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Small Business Owner: How to beat your fear of video

Do you have fear of video? I totally get it. Being in front of a camera to promote your business isn’t everybody’s idea of a fun day out. The limelight isn’t for everyone and if it’s something you’ve never done before, it can be downright scary. 

I had a client recently who said it felt like she was being her product’s ‘show pony’. And I’ve seen it myself, where even the most confident presenters, super sales people and passionate business owners turn green at the thought of being on video. 

But of course, if you follow me on social media, you’ll know it is something I do quite a lot – putting my face out there and being a little bit creative with the way in which I share marketing advice. And the reason I do this is because when your face is associated with your ‘brand’, the easier it is for people to bond with your business, and build trust in you.  

Obviously, getting over your fear of video is the first step to take in order to feel more comfortable with using it for business marketing. But easier said than done, right?  

I can’t actually help you – but I know someone who can

Me? I love the camera almost more than talking to people directly. I know, I’m weird. I don’t care how round I am, how old I ‘look’ or how untidy my hair is – as soon as the camera is on record, I feel like it is a friend I get to have a catchup with. 

Yes, sometimes I may think ‘that is a bit unflattering’ when I watch it over again. But if I have been able to come across relaxed, real and say what I wanted to say, I’m completely fine with other people seeing it. 

Which means I’m no help whatsoever to those who really have a huge fear of the camera. So I thought it was best to get someone who could give you the right advice to ‘get over it’ (in the nicest possible way).  

Introducing Harrison, who conquered his fear of the camera

A few months ago I stumbled across Harrison, who is a video coach from the UK. And right from the outset, I loved his gentle, kind and careful approach. I knew he was the guy for the job. 

I recently interviewed Harrison for my MAP IT Marketing podcast, and it turns out he got into video coaching because he used to be camera shy himself.  

“Now that I’m on the other side of it, I have made it my life goal to help as many other people overcome camera shyness as possible.”

The need for video marketing was accelerated by lockdowns in the UK, when Harrison realised that people were still seeking human interaction and now it’s created a shift towards video that is going to stay. 

And with us here in New Zealand in Lockdown again, it’s really amplified that feeling of how video helps us feel more connected with others – whether that is one by one, in small groups or recorded video. It also enables us to reach a far wider audience, the proof of which is this very conversation with Harrison. Without the power of social media and video, I’d never have met this 27-year-old English bloke of whom I share a lot of business ethos and personal values with! 

Sorry, but video is here to stay – because it works

Video content is one of the most effective methods a business can use to sell products or services. Harrison explains that video is hugely influential when it comes to buying decisions, where often the first thing we do is Google or YouTube a service or product to see how it works. 

“If I see an advert for something that I know I need in my life, and it’s telling me how easy it is to use it – I’m buying it. It’s as simple as that.”

Right, what’s his secret then? 

Harrison knew he had to use video, but it still required overcoming a ‘block’. And to do that, his first step was video journaling – creating a video that is stored only on your phone. He committed to recording himself daily, just talking to camera, for a month. 

“You just set the camera up, hit record and talk. As soon as you feel awkward or start feeling stressed, simply stop. Then the next day, try to record a little longer if you can.”

And yes, it does work. I’ve already shared it with a few clients who have found it useful. Harrison says it’s about learning to realise that the camera doesn’t judge.    

Once you’re feeling more comfortable speaking to the camera, try daily stories on Instagram, Facebook or anywhere that the videos disappear after 24 hours (ephemeral content). It’s a good ‘stepping stone’ as no matter whether you think the story is good or bad, it’s gone after a day.  

Okay, so if we’ve already gone too far and you’re breaking out in a cold sweat, don’t panic just yet. Harrison says that part of the problem is that many of us have it in our heads that some people are just born confident, whereas he doesn’t think this is true. 

“Business owners are often suffering from imposter syndrome, with a worry that no one will even care about what we have to say. And I was a massive, massive sufferer of that myself.”

“I’m self taught, and I found it difficult to call myself an expert. But I’m telling you now to forget that thought process, because you are an expert and yes, you do know more than most people in your area of expertise.” 

Harrison suggests you start with sharing content around what you know best, and it won’t be long before you find people who resonate with that.  

Do you need a high-tech setup? 

To start out you don’t need any high-tech gadgets or gizmos. In fact, both Harrison and I use our phone cameras for nearly all our filming, and just set them up on tripods. We also use the Inshot app to edit our videos, and as a non-techie person, I like how easy it is to use. Harrison uses the free version and I have the paid. Even if you love gadgets, don’t feel like you have to splurge on them right from the outset to capture good video. 

Now that I use video a lot more, I have a few more online tools up my sleeve as well as paid features like a subtitling programme. But I don’t recommend overloading yourself with heaps of technical stuff at the start, it’s not necessary. 

Lights, camera, action! 

Lighting and sound are two of the most important aspects of capturing a good video. If you stand with your body facing a window, it will give you natural, clear lighting and it will also help with good sound quality. 

If you’re getting in the flow of creating videos, you could always buy yourself a ring light as it helps to light your face and some of my clients say they feel like they look better on camera (so it helps with a confidence boost). 

Before hitting record, think about what you are going to say. A script is handy of course, but reading from one does prevent you from interacting with the camera naturally. So it’s better to have a solid idea of what you want to say, with some notes you can have just behind the camera for reference. 

If you do get onto using an editing app, you can record yourself in shorter snippets and then tie them together to create a story. So it means you don’t have to remember so much! It is super easy to do in Inshot, or any editing app you like. 

Some final words…

Learning something new can be difficult. But I promise you, the more you give videos a go, the more you will be confident with it over time. I have recently looked back at some of the videos I did a year ago, and I can already see how much I’ve grown as a video communicator. 

Two or three years ago – well, they were terrible! But, we’ve got to start somewhere right? And I’m sure in 2025 I’ll look back on the ones I’ve done this week and feel the same way. 

One of the last pieces of Harrison’s wisdom I want to share is around the concept of seeing learning as play – because when we do, it’s easier. So block out time each day (even just 10 minutes will do), set up your phone on a tripod, and have a go chatting to the camera about your business and what you do. Nobody else has to see it, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll soon start to feel far more relaxed, and even at peace with the camera. 

And then? Video marketing will become easier too, which will ultimately lead to powerful marketing for your business.

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