How to Start a YouTube Channel on a BUDGET

When I started my YouTube channel, I was broke as a joke. And I’m going to teach you today how to start a YouTube channel on a budget. You can do it whether you have $0 or a bajillion dollars to spend!

How to Start a YouTube Channel on a BUDGET

How to start a YouTube channel on a budget

Want to watch the video version of this post? I’ve got you covered!

How to Start a YouTube Channel on a BUDGET | The cheapest, easiest way to get started on YouTube

Want to learn how to start a YouTube Channel on a BUDGET? This is the video for you! I'm running you through the cheapest, easiest way to get started on YouT…

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The truth is, 99% of people don’t have a million dollars to spend when they get started on Youtube – and they may not have a million hours either. So getting started cheap and easy is SO key.

We’re going to run through this on four very technical, tactical levels to help you start a YouTube channel on a budget!

Before those four levels, what it takes to start a channel is JUST a Gmail account. Just tell YouTube you want a channel and you’ve got the setup down.

But… how do you REALLY get started? I’m about to tell ‘ya!

What camera should you use?

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and saw one of my local friends post asking what video camera they should use to film videos of their kids. And it triggered something in my brain. People still think they should use video cameras – and they shouldn’t.

Back in the day, I worked at WalMart in the 1 hour Photo Lab. It was one of my favorite jobs (probably the most favorite job, besides working for myself). I got to develop pictures and sell cameras all day. Back then, digital was just starting to become mainstream. My grandma gave me money to buy a laptop for college as a high school graduation gift… and instead of buying a laptop, I bought a digital camera. (That should tell you a LOT about me, ha). THAT was when people were using the video cameras you looked through to record – and on that Facebook post, those were what people suggested.

Guys, we’re WAY past that today. Cameras are better. Some are video-first and photo-second. Taking video on the mirrorless Canon M-50 that I use is awesome. Anything like that will beat a standard video camera.

But do you know what ELSE beats a standard video camera? AN IPHONE. Particularly the newer ones with all of those cameras in them.

Your iPhone will produce better quality videos than almost anything you can just go to a store and buy. Honestly. If you’re going to upgrade, there are obviously fancy cameras that are better quality. But if you’re just getting started, then your phone is your best friend.

There are people on YouTube now with tons of subscribers who film their videos on their phone. 

I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it more – get started with YouTube using what you have.

All of my first YouTube videos were filmed on my iPhone – and I mean on the crappy iPhones before they had good cameras. I didn’t have external lights, and half the time I didn’t have an external mic.

Your iPhone can do EVERYTHING you need to get started on your channel. No joke.

You DON’T have to start perfectly to start! Start with what you’ve got.

What external lighting should I use?

To repeat myself – start with what you’ve got! In the video version of this blog post, I’m sitting in front of a window and I’ve got daylight bulbs on above my head. I don’t have a single external light in my office in the video.

For the majority of the videos on my channel, I have used natural light.

It is really important when you’re doing videos on any platform that you need good lighting. Bad lighting can be a major annoyance factor. But good lighting can be as simple as a window behind your camera facing you.

As you get going, you may want to upgrade your lights. You might decide that your office lighting doesn’t cut it anymore – and you can build! You can start with a ring light or a soft box that is super cheap on Amazon and that’s easy to put up and take down when you need to.

There are even lights that will clip on to your phone that will illuminate you if you aren’t lit well enough! You can use a ring light with a phone mount, too.

What do I need to record sound?

Sound is a big one. And a lot of people don’t realize how bad their videos do sound. Just like people won’t want your videos if you have terrible lighting, they also won’t watch your videos if they have bad sound quality.

If you’re super echo-ey or have weird microphone issues, people won’t stick around (even if they don’t realize it’s because of the sound). 

If you want to hear the difference between my microphone and my iPhone microphone, go click on the video and skip to 14:00 – I’ve got a side-by-side comparison there!

I will tell you this – microphones built into cameras usually sound like CRAP. If you’re using a phone or a camera that the audio doesn’t sound great on, there are some really cheap solutions you can use.

You can try out a plug-in lavalier mic that clips onto your shirt. It helps get the microphone close to your face and make sure the sound doesn’t echo too much. And you can find them for $20 or less!

If you want to step up your audio-game and a lapel mic doesn’t work for you, I’ve got another recommendation. You can record your audio separate from your video and sync them up in editing. Most editing softwares now have an automatic syncing option. Or, you can do the “clap” at the beginning to line up your audio and video where you see a sound spike.

So, if you’ve got a podcast mic, you can set it up to record separately from your camera and sync them up later! Bam – great sound without a ton of hassle.

You can also use a separate audio recorder altogether. I used to use a Zoom H1, which is literally just a voice recorder. It’s a great mic that I’ve found is really good at cutting through echo. And even though it wasn’t made to record sound for video, it absolutely can! I would clip my recorder into a mic stand and set it just out of my video frame. 

After awhile, I got annoyed having to sync up the audio. So, I upgraded to a better microphone. But it was a great next step for me that wasn’t super expensive.

That’s the thing with YouTube. You want to start with what you have and take steps forward when you can. You don’t have to jump all-in on a million dollars of equipment straight from the beginning. Don’t go broke trying to buy video equipment!

It’s hard to stay consistent with YouTube. You might have grand ideas about starting your channel and realize two months in that YouTube isn’t for you – you don’t want to regret buying some expensive equipment when you aren’t positive you even want it yet! Once you see you’re doing what you want to do, you can start leveling up in the equipment department.

You’ve got the content – now, how do you edit it?

If you’re going to get started with YouTube, you need to know at least a little bit about editing. But believe me when I tell you that you DON’T have to be a master editor to be successful on YouTube – you just need the basics.

If you’re using an iPhone, you can use iMovie to edit your videos. There are tons of other apps you can use to edit, too. If you want to learn about editing on your phone, check out Dee Nimmin’s channel for some great tutorials.

Now, you know that you can start a YouTube channel on a budget by using what you already have! Literally everything you need to start a channel is available on the phone you already have. Go get creating – don’t let equipment stand in your way!

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