If you’ve decided to start a YouTube channel, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

After all, it feels like there’s so much to do – particularly when you watch your favourite YouTubers do their thing. They’re so polished, the content appears to be incredibly well crafted, and you’re pretty sure they’ve got more gear than you could ever hope to afford.

These feelings are natural. But they’re misleading.

The more you obsess over the apparent perfection you see on YouTube, the less likely you are to ever get going yourself.

I’ve got some good news: what you’re seeing on those favourite YouTube channels of yours is the result of many years’ hard work. Those creators started out with next to nothing, too.

Ok, that’s not strictly true. They probably started out with the only three things anyone needs to start and grow a successful YouTube channel.

1. Great audio and an OK camera

If you’ve already got a nice DSLR or cinema camera – great! If you haven’t – don’t sweat it.

As long as people can see you, that’s all that matters for now. If that means using your smartphone to film yourself – perfect. That’s the camera sorted.

The only area in which you need to invest a little bit of your time or money is audio. Because while you can get away with sub-par video on YouTube, you simply can’t get by with crap audio. If viewers can’t hear you properly, they’ll quickly disappear.

There are two scenarios here, and a nice solution to each:

  • You have no budget. Don’t worry – you can still get great audio. All you need to do is spend some time setting up your space. If you can find somewhere with lots of soft furnishings (fill the room with cushions and duvets when filming if you need to) and dampen any external noise by closing all windows and doors, you’ll give your smartphone’s mic a far better chance of success.
  • You have some budget. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent mic. If you’re using your smartphone as your YouTube camera, grab yourself something like the Rode SmartLav+. At around $60 and with the ability to plug directly into your phone, it’ll make a world of difference.

The best news is that, as your channel grows (which it will if you heed the advice in this guide), you can slowly upgrade your gear. But now really isn’t the time; focus on getting the basics right and move onto the exciting business of creating content.

Recommended further reading

My 5 Most Important Pieces of YouTube Kit

2. The desire to be consistent

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my relatively short time on YouTube, it’s that consistency really is key.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s one of the best.

I’m certain that the early success I experienced – and, indeed, I’m still experiencing – is because I’ve been consistent. I’ve not missed a beat when it comes to publishing at least one video per week. For the last six months, I’ve consistently published two videos each week.

This rings true with any form of content. If you’re consistent with your blog posting, social media output or podcast publishing, your audience will grow and your influence will increase.

You’ve got to want to do this. It needs to become something that you look forward to doing. If that proves hard to achieve, I’m afraid you probably not want it enough.

If you do want it, then make sure my last tip below is the key takeaway for you today.

Recommended further reading

10 Things I’ve Learned During My First Year on YouTube

3. A content engine

To achieve consistency on YouTube, you need a content engine.

I haven’t invented this – it’s something that every successful content creator and media empire has used for decades.

A content engine is a plan of what you’re going to do next. That’s it. You can start simple with a spreadsheet of ideas and, eventually, move onto something that’s far more intricate by using a tool like Notion.

The key here is to retain a bank of future video ideas and keep track of which ideas make it to the small screen.

One of the main fears you probably have is running out of those ideas, but trust me – if you sit down in front of a spreadsheet and start bashing out video titles, they’ll flow far more readily than you might expect.

Book time with yourself each week to revisit that list and keep topping it up. Refine the titles that are already there and try and get in the habit of scheduling ahead. If you can work three months in advance with title ideas, you’re onto a winner.

Your content engine will gradually turn into the most important tool for your YouTube channel, but it isn’t something you can leave to gather dust; keep your eye on it at all times.

Wrapping up

I’m a big fan of breaking down massive tasks into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Doing so with my own YouTube channel has enabled me to climb what appeared to be a completely impassable mountain.

I’m nowhere near the summit, but by focusing on the three elements above, I’ve avoided the perilous trap so many creators fall into.

I’ve kept it going.

That’s all you need to do. Start that channel and keep it going; the numbers will come – trust me.

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