For many, the thought of playing video games while chatting with random people and getting paid for it sounds very enticing. But is it really that simple? What most people probably don’t realize is that being a streamer requires a lot of work behind the scenes apart from playing games in front of the camera. For a lot of streamers, their workweek is longer than the standard 40 hours. We will discuss what it takes to be a big-time streamer.
On Camera Work
Being live is the fun part of streaming. You get to engage with some really cool people while playing some of your favorite games, all while getting paid from subscribers and donations. But what many miss to comprehend is that this can be tiring. Think about it, you have to remain consistent streaming anywhere from 8 to 12 hours every single day. Many fulltime streamers will only take one day off a week.
This means you must keep your mental health stable. You have to keep energy levels high and a smile on your face every single day. You can’t afford a “I’m just tired today” or “I got in an argument with a family member so I’m not feeling it today” attitude, you must suck it up and maintain a positive personality while in front of the camera. Sure, you can take the occasional “sick day” but it certainly cannot be normal behavior just because you are your own boss. All the top streamers have announced scheduled vacations planned far ahead of time, they simply just do not go “dark” with short notice or on a whim. You are the brand, your personality is what keeps viewers coming back to watch. Streaming is your business and any personal life issues must remain separate. Nobody is going to want to stick around to watch a grouch.
Off Camera Work
For many full-time streamers, the real hard work starts when the camera is turned off for the day. There are many daily activities that streamers perform off stream to stay relevant and keep the spotlight on them. Let it be networking, marketing, project improvements; streamers can easily put in 20+ additional hours into their workweek off camera. Here are some things to consider if you are looking into starting a streaming career.
Streamers turn to social media as a tool to stay connected with their fanbase while off-camera. This means staying on top of Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. to keep up on the latest news. This means putting together individual content plans for each platform. Many streamers will simply take time browsing platforms to chime in on comments of other streamers poking fun and promoting discussions to add to their own content.
Social media content is very time-consuming and can be stressful coming up with daily content to post. This means staging pictures and selfies, editing video clips, photoshopping images, and potentially doing some research to comment on certain topics. Networking is a very important part of streaming and, therefore, should have adequate time put aside off camera to take it seriously.
Once you become large enough on Twitch you will start having marketing company’s reaching out about sponsorships or affiliate marketing opportunities. These discussions are held through scheduled meetings either by phone or video conference call. This means on top of a 8-12 hour stream you also have to schedule an hour before or after go-live to handle additional business.
An example of a marketing opportunity would be working with a company for affiliate sales. This is where you promote a product to your viewers live on stream and any sales made through your referral link would grant you a negotiated commission. You’ve probably seen examples of this on large streamers for Gfuel, Displates, NordVPN, etc.
Another example would be a sponsored stream where a company will pay you to promote a product live during your normal stream. Usually the company has some requirements that they communicate such as topics to be covered and if swearing is discouraged during the timeframe – failure to follow negotiated terms will penalize the payout for your service. Some companies may even provide custom overlays to use to further promote their brand.
Video editing is a skill that’s no joke for a streamer. Unless you are big enough to afford a dedicated editor you will be finding yourself sitting down after a stream and spending some considerable amount of time editing raw footage into a condensed video. Imagine sitting down screening through an 8-12 hour stream VOD clipping any stalling or stale content out and inserting visual effects for humor or immersion. On top of editing your videos you also have to consider creating attractive thumbnails in Photoshop to catch the eye of potential viewers screening through Youtube.
Streamers strive to continue growing their channel. To do this they need to develop their own content plan. When most streamers turn their camera on and go live, they already have the day’s schedule and goals set in their head. It simply doesn’t work to go live with no idea what you are going to be doing for the day, viewers will not be engaged and get bored watching stale content.
All the top streamers sit down and put together their content plan. Whether it be goals of pushing to climb the leaderboard in a particular game to scheduling playthroughs as a variety streamer. Setting achievable goals is the best way to maintain viewer engagement and brings them back to your channel as they are committed to seeing you complete it. It promotes new content flowing for your viewers!
Example Streamer Workday
Stream for 8 hours, tweet relative topics about the stream multiple times throughout the day, post an Instagram story on the stream’s Instagram page, and post some memes on the stream’s discord while potential asking mods for constructive criticism on how things are going and what improvements can be made for stream quality and entertainment level. Download the latest VOD and begin hours of video editing for Youtube highlights to continue Youtube channel growth.
Streaming Career Takeaway
Being a streamer is a real career. There is much more going on behind the scenes that a successful streamer much partake in to continue growing as their own business. Many, many streamers are working longer weeks than the traditional 40 hours; some pushing 60-80 hour work weeks.
It is important to remind yourself that other aspects of life are equally significant. If starting as a hobby keep adequate focus on your current job or school work. You must manage your time to still partake in life outside of streaming and spend some quality time with your family and friends. Physical and mental health must not be pushed aside.
The reality is that being a stream is not all that it chalks up to be on camera. It’s not all fun and laughs making easy money playing video games. There is a huge skillset required off camera. For many, streaming is better off as a fun side hobby rather than a single source career option. To answer the question of this article; yes, being a streamer is hard.
Already a Streamer and need some tips on becoming more successful and staying motivated?
Check out our Top 5 Tips to be a Successful Streamer!