At the time of writing this, I just got finished chatting to Shell (my partner) about streaming and the idea of full-time streaming, and as I was talking about it I explained a very simplistic idea, which I would say 90% of the time applies.
There are two types of streamer that I tend to see. Community Streamers and Branded Streamers.
There are some examples of crossovers here but these are two very distinct things I have found. Community streamers (which I identify as) tend to be smaller streamers. They tend to be variety streamers and they tend to have a very tight group of regulars and slow growth. Some, like me, tend to have shaky schedules week on week due to other commitments in life and tend to be part-time.
Branded streamers tend to stick to a strict schedule and tend to stick to one or two games. They have a community based around the game they play that grows quickly, because the community that builds knows exactly what they are getting. The streamer conforms to a brand standard that people can always come back to. A lot of these streamers tend to be more full-time.
Now, something that has, for a while, bothered me is that there are some streamers from both sides of this fence that like to throw negativity over the other side of the fence, and as someone who identifies as a community streamer, I see a lot more of this from the smaller, community based streamers than the other way. It’s a minority, to be sure. Most streamers I know are damned fine people. There are a few that are very self-centred and bitter.
I have always been someone who has conformed to the idea of “Let people do”. I like the idea of letting people do what they want to do. Anything is fine as long as you’re not recklessly harming yourself or others around you, which is why I get saddened a lot by people getting frustrated by others. One of the main complaints I see from community minded streamers towards more branded streamers is their reliance on playing “trending” or popular games to get ahead. I’ve seen small streamers getting angry on Twitter because they can’t grow unless they play trending games (which is entirely untrue in my opinion, I’ve done just fine). I have seen streamers ridicule larger, more popular full-time streamers for their way of doing things.
Smaller streamers. You always have the choice of how you stream. So do they. They did their thing. You do yours. Stop worrying about what others are doing and focus on your content.
The other thing I have seen though, which I also have to question, is bigger streamers saying things such as “I grind 60 hours a week to get where I am. What are you doing?” I can only speak for myself but I only manage about 20ish hours a week on average because I can’t afford to stream full-time. I mean I am not personally targeted by this, I’m using myself as an example. I am happy with what I am doing but it makes me wonder, if streaming is a “grind” to do it full-time for a living, is it any better than any other job?
It’s made me think extensively about myself and my stream and I find myself asking the question “Do I want to stream full-time?”. The answer used to be yes, but these days I am not so sure.
Streaming for me is a getaway. Somewhere I can be a bit silly and hang out with and make lots of new friends. I am a partnered streamer and money I make doing it goes into buying new games and equipment to stream with and it works for me. I don’t want that to become a super stressful thing. I have had main games on my channel come and go because I got frustrated playing the same thing. Branded streaming is not my thing.
Again, going back to my two types of streamer. The lines are blurred in some cases for sure. But if you are a community based streamer playing lots of things part-time, I feel like you have to accept that you won’t grow magically overnight. I accepted it a while ago and I am so much happier with what I do as a result. I believe I put out quality content, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste. I find people coming in and saying hi just to leave when I immediately respond. Perhaps they get nervous or shocked I replied so quickly. I really don’t know. But others come and stay and laugh and have a good time and I will say, I have a wonderfully close-knit community, which I worry may seem inaccessible to some people discovering me and that’s another challenge altogether. I am always trying to welcome new people to my channel and sometimes I hook them, sometimes I don’t. I accept I may never go full-time doing things the way I do and that’s okay by me.
So, when you want advice on how to become a big streamer from a big streamer and they say grind, try it. But big streamers, know this. Not everyone can. You are blessed with the patience and drive to stream 60 hours a week, sometimes around a job and you deserve praise for that. I don’t, however, think encouraging everyone to grind is healthy. It creates a lot of smaller streamers who get frustrated because they didn’t blow up in a week, a month, even a year.
And smaller streamers, if you’re one of these people frustrated and throwing negativity at larger streamers then look at yourself. Are you happy? If the answer is no, don’t take it out on others. Don’t berate people for not coming into your streams (I know a guy who complains constantly about people not showing up to his streams, that attitude will drive them, away more, not bring them back. People have lives y’know). Just enjoy the ride.
My advice for new streamers? Just stream. See if you like it. If you do, keep it up. If not, nobody is forcing you to continue. Everything above, I have learned on my journey. I have had the frustrations and come out the other side a better streamer, and a better person overall. It’s all about choice. Will you choose positivity or negativity?