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5 Awful Mistakes New YouTubers Make (That You Can Totally Avoid)

Fix These Before Your First Video

Do you struggle with your YouTube channel? Twenty views after-hours poured in? Five subs in a month?

Did you give up for a few weeks, yet the zeal to create won’t leave you?

I’ve struggled to grow my YouTube channel. In the process, I’ve consumed a lot of content to solve specific problems.

Who better to tell you what it takes than someone in the trenches?

You’ve started a fantastic journey. You’re looking up to people who have thousands or more subscribers. They all tell you the same thing over and over. You never seem to understand what they mean.

Take it from someone who is building his channel: they’re all right.

Everything you’ve heard about titles, thumbnails, descriptions, and tags is right.

Here’s the problem. There are a few things that YouTube requires that you don’t have to struggle to understand.

You don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. You can skip to your specific timeline and continue your learning curve. YouTube has a huge learning curve.

Once you understand these five basics, you’ll notice tremendous positive changes. Your community will feel the same.

Ready? Let’s do this.

1. Not looking at the Camera Lens

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Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash

You don’t have to be a videographer to notice this one. Everyone makes this mistake. You’re not alone.

When you watch a video with someone looking to the side at the flip-out screen on their image on the phone, you notice it.


How to fix it?

Remember to look at the lens. Practice more, and it will become second nature. Need a prop? Stick the picture of your favorite person above the lens and talk to them.

Why is this important?

We weren’t making videos thousands of years ago, but we looked at each other in the eyes. When you’re looking into the lens, you’re communicating trust, confidence, and respect. They’re giving you their time. It’s the least you can do.

Want more? Take this Class by Dan Mace on Skillshare.

2.Crappy Composition

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Photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash

“Composition is a way of guiding the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of your work, sometimes — in a very specific order. A good composition can help make a masterpiece even out of the dullest objects and subjects in the plainest of environments.” — Source

The subtle elements that make or break your video hinge on how you compose your shot. You don’t have to become Chase Jarvis of Creative Live fame to apply this.

I know I’m not.


Yes, your message is essential. You want to reach more people. Wouldn’t it be better if the experience was more fabulous for them?

Composition is one of those things we only notice in extremes: when it’s terrible or good.

You’re not going for the Pulitzer prize, are you? You want it to look good. That’s more than enough.

How to fix it?

First, once you understand the concept, you can apply it without going to film school. You can also watch other creators and pay attention to their Composition. I’d recommend a course on Skillshare, You’ll learn more than Composition anyway.

Video on A Budget: Skillshare Class by Chrystopher Rhodes (a.k.a YCImaging)

There are YouTube Tutorials for this, so why take a course?

Video creation is more than Composition and often depends on what you want. This article cannot teach you that without missing the crucial concepts. A course takes you from start to finish, and you leave with a rounded skill.

Why is this important?

We’re walking pattern recognizers. If you can leverage this fact and make suitable looking Compositions, you’ll have a head-start compared to 90% of new YouTubers.

3. Awful Audio

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Photo by Caio Silva on Unsplash

People can handle lousy videos with great audio, but they can hardly stand good video with an awful sound. I used to think this was some marketing myth to sell more audio equipment, but no. I’ve experienced it. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.

There’s not much to say about this when you’re starting. You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know about levels, or soundproofing, or background music. And guess what? You don’t need to go that technical.

How to fix it?

Film in a quiet location. Obvious, isn’t it? Until during editing, you realize the A.C. hum was blowing in all this time. Or the kids were screaming far away in the background. Or that random car. You know the one.

Picking a time and allowing for optimal silence is a great start.

Next, you can invest in a lapel plug-in microphone for under $50. If you’re making videos, you can probably afford this. I recommend lapel mics because of their flexible nature; you can clip on everything.


Why is this important?

The human voice is a fantastic tool to communicate mood and emotion. As you grow on YouTube as a creator, you’ll get better at sharing your story, and you want your most-used weapon always ready.

Don’t kill a great message with lousy audio.

4.Asking for Subscribers without the proper Set-up

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Photo by Yoav Hornung on Unsplash

“Don’t forget to like, share, comment, subscribe, and turn on the notification bell!”

It makes me cringe each time I hear it. Mind you, it’s essential to ask your audience to subscribe — some people forget to hit the subscribe button. The problem is: not providing the proper environment for this to make sense.

Yes, you’re making videos, and you want subscribers.

But why should they subscribe? Have you thought about that? Why should they, out of millions of channels, subscribe to your channel?

How to fix it?

Let them know what you’ll be doing in the video and also what the channel is about. That’s the foolproof way. Tell them straight up: if you like [insert content type], you should subscribe. Or at the end, tell them, if you want to watch my next video on[insert subject], then subscribe.

If you’re a fantastic storyteller, your hook doesn’t have to be so direct. Video is a tremendous tool, and once you unlock editing and visual manipulations powers, you open up your ninth chakra.

I’ve watched many videos and hit the subscribe button without the creator ever saying a word. Why? Because the videos were really, really good. For example, Ayodeji Awosika second YouTube channel is a killer resource for writers.

It’s too valuable not to subscribe.


Either ask them to subscribe after giving them a reason or let your excellent content speak for itself.

Why is this important?

You’re growing your channel. Treat YouTube as a business. Plus, subscribers are a metric you can keep an eye on to see what works and what doesn’t. For example, you could decide never to ask and simply make great videos. You could choose to ask at the end to lead to the next video.

As you get comfortable with your YouTube studio analytics, you’ll see the data. You’ll know why people subbed.

5.No Problem to Solve

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Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

There are two types of people who start YouTube channels:

a) People who are yet to find out what they want to createb) People who know what they’re creating and why.

In the second class falls most businesses and the people who make videos for themselves. It’s an easy decision here.

If you’re on the first path, your journey will be arduous and hurtful without the proper why. It will take a toll on your health, mental, and physical. If you have a day job like me or you’re starting, you will have to squeeze time to film and edit and do all the YouTube things.

Keep this in mind: if you’re not solving a problem, you will fail.

“Yeah, yeah, what about so and so?” Outliers. Would you consider yourself one?

Yes, I know this is doomsday type material, but the evidence is too glaring to ignore.

People are bored. People have questions. People want better lives. People want to fall in love.

We want to learn. We want inspiration.

What problem is your channel or video solving?

How to fix it?

This one is personal legend material. You’ll have to make many videos to find out. The more you experiment, you’ll notice that subset between what you enjoy making and what others enjoy consuming for you.

My friend Eric Wen has a fantastic playlist to help you with this, including your channel’s vision.

The Playlist

Why is this important?

Your mission will keep you on the path — your path. You’ll start with zero subs. You’ll stumble and find your way. But on this journey, you need to keep your eyes on the prize :

What’s your why? How do you integrate it into your videos? Your color scheme? Or even your chosen niche?

Are you doing this for fun ( so you shouldn’t bother about growth, subs, monetization)?

Or are you building a source of income and providing value to others?

Without a problem to solve, only misery lies beyond the long treacherous hours YouTube often demands.


A) Lighting: Use a window if you can’t afford a light. Learn about ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. You’ll enjoy your editing even more as an extraB) Storytelling: We’re all good at some level with this. It’s our nature. But once we turn the camera, we forget. Integrate this, and even your “simple” talking head video would have raving fans.C) Consistency: You know what this is; I won’t say much. It matters. I’ve failed at it, and now I’m better. I’ll repeat: it matters. Consistency is how you build trust in the world, not just online — consistency in time, content, and even growth.
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Photo by Marco Xu on Unsplash


If you can address these five things, you will start your YouTube journey like a pro. You don’t have to sieve through tutorials as I did.

You also have to appreciate that video creation is a new skill. You won’t become YCImaging or Alex Gasaway in two months.

Give yourself the room to try different variations of the things you learn and remember to have fun. I enjoy making videos, even though I have high aspirations for myself. I’m often super proud of the edits I make that most of my viewers don’t even notice.

There’s something about creating things that gives me a high. I feel like you’re that type of person too.

  • Look into your camera lens — pretend you’re talking to a close friend.
  • Compose your shots well enough that the focus is where you want it to be.
  • Lousy video can still win with good audio, but the reverse isn’t true.
  • Give them a reason to subscribe, always.
  • Solve a problem or at least, know why you’re on YouTube

There are many channels I could recommend. Two I would say you would get the most value for your time are: Think Media and Roberto Blake’s Channel.

There you have it, free, paid and common sense tips to improve your videos.

Now, go and make some epic content, my friend!

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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