There’s a lot of talk on the internet and in real life too about turning hobbies into businesses, and the truth is that although this can work, it’s not something you have to work towards. Sometimes hobbies are just that – hobbies – and they don’t need to be monetized at all. However, sometimes it just makes all the sense in the world to turn your hobby into a business because it ticks all the boxes when it comes to your life goals, and it’s something you know you could do. For some people, that hobby is gaming, and although it might not be the most obvious thing to turn into a business, it can definitely be done, so keep reading to find out how so you know what to do to get started and ensure you can enjoy all the benefits owning your own business will bring.
Before we begin, keep in mind that it’s very important that you’re willing to stick to the plan. Whether you stream on Twitch or make YouTube videos, you must be diligent. The majority of content creators, for example, have been at it for years. Earlier, things were even easier, which helped them a lot. Today, the competition is higher, a lot of games and topics are already covered, and then there’s the need to keep doing it over an extended period of time without worrying about making money. If that sounds okay with you, read along!
Open a Store
You don’t actually have to play games in your business to have a gaming business, and that’s good news for anyone who was worried that trying to make money from something they usually do for fun would take that enjoyment away. You can still play games on your own time, but you could also have a store – physical or e-commerce, depending on your preferences, and there are pros and cons to each option – that sells games, gaming consoles, and gaming equipment, such as chairs or VR headsets, and so on.
The great thing about this is that you can easily connect with your customers because the things you’re selling are things you’ll actually use in your own life – you can answer questions without any problems and offer guidance and advice about the items people might want to make. In this way, you can show you’re an expert in your field and build up a good level of trust with your customers so they’ll keep coming back.
There are a few things to consider when you’re running a store, of course. The first is that you’ll need to spend money on stock, so it’s wise to pick things to sell that you’re going to be able to make a profit on, and you’ll need to find reliable suppliers too. Plus, you’ll need to make things easy for your customers, and that could mean you have to accept credit cards, stay open later, run workshops, and so on – you’ll need to think about all this ahead of time so your launch can be a successful one.
Streaming is a relatively new idea (although it’s been around for a while, it’s gaining traction, and it’s something that people are starting to realize they can actually make money from), and it’s not easy to get monetized – it’s going to take a while to build up enough of a following – but it’s a simple thing to do, and since you’ll be gaming anyway, it’s just another level up from there.
When you stream, you’ll use a platform like Twitch or YouTube, for example, to play games live while people watch. When you have enough subscribers and people are interested in what you’re doing, you can start to earn some money from advertising, but as we said, it’s something you have to keep working on; if you really want to make a business in this way, you have to be very dedicated and not give up too soon, even if it seems as though growth on your channel has stalled. Advertising and marketing are also very important, and so is consistency – people need to know that you’re going to be there when they want to watch you.
The best streamers aren’t just gamers, they’re entertainers as well. They’ll interact with the people watching and make the event so much more than just people watching someone play a game, so if you really want to be a success, you’ll have to get comfortable engaging with your fanbase. If you can do it, though, streaming can be a fairly lucrative career path to take.
We have a nifty guide on setting up a streaming gaming desktop that you can check to get started: Gaming Setup 101 for Streaming: Tips, Tricks & Gear
Not everyone wants to have to come face to face (or screen to screen) with their customers; they’d much rather not have to deal with people on that level, and that can make running a gaming business a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible.
One option for more introverted people is to create tutorials and strategy guides for popular games. You’ll need to play the game yourself and work out the best options for others if they want to reach the end, and then make sure you can explain it all in a concise, entertaining way. These guides can be sold online, and although they might not make you a lot of money individually if you can sell a lot of them, you could turn this idea into a great business.
Making videos for YouTube or other platforms is another way. Unlike streaming, this is more tedious and requires a little bit of video editing and graphic design experience, though today you have many online tools that make the job easier.
Create a plan by choosing a game category or type of video (such as walkthroughs, trying new games, focusing on a single game, testing new indie games, and so on). Write down at least 10 video ideas and describe what will be shown in them. After that, it’s just a matter of adding your voice when you play the game and recording the whole thing.
Cut out any parts that are irrelevant and try to keep the videos in the sweet spot of 10-20 minutes for maximum retention. You can also follow other channels to get inspired. There’s always an audience for all types of gaming content on YouTube, but you should be always aware of your closest competition.
Over time, your videos will begin to get views and if you are diligent in your process and consistent in your posting, the algorithm will finally reward you with the views. Use the YouTube Audio Library to get royalty-free background tracks.