STREAM INTO THE BIG TIME
There are a lucky few out there who manage to make money from streaming. Only a few, though, so we don’t recommend quitting your job just yet. It’s hard to say what the prevailing source of income is for the average streamer; some make the bulk of their cash from tips and donations, which are often tied to shoutouts and on-screen recognition. This can work well, particularly for streamers with a growing audience, although those on the lower rungs often find this isn’t enough to constitute a wage. A few also push Patreon subscriptions, although that’s a system more associated with episodic content.
The key to making a living from streaming really seems to be the Twitch partner program, a mildly exclusive club reserved for regular streamers with a growing audience. You need to apply to join, and you absolutely must behave in terms of copyright, but when you’re on the train, you share half of each $4.99 monthly subscription to your channel. Amazon’s ownership of Twitch also helps; Amazon Prime subscribers get one subscription included with their account, so dedicated viewers may even be able to chip in (virtually) for free.
Getting to the peak, though? Aside from luck, there are a few key things to consider no matter what you’re streaming. Be consistent with your schedule and quality. Be pleasant, approachable, and civil. Interact with your chat without scaring people away. Make sure your content is accessible— break it into manageable chunks on YouTube, and archive your broadcasts. Keep your image and audio quality high. Make friends with other streamers; they may host your channel when they are offline, which can drive attractive traffic your way. And, if you can stand it, pick a popular topic. Certain games do better than others—check Twitch for specifics. And, well, it also helps if you’re highly attractive.