How I Turned My Passion for Gaming into a YouTube & Twitch Career
How you can do it too!
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This article is written by GamerZakh, a video games content creator who is also a contributing writer to eGG Network.
You may be wondering how it's possible to actually make enough money to live by creating videos on YouTube or streaming on Twitch and Facebook. It's all part of what's called the '4th Industrial Revolution', which has brought about the 'Gig Economy'. Fancy names for what's actually going on in the current generation, where basically anyone can turn their passion into a business!
The 4th Industrial Revolution & Gig Economy
Youth unemployment is an issue all around the world. Many get degrees from universities but that's no longer a guarantee of a job. Fifteen years ago, you'd be left high and dry, struggling to get any job you can. Now, if you have the passion and discipline to chase your dreams, you can turn what you love into your career.
Enjoy gardening? Make a blog about gardening and put ads on it. Love making music? Get yourself a SoundCloud account and post videos on YouTube. Got an interest in crafting? Sell your creations on Etsy. Great at painting? Scan them for prints on DeviantArt. Like designing T-shirts? Sell them on DesignByHumans. Even me writing this article is my part of being in this revolution and this is one of my 'gigs'. The possibilities in this Golden Age of the Internet are limitless and nothing like this has ever existed before! If you're reading this you're on the Internet and can get to making and selling your passion online right now.
Of course, on the gaming side, we have creating videos for YouTube along with live streaming on Twitch, Facebook, Mixer, YouTube itself, or the many number of other streaming platforms there are today. Where does the money come from? Can it actually be a stable job? How do you turn it into a business that becomes your career? In this article I'm going to tell you what I know about making a living in the gaming industry online.
Where Does The Money Come From?
First thing's first, you gotta change your mindset on what all of this is. You're not some random person posting on the Internet. This creation of yours is going to be your business. Like a TV channel, a shop, or a service you provide—you are creating things for people and that's going to earn you money. Treat it like a side business, not a hobby, and you'll take it much more seriously. The most common question I get is:
This isn't a monthly fixed pay from your company, you ARE the company! You should try for at least 3-4 ways of making money and combine them all together to make a 'salary'. Let's break things down a bit to possibilities:
When you watch a YouTube video and see an ad, someone's making money.
Start getting lots of views and you can offer to promote things for money.
3. Community Support
There are many websites online where you can upload your personal designs and people can buy T-shirts, mugs, stickers, hats, and all sorts of things.
You can get referral links with some companies where if people click on that link and buy something, you get some money too, like a Humble Bundle Partnership.
6. Freelance Gigs
Once you start making a name for yourself, it will open doors to new kinds of jobs, like me writing for eGG.
Is It A 'Stable Job' Though?
What is a 'stable job' nowadays? You can work at a company for 30 years and they shut down, leaving you unemployed without warning. New employees get reviewed every year and can be fired if the company isn't making enough money. I'm NOT saying that the traditional 9-to-5 job is bad or that you can't find success there, I'm just saying that jobs in the 'Gig Economy' can be just as stable, whether you're a Grab or Uber driver, a freelance web designer, or a YouTuber. The difference is that you're the boss of yourself and your success and failure is entirely up to you.
But Don't Quit Your Day Job!
Not yet at least. Until your passion is actually paying your bills, keep your salary and stay in school. There are 24 hours in a day. Let's say you spend 10 hours going to work or school including travel. You sleep 8 hours. 2 hours for eating and 'downtime'. That's still 4 hours left in a day you can spend building your passion online. If you want to make your dreams come true, those hours need to be dedicated to building them. Then, after 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years, you will be making enough money and can quit your 9-to-5 day job. It's not going to happen overnight or even in a few months.
Reducing your expenses is also a great way to achieve your dreams too! Cook simple at home, don't go out partying, and stay away from buying new clothes. All that can come later. 'Enough to live' is defined by you, so if you cut expenses then you can go full-time into your passion sooner.
The Criticism & Hate
As soon as you express an interest in wanting to 'play video games for a living', you're going to hear a lot of hate and negativity. Sometimes it's from people who care about you and just want to make sure you do okay in life. Other times it's from people who are jealous and really want to do it too.
Here are some of the most common negative things said to me and what I think about them:
"It's not a real job! Playing video games is useless to society!"
I don't play video games for a living. I talk, host, entertain, write, educate, inform, and discuss for a living. Sure, it's about video games, but that's like saying Bob Ross painted for a living. Bob Ross didn't get famous for painting, he got famous for being Bob Ross. If you just sit there playing a video game not saying anything, no one is going to watch that. There's a lot more work and skill that goes into it. Plus, I earn money from around the world and spend it where I live, which is one of the best things for the local economy. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what people think is a 'real job'. You don't have to justify your passion to anyone, you know why it can be good for yourself, just prove them wrong by doing it.
"You think you're good enough? You're really arrogant!"
This one tends to come from other people's own insecurity. They're angry that you think you can do it when they don't dare. It's not that I think I'm so good or that I'm arrogant, I just wanted to give it a real shot and put in the work. Watch my first video, it's TERRIBLE! I knew it was bad but I released it anyway. That's how you get better and with each year I keep trying to get better than before.
"Don't bother, only really lucky people can make it!"
Do you think Psy got lucky with Gangnam Style? Well did you know that Gangnam Style was on Psy's 6th studio album? Psy's first album released in 2001 and only 11 YEARS later in 2012 did Gangnam Style get made. It took over a decade for Psy to 'make it'. The same is true for anything you want to do, including streaming video games. It's not luck, it's time.
"I can't do it! I have zero experience & don't know what I'm doing!"
None of us knew what we were doing when we started. Everyone is making excuses for why they won't start, that they're waiting for the "perfect moment", or that they "tried" and it "didn't work".
S P O I L E R - A L E R T !
There is no perfect moment and if you tried making YouTube videos for 6 months then gave up, that's not really trying. Shortcuts aren't going to cut it here and you have to put in the TIME and WORK. You know how long it took me to earn even a basic minimum wage salary from YouTube? FOUR YEARS. A stable liveable wage income? SEVEN YEARS! I started at the end of 2011 and have made around 1400 videos so far. Do you think they're all masterpieces? Of course not, but you have to make bad videos before you learn how to make good ones.
That's the reality of running your own business, being your own boss, and working on the Internet from home. Sure, you could point to the super rare examples of people who 'made it big out of nowhere', some people win the lottery too. That doesn't mean you have to win the lottery to be successful or that winning the lottery is the normal way of doing things.
And That's It!
That's some quick insight into how I started from zero and worked 7 years until I had a stable income making video game content online. All the details on HOW to do it you learn as you go. This article focused on the attitude you need to make it happen. It takes time, dedication, and hard work, which sounds super cheesy and cliché, but that's really it. The reality is simple but hard. Now, if you really want it, go get it!
Got any questions about how to do all this? Let us know in the comments or find GamerZakh online and ask him!
GamerZakh is a Malaysian gaming YouTuber, Twitch streamer, and content creator. He approaches gaming from a nostalgic perspective and always tries to incorporate educational elements into his delivery of entertainment.