Why I Travel With Too Much Video Gear: Resourcefulness for Entrepreneurs

For the past 7 years, I've been living as a digital nomad. Unlike most digital nomads, I travel with heavy luggage, primarily dedicated to video gear.

There's a specific reason why I put up with lugging so much stuff around - and why I wouldn't recommend doing this in most cases.

Read on to see how traveling heavy relates to following your passion and building your skills as an entrepreneur.

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The Step Ladder of Skill & Resourcefulness

Video marketing and video content creation have been important to my work for a long time. Besides that, I enjoy making video content and I enjoy learning this craft and getting better at it.

This could be reason enough to justify the expense and hassle of lugging around a suitcase full of camera gear. But even if you have ambitions as a video creator or a filmmaker, I wouldn't recommend you start out with a setup like mine.

The approach I recommend to almost everything related to entrepreneurship is a combination of rapid implementation and essentialism.

  • Rapid implementation means focusing on shipping - focusing on getting things done and delivered as quickly as possible.
  • Essentialism means clarity about what truly matters and focusing on that. It means spending time doing the things that make the biggest difference.

Following these two principles, you can deliver a lot of work, at a high level of quality, rapidly and you make rapid progress in your own learning and skill development. It may seem like a compromise in quality at first, but that's a misconception.

For video marketing, this translates to the following:

  • Use the simplest, most convenient video gear available to you (e.g. your smartphone) to record videos.
  • Focus on creating good content, rapidly.
  • Upgrade your gear only with things that make a big, noticeable difference to your end goal (e.g. teaching something valuable to your audience).

In other words: do what you can, with what you have. And do lots of it.

Starting small comes with a great advantage: it makes you resourceful. You have to find ways to make things happen, without access to expensive gear. This usually sparks creativity.

Plus, building up your gear step-wise makes you more versatile. I'm grateful for all the camera gear I have now and all the things it enables me to do. I'm also grateful that I'm not dependent on this gear. I can make good videos using just my phone or a simple camera like a GoPro. I can use more advanced camera gear and I can use everything in between. The same goes for lighting, editing etc.

The Gear List

For those who are interested, here's the gear list of what I currently travel with:

  • Sony A7III
  • Panasonic GH4
  • Sony 90mm F2.8 Macro
  • Sony 24-105 F4
  • Helios 58mm F2 + adapter
  • Olympus 45mm F1.8
  • Sigma 30mm F2.8
  • GoPro Hero 7
  • 2x Travel Tripods
  • Gorillapod
  • Zoom H2n
  • Giant Squid Lav Mic
  • Rode SmartLav+
  • LED lightpanel
  • Travel Lightstand
  • Memory cards, external hard drives, batteries, chargers, cables, a chunky laptop etc.

As you can probably guess, this is a setup that's as expensive as it is heavy. The cost is spread out over many years, though. Just like my skills and experience, I built this kit up over a long time. And as I mentioned above, I wouldn't recommend jumping and buying all this stuff right away, to anyone.

The Resourcefulness Challenge

The main takeaways for today's post are about skill development and resourcefulness. Here's a challenge that will give you a boost in both of those areas: choose some type of creative work you already do for your business - be it writing content, creating videos, recording podcasts or anything related - and challenge yourself to do it with restrictions.

Restrictions such as:

  • Do it in half the time it usually takes you.
  • Do it with half the budget you usually have for it.
  • Do it without most of the gear you usually use for it.

These are creative constraints. Stick to the challenge and you'll see that it pushes you to be more creative and more resourceful. And you might learn something invaluable that you'll bring back into your regular process, after the challenge.

What do you challenge yourself to do? Leave a comment below letting me know.

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • nikolay says:

    Awesome post Shane.

  • Jeff Brown says:

    Looks like you have a camera operator also?

  • Brian says:

    Shane, one of my biggest issues is lighting/dark videos, which model, and brand of LED light panel are you using.

    • It’s some generic thing I can’t find anymore online. However, I don’t recommend using most LED panels for lighting subjects (as your main light, basically). The light is often quite unpleasant and also often not very strong. Really high quality LED lights cost a fortune.

      Instead, I recommend that you go for something with a softbox. Whether it’s a bulb or LED or whatever as the light source, if it has a softbox, you’ll get a nice, pleasant light very easily. If it doesn’t, it just takes a lot of expertise to light well.

  • paxpa says:

    Thanks! Interesting video, Shane!

  • Tony says:

    I was surprised to see a Panasonic GH4 in your list of cameras Shane as I remember you saying the Panasonic Lumix G6 was the best camera for video, like you was recording on at the time. Or is that just for internet quality video and you record at higher quality? I remember it because I watched your video about the G6 right after I’d just bought one. Which means I got lucky rather than followed your recommendation.

    • Hi Tony,

      Like I mentioned, this isn’t a recommendation. I don’t think they sell the G6 anymore, but as an entry level, reasonably priced camera I would still recommend the G7. Or a second-hand GH4, which might cost about the same now. The micro four thirds system has some downsides, but I think on the entry level, the advantages outweigh them significantly.

      I think these cameras are at a sweet spot, where they enable you to create really sharp, high quality looking video. Beyond this kind of quality level, you’re looking at spending $1,000+ for every few percent in increased quality.

  • Conny says:

    Great tip and video and I see now that the weather is better you ended up in Switzerland :-)

  • Nannette says:

    I need to do it in half the time…everything!

  • Edgar Baller says:

    Focusing on delivering is essential. I’ve made a lot more progress with that focus.

    • Absolutely, yes. This was a super important mindset shift for me as well. I’m grateful I came across this idea or across the various ideas that ended up forming this concept of rapid implementation, in my mind.

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