How To Start A YouTube Channel: Step-By-Step Beginners Guide

I’ve been on YouTube for 10 months, created 32 videos, gained 250,000+ views and formed a community of 2800 subscribers.

I will share with you the most important things you need to know to start a YouTube channel and exclusive tips that will help grow and monetize your channel.

Is starting a YouTube channel the right choice for me?

Do you want to create videos on topics you are passionate about and get paid for it? Sounds great, right?

An idea pops into your head, you start planning the content, writing a script, recording your video, doing a voiceover, editing your video, optimizing it for search, and uploading!

Are you up for this challenge?

It might seem like a daunting task at first but that’s because you are just starting. You can learn things along the way and with all the free resources out there, you have no excuses.

I personally feel that creating YouTube videos can be very fulfilling and you should give it a shot.

YouTube’s Earning Potential

There are a lot of ways to monetize your YouTube channel.

The easiest way most people monetize their channels is with Google AdSense, which allows them to put ads on their video.  Before you can monetize your channel with ads you need 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time.

For reference, my YouTube channel with 2800 subscribers, gets 800-900 view per day and my revenue fluctuates around $5 -$9 per day.

The amount of money you earn with these ads is largely dependent on your niche. For example, a video on credit cards would probably have better paying ads compared to a video about gaming. Channels usually earn anywhere between $2 -$10 per thousand views.

The other two most popular ways to earn on YouTube are with affiliate marketing and sponsorships. There are many more ways to monetize your channel if you want, however these 3 methods are the easiest to get started.

Starting Your YouTube Channel Checklist

  1. Choose a niche for your channel 
  2. Prepare your equipment
  3. Pick a video topic, write a script.
  5. Edit your footage
  6. SEO 
  7. Upload

Choosing a Niche For Your Channel

A niche is simply the main topic of your channel. Picking a niche is important for your YouTube channel as it will encourage people to subscribe because they know what to expect from you. Creating videos on a single topic will help you form get more subscribers and in turn help you reach monetization with Google AdSense.

You may be asking yourself right now “what niche should I pick”. Pick a subject that you either are interested in, enjoy talking about, or are knowledge about. If your friends or family say “you always talk about . . .” that might just be your topic.

In my case, I chose the very specific online surveys niche which is in the more broad “make money online” niche. I saw that in the survey niche there was not a lot of competition and I was quite knowledgeable about how to make money online with surveys. So, I decided to make videos on this topic because I saw the opportunity to get noticed.

My Pro Tip: Pick a topic that is less popular but you enjoy or know a lot about the topic. Lots of these topics have underserved communities on YouTube that you come in and create video content for. I believe it may be easier for you to grow this way especially if you are just starting out and learning the skills of video creation.

General List of Niches

  • Art
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  • Books
  • Business
  • Photography
  • Cars
  • Cooking and Recipes
  • Crafts and DIY
  • Diet and Weight Loss
  • Digital Marketing
  • Exercise
  • Farming
  • Fashion
  • Fishing
  • Gardening and Lawn Care
  • Health
  • Makeup and Beauty
  • Martial Arts
  • Music and Instruments
  • Outdoors
  • Pets and Animal Care
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Travel

Preparing Equipment For YouTube

Here are the items you will need to consider before creating your first YouTube video. I will share the specific items I use in my talking headshot videos and also show you free or cost effective options if you want to start out without spending too much money.

Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to use my link, I may earn a commission. I value transparency and want to bring honest/useful content to you regardless if a site/product has an affiliate program or not! I greatly appreciate your support!

CameraYou will obviously need a camera to record yourself. Most modern smartphones have a good enough camera to get you started.

If you want to upgrade to a more professional camera, I recommend the Canon EOS M50. This is the camera I personally use. I did countless hours of research for this purchase and decided that this was the best bang for bucks camera for YouTube video.

Storage: Creating videos will take up a lot of your storage. Not only will you have your original footage but you will have more storage eaten up with your edited footage that you download.

What I personally do is after I am done uploading my edited footage to YouTube, I delete my original footage and save my edited footage to my 1tb external hard drive.

If you do get a camera you will need an SD card for storage.

Editing Software: Don’t forget about your editing software. If you are using a Mac OS, start of using the free software that comes with the operating system, iMovie. I started off with iMovie for my first 20 something videos and then moved on to Final Cut Pro once I realized I needed more features.

If you are using a Windows OS, I would pick Filmora. It is free to start and if you decide you need more features, you can upgrade for a lifetime membership of $ 80. I currently have Filmora for my Windows OS because it is very user friendly and allows me to do my editing quicker. It has all the necessary features I need to edit my videos.

Lighting: If you are going to be shooting video of yourself you should consider lighting as it will determine how you look on camera. If you already have a well lit area in your house you can use that or you can opt for sunlight.

I personally bough a softbox light from Amazon for around $35 right away for my first video. It motivated me to actually make my first video and I have used it for every video since so it has been a good investment. The light makes your face look much more flattering than without it.

Tripod: You will probably need to buy a tripod if you want stable and consistent footage. If you are on a budget there are many cheap phone tripods that work perfectly fine.

If you have an expensive camera, I recommend buying a sturdy tripod that you can trust to hold that camera, such as the K&F Concept 62″ Tripod I own. I also think you should have a smaller tripod such as the Manfrotto Tripod  or Gorillapod that you can either hold or place on different surfaces.

Microphone: Audio is more important than video. You can still watch a video at a lower resolution but if the video has terrible audio nobody will stay to watch it. So, if there is one item you should considering investing in, it’s the microphone.

When buying a microphone you should consider weather to get a dynamic or condenser microphone. Depending on what you want to accomplish or your environment, one may be better than the other. This video above explains the difference in the microphones very well.

I personally use a Rode VideoMicro that connects directly into my camera. This is convenient as the audio is in sync with the clips right away and it is a quick set up that does not appear in video, it works right away when the camera is on, and it does not appear in my video.

What Your Goal Should Be Creating Your First Videos

Okay, you have picked your niche, gathered all your equipment, and now you are ready to start recording your first video. 

You need an idea, any idea, REALLY! I made a video about an app that nobody had reviewed, literally nobody on YouTube. I though it was going to flop but instead it got 15,000 views over the course of 9 months. 

Your goal with each video you make should be to improve. This can be by improving your on camera delivery or learning a new editing trick. With this mindset + consistency you can get very far.

Also, do not set your expectations high for your first videos. You have no portfolio of videos and it may be hard to find you on YouTube. My first YouTube video saw every little to no traction until it got discovered and pushed to wider audience, 20 days after publishing it.

Things to do Before Your First Video

Before recording, I recommend you script the first 15 to 30 seconds of your video. The introduction is the spot were people will decide if they will continue to watch your video or click off and watch another video. You want to make the first 15 seconds of your video as entertaining as possible or you want to make your videos goal as clear as possible.

You don’t have to script your whole video. I personally just write down notes of what I want to talk about. I also do a lot of research before hand for my reviews.

Last, thing you might want to consider is the title of the video. Make a catchy title that will get clicks, but stay away from click baiting (lying). The title and things you say in your video will be important for SEO which I will talk about later in this article. 

Just Press Record

Everything is setup, your camera is ready and you are just sitting there, overthinking it, at least that’s what I did (and still sometimes do). Don’t do that, if you are prepared just hit the record button and get started.

You will mess up and that okay, it’s probably your first time talking to a camera, you can’t expect yourself to be an expert right away. You can give it a second try and rerecord again now that you know what you want to say. If anything is wrong you can practice editing it in post. 


Editing Video Footage

Now here is what you need to consider when you are editing video footage.

Background Music: For the most part if you don’t think you truly need it, don’t worry about it. It will eat up so much of your time for little benefit.

My Editing Tricks: I cut all my main footage first and then start doing extra stuff to it. If you messed up a lot and have many clips where you are saying the same thing, you can edit starting from the end so you get to your good clips right away.

Editing Shortcuts: Watch a tutorial and learn how to use your editing software more efficiently with shortcuts.

Free Images/Video: There are many website that provide free images and videos that you can use to enhance your video.

Sound Effects: Think about using sound effects to bring more life to your video. One place you can find free sounds and music is the YouTube audio library.

Thumbnail: You will need a catchy thumbnail for your video. The free resource I have been using to make my thumbnails since the beginning is called Canva.

Tired of Editing: You don’t have to do it all in one go. It may be better if you don’t. If you get tired editing take a break and get back to it the next day. When I do this, I have more clarity and edit more efficiently.

Have Your Video Found with YouTube Search Using SEO

Psst, here’s a secret, SEO (search engine optimization) has been my plan for growth on YouTube since day one. Simply put, if you want your video to be one of the first ones that pops up for a specific search term you should put that specific keyword in the title, description, and tags.

Finding words, with low competition, and good viewership will definitely help grow your channel. The tool I use to do this is called TubeBuddy. It is a free keyword research tool that works great for me.

Another aspect to getting ranked in search is to have high watch time and good engagement. Watch time is a percentage that shows how long the average viewer watched your video. Engagement is likes, dislikes, subscribes, and comments. This is why you see big YouTubers encouraging engagement in their videos.

So for the most part as long as you did your basic SEO correctly, it comes down to creating a good video that people will watch and engage with.

Uploading My Video – Now What

Your video is being uploaded to YouTube, you write a description, fill in other data and now your video is ready to publish. You publish the video and it is live for the world to see, but now what?

Be patient, results won’t come in overnight. It will take work.

Like I said, your goal should be to improve with every video. Look at the data from the video you published, see where people stopped watching your video and try to improve that. Improve your editing, your speaking.

Finally, pat yourself on the back. You did it, you took your first steps. Most people only talk of wanting to be a YouTuber, but you took action and did it, that’s something you can be proud of. Now go out there and make more videos with the mindset of improving every time. Do this and you will succeed!

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