Always wanted to try streaming but not sure how to get started?
Twitch has recently gone through a number of changes, and becoming a full time streamer is more lucrative than ever in 2018.
We spoke to streamer and PUBG partner Kate Stark about her job as a full-time streamer, what skills are required for the job, and advice and guidance she has for those wanting to make a career out of streaming.
Can you run us through what you do, and how long you've been doing it?
I am a Twitch Partner and full-time broadcaster at twitch.tv/kate. I live stream myself playing a variety of video games, 7 days a week for viewers and a live chat. I started streaming in January 2016, went full-time in September 2016 and was partnered with Twitch in December 2016.
How hard was it to make the transition from hobbyist streaming to full-time?
Personally it wasn't difficult and just felt like the natural transition. I was working a bar tending job for 3.5 years and began streaming after my bar shifts.
Once I felt like I could be better spending my time working on improving my stream, streaming longer hours or editing videos for my YouTube channel, I knew it was time to make a change.
I started making more money streaming than I would working 40 hours a week tending bar and that is the day I decided to hand my notice in to my employer. I can't say they understood my decision at all, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
What special skills do you need in order to do it?
Multitasking is a must. Not only am I playing a video game but I'm also interacting with chat, monitoring my stats, working with the moderation team to keep chat a positive place, reading out notification messages for subscriptions, follows, tips, cheers and attempting to remain entertaining.
Feeling comfortable in front of a camera is a skill that can be learned over time. My first stream I was absolutely terrified and it showed. 2 years later and I'm now super comfortable and able to speak openly and calmly to my stream. I feel most at home sitting at my desk, in front of my computer streaming.
Can you give us an insight to an average working day as a streamer?
I stream twice a day and I currently stream 7 days a week. My morning stream is 3 hours and runs from 10am - 1pm.
Between the end of that and the start of the night stream I will answer emails, have meetings, run errands, work in Photoshop on stream assets, plan travel for upcoming conventions, community management on Twitter and in my Discord server, along with more general admin work.
My evening stream runs from 6pm - 9pm. After that I try to chill out and enjoy some quiet time. I'm a bit of a workaholic but every streamer has a different day. Some people will stream for 16 hours a day and I find that a bit excessive.
Personally, I find the break in between my broadcasts beneficial so I'm able to stretch, switch gears and complete other tasks that I would otherwise be too tired post-stream to work on. Also lunch. Lunch is great.
How do you stay organised?
A combination of an open notebook I keep on my desk at all times and a bullet journal. During my stream I tend to have a bunch of ideas or get inspired by things people in chat have been discussing so I jot it down in my notebook quickly to revisit when I'm not broadcasting.
Once a week after my evening stream I'll watch TV and work on my bullet journal which is an in-depth combination of a notebook, a planner, a diary and a sketchbook. It satisfies my creative and organizational tenancies and I've found it to be super useful for me.
What are the best and worst parts of streaming full time?
The best part is undoubtedly being able to spend time with my community. I'm super fortunate to have built a super positive & inclusive community and I'm so proud of them.
The worst part is the feeling like I can't take time off. I love traveling and being self employed you'd think I'd be able to take as many days off as I'd like.
The big issue with streaming is that if you take time off, you will lose viewers and you will lose subscribers. I went away for 3 weeks last year for a vacation [which I still daily vlogged and streamed from] and lost a third of my subscriber base.
It's something you just learn to accept because taking time away is incredibly important for your mental health. I work 7 days a week and for me, that's how I like it. Sometimes I need to be nudged to take a day off or take a nap but luckily my community always understands and puts self-care before anything else.
What three pieces of advice would you give to those looking to make streaming their full time gig?
Success is not guaranteed or immediate. It's a full time job and you have to put just as much, if not more, time and effort into it just like you would at a 'normal' job. It's not just sitting down and playing video games.
Play games that you enjoy. if you're playing a title because it's popular and you think it will improve your views, but you don't enjoy it, your audience will see that and won't stick around.
Keep all your business receipts and hire an accountant. This is super important. They will help with your complex taxes and get you all the deductions you're entitled to.
And because I'm terrible at following rules, here's a fourth piece of advice. There's no need to pour all your money into super fancy equipment. A PC to run your stream, decent lights, a webcam and a headset mic will be enough to run a quality stream. As you start earning more, you can slowly upgrade your gear.
Do the best with what you have and as long as you're having fun and entertaining, the audience will understand.
Last one, I promise. Build a schedule and stick to it. That was the biggest thing I learned when I was building my channel. People will plan their day around your stream. Give them times you will be online and show up. Your community will appreciate the consistency.