With over 50 million people considering themselves content creators, it’s safe to say that the creator economy is here to stay. Content creation is a field that allows people to make a good living creating and sharing content about things they love (and would share with the world regardless of whether it was bringing in the bacon).
Like any small business you may want to launch, becoming a content creator does require you to invest time and money to get going. However, you don’t have to drain your account and sacrifice your livelihood by throwing money into what may end up being a short-lived hobby (not to be negative—just emphasizing that things happen). Furthermore, you shouldn’t be discouraged from starting if you simply don’t have the budget to purchase everything on your creator wishlist.
In the beginning, while you’re still discovering yourself as a creator, it’s not necessary to shell out a ton of money to begin your journey as a content creator. Below we’ll offer advice on what to focus on when starting as a content creator. Spoiler: it doesn’t involve running to Amazon to fill your cart up on day one.
Determine Your Medium and Niche
Content creators come in many forms. One of the best things you can do when considering content creation is to identify which medium works best for you. Also, it would help if you determined your niche, aka what you’ll be creating content about. For instance, say you’re a strong writer who loves taking photos. Maybe instead of becoming a YouTuber or a live streamer, you should consider becoming a blogger.
Playing off your strengths and current hobbies is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated. When it comes to your niche, you should choose a subject you’re passionate about, don’t mind researching regularly, and won’t get tired of talking about daily. Content creation takes a ton of self-motivation, so choose something you feel connected to!
Start with Research (Not Buying Equipment)
Chances are, your desire to become a content creator was sparked by creators you follow whose content you enjoy. You probably see them create content with the best of the best equipment and aspire to do the same. Let us quickly remind you that you don’t need to run out to get an expensive camera or top-of-the-line lighting to get started as a content creator. However, you must thoroughly research your niche and target audience to determine what content will perform best and get the momentum going.
Some things to research in the beginning:
- Is there a large enough audience within your niche?
- What creators exist in your niche, and what type of content are they putting out?
- Is your niche profitable?
- What are the minimal starting costs? (i.e., do you need to buy a domain, etc.)
Below are some tools you can use to research keywords within your niche, determine what your potential audience is searching for, and help you brainstorm content ideas.
Use What You Have
If you’re reading this blog, you probably own a modern smartphone with a camera that takes pretty good video and photos—start there. Many smartphones have excellent quality cameras that will do a tremendous job when you’re still getting your feet wet.
Save money to work towards adding equipment slowly. Below are a few resources you can use to find essential equipment that we recommend adding to your setup further down the road. FYI, some of these resources may mention live streamers specifically, however, all creators in some way, shape or form can find these types of equipment useful.
- Best Smartphones for Content Creators
- Best Tripods
- Best Green Screens
- Best Virtual Green Screen Software
- Best Monitors
- Best Podcast Recording Software
Enhance Your Lighting
If there’s one piece of equipment we consider somewhat of a must-have starting out, it would be lighting. Good lighting can make the difference between people enjoying the content you worked so hard to create and scrolling past your hard work because it doesn’t look appealing. Whether you set up shop in front of a sunny window or purchase a small yet efficient light such as the Logitech Litra Glow to brighten up your content, lighting is a minor tweak that makes a major difference.
One of the most critical parts of being a content creator just so happens to be something that money can’t buy—consistency. To grow as a content creator, gain a loyal following and create revenue streams, you must post content and engage with your community consistently (keyword). Just think about the content creators that you know and love. You keep returning because you know they will continue making content you enjoy.
In the honeymoon stage of your content creation journey, build good habits such as sticking to a content schedule and even having designated days to batch create and schedule content when possible. Build good habits in the beginning so that when you invest money for equipment, software, etc., you’ll see an even bigger return because you have processes in line that work for you.
The biggest thing to take away from what we discussed in this blog post is that becoming a content creator is not about setting up an at-home studio equipped with pro-level gear. It’s about understanding your reasons for creating and determining how you give value to your audience. Focusing on making content that resonates with your audience will help you grow—not buying fancy equipment that you may find challenging to use in the first place.