Streaming: Hobby or Job?


As I was streaming tonight I had a realization. I spend so much money on stuff for streaming, and set everything up as high quality as possible, but why?

I realized that when I first started streaming, I wanted to be the next big thing. Do it for a living, that kind of thing. I also realized that I spent more time trying to do whatever it took to be that person. Then something happened.

Ive been streaming for almost, or over, two years, and until just recently I realized I’ll never be a big streamer(I would be shocked if I ever made it there), mainly because I just don’t care about it. It might sound bad, but I guess the thought process is that I actually get more enjoyment out of actually trying to push the quality of my stream to a point that someone asks “Well that’s a bit of a waste, isn’t it?” Like buying a mixer, the elgato, setting up a big tv on my desk, etc.

Bottom line is that I took a long hiatus from streaming when Fallout 4 came out, and when I got my elgato and started streaming regularly again is when I made the realization. I actually got more enjoyment from finding the right placement for the camera, getting the perfect settings, getting the best gear I can afford, and so on. I realized that it had become a hobby more than my dream to become the next big thing.

Sure I like to have a schedule, trying to get back to Streaming all the time, but let’s face it. You’re going up against the biggest names, playing the biggest games that got in the game of streaming way earlier. I absolutely love streaming, but I’m not that entertaining(at least I don’t think so), I’m not good at pretty much anything, my gaming ADD is too bad for me to stick to one thing long enough, and I feel too old. Like I don’t understand the ridiculous channels where the streamer is just a moron with a crappy overlay, doesn’t talk to chat, and just acts like a complete child. Yet somehow pulls hundreds of viewers every night. But the act itself of setting up, making improvements, and doing the technical work of it it what I really strive for. I hit a revelation: Streaming, it makes a far better hobby than ever dream of becoming a job.

For the streamers out there, why do you do it? Am I alone in it being 100% a hobby? Or am I just nuts? Haha

Edit: Also, I’ve noticed that all the top games where most people watch are competitive games, and I really can’t stand too many games like LoL, Hearthstone, and Call of Duty. I prefer story games, exploration, and MMOs. Which obviously only have a ton of viewers when it first comes out. Honestly, It’s almost a refreshing feeling to just admit that I don’t ever expect to make it there, and that it being a hobby is totally fine, and I’m completely content with that.

TL;DR - Do you guys stream in hopes to become the next big thing? Or is it pretty common for it to be a hobby, like collecting comics?


I do it for a hobby, if it expands to something big, then that would be awesome.


That’s the weird thing about media these days, accessibility has made progression an all or nothing affair. Back in the day you had to do some gigs on a local tv show, then after a few years hopefully a studio would do a one time special that would get you enough exposure to be hired on as a second act on something big. Sooner or later you do enough stupid crazy stuff that you get a show of you own and you can actually start doing what you want and HOPE that people are interested in your REAL passion. When I think of Penn and Teller I think of a couple of passionate guys that know everything about magic and I respect them for how honest a cool they are about it. If you go back and watch some of their early stuff, it’s straight up ridiculous, everything is shock and controversy. They had bits where they throw worms on the audience, they dumped flies and maggots all over David Letterman’s desk, they screamed and yelled about being anti “magician’s code”. Even with their crazy antics it took them forever to move up the chain and do the things that were more intellectual and probably closer to their passion.

Nowadays you start on the same level as the biggest names, there is no bar to entry to get onto twitch or youtube or whatever else you want so the amount of crazy stupid stuff you have to do to get noticed has to be ramped up exponentially. Internet drama is probably the easiest and least respectable way to get attention. I can almost guarantee that at least one person has staged their own “swatting” to get more views. Sorry, getting off topic…

All that to say, there are too many people willing to do anything the public wants to get all the views/hits to leave room for someone who just enjoys doing it. However, if you are extremely good at what you do, you can bypass the stupid crazy stuff. Maybe in a year or two you will have 200,000 subs on youtube for the videos you made on how to properly set up streaming equipment, who knows.

Anyway, continue enjoying your hobby, I hope there is a certain amount of freedom you have now by not being pressured to get views.


“Don’t have something to fall back on” warning, 8 min video > normal forum attention span
moral of the story is at 6:00


Very well written @Philspaz and thank you for taking the time on that long message. That being said, I actually enjoy it more now that I. Stopped worrying about my viewer and follower count.

I started off thinking “All this money I’m putting into this better pay off”, and I know now that’s the wrong mindset. I do it now because I enjoy “collecting” the equipment if that makes sense.

I look at it now like one probably looks at collecting comics. Spend a ridiculous amount on the number 1 comic, just to hang it on the wall. I’m just going to keep going at a steady pace, and I won’t stop doing it. My outlook on it has just changed, that’s all :smile:


When I streamed in the past it was as a hobby.

I love spending time talking to people and when you are a streamer you get a ton of questions related to a ton of topics.

It is good you asked the question though! I feel like a ton of people go into things like streaming thinking they just need a schedule, some gear and a good personality and then they will be the next:

I always look at:

The guy is good at coding and streams as his main form of income but could certainly fall back on a job of being a 9-5 earner. He loves doing it and makes money at doing it, the best position to be in. His audiences aren’t huge but that really isn’t his goal.

I guess it all falls back to, love what you do.


are there supposed to be links or videos, there’s a big blank? I used to follow some guys that code but it gets kind of dull even if you’re interested in what they’re doing.


Streaming has always been a hobby for me. I look at it a bit like an extension of gaming PC building and gaming in general. We are into technology and gadgets—into make graphics and branding and tweaking overlays. Beyond that, I’m also into making bots, making things work together, and designing a whole experience.

Last month I did a “Star Wars Marathon” stream event.

I wasn’t planning on making any money on it. It wasn’t a venture for a return on my investment. It’s for fun and I had an absolutely great time.

The reality is unless you live in a very low cost-of-living area or you make it very big, you are extremely unlikely to ever earn a living on streaming. Granted, that depends on your lifestyle. Though I would estimate you need at least 50,000 subscribers to earn a good living when you reach gross numbers (after taxes). Not to mention things like health insurance, retirement or savings, having a family, etc.

That’s not to say it’s not possible. There’s always going to be a new gimmick. Certainly now more than ever we live in a time where it is possible to make money playing video games.

Maybe that is the hobby in itself. The “can I make it?” question. That is an option, too.

For me, it’s more like the model railroad enthusiast. I don’t need it to be an income source. I just enjoy the process.


This is pretty much it right to the tee. Like I logged onto my twitch tonight, and saw that I went from 402 followers to 382. Granted, that is pretty much just followbots probably un-following, but normally that would bother me. Tonight…I was like “eh” :smile:


I wish i could stream, i cant because my internet speed is slower than a wounded turtle. But if i had 24/7 good speed i would stream everytime i play, just for fun and as a hobby.

I am a simple man, i dont need all the high end gadgets and stuff. I would have a Special Friday drunk streaming!!! Hahahaha


Becoming the next big thing is hard, it really is. The reality of it all is that you can’t do much without people, it’s never just about you. I remember I had a list of all the things it I’ve put together that it takes to make things successful, influenced by the people in my life who have become more successful in their endeavors. I wish I could remember where I put the list I’ll do my best to recollect them.

Contacts - At the end of the day it’s all about contacts, people you know and can communicate with. I explained to my best friend as we kicked around the idea of making an open-source music production app that the key to any successful project is contacts. Contacts are like playing cards in life’s poker game. You’ve got your 2’s and 3’s, people who can support you but don’t have a wide reach, you’ve got your 5’s and 6’s, the one’s who will head you in the right direction, give you some footing. Then you’ve got your 9’s and 10’s, the big shots who know their stuff but haven’t hit the limelight quite yet. These people always know a Jack, whether they’ll admit it or not, and… I don’t need to tell you the rest, you get the idea. Once you know a Jack, you don’t go back. But the difficult part is that it’s always a gamble no matter what. You’re always giving something up to get something, and you’re often risking it all to make the play that gets you the chips you need to keep playing and playing. At the end of the day though, cards are cards. Like poker, with a mediocre set of cards, a good bluff, and just the right hand, you can pull off unthinkable things. That said its still always best to have a better deck because you’ll win more times and have countless more hands to fall back on.

Mentors - Some will argue this is a product of knowing and making contacts and thus mentors are replaceable. Not true. An 8 for a contact may not nearly be as important to your journey towards personal success as a 2. At the end of the day, the thing that matters most is not how many ladders and bricks you have to build with but how solid your foundation is, because without a solid foundation you can easily crumble. The best mentors are the ones that know you not for your “online persona” but for you. Your greatest mentor could be a jack of all trades or someone who would’ve never thought themselves a mentor to begin with. It’s all about the foundation.

One very big, original idea, multiple tiny ones - Pretty self explanatory. You’ve have one big shot idea that no one would’ve thought to make happen and you fight to protect that very beautiful seed to something much bigger. All the multiple tiny ideas take time to come into fruition, they’re like fruits on a growing tree. You can’t toss them all on the table at once. Many would argue these ideas are what keep you relevant.

Fearlessness - You can’t be successful without taking risks, as before mentioned. But it’s more than taking risks, its busting through doors without hesitation, making those ideas happen without worrying if it’ll work out, and ultimately, a willingness to sacrifice things in real life for the sake of what you want to do.

Integrity - Staying true to everything you promise others and yourself, and every time your fans or friends give to you give back to them in full.

Headache - You’re probably gonna have to jump through many hoops and perhaps hate your life doing it. You’re going to have to balance real life with projects that could completely fail. And of course, things will decide not to work right or work out and make you question the worth of your progress to that point.

Schedules - Time is important to you for sanity and to your fans for clarity. Sanity and clarity is focus. Focus is essential to embody yourself in a medium.

Friends to support you - Res Ipsa Loquitur, general support to keep you going when things get tough. A lack of this can ruin anyone.

Money - Money doesn’t buy you happiness but it does buy professional equipment. In this day and age unless you’re GradeAUnderA high-quality production is a must.

Time - Not just for streaming but for everything behind the scenes. However much time you think you need, double that, and however much time you think you have, split that in half. Regularly that math will match reality and you’ll have to bear the pain of hitting those deadlines anyway for the sake of everything up to that point. If you already think you’re hitting too many walls in time you can’t expect to get far without giving some things up.

So what it all comes down to is that getting big, while made out to be something fun and exciting, behind the scenes can be a whole lot of headache and lead to several big decisions that can ultimately go very awry if things don’t work out (not saying that’ll necessarily take the fun or excitement away from you). As far as it seems, unless you’ve got a ton of heart and charisma, or perhaps a nice pair of boobs, you won’t get much more than a good time to have on the side. Luckily it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stay this way. YouTube gaming is making strides to allow every streamer to access revenue sharing and I’m seeing a lot of pushes on that side of streaming towards using tools like Discord to build communities and making features easily accessible for fans to support streamers. Seeing that YT Gaming is still in beta there’s still plenty more room for improvement which can mean a lot of things for its future. I’m not here to say YouTube gaming is going to dominate Twitch by any means, but it’ll certainly put Twitch in a tight position to take a new approach to community management, features, and ultimately money (I hope anyway).

Personally my belief is that the most advantageous way to gain fame is by being at the right place at the right time, generally at the beginning of something big. If I started streaming around this time I’d probably attempt a unique approach to YouTube Live (as a whole) in the midst of the YouTube gaming hype to ride off of the wave and get some significant attention off of me doing something different. But that’s just what I’d do. Currently things like Periscope and virtual reality are becoming popular also, so there are always options out there, it’s just about how you utilize them. But does that mean you should drop everything and hop in full scuba gear? No. But it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t genuinely assess your options and get the most out of what you care about. In the right frame of mind a dedicated follower will donate $5 a month to a streamer they care about anyway, if not $10 or $20. If you have enough support from a positive community they’ll all contribute to a fund for a streaming group using Patreon or GoFundMe, such as, idk… Strats for instance cough cough. That money adds up and eventually money will talk. It’ll go towards something that you never thought of before and it will garner you more attention.

That all being said… things take time no matter what. All of that time and money requires humility. So keep an open mind always and remember why you started doing what you did in the first place. Do it with that same passion always and you’ll find personal satisfaction in your efforts regardless of whatever road you take.

TL;DR You can strive for a hobby or a job but with a little creativity you can always make a profit. Also, those words in bold. They’re important, I think.