Skip to main content
The Definitive Guide To YouTube

The Definitive Guide To YouTube

Table of Contents

Why You Should Make YouTube Videos

If you’re reading this, you have either started a channel or want to start one soon. This guide will leave no stone unturned on what you need to get started. You’ll get the tactics and strategies I use, as well as the mental approach you need. Fear stops most people from ever starting, and many that do start don’t make it for more than a couple of months.

YouTube isn’t for everyone, though there are people who should make videos but don’t. If you’ve ever read any books on philosophy, you’ll notice a common theme is many people struggle with the thought of going through the day-to-day motions of life, with existential dread being the main culprit.

This comes down to thinking you’re not contributing to the greater good. There was a book published by the late author, David Graeber, called BS Jobs. The premise of the book is many people work unfulfilling jobs and do pointless work every single day.

This is where YouTube comes into the picture. Many people have something valuable they could teach others. Every person has gone through unique circumstances and has a unique combination of education and experience. You could teach something to someone else that solves a problem for them, which then causes a butterfly effect where they can positively influence others.

When I started my channel, I wanted to focus on an educational aspect. As time goes on, I get more fulfillment from having a channel. It’s rewarding to be able to make value-based videos that can help other people solve a problem. This has provided an avenue to provide something meaningful to me.

The first section of this essay will cover the most important part of all this—your mindset. If you have negative beliefs about starting a channel, you’ll self-sabotage and likely not even begin. Getting your mind on the right track will get you 80% of the way there. All the best equipment and video techniques aren’t going to help with this.

It’s time to get started.

Getting the Right Mindset

There are several reasons why people don’t make videos. Here are the most common ones: worrying about how you’ll look on camera and what to say; not knowing what to make videos about; worrying about the opinions of other people; thinking you’re too late to get started, and being overwhelmed by the thought of making a long-term commitment.

There are many other reasons that keep people from making videos, but the ones above are what I see the most. Let’s break each of these down.

The first one is worrying about how you’ll look on camera and what you’ll talk about. The thing about the internet is that there’s always going to be people who judge others. There’s nothing you can do to change it. Eventually, someone will wander into one of your videos and leave a negative comment about you as a person.

When that happens, just mentally place that comment in the garbage. It means nothing. The people who go to a video to leave comments like that are miserable with their lives. Instead of fixing the problem, they would rather find others to try to tear down. Sometimes, they say it out of jealousy. Deep down, they want to do more with their lives but refuse to do it.

It’s no secret that many people would like to find a way to build a following on social media. The haters are the ones who gave up, and now they are trying to justify it to themselves and others. Don’t waste time on people who act this way. Those comments only have as much power as you give them.

Regarding appearances, it’s normal to want to make sure you look good on camera. Even still, I take the time to make sure the lighting looks good, the audio sounds good with a test recording before making the main recording, etc. If you have that concern, most times it comes from a place of caring about what you’re doing.

Next, let’s cover what you can make videos about. This is a common reason I see people give when they either don’t make something or only make a few videos before giving up.

Many people think they’re just going to copy someone else’s idea when they make a video. At this point, there’s nothing new under the sun. Every once in a while, someone comes up with a unique idea for a video, but most videos have been done in some way before. You shouldn’t worry about that.

When you make a video, it will be through the lens of your thoughts and experiences. That’s what makes it unique. Here’s an easy example to give: When I was learning how to use Davinci Resolve (video editing software), I had to watch videos when there was something I needed to do. Sometimes, I couldn’t make sense of how someone was teaching something. I would watch another video on the same feature, where it made sense and I was able to figure out what I needed to do. When you zoom out, it applies to every topic imaginable.

There’s no shortage of topics someone can talk about. Generally speaking, it’s better to stick to talking about something you either know about or have passion for. Opinion videos are okay to make, but they require finesse. I’ve seen plenty of opinion videos backfire on the creator. If you want to have a focus on a value-based channel, keep opinion videos to a minimum. While YouTube isn’t saturated, there are too many people who make videos on meaningless garbage, like who their favorite politician is.

Now, let’s cover the reasons people worry about someone’s opinion. This extends beyond the haters I mentioned earlier. Many people deal with this in other areas of their lives. Many of you want to make videos, but are worried about what your friends or family will say.

I’m a blunt person, so my answer is no different than that of someone who leaves a hate comment. You should ignore any negativity getting tossed your way. You aren’t those people, and they aren’t you. You only have one life, so you might as well do the things you want to do. If you can learn to let go of caring about the opinions of others, you’ll be more inclined to try out new things.

Now, on to the idea that it’s too late to get started. This just isn’t the case with YouTube. I can see a case to be made for a platform like Instagram, but even then, people who post good content there can get noticed. The thing with social media is that it’s about who does it better, not who got there first.

Many people who enter the scene brand new can build a solid following after a year or two of delivering consistent value. The discovery algorithm on YouTube is top-tier. They are constantly looking for content that will be a match with people who are on the platform.

Also, don’t feel bad about having to start out with zero followers. This is something that everyone has to go through. If you make videos that people want to watch, you’ll get followers.

Under no circumstances should you ever buy followers. Even if your account doesn’t get banned, people who have been on the platform for a while can spot when a channel does this. It’s a bad look. At some point, people will reach out to you, offering “engagement” on your channel. This is bot traffic, even if they try to say it’s legit. $100 isn’t going to get you a thousand real subscribers or even a thousand real views. The only thing this does is hurt your channel.

Now to the last reason, which is some people get overwhelmed with the long-term commitment. If you’re going to make videos, you should come in with the mindset of doing this for a long time. Posting 10 videos and expecting to see results is a recipe for failure. It’ll take time and repetition to get better at this and to see results.

Some talk about how others can get a million views on their first video. This is the exception, not the rule. Even if they can do it on their first or tenth video, that doesn’t mean they can repeat it. Also, approaching this with the expectation of having content go viral right away is not going to help you.

Everyone will have their own reasons for wanting to make videos, but here’s something to keep in mind. Measuring your success based on fame and followers is not a good metric. There are plenty of examples of people in Hollywood and the music industry who went off the deep end from their fame. If you woke up tomorrow and went from 0 to 5 million YouTube subscribers, you might get a lot more than you bargained for.

If you commit to this for a long time, you’ll be much better off. Taking a few hours to write down some video ideas can generate plenty to keep you busy (writing is covered later on). This process is only as difficult as you make it.

If you can get past these mental blocks, you can spend more energy on making your first few videos. Even if the first 100 videos you make don’t land with an audience, it’s not the end of the world. You just have to keep moving forward and putting in the work to get better.

YouTube Is A Long and Difficult Road

Social media, and especially YouTube, is a long game, and it’s going to be difficult. There’s no way around it. If you go into this expecting instant overnight results, you’ll walk away disappointed and might throw in the towel for good.

I see influencers on social media talk about how they posted their first video and got a million views. This creates false hope for people because they will see that and think it’ll happen to them as well. It’s very rare for it to happen to someone, and it doesn’t reflect the experience most have. For many people, the early days of trying to get traction is a grind. If you have the expectation that you can do that right away, you’ve set yourself up for failure before you even start.

I mention lower in this essay that I write daily. As a result of this, I have about five years of videos I can make. This is because I know I’m going to be on the platform for a very long time. I didn’t come to YouTube with the intention of trying it out for a month and then giving up if I didn’t see the results I wanted. I knew this was something I wanted to do for a long time before I even started.

Some who watch me have played a game or two before. In most games, you’ll start with a quick tutorial before you begin the story. Some games these days have huge open worlds, so you might spend 30 minutes on a tutorial and 30 hours playing the rest of the game.

YouTube is a long-term game that you should plan to play for years ahead. If you quit in the first year, that would be like quitting a game in the tutorial phase. You haven’t given yourself enough time to know whether or not it’ll work out for you. If you aren’t having fun yet, it’s because you aren’t knowledgeable enough about the process. You won’t like a game (or what you do for work) if you aren’t good at it, but you have to keep learning and practicing to get better. Make at least 100 videos before you decide if you should keep going.

If you get to the point where making videos has become smooth, and you make videos on topics you want to talk about, it should be fun to do. Life is too short to be miserable all the time. If this is something you’ve wanted to do, don’t let the initial rough patches hold you back.

Why You Need to Write Videos

If there’s one thing you ever take away from anything I ever write about or make videos about, this part is the most important. This isn’t an exaggeration. Writing is critical and is one of the best ways you can improve your content. When you zoom out, it’ll help you improve other aspects of your life as well. You’ll learn how to communicate better, your thinking will become clearer, and you can get your best ideas on paper and develop them further.

When I got started on social media, I went straight into making videos. This is the opposite of what many recommend, who say people should start with writing, because it’s an easy way to overcome the fear of putting your work online. It took me a while to start making newsletters. I heard from multiple people I was watching that making a newsletter was important, but I initially dismissed it.

I finally got around to it and decided I was going to make one newsletter per week. I was barely putting any effort or thought into these. If you look back at my early letters, most were not well written. I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’ve noticed a lot of improvement since then.

In early 2024, I decided I was going to start writing daily. I kept hearing about how much of a difference it would make in my thoughts and ability to work, so I embraced it. I can say with certainty that my writing has improved more since then than it did in all the previous months combined. There’s something about putting words on paper that forces you to think more clearly.

I now do thorough writing as prep for my videos. Since then, the results of my channel have improved massively. My communication with others has steadily improved and my work is becoming better. Looking back now, this is something I should’ve started doing a long time ago. I didn’t listen to those who had gone before me because I thought I knew better, and now I clearly see I was wrong.

You can start out with a stack of notebooks and pens. It’s a good idea to always have one of each with you at your desk. If a good idea comes to mind, write it down right away. Some of my best ideas have been lost to time, because I didn’t write them down immediately.

If you’re out and about, have a way to take notes on your phone. If you use a second brain (e.g. Notion or Obsidian), you can use it on your desktop and phone. If you aren’t already using a second brain, I strongly recommend that you start.

As far as writing itself, just start putting ideas down on paper. You’ll notice this as you start writing; your ideas will become clearer, and it also helps declutter your mind.

I recommend putting aside 30-60 minutes at a time to do this. If you’ve never done it before and have numerous distractions, you can start smaller and work up from there. If you get to the point where you write every day, you’ll make a tremendous amount of progress in a short period of time.

It’s important when you write to clear out distractions. Your phone should be muted, no music playing in the background, no TV playing, or anything else that’ll take your mind off writing itself. Having some ambient music in the background is okay if you need it, as long as there are no lyrics. There are plenty of options on YouTube for playlists—just search “ambient music.”

As for using this to make YouTube videos, you can start by writing out all the titles for the videos you want to make. Once you have multiple titles, you can develop them further with their sections, similar to how books have chapters. Give each of these chapters a simple name. Then go in further and develop more detailed notes for each chapter. There are other ways you can do this. This is just the method that I’ve found works best for me.

The other great thing about writing is that it becomes a flywheel for you to create content. A newsletter can become a video and 10 short tweets. A short tweet can become a video, a newsletter, and so on. If you put effort into this, you’ll see the results. If you’ve already tried making videos and stopped because of a lack of new topics to talk about, dedicated writing sessions will fix that.

Building Value to Create Your Future

This guide is geared more towards those who want to make educational content. This might work for entertainment content, but that’s outside my wheelhouse.

Things will start to become a lot more exciting once you’ve delivered some value and people take notice. I’m more frequently getting professional opportunities coming my way as a result of my posts. If you have a focus on delivering educational and valuable content, this is something that will happen. I’ve also been offered payment to make sponsored content.

The thing about this is that you can make content about something you know or are passionate about, something you like talking about, and you can get paid to do it. This kind of opportunity has never existed before. You can put something out for free for people to take notice of and unlock new possibilities with your future. There are people who still scoff at the idea of making social media content, but those people don’t truly understand what this can do for a person.

Let’s say you don’t want to make content full-time, but still want to make a video every week and maybe have a blog. That’s something that can really help you accelerate your career, and many people have gone before you and done it. It looks good on a resume to list that you have some projects to show, a site you operate, and some videos. It might just impress someone enough to give you a chance that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Showcase Your Work

No one else is going to do the work for you, and no one else is going to sell you on what you can do, except for yourself. You have to get over the idea of saying something that might make you look dumb and the fear of what others think of you.

Put your work out for other people to see. Making a website, blog, and/or newsletter is not something you have to do, but I strongly recommend you do it anyway. Even if you don’t want to make content full-time, you still have a way to bring attention to your work.

I’ve seen plenty of posts about people who want to do some kind of work, and they ask how to get ahead of other people in the hiring process. I rarely see anyone suggest to make some projects and put them out on the internet. The number of people who do this is very few, and if you’re professional with your delivery, you’ll blow past most people you’re competing with.

What I mean by that is to go over the fine details. Don’t have a website with broken links, poor design, slow to load, and don’t make content that’s slopped together. Really put some thought into what you’re doing and how you want to present it. If you want to see an example, I made a cybersecurity site where people can learn about many of the different facets of the topic. I started writing down things I thought of and now have over 100 Word doc pages of content on just that site.

The work that you showcase should be able to live for years on the internet and it should be something you would be proud to tell people about. If you do, it’ll work wonders for you and will help you stay in the game when you hit a period of uncertainty and doubt.

I would suggest a book to go along with this. It’s called Sell or Be Sold, which was written by Grant Cardone. Some of you are trying to get started in an industry. People think of selling as something slimy, which started because of salespeople who sold things to people who didn’t need them. The fact is, if you don’t learn to sell yourself and your ideas, someone else is going to use you to sell them, their ideas, and their products.

What You Need to Get Started

To make videos, you’re going to need a few things. Let’s cover the software first. The following software will help a lot: OBS Studio, Davinci Resolve (or another video editor), Photoshop (or another image editor), and a second brain.


OBS Studio is great for making videos where you want to have a webcam and also record a computer screen. You can create various types of content with this software, whether it’s just the camera feed or your computer desktop and webcam.

OBS has some really nice features to increase the overall quality of your videos. You can use a wide range of audio and video filters. These will take some effort to set to your specific tastes and would go way beyond the scope of this letter. As an example, you can add things like a compressor, expander, EQ, and a noisegate to your microphone. These filters will massively improve the audio quality of your videos.

OBS has a lot more capabilities, like being able to stream directly to a platform like YouTube. You’ll have plenty of options with it. It just takes some time to learn to set it up to your liking.

Video Editor

You don’t need a video editor, but it will really help a lot of people. You can use it to clean up your video footage by taking out dead air, add text, clean up the audio, make creative edits, etc. When you first start using a video editor, it’ll feel like you’re trying to learn a second language.

There are tons of options you can use. Davinci Resolve has been my choice for a long time, mostly because it was what I started with, and it works well. There’s a free option that will do almost anything that most people would ever want to do with it. You could get the paid option, but it won’t be necessary for most, and I wouldn’t recommend it to you early on unless you plan to do some really advanced edits.

If you want to get some proficiency with an editor, it’s going to take some time. Video editors tend to have a learning curve, since they are capable of doing a lot. Watching some YouTube tutorials and spending time to learn the basics will be enough to get you where you need to go.

Photo Editor

There’s a few different photo editor options. Two paid options are Photoshop and Affinity Photo. A free option is GIMP. They all work well, though Photoshop is still the best for making anything advanced. Affinity is a good middle ground that would work great for the needs of most.

Like video editing, this has a learning curve and will take some time to be able to use. It will also take a lot of practice to be able to do anything beyond just adding some text to a photo. You’ll need to learn how layers work, how to use filters on those layers, how to put all the elements of a thumbnail together, etc. Tutorials are again going to be important here, but the most essential part is to just start practicing. Nothing can replace experience when it comes to using this software.

Second Brain

If there’s two things you take from this entire series, this is the second most important thing. Using a second brain has been one of the most important pieces of software for me. It has completely changed my ability to do work and to educate myself.

There are a couple good options. For most, Notion is going to be the best choice. It’s able to do quite a lot more than many would ever use it for. If you want something simpler, especially if you really want to focus on writing, Obsidian is an excellent option. Be sure to thoroughly research the ins and outs of both options to see what would work best.


Let’s cover some hardware. This will be pretty straightforward. You only need to focus on a few things here to be well-prepared. You could really go into the weeds if you wanted to, with all the different mic and camera options that are available. I’m going to give you enough to get started and be able to make good videos. I don’t recommend getting professional equipment early on. It’s much more important to just get started.

First, if you’re going to be using OBS, get a second monitor if you don’t already have one. You’ll need to be able to see what’s going on in real time, so if a problem comes up, you can get it fixed right away. Having to do a reshoot is annoying, and if you ever have to do it, you’ll quickly learn how to correct whatever the problem was.

You’ll also need to get some miscellaneous items, such as USB cables for cameras and mics, and a tripod for your camera.


If you’re new to YouTube, I strongly advise against getting a professional camera. Use a cell phone if you already have one, or get a webcam. Most phones these days have excellent cameras and capture really good 4K footage. Even older phones like the iPhone 12 record excellent video that will work great for most videos.

If you decide to go with a webcam, watch YouTube reviews of the specific camera to make sure you like the quality of it. Some webcams are better quality than others. You only need to spend one or two hundred dollars to get something good.

I’ll emphasize again—just use something simple and start making videos. There’s no point in dropping 1K+ on a camera and lens. You have to start making videos. The fancy equipment can come at a later time if you decide it should be done.


There’s a huge range of mics that are available, and they each have their pros and cons. If you’ve seen my videos, you’ll notice I have a strong preference for lav mics, since I like the freedom they give. I didn’t want to have to stay within a certain area around my desk to use a mic on a boom.

That said, I could have gotten a mic that sounds better if I went with a different option. I had to spend some time getting the audio tuned on the mic I’m using right now to make it sound good.

There’s also another option called a shotgun mic. These can be nice if you shell out the money to get one that’s good quality. Rode makes one that can attach to a phone, and it sounds pretty good. Sennheiser has some excellent shotgun mics, but they’re too expensive for someone new.

It’s important to consider your format here. If you’re going to be making videos in multiple locations, getting something portable like a lav mic or a shotgun mic will work better.

If you’re going to be mostly using a computer and presenting something on PowerPoint, you can use a USB mic. Watch reviews and listen to audio samples first. This will help you narrow down what will work best.

This is one of those things that needs to be done, even if it takes a lot of time to get it right. If you have bad audio, no one will watch your videos. There are a lot issues people are willing to overlook on a video, but bad audio isn’t one of them. Additionally, getting your audio cleaned up with OBS or a video editor is critical to improving the experience for the viewer.


You can use an iPhone to capture some great footage, but it won’t happen without good lighting. Even a professional camera has to have proper lighting to be able to get good footage.

Getting good lighting is easy to do. A couple of lightboxes will cost about $100 and will give you plenty of light to do the job. I still use two lights for my studio and they provide plenty of light. You can also use a window during the day, as long as there’s enough light and it’s being diffused properly.

Many people will use ring lights. These work okay, although with some caveats. First, if you wear glasses, they’ll have a very noticeable and distracting reflection. Also, if you have the light pointed straight on at your face and it’s close enough, you can clearly see the reflection in the eyes.

Some people add RGB lighting to their studios. There’s some fancier options out there, with some of the lights costing several hundred apiece. These are completely unnecessary to start out, and for most people, they aren’t going to add anything to the footage. Feel free to spend money however you want, but these aren’t what a beginner should focus on.

Controversy Marketing

Controversy is one of the most effective ways for you to get viewers for your videos. A word of warning: be careful with how you go about this. There are different levels of controversy a person can get themselves into. Going too far can cause some long-term issues.

It’s better to start small and experiment over time. Most people think of major hot button topics when they hear the word controversy. This is something that can be used on a very micro scale though. Let’s go through some examples.

A couple of years ago, MrBeast wore fake merch, like a Supreme hoodie and Yeezys. Many people got mad at him for this. I don’t see why, since it’s not like it affected any of them, but it was still funny to see some people meltdown about it. He later admitted during a podcast interview that he was doing it to get some extra attention.

There are also communities that are dedicated to calling out people who wear items such as fake watches. I don’t know if some of these people are just doing it to get some easy content, or if they are actually butthurt about it. Either way, some people know this and will wear a fake product to get some free attention.

I’ll give a couple of examples of videos I made where I used a controversial angle. I made a video a couple of months ago titled, “What the Microsoft Hack Means For You.” The title alone is a bit controversial. I then made a thumbnail with the Windows Blue Screen of Death as the background. I had an annoyed Bill Gates looking at Putin, who looked like he was about to laugh. I knew this title and thumbnail were going to get attention, which they definitely did. It was about a state-sponsored hack that Microsoft dealt with.

YouTube video thumbnail of Putin and Bill Gates looking at each other.
Thumbnail used for the Microsoft hack video.

The above example was about as far as I was willing to go at the time. I don’t discuss politics (mostly due to a lack of interest), and a lot of people that watched were mad in the comment section, thinking I was making a political statement of some kind. I did nothing of the sort and only talked about the hack, as well as some alternatives to Microsoft products. With a bit of controversial packaging, I used that video to grow my channel by 1K subscribers over the course of a week.

You can double-click into controversy even further. I made a video talking about malware that can infect the motherboard firmware. It’s called LogoFail, and it was something that circulated in the tech world for a few weeks. I made a video with the title, “This Virus Can Destroy Your Motherboard.” The title was bordering on clickbait, though it was still true, as the malware will remain even if the hard drive gets wiped. This was controversial enough that it got numerous views at the time, relative to the size of my channel.

YouTube thumbnail with some text and a computer command line background.
Thumbnail used for the motherboard malware video.

This is something I recommend using sparingly. It’s not a good idea to be known for making clickbait or constantly chasing controversy. If that’s how you build your viewer base, other types of videos you make are going to perform poorly.

Building a Community

If you make community building a priority, you’ll have a much better go at growing your channel. I’ve been seeing this talked about more on YouTube, and when I notice channels make this a priority, they do better than others that just post some content and disappear.

Community is a word that’s getting thrown around a lot, but it’s not well understood. Here’s the simple explanation—treat people like they’re people.

There’s a lot of competition on YouTube, and it’ll continue to become more competitive. One of the reasons that people move to social media is because they want to find people who are interesting to watch and are also with their audience.

If a person just posts a video and doesn’t pay attention to what their audience says, it creates the impression that the creator is just farming engagement. It works fine for some people, but if you want to have a healthy channel, you need to be engaged.

The comment section is one of the best ways to do this. Whether you’re going to do streaming or just posting videos for on-demand viewing, you should be paying attention to what people are saying. It’ll give you a good idea of where to take your content.

If someone asks you a question and it warrants a two-paragraph response, you should answer it as such. Once you reach a certain size and are getting more comments, this won’t be as feasible anymore. At that point, if you see the question enough, then you can make a video to answer everyone who has the same question.

The following is something that Gary Vee said, and it’s very true. If you treat your first 3 viewers like they matter, they’ll turn into 30, then 300, and so on. People are taking time out of their day to watch your videos. Time is the most valuable thing on the planet. It’s good manners to engage with the people who are giving up time to spend watching you when you have time to do so.

To take this a step further, if you have a lot of knowledge or passion about something, you can make a website/blog and delve deep into that topic. Give insights that people can’t find elsewhere. Your experience will be unique. If your knowledge is on a topic that would require visiting 10 sources to learn about, condense all that into a section on your site.

Sizzle vs. Steak

If you’ve ever been to a steakhouse, you might’ve seen steaks brought out on a hot platter, where the steaks will be sizzling in the hot juices. This is something that gets the attention of everyone. The sound and smell is amazing. It builds anticipation for the steak itself, which is what satisfies the hunger.

This is something that applies to videos as well, though this context is more applicable to educational videos. If you’re going for entertainment videos, they’re mostly going to be sizzle and empty calories, due to the intent of the video itself.

If you can add some sizzle (titles and thumbnails are a great way to do this), you can then provide the steak, which is the content of the video. When people are looking for videos to watch, you need something that’ll stand out. The sizzle can be something that stirs some controversy in the mind of the viewer, though that’s not always the case. In the two video examples I gave above, those had a lot of sizzle to draw people in.

There are other times you’ll prepare a huge slab of stake with minimal sizzle. I made a video about how to make an MkDocs Material website. There’s nothing eye-catching about it, and it really only applies to people who want to set up that particular type of site. Regardless, it’s one of the best-performing videos on my channel.

If you want to focus on educational videos, you’ll have to experiment with this to find out what’s going to work for your videos. Use caution with using too much sizzle and not enough steak. There’s a very fine line between being clickbait and using a title and thumbnail that gets attention but delivers on what the video is about.


Consistency is something many people on the platform struggle with. There are many reasons that people slow down or stop, and I understand things happen—jobs, family, other commitments, etc. This isn’t meant as criticism.

There are some major reasons why consistency is important. It’s something that gets said a fair amount on the platform, to the point some might think it’s a bit cliché. I’ve also seen some people, mostly those running bigger channels, say that sticking to a schedule isn’t a big deal. There are cases where that’s true, but not for someone who’s getting started.

First, being consistent will help you build the mindset and skills for making videos. The only way you get better at this is to stick to it and put in the reps. I’ll keep saying this—the early days of making videos are a grind, and it takes a lot of fortitude to get through. Not having any views, comments, and subscribers gets to many people, and they start to wonder what the point of continuing is. If you have this mindset in the early days, it’ll really hurt your ability to keep going.

There’s going to be a lot of times that you’re not going to feel like filming anything. It’s normal and it happens to a lot of people. Even I deal with this every now and then. What matters is to work past that. Christmas and New Years Day 2023 fell on upload days for me. I could’ve made videos in advance, but I didn’t. I still made videos anyway, even though I had other stuff going on and didn’t feel like doing it.

Also, don’t film the same video ten times to get one you like. Learn how to say what you need to say in one take and post the video. Don’t let yourself get hung up on a single video. Put it out and move on to making the next one.

Consistency is also important for your audience. If you set a schedule from the start, it helps you get in the mindset of committing to it, and it also helps people know when to expect something from you. I follow a handful of channels and know the upload schedules for most of them.

Some of them upload at random. Those channels are ones that I check less frequently, because I never know if they’re going to upload something every week during a month or just once for the entire month. Being consistent also builds more trust. If you want to learn more about that, research the consistency bias.

Education vs. Entertainment

Figuring out if you want to be educational or entertaining is going to take some experimentation. My videos are mostly educational, so when I plan them, I keep that aspect in mind. If you’re going to make educational videos, it’s not good to act like you’re making a piece of entertainment. The vast majority of people don’t succeed when they try to do that.

If you want to be good at entertaining people, you need to have charisma and storytelling abilities. If you want to be educational, you can make videos about something you already know.

Both sides have their advantages. A good entertainer can have a solid career as a full-timer. That said, I’m personally glad I went with the educational route. Depending on the goals you have for your channel, making educational videos can open up plenty of doors for you.

It’ll come down to delivering a lot of value to people. It’s something that’s almost intangible—those that deliver value will see it returned in huge ways. It’s also something that feels good. I like seeing the feedback about my videos and website from people who got a piece of knowledge that helped them out. Helping others out is the way to keep moving humanity forward. If you’re the type that wants to improve the world in some way, then giving value is a great way to do it.

Being Better vs. Being Early

Being better on social media matters more than being early. I see this come up a lot where people don’t want to start, or they quit early because they think the platforms are too saturated. People are coming and going on the platform all the time, including big names. At the start of 2024, there were some big names that announced they were retiring or were taking a big step back from YT. This opened up room for new people.

One example of someone who’s excelled is Sam Sulek. He does some of the most raw videos—unlike many others who put a lot of time into editing. I watched a few of his videos and noticed he’s a lot like Rich Piana. Rich was a bodybuilder and liked by numerous people for his style.

There’s something important to note here. Being better doesn’t mean editing, background music, fancy cameras, etc. At the end of the day, it means making videos that people want to watch. There’s a lot to that, and it could involve some things I mentioned above. What I’m saying is to not focus on the wrong things.

As long as you put in the work to improve your videos and learn the platform, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to grow a channel. Many people really underestimate YouTube’s algorithm. It’s really dialed in and will show people content they want to watch. The fact that someone can start with zero subscribers, not do any sort of marketing, and grow a massive channel organically, is proof of that.

Wrapping up

YouTube is one of the biggest opportunities that has ever existed. Someone in the middle of nowhere can pick up a camera, record, and post a video, and get noticed. YouTube hasn’t even hit full potential yet, and the amount of opportunity on there over the next 10 years is going to increase massively.

The time to get started is now. After reading this essay, you have what you need to get started (other than maybe some gear). There’s never going to be a perfect time to start. You just have to make it happen.

I wish you luck on your journey! If you decide to start a channel, send me a message and let me know. I’d like to see how you progress along the way.