advisor, co-partner or in any individual or representative capacity whatsoever, either for Employee’s own benefit or for the benefit of any other person, firm, corporation or association, to solicit or attempt to solicit or obtain any Customers without the express written permission of Employer.

Employee further agrees that he or she shall not, whether directly or indirectly, employ, solicit for employment, retain, solicit for retention, or advise or recommend to any other individual or entity that they hire, employ, retain, or solicit for employment or retention any person employed by Employer or any person retained by Employer as an independent contractor during the Term.

Employee further agrees that he or she shall not, whether directly or indirectly, undertake any act with the intent to disrupt, impair or interfere with the business of Employer in any way, whether by way of interfering with or disrupting its relationships with Customers, agents, representatives, contractors, or carriers, or otherwise.

Employee warrants that the above restrictions will not prevent Employee from earning a living, and that they are necessary to protect the trade secrets of Employer, as Employee’s solicitation would necessarily involve Employee’s use of Employer’s trade secrets.

Employee further agrees that due to the nature of Employer’s business, any conduct in which Employee engages that is in contravention of the terms above would actually be in direct violation with this Agreement and would irreparably and materially harm and disrupt Employer and Employer’s business. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, Employer may bring an action to enforce or for the breach of any of the terms, covenants or conditions of this Section 7 in any court of competent jurisdiction, and Employer shall be entitled to recover from Employee reasonable attorney fees and costs related to such action.

8. Work Product. All information developed or generated wholly or partially by Employee during his/her employment with Employer, including all intermediate and partial versions thereof (“Work Product”), whether or not protected by copyright, will be the sole property of Employer upon its creation, and, in the case of copyrightable works, upon its fixation in a tangible medium of expression.

All copyrightable aspects of the Work Product are “works made for hire” within the meaning of the Copyright Act of 1976 (“the Act”), as amended, of which Employer is to be deemed the “author” within the meaning of the Act. All such copyrightable works, as well as all copies of such works in whatever medium fixed or embodied, will be owned exclusively by Employer upon their creation and Employee will have no interest in any of them.

If any of the Work Product, or any part or element of the Work Product, is found as a matter of law not to be a “work made for hire,” within the meaning of the Act, Employee will assign to Employer the sole and exclusive right, title and interest in and to all such works, and all copies of the works, without further consideration, and will assist Employer to register and, from time to time thereafter, to enforce all patents, copyrights, and other rights and protections relating to any of the Work Product.

May 2022

During one of several paid mental health breaks that Nate took, I worked with the team to create a video on the topic of “how to add more people to a YouTube channel”. This video reintroduced Anna from our team to the channel. I recall telling Nate that I wanted it published but that I also wanted to give him a chance to look it over and recommend any changes prior to publishing.

To the best of my recollection, he said he thought it was good but had a few tweaks he wanted to make before publishing. I left it in his hands and he simply never published it.

Here’s that video, which clearly shows that Nate is one member of a larger team. I intended this video to be an opportunity to add more team members to the channel on a regular basis, which was a priority that I have had since before this time.

August 2022

I gave Nate a $10,000 bonus for 2 reasons, of which I remember informing him at the time.

  1. $10,000 is the amount I remember him saying that he would need to really kick off his personal channel. He had been using some work time that we dedicated for personal projects to plan videos for his own channel. Other team members and I helped him plan and work through several hurdles.
  2. I felt he did a great job on lesson updates to our YouTube course, which we rebranded as the YouTube system.

I gave this bonus at a time that I do not normally give bonuses and no bonuses were given to other team members at this time. This was a special case and was intended to help him kick off his personal channel. It was not an investment and no ownership or other consideration was ever expected. However, I did clearly state that helping him get his channel started was a large part of the reason I chose the timing and amount to give him.

Yet as time passed, we saw no indication that his personal channel ever started. While other team members continue to make progress on their own personal projects, he never reported progress aside from planning. To our knowledge, he never produced any content for his personal channel.

For more than 2 years now we have encouraged team members to create their own content businesses, just like we teach at Income School and on the Channel Makers YouTube channel. We give some work time to meet as a team to get advice, share experiences, and have accountability for our progress on our own blogs and channels. I even offered Nate and others the opportunity to use my equipment to film their videos, as long as they used their own time to do it. Nate could have started his own channel at any time, yet, to date, we’ve not seen any videos published or even filmed.

October 2022

Nate and I attended the Vid Summit conference together. We discussed many strategies for Channel Makers and Income School during the conference and I remember telling him that I felt like we had a great strategy and the right tools now to introduce more of the team on Channel Makers and expand the brand beyond him.

At this time, as at previous times, I remember him expressing his support for such a change. However, as weeks passed, he still continued to plan videos with Julia, the channel manager I hired to help us plan our videos. In these videos, he continued to not include other team members on camera. Julia even recalled Nate telling her that he didn’t want her to just look like a “cheap Nate knockoff” which is why he didn’t want her to appear on camera.

Throughout the fall, we had several meetings where we discussed what our individual channel roles and “characters” (a term from a talk at Vid Summit) would look like and how we could each offer our own personalities and expertise to both Channel Makers and Income School.

In fact, for years we’ve discussed the need to overcome the issue of having the entire audience become attached to only one or two team members. We’ve referred to it as the “Ramsey Problem” named after the radio host and influencer Dave Ramsey. Yet, in a recent email to me, Nate told me that he shouldn’t be held accountable because my direction on the topic was “unclear”. See below.

I specifically recall telling Nate in December that the first of the new year would be a great opportunity to introduce more team members to the channel. He still didn’t do it.

February 2023

Late in February, we began working remotely for what we expected to be 2 months because our lease was ending and our new office wasn’t yet ready. Prior to leaving, we had a meeting where we discussed our priorities while working remotely. Nate planned to fully outline a new course for Project 24 so that it would be completely ready to film when we returned. He was also considering some ideas for advanced offerings for YouTubers with more established channels.

May 2023

After more than 3 1/2 months, we finally got into the new office officially on May 25th. Other team members helped move furniture in prior to the 25th, but Nate only came in on May 30th, the day before he had a 2-week paid vacation planned. I met with him to get an update on his projects. In this meeting, he told me that he had put the course he planned to create on hold because he didn’t know if it was still the priority. He also couldn’t show me progress on his advanced YouTube offerings other than having sent out an email and a message to our members for feedback.

June 2023

I reviewed the numbers for Channel Makers. I do this monthly in order to pay Nate his commissions on all income earned as a result of Channel Makers content. During the more than 3 1/2 months we worked remotely, Channel Makers had steadily declined in views and subscriber growth. Revenue from Channel Makers was also declining. Over that same time period, I also couldn’t account for more than what I considered to be approximately 2 weeks’ worth of work product.

Rather than make assumptions, I chose to write up a letter explaining my concerns and asking him to account for the work he had done during the nearly 4-month period. I also laid out specific conditions I expected him to follow but said that they could be removed or adjusted if he just explained what was going on.

Here is the letter I sent him on June 6th, 2023.

If you want to know what was really going on that led to Nate leaving, I strongly encourage you to read the letter. To this day, Nate has not given any account of the work he did during the more than 3 1/2-month period of remote work, other than what I stated in the letter.

Nate’s response didn’t answer my questions. Instead, he suggested we meet, which wasn’t immediately possible as he was on vacation and I was working long hours preparing to leave for my one-week vacation with my family.

Here is the response I received from Nate on June 8th, 2023.

On June 19th, my first day back after both my and Nate’s vacations had ended, Nate and I had a meeting in the afternoon. When it came time to discuss the letter, I asked him for his thoughts. His first words were, “What the h___?!” He told me that he “wasn’t coasting” but still didn’t tell me what else he’d been working on during his 3 1/2 months of remote work.

I recall telling him about concerns from other team members that despite my directions, he had told them that he didn’t think it mattered if they ever appeared on camera. He denied having said this.

By the end of the meeting, he told me that he wanted to begin a transition away from Income School. I said nothing during the meeting about him leaving the company. This was the first time it came up. I told him I would be supportive and that we could work out a timeframe and a plan for transition.

The following morning, on June 20th we met and he told me he would give me up to the end of the month and that he didn’t want to film any more videos except a video introducing the team and saying “goodbye” to the YouTube audience and Project 24 members.

We gathered the team and planned these videos together. I gave Nate license to create his own video saying “goodbye”. He assisted in the planning of the video introducing the rest of the team.

We also came up with a list of tasks that needed to be done to hand his work off to other team members. He finished up and chose to leave that same week on Friday, giving us less than 4 workdays and 2 videos to complete the full transition on YouTube.

We threw him a goodbye party on his last day. Leading up to and during this party, multiple team members asked Nate about what he planned to do after leaving. He said he didn’t have any concrete plans, only ideas at that point. He later told me in an in-person meeting that he didn’t begin any planning at all until after he had left Income School. However, Julia recalled that on June 24th (the day before his last day), when she asked casually what his plans were he said that it would be inappropriate to discuss his plans while he still worked here, but that she would know when it happened because it was going to be big.

In the week after Nate left, some team members told me that I should watch Nate’s “goodbye” video. In the video, he spent considerable time discussing all that he had done at Channel Makers. Team members were confused given that Nate appeared to them to take credit for the entirety of what we did on Channel Makers. Then, the video ended with Nate making a statement that made us all very concerned.

Here is Nate’s original “goodbye” video.

After seeing this video I was concerned about what Nate’s plans might entail, especially given that our teachings are the intellectual property of Income School, and given that Nate signed an agreement to not compete with us.

I sent him this email on June 26th expressing my concerns, but being careful to not make any accusations.

Here’s the text of that email…

Hey Nate,

I just wanted to reach out and follow up on one thing that came up today as we reviewed your good-bye video for Channel Makers.

The end left the team a bit confused. Since no one on the team has heard about your future plans, the “but not for long” raised some real concern.

Like I said in my letter to you before, I don’t want to make assumptions or accusations. However, I need to make you aware of what the team perceives so I’ll be clear.

It looks like you have plans to continue as a teacher or influencer about YouTube.

While I hope that’s not the case given the legal and ethical issues around that, I do need to ask clearly without room for misinterpretation.

Do you plan to teach YouTube strategy?

I sincerely want what’s best for you and I hope you have plans and opportunities that will be fulfilling and rewarding in every way. Teaching YouTube tactics and strategies would not be.

I remind you that you signed a non-compete agreement when you joined Income School which prevents you not only from soliciting paying customers, but from competing with Income School’s business. I also remind you that every strategy and tactic that was developed at Income School is the intellectual property of Income School.

Once again, I hope that this perception is incorrect. The fact that the rest of the team got the same feeling from the video and that you’ve been unwilling to share any information about your plans necessitates this clarification.

I’m trying my absolute best to give you the benefit of the doubt. But in case your plans could put you in legal trouble, I need to remind you of the non-compete you signed and of the fact that our YouTube strategies are legally protected.

Any concerns that we have can be cleared up very simply. We just need to be assured that your plans don’t include teaching our YouTube strategies or directly competing for or harming the business of Income School, which would violate your non-compete.

I hate writing these emails. Hopefully, this is the last of it and we can be supportive of each other. The lack of information at this point and the messaging in the Channel Makers video just raised too many red flags to ignore, and I want to make sure you don’t inadvertently do something that could cause you legal trouble in the future.


Ricky Kesler

Nate responded on June 28th with the following.

Once again, Nate wouldn’t make any statement about his plans, not even a statement about his intention to compete or not compete. This was my response to him on June 28th.

At this point, the conversation moved to text messages where Nate asked if I was at the office and available to meet.

Nate affirmed to me that he did not intend to use Income School Intellectual Property and that he had no intention to steal the Channel Makers audience for his own use.

We met the following morning and he told me he had a few ideas for his next YouTube channel, only one of which was about teaching YouTube education. He didn’t tell me what any of the other ideas were and used his time with me to outline his idea for how he could teach YouTube education in a way that would be collaborative with Channel Makers, benefitting both channels.

I expressed concerns but also my willingness to consider this. As a follow-up to this discussion, he sent me this email detailing what he agreed to do to make his idea collaborative rather than competitive.

Here is my response saying I think it could be done, but that I don’t think it’s a good idea and that it wouldn’t necessarily work out without violating the non-compete.

Nate did not respond to this email.

July 2023

On July 3rd we published our video introducing the team and an edited version of Nate’s video saying Goodbye. We were incredibly surprised at the backlash we received in the comments, largely driven by people not knowing that the channel didn’t belong to Nate. This was surprising to me given the numerous videos I was aware of where other team members were in the videos and where the office setting was clearly visible.

Other negativity was driven by false assumptions about the nature of Nate’s departure.

Given the negativity, I emailed Nate letting him know I had very serious concerns about him creating a channel teaching YouTube education. I sent it because I was sure it would lead to people leaving to follow him, which would be competitive, harming our business as a result of his choice to leave and subsequent creation of a similar channel.

Nate responded to this email saying he’d proceed accordingly.

On July 4th, Nate sent me a text message asking if I would like him to write a comment to clarify some of the false assumptions. I said yes and thanked him.

What Nate didn’t tell me was that he had already created a new account for his new YouTube channel and had already prepared a video for that channel telling a somewhat different story about him leaving Channel Makers.

See the video below.

His comments had the effect of directing thousands of people to his new channel immediately. This led to what we recognize to be incredibly and unnaturally rapid growth on his new channel. At the same time, his reframing of the story of leaving Channel Makers refuted his earlier claim in our video that the team had helped, instead portraying the channel, especially in the early days, as a product of his work alone.

Nate’s False Claims from This Video

  1. At 2:36 in the video, Nate says, “From the very beginning, I did absolutely, undeniably, most of the work on the channel.” He acknowledges at this time that Anna was on the channel with him but he said that after that, “then, it was primarily me heading up all of that, and that included the ideating, the planning, the researching, the producing, the editing, the thumbnails, the publishing, all of those things were done by me. So it was authentically me producing all of those.”

    This claim is false. My former business partner, Jim Harmer, expressed his sentiments in a private email to me which corroborated this statement. Nate had considerable mentoring. He had a video editor for almost all of the content on Channel Makers from the very first video. Our editors made almost all of the thumbnails on Channel Makers. We had many hours of meetings watching videos from our channels and others, analyzing what worked well and what didn’t. We provided considerable training and ongoing guidance. We provided many specific ideas for videos and even sometimes did the research and testing for videos. He regularly asked for my counsel and guidance for specific videos and topics throughout the entirety of his work on Channel Makers.

    There were short periods where he edited his own videos and made the thumbnails, and there was a fairly long period where he planned and prepared most of the videos although they were still almost always edited by others. So to say he did “most of the work” and that “all of those things were done by [him]” is a considerable overstatement of his work and is very different from his statement on the Channel Makers video where he says he’s been “present throughout the entire growth of the channel” and where we showed a team that’s also been involved in the growth of the channel throughout its existence.
  2. At 3:51 in the video, Nate says “It became clear to me that in order to proceed and continue on with creation and being an entrepreneur I needed to do my own thing.”

    This led many people to believe that Nate was no longer able to make the videos he wanted to make on Channel Makers, which isn’t true. Nate had a lot of creative control over all of the content on Channel Makers. It also led people to believe that in order to be an entrepreneur, Nate had to leave Income School LLC. This is also not true. I encourage my team members and give work time to work on individual projects. Most members of the team have their own YouTube channels and blogs wholly owned by them on topics of their choosing. They just don’t get to teach YouTube and Blogging strategy, in competition with Income School.

    As already discussed in this post, Nate had many opportunities to start a channel and I even gave him a $10,000 bonus specifically for this purpose, but the channel he planned to start never actually started. I even offered to let him use our office and filming equipment after hours. Nate had every opportunity to be an entrepreneur and continue teaching YouTube strategy all while working at Income School LLC.
  3. At 4:37 Nate says he tried to transition as well as he could, “so that included planning some upcoming banger videos.”

    When Nate left, he had one planned video. All other videos were in the planning stages with other team members owning their planning. The one video that Nate planned we ended up not being able to use due to the highly negative response we received from fans over this situation.
  4. Again at 5:56 he says, “Like I mentioned earlier, I genuinely produced most of the content on that channel, so when I said I found these channels, I did this research, it was me doing it most of the time, especially near the beginning and over the first at least half to three-quarters of the lifespan of the channel that I was on there.”

    Again, I see this as a significant over-emphasis on his contribution and it isn’t accurate. We had video editors before Nate joined the team. They edited most of the videos and produced most of the thumbnails, even from the very beginning.

    In videos, Nate often referred to research he did when almost all of that research had been done by other team members. So stating at 6:51 that “genuinely, when I did say I found, or we found these things, it was the absolute truth.” This is false. For over a year since hiring Julia, Nate often would say “I” when the research for a video had mostly been done by someone else and he had simply reviewed their research for key points to make in the video.

There are many statements in this video that are true and there are several statements that are supportive of Income School and the Channel Makers team. I also don’t disagree that Nate genuinely did a lot of work on the channel and there were periods of time when he did a lot of the work. But this video has statements that in my opinion paint a clear picture of Nate working mostly on his own for the first half to three-quarters of the channel’s existence and that isn’t true.

Nate told me that prior to working for Income School, he had never made a single YouTube video, ever. Everything he learned about YouTube and all of the experience he gained prior to leaving Income School happened while he was being paid by Income School.

This video, Nate’s first video on his own channel, has many very negative comments toward Channel Makers and its owner, which is me, many of which contain false and harmful assumptions.

I expressed to Nate that I was not happy with the comments on his video and I was even more unhappy with him choosing to not correct any of those false assumptions. Given that he wanted me to allow him to use Income School intellectual property in order to consult and coach, and allow him to violate his non-compete, I thought we had agreed that his active defense of Channel Makers was important to ensure collaboration rather than competition. Yet, it looked to me like he instead chose to let such assumptions go unchallenged on his channel.

I texted Nate on July 4 letting him know that I was discouraged by the comments, but even more by how he was responding to them. Here are screenshots of that entire text conversation.

In this conversation, I made Nate aware of some comments that made inaccurate and unfair assumptions about the situation. When I asked Nate if he would help correct some of those assumptions to help protect the Channel Makers reputation, he replied that he would be happy to. He even asked me to let him know what I’d like him to say. I didn’t want to put words in his mouth which is why I kept my recommendations open-ended.

Instead, it appears to me like he chose to not correct misinformation and on the evening of July 5th, I received a voicemail from an attorney. Here is the transcript of that voicemail.

“Hi Rick this is […]. I’m a lawyer in Boise with […]. I represent Nathan Black. Nathan asked me to give you a call and follow up to the email message that he sent you earlier today about his recent departure from employment with the Income School and moving on to something else. I am not here to cause a dispute or to argue with you or anything like that. I find that in these situations the parties are usually better off if they just let each other go their separate ways and depart in peace. But if you have some concerns with what Nathan is doing or ⁠intends to do you’re more than welcome to give me a call. I’m happy to talk through those to see if we can’t find some common ground. Nathan’s aware of the terms of the non-compete that he signed and wants to honor those obligations, intends to honor those obligations as he understands and I understand them. So in any event, if you have questions or concerns feel free to reach out to me I’ll see if we can get everyone to a place where they’re more or less happy with the outcome and what’s going on so my office number is […]. And we’ll go from there. Thanks very much. Bye.”

I called his office and left a voicemail to the effect that going our separate ways with him honoring his non-compete was all that I wanted and that if Nate would do that then he wouldn’t hear from me again.

We also discovered that although Nate lives in Idaho, he registered his new LLC in the State of Utah on this same day, July 5th.

Then, he sent me this email on the morning of July 6th.

email continued below…

This email came as a shock to me. There were no other communications between Nate and me during this time, so I was surprised to hear that he thought I’d been making demands, or implying or threatening action against him. I didn’t intentionally imply or threaten action in my text messages and still don’t see that in the words I wrote.

Likewise, I didn’t see my request as a demand. It was a request. I was intentionally clear, however, that if he wanted a collaborative relationship he would need to try harder to not imply that he agreed with erroneous and harmful statements about the team behind Channel Makers and its owner, me. This wasn’t a demand or a threat, I was trying to set a boundary. At least that’s how I saw it.

Based on this response, I felt that I clearly couldn’t have a collaborative relationship with Nathan (Nate) Black. So I responded with the following email.

The next day I received an email from his attorney.

Here is my response.

Nate’s attorney responded with the following email.

Here is my final response to Nate’s attorney.

I have since had no further communications with Nate or with his attorney directly. I believed, based on my communications with Nate’s attorney that Nate intended to uphold his agreement with me. However, on July 10th, Nate published this video entitled “I’m Back” in which I believe he violated the employment agreement that he signed.

At the end of the video, he admits that he intends to teach YouTube education on this channel. Here is a screenshot from this video.

Again on July 17, 24, 31, and August 7th Nate published his own YouTube Education videos, all within an hour before the time that Channel Makers always publishes our videos. That publishing schedule has continued.

There have been numerous comments on his channel stating that with his videos, there’s no reason to watch Channel Makers. And with him no longer on the team, there’s no point in becoming a member of Project 24, which contains our system for growing profitable YouTube channels.

Here are just a few of those, showing that the effect of Nate’s new channel has been competitive with Channel Makers and Income School.

Additionally, several Project 24 members have demanded refunds, despite having been active members for many months. All of these fall outside of our refund policy, yet we’ve been forced to give refunds. This includes members who have used our service for a full 9 months.

On July 31st, my attorney sent a “Cease and Desist” letter to Nate’s attorney. This letter demanded that Nate stop posting new content and that he remove the content he had already posted teaching YouTube by August 7th. We received no immediate response and Nate continued to post in his YouTube community during that week.

August 2023

On August 4th we heard from Nate’s attorney who requested an extension of our deadline until August 12th in order to craft a response. My attorney replied that we’d extend the deadline as long as Nate removed the video he published the following Monday, August 7th. Nate did not remove the video.

On Saturday, August 5th, a member of my team had an in-person conversation with Nate in front of his house in Idaho, which proves that he had been living and operating his new business in Idaho, despite his non-compete. To the best of their recollection, he made the following points…

  1. Nate said something to the effect of “If you wouldn’t mind, just look into the direction non-compete law is going in America.”
  2. The overall impression I got from the conversation on non-competes was that he believes they are unfair. Nate said things implying that it isn’t right to make someone go work at McDonald’s after they have spent years gaining experience in a specific industry. I retorted by pointing out all of the other options he has to work in the YouTube industry such as using the skills he’s learned to build a YouTube channel on any other topic aside from YouTube education, become a channel manager for another Youtuber, or work for a company such as Vid IQ but I said he’s choosing to compete in the most direct way possible. He agreed with me and changed the subject to how he can’t be done with YouTube teaching because he isn’t ready to be done with it.  
  3. He also said there were things about the situation when he signed the non-compete that I didn’t know, but wouldn’t tell me what they were. I said all I know for sure was that it was at-will employment so he should have quit if he didn’t want to sign the non-compete. 
  4. I do not remember him saying the exact words “non-compete laws are immoral” but I asked him repeatedly why he thought it was okay to violate the non-compete he signed and the impression I got was that he thinks it’s okay because he shouldn’t have had to sign it in the first place. 
  5. He never claimed to not be violating the non-compete and didn’t argue with that as far as I can remember, he simply justified why he should be allowed to ignore it, often by way of redirecting the conversation to “Ricky did things that were unfair too”. When I asked for clarification on those things he would tell me things I was already aware of, such as the letter Ricky sent (see above). 
  6. When I told him it seemed to me that he was intentionally hiding the team from the Channel Makers audience since I began working here over a year ago, despite knowing Ricky’s wishes, he didn’t argue (as he did on other points I made that he disagreed with) and became silent. 

This is the situation regarding Nate Black and Channel Makers up to this point. I hope it helps to clarify what actually happened.

If anyone believes that something in this statement is inaccurate and can provide any evidence of such, please let us know and I will revise it. This entire statement is true to the best of my knowledge.

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41 Responses

  1. Part of me feels like you hired a personality that does not play well with others, Nate is not the type of person who is a team player. I’m not a team player type of person either, I do better solo, and there’s nothing wrong with that unless you expect me to be something I am not nor have any interest in learning to become one.

    I’ve watched many of Nate’s videos and he does way better without another person to compete with and for Nate, it likely feels like a competition that is uncomfortable for him. Whenever I see him in a video with another person, I cringe; he doesn’t know what to do with himself. So I can understand his reluctance to share the screen, he knew that it would be a detractor and that the videos would not be as good, nor was it what the audience wanted. He was also energized by the fact that it was “his” channel, that fed his ego and that’s what he needed to perform.

    I know this doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it’s an insight worth noting because eventually you will be hiring new people and you want to make sure that they fit into your team; the last thing you want is a person who is not a team player (you definitely would not want to hire me! LOL)

  2. I’m new to your channels Ricky and an loving the content

    I actually prefer your current team so I think you’re the better off without Nate 😁

    Keep going 💯✅

  3. Please let me repost my comment with some paragraph breaks, if you’re going to publish it at all. For some reason they were deleted when I hit “post comment.”

    1. It’s because we have the site set to moderate every post so we have a chance to review them before they publish. In the last 2 months I’ve had over 4,000 spam comments make it through the filter. But I’ve been publishing all legitimate comments. Your other comment is now published so you can edit it all you want.

        1. To edit your post, you have to log in on the site using the email address that you used to post the original comment. Otherwise we would all be able to edit each other’s comments which would allow people to misrepresent each other. Also, your original comment does seem to have several paragraph breaks.

  4. Admittedly, I’m arriving very late to this party. I came here out of curiosity, with no investment either way. I only discovered Channel Makers right before Nate left. But a few things are very clear to me after reading all of this and watching multiple videos, and I wanted to weight in with my two cents. OK, maybe it’s two bucks.

    I’m not writing this to demoralize you or your team. I am doing it because you put out this gigantic multi-page rant detailing your side of the story, and it begs comment. I hope you don’t mind a friendly roasting.

    The first thing I want to say is that, whether Nate violated rules, violated trust, failed to deliver, slacked off, took inappropriate credit, whatever – YOU are responsible. You talk about Nate saying you provided no clear leadership as if that is an unfounded claim, but even your own account, as full of detail as it is, does not refute this.

    I am a former film producer turned YouTuber. When I was making movies, I was responsible for what happened on my sets. First, I was responsible for hiring the right people, people who knew how to do things I didn’t, like cinematographers and lighting technicians and art directors, to fulfill the vision of the project. If the cinematographer was not capturing that vision, it was my responsibility to ACTIVELY step in to be sure he did, or to fire him if he couldn’t and hire someone else. I couldn’t rest on, “I TOLD him to,” I had to make sure he did it. If the lighting director/gaffer consistently failed to make the right equipment available or set it up in the wrong way, I wouldn’t have been able to step in and do it myself since it’s not a skill I possess, but that doesn’t make me any less responsible for making sure it got done right. If the art director built the wrong set, she would have shown up one day to find someone else building the right one, with me standing there to hand out her final paycheck. THAT is leadership. Simply telling an employee your wishes, then complaining that they didn’t follow them, is just that – complaining. It is not taking action.

    If you wanted other members of the team to appear on the channel, it was your responsibility to make that happen, not Nate’s. You should have commissioned the videos in which the others appeared, showed up at the studio to shoot them, and uploaded them. If Nate didn’t like it or refused to go along, your next move should have been to fire him. You gave him a bonus. Talk about tacit approval: you’re upset he didn’t refute a comment made by a viewer but you are making it his fault you handed your channel to him.

    When your comparatively low views were brought by a previous commenter, you gave an answer about the algorithm that made you sound, frankly, like someone with a new channel looking for an excuse for poor performance. Your characterization of how the algorithm works doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I have a friend whose first video “blasted off right out of the gate.” She then went on to spend two years accumulating 1000 subscribers, so, that blast off is not a guarantee of a channel’s quick growth. What IS a guarantee is people tuning in to see a face they already know and trust. That’s why Nate’s channel exploded. You could maybe have prevented this by showing the kind of leadership which would have prevented half the audience from thinking Channel Makers belonged to Nate in the first place. Then again, you said yourself people don’t like the other presenters as much. Maybe you actually knew this, and it’s why you didn’t press to have them included. Maybe the dip in views would have occurred even sooner if you had. Who knows?

    You say your views have dropped because so many people unsubscribed, but you’ve still got 233,000 subs. Wow, that’s a lot! Your videos are still being shown to me on my home page, but frankly, I never click because the thumbnails don’t interest me, not because they don’t feature Nate. I have studied with just about all of the “gurus” out there, devouring both free and paid content and even participating in high level coaching multiple times. What gets me to watch YouTube education these days is feeling like I’m going to see something new. Your titles and thumbnails don’t give me that feeling.

    Once I actually watched, I felt slightly better, but drops in production value interfered with my enjoyment of the videos. I’m not talking about image quality, but things like hosts who don’t look straight into the camera, awkwardly fumbled script readings, things like that, really make me feel as a viewer as if you don’t care enough about me to get it right.

    Bottom line is, while I will still occasionally watch your videos, I await Nate’s and click them right away. Not because he’s so attractive or is such a great presenter, but because his ideas are different. He doesn’t look at things the way everyone else does. He has a unique perspective that is clearly not the product of his time at Channel Makers. He’s fun and funny in a natural way that feels genuine. I imagine I respond to him for all the same reasons you did when you decided to hire him. He’s not stealing your intellectual property; he’s putting out his own, albeit on the same playing field. From what I’ve seen of your Project 24 it’s pretty generic, anyway.

    If I were you I would take down this page. I don’t think it’s doing you and favors at this point. No one likes a sore loser, and that’s how you’re coming across.

    1. It seems you misunderstand the purpose of this post.

      I didn’t write a multi-page rant. If I had done that, it would contain far more egregious complaints against Nate. What I did was write out the specific events that people were speculating about and I wrote out both sides of every conversation. I wasn’t making an argument. I never stated that I shouldn’t have taken more responsibility when Nate was perpetually insubordinate and disrespectful. You’re right I should have.

      If this same series of events happened starting today, I would have fired Nate about a year and a half earlier than the time he chose to leave. Which is good he did. I allowed him to quit to save face. I was about to fire him.

      So while I can understand and respect your perspective on this post, I can see that your comments come from a misunderstanding about this post’s purpose. I won’t take it down, because without it there were many people more than willing to make false assumptions about me, my team, and the nature of Nate’s employment and departure that were not only untrue, but were damaging to my business.

      You may think I’m a sore loser. What’s happening is me doing my best to rebuild what’s left of my business after Nate (I believe) knowingly and purposely burned it to the ground. I’ll add, I’m choosing to do so without taking legal action, which I’m entitled to. Nate’s actions go well beyond breaking his employment agreement. But I decided that I didn’t want to put myself through that legal battle, and even more, I don’t think his family deserves what would happen if I did. So to save my company, step 1 was to clarify the facts that so many people were getting completely wrong.

      So thank you for your feedback. I sincerely do appreciate it. On the other hand, you have no idea the kind of person Nate really is, or at least was to us, and the ways he manipulated the people around him. You have no idea the personal hurt he caused to so many people. And you have no idea how hard I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. And you’re right, I should have fired him a long, long, long time ago.

  5. Ricky, I’ve been a CM subscriber since it had about 15K subscribers, and I saw the channel grow. I don’t have a vested interest in either CM or Nate. For what it’s worth, my opinion is that the main reason views on CM channel tanked after Nate’s departure is because the quality of the content became much lower. I also think Nate’s solo effort produces lower quality videos than those he produced while being part of the CM team. It looks like you both lost in this separation.

    I hope you can evaluate the quality of your new videos objectively and realize that they are not up to par compared to the Nate-era effort. It won’t help your business to keep blaming it all on Nate’s supposedly unethical behavior.

    Wish your business all the best, and I hope you can pivot and recover.

  6. In essence, it is unreasonable to hold Nate accountable for the departure of the Channel Maker audience, as the response of an audience is beyond anyone’s control. What is particularly troubling is the apparent contradiction in your professed concern and support for Nate’s mental well-being, juxtaposed with the decision to air grievances in a public setting. This action appears to be a calculated display aimed at garnering attention. It is understandable that Nate sought legal counsel in response. Your actions suggest an expectation for Nate to devote extensive time to engaging with audience feedback in a manner dictated by your preferences, disregarding his personal challenges with mental health. Such treatment is both insensitive and inappropriate.

    1. This is really interesting feedback. I clearly don’t see Nate’s actions the way you do. Still, I’m grateful for you sharing your perspective.

      I still believe that Nate intentionally manipulated me, my team, and the audience to intentionally pull them after him and that doing so was planned for months in advance. But I respect your right to feel differently.

  7. All the best ricky, my idea is for you to move on ricky. It must be a tough one for you! Just let him (and yourself) go, you still have many other team members with you, isn’t? You have my best wishes.

    1. Thanks. We’ve definitely moved on. I wrote this post months ago and my only reason for doing so was so the truth about Nate’s departure from Income School would be documented. I wouldn’t have done it if so many of the people he deceived to hadn’t started spreading false rumors based on false assumptions. My team and I are far better off without him, but his actions cost us dearly were traumatizing to us who trusted him and genuinely cared about him.

  8. As a P24 member, I’ve been a fan of Income School first, and Nate second. It’s sad to see how this all played out. Like you, I wish it would have gone differently. I’m wishing you all the best moving forward.

  9. I have thoroughly read the entire blog post, and I align with Ricky’s perspective. It appears that, externally, Nate portrayed himself as a victim and successfully garnered sympathy from subscribers. However, the true narrative of what transpired seems to be markedly different.

    One aspect that is indisputable is that entrusting Nate with complete autonomy to manage the Channel Maker YouTube channel was a significant oversight on Ricky’s part. Over time, it seems that Nate transformed into a formidable force, casting a shadow over everyone in the team. A notable indication of this is the substantial disparity in viewer counts between Nate’s personal channel and the Channel Maker’s channel.

    It is essential to consider the implications of this discrepancy, as it suggests a potential imbalance in the dynamics of the team and the content production process. The divergence in viewership figures warrants a closer examination of the strategies employed and the impact they have had on the overall performance of the channels involved.

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      The discrepancy in views has a lot to do with how the YouTube algorithm works. It’s pretty frustrating hearing other people use that as if it were an objective measurement of which videos are better.

      On YouTube, momentum really matters. And regular viewership matters. His channel started off with one initial video getting tons of views all because he commented on our video from his new channel, which in and of itself was an under-handed and self-promoting move. As soon as the regular viewers saw this they watched his first video and subscribed. What does that look like to the algorithm? It looks like this channel is blasting off right out of the gate. He got to take the Channel Makers viewership that knew and liked his personality, and he had an instant audience. Every subsequent video gets thousands of initial views, just like they did when he was on Channel Makers because those same viewers choose to watch his videos, as they did before.

      On the other hand, what happens to Channel Makers? Well, many viewers chose to make the assumption that I somehow wronged him, a person that they like. So out of principle they stop watching our videos. Others decide early on that they don’t like the new presenters as much, so they quit watching. Our initial viewership of each video is now much lower than before because many of the regular viewers left. What does that do to the algorithm? It sees that views are much lower on the new videos, so it thinks they must not be as good and it doesn’t show them to as many people who aren’t regular viewers.

      This is obvious to us because we know the algorithm. It’s likely obvious to him as well, which makes his behavior all the more shameful. In violating his employment agreement and starting that channel, he stole away the audience and significantly hampered our growth. In fact, it was only when we removed the old videos from the channel that we started to see our numbers improve. Why? Because those old videos and their high view counts were confusing the algorithm. It assumed that they must be better videos, so it kept pushing them out while keeping our new content mostly hidden.

      We were forced to treat this as a full channel pivot and I had to remove years worth of content that I paid him to help us create because it was preventing the new content from seeing the light of day.

      In short, his actions have been beyond unethical. They’ve been incredibly harmful and we’ve had to work incredibly hard to get ourselves back to where we are today, and we have a long road ahead of us. We’ll be okay because we have grit. Meanwhile, he has the channel he has because he manipulated and stole and audience that he didn’t own. He almost certainly knows it too which makes his behavior even worse.

  10. Nate fan here, but I’m still subscribed the Channel Makers too. YouTube is such a personal medium that you can’t really expect to stifle a human from interactions with an non-compete. I’m a business owner too and the thing is non-competes don’t really hold up. Non-solicitations can but its hard with them as well.

    My 2 cents is that playing in the mud is making you guys look worse than Nate, because your audience trusts, respects, and likes Nate. Maybe you guys let him do too much and should have gone wider with the team in the videos. I’d suggest looking at appsumo as they very clearly have a team and it comes across.

    My suggestion is that while you still have subscribers like me, consider that we may be sticking around waiting for a reason to stick around. Focus on creating some new great content and show us we should stay. The whole CM vs Nate drama isn’t a compelling reason. Just hit record and give us a reason to stay.

    1. Thanks for your input. The purpose of this blog post was never to get in the mud. It was to put the story out there to stop the false and really damaging assumptions being made by Nate fans and former Channel Makers fans. Some of the things people invented were really wild. Even today people accuse me, Ricky, of all sorts of thing that just didn’t happen.

      And while it’s true that non-compete’s are hard to enforce, I believed Nate when he said he would honor his agreement. I believed him when he said he wanted to work collaboratively. I gave him the benefit of the doubt every single time he asked for it, right up until he sent a lawyer after me and send me a scathing email blaming me for all of his actions.

      Since the day Nate left, we’ve tried to focus only on creating great content. We wouldn’t have posted this blog post or had any other thing to say about Nate if he and his fans just let it go. They didn’t. And even he continues to tell a false narrative about his time working here.

      Still, there is no CM vs Nate going on. This blog post is the only response from Channel Makers. Any other information or discussion happening online about the situation is not directed, sanctioned, or in any way supported by Channel Makers, or Income School which is the name of our company. But if interested 3rd parties choose to publish content about the situation, I have nothing to do with it and can’t stop it. And if someone who works here chooses to use their personal account to clarify misinformation, I’m not going to stop them. I don’t believe I have that right. Each member of our team was personally impacted by Nate’s actions, which were far more harmful than anyone seems willing to even consider.

      Thank you for sticking around and giving us a chance. I know that the rest of the team is new to you and most of the audience, so you don’t have any personal connection with us. We do. We were always here, in the trenches, doing the work to support you and everyone else who was watching the channel. So this all feels like a massive betrayal both by Nate and by the people we’ve been working so hard to support for years.

  11. I have read this entire blog post, including all of the comments/responses. I have watched CM off and on since I started my channel in July but I don’t have a vested interest in either the channel or Nate Black. I was, however, seriously considering joining Project24 which is how I came across this post. Not saying I now won’t but it does make me concerned about the health of the company and that I might pay for the course but it will disappear with no warning and no way to recoup my expense. I understand why you felt you needed to clear the air. I also absolutely agree that Nate not expressly refuting the damaging comments implicitly implies that he agrees with them. Sadly you have had to learn a very hard, but hopefully valuable lesson about running a business. It seems clear to me from the above that you and Nate were friends as well as employer/employee so the thought that he would do this is not only damaging to the company but probably also heartbreaking for you as a person. As much as I’d love to hear the final outcome of this situation (where hopefully he is found to be in the wrong) I highly recommend that you end this blog post here and keep any further actions private. I think you have shown the details needed to clear the air and done it in a, mostly, unemotional way. But if you persist it will just look like sour grapes and continue to harm your company. In fact, I would suggest that you end up removing this blog post entirely in the near future so the whole thing can just die a natural death. Unless of course he starts throwing mud, then I’d leave it up. Anyway, I wish you the best and hope the pain this situation has caused is able to heal sooner than later.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I sincerely appreciate it.

      I just want to address 2 things. First, Project 24 isn’t going anywhere. It was around for a few years before we hired Nate, and it’s strong and healthy now that he’s gone. He didn’t create Project 24. He didn’t even create the YouTube course in Project 24. He added some content and filmed new versions of videos we already had, since my co-founder Jim and I actually had the YouTube course also before we ever hired Nate. So if that’s a concern for anyone, you can rest assured that the rest of the team and I are 100% committed to Project 24 being the best membership for content creators to learn how to grow a good income online.

      The only other thing is that I wasn’t intending to clear the air so much as to lay out the facts as they happened. The only reason I had to do this was because of the wild assumptions flying around the internet about what “must have happened” that were really damaging to our reputation and that were 100% false. I will only leave this post up as long as I need to. I hope that in the near future the assumptions and misinformation will stop. Until then, I’ll keep this up as a reliable source of the facts.

      Thank you again. You’re absolutely right. It was heartbreaking for not just me but the rest of the team. I’ve had to deal with betrayal trauma on top of having to save my company from the effects of his actions. To say it’s been a hard year would be a massive understatement.

  12. For context I hadn’t finished the blog when I wrote the first comment: now I’m at “The next day I received an email from his attorney”. Now I think I better understand your perspective; you don’t seem to have been making more than a few hundred thousand and it probably wouldn’t have made a ton of economic sense for you to provide a high amount of equity. It does appear that you gave him a good deal. However, I would say that you were relying on him not screwing you despite having large incentives.

    I think for some people who have good to questionable moral compasses, it’s very difficult to not do this given economic incentive to do so. In other words, in the market over the long run economic incentives will trump moral/ethical incentives.

    I finished reading the blog post since I thought my first comment might be harsh and this is literally your lively hood you are sharing, so it seemed fair to finish.

    It seems like you learned a lot from this experience. From an outside perspective there were definitely red flags where he wouldn’t include other team members in videos when you asked him to.

    For context I’m a software engineer one year out of college who learns a lot, so take thinks I say not too seriously.

    From my perspective it seems that you were a bit naive in the trust you put in your employees as well as assuming the benefit of the doubt with potential red flags, such as the one mentioned above.

    From a business perspective it appears that Nate played his cards very well and is likely going to make a significant amount of income for his family. Assuming, he has a conscious I would think these decisions were tough for him to stomach, but he could handle them and justify it to himself in regards to how it would improve him and his families financial situation. His decisions were brutal and most people likely wouldn’t make them.

    What you offered was fair and reasonable, but this is a bit hard to say without knowing more of the numbers (what were you paying him, what was the net profit of the business at the time, had it increased dramatically since he joined; if so, was he given increased money). I understand why you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing this information (you’ve already shared a lot), but without this information it’s hard to give a more objective analysis.

    Another point I have is that a tiny percentage of your audience with read this blog post; it’s lengthy and nuanced. I only finished it because I have a distain for the oversimplified narratives and found it interesting from a case study perspective.

    Probably not very helpful advice going forward:

    There needs to be some moving on. If it makes economic sense, sue him for everything you can manage. This is arguably harsh, but isn’t harsher than what he did to you. A major con is this will likely further hurt your channels reputation.

    Move on approach:

    It might be useful to give your side of the story on your main channel; I think to make this compelling (if Nate did do something ruthless) you will have to disclose a large amount of the finances behind the business, which is likely more than you’re comfortable with.

    You could say we don’t feel we were treated fairly. When it comes to your videos Nate was extremely charismatic and engaging to listen to. He stated that he had acting experience before YouTube, which seems to really shine in his videos and the one’s he did on your channel. You guys charisma is not at this level, which is going to make it difficult to compete. I would recommend investing if two to three memebers charisma/acting abilities to compete against Nate.

    The con of this is it seems challenging to have multiple team members do videos together. When I think of the YouTube channels I watch (haven’t heard of you guys before today) they all one engaging person with the exception of some podcast.

    Also, I just remembered that you gave people refunds outside of your refund policy. This seemed confusing to me since you didn’t provide more outside explanation other than you were forced to. If forced implies, people were making negative press this might have been a bad decision since it shows that people can walk over you a bit, which seems to be what Nate did.

    Think through how people can screw you over and develop strategies to prevent this and minimize the risk. Don’t listen to what people say watch how they act and use that as evidence to what they believe. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but if I see a red flag in an action, I’ll address it and if it’s not resolved or addressed in an obvious manner than I view that as a problem.

    Watched a couple of the new videos on the channel and there is a notable dip in quality before and after Nate. Specifically with the engagement of the person making the video. Nate’s video on your channel (Do These 5 Things to Be Way Better on Camera) ironically seems like good advice for you guys. But you guys seem nervous on camera and Nate appeared like a professional on YouTube. Some of the nervousness might come from the business implications, but this doesn’t seem like a good sign and does support Nate’s narrative.

  13. This is a bit of a tough one since “Most members of the team have their own YouTube channels and blogs wholly owned by them on topics of their choosing. They just don’t get to teach YouTube and Blogging strategy, in competition with Income School.” gives employees like Nate (who appear to genuinely enjoy making content about how to make a YouTube channel) an incentive to do so themselves.

    Also, at a certain point I imagine the economics didn’t make sense to him since he was providing a large amount of value to your channel without getting equity in the business. It seemed that the channel was successful before he joined, but he likely had the largest impact. This isn’t a well thought out opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but in this case, it might have made sense to offer him some equity or think about the economics from his perspective. It appears he had strong economic reasons to do what he did and could provide genuine value to the market. Not sure how enforceable non-competes are, especially in this situation, but it seems that the economics drove his decision.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect everyone to do what is within the rules if the rules don’t make economic sense and the consequences of breaking them are negatively impacting others and taking a small financial risk. Much better to create economic incentives that make “ethical/desired” behavior the smart choice.

    This is chat gpt’s response from the comment, which I think is better than mine:

    From the information you’ve provided:

    Employee Value vs. Compensation: Nate provided significant value to the channel. If he felt he was not being compensated commensurately with the value he added, it’s natural for him to seek opportunities that better match his contribution. Offering equity or profit-sharing might have been a way to align his interests with the company’s success.

    Non-compete Agreements: Non-compete clauses can be challenging. They aim to protect a business from direct competition by a former employee, but they must be reasonable in terms of duration and geographic scope. Overly restrictive non-competes might be seen as unfair and could be legally unenforceable in some jurisdictions.

    Creating Value vs. Competition: If Nate had a genuine passion for teaching about YouTube and blogging strategy, and felt he could provide value to a broader audience, it would be a missed opportunity for him not to pursue that, especially if he feels it aligns more closely with his personal goals and potential revenue.

    Economic Incentives & Ethics: Your point about creating economic structures that make “ethical/desired” behavior the logical choice is poignant. If businesses structure their compensation, equity, and benefit packages to reward the behaviors they want, they’re less likely to find themselves in situations where key players feel the need to compete directly.

    Grammar & Repetition: Your ideas are clear, but as you noted, there are some repetitive points and minor grammatical issues. Here’s a more concise version of your statement:

    “Given that many team members have personal YouTube channels and blogs, it’s natural for someone like Nate, who has a passion for content creation, to pursue his interests. He arguably brought significant value to the channel, and if he felt his compensation didn’t reflect that, he might be economically incentivized to branch out. While non-compete clauses aim to protect business interests, they must also be fair and enforceable. It might have been more strategic to offer Nate equity or align compensation structures to encourage desired behaviors, rather than expecting adherence to rules that might not make economic sense to him.”

    In any business situation, it’s crucial to weigh the value that employees bring against the compensation they receive, and to create an environment where their economic incentives align with the company’s goals.

  14. The problem is Nate was channel makers. People on YouTube want to connect with someone, they don’t want to connect with a “team” of a bunch of people. That’s probably a big reason why people left channel makers and went to Nates channel.

    1. I understand that sentiment. I think that those who give us a chance will connect to the rest of us and recognize that real value of the content we produce. This article wasn’t intended to convince people that they shouldn’t like Nate. It was intended to clear up the many false assumptions people have been making about me and about my team that were incredibly harmful and damaging. For those who read the article, it should be very clear that those assumptions are false.

  15. This comes across as very petty and off putting. As someone who didn’t watch either channel much it negatively impacts my view of Income School as a whole.

  16. This is a masterclass of how to have separation of duties or your employees will steal your business, noncompetes are a joke.

    Its insane that most people miss this guy didn’t even have a youtube channel in his life before income school, his employer paid him and took all the risk and developed something profitable that is now at risk of being directly competed with.

    Alot of the comments here will be negative to the employer (“You have a scarcity mindset”wtf) because the general American sentiment is the little guy is always right. And new employers need to keep this in mind, you will never be seen as the good guy, no matter how nice you are to your employees make sure you have separation of duties. If you have a big channel like this you need to start with multiple personalities and Channel Makers BY Income school all over everything.

  17. I just wanted to give a bit of an outsider’s opinion. I started a YouTube channel literally one month ago, and about 2 weeks ago I started binging on YouTube educational videos. I found Channel Makers and fell in bro-love with Nate. I actually really enjoy your videos now, as well (“you” being Ricky.)

    But before I knew, or cared, that he left, I saw more than one video (during my binge-watching) where I got the impression that Nate was part of a team and not a one-man-show….i.e. the video where he’s at a company meeting and he’s “hiding the camera” vlogging. Oh, and the bit showing the lady (forgot her name!) who handles Project 24 communications and plaques, among other things. But I also understand your frustration that many thought otherwise.

    I did follow and sub Nate, but I still sub to Channel Makers and eagerly await new videos from both channels. You two are the only 2 channels I watch like this (in this niche).

    I am disappointed that things have ended on a sour note between CM and Nate. I am not in this. But I can tell you are an intelligent guy and you seem to care what potential customers and fans!) think.

    I must say that the shorts on YouTube (“Did Nate Black Leave CM On Good Terms?” and the other one — and this page — don’t paint you guys in a good light. The shorts are obviously from you guys. And just so you know, I am not in any way in league with, nor am I friends with, nor ever have I contacted/known Nate. I’m just saying this as a fan of you both.

    It’s like witnessing an argument between two people and only one is hurling insults and the other one is just taking it. People automatically side with the one not throwing jabs.

    This made me really look at your company in an unflattering light. You may be 100% right in this matter. I don’t know the details. But those shorts and this long page here — plus the divulging of
    personal info and conversations to the public — it makes you guys seem petty and vindictive. For all I know, maybe Nate eats puppies and is the worst guy in the world. But publicly, you guys are throwing the mud and he’s looking like the one rising above it.

    My two cents (and probably worth less): I would just keep this thing private and if you need to, settle it in the courts. I don’t think you will win a “let’s trash him in the public eye” battle. For no other reason than this: all the shots have been thrown by you guys. I haven’t seen anything but kind words about you on his channel. Hence the unflattering light shines on you guys.

    Anyway, I truly enjoy both of your channels, and I wouldn’t have spent this long typing this huge response if I did not like you both.

    Please don’t make us choose between Mommy and Daddy. 🙂

    With honest and sincere best wishes to to you (Ricky), CM and Nate,


    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this.

      The purpose of this blog post was not to be vindictive toward Nate. There has just been a lot of misguided assuming going on and the assumptions have been incredibly off-base. It’s become important that we share the facts around Nate’s employment at Income School and his role on Channel Makers because those false assumptions going completely undisputed, especially by Nate himself, are leading to many people choosing to not only disregard all Channel Makers content, but to actively support the downfall of the channel and business behind it.

      The actual persecution that we’ve faced as a result of those false assumptions has caused my entire team serious distress.

      So when I posted this blog post, it was to set the record straight about Nate’s actual role here as well as the details around his choice to leave.

      I need to set the record straight about yet another assumption. You mentioned YouTube shorts about Nate. I have absolutely nothing to do with any content about Nate that wasn’t published on either this website or the Channel Makers YouTube channel. Any other channels or websites making content about Nate have nothing to do with me and I have no influence over what content they create.

      Once again, assumptions are being made by those who support Nate that paint me and my team in a negative light. Those assumptions are not true, and if I allow those assumptions to go unchallenged, they will be assumed to be true. Many of those false assumptions are clearly corrected in this blog post where I chose to simply state facts and share all of the written communication, both sides. I leave it to people to draw their own conclusions. I could have been a lot clearer and a lot more direct about what I believe Nate was doing. I chose instead to only share the facts that I can prove, as they happened. Very few people have done me the same courtesy.

      So once again, thank you for your feedback. I understand where you’re coming from. Please also try to understand that my business, my family’s livelihood, and the livelihood of my entire team, people with families, people who trusted Nate, are all being threatened because of these false assumptions. That, and only that, is why I chose to publish this article.

      1. Ricky, I apologize — you’re right, I assumed they were from your team (the shorts). And you’re also right about your desire to clear the air. I did not know, and I don’t know really know fully, how it has damaged you and your team, plus your business — and therefore, your whole families. I think I just gave a sort of instant response in that comment above. I still am not a fan of airing all of this out in public, but after putting myself more in your shoes, I understand why you did it more. I was sincerely giving that “instant response” reply purely to give you feedback, as I am certainly right in your potential client demographic. I should not have assumed you were behind the shorts.

        I can say now, after having read the entire thing a couple times and thinking about it, your transparency shows that Nate was most likely at fault here. Of course we don’t have his point-for-point response, but if those emails and timelines are true, then there *is* no response that would vindicate him, really.

        I just hope that people who see this will truly read it, because it’s kind of opening a can of worms (even though the can of worms shows Nate was likely at fault), and it took me a while to come around. I just hope people will spend that time. You guys are one of the few “learn youtube” channels that really give real substance and I thank you for your content — and your honesty!

        Thanks also for your time and your thoughtful replies.

  18. The worst part is it seems that Ricky was happy to let Nate be in the space until Nate lied in his videos and kept lying after that. It’s too risky at that point when Nate knew so much about the P24 methods that are behind the paywall of that program.

  19. This is the epitome of the scarcity mindset. The YouTube education space is very competitive. That’s a good thing. I am always on the lookout for new ideas and new voices. As with any of us creators, I believe it’s best to focus on being your best rather than focusing on shutting down your competition. Just focus on providing the best content you can for your new and existing audience and stop looking in the rear-view mirror of what should-of or could-of been.

    1. I agree that we should focus on being our best. We are. However, there’s been a tremendous amount of misinformation and bad assumptions flying around that make it very hard to just be my best given that they create a false and very negative perception of me and the Channel Makers brand. So is it wrong of me to put the correct information out there?

      My goal here isn’t to shut Nate down. My intention is to correct the false assumptions and give people they transparency they say they want.

      1. Misinformation on the internet is a very tough thing to navigate. C.S. Lewis has said “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing…” I certainly won’t pretend to know the details of how this has affected you or your company. I was a member of Project 24 several years ago and consider what I learned valuable. I’ve gone on to take classes from other YT experts and am constantly on the look out for educators I know, like, and trust. Build upon what you have and I’ll keep a look out for it.

        1. Thanks Brent. We’ll try to keep a good perspective. I’ve also heard it said that we only tend to see what we’re already looking for. Which is why we’re all a bit biased in how we see the world. Thanks for your perspective. It’s helpful to hear.

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