It’s not all fun and games
I wake up at noon after 6 hours of sleep. Make a quick cup of coffee, feed the cats, and grab something to eat as I walk over to my PC and turn everything on. I read the news and watch a video or two as I eat and clear my head of grogginess. Time to work. Sounds pretty normal, doesn’t it?
The Life of Working From Home for Yourself
Me being a ‘content creator’ for video games is a confusing thing for most people. They don’t REALLY know what I do every day. People think I do ‘computer stuff’, or that I review video games, or some even think that I make video games!
Honestly, life as a content creator isn’t that unusual. It’s just I’m at home instead of going to an office. I can work in my pyjamas and I don’t have to drive to an office or pay tolls to get there. There’s also the constant distraction of EVERYTHING trying to stop me from working. Social media drama calling for my very limited attention, an animé series ready to binge beckoning me away from productivity, my cats mewing at the door asking for food after already being fed. I have to focus and discipline myself because there’s no boss breathing down my neck to remind me that this video needs to be done today and if I don’t upload it in time I don’t make any money. The more I work the more I make, the more I slack the less I make. I have to breath down my own neck and my pay is tied to how hard I work.
Finding Success is Years of Not Giving Up while also Giving Things Up
The real life of a content creator is not what you see when you find out about them. It’s the years before, working and building non-stop until finally you get a break and a little recognition. You reading this article now, you probably have never heard of me or anything to do with ‘GamerZakh’ and if you do know me, it’s probably not from 5+ years ago. I did however start my channel in 2011 and spent 4 years doing nothing but work.
I didn’t go partying, didn’t shop a lot, never went on holidays, and I ate a lot of instant noodles. I had a full-time job, a side job, did freelance work, all while continuing to create videos and maintain my YouTube channel. Seeing friends was a rarity as even when I had free time I was just so exhausted from doing everything. It was slow, a grind, and I gave up a lot of socialising, fun, and really my health a bit.
Finally, after 4 years of struggle, I was earning enough money to be able to quit my day job! My reward? By quitting, I basically cut my income in half and went back to eating instant noodles for a couple years, but I was now doing what I loved for a living, which is what it was all about.
Money is Not Constant
It’s like running a business. You have good seasons and bad seasons. Some years are better than others. In 2016, you might make 5 TIMES what you made in 2015! Then in 2017 you earn HALF the amount you made in 2015…
It’s something you always have to keep in the back of your mind when you work as a content creator.
Even throughout the year, you could be earning twice as much in December compared to June. Imagine not knowing what number is going to be on your paycheck at the end of the month, every month, forever. It’s scary but also kind of exciting because I could double down on my work to try and earn more! It’s no guarantee though… you can triple your efforts and still make less money. It’s just a very different approach compared to earning the same guaranteed number every month.
“You’re so Lucky! You Play Video Games for a Living” – Where’s the REAL Work?
Me doing this for a living, every now and then I get the “You’re so lucky” comment. I do know that I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do this as a career, that there’s a community that supports what I do, and that my job is fuelled by a never-ending passion for video games. However, me getting to this position isn’t just pure ‘luck’. Here is something I want to show you, some of the work I have to do day-to-day. This image is the script I wrote for my 2019 list videos. 24,000 words of research, curation, and copywriting. Not to mention, this is just a single year. I’ve done this every year since 2014 and I still have the scripts to prove it.
Counting all my list scripts, I’ve written 110,000 words so far!
I have also created and uploaded over 1,400 videos. This was the result of consistent creation and making videos isn’t the same as ‘playing a video game’. You have to plan, record, talk, edit, render, upload, write descriptions, and design thumbnails. This all takes countless hours to do. Importantly though, despite the amount of work, I enjoy doing it all.
Is the “Do What You Love” Saying True?
It’s a common old phrase. Find a job that you enjoy and your work won’t feel like work. It sounds like the perfect solution to life’s problems, so why doesn’t it always work?
Right now, I’m doing what I love for work. The confusion when it comes to people who want to ‘do video games’ for a living is they don’t realise all the things around the video games that you have to love too. If you want to be a gaming streamer and content creator, here are some things that you need to love as well BESIDES playing video games if you want to love your job:
– Writing scripts
– Editing videos
– Designing graphics
– Managing social media
– Researching and reading
– Talking a LOT
– Engaging and entertaining people
– Managing and improving equipment
And there’s so much more to it. I do love video games but I also love everything else to do with the job. I’m writing this article right now and enjoying the process of translating my thoughts into writing! Now that I say it out loud, it’s kind of weird seeing my brainwaves become words on the screen… that you’re reading right now… and that’s why I love doing this job and it doesn’t feel like work despite it being the hardest thing I’ve worked on in my entire life.
That’s the point! If you want to be a video game content creator you have to love more than just video games and that’s why so many people try to make a video or do a live stream and hate it. They give up after just a few tries or a couple months because they HATE everything else to do with content creation.