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How to Get Started on YouTube without a Budget

Brad D

The success of cell phones has brought the cost of quality video production down a great deal. With a few tips for starting a YouTube channel, you can learn how to get started on YouTube and become a vlogger with practically no budget.

Once you learn how to get started on YouTube without a budget, and your business begins realizing a return on interest (ROI), you can make even better videos with some of the most basic equipment. So, if you have a smartphone, access to internet, and our tips for starting a YouTube Channel, you’re set to get your business’ videos online and in front of potential customers.

Tip #1: Inexpensive ≠ Cheap

Some vloggers feel that poor quality videos give their productions a more homemade, genuine feel. That may be true, but, think about listening to a radio station as you get out of broadcast range. When all that static starts, do you keep listening? Or do you look for another channel or turn on Spotify?

Most of us want good quality video and audio, and if you’re trying to position your brand, you can get away with some mediocre videos, if they have good content, but, if all your videos look pixelated and have distorted sound, you may start losing your following. Inexpensive videos do not have to look cheap or poor. You can make quality videos on a budget.

Tip #2: Set Up Your YouTube Channel

It’s easy to learn how to get started on YouTube and just create a channel. You just go into YouTube, and click the little video camera icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen, to open a menu with two options: “Upload video” and “Go live.”

Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel - How To Upload Videos and Go Live

If you chose “Upload video” you can upload videos that you have already recorded, which, until you get the hang of it, is probably the best option to start with. Once you’re confident that you can produce live videos, you see that you have two entry points in the process, likewise.

How to Get Started on YouTube - Uploading Videos

Note that you can also import videos from Google Photos, to the right. That’s how easy it is to get started.

If you want to create a channel, you’ll go back to the user icon and choose “Creator Studio.” Inside the Creator Studio dashboard, you’ll find all the options you need to organize, monitor, and monetize your business’ YouTube channel.

How to Get Started on YouTube - YouTube Dashboard Analytics

Make sure that you use keywords in the description of your video, in the title, and the tags. That will help the YouTube search engine and other search engines find your videos.

Also think about editing your cover photo because that will give your channel visitors their first impression of what you have to offer. make sure that if you do add a cover photo that it is no larger than 2560 X 1440 pixels and four megabytes.

You’ll also find that it’s very easy to upload videos. Just look for the upload option on the top right-hand side of the screen, when you log in.

Tip #3: Videos without a Camera

One of the easiest ways to start making videos is with screen shots and your laptop’s web camera. You can also make videos with images, like this:


If already have a laptop with internet access, you have everything you need to make quality videos like this. You can use free apps, like Slide Show Creator, Free Slideshow Maker, and Flipagram to help you put them together.

Tip #4: Use a Smartphone

Once you get started and see some ROI from your video channel, you can start adding inexpensive equipment to inventory. Of course, you’ll need a smartphone, but that will be your most expensive investment. Aside from that, you might want to add a tripod, professional mic setup, a cheap softbox, and a light stand.

Paul Brandford, of Paul and Tech, provides some killer advice on getting set up to film on YouTube with a $100 budget. Don’t let the young face in this video fool you. Paul has some excellent tips and a few words of wisdom that just blow away a lot of the competition.

He stated that “content is almost always more important than video quality. You could
have the best video quality in the world, but it wouldn’t mean anything if you didn’t have good content behind it.” He goes on to say, “At the same time a lot of good content can be ruined by blurry video, bad audio, or bad lighting.

Paul says that audio quality and lighting mean more than using a high resolution 4K camera loaded to the max with features. He points out that any smartphone that can film in 1080 p can film better than most cameras costing under $100. He uses color correction for better-looking light quality.

Tip #5: Get a Tripod & Selfie Stick

If you’re using a cellular phone, you might want to invest five or ten bucks in a mini phone tripod.  They’re great for holding and steadying the camera while you do whatever it is you want to do on the video.

Once you start seeing some income from your videos, you’ll want to invest in a good, full-sized tripod. This is not the place to skimp.

Cheap tripods don’t last, are very unstable, and may end up dumping your more expensive phone on the ground. It’s not worth the risk.

Just like tripods, selfie sticks can also improve your images. They keep the cell phone at a fixed distance, stabilizes the image, and, once you practice with it, you can make some pretty neat panning tilting and zooming effects. Master the basics with the bargain basement selfie stick before you start looking at more expensive models.

Tip #6: Pay Attention to Lighting

You can do quite a bit just by using natural light. The biggest challenge is simply teaching yourself to be aware of it whenever you’re filming. By modifying your position and carefully choosing your background, you can make sure that your video is well lit.

A very inexpensive, but invaluable tool to improve lighting in harsh light, is a simple piece of white poster board. You can use it on the shadow side of your subject to fill in the shadows.

When you don’t have a piece of poster board, a white wall will do the same thing. Sometimes you get lucky, and it’s just in the right place.

You can also pick up some reflectors and lighting devices at a decent price. For example, Paul Brandford recommends the LimoStudio Photography Studio 20 x 28 inch Light Soft Box Reflector, which sells for about $25. He also recommends an adjustable tripod light stand.

Honestly, though, start with some creativity and maybe the poster board. It will teach you to be aware as you shoot.

Tip #7: Try Video Software

Two very important things that you can do that will set yourself apart from the crowd are video planning and professional editing. If you really want impressive video organization, think about some screenplay and storyboard software to illustrate your ideas.

Celtx has basic script writing tool free. Logline’s screenwriting and outlining app lets you see the structure of your screenplay. It has a free beta version.

Video editing apps, like Filmic Pro and Adobe Premiere Clip can help you edit your video, getting rid of the worst, improving the so-so, and highlighting the best. Do the YouTube crowd a favor, and use these apps to bring up the overall homemade video quality!

The most important thing when learning how to get started on YouTube is just start posting. Take whatever you have and get started with that. The more basic your equipment, the more creativity and quality content you will need, but it can absolutely work. Many times, a viewer will choose a low production video with quality content than a highly produced video that doesn’t related to them. Once you have that learning under your wing, you will know if you really need some of the more expensive equipment.

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