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It's something I see all the time.
“I'm thinking of starting a Youtube channel, what is the best camera for this?”
“I'm going to start a Podcast, what is the best Podcasting microphone?”
“I want to start a business, who builds custom websites?”
If you are not making hundreds in ad revenue or affiliate sales each month on Youtube, investing hundreds or thousands in a “fancy camera” is not going to change that. Build on your content first. Once you then have the audience, you will have the budget for better gear. You are views are not determined by your video quality. While it may make you look more professional and trustworthy, if you are not initially getting in front of an audience then it doesn't matter. Build your audience first, then worry about upgrading later when you are taking in a profit that justifies it.
So you want to start a podcast, may as well invest in the best microphone on the market right? Wrong. The microphone on your mobile phone will work almost as well and it's already on your person. If you haven't even started a show yet, don't invest hundreds. You might make 4 episodes and then realise podcasting is just not for you. Start with what you have and upgrade when you start pulling a profit.
Want to know an embarrassing, but slightly funny fact? Last July I got myself a Blue Yeti microphone in the Prime day sale for around £70 (£125 retail so I was counting that as a win!). I used it maybe 3 times before it just stopped working. But when it did, I kept it on my desk for maybe about 3 weeks before returning it. I was actually taking video calls with the microphone sitting next to me because I thought it made me look a bit more credible. When in reality, I was working on a 13″ MacBook, propped up so it looked like a big computer, and pretending to use a microphone that wasn't even plugged in…
The worst thing about it was that I felt so clever for making myself look like a big shot, and the funny thing about it was that the only people who were actually seeing it were clients that had already booked with me. I was trying to impress people in a ridiculous way. And do you know what is even worse than that? During these 3 weeks, I had maybe 4 clients comment on how good my sound was, and what kind of microphone was that. I felt a little stupid when I would pick up the microphone, tell them it wasn't plugged in right now, and I was just using the microphone built into my laptop.
So long story short, if you are buying fancy tech because Facebook tells you you need it, don't.
As a web designer, this is something I deal with each and every day. New clients popping up in my inbox, sharing their new business ideas with me. Telling me that they can't afford a custom design, or asking me if they can take out a 12 month payment plan as they haven't made a sale yet. I get it, you are a new business, you want to be the best new business, but girl, watch your finances!
As a new company, PLEASE don't take out a 12 month payment plan on something that has not yet shown a profit. I hate to think negatively here, but what if it never does? You will be paying and hustling for the next 6 months, and after zero payout you might give up. What then? You still have 6 months of payments to make on your new website that's not going to be put to use. Do yourself and your business a favour and start with a low budget website. We have tonnes of DIY templates in our store for only £35, complete with full video walkthroughs to get you all set-up. This way – again being negative for a moment – if you never make a profit, you haven't blown all of your savings. Only invest what you can afford to loose.
On the complete opposite side of the scale, if you are currently using a website template and pulling in a sizeable profit form your business, maybe it's time to upgrade.
I'm not saying don't ever invest in your business. I'm saying that it's not wise to invest hundreds upfront when you have no profit to play with. Make sensible decisions and don't use up all of your savings on a dream. I've seen people spend thousands on gear and custom websites and then go on to take over the world. More than often though, I've worked with clients who want to build on an ideal quickly and it does nothing but put them into debt.
Building a business should be a slow, yet enjoyable experience. Even I didn't start out with a fancy custom website and trips around the world. I started out with a free *very badly built* WIX website, and a free account on Skype. From there I built myself up and invested only profits, no personal savings. Business can be done well on a budget, you just need to put a little more time and effort figuring out how. A good place to start is knowledge. There are so many great free resources on the internet. If your business is stuck, invest a little time in expanding your skills. Spend a little more time networking on Instagram, watch some amazing free Youtube videos on marketing. There are so many great, free ways of absorbing knowledge out there, you don't always have to spend money.
Want that expensive course you've seen advertised on Facebook? Why not search the topic on Amazon or Audible and read a book about it first. Books and courses normally have similar information, you are paying mainly for the delivery method.
Desperate for that website but you're a complete technophobe? We do offer template customisation services where we can do all of the set-up for you.
Ok, so there is no compromise, you have to hire someone for a specific thing. Why not ask in a Facebook group for a service swap? This way you can build some great referrals for your new business, while also getting the service you so desperately seek.
Maybe you are a photographer and there is a new piece of kit you HAVE to have? There are so many websites you can rent lenses and lights from. So why not hire it out for a week, do a few shoots with it to raise a little bit of profit and also test it out. You might love it and have to buy it, or you might realise it's not for you without spending thousands. Either way you have tested it out and raised some funds to purchase it.
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