If you had told Rinal “Giin” Shah he was going to make a living as a Facebook Gamer a year ago, he would have called you crazy. Fast forward to earlier this year when the pandemic put him out of work and he had to look for an alternative way to earn money.
“I had been a public speaker for the past two years, but this year, when Covid-19 hit, it affected many people and I was one of them. Starting from January this year, I was not being invited to public speaking events which was my main job. No clients and jobs meant no income,” he recounted.
Rinal had tried applying for other jobs out there but couldn’t land anything successfully. His fortune changed when his wife, who had also been searching for work-from-home jobs online, learned about streaming and told him about it. With his dwindling savings and other options exhausted, he figured he had nothing to lose and gave it a shot. After all, he loved talking to people and streaming would be another way for him to do it.
Props to Rinal for diving headfirst into uncharted territory. After doing his research, he spent whatever money he had left to make his computer stream-ready – a risky move considering he had never streamed before and had no way to guarantee his success. Whether it was conscious or not, going all-in had a hidden benefit - because Rinal had nothing left, it motivated him to try as hard as possible to make his stream work. Fortunately, for the ex-motivational speaker, everything went according to plan.
Within the first month of streaming, his page was successful enough to receive Stars (a way for viewers to monetarily show their appreciation for streamers). It was at that point he had discovered a way out of his jobless situation. A few months later, he became a member of the GG Program. But his journey hasn’t been that straightforward and was fraught with obstacles.
His first hurdle was the lack of support from his friends and family. He recalls them saying, “You studied chemical engineering, why waste your time on streaming? Can you sustain your lifestyle? Can you take care of your family now that you’re married?” Thankfully, his success has now earned him their blessings.
Secondly, there was the challenge of dealing with toxic members of the streaming community. He didn’t drop any names but he stated that when he was new, there were streamers who stole his style of content and called it their own. There were also trolls who would come into chat to stir up trouble or report his channel despite him not breaking any rules. He wasn’t sure why he was being targeted, but according to his supporters, they were probably the actions of envious people.
Initially, when he was upset over these problems, he would end his streams early instead of showing his displeasure on camera. But as he gained more supporters on his channel, they gave him the strength to carry on, and now he’s not bothered by the haters anymore. He shared, with resolve, “As long as I do my best, regardless if people try to copy or come and bring me down, if I’m strong enough, and keep pushing forward, nobody can bring me down.”
One thing that sets Giin’s stream apart from other Facebook Gamers is that it’s not just about the gaming content. When you tune in to watch a Giin stream, it’s for the craziness he puts on in-between his games (sometimes even during his games!). Giin’s followers, whom he refers to as his family, are there for his uplifting talks, dances, jokes, and online ‘therapy’ sessions. “My brothers and sisters come to watch me because of how I make them feel!” According to him, gaming is only 20-30% of his channel content.
While he didn’t look up to other successful streamers when starting out his channel, he drew inspiration from the motivational speeches and podcasts that he listens to frequently. Giin believes that in order to motivate other people, he must motivate himself first.
Regarding his success as a streamer – Giin prefers the term unique, as his online content is a far cry from the typical gaming streamers out there. And with the numbers he pulls, it’s understandable why – he doesn’t have hundreds or thousands of viewers that most successful streamers have in order to sustain a career. The 20-30 fans who tune in for his content regularly are enough to keep him going. Talk about a dedicated fanbase! It’s no surprise why Rinal is extremely appreciative of them. In fact, he leaves it up to his supporters to decide on the games he plays.
The highest number of concurrent viewers he received was 160 - back when he had organized a Dead By Daylight tournament. Because some streamers were competing in the event, they had brought their own viewers which raised the numbers for that day. “I will never get those numbers again!” he joked.
Beyond the typical streamer setup, Giin has a table filled with special props he can easily reach out for, depending on the situation. Be it a funny hat or a scary mask, he’s always prepared to entertain his viewers. He also mentioned that he needs wireless headphones so that he can dance without fear of knocking anything over. Giin feels that when he ends the stream a sweaty mess, he did his best that night. However, the main thing that keeps him going is the gratitude he receives from his supporters.
“There is one thing that actually motivates me in a lot of ways. A lot of my brothers and sisters, some who aren’t in Malaysia, have texted me personally, saying: Giin, thank you very much, I was depressed, I gave up on my life the other night but I watched your stream and you gave me some hope. I do not have stars to send, but I wanted to let you know that you really helped me.”
“That message really touched me and made me cry. From then on, I knew that this career is not about the stars, but to help people. Sometimes you don’t know that by streaming, by doing the same thing you do every day, doing your job as usual – you might save a life. I was able to do that and that makes me feel very happy.”
“I know a lot of people who have quit within a few weeks because they couldn’t find any traction. While it would be great if all of us could play games for a living, but it isn’t a viable option for everyone,” Rinal admitted. However, he did share some advice for anybody thinking about becoming one. “Viewers usually appreciate the streamers and what they do, not the game they play. If people want to watch the game, they can just go onto YouTube. They’re on Facebook Gaming to enjoy the game on another level, and the way to accomplish that is all up to the streamer.” Which explains why he prioritizes entertaining his audience over anything else.
For his future plans, Giin doesn’t have anything set in stone at the moment. His supporters have been requesting for t-shirts but beyond that, his current goal is to become the best streamer he can be: the most positive, and motivating one out there, if possible. He said that he won’t be going back to public speaking after the pandemic is over. After his experience of receiving thanks from his viewers for saving their lives, his heart is now firmly set on this path.
Fun fact: his wife, who was also jobless during the pandemic, has joined him in his endeavours and now has a stream of her own. Fortunately, they don’t steal viewers from each other as she appeals to a different audience!
Finally, as a sign off to his fans, Giin had the following message for them, “It’s okay to be down, but it’s not okay to stay that way. Just remember that better days are yet to come.” Positive words from a positive man.
Giin is the kind of guy who will ignore the game he is currently playing just to comfort his viewers. If anyone on his stream says that they are feeling down, he will do what it takes to cheer them up. That’s what his stream is about – making people feel good. And in a year as gloomy as 2020, god knows we need more people like him. Giin streams Tuesday to Sunday on Facebook Gaming – tune in to catch some positive vibes.
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