Over the past few years, streaming has exploded in popularity. Whether gaming, or painting, or cooking, or even eating — there are streams out there for anyone. It’s easier than ever to find your niche and start streaming almost instantly. But are you struggling to balance work with streaming?
But it takes more than just hitting “Go Live.”
For most of us, we’re also juggling a full-time job and other responsibilities. So how do we balance a streaming career with a full-time job?
Make a Schedule
If you keep seeing this tip over and over and over again in your streaming research, I can’t say I’m surprised. Just like many full-time jobs have a set schedule, so should your stream. Beyond wanting your viewers to know when you’re live, you also want to make sure you know when you’re live. Seems obvious, right?
Having a set time on a set day that you go live helps your mind and body know when to be “on.” This helps you be more prepared, more engaged, and just all around a better creator. Building a schedule for yourself that you can keep easily and consistently will help you keep some of that balance you need in your life so you don’t become overworked ad burnt out.
To start, try and find one to three days a week where you can set aside at least a three hour block of time. Mark on your calendar so there’s no doubt when you’re supposed to sit down and hit that “live” button. Having a set day and time you’re live is going to be the first step in finding balance with work and streaming.
Schedule Your Side Work
When it comes to streaming, your actual live stream is only half the work — and maybe even less than that, honestly.
To become a successful streamer, you’re going to need an online presence outside of Twitch or YouTube or whatever platform you’re on. This could be tiktok, Instagram, even Twitter. But all of this takes more time. So schedule it, too.
Streaming platforms — Twitch, especially — do not have great built-in discoverability. In order to build the community and the stream you want, you’re going to need to start sharing your content elsewhere so people can actually find you and see what you do.
If you decided you have 10 hours a week you can set aside for your stream, take 4-5 of those and schedule time for these extra tasks.
Now, how do you use this schedule to keep consistent?
To start, make sure you have it blocked off in whatever tool you use for planning. This could be a physical planner, Google Calendar, or whatever other method you might prefer. Make sure it is somewhere you are looking frequently so you are being constantly reminded of your schedule. You don’t want to be surprised by your own stream schedule!
Blocking off the time and becoming familiar with your schedule is only the first step. Now you have to actually show up. You can’t build a community if they don’t know when you’re live. If you schedule Wednesday streams but you’re canceling them over and over, there’s no consistency and people might stop showing up.
This comes down to your mindset.
While I am all for taking time off when you need it, you also must recognize when it’s time to push through. Sometimes that just means sitting down and hitting “Go Live.” Viewers are often looking for something to watch at the same time on the same days, usually based around their work or school or personal schedules. By showing up consistently, viewers are more inclined to return to your stream. By keeping your schedule consistent, you’ll be able to build loyalty and grow your channel.
What to Avoid
We’ve talked about what you can do to balance work and streaming, but what should you NOT being doing?
- Work on your stream at your job. I know you’re excited about growing your channel and building your community, but STOP DOING IT DURING YOUR WORK DAY. Just like you shouldn’t do your job on stream, don’t work on your stream while on the job. In order to avoid burnout and overwhelm, it’s crucial to keep both separate. Work-life balance applies when it comes to your stream, as well.
- Stream too often. I know you see the top creators streaming 4+ hours a day almost every single day. It can be tempting to do the same when you want to grow your community and build your channel. DON’T. Remember, for most of those larger creators, streaming IS their full-time job. Don’t burn yourself out by trying to keep up with someone with a different schedule than you.
- Self advertise. I know it can feel easy to drop your link into another streamer’s chat or in their social media posts, especially if they have a large following. This is the streamer equivalent to being a telemarketer. And no one likes telemarketers. Unless someone is specifically asking if you stream, avoid it. This is more likely to do more harm than good.
- Go it alone. Streaming isn’t always easy. Having some great friends alongside you can make it easier. So let your friends know you stream! Whether it’s your IRL friends or online friends, share you link and your schedule with them. That can make the difference between streaming to 0 viewers and streaming to 5.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Now that you’ve built yourself a consistent stream and a bit of a community, you’re probably hella excited about streaming. Streaming is a very exciting career and there are so many who want to make it into their full-time gig. And that’s great.
As the famous saying goes, “don’t quite your day job.”
Streaming is a flighty career. Subs and donations and sponsorships are going to come and go and vary month to month. You could make $3000 one month and only $300 the next.
The key to building a full-time streaming career so you can actually quit your day job? It all comes back to consistency.
Before you consider quitting your job, make sure you are bringing in a consistent income from your streaming and subsequent income streams. I recommend having no less than 6 months of streaming income that is enough to cover your monthly bills and expendable income.
It is absolutely possible to balance work and streaming. It’s going to take a whole lot of passion and commitment on your end, but if you do it right it can be worth it.
Whether you’re looking to build a career out of streaming or intend to keep it as a side gig, you have to start somewhere. Take the time to do it right and ensure you’re not overworking yourself. There are millions of content creators out there — if they can do it, so can you!