The pandemic changed the landscape of streaming forever. Before the pandemic, the largest concurrent audience on Twitch was just 3.9 million. That record was shattered in 2021 when 6.57 million viewers tuned in at the same time.
In response, thousands of gamers have started streaming and are attempting to make serious cash from their favorite hobby.
But getting started in the streaming industry is tough. However, one thing is clear: if you want to make it as a streamer, you have to start running your stream like a business — here’s how.
Almost all businesses require an initial investment to get off the ground. Luckily, starting a stream requires almost no money: all you need is a camera, an internet connection, and your favorite game.
Over time, you should upgrade your offering by improving your stream quality. Here are a few investments you might consider:
- Improve your mic/camera quality
- Upgrade your gaming system to get better frame rates and improve the viewing experience
- Add lighting to professionalize your on-screen presence
- Modify your background and build the ultimate game room
However, you can’t just start spending and expect your stream to remain profitable.
Instead, you need to have a clear understanding of personal finances that details your income and expenditures. This will show you exactly how much you have made from streaming and will help you save towards upgrades that help you land new partnerships.
Partnerships are to streamers what Poké Balls are to Ash Ketchum — you simply must land partnerships go full time as a streamer.
There is no “quick” way to land a partnership. You must show that you have a quality, professional offering before any business will associate their name with your stream. But, you can make it a little easier to get spotted and sponsored by registering with sites like PowerSpike and WeHype.
However, to be considered a good investment for these businesses, you must put forward an engaging, well-made stream. You can work towards this by making small, marginal gains every time you stream.
The idea of marginal gains really caught on during the 2010s, when business leaders took inspiration from the successful British Cycling team. The British team dedicated themselves to making 1% gains every day, and these marginal gains resulted in Great Britain winning 7 out of 10 gold medals.
To make marginal gains as a gamer, you should take an honest look at your current offering and identify areas of improvement. It can be difficult to make this assessment, but you should start by organizing your thoughts with a mind map. Organizing your thoughts is important as it allows you to visualize the way you work and crystallize your objectives.
Every few weeks, you can return to your mind map and evaluate the changes you made. For example, did it improve engagement with audiences? Did your background change result in a longer average-watch time from viewers? Did a change you made to your music positively affect your audience’s retention?
By making small changes every day, you can improve your offering and start working towards bigger partnership contracts.
Find Your “Thing”
Niches are overrated in the world of gaming and streaming content. Very few people will find your stream if you only ever play unpopular games, and fewer still will stick around if you decide that your niche is more important than audience engagement or a consistent offering.
This can feel a little dissuading, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying to deliver a unique, engaging experience for viewers — you can still discover your particular “thing” while playing popular games that attract viewers.
Take, for example, Broxh. He splits his stream into two approaches: gaming and woodworking. His woodworking draws in a large audience for his stream and he routinely plays popular games like Valorant and Super Smash Bros. But, his “thing” which draws repeat viewers is simple: he is extremely friendly and strikes an authentic chord which makes audiences feel comfortable and happy.
So, when you next go live, try to consider what your “thing” is, and build on it over time.
Making money from streaming feels impossible at first. You should start by treating your stream as a business that requires time, money, and effort. After your initial investment, you should seek to make marginal gains that improve your offering and increase your chances of being spotted by brands that are looking for professional, engaging streamers like yourself.