One of the biggest things that prevent YouTubers from spending more time creating content is money. The truth about YouTube is that it’s a long tail project that requires years of work before you see any kind of consistent payoff.
During that time, there's going to be pressure to spend money upgrading equipment and modernizing your channel. While you should be growing and improving, what you shouldn't do is spend every dollar you earn. In fact, as a YouTuber, your best course of action is to save money. By saving your money, you'll be able to transition to full-time creator sooner than you think.
Save Money on Cameras
One of the biggest costs associated with video content is the cameras. Cameras can range in price from hundreds to tens of thousands. Then there's the question of multiple camera angles, or drones, or waterproof cameras. The list of cameras can go on and on, and as a creator, you’ll tend to want them all. But there’s a huge opportunity to save money on the cost of camera including:
- Buy last years model. Technology improvements are minor year over year. A good example is the new G7X, which is $200 cheaper than the newer G7X Mark II, yet the only difference is a longer battery life and 24p frame rate. Instead of getting the latest and greatest, buy the one that's still great at a discounted price.
- Take advantage of your smartphone. Many of the latest smartphones shoot 4K, and all them have 1080p video capabilities. If you're setting up the camera to shoot from home, get a phone tripod and you'll see incredible results from a great camera you already own. If it's not your main, it makes an incredible second angle.
- Buy a used camera. Used cameras always come with a major discount over their sale price. Sites like Craigslist, VarageSale and eBay have tons of sellers. Many times, you can even find brand new equipment for a significant discount because it's not from the original retailer.
- Buy a refurbished camera. While they cost more than a used camera, they do come with a great discount. The added benefit of the company certifying and providing a decent warranty will give you confidence to buy (and save!)
Save Money on Production
Production costs are generally small but can add up over time. Things like set pieces, editing, or specialized graphics can come with a large cost - but they add a lot to a production. There are many opportunities to save, and here are a few ideas you can start with:
- Save on editing software. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is an editing software used by YouTubers, but it comes with a $20/month cost. The student version is about half that cost. If you're not a student, find out if you have any family or friends who are, and make a deal with them. It's an easy way to save over $100 a year.
- Think ahead with your props. Many YouTubers include props in their videos. To save money, keep an eye out for deals or sales on the items you're looking for. Buying something a day before your recording session will almost guarantee you pay way more than you needed to. For example, you can buy a green screen at a camera shop for $200, or you can get one online for $50.
- Barter for graphics and other assets. YouTube communities often offer barter services with each other. If you're great at editing, and someone else is great at channel art, you can exchange services with no cash involved. Communities like YTTalk, Bunz or Imzy have like-minded YouTubers willing to exchange expertise.
Form a Collective
One of the best ways to save money as a YouTuber is to work with other YouTubers. You are generally all experiencing the same thing, and as such have similar needs and requirements. A local collective of start up YouTubers can pool your gear (cameras, microphones, lights) and use them together. This saves you a TON of money as you don't need to buy a lot of equipment. The only downside is that you do need some control over your own gear.
Alternatively, consider starting a YouTuber house. It's like a collective, but you all move into one 4-5 bedroom home and pool your resources. Not only will this save you money on rent, but you can create a dedicated filming room and editing suite. It's why a lot of gaming clans do it, so it will work for other types of YouTubers as well.
There are many ways to save money as a YouTuber. Find what works for you.