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Since 1987 I've run a tech business—from home. Back in the day that was odd. Today, it's pretty mainstream. During that time I've been compelled (thank you bloated tax code) to spend inordinate amounts of time documenting…everything. I've done accounting and filed taxes for C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. And I've tried most every Mac and web accounting package. (Even, painfully and begrudgingly a PC package on a virtual terminal.)
Today my choice—far and away—for my accounting needs is Intuits Quickbooks Online. It also just happens to have an app so I get all the functionality of the online in an updated, Mac-compatible app.
And if you use this ➡ fancy shmancy link, you'll get 50% off QuickBooks Online or 50% off QuickBooks Self-Employed for 6 months!
After making too many YouTube tutorial videos using combined screen capture and video—with the lousy built-in Facetime camera—I just nabbed the Pro Stream Webcam to use going forward.
It has all the features I need at a great price. I just happened to get in on a lightning deal for it, but had already put it on my list. It comes tomorrow. Excited to get it out and put it to use!
Microphone – USB
I use this Fifine USB microphone when I produce a Facebook or YouTube live event and for screencasting for vlogs.
It plugs right into the computer and is ready to go, with its own volume control. Has a sturdy base to stand on your desk or other flat surface. Good sound quality at a great price.
Microphone – Lavalier
This Youmic clip on mini lav mic plugs right into my iPhone for recording vlogs. It's pretty small and unobtrusive. Make sure you test out the volume, if you're accustomed to yelling out to your phones built-in mic!
I needed an extension cord to reach from the camera to my seat. This is a compatible one that comes in 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 20, and 25 foot lengths! If your phone uses lightning cable, you'll need your included adapter to connect them as well.
Retractible Backdrop Mount
With the light kit and screens (below) taking up an entire room, we wanted to get back some of our space as a guest room. The Neewer photography roller wall mount system to the rescue!
This system allowed us to make all four of our backdrops easily accessible, while staying pressed and ready to shoot. No more hassle and no more dedicated screen room!
19″ Ring Light
For a couple of years we've been using the light kit and screens below. They work really well, but require a lot of adjusting and trial and error. And I'm no lighting expert.
For her birthday, my actress/influencer daughter asked for a this ivisii ring light to help with her auditions and social media photos. I helped her use it once and was sold. Amazing lighting and so, so, so easy!
I'll add that it works best paired with a good backdrop screen. The face lighting is phenomenal and there are no shadows.
They have a number of other ring lights—upscaled and downscaled from this—to choose from. It's a very useful product!
Selfie Ring Light
Speaking of ring lights, I have a small portable clip-on ring light that easily pops over my camera lens or computer screen camera. It's lightweight and handy.
Obviously it can't do the heavy lifting of the amazing light above, but it's great to take on travel and setup is nothing at all. If you need a bit of a light bump, it will help. It also has three brightness settings.
Light Kit with Green White Black Screens
Last summer it also became my vlogging setup as well. Lights, screens, stand, carrying case all included at an affordable price.
Tripod – Portable
We use the UBeesize tripod enough that we own three! It's super inexpensive and versatile! It will stand on a flat or somewhat angled surface, the legs can be wrapped around things, the legs together make a short selfie stick. Comes with:
- Universal Clip
- Wireless remote shutter
Tripod – Full Size
For in home or on set use, the AmazonBasics tripod has been a workhorse. We've had it for years. Extends from 25 inches to 60 inches, the head allows for tilt and swivel, and it has two bubble levels.
If you use this with a smartphone, you'll need an adapter. This Vastar universal adapter can shoot in horizontal or vertical and screws right into the top of the tripod.
The thought of live streaming was terrifying to me. Jumping out of my comfort zone was easier because I chose Ecamm Live. It's easy and intuitive enough that I didn't (very often) fumble around while live with viewers.
It works on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Twitch, and a few other platforms. You can download a 7-day free trial to try it on for size.
Music & Graphics
Royalty Free Music Licensing
A few months into my YouTube journey, I upped my background music game and subscribed to Artlist. The price is reasonable and the selection outstanding!
For your subscription fee you get unlimited downloads. All selections also come in mp3 and high quality wav format. You can also download your licensing certificate if you need proof.
Use my link and you'll get two months free as well!
Analysis & Statistics
One of the easiest tools to start with is TubeBuddy. There's a free version and three tiers of professional versions with added functionality. The Pro version works well for me right now.
YouTube Keyword Research
For search volumne, CPC, and competition data, Keywords Everywhere is an incredibly useful and free option!