Shifting away from one-on-one client work to being a full-time content creator was a HUGE moment in LaShonda Brown’s career. It felt like a natural transition after a decade in business for her but it was still super scary to own her role as a YouTuber and Tech Educator.
On this week’s episode of the Intentional Creative Podcast, learn how creating video content has changed the way that our guest, LaShonda Brown of Bootstrap Biz Advice on YouTube, has pivoted in her business.
Give this episode a listen all the way till the end if you want to learn what her biggest lesson is from over a decade being in business.
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If you want to learn to DIY your own Squarespace website, register for this year’s Square Summit. Check out the courses we have available at https://localcreative.co/courses or join our membership, the Creator Club at https://localcreative.co/club.
Hey, and welcome back to another episode of the Intentional Creative Podcast. On today’s episode, I’m chatting with LaShonda Brown, she’s a YouTuber and marketing expert. She’s sharing her story of transitioning from client work to being a full-time content creator. I think my favorite part of this episode is at the very end when I asked LaShonda what is the biggest lesson she’s learned from over a decade in business? And her answer is gold.
LaShonda is also one of our Square Summit speakers. If you’re not familiar with Square Summit, it’s a conference for Squarespace users who want to learn to build a beautiful website for their business. Registration is now open and it’s totally free. So, if you’re interested in learning more or signing up head over to squaresummit.co that’s square summit.co and I will see you there.
Galen: LaShonda, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited to have you on the podcast.
LaShonda: I’m really excited for this conversation. I think it’s going to be fun.
Galen: Why don’t you start by just telling us a
Galen: little bit about the business you run now and how you got here.
LaShonda: Yeah, so currently I am pursuing YouTube full-time, and I have a beautiful little community called, Bootstrap Biz Advice, where I teach people how to grow a biz without breaking the bank. And what I’m passionate about is helping entrepreneurs to learn how to use tech, to grow their business, generate passive income and achieve debt freedom.
So, ultimately the goal is let’s save some expenses along the way, so you can reinvest that money into your business and then into yourself to set yourself up for success. And I’ve really been enjoying that process. But I used to be a full-time Squarespace web designer. So, it’s all very fun transitioning out of client work and to content creation full-time but it brings me so much joy.
Galen: Yeah, I think so many people don’t realize what an asset creating content can be to their business, whether it’s trying to get more clients or trying to shift away from that completely. That’s so powerful. So, let’s go back in time a little bit to when you first started your web design business. When was that and how did you get into web design?
LaShonda: Yeah, so it’s, it’s a long story and we’re gonna shrink it down for time because, um, this is my 10th year in entrepreneurship. So, I’ve never had a full-time job working for anyone. And so, it’s interesting. When I started in entrepreneurship, it was for my husband’s video production company, and I still help him on projects as a commercial film producer, but I do less and less of that because we have a team to help him. But what happened during the election year in 2016 is people started to freak out, honestly, you know, they didn’t understand how can I use video in other ways and just putting it on TV. Cause it’s so expensive to buy a TV commercial during an election year. And so, I thought, okay, well maybe I will do some consulting and I will show people.
These are other things that you can do. And I realized. You know, we created this amazing content with video, but then it was sending traffic to websites that were horrible. And websites that they couldn’t update. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I swore I would never, I, I started designing websites when I was 16 when I was using flash and it was fun.
And I swore I would never do this for other people. But I saw such a huge need that I said, okay, let me find a platform that people can actually update on their own. So, I don’t have to hold their site hostage. I can just empower them to do their own thing. And so that’s where Squarespace came from. And so, I transitioned into web design for these clients and loved it became a top-level designer. Squarespace was sending me folks to help and, you know, I still love helping people one-on-one, but now I don’t have to rely on that for my income. And so that freedom to decide when I want to create for other people is really exciting.
Galen: Yeah. And when you were working on the video side of things and kind of making that transition to websites, did you feel like there were some growing pains there? Was it tough to get clients? Or did you just feel like because you had yourself so set up already in a similar industry, that it was an easy transition?
LaShonda: Yeah. it was interesting because I felt like with our first business, we had a service and we had to go find customers. But when I started my marketing company, I actually had a couple of customers to begin with. They were the ones that encouraged me, like, no, really, please help us, help us. So, it was a whole different dynamic and I actually launched my website live on Periscope. So, I leveraged live streaming to market my business. And it was insane to the point where I could go on Periscope and I knew that if I stayed on for 30 minutes, I could generate you know, X amount of dollars per stream. And so that became my major marketing tool. And so, it’s so funny. I still was using video, but instead of editing it and posting it online, I was actually talking to my target market and answering their questions.
And then at the end of my broadcast, I would say, “Hey, you know, if you want some help, go schedule a free discovery call.” And those calls turned into clients.
Galen: So, no one had to convince you of the power of video. You knew it was there.
LaShonda: Yeah, I do. Job security.
Galen: Right. You’re using it on all these different mediums, which is really cool too. That’s amazing. and did you have a specific niche you were working with when it came to web design clients or was it sort of across the board?
LaShonda: Yeah, so I, I should have niche down more so that I wouldn’t have been stretched so far, but I mean, those sites were all over the place. E-commerce sites and membership sites and service-based businesses. I mean, I truly just wanted to help people. And so, I, I, at some points I was working on like 14 websites at a time and it was a lot.
Galen: No team, no team? Oh, my goodness.
LaShonda: Not one of my finer decisions in life. Um, but you know what it’s, it’s what happens when you when you say yes, a lot. And so, I’m learning in my thirties to learn the power of a strategic no. And so, in a lot of ways, that’s what my YouTube channel is. It’s this place where instead of doing it for people, I can teach them how to do it.
So, it’s just changing that mindset to say, okay, instead of just clicking all the buttons, can we record yourself doing it so other people can do it on their own.
Galen: Yeah, that’s a complete mindset shift that I think can take people a really long time to learn, because I think people can tell you that enough times that you really have to experience it. Or some of us really have to experience the burnout and experience the stress around trying to do everything ourselves that we, you know, then come to that breaking point where we realized, okay, we’ll be so much easier if we had a team, it will be so much easier if we empowered our clients to kind of take over some of the maintenance for us so that we’re not constantly on call. That’s one of the stressful things that I think I hear so many web designers they’re dealing with right now is, is just being on call for so many different clients, getting those urgent emails and feeling like they have to do it because the client isn’t empowered to do that for themselves. That’s really interesting that you were kind of already in that mindset of, okay, how do I educate my client to be able to take this on for themselves? And then it was just like, how do I educate everybody? Like who, who wants to learn? Like everybody come on into the room and let’s teach people how to do these different things. So that’s really exciting. And, and when you, you said Periscope, what other marketing strategies were you using at that time?
LaShonda: Yes. So, I mean, I was in the thick of Periscope. There was a community called, Peri Girls and the infrastructure was out of this world. I mean, there was a leadership team and multiple strategic broadcasts, and we had a Facebook group. It was a largest community of women scoping on Periscope in the world. So, thousands of women were in that community.
And so that really took the bulk of my time. And then I started to use Instagram more, but honestly it wasn’t until recently that I finally figured out, how can I use Instagram to grow my business? Because when you don’t sell a product, it’s like, what do I even post? What do I say, who cares? You know? And just trying to figure out, not only how can you help other people, but how do you genuinely want to show up?
And so now I feel like I’ve hit my stride with Instagram. Um, but before it really was, how can I use video to get my name out there?
Galen: Yeah. And just for anyone who doesn’t know, LaShonda, do you want to just tell us what Periscope is really quickly since it no longer exists.
LaShonda: Yeah, it’s it’s dead now. That’s that’s how old I am. So, Periscope, was pre-Periscope was pre-Facebook Live, honestly.
People don’t realize every time Facebook sees a good thing, they just knock it off and put it in their platforms. So, before you could live stream on Facebook, you could live stream on this app, owned by twitter, called Periscope. And you would get on, you couldn’t see your audience, but they could chat with you, and they could heart the screen and they could invite people to the broadcast.
And I mean, people, they grew by the thousands on this platform and people were committed to showing up on a regular basis talking to their audience. So, I miss it in a lot of ways because it was very genuine and, people were very responsive. You had a question; you could just get an answer right away.
Now, I feel like things are a bit more performative with live streaming, but I think that we’re going to, to see a return to that sooner rather than later with Instagram live. So, you know, you just kinda had to go with the flow with social media and adapt as those opportunities come along. But it was really a strong community.
And now a lot of those folks have actually migrated over to Clubhouse. So, it’s funny how these communities will find another platform if a platform goes away. So that’s kind of where they’re living now.
Galen: Yeah, no. And I was just about to say Clubhouse is kind of similar, but just the audio only version of that, which is kind of cool. Um, and I was on Clubhouse for a little bit. Then, I kind of fell off the bandwagon there. It’s sort of like finding the social platforms that feel good to you and that you want to be a part of because we can’t stretch ourselves so thin all the time. So, it’s tough to have to decide which platforms to choose. And so, you chose Instagram as one of the platforms that you show up on a what came first, your Instagram or your YouTube channel?
LaShonda: So, the YouTube channel started as a resource to my website clients, you know, they would ask me, oh, how do I set up a freebie on my website? And I’m like, oh my gosh, I’ll just make a tutorial, send you the link. So, someone asks me again, I can just send them the same link. And so, I did not even realize other people. Cause I didn’t hide the videos. Other people were watching the content and I’m like, this is so strange. Hmm. Maybe I should make some more of these. And it wasn’t until 2019 that I started making my content on a more regular basis. And I think what’s so wild for me personally, is I don’t have a big channel.
I mean, it’s such a niche thing that it’s like, unless you want to learn how to do something step-by-step, you’re probably not stumbling across me, but I’ve been able to, I mean, I think at this point more than double my income with half the time. So, it’s just crazy to me, you know, what is actually available on this platform?
Because from the beginning they compensated their creators for posting content on the planet.
Galen: Yeah. And so, you got started and then you started posting consistently in 2019. How long after you started posting consistently on YouTube, did you actually start to see the kind of hockey stick growth everybody talks about?
LaShonda: Yeah. So, what happened is they changed the parameters for the YouTube partner program. So, in a lot of ways, like I had to redo that to be eligible. So, there was some time getting up my, I had the subscribers, but I didn’t have the watch hours because I wasn’t being consistent. So, once I got those watch hours up, you know, it started with Google ads and, you know, I was like, okay, I was getting a payout every month, but it was like, oh, a hundred here. Two hundred there. Whatever. But what I realized was the power of affiliate marketing was insane with tutorial content because when you empower someone to use a platform well, and you say, use my link to get a discount on it. It’s like a no brainer. You know, people who try Flodesk for instance, after watching my tutorials.
One out of every two people that use my link actually purchase Flodesk. It’s insane. I don’t have that rate on any other content I create. And so, for me, those numbers told me you found your spot. So, just lean into that. This is working, you enjoy it. You love to help people. So, let’s do more of that. And let’s not, you know, burn ourselves out on one-on-one client work when you can help thousands of people with less time.
Galen: Yeah. And did you find that posting on YouTube consistently was helping to grow the client side of your business? Were you generating client work from that as well?
LaShonda: I definitely was, which posed a problem because when people wanted to hire me and I was like, oh, well, I’m trying not to do that anymore. So, I’d still say yes, you know, cause that’s me, but yeah. Even when you teach someone something completely unrelated. I was shocked. I could do a video about And so I can say, oh wow. I want her to build my website. I’m like, how, how are people making these connections? But when you, when you give to people and they go and explore what it is that you do, then they decide for themselves how they want to reciprocate and how they want to continue a relationship with you.
So, it’s really mind boggling. About using YouTube because it’s a search engine. So, the majority of the people who find me are seeking help for a problem, they found me as a potential answer. And then they’re liking and commenting because the answer was helpful. So, it was a beautiful way to start a client relationship.
I find that the clients I get from YouTube are so grateful, so easy to work with just wonderful people, because they feel like they know me and they feel like it’s a privilege to be a client versus other people who had to be, you know, I had dual tap dance to convince them, you know, it was a different relationship.
And so, I think, you know, when you allow people to connect with you through your content, the value of that client relationship goes through the roof.
Galen: Yeah, I, I would say I’ve experienced the exact same thing since I started creating content consistently. The quality of the clients that I’m getting through my email list, through the videos I create through the things I post on social media. It’s amazing. Like you said, they almost feel privileged to work with you because they’ve gotten to know you.
Really made that decision before they even speak to you, that you are the person that they want to work with. The entire process is just so much easier. It’s so much more enjoyable. I’m an introvert. And as somebody who doesn’t love sales, when someone comes to me and is pretty much already decided that I am the person that they’re going to work with, that’s a fantastic feeling.
And then the entire process from start to finish of a client project is so much easier too, because they love what you do. They like your style. They’ve invested in getting to know your business. And they’re just so much happier with the end product because they’ve been prepared for that entire process from the beginning. So, it’s neat to hear that you’ve experienced that as well.
LaShonda: Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s because the culture on YouTube is different than some other platforms, but I just genuinely feel like the community there. I mean, their comments are like a paragraph long, you know, it’s, it’s so different. From just, oh, double tap on Instagram. So, in a lot of ways, I use Instagram as a way to promote my YouTube content and a way to network with people.
I don’t really sell on my Instagram at all because I’m like the value of that relationship is so much stronger on my YouTube channel. So, if you take the time to pop over to YouTube, it’s going to be better for both of us. And so that’s just what I focus on.
Galen: Right. It’s longer form content. I’m the same way. I almost think of Instagram as like a visual LinkedIn. For me, it’s much more about connecting with people and maintaining relationships and kind of checking in on what other people are doing so that I can stay engaged in their life. Uh, but it’s definitely much more of that than it is for me.
Than it is for me just like pumping content out there because I don’t really think, I don’t know. Instagram is kind of funky with the algorithm sometimes, and I don’t want to fight it. I would rather just post what feels good to me and connect with people when it feels good as well. So how do you kind of balance Instagram, YouTube, and your email list and any other social channels that you have? How do you balance all of those and sort of have them play off one another?
LaShonda: Yeah, so I always start with like YouTube at the top of like my content creation ladder. It’s like, okay, I’m making a YouTube video about something. Typically, that video is going to become a carousel post. It’ll become some Instagram stories. And what I found is when I put a little bit more effort into designing the carousel posts, then I can share them on LinkedIn, like a graphic at a time and drive them to Instagram. That works really well. And then I repurpose it in my emails and then drive them to Instagram again.
And that works really well. So, I, I feel like I’m doing a much better job of unnecessarily repurposing content. Cause I feel like usually when people say that they mean just post it in a different spot but using YouTube as that opportunity to brainstorm what my target market needs to know, and then using all these channels to distribute the information. Versus, okay, what I’m doing on Instagram, doesn’t connect to YouTube and doesn’t connect to my list. It has nothing to do with LinkedIn. And now I’m, you know, working for four different corporations, creating content for them when I could just work for myself. And so, I think that that’s what people need to realize is if you invest a little bit more effort into that initial piece of content, it’ll go a lot further than if you’re just constantly pumping out content without strategy in mind.
Galen: Yeah. So, spend less time on fewer pieces of really high-quality content that you can repurpose for different platforms, but strategically repurposed, not just like you said, not just pushing that content out, but actually taking the time to present the information in the way that makes the most sense for that platform. And that’s going to pay off much more than just kind of putting out content, for the sake of publishing consistently. I mean, consistency is important, I think too, but like you said, just making sure that when you are publishing, you’re really being strategic about the quality of the content and how you’re presenting it to people.
I love that.
LaShonda: Yeah, I mean, I feel like social media, it feels like less of a jail now. It feels like a playground. I’m like, I can do this. I can do this, but I’m like, oh, these rules, these numbers, … I’m like, come on, come on. I just want to play. I want to play with my friends. I want to make new friends and I want to help my friends. That’s literally all I want. So, I think it’s funny now. I guess I’ve hit a large enough number on Instagram that I’m starting to get like Instagram influencer emails. And it’s just so funny because it is just not on brand at all, but you know, what is happening on YouTube is helping Instagram growth. So, I, I guess I’ll have to navigate that at some point, but I definitely would not call myself an Instagram influencer at all because that culture is not really what I’m after.
I really want to be an educator who chooses to post her education for free on YouTube.
Galen: No. I, I love that. I think that makes so much sense. And I love that you’re talking about playing on Instagram and actually enjoying the platform instead of trying to make it something that it’s not or trying to have your whole business rely on your Instagram strategy to bring you, um, well, I guess now not clients since you’re not working with clients anymore, but just to bring you
LaShonda: It’s so wild. Yeah. My actual clients are tech companies. It’s not even the people who watch my content. So, it’s so funny. Um, and it’s not even like their clients. It’s more like their strategic partners, which I love. It’s like, we’re both trying to ultimately help entrepreneurs and they’re just willing to compensate me for the part that I play in it.
So, I’m really happy with where it’s going because I’ve always been kind of that matchmaker personality where I’m always like, oh, you need to meet so-and-so and oh, have you heard of this? And you know, to be able to do that and pay my bills at the same time, it’s just mind boggling. And so, I finally feel like after a decade of just supporting various brands and people that I finally have found my lane, and it’s just a really sweet place to be in.
Galen: Yeah. And for somebody who’s just getting started with YouTube, or just kind of trying to put together a strategy to grow on YouTube, whether they want to get more clients, whether they want to eventually move away from client work, what would you say are some of the really strategic things that you’ve done on YouTube to help fuel your growth?
LaShonda: Yeah. So, I mean, I think there’s a few things that you can do. Um, one thing that, you know, I, I will talk about Canva to the cows come home, but what I love about Canva is say, for instance, if you post an image of yourself on Instagram, you can use Canva to remove that background. And now it’s a YouTube thumbnail and it looks nothing like that Instagram post. So, I think just kind of a catalog of images of yourself goes a long way. Because when I started on YouTube, I would spend all this time on the video and then I would go to like, upload it and like, oh no, I don’t have a thumbnail. I forgot to take a photo. I, I don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to just choose a spot in the video.
And so, you know, just having kind of that library of just generic images of yourself that you can cut yourself out of and create whatever you want in Canva. That helped me a lot. Using YouTube SEO tools, remembering that it is a search engine. And not trying to be so cute with the titles, but really thinking about what might someone type into the YouTube search bar for help.
That helps, I used TubeBuddy and I love that. I think probably the last thing is just understanding the power of showing your face. I did not show my face in my videos for years because I just didn’t want to, I don’t want the pressure of having to be all glammed up, but I realized that people connect with people.
And even if you’re going to share the screen, being present at the beginning and present at the end, it just helps people to feel more comfortable with the content. And so, if your aim is to serve your audience, you may have to like get over the fact that occasionally you’ll have to be seen and it’s just smile and make it short and then go back to your screen.
So, you know, show your face, use SEO tools, and just have a library of images that you can pull from to make your thumbnails.
Galen: I love that. And when it comes to coming up with content ideas, how do you get inspired to create content? How do you decide what your next video is gonna be about?
LaShonda: I have found that my Instagram Story watchers are the best way to source ideas. They are brutally honest and they’re right every time. So, I will come up with a couple ideas and I’ll just give them a very simple poll and I’ll say, help me create my content, which one would you watch? And whatever they pick, even if it’s not what I thought most people would want to watch.
I create it. And every single time they’re right. And so, I think that mindset of you’re actually helping to create this content that you’ll ultimately watch has increased my views as well, because they remember, oh yeah, I voted for that one. I wanted to go watch that. You know, now I’m going to go check it out versus, you know, sitting in my office thinking, you know, oh, what could the people want instead of just asking the people.
So that’s another way I, I use Instagram as that playground and say, “Hey, I’m thinking of this. What do you think?” I mean, I’ve even gone so far as to say, I want to teach on this content. How do you want to learn it? Do you want to read it? You want to watch it, you know, do you want to listen to it? So really having an engaged community that you can, you can poll and survey on a regular basis on your Instagram Stories is really going to revolutionize the way that you create content, because it’ll continue to remind you that it’s not about you.
It’s about you serving your audience. And so, if you let them be involved in the process, it’ll be easier for you and your content will perform better.
Galen: Yeah. And when it comes to building that community, do you sort of feel like the community came from YouTube over to Instagram and now they’re on Instagram helping you create content for YouTube? Or do you feel like that, that community was kind of already there as you before you started YouTube?
Where did that community really come from? And when did that start to build for you?
LaShonda: I think my community got more engaged when I started dropping my Instagram handle on YouTube, linking it in my description and just letting them know, you know, if you have questions or if you want to dig in deeper, you can DM me. Um, I’ll respond to you, which, you know, at some point I may have to stop saying that, but at least for now I can do that.
And so, I think what’s so great about that, is they’re like wow, I can connect on a deeper level with this person that I’ve been watching on my own. And so, they do. They share my content. They respond to my stories; they help me out. And so, you, know, I think those YouTube channels that genuinely feel like a community versus a celebrity and their fans.
They can do more to help the brand. I feel like it takes so much pressure off the person to perform. When, you know, you’ve got people in your corner watching your content and sharing it for you. So, they’re so sweet. And I had Instagram followers before, but my engagement is so different now than it was before I had, you know, thousands of followers, but I get like 40 likes on a post.
And so, it was very clear. It wasn’t resonating with them like it is now.
Galen: I love that. So being approachable and opening, opening up those lines of communication. So, people feel like they can reach out to you and really connect with the person behind the business, rather than there just being this wall where, you know, it’s you the influencer, it’s you, the content creator and the, the viewers on the other side, I like bridging that gap for the communication.
That’s amazing. I think that definitely has helped me as well.
LaShonda: Yeah. And you have to decide how accessible you want to be. I mean, there are certain things I just never post, you know.
Very rarely do I post things about my family, you know, beyond my husband.
Cause he’s like consented to, he doesn’t have an Instagram and he’s like, I’m fine. You can take pictures with me. But you know, you just have to decide like, okay, maybe I’m not going to be on Instagram on the weekends. And you know, if I get a weird DM, maybe I’ll just delete it. You know, you’ve got to decide you know what you feel comfortable with, because again, you don’t want to create a business you don’t want to work for.
So those boundaries are going to help you to sustain entrepreneurship. If you don’t put it boundaries, then you’re going to feel trapped and, you know, overwhelmed, and burnt out with nowhere to go. All along, you’re the boss you can just decide to change it. So, um, that’s kind of my vibe when it comes to social media, is I just, you know, I, I’m not probably going to do a house tour on my YouTube channel.
I’m not gonna like, be super descriptive about what I do in my free time like on YouTube. I teach people I’m in, I’m literally in the same spot in my office. And that’s what you get to see. And on Instagram, you get to see a little bit more, but you don’t get to see everything. And that allows me to have that balance between, you know, doing it for the gram and living a healthy life.
Galen: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of boundaries. I actually talk about them a lot on this podcast because I think they’re so important. And when we really need clients or when we’re really kind of scrambling in our business, we tend to let those boundaries slip and we can do it at any stage in business, really. But it’s just something that if you don’t pay attention to it and you don’t strategically set those boundaries and stay on top of them.
All of a sudden, you realize you’re working around the clock and you’re on Instagram, on the weekends and you’re sharing way too much of your personal life than you’re actually comfortable with because you think it’s what you need to do. So, I love you kind of giving us that permission to say, it’s fine if we want to keep most of our private life private and most of our business life is what we’re sharing and that’s okay. And people will still connect with you and people will still be able to have that relationship with you, even if you’re not constantly sharing, you know, what you ate for breakfast or what you did on your Saturday.
So that’s, that’s really important. And I think it’s something people don’t talk about enough. Um, going back to creating video. Let’s talk about the logistics of this, because this, is something I love high quality video. I’ve got a pretty good, well, I just moved. So, um, my, my office is a mess right now, but in general I usually have a pretty good video set up all the time in my office where I’ve got lights and I’ve got a DSLR camera and all that kind of stuff. How important would you say all of that is to somebody who is just getting started on YouTube and kind of, when’s the point where you should think about upgrading your equipment and going for that nicer, uh, look and feel?
LaShonda: Yeah, I mean, I think starting out definitely the emphasis needs to be on the content. You know? I think people don’t realize there are so many teenagers sitting on the floors in their bedrooms, just talking to the camera, but it’s compelling. And it’s what their audience wants to hear. And they are doing just fine filming it on their iPhone with no lighting, no audio equipment, just being real, you know? and so I think understanding that you can create the environment you want to exist in on your YouTube channel. You can start with what you already own. I think the biggest thing for me that I’ve noticed before upgrading equipment, I would say consider hiring an editor. I think editing the content is hands down the biggest bottleneck in content creation.
Mustering up the energy to create the content, writing the content, doing all of that. That’s great. But then you’ve got all these raw assets and you’re like, oh crap. I have to turn it into something now, you know, that’s what can slow a lot of people down. And so, I think, you know, bringing on an editor for my team and starting to build a team for my YouTube channel was essential to keep up with the sponsor mark and my own content.
And so, you know, I’m just now I’ve got an incredible new road microphone sitting on the floor. I’m still using my crappy Yeti from forever ago because it’s passable, but what’s not passable is not showing up on YouTube. You know, it’s better for me to show up with my Yeti audio than to not show up at all. So, I would say use what you have. And then, you know, find someone who can help you with the post-production process so that you can constantly focus on creating valuable content and not focus so heavily on equipment and eventually, you know, when your channel starts to generate money, then you can reinvest it and say, okay, I’m going to add some lighting.
Okay, I’m going to add a new microphone. Now I’m going to buy a new camera. But I think a lot of times people spend all this money on camera equip. And then they sit on it because again, they create that content and they go, I don’t know how to edit 4k content. My computer can’t handle the size of these video files and then you’re stuck.
So, um, that’s my advice. I know it’s a little different from what most people will say. Um, but again, you know, I’ve been doing video for a decade and I, I’ve seen, I’ve seen it all. I used to actually produce a 48-hour film festival. And we made over a hundred films over the course of three weekends while I was city producer.
And so, I know the time-saving hacks and I know the bottlenecks people run into and editing is hands down the thing that slows most people down.
Galen: Yeah, no, that’s so true. I use an app called, Descript, D E S C R I P T. Have you heard of that before?
LaShonda: I have it’s really, really powerful actually.
Galen: And it’s wonderful for people who want to edit videos who are not video editors, because basically what it does is it takes your audio from the video, and it transcribes it for you. They’re a little, you know, bot in their transcribes, the audio for you.
And then you actually edit the video by editing the audio. So, you edit the text itself. So, if you want to delete one line, you just highlight the text and press delete. And it removes that entire chunk of the video that has sped up my editing process so much, I actually do not have a video editor at this point, which you’ve now inspired me to start to look for somebody to help with that portion of it.
I want to pause for a second because you just heard me mention my favorite video and audio editor of all time. It’s called Descript and it has literally changed the way I edit and made it a much more enjoyable process. Descript lets you edit video and audio, just like you would edit a word document. It is so fast, so seamless and it has a built-in transcription tool that lets you transcribe everything that you create. If you want to check out Descript for yourself, I’ve created a special link for you. Yes, it’s an affiliate link so I do get a small kickback but it is a tool that I have been using for over a year and again literally changed the way that I do business so I can’t help but recommend it. Head over to localcreative.co/edit that’s e d i t all lower case and you can check it out for yourself.
I don’t mind doing the editing, but I also have a pretty good tech background and I’m really comfortable using a lot of those tools. So, for me, it wasn’t a big deal to add that on, but if you are very uncomfortable or just not really sure where to get started, or it’s just not your zone of genius, and it’s not something you want to focus on, I think that hiring an editor or using a tool like Descript, which is more visual than, some of the other tools out there is, is super, super helpful.
One other thing I want to add though. And I can’t remember where I heard the story from, but I think this is such a powerful story and it really kind of adds to what you were saying, LaShonda is, there’s a story about, um, there’s two groups of people. One group was asked to make a clay pot every day for 30 days. So, they were going to make a new clay pot every single day for 30 days.
And the other group was going to spend 30 days each making one clay pot. And at the end of the 30 days, they were going to say which one was better. The person who made 30 pots one a day, or the person who spent 30 days really perfecting this one pot. And it was the group that 30 pots and 30 days, their final pot that they made in one day was better than the pot that the other people had spent 30 days making.
And that’s because they just kept putting it out there again. And again, they just kept creating the pot again and again, and just from that repetition, they got better and better rather than focusing on all these little details and trying to get it perfect the first time around. I think the same thing can be said about creating video.
Just put it out there. Just get it going, just put that publish that content hit publish enough times and eventually your content will get better and eventually it’ll be to the level that you think it should be or the level that you want it to be. But doesn’t have to start there.
LaShonda: Yeah. And I think people don’t realize that oftentimes the things that you think people are going to absolutely fall all over. Don’t perform well. And the thing that you threw together in five minutes, everyone loves, I mean, people see it on Instagram all the time. So ultimately just keep showing up, just keep posting, you know, and, and I have found what helps me is to have multiple styles of videos that I create. There are some videos that I can create in 10 minutes, no script, throw it together because I’m using the app all the time. You know, a Canva tutorial is one of them, you know, showing someone how to do something. I’m showing them something I’ve done over and over and over again. No problem. But then I also have more extensive videos where I’m talking on screen and I’m cutting through screen captures and showing you what it looks like on a mobile device.
And all of that. I don’t try to do that epic style of video every single week. I fluctuate between the things that are easy to create and the things that take more time. So that way my channel has variation, and I don’t have the pressure to go all in every single week that I post. And so that’s something I learned the hard way. You know, you want to put out amazing content every week, but as long as it’s helpful content, even at the style of video is simple, your audience is still gonna like it.
Galen: Yeah. And how often do you actually record videos? How do you kind of structure that into your schedule?
LaShonda: Yeah. You know, I talk about batch creating a lot, but, uh, I tend to only do it for sponsors. I don’t know with my own stuff. I just love talking to my Instagram audience and being like, okay, what do y’all want to learn? And so, you know, unless I’m doing, you know, a pack of videos for a client, I’m honestly, I’m going on Instagram.
I’m asking them what they want. I’m recording it on a Tuesday. I’m dropping it off at my editors on a Wednesday. And so that’s just my little process. So, you know, once you build up a backlog of content, then you don’t have to be so in the moment, but I just think it’s so fun to have someone say, hey, let’s try to make an eBook in Canva?
And then five days later, oh, here’s a story. I’ll go check it out. I think they love that. And so, when I can pull that off, it’s such a fun thing to do. Or if an app comes out with a new update to not wait, you know, two weeks to record it and do it in the moment and just make it simple. So, um, I think having a backlog of content helps you.
So, if you go on vacation or you want to take some weeks. Your channel can still get that new content, um, but also be willing to break the format from time to time and respond to something that’s topical, just so you’re adding even more value to your channel.
Galen: I love that. And I think having that flexibility to kind of helps your content. Helps you get that content out faster, because like you said, if a new feature comes out and you’re trying to make a video about it that week, you can’t be a perfectionist because you just have to get that video out for it to be timely and it, for it to be relevant to your audience.
So having that there, having that kind of date there to say, okay, I’m just going to get whatever I can get done. Got it done in the best way that I can while still getting it out in a, in a relatively fast timeline. I think that’s really smart. And, and to have that flexibility, there is so important just for our mental health and, and just for our ability to kind of go with the flow in business. But I love having a backlog as well. I typically tend to have a backlog, but it’s something that I could be a lot better at. So, this was a good reminder for me to make sure that if I have any vacations coming up, that I am all set with that preplanned and prerecorded content. Um, so now that you’re not working with clients one-on-one anymore, where does the majority of your income come from?
LaShonda: Yeah, so, it’s all YouTube generated income. So, it’s coming, you know, directly from Google slash YouTube ads. It’s coming from affiliate marketing. It’s coming from sponsored content on my channel, or what’s really awesome is now channels actually commissioned me to make content for them. So, I love that because then I become like this little spokesperson, you know, so.
Um, pretty soon you’ll start going to other people’s YouTube channels and still seeing my face, which I think is very cool. So those are kind of the four ways that I currently, you know, generate the income that I have in my business. And so eventually what I love is I’ve seen some YouTubers go for years and never sell to their audience.
And just create and put it out there. And when they launched that course and when they launched that merge or whatever it is, the response is insane. And so, for me, I want to focus more on allowing the tech companies to compensate me, while I build a community and create something that’s truly responsive to what they need from me versus trying to guess, and then putting the pressure to launch it on them when it’s way too early for them to receive it.
So, it’s fun. Cause for right now, all you gotta do is just not skip the ads. I just tell people just don’t skip the ads. Let it play. You’re not paying for it. Just let it play. And then we’re good to go. And honestly, I can tell the difference. It’s so wild. I can tell the difference when they’re like, okay, this is the least I can do is suffer through this 15 second ad.
And, um, yeah, that’s where it comes from for now. But I do, I see courses in the future or a physical product that helps with a problem. But again, I love when my audience creates for me. And so, I’ll just see what they want. And then create it.
Galen: I think that’s amazing. Yeah. That I love, I love that you’ve created passive income in a way so that you, you do have the ability to sort of wait for your audience to kind of tell you what they want next and wait for that inspiration to strike, to really launch that next thing, because you don’t have, you’re not forced to launch that thing because you have your income covered in the meantime.
And so, you get to be really strategic about that and you get to wait until it feels really right for you. Uh, I think that’s a, just something really nice that a lot of us don’t have, but the ability that you’re able, you’ve created so much content, you have all this content built up that it’s allowed you to have this income to support you while you kind of wait for that next move.
That’s amazing. Um, and and just shows how strategic you’ve been about setting up your business in this way. So, you can plan out your next move. Um, since you’ve been in business for a long time and you have all this business wisdom, what is the biggest lesson that you’ve had to learn over the last decade in business? You could take a second to about that.
LaShonda: Hmm, no, I’m going to be all the way real. I always, I think about filtering myself and I’m like, why do I have to lose? To be honest. You know, I think not allowing other people to tell you what you should be doing for your business is the biggest lesson I’ve learned. Whether it’s your clients telling you what services they think you should offer. Whether it’s, you know, coworkers, if you have a team telling you what you should do. Well, meaning friends, family.
I mean, again, you don’t want to have so many voices in your head that it drowns out your intuition. Like you have got to be able to decipher what is it that I want. You’re taking on all the risk, take on the freedom to.
And the freedom to craft that business that you want to work for, to craft that legacy that you want to leave behind versus you know, being reactionary and whenever someone has a comment, oh, I guess, I guess I got to add a printable. Oh, I guess I gotta be doing this. Oh, I guess I got… you really don’t, you really don’t. You know, when people look at how I operate my business, they’re like, I don’t understand how you make living and like, you know what I don’t either.
And I’m happy with that. I’m happy with just serving people and letting life just happen to me. And the incredible things that have happened. Versus things that I’ve tried to force or pursue has been mind boggling. You know, just being that person to say, I’m going to let opportunity pursue me. And I’m going to be faithful to what I’ve been given right in front of me has been so life-giving like, I feel like now it’s almost like doing my job is therapeutic because what I do now feels like I’m in retirement. But I put in the time, I served my time. Now I’m ready to reap the benefit of it. So yeah, don’t let other people tell you what your business is. You define your business for yourself.
Galen: That is so powerful. I love that. I think everyone listening needed that reminder today. So, I really appreciate that. And that’s a wonderful way to kind of wrap things up. Thank you so much, LaShonda. Tell us where we can find you online.
LaShonda: Yeah, so you can go to LaShondaBrown.com. Naturally, I have lots of things to give you for free. So, I love my YouTube passive income guide because my audience basically made it. They put questions in the comments on a Reel. And I sat down and made a 16-page eBook and just gave it away. So, if you want to learn how to use YouTube to generate passive income, go get that eBook. Sign up for that you can always watch my YouTube videos to learn how to do things or hop over to Instagram, just to have a chat.
Galen: I love it. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
LaShonda: Thanks for having me. It was fun.
Galen: Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the Intentional Creative Podcast. We appreciate our listeners so very much. And if you enjoyed this episode, make sure to share on Instagram, in a Story, tag myself, as well as LaShonda. I’m at localcreative.co and she’s at lashondambrown. We would just love to hear from you and put faces to the listeners that we have on the show to connect with you on Instagram. As we mentioned in this episode, we love being able to have conversations with real people in the online space. So come say hi on Instagram and I will see you in the next episode.
LaShonda Brown is a Corporate Film Producer turned YouTuber. With over a decade of experience producing videos for hundreds of businesses internationally, LaShonda teaches entrepreneurs how to leverage technology to grow their businesses, generate passive income, and achieve debt freedom on her channel Bootstrap Biz Advice.
Follow LaShonda on Instagram here.
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