Is streaming a job (and is it a good career path)?

Are you wondering if streaming is a good career path? Do you wonder what a streamer’s job looks like?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know regarding streaming as a career path.

Here are some of the questions we’ll answer:

Let’s get started.

Is streaming a good career?

is streaming a good career path?

If you’re someone who enjoys (and is good at) entertaining others, then streaming might be a good career for you.

Being a streamer comes with many benefits: you are your own boss, you work whenever you feel like it, you can go live from anywhere and you can stream anything you want.

Do you want to play Valorant at 3 am in front of a live audience? You can. Not in the mood today? Cancel your live stream. Want to go on a trip next week? Not a problem. Heck, you could even live stream it.

Who wouldn’t want to have a job where they can play video games in their pajamas all day and make money for doing so?

On top of that, streaming is extremely scalable. If you play your cards right, your audience of 500 could explode into 1,000 and then into 5,000 and so forth.

You wouldn’t be the first streamer to double their audience overnight.

And the more viewers you have, the more money you make. Successful streamers can make A LOT of money.

xqc net worth

Did you know that xQc makes an estimated $430k per month or $5 million per year from live streaming?

And did you know that TommyInnit had 19 concurrent viewers in 2018 during his first year on Twitch? He later blew up in 2020 and now streams to 47,414 average viewers whenever he goes live. He’s not even 18 years old but already makes an estimated $163k from streaming.

tommyinnit net worth

Streaming is a great career path. It has changed the lives of many and even created some overnight millionaires.

But just like any job, it does come with plenty of pitfalls.

For one, you have to work really hard to make your dream a reality. Aside from the many hours you will spend streaming, you’ll need to spend time planning those streams as well.

And what about exposure? When you aren’t streaming or planning your stream, you’ll be working on ways to funnel traffic toward your stream.

After all, those viewers won’t come in naturally.

you have to work hard to make streaming a career. Ludwig has mastered the youtube algorithm in order to grow on twitch
Ludwig has mastered the Youtube algorithm

You’ll need to upload stream highlights to algorithm-driven platforms such as YouTube and Tiktok. As a streamer, you are way more than just a live stream, you are a content creator. You have to master self-promotion. Work that YouTube algorithm in your favor. You’ll spend hours in the background worrying about thumbnails, titles, working on content ideas, and so forth.

Oh, and you can’t get discouraged either. Streaming success doesn’t happen overnight. While it is true someone like TommyInnit turned 19 viewers into 45k viewers, it took him two years to get there.

Many streamers spend multiple years streaming to small audiences before they see any type of success. It takes a lot of perseverance to go through that. It’s definitely not for everybody.

While streaming is a great career, it is a damn hard one.

burnout rates amongst streamers are extremely high

Even to the successful ones, streaming isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Burnout rates amongst streamers are extremely high. After all, you never stop worrying about creating content.

A streamer always has another stream to plan, another YouTube video to edit, and so on.

And once a streamer becomes huge, they have exclusive contracts to worry about. Executives breathing down their neck, streaming hours to fulfill, the list goes on.

The viewership isn’t always a gift either. They might force you to play games you are already exhausted from. How many hours of Fortnite can one play until they burn out?

But switching games isn’t easy. Your audience might not follow you.

Having an audience also means you are getting judged, hard. When you have hundreds and thousands of people watching you, you’ll need to be damn strong. They will call out your appearance, point out how tired you look, make fun of your wardrobe choices, and so on.

streamers often get judged by their chats and brought down
Screengrab Pokimane

Imagine being a news presenter on cable TV but you could hear what people are saying about you from their living rooms. That’s what being a streamer is like. You see the chat and while it can be very lovely, it can also quickly bring you down.

Is streaming a good career? It is. And it’s a fruitful one too, once you start gaining traction, you can scale your stream and make a lot of money. But it takes an entertaining individual, someone with extreme perseverance, a hunger to succeed, someone who isn’t afraid to fail, who likes to work hard, and who doesn’t care about people’s opinions.

If you find yourself in that position then streaming might be a viable career for you.


Is streaming considered a job?

is streaming a real job?

While streaming might not be considered a job in the traditional sense, it is definitely a job to many streamers out there.

The large majority of live streamers do it for fun and never reach more than 20 viewers. However, there are many broadcasters out there who stream for multiple hours every single day.

xqc's job as a streamer forces him to stream 10 hours per day

xQc, one of the largest streamers, is live on Twitch for approximately 10 hours every day.

Amouranth, one of the most successful female streamers, streams for an average of 9 hours per day, every day.

amouranth's job is a streamer and she streams more than 9 hours every day

For these streamers, streaming is definitely a job. But that’s not all that encompasses their job. They do much more than just live streaming!

And live streaming is much more than a regular job, it’s a business.

When Amouranth is not live, she is focussing on creating content to multiple different platforms such as Onlyfans, Patreon, her YouTube channels, and more. Considering the amount of content she produces, we estimate that she works more than 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

That’s 420 hours per month, this is 2.6 times more than the average 40-hour workweek.

Anyone who tells you streaming is not a job, doesn’t understand how difficult streaming is. Or they understand how difficult it is, and don’t consider it a job becomes streaming is so much more than just a job. Being a live streamer is a business, a brand.


What does a streamer do?

what does a streamer do in their day to day?
Pokimane on youtube

One could define a streamer as someone who broadcasts to a live audience online through a streaming platform such as YouTube or Twitch.

But that definition lacks substance and undervalues a streamer’s job. A streamer is first and foremost a content creator. While they might be most well-known from their Twitch stream, they are also on YouTube, Tiktok, and so on.

Streamers have a brand that they have worked hard towards creating. Aside from being masters of entertainment, they are social media marketers. Using platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to their advantage.

Streamers are business-minded: they understand what they have to do to scale their stream to the next level. They will set up collaborations with other streamers, create communities on platforms such as Discord, network at live events, the list goes on.

A good streamer understands the YouTube algorithm and knows how to grow their stream by leveraging it.

Live streamers do a lot more than broadcast in front of a live audience.


How streaming became a viable career

Live streaming has been around for a while but only recently, has it seen an explosion in popularity.

how streaming became a viable career
Screengrab: Twitch Tracker

This boom is clearly visible when studying the history of Twitch.

YearConcurrent viewers on Twitch
20222.83 million
20212.78 million
20202.12 million
20191.26 million
20181.07 million
2017747k
2016611k
2015539k
2014351k
2013208k
2012102k
Source: Twitch tracker

Ever since its founding in 2011, Twitch has grown year over year. But in 2020, Twitch nearly doubled its concurrent viewer base largely thanks to the covid-19 pandemic forcing people indoors and pushing them towards the online world.

Remember TommyInnit which I mentioned earlier in this article? He blew up during the pandemic. But he wasn’t the only one. Countless streamers have seen a massive increase in their audience since everyone was forced to spend time on the internet.

And it looks like the audience for streaming is going to continue to grow into the future.

If you fancy a career as a live streamer, now is the time to go for it.


When do streamers quit their day job?

how much do streamer make?

Streamers start making consistent money at around 100 concurrent viewers. At 1,000 concurrent viewers, streamers can expect to make at least $5k per month or $60k per year.

Most streamers will quit their job once they reach around 500 concurrent viewers. Anyone with less than 500 concurrent viewers most likely has a job aside from Twitch and considers Twitch a part-time job.

Streaming can be fruitful to all levels of streamers though. Even small streamers, who have just 20 concurrent viewers per stream can make an extra $200 per month through generous donations and subscribers.

👉 If you’re interested, this article will tell you exactly how much streamers make, from small to big.


How to start your streaming career

how to start your career as a streamer

Want to start your own streaming career? Here’s a step-by-step plan of what you’ll need to do.

1. Choose a streaming platform

The very first decision you’ll make towards your streaming career is deciding upon a streaming platform.

Right now, there are two top contenders: Twitch and YouTube.

And they are both great options.

👉 In a separate article, we’ve compared Twitch vs YouTube and exposed all its pros/cons.

Twitch is best for monetizing early, while YouTube has a better discovery system.

Another advantage Twitch offers over YouTube (and this is often a deciding factor) is that as they have the streaming culture and community that you simply won’t find on YouTube.

In the end, it doesn’t matter as much which platform you choose, it’s just important that you start streaming.

You can always change platforms later on. Or you could even multistream to both platforms simultaneously.

👉 This article will teach you how to start streaming on Twitch.

2. Choose a broadcasting software

Next up, you’ll need to install the software that will capture your video and audio for you when you go live.

There are two top contenders: Streamlabs and OBS Studio.

👉 In a separate article, we’ve compared Streamlabs vs OBS Studio and exposed all its pros/cons.

They are both great software. Streamlabs is beginner-friendly and what we recommend to new streamers.

If you are technically savvy, OBS Studio is the better option with more room for customization.

3. What equipment do you need?

what equipment do you need to start your streaming career

Many newbie-streamers get hung up on equipment. Don’t make this mistake. You really don’t need that much equipment to start streaming.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A PC that’s capable of streaming
  2. A webcam (any webcam will do) or a phone
  3. A microphone (headset/earbuds will do)

That’s it!

You can always upgrade your equipment as you go! We recommend you upgrade your microphone first.

👉 For more info, this article will teach you everything you need to know about streaming equipment.

4. Just go live!

just go live on twitch to start your streaming career

The next step towards your streaming career is to go live for the first time.

DO NOT drag this step out. I’ve heard of streamers that took days or weeks to go live for the first time. Why waste time like this?

Here’s a tip: no matter how much you prepare, you will never be ready to go live for the first time.

That’s the harsh truth. The sooner you realize that the closer you will become to turning streaming into a career! Your first stream will suck. It will be bad and you will make mistakes.

But who cares? Nobody will be watching anyway.

The only way to learn how to be a streamer is to go live and do what a streamer does.

Your very first goal should be to get comfortable with being live. Don’t worry about your viewer count, what games you will play, or any of that. Just go live and try it out first.

5. Grow your stream

Once you’ve gone live a couple of times and you can honestly say you’ve passed these goals:

Then it’s time for the final step in your streaming career: growing your stream.

This is what it all boils down to. Every step before this has been easy. Child’s play.

Now it’s time for the following:

  • Develop a streamer persona
  • Learn from other streamers
  • Start creating content for YouTube/TikTok and other platforms
  • Start networking and collaborating

The list goes on…

👉 If you’re truly interested in starting a streaming career, we recommend that you read our in-depth guide on how to grow your stream.

FAQ

Is streaming a difficult job?

Being a live streamer is more difficult than many believe it to be. You have to work hard behind the scenes in order to make it as a live streamer. Aside from the countless hours, you will be live, you will spend just as many (if not more) working on your brand.

Is it worth it to start streaming?

If you believe yourself to be an entertainer, and you have time to sink into it, streaming is worth a shot. But you have to know what you are getting yourself into. If the thought of you spending a whole year working your ass off to stream to 10 people every night sounds miserable, streaming is not for you.

Am I too late to start streaming?

It’s definitely not too late to start streaming. If you are willing to work for it you have just as much a chance now as you did a couple of years ago. In fact, your chances are increasing as the streaming industry is still growing every day.

Read also: what are the odds of making a living as a streamer?

Wrap up

Live streaming is a job, but it’s also more than that. Being a live streamer is like running a business. While it has become a lot more viable since more and more people are spending time online, it’s definitely not easy to start a streaming career.

Is streaming on Twitch for you?

Fancy a career as a streamer?

Check out our starter guides which will help you get started with streaming on Twitch!

Our guides cater to all levels of streamers. You can start off from 0 or pick up on your way to make Partner! 🏆

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