Blogger Jackie Lam of Cheapsters shares how her money saving tips video series on Instagram inspired her larger venture: a Youtube channel!
I have a confession: I am a bit of a ham. I have vehemently denied this on multiple occasions when an ex-boyfriend would point out my inherent attention-seeking tendencies after a round of drunken karaoke at a bar. What can I say? Although I consider myself an introvert, and I am pretty laid back most of the time, I do enjoy an audience.
So when I started doing these short Money-Saving Tip videos for Instagram, I became hooked. Now I’ve decided to step things up a notch and have started working on a YouTube series to help my friends with their finances. Yes, I am proud to say that I have finally owned up to my hammy nature.
I am well aware that there are far less time- and work-intensive ways to reach out to people online these days. I could go by way of Periscope, Meerkat, or Blab, to name a few. But after much consideration, I figured I would give the YouTube series a go. The creativity and logistics involved in putting together a series have great appeal to me. Plus, it seems like a load of fun. Here’s how I am approaching making a YouTube series:
Research the Equipment Needed
To get an idea of what gear is needed to get my Youtube channel going, I did some poking around on the Internet and talked to two of my frugal vlogger friends. They emphasized how important audio is in a YouTube video. If you are going to spend money on one thing, high-quality sound would be it.
In their opinion, if you are going the low-cost route, the essentials are:
+Audio: An H4n digital recorder, microphones
+Camera: you can use your smartphone or a webcam
+Lighting: inexpensive clamp lights or a china ball
+Software: iMovie to start
+Hardware: external hard drive to back up your files.
Although I have looked into the minimal costs of getting my own equipment, since I am in the early—experimental—phases, I won’t be making any purchases just yet. I’m going to see how I feel after the first batch of episodes are complete to decide whether pursuing Internet fame is something I want to continue.
Use the Level Up Approach
I am a big fan of leveling up, which means going bare bones on expenses until you gain traction, develop greater expertise, or make a deeper commitment to a project. If you too decide to level up, you can then invest more resources into the project.
Barter with Friends
Bartering is a great way to make something inexpensively—you simply trade services, knowledge, and equipment. My friends know they can come to me if they need help on one of their projects or if they have money-related questions, so my first frugal approach was to offer services for services.
I have a pal with a small production company who was kind enough to loan his equipment and shoot and edit the first episode free of charge. A few of my talented friends have also volunteered to draw visuals such as title cards and graphics. I’m getting to try out this creative process without a large financial investment upfront and the collaborative effort will make the process a lot more enjoyable.
After much thinking and planning, I’m excited to shoot my first batch of episodes for my YouTube series. I figure if I have a vision for something and I research the costs involved, trying it out might well be worth my time and effort. If anything, I’ll definitely learn something in the process.
Jackie Lam is the creator of Cheapsters, where she helps freelancers get by in the gig economy. She lives in L.A., where she is on the perpetual hunt for the perfect breakfast burrito.
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