Freewrite Friday: So You Want to be a Vlogger?

I get so many questions on why and how I got started with YouTube. With nearly 3 years down, I have noticed that there are so many new vloggers in my area now, and I’m randomly meeting fellow vloggers in restaurants and on the street. It’s a very refreshing as well as a frustrating feeling knowing that this community was not around when I first started. When I started vlogging during my university days, I felt like a freak for doing this on the side. I had a lot to lose by putting myself out on the internet. I was really insecure about my videos, and looking back, I kind of want to slap myself for only half-assing it. I should’ve been gung-ho about youtube since the first day I started this channel. I let the potential of running into shit-talkers get in the way of me getting my channel out there. 3 years later, I have received nothing but kind words about my channel, and I just proved myself that I had nothing to worry about.

With that said, there are so many things that I wish I learned before deciding to do YouTube. I wish I took into account how much time actually goes into a video. There’s filming, editing, social media, and community engagement. Of course, I’m speaking from a professional standpoint. If you are just doing YouTube to put out family vides or projects for fun, then you don’t really need to worry about tags or ranking in search. For those of you who are thinking about getting serious, this job requires a lot of patience, self-discipline, and creativity.

Another thing I wish I knew before starting my channel was that people are totally lying when they say it doesn’t matter what equipment you use. IT IS TOTALLY IMPORTANT if you want to make your job easier and make your videos appear more professional. I went through my iPhone video and shoebox tripod phase. Did it work? Yes. Did it make filming and editing harder? All the time. When I knew I wanted to get more serious about my channel, I invested in an actual camera (no, not a DSLR), a cheap tripod, some SD cards, and a stronger laptop for editing. Honestly, yeah, you don’t need these exact things, but if you want to increase the quality of your videos, then some of these things are necessary. For example, my very first laptop was so weak, that it could not even open Windows Movie Maker without crashing on me. I upgraded my laptop and editing software, and achieving high quality and editing videos became sooooooo much easier. Equipment makes ALL the difference.

While I am humbled by the fact that the number of vloggers are increasing on YouTube, I can’t help but to think about why the sudden trend, or their intentions behind it. A lot of friends that used to be YouTubers all quit because of the same reason: “I don’t have time/ it’s too hard.” Of course it’s a lot of hard work. You are creating your own content, setting your own deadlines, and building a brand and presence online. Only the truly dedicated and passionate creators make it on YouTube. Fame and fortune won’t come until WAY, WAY, WAAAAY later. I met a travel vlogger and he told me it took him 10 YEARS for YouTube to start paying him to make videos. In addition, he said you should be uploading 4 times a week to grow really fast. A lot of us do not have this time, patience, nor resources to do so.

I know it may seem as though I am badmouthing people who want to start YouTube because they don’t know what they’re in for, but this is a reality check. I was one of those people who thought I was going to get internet fame and tons of subscribers within a matter of months. I did not know what I was in for. However, for every scary thought, there are two reason why I stayed with community no matter how hard it got.

The last thing I wish I knew before starting YouTube was how awesome and loving the vlogger community is. I’ve met so many YouTubers who were going through the same things as I was. I’ve met people from other states, countries, YouTube niches, etc. This not only the most rewarding part of the job, but it is also the absolute best part of the job. Being able to creatively collaborate with other YouTubers and engage with people who watch your channel is such an indescribable feeling. It makes me feel like I am running my own TV show, and that people are actually benefiting from watching my videos. I know that through my YouTube channel, I am contributing to society and helping someone out there. It may be just me talking to the camera, but it’s amazing to know that there is someone out there who is watching.

So my advice to aspiring vloggers out there would be to do this for the right reasons, give it your all, do your research, and build your community. If you’re reading this, and you’re already an established vlogger, I challenge you to look back on you old material. How have you changed since that video? What have you done differently? Share your story in the comments!

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