Not a subscriber?

Join 15,000+ becoming Creatively Actualized while reading the Portal Creative Journal.

The Skill That Makes You Rich (Financially & Spiritually)

I needed to make money.

I was living at my parents house, and I had just dropped out of university. I was 20.

Two months before, I had 'that conversation' with my parents on a video call.

"Are you sure? Why not stick it out for another year at least? Maybe you'll start to enjoy yourself?"

I didn't want to. As crazy as it sounded, I wanted to start a business, and travel the world.

I'd travelled South America when I was 18 with one of my best friends, and it had opened my eyes. I knew there was more to life than what University was presenting me with.

"Do you have a business plan? A roadmap?"

Yes. I wanted to use my videography skills to make videos for clients. I had already made up my mind.

With some reluctance, and a glimmer of pride, my Dad said:

"...Ok. How about this. You've got 2 years. If you manage to make your business happen in 2 years, great. If you don't, let's agree you go back to university?"

No more needed to be said. It was done, and there was no turning back.

Fast forward two months, and here I was, back at my parent's house. I would have called it my house, but after travelling for 5 months, and having been away at uni for a year, coming back home didn't feel the same.

In my mind, I was now a lodger.

Back at home

Whilst I had my basic needs met... I was under pressure. I knew there was no way I was going back to uni, so I was on a tight timeline and had to make this happen no matter what.

I had this mirage of temporary comfort and safety, but I knew that if I didn't make money to support myself, I'd soon have to move out.

Looking at Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, I was sprinting away from the bottom of the pyramid as fast as I could.

So I got to work.

I threw together a list of businesses in the local area, and started cold calling them.

Putting on my bravest, most mature voice, I said:

"Hi, I looked at your website and thought if you had a video on there, it would help you attract more clients!"

I didn't get much back.

Mostly just "no thanks, not for me", and sometimes stuff like "why would I buy from someone who sounds like a spotty teenager?"

(Yup, someone actually said that, lol)

No success there.

The Trench

I had bought an online business course that I was paying for over 6 months, and each month ate a big chunk out of my small savings.

The course told me to send video messages to my list of prospects, instead of just calling them. This would make me stand out - because who sends a personal video message to each person they contact? No one.

Put in the extra effort, you'll get extra results - apparently.

So with my list of prospects next to me, I prepared some quick points to talk about, got some screen recording software setup, and sat down to make the first video.

I stared at the record button.

After 30 minutes of willing myself to do it, the anxiety started to build. After an hour, I broke.

I tore myself away from the computer, grabbed my bike from the shed, and rode as fast as I could into a wooded area a couple miles away from the house.

I stopped in the woods, tears running down my face. The adolescent I still was had caught up with me.

The pressure was getting too much.

But there was something about the task of making these videos that felt like hitting a huge wall.

Facing the record button was making me confront that I wasn't a relaxed, charismatic guy like I'd imagined myself to be.

I felt stiff, awkward and insecure.

I started crying more.

I missed my friends. I had acne. I'd never even had a proper girlfriend.

It all hit me and once, and sent me over the edge.

It just felt like all of my dreams were on the other-side of making this business happen.

And I was here in the woods of my hometown. Not working on the business. Instead I was just crying.

Why was making these damn videos so hard?


After a few minutes, I looked up at the green canopy above me.

I took a deep breath.

My emotions calmed. I'd processed them.

I felt present, and alive. These were just videos. How hard could it be?

I cleaned myself up, cycled back home, threw myself down at the desk and pressed record.

I started talking. After 3 minutes and a "feel free to reply to this email if you wanna get in touch!"... I had done it.

It was bad. Complete with a false deep voice I was putting on to sound more mature, and 5+ 'Ums' in every single sentence...

...But I had made it, and I had sent it.

So I made another, and another. That day I think I did 4 or 5.

From then on I made 5-10 of these video messages a day and sent them off to prospects.

I felt empowered. With enough willpower and focus, anything was possible.

Weirdly, around the same time, one of the guys from the business course posted that he was doing a challenge.

He was talking to camera everyday, so that he could improve his communication skills. He was talking about whatever was on his mind - like a video journal.

And he wasn't even sharing most of the videos with anyone.

He said it was also somehow developing him, he felt like he was becoming more and more himself, and actually growing as a person.

Something clicked inside my head.

You can practise talking to camera. And you can use that, to work on yourself.

You can become a better communicator, and also use it to become the person you want to be.

The Moment It All Changed

Without a second thought I grabbed my camera and went outside, where people couldn't hear me.

I sat it on a tripod, pressed record, and started talking, as 'myself'.

After a few sentences, I realised this was even harder than making those video messages.

I was so clueless as to who 'myself' actually was, or sounded like.

I was trapped inside a monotonous voice, and my self expression felt awkward.

I felt like there was a whole spectrum of colours inside that I wanted to express, and the only thing that was coming out was grey.

But I knew in that moment, I was onto something.

And I knew that if I kept doing this, I could open up my expression, find my voice, and become more and more authentic.

I knew it also might help with making those video messages, too.

That morning, the journey started.

Every day, I'd show up in the garden with my camera on a tripod, and I'd talk to it.

There were a few guys inside the business course who were also doing it, and sometimes we'd share the videos with each other, or make video-responses to what each was saying.

I ended up mostly using it as a video-journal to talk through my business sticking points.

But I'd also talk about talking itself. Stuff like:

"So right now I'm talking and I can feel that my voice is stuck in this 'low voice' and I want to be able to express myself freely, so maybe I'll try and talk like this tries to improve vocal range and that'll help"flow

And sometimes I'd try and analyse my own beliefs about stuff, and be like - "right, today I'm going to talk about... Money" and just see whatever came out.

Day by day I started to transform. I was talking about philosophy, my past, my future, analysing my own belief systems, all while improving how I talked, and starting to find my 'voice'.

I started to discover who I actually was when I talked and expressed myself. The layers started to peel back and I became more and more me.

It was like, even though I was still running away from the bottom of the hierarchy of needs, I was simultaneously playing right at the top. I was becoming more and more self-actualised by just talking to camera everyday.

Meanwhile, the video reach outs were getting better and better. I eventually got a meeting with the CEO of a top branding agency in London, and secured some recurring work with them.

I also won a big project with a renowned university in the UK and got some more repeat work in a startup that my cousin was working in.

1 year later, I was still living with my parents, but I finally had enough money to be independent.

So in between the video work, I had enough money to meet with friends from this business course - who I'd become closer with - and travel.

Naturally, I brought my camera along and made videos of those trips, and put them on YouTube.

The friends encouraged me to start making tutorials. And thinking back, I didn't have a single shred of resistance to making them.

I had worked on my talking to camera ability to the point that starting a YouTube channel just felt fun and exciting - and I could just express myself!

I moved out, to travel for good.

From there I would go onto build that YouTube channel to 300,000+ subscribers. It allowed me to travel the world, work with top brands and create travel content I'd only ever dreamed about.

The Ultimate Skillset

Since then I've realised that Talking To Camera is one of the only skill sets that allows you to work on your highest self...

...whilst ALSO building you leverage and opening up doors to monetisation.

Looking back, I've also realised that working on yourself through talking to camera is key if you want to be a successful content creator.

If you skip this step - of making videos purely for the sake of improvement, of working on yourself, of becoming self-aware and more self-actualised - you will likely be communicating through a facade, a mask that you put on for people each day.

And this is really bad news. Not only because of the inner pain of hiding behind that mask and not being yourself.

But also the monetary loss by lack of views and engagement.

People wanna see real. People value authenticity. The thing that will make you stand out is the ability to be yourself. The ability to communicate through your emotions, your passions, and through your very soul. This is what people feel connected to.

If you haven't worked on that, you're at a major disadvantage.

Here's a diagram of how Talking To Camera can provide major self-development breakthroughs in a short period of time:

If you put in the time to work on yourself as a communicator, your self awareness increases because you realise what's real and what's not.

And you can make BIG discoveries when becoming aware of the bad habits that you communicate through.

An important caveat here: Doesn't this mean that all YouTubers are somehow enlightened? After all, they talk to camera all the time.

No. You have to go through this process intentionally. A process that actively gets you to communicate as authentically as you're able, to self-reflect on your videos, and to then work on your communication skills until you form better habits.

So what's the actual process?

The 5 Steps To Self-Actualise Through Talking To Camera

1) Becoming aware of your mask or persona.

That's one of the first things you'll realise when you talk to camera. You'll start to become aware that there are certain ways that you express yourself, that aren't you.

Certain filler words. A fake laugh. A repetitive intonation you fall back on. Everyone has their own mask that has become autopilot.

When you watch your videos back, this is what you'll find cringey.

The process of showing up each day to talk, and then watching your videos back will build more and more self awareness. You will start to realise what is the authentic you, and what is not.

2) Build social awareness of yourself

Ever curious about what you look like when you socialise? What other people see when they talk to you?

Talking to camera can get you pretty close to being able to see that. And often at first, it's not pretty.

You start building social awareness, of yourself. Do you have a 'good energy'? Do you communicate like someone people want to be around? Are you relaxed and flowy? Anxious and nervous?

You might start figuring out that, for example, when you're nervous you talk louder, or more quietly.

Or that you sound dull and monotone. Perhaps you realise that rather than connecting with your heart and your emotions, you habitually talk from your 'head'.

3) Self Acceptance vs Self Improvement

Looking at the things that you don't like about yourself can be tough. Your physical appearance. How you talk. How 'integrated' you are.

So you're going to want to change them. Right?

Or do you accept them? And work on 'self-love'?

The answer is both. You compassionately accept what you can't change, and diligently improve what you can.

Another form of self-acceptance is to accept 'where you're at'. Know you're a beginner at this whole thing, and be kind to yourself. That you're on a journey, that you're improving.

You're accepting where you are on your journey to self improvement.

4) Dropping the persona takes vulnerability

To start dropping this mask and facade takes courage, because it takes vulnerability.

People wear masks to be less vulnerable. They laugh at their own jokes to fill the silence before it can even be created.

They express themselves robotically to avoid their true, emotional self being criticised.

So to express with your heart takes a great deal of vulnerability, and that takes bravery.

Sometimes you have to make a leap.

As a note here: Vulnerability doesn't necessarily mean you even need to change what you say. There is a braver, more vulnerable way of saying something and there is a safer, more closed way. Guess which is more engaging.

5) Strengthening your true self

Once you do find this truer version of you - welcome them. They might be slightly fragile.

You're not used to communicating in this way. So you'll have spend time there, and strengthen yourself up.

Drop back into this new place over and over again until it feels stronger, more dynamic, more resilient.

You might feel like you've unlocked a new superpower.

If you don't work on this, don't expect yourself to become a better communicator. You can clearly see how different things can be if you choose to build a good habit:

This takes work, but it's worth it.

You'll be guided through this transformative process inside the 30 Day Talking To Camera Challenge.

You'll learn with others who are on the same journey as you, and be guided by potent video modules and direct feedback so you accelerate your progress.

Discover the ways you were being not you.

Make contact with the authentic version of yourself.

And don't let go.

I hope you have a great week.


Who is Thomas Norman?

‍I am a musician, filmmaker and entrepreneur. I am passionate in helping creatives become actualised through their life and work.

When you're ready, here's how I can help you:

The 30 Day Talking To Camera Challenge

Break through the awkwardness barrier, and communicate with authenticity, confidence and enthusiasm on camera. Everything you need to drastically improve your speaking ability and make an impressive transformation.

Enroll Today