Did anybody else grow up with parents who taught you that if you’re going to do something, you need to do it right the first time? Because I sure did and it has stayed with me all these years. Notice I didn’t say perfect, I just said I want to do it right. And today, I want to help you do the same when it comes to starting on YouTube. So, we’re going to do a rundown of the five things you need in place to start a YouTube channel. 

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First, you need a purpose for starting a YouTube channel.

Why do you want to start a YouTube channel? There are an unlimited number of answers to this question. And there’s no wrong or right answer, just your answer. And that’s the most important answer of all.

I see so many YouTubers start and then fail within a very short time. YouTubers start a channel with a passion, posting a video every week. Then it trickles to every other week. Then maybe one video per month until they abandon their channel out of frustration.

I believe one of the root causes of this trend is because those YouTubers never really understood why they were creating videos in the first place. Their channel had no purpose or goals and they struggled to find a reason to keep it going.

Understanding your own motivation for creating videos and then defining the main goal(s) of your channel will not only help keep you motivated, it will help shape everything about your channel.

If you say you blog or create videos because you love to create and you don’t care about growing your audience, I can totally accept that… But what do you as a creator get out of all the work you do building and cultivating your channel and audience?

For example, when I first started blogging, it was because I saw all these other freelancers blogging. There was a Facebook group I was in, and a weekly thread where you could share your most recent blog post. Week after week, people were sharing new blog posts… but I didn’t have anything to share. 

And while my blog may have started because I wanted to be able to share a link like everyone else. But, then I found that the more blogs I posted, the more traffic that was coming to my site, the more clients I started to get, and the more email subscribers I started to get. Your purpose for starting a YouTube channel (or blog) doesn’t have to be one simple thing, it can be multiple reasons. 

That purpose leads us to the second thing you need: a plan.

Your purpose should translate into tangible goals. If your goal is to get clients from your channel, how many do you want each month? Let’s say, 5 new clients per month. Okay, so what do you have to do to get five clients? How much traffic do you need to drive to your channel to make that happen, and how will you drive that traffic?

Your channels purpose can change over time. Brands grow and change. You grow and change as a person. What suited you five years ago may not work for you or your niche now. Taking a few minutes to dig into why you create videos is worth the investment of your time.

One crucial part of creating the plan for your channel is to be consistent. As I’ve said time and time again on this podcast, consistency is key. This doesn’t have to mean every week, though that is the optimal posting schedule for YouTube. But, even if you just post every other week, and are consistent about it, that’s what matters. Make a plan for how you are going to be consistent. When will you record? When will you edit, or who will you have edit? Make a plan, and make it happen.

And that takes us into the third thing you need, and this really is like the ONE thing you really, really need for YouTube: a camera.

While this piece of equipment is crucial because, obviously, we need to see you… what camera you use is NOT crucial. If you don’t have any money to spare, just use your computer or smart phone. I promise, this is totally fine. Think about all the funny memes we share on Facebook and Instagram, and how many of them are low quality images – it’s because we like the content itself, and don’t care about it being a high-res image. The same goes for starting a YouTube channel – we care about valuable content, not it being the highest resolution footage. 

Now, if you do have a budget, the other two cameras I have used besides my iPhone are a Sony Handycam and a Canon Rebel T4i with an external mic. I’m not saying these are the end-all, be-all cameras for YouTubers. You can search on YouTube for recommendations from other YouTubers and what they use. Soooo many YouTubers make videos about what camera they use, so you just need to find one that fits your budget. Once you have a camera chosen, it’s time to get the show rolling – it’s time to record.

This takes us to the fourth thing you need, which is a story. You need to give people a reason to want to come back, you need to give them a way to connect with you. 

And when I talk about including stories in your content, I don’t mean that you need to sit down to make a YouTube video and only tell us a story about your day yesterday. 

For so long, my videos on my channel were just direct and to the point – which is good to an extent, because people are watching it to learn how to do something. But, it didn’t give them a reason to come back for more, because they just wanted the tutorials as issues came up.

I knew if I wanted my channel to grow, I needed to connect with people on another level.

So, I started sharing more of me. And it wasn’t anything outrageously personal, except for the video I posted two weeks ago, but people started connecting with me more. I had people asking me about my dog or our foster care journey, or commenting on any little personal detail that I would mention and be like, hey me too! 

So, even if it’s only a five second blip where you show your dog, or mention that you had an epiphany during your lunch date with your husband, start incorporating more of you. Start sharing your ups and downs with your audience, tell them your favorite things. Whatever feels comfortable and makes sense for you and your brand and your content. 

So now that you have recorded a video… it’s time to edit, which takes us to the fifth and final thing you need: an editor.

This could mean just an editing program or an actual video editor. First, let’s talk about editing programs. 

If you are recording with your smartphone, then it might be easiest to edit with the vlogit app. You can edit clips, piece things together, add transitions and text – and it’s a free app! There’s also an Adobe Premiere Pro iPhone app to edit your videos, but it does have a slightly higher learning curve. I have tutorials for both of these apps on my YouTube channel, which you can find by going to jesscreatives.video

There are also some desktop options for editing videos. If you’re a Mac user, iMovie is super popular because it’s also free and fairly easy to use. WeVideo is very similar, but it’s browser-based so it doesn’t matter what computer you’re using. What’s great is that you can login to your account and work on your projects from any computer, so it’s great if you hop between computers for whatever reason, but it does cost $11/month. 

The software that I use is Adobe Premiere Pro, which is $50/month but that’s for the entire Adobe Creative Suite… which most people don’t need, unless you’re a designer like me. Which leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk about, which is hiring a video editor. 

Video editors, like every other service out there, vary on pricing and structure. My husband and I run a second business that provides video and podcast editing, so I just want to show you what our process looks like, so you have an idea of at least how one company does it. 

So, with our clients, they have to let us know how many videos they want each month – which, as a YouTuber, will also help keep them accountable and consistent, so that’s a bonus. Then, they pay at the beginning of each month for their allotted amount of videos. 

Month to month, we use Slack and Dropbox with our clients. We have a shared dropbox folder for each of our clients to upload their raw files into. For the most part, our clients have just wanted basic editing to remove bloopers and add their intro. We’ve also done some course video editing that also included adding in some text and graphics. So, if there are details like that, we ask for them to be outlined in a Word document, and any changes to the editing of the videos can be put in the Slack channel. 

Some clients will batch their videos all at once for the month, some just do it one episode at a time. But, they all know that we have a 7-10 business day turnaround to get the videos edited and back to them in Dropbox, ready to upload. So, that’s our process, and like I said, other editors may have a different process or timeline, but at least now you know how it kind of works. 

So those are the five things you need to start a YouTube channel: a purpose, a plan, a camera, a story, and an editor. This could be simplified down to, planning to go live once a week on YouTube to teach about intuitive eating. There’s no need to hunt down a camera or an editor, you just go live and start creating that content. We don’t have to overcomplicate this with a studio and a backdrop and a fancy camera and hiring an editor. 

If you have any questions about YouTube, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram, @jesscreatives, otherwise I will see you next week for another episode.