#Gaming as a Career
The sacrifices made to become a gaming YouTuber
Are you willing to walk through fire?
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So you want to 'play video games for a living'? It sounds like a dream — working from home, turning your passion into a career, and doing what you love every day while making enough money to live comfortably. There will be challenges, though.
Do you have what it takes?
Cutting things out of your life
Unless you're lucky enough to have a big bank account, you're going to have to give things up, and even then, you can't buy time. Your chill hours after work? That's now side hustle work time. Going to the club to party with friends is out of the question. No more ordering fancy food because you need new gear instead.
Your friends might be annoyed that you can't hang out and some might even get angry at you. Get used to cooking at home and eating simple. Instant noodles taste delicious when you're working on your dream. You need to spend two hours a day on this minimum and that 9-to-5 job is what's keeping you from starving, so, you have to audit everything else in your life to make time and money for what's basically a side business. When you finally can quit that day job, your income drops down to survival levels again.
The years of struggle
Ninja made a splash last year and he's now one of the biggest, most successful, gaming creators out there. You might be thinking, 'this is going to take one or two years, tops'. You might win the lottery, too. Unfortunately, this is the kind of endeavour that most likely is going to take years, even if you're great at it. A good rule is to allocate five years for it before you can quit your day job.
Half a decade sounds like a really long time to be sacrificing and giving things up, but think about your life and how long you really have. If you're 30 right now, five years of building your gaming business on the side will see you at 35 by the end of it. You still have three to four decades of living your dream, though, and that's if modern medicine doesn't keep us going even longer.
The end goal here is your happiness. If you really hate your job and want to turn a passion into a career, giving up a few years to work on your dream is going to give you decades of happiness.
Attacks on your self esteem
Speaking of being happy, what if you create something and it's bad? You might get some nasty comments. The Internet doesn't care about you. Your looks, voice, and everything about you will be insulted, made fun of, and criticised. There are positive voices out there, but vitriol is bound to come your way no matter what you do. You have to practice hardening your shell again and again because haters are relentless. Some due to jealousy, others because they have personal problems which they take out on strangers. Either way, you'll be targeted eventually.
I'm not going to tell you to 'just ignore them'. It's hard, I know from personal experience, but strength comes from practice. Know that these salty haters don't know you, they don't know your life, and their hateful comments say more about their own insecurities than yours. Even if it's friends and family attacking your choices, it's your life and your choices that have nothing to do with them. You just have to keep working on that mental resilience, and at the end of the day, you'll be stronger than ever.
A great tactic to start
You now understand the struggle and sacrifices but still want it? Then here's the best advice I can give to get started. Turn off everything to do with listening to the haters, close your eyes and ears to the criticism, and just make stuff!
It's not a one-platform game anymore. Make an account on seven different platforms with the same name and post non-stop until you reach 100 posts on each. YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn (yes, even there). Post on all seven platforms about gaming every single day and just ignore the criticism, hate, or jokes made about you. It's a trial by fire, throwing you into the deep end, almost like exposure therapy to shock your body and mind into getting used to the mental state of being a creator. You'll also figure out what kind of content works and what doesn't, who your audience could be, and more. You never know for sure until you try.
At the end of 700 posts, you will know if this is what you want to be doing.
So, do you have it?
That's how it's done. Excuses won't cut it, the Internet isn't going to be kind and it doesn't get easier once you've 'made it'. If all this sounds like it's a nightmare you're willing to fight through, then you just might be able to make it to that dream of turning video games into your career.
Do you want to turn video games into your job? Are you ready to face the challenges?
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. You can find his YouTube channel here.
This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.