Today, I backed myself to make my channel grow by investing in a real camera…
All well and good, but…
I have never held a Canon 90D, or any other camera, until today.
The lie I mentioned? Well, I started out on my YouTube adventure in September 2021. At that point, I made a promise with myself not to spend excessive money on a camera until I was monetised.
Well, today I did – and I’m not! I did spend the money, as you can see from the picture at the top. That is my camera – it sounds ever so odd saying that, and, I am still not monetised. So, why the change of heart?
My dad was a businessman who had always worked for himself, and I was bought up in that same way. I have only ever worked for either him, or myself. That breeds, a sense of knowing when it is smart to invest in the future, and also when it right to back a gut instinct.
That all applies to the choice I have made today. If I want a chance of making my channel work, and stand up to the fierce competition on the platform, then everything has to be just so. All or nothing is a motto that course through my veins.
Not gone to plan
Before I started my channel, I sought some help from a pro. A touch of mentoring, and advice. In my instance, I worked with Mark Ellis, and if you are in the market for some guidance, then you need look no further.
From day one, I had viewed this foray, as a business. For any business to succeed, it requires a plan. I clearly recall saying to Mark, all I wanted was to earn £500 a month from YouTube, after six months. I thought that was a modest goal, and, for some, it may have been.
However, I have struggled. I didn’t take to it anywhere as easily as I had thought, but, in the last few weeks, I have seen positive seeds of growth, and that gambler in me knew now was the time to back myself.
Focus on the detail
The growth that I am seeing, although modest for some, has not come by accident, either, which has made it even more rewarding.
During the summer, I had a bad case of COVID, and, as grim as that week was, it gave me the chance to draw breath, reflect, and re-focus.
Many of the larger creators will tell you that you can start a channel just with the phone in your pocket. Whilst I am certain that is true, I can tell you from experience, that will also depend on the phone that is in your pocket. For me, it was a bog-standard iPhone 12 – not even the Pro, rather a base, entry-level iPhone.
I did all I could to drag every, last inch of creativity from that camera. I bought Filmic Pro, learned how to shoot in flat LOG, and colour grade. I had invested in good lighting, and made the set look as good as I could, but at the heart of the problem, was a very average camera.
Oh, and another lie
Late summer, if you recall, I traded off that old iPhone 12, for an iPhone 14 Pro. My reasons then were, I have no idea how to use a Canon, and it would be an expensive mistake. The iPhone, on the other hand, I knew how to use, and I’d be able to get instant results.
I figured, in buying the iPhone 14 Pro over the Canon, it would save money…again, until the channel was monetised. So, why this next change of heart? It’s all to do with that swell of interest that I am seeing right now.
I mentioned earlier, it was not by mistake, or a happy accident that these green shoots of growth are happening. The first improvement was buying that iPhone 14 Pro. You’ll be told, audio matters more than image on YouTube. With my audio background, getting the sound right, from the get-go, I found easy enough. I had knowledge in that department. But suddenly, where the picture quality had been so poor, now it was vibrant, rich and even had that YouTube must have – bokeh! Yup, I now had a soft, blurred background.
The camera on the iPhone 14 Pro, was not only helping with the video, but with the thumbnails as well. The whole package was suddenly starting to look professional.
At the same time, I was also putting a lot more thought in to each video, and each element of that week’s project. I had become more creative, and I was, gradually, starting to find my feet. I was telling a better story on screen, and was not as wooden as I had once been.
Although I don’t read a script, each video was scripted, which meant I could ensure it had a beginning, middle, and end. The titles were improving, although still my weakest element, and the setting up of the all important thumbnail was, again, planned and cohesive.
So, I am convinced all these small, individual elements are playing their part in helping me see subscriber growth in the channel. Engagement has always been a strength for me. The number of comments I get, even on low viewing videos, has been surprisingly healthy.
The next episode
So, I am knee-deep in this YouTube lark already. I have invested money, not fortunes, but enough, certainly, and hours of effort and turmoil.
It was not that long ago, at all, that I thought about walking away from it. I felt hard done by, and as if no one wanted my brand of content. But then I looked deeper within. The problem was me, and mine to solve.
I have always been tenacious, and that trait is seeing me through. I have not ‘made-it’, and I am still short of that magical 1000 subs, beyond which I can turn on the Adsense button. My 4000 view hours are already in the bag, so I just need to keep making better content, to get those 1000 subs.
And the odd truism is, it was always within my grasp to improve. It was no one’s fault but mine. I cringe at those early videos, but they have served their purpose. They have helped to better understand what it is I need to bring to the table.
The Canon 90D I have just bought is the next part of the jigsaw. Although not monetised, I feel I am on the edge of turning that corner. In order to maker that happen, I need every element to be on the money. Yes, the iPhone has bought me up a level or two, but let’s just see what this Canon can do for me.
As I sit here tonight, writing, I know I am out of my comfort zone with this Canon, but equally, I back myself to learn my trade. I will enjoy, and be exasperated in equal measure. But whatever, even if I do end up bailing out from YouTube next year, I will know, inside, that I have given it everything.
Recently, I have been making the effort to get out and meet other creators. And that effort, has been justified. I bought this Canon 90D from another creator I have become firm friends with. I had Alex on my podcast recently, and today he just blew me away. The time he spent with me, encouraging me, and being genuinely excited at me starting to use a Canon, was palpable. Please, please check out his channel here – it really is excellent.
Spare me a thought over the coming weeks. I will doubtless feel lost with this Canon, MY Canon, in my hands. Everything will seem alien, but it’s all for the good, right?
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