Do Yourself a Favor and DIY

Jenny Coppola


Don’t have the means to outsource a project? Do it yourself. Hate the way something is being done? Improve upon it, make it better — DIY.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in 2015. We’re constantly being empowered to take charge and become experts at whatever we want, from building websites to starting our own online businesses. It seems many of us have already caught the DIY bug. But what’s the rationale behind this way of thinking, and why jump on this bandwagon if you haven’t already?

WWBFD? (What Would Ben Franklin Do?)

The “maker” or “inventor” mentality isn’t all that modern or novel. Ben Franklin, for example, went outside and DIY-ed the heck out of those electrical currents. While the trendy DIY projects we see today are hardly on par with harnessing lightning, people are still taking matters into their own hands to meet their needs on their own terms.

This little three-letter word went mainstream back in the 1950s and was associated with home improvement and other small craft projects, but has since evolved to mean much, much more. From the Industrial Revolution to punk rock subculture, DIY ethos has played a huge role in shaping the world we live in today.

So what’s sparking the revitalization of this movement today? From hand-crafting your own soap, mouthwash, or laundry detergent, to shooting custom promo videos for your latest Etsy shop — anyone can DIY.

Technology and the tactile

In an era where same-day delivery exists, why are we even remotely interested in taking the time to do something like pickle our home-grown veggies or knit our own mittens?

One argument for the resurgence of the DIY movement is what I like to call the “tech-sistential” crisis. This is similar to an existential crisis, except that it has to do with our over-reliance on technology. Who am I? What is my true identity? What is the meaning of life beyond the screen?

Sometimes you just need to tap out, power-down, and fall off the grid for a couple of hours. What better way to spend that time than by making something physical?

On the flip side, you could argue that technology has enabled individuals to push their creative boundaries and experiment even further with the DIY mindset. Want to build your own tiny-house? Here’s how. The internet is a strange and wonderful place with a seemingly infinite amount of resources that can help you achieve your lofty tactile goals.

DIY for business

How do these practices fit into the way entrepreneurs conduct business? Modern adopters are finding more ways to employ the DIY mentality, with practical applications cropping up just about everywhere. You can build your own website without learning how to code, take pretty amazing pictures with a smartphone, or even shoot your own videos with a low-budget, basic setup.

Avid crafters with niche markets love Etsy, indie artists flock to Bandcamp or Soundcloud in herds, and self-published authors with super promotional skills stick to Amazon — the list goes on and on. If you’re saying to yourself, “But I’m an artist, not a business-person!” you might want to consider which end-goals matter most to you. More control over your brand, access to data, or a bigger piece of the profit pie, are all benefits associated with taking on a project or business endeavor yourself.

The “Craft” — not just for witches

The DIY mindset is as much about the process as it is about the aesthetic. Homemade, hand-crafted goods that are locally sourced and unadulterated by giant corporations are in high demand. The human appeal associated with purchasing these products directly from the folks who made them is undeniable; it’s a win-win for both sides of the exchange.

This aesthetic also applies to the way videos are made. Whether it’s because of financial constraints, sheer practicality, or a certain desired feel, crafting your own videos can add a personal touch that makes your brand feel more authentic. It’s important to consider what makes sense for you — if showcasing the people behind your product is something you value, then it might make sense to try and DIY. Do what aligns most with your brand’s sentiment.

Practice what you preach

Now that you know all about the DIY mindset, how it can be employed successfully, and what it can do for your business both aesthetically and practically, why not take a stab at making a video yourself?

Know where to focus your energy

For starters, take a deep breath. There are so many options out there when it comes to style, tone, and execution, and it can seem a bit overwhelming. Set your goals from the start, narrow your focus, and take baby steps. Don’t bite off more than you can chew with your first video! Think of your video like the first chapter in a book. There’s plenty more to come, and chances are they’ll keep getting better and better as time goes on.

Create a space where you can experiment

Assigning a specific room or conference space in your office for shooting video is crucial. This area will not only allow you to control factors like ambient noise and lighting, but it will also keep you laser-focused on the task at hand. Lower the barriers and give yourself the tools you need in your office to make awesome videos.

Get materials on a budget

You don’t need to spend a fortune to make great video marketing content. Lighting and audio, for example, both play crucial roles in making professional-looking videos, and that notion might scare folks away from diving right into producing a video in-house, but it shouldn’t. You can make smart, savvy videos on the cheap!

As it turns out, iPhone microphones are better for recording than you might expect! In that same vein, if you’re already planning on DIY-ing your video, then why not set up your own lighting for $100? Video marketing does not necessitate super expensive equipment.

Loop in friends

Sometimes your ideas need a sounding board. Hearing an outside perspective or feedback from folks who are facing similar challenges can help you move your project forward. If you’re new to creating video content, being able to reach out to your community is huge when traversing this uncharted territory.

One of the best ways to improve your craft is by seeking feedback, being open to suggestions, and by keeping each other accountable. At Wistia, we encourage communication within the Community. This is a great space to chat about everything from production tips to marketing trends.

What was your last DIY project? Got a DIY success story? Or maybe a funny misfire? Let us know in the comments!

Jenny Coppola


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