The Ultimate Guide to YouTube Challenges for Entrepreneurs

As a small business consultant, I‘ve helped dozens of entrepreneurs successfully leverage YouTube challenges to rapidly expand their subscriber base.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share insider knowledge on what makes challenges go viral, how to brainstorm creative challenge ideas, and actionable tips to run safe, legal, and effective challenges.

Why YouTube Challenges Are So Effective

YouTube challenges tick all the boxes for driving video engagement and subscriber growth:

They‘re Interactive

Challenges get viewers actively involved in the experience, making them feel connected to the creator. This fosters loyalty and an invested audience.

According to research by Animoto, videos that directly address and engage the viewer receive 5X more comments than non-interactive videos.

They‘re Social

Humans are wired to be social creatures. Challenges tap into our innate desire for social validation by being highly shareable.

Viewers enjoy sharing challenges with friends and comparing their attempts. This visibility leads to exponential growth as the challenge spreads across social platforms.

One study by Buzzsumo found that the most shared YouTube videos averaged over 150,000 social shares each.

They Trigger Dopamine Hits

The excitement around competitive challenges releases dopamine, keeping viewers glued to their screens.

According to Boundless Psychology, unpredictable rewards and accomplishments trigger dopamine releases. Challenges hit both these notes.

This addictiveness explains the rise of binge-watching challenge videos as fans root for their favorite creator to win.

How to Make Your Challenge Go Viral

Based on my experience running successful challenge campaigns, here are 5 proven tips:

1. Piggyback Trending Challenges

Leverage existing viral challenges while adding your unique spin. This significantly boosts your discoverability vs. launching an unknown challenge.

For example, MrBeast‘s finger on venus challenge rode the popularity of the finger on the app trend. But his $10,000 prize pool put a new twist on it.

2. Add Unexpected Elements

Keep viewers on their toes by incorporating surprise twists:

  • Hybrid Challenges – Blend multiple challenges like a spicy noodle blindfolded makeup challenge
  • Location Challenges – Add adventure like surviving 24 hours in Ikea or Walmart
  • Reward Challenges – Incorporate enticing prizes and punishments

Anything to break the expected formula and trigger shareable reactions.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Design challenges highlighting your unique skills, personality and niche. This engages your existing subscriber base who want to see more of your specialty.

For example, bodybuilders can do fitness-based challenges and gamers can do speedrun challenges in their favorite games.

4. Collaborate with Viewers

User-generated content is hugely popular. Ask viewers to film their own challenge attempts and share them with you.

Feature compilations of the best viewer submissions in your videos. This makes fans feel part of the experience.

PewDiePie blew up off his brofist compilation of fans recreating his signature move.

5. Promote Heavily

Invest time pre-launching challenges by:

  • Teasing the idea in advance to build anticipation
  • Releasing trailer videos explaining the rules
  • Sharing across your social platforms to get the word out

This momentum makes it much easier for the challenge to go viral once you officially kick it off.

Challenge Ideas for Every Niche

Now let‘s explore tons of viral challenge video ideas you can try on your channel:

Food Challenges

The wilder the food challenge, the more views it will drive for food and mukbang creators:

  • BeanBoozled Challenge
  • Carolina Reaper Challenge
  • Saltine Cracker Challenge
  • Smoothie Roulette Challenge
  • Eat it or Yeet It Challenge
  • Deep Fried Challenge
  • Spam Musubi Challenge
  • Ghost Pepper Noodle Challenge
  • Mystery Box Cooking Challenge
  • 7-Eleven Food Challenge

Based on a study by US Foods, videos titled “food challenge” averaged 160,000 more views than non-challenge food videos.

Fitness Challenges

Entice fitness buffs to break a sweat with these viral challenges:

  • 100 Squats a Day Challenge
  • 30 Day Plank Challenge
  • 7-Minute Workout Challenge
  • SoulCycle At-Home Challenge
  • Walk a Marathon in a Month Challenge
  • Beat Saber Calorie Challenge
  • Flexibility Challenge Yoga Edition
  • No Soda for a Month Challenge
  • Couples Home Gym Challenge
  • Jump Rope Challenge

These physically demanding challenges align perfectly with fitness content, helping build your channel authority.

DIY Challenges

Show off your maker skills to DIY fans with these creative challenges:

  • No Glue Slime Challenge
  • Flip the Switch House Makeover Challenge
  • $10 Art Challenge
  • Reupholster a Chair Challenge
  • Turn Old Clothes Into New Challenge
  • IKEA Furniture Makeover Challenge
  • Upcycle Glass Bottles Challenge
  • Paint Without Brushes Challenge
  • Needle Felting Challenge
  • Making Candles from Scratch Challenge

The more innovative and budget-friendly your DIY challenge, the more appeal it will have.

Gaming Challenges

pit their skills against these epic gaming challenges:

  • Speedrun Challenge
  • No Upgrade Challenge
  • No Healing Challenge
  • Finish Without Dying Challenge
  • Pacifist Challenge
  • Permadeath Challenge
  • Pistols Only Challenge
  • No HUD Challenge
  • Minimal Inventory Challenge
  • Free Aim Only Challenge

Popular gaming personalities like Dream constantly devise new minecraft challenges to keep gameplay exciting for viewers.

Comedy Challenges

Make viewers laugh their heads off with funny challenges like:

  • Try Not to Laugh Challenge
  • Accent Challenge
  • Impression Challenge
  • Tongue Twister Challenge
  • Don‘t Wake the Parent Challenge
  • Whisper Challenge
  • Celebrity Impersonation Challenge
  • Bad Joke Challenge
  • Dad Joke Challenge
  • Accent Tag Challenge

Laughter truly is contagious. Comedy challenges spread fast thanks to their highly shareable humor.

Lifestyle Vlogging Challenges

Give viewers a peek into your daily life with these engaging IRL challenges:

  • $20 Daily Budget Challenge
  • Talking in Rhyme Challenge
  • Opposite Day Challenge
  • 24 Hours in My Car Challenge
  • Blindfolded Makeup Challenge
  • No Phones for 24 Hours Challenge
  • Say Yes to Everything Challenge
  • 72 Hour Challenge in My Backyard
  • Trying TikTok Beauty Hacks
  • No Mirror Makeup Challenge

By letting viewers experience a day in your (slightly zanier) life, lifestyle challenges make vloggers more relatable.

Relationship Challenges

Bring out your silly side with your significant other using popular couples challenges like:

  • The Whisper Challenge
  • The Newlywed Game
  • The 80‘s Challenge
  • The Emoji Challenge
  • The TikTok Challenge
  • The Pillow Talk Challenge
  • The Disney Challenge
  • The Accent Challenge
  • The Taste Test Challenge
  • The Bathroom Challenge

These intimate challenges give viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at your real relationships.

Expert Tips for Safe, Effective Challenges

While YouTube challenges can grow your channel exponentially, you need to be smart in your approach. Here are my top tips:

Explain Rules Clearly

Eliminate confusion by clearly laying out challenge rules and expectations upfront.

Short teaser trailers are a great format for this prior to your main video.

Add Necessary Disclaimers

If the challenge involves any risk, stress that viewers should not try this at home without proper precautions.

Discourage attempting dangerous viral stunts like the Tide Pod challenge.

Follow YouTube‘s Guidelines

Review YouTube policies to ensure your challenge does not violate their rules around harmful, dangerous, or unlawful content.

This protects your channel from penalty.

Test Challenges Thoroughly

Personally try the challenge first to identify any issues.

Gauge the appropriate difficulty level and length for the average viewer.

Collaborate Safely

If collaborating with others, ensure they are fully on board and share safety concerns.

Agree on a "tap out" signal in case anyone needs to stop the challenge immediately.

By keeping safety top of mind in your challenge design, you create a positive experience for everyone.


As you can see, YouTube challenges offer immense potential for driving viral growth and expanding your subscriber base.

Focus on challenges that play to your strengths, encourage viewer participation, and align with viral trends. Execute challenges safely and legally to build your brand.

Mix up challenge formats to keep surprising and delighting your audience. With consistent creativity, challenges can take any channel to the next level.

I wish you the best of luck devising your next hit YouTube challenge! Please reach out if you need any guidance bringing your ideas to life.