The Best Gear For New Creators

creator toolkit Jan 03, 2018

I am asked all the time what kind of equipment I used to record music and make my videos when I began my YouTube adventure. Below, I *starred* the products that I personally started with and included some other options that could work. I recommend these items for anyone beginning a career or hobby in the industry of CREATING! :)

Remember this is a LOT.  But it's all doable. Take it one thing at a time and remember if you really are passionate about your subject, YouTube is the best way to spread the word about it right now.  Do it. NOW. Invest in yourself.   You don't need the MOST expensive equipment to make a living doing what you love.  The equipment below could be used to jumpstart a CAREER as a digital creator.  

 For a quick start, I recommend picking up #1, #5, #9, #12, #15, and #17. If you have a Mac and you're on a budget, you can skip #12 & #15 and just start by editing your audio in GarageBand and your video in iMovie!


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4 Ways To Improve Your Work-Life Balance

hustle Dec 08, 2017


In many industries, but in the entertainment industry specifically, it seems as though we are constantly battling the need and the desire to produce new content and satisfy our supporters. However, I quickly learned early on in my career that I simply cannot set expectations for myself that will make my home life suffer too severely. Even if a new opportunity comes along that seems amazing, if it will make you lose your sanity, it's not as good as it sounds. It's not worth it.

Don't get me wrong, I am nowhere near perfect at fostering a good work-life balance... My wife will tell you that, too! But I make efforts every day in order to do so and have learned a few things that have helped me feel accomplished in my career and in my personal life at the same time.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find the “right” balance between family and work or if that even exists, but I sure try. Here are four methods I wanted to share with you that have helped me...

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The Future of the Digital Creator

creator toolkit Dec 08, 2017

The future is very much where I’m putting my brand, and the future of entertainment lies in digital influencers working with very small companies that are being created via the internet, like, DistroKid, and Stem. It didn’t come easy to me, but I fell in love with communicating with people through the keyboard. I want to provide a digital handshake to the people that I interact with in the online space, and these small businesses help me do that.

I saw the digital space as a challenge; a game that I had to beat.
With all of these numbers and analytics that are available nowadays, its kind of like I'm a character in a video game and I’m trying to level up. I love strategizing and seeing how to get bigger players to share my content or engage with me. In the beginning I just thought it was so fascinating and so fun. I saw the value and I knew that if I got my art in front of enough people, people somewhere would like it. As an artist, you have to believe...

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How To Launch Your Career On Patreon

patreon Dec 08, 2017

Do you want to make a career doing what you love online? I am, and I want to help you do it too! With the incredible online platforms we have available today, there is no reason why you can’t succeed. The most important tool to my success is Patreon.

I’d like to share with you how to use the website, along with other social media platforms, to get out of your parents’ basement and into the real world! You might be wondering why you should listen to me... listen to me because this is coming from a real artist. Patreon is the wave of the future, and I want to help you ride that wave to success! Here are six pieces of advice that I’ve learned while creating and sharing my art on Patreon through the years.

 1. What is Patreon, anyway?
Patreon is a membership platform for fostering a community and building meaningful relationships with people online. Its purpose is to help artists earn a real, stable salary. My definition of success includes obtaining the...

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The New CEO: Digital Creator Edition

creator toolkit Dec 08, 2017

Creators in the digital age are entrepreneurs and CEOs in many cases. They have to be in order to gain any sort of success online these days.

Although most people think of me as just a YouTube cover artist, I am a content creator. A businessman. An educator. 

 The last time I had a "regular" job was in 2005 when I was working as a pasta boy, making noodles for local restaurants in my town of Eugene, Oregon. One day, I walked in and quit and told myself that every dollar I made from that day forward would be through music in some way. I had no backup plan so a lot of people saw that decision as a mistake, but today I recognize it as one of the best choices I've ever made. That was when I decided that I would take my fate into my own hands and try following my passion, with no real plan of how I would do it.

Today, I treat myself as the CEO of my very own brick and mortar business. As a creator, my storefront is how I grab the attention of people surfing the web, and my...

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4 Things I Learned About Music Distribution as an Independent Artist

creator toolkit music Dec 08, 2017

I often get asked questions about being an independent artist. Below are some of the most popular ones!

1) How has independent music distribution become easier, and why does this benefit artists?

Independent music distribution has become much easier as artist-created platforms have risen up to fulfill the traditional services provided by record labels. For example, I do all my direct distribution through a platform called DistroKid. DistroKid allows me to pay one small fee per year to get my songs licensed and distributed to all the major music stores online. Only $19.99 a year!! Furthermore, DistroKid sends me a monthly check with 100 percent of the royalties I'm owed from online music sales and streaming. There is another site called Soundrop that does the same stuff as DistroKid, except for a fee of $9.99 for every song you are trying to distribute. I've done the calculations, and if you are making $80 or less per year from online music sales, Soundrop is the better option for...

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4 Savvy Tricks for Engaging your Audience

My success today is a result of endless amounts of hard work and learning from my mistakes. This includes collaborating with other artists, sharing and promoting your work on every possible platform, and making a genuine effort to connect with people online.

I truly believe that NOW is the best time in history to be a creator.

We have endless resources at our disposal, with just the click of a mouse or tap of a finger. By being someone who people want to follow and support, and giving them something valuable back in return, you have the ability to create something meaningful.

          1. Treat Yourself as a Business

In order to be a successful community manager who provides value to his supporters, you need to be interacting with them as much as possible. Think of your social media accounts- FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and email as a storefront. For example, if you owned a shop and someone came in to browse, you wouldn’t ignore them. You...

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5 Essential Secrets to Promoting your Patreon Page Through Social Media

So, you decided to set up a Patreon page. Congratulations! This is a huge step in your career and you are on your way to making your dreams reality. However, the work doesn’t end here. Actually, it just started! A Patreon page is the first step, but you now need Patrons.

It’s best to create a Patreon page after you already have a decent amount of followers, because then you can use your existing influence to build a community of Patrons right off the bat.

This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to be successful on Patreon without a pre-established fan base, but be prepared to dedicate yourself to building a community of loyal supporters.

How do you build a community?

First, you need to identify who your supporters are. Then, you need to cater to them. Target your social media postings toward them. Create content you know they’ll love.

These are real people and they will be the reason why you are able to do what you love, so keep them in mind.

Once you...

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How Patreon Inspired my Art & Changed my Life

patreon Dec 08, 2017

Ever wonder how I went from geeky kid to glorified YouTube a capella dad? Well, it wasn’t always an easy road. But it always helped me grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur. Here’s a behind-the-scenes account of how I started, how I found beauty within the struggles, and how the launch of my Patreon account transformed my career.

I first started singing in eighth grade when my mom allowed me to drop French class in exchange for choir. Fast forward, and I was studying vocal performance and music education at the University of Oregon. While I was there, I founded the university’s first a cappella group, On the Rocks.

In the midst of producing albums for both my group and the women’s a cappella group Divisi, I discovered a huge passion for it. My a cappella group went on to compete in NBC’s The Sing Off in 2010. After the show’s conclusion, a few hundred people asked me to start making my own music, so I decided to go for it… without a...

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How to Leverage Social Media Like A Pro

So, you found your passion. And you’re ready to follow it. What’s next?

It is absolutely imperative that you form a solid understanding of how to

          Market yourself

          Run a business

          Communicate with your supporters.

Without these things, your art will exist only for yourself. This is great if you prefer it this way, but if your goal is to actually make a living doing what you love, it is essential that you grasp the following:

Your audience is your business, and without an audience you have no business.

Far too many creators continue to ignore this simple and unavoidable fact. The traditional music industry has changed dramatically in recent years; there has been a complete paradigm shift, in which the only way to monetize your art is to establish a relationship with your audience.

In order to make profits, you need to grow your follower base. Treat yourself as a business....

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