If you want to start a YouTube channel and make a living from your content, you have hard work ahead of you. But it is possible. Here’s how to create a YouTube channel, what monetization looks like, how to build your fanbase, and more.
How much does it cost to start a YouTube channel?
As much as the air you’re breathing! You can start a YouTube channel for free, just like back in the day. Of course, like with any form of content creation, you’ll need to sink some bucks on your equipment. But to get up, running, and live, it’s 100% free.
How do you start a YouTube channel?
It’s super easy! The process hasn’t changed too much over the years, so you can get started while your coffee’s brewing. Here’s how:
- Head to YouTube and click ‘Sign In.’ From there, you punch in the details for the Google account you’d like to associate with your channel. Google is YouTube’s parent company, which is why you need the Google stuff. If you don’t have a Google account, they’re simple to set up.
- Get into your YouTube settings. To do this, go to the top-right corner of the screen, where your profile icon sits. You click on that, then in the little dropdown menu, you’ll see ‘Create a channel.’ Then click that!
- Create your channel! You can use your actual name or a brand name/alias (sorry to break it to you – his birth name isn’t actually PewDiePie.) If you’re starting out and aim to build your channel, a specific ‘brand’ name might work best; it lets potential viewers know what they’re in for. ‘Jane Doe’s DIY Fixes’ makes more sense than just ‘Jane Doe,’ for example.
- Sort out the nitty-gritty. This includes actions like choosing your profile picture (say cheese!), banner, channel description, and more. We’ll touch on those later, but it’s also important to remember to connect your YouTube channel to your other social media accounts. This makes it easier than ever for viewers to reach out and connect with you on every platform.
Next, we’ll walk you through posting your first video.
How to upload your first YouTube video
Once you’ve set up your channel, it’s time to post! After you've filmed your first video and edited it, uploading is a straightforward process.
- Click on YouTube Studio, which you can find in the same dropdown menu we used in the previous process.
- Go to ‘UPLOAD VIDEOS’ or ‘CREATE,’ which you can find in the middle or the top right of YouTube Studio, respectively. Then select your video file, and it’ll start uploading.
- Fill in the details while you wait, as the upload might take a while, depending on the file size. You have the more obvious things like the title, description, and thumbnail, but when you click on ‘more options,’ you can add video tags. This is vital for searchability and something you’re not going to know about straight away! But more on that in a second.
And that’s it! Once you’ve checked everything, given it the final nod of approval, and re-uploaded once realizing your cat ran across the background while you were explaining NFTs for your viewers, you’re ready to publish!
Now, that was just the basics. We get that the various bits and pieces are far more complicated than a few hundred words. So, if you’d like to learn a bit more about some of the topics we mentioned earlier, we’ve got you covered.
- If you’re not sure how to make a YouTube thumbnail, check this out. YouTube automatically generates thumbnails, but if you want to create a personalized one in a program like Canva or Adobe Spark, it can make your content pop even more.
- Click here to learn how to make a YouTube Banner. This helps brand your channel and gives viewers a feel for what they’ll be watching.
- Our piece on YouTube SEO is handy for all the backend things beyond uploading your video. If you want to optimize your video for search, ensure it ranks highly, and learn the essentials on keywords (which is crucial when writing your video descriptions,) give this a read.
Now you’ve learned the ropes, there’s no time for slacking! If you want to source high-quality, royalty-free music for your content and not deal with anyone in the middle, you should give Epidemic Sound’s music a try.
How do you start a YouTube channel and get paid?
Given you’re all set up and rolling, you’re probably eager to monetize your channel. It’s not as easy as you’d think, given you need to at least 1,000 subscribers and a whole host of criteria. We explain how to monetize YouTube here.
Once you’re ready to monetize your channel, you’ll be thinking, ‘How much does a YouTuber earn, and when can I use that money to buy a yacht?’ The #YachtLyf is further away than you think, unfortunately. On average, YouTubers earn between $0.001 and $0.002 per video view once they’ve monetized. Maybe just get better at swimming in the meantime.
How to build your YouTube following
It takes time, energy, and quality content to build up those followers, whether you’re aiming for that milestone 1,000 or are way further down the line.
If you want 10 tips to get more subscribers on YouTube, we’ve covered that here. But if you’re not having fun, it’s not worth doing – YouTube isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Do it because you love it!
To close us out, we sat down with photographer and storyteller Sylvio Raz, who'll tell you more about his journey, his gear, and provide some great tips – from one creator to another.
Q: When did you start your first YouTube channel? And why?
A: I started my YouTube channel in April 2020, and I would say it was way overdue. I had been planning to launch the channel one year earlier, but due to hesitation, lack of focus, doubting my material – I kept postponing it. When the pandemic started, I felt a slight sense of urgency and realized people were consuming online content more than ever.
Q: Before uploading a video to YouTube or other platforms, what’s important to keep in mind?
A: It’s always a great idea to rewatch your exported video at least once to make sure everything looks and sounds as it is supposed to. You might find some things you’ve overlooked or missed, which would be impossible to change once you’ve uploaded the video. Other than that, I would also prepare a list of places you plan to share your video, like Facebook, Instagram, and even public sites like Reddit.
Q: What kind of video was the first one you uploaded to your channel?
A: My first video was a storytelling travel video about when I asked a stranger to join me on a quick adventure to Tokyo. It was part one of three and focused more on the backstory to the Tokyo trip rather than the actual trip.
Q: How did you create it, and what gear did you use?
A: A majority of the video was talking head sections, recorded with my main camera at the time: Fujifilm X100F. This camera isn’t particularly known as a video camera, but it was what I had, and it did a pretty decent job! I was quite keen on using equipment I already owned and maximizing the production quality. However, I did buy an H1n hand recorder, which I used as an external audio source since I, unfortunately, broke my mic input in my X100F.
I was pretty happy with the sound quality, but it was a bit of a headache to sync and add in the audio. I edited the video in Adobe Premiere, which I was very new to, but I think having experience working with music production software helped me understand the fundamentals of the program. The editing process consisted of editing talking head sections with past footage from the trip to fit the script that I had written.
Q: Do you find creating content hard? Do you get any help doing it?
A: I would definitely say making YouTube videos for myself is hard. Mostly because it’s so time-consuming. For my first videos, I easily spent 50+ hours on each one. There is the technical side – the editing – which takes a lot of time, but then there are things like planning, scripting, and conceptualizing, which can take up even more time. Currently, I don't have any help when it comes to my videos besides my best friends giving me some feedback (generally after the video is already up.) However, I have considered eventually hiring an editor, so I can free up my time for making music.
Q: Finally, do you have some good tips for someone who wants to create their first YouTube channel?
A: The biggest motivator for making YouTube videos is to create videos that you can be proud of. Everything else – views, likes, and subscribers – should not be a motivator when you're first starting off. If you only focus on the numbers, you will most likely find yourself disappointed and not appreciate the hard work you put into your own videos. Also, it's important to understand that you can only get better and faster by making more videos, so don't get too stuck on trying to make your first video "perfect."
Sylvio Raz is a photographer, storyteller, and Creator Partnerships Manager at Epidemic Sound. Check out his YouTube channel here.
Are you a YouTuber? Whether you’re an editing master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for YouTube page. And, if you’re looking for some music for YouTube, we got you covered.