business owners

DIY Video Suggestions & Lessons Learned


As I dabble into the world of do-it-yourself videos, I wanted to share my recommendations and lessons learned. My videos aren’t perfect, but after looking back on what I used to make when I first started, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.


How are you going to take video?

If you have a smart phone you’re in good shape. I started with my Canon T5i, but found the set up with tripod and external microphone was way to labor intensive for video quality that was comparable to what I got from my camera.

If you’re using PowerPoint, feel free to use Zoom. It’s a great option to sync your audio and visual in one. Make sure your computer camera and microphone options are good.


How are you going to shoot your video?

You could just use your phone as is, but you’ll also need something to stabilize the shot. I’ve seen Youtube videos where people use books. You want to test that the angle is flattering. Also make sure that you have clear light. The darker it is, the more pixilated you become.

If you don’t want to go the book method, I use a flex tripod that I set up on my desk, on a step stool or on the top of my computer. It’s about $25 bucks on Amazon in a kit that includes a selfie-stick, remote and a couple of lenses. I only use the remote and stand. It definitely does an amazing job for the price. Side note: I had to have the tripod replaced twice after the legs came off – which the company did for free and they let me know the manufacturing error has been resolved.

If you want a clearer sound, you can do a lapel mic for cheap.

I went with an external microphone that plugs into my iPhone. It’s a bit pricey, but I really enjoy the range of pick up I can change and wind reduction option if I’m filming outside.



How are you going to edit your video?

Unless you are a magician at timing and perfectly polished on screen in one take, I highly recommend getting comfortable with editing software. If you have an iPhone or Mac, you’ll have iMovie included. It’s great for quick edits, text overlays, fade in and out. If you have Fred Flintstone thumbs or want more options, I recommend Wondershare Filmora. It’s about $60 to purchase, but well worth it. You can download a free trial before you commit. Make sure you play around with it before purchasing. If you need more instruction, they have tutorials on their website.


Creating your video

Make sure you export it at the highest quality so all of your hard work can shine. If you’re uploading it to Facebook, save your movie to your desktop and then upload it. I’m not sure what happens between your phone and Facebook, but it loves to lower the resolution of your videos.


General Tips

1)      Create a Script Before Starting

2)      Break Up Your Talking Points – Piece together as needed in editing

3)      Mix Up Your Angles for Visual Interest

4)      Design the Space Behind You with Interesting Items or Layers

5)      Include Subtitles when Possible – Some people don’t listen to videos with the volume on

6)      Be Kind and Patient to Yourself – This will take longer than you think

7)      Have Fun! People connect with smiles and an engaging presence.

10 Things You Should and Shouldn't Do When Starting a Business

10 Things You Should and Shouldn't Do When Starting a Business.jpg

In June 2016, I walked away from an 11-year career in association management to start a full-time coaching practice. Here is what I learned in the process of being a business owner and what I would and wouldn’t do differently.

1)      Have a Plan – I thought if I had a website, I had a business. People will get what I’m trying to do and will hire me right? So wrong. First my website was a jumbled mess of all things coaching, buzz phrases and lofty ideals. My lack of simplicity and clarity was a red flag that I probably should’ve been more organized and had a plan. This is where working with a mentor or coach is critical. They’ll be able to identify your blind spots and work with you to create a comprehensive plan to avoid the confusion and frustration later on.

2)      Have a Financial Cushion – Thankfully I had this from a house sale earlier in the year before leaving my job and I live relatively modestly for DC.  Money has been a huge fear trigger for me and being able to see months of expenses in my bank account was my saving grace.

3)      Have Clients – Oops forgot about this one. I had been coaching for over a year before I left my job, but at the time of my departure I didn’t have a single paying client. This was intentional on my part to light a huge fire under my butt and start hustling. It worked the first month and then distraction set in (see #6).

4)      Know Your Niche – I started as an Executive Coach for nonprofit executives only I left the nonprofit world and thought I would make a much better Life Coach, so I gave that a try. Then I decided to get grounded in Business Coaching for new businesses and start-ups. It’s nice to think that you’ll have this all figured out when you start, but most of it comes from trial and error and preferences. Be willing to explore first and dig into who your ideal client and market is. Believe me it makes marketing and website copy that much easier to write.

5)      Don’t Think It’s Going to Happen Overnight – This should probably be in the number one spot. While I was getting certified as a coach, I was convinced the clients would come flocking in with little to no effort. I would be swimming in dough and vacationing for months at a time by month 6. SO WRONG. This is a fickle grind that is reliant on individuals deciding whether or not they work with you. Sometimes you have amazing months and sometimes contracts stall out. The key is moving forward each day and staying consistent with networking, marketing and follow up. If one area doesn’t work, try something new or if the clients aren’t coming in, get certified or read up on new technologies during your slow period. Just keep moving!

6)      You Will Be Tempted to Go Back to the 9-5 – It is freaking scary out there on your own and anyone who tells you differently is full of it. The security of a paycheck is tempting, I almost fell for it twice (once in July/August and Once in November/December) it knocked me off of my business development game, but I learned a ton about myself in the process (check out the blog post on that one).

7)      Health Insurance Is a Glorious Thing – If you don’t have it, get it. Nothing is worse than feeling like crap and not taking care of yourself when you have to run the show. Get checked out on a regular basis and stay healthy. My stubborn self has had to learn this lesson the hard way, but thankfully I have people in my life who actually want to see me healthy and don’t put up with my BS excuses.

8)      Get Set Up on Quickbooks ASAP – It’s super easy and cheap and your accountant will love you come tax season. You’ll know where you stand financially at any moment with the online version and won’t have to guess if someone has paid or not or if you can make your bills that month. Knowledge is power – get you some!

9)      Remove All Negativity From Your Life – There will be doubters disguised as friends and family. They come under the cloak of security and protection, but underneath it is full on pessimism and nay saying. Put them in a box and share what you want, but know that your business is sacred territory meant only for a select few who understand your passion and pursuit. This is where you share the highlights of your story and not your diary. The details worry people who don’t get it. It’s okay. They’ll understand when it comes together or maybe they won’t. It comes down to you keeping yourself healthy across the board. I have had to move away from several friends and family members throughout this process. You can love them, but sometimes it needs to be from afar.

10)   Trust in the Process and Believe in Yourself – Here’s the thing I wouldn’t have walked away from a secure position if I wanted to live on the edge of uncertainty. I’m pretty risk averse, actually. What I do know about myself is I won’t give up trying until I’ve exhausted every option and I’m pretty resourceful. In the last 15 months, I have created a client base and support system that keeps a roof over my head, food in my belly, love in my heart and laughter in my gut. I am thankful every day that I made this move. It’s certainly not for the timid or indecisive.


If you’re thinking about taking the leap or have made the bold step into business ownership, I’d love to chat with you.