Mental Health Check pt 2: 3 Steps to Surviving The Streamer Grind

If you ask most streamers–especially new people–why they want to make a career out of streaming, one of the most common answers to this question is “because being paid to play games sounds fun!” It’s often not until we really dig deep into streaming that we realize how challenging of a job it can be. Around the discord server, we often refer to it simply as “The Grind”. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to survive The Grind, by setting the right expectations, setting SMART goals, and some techniques to keep positive.

I think the biggest impact we can make on this issue is to set the correct expectations from the beginning. I’ve seen countless young streamers just decide that they are going to become pro streamers, and make a bunch of money, just like [insert your favorite big name streamer here]. Now sure, that can happen. Here’s the deal. It’s significantly more likely that you may not reach those levels. There’s a reason that there are more than 8 million streamers on Twitch alone, but you can probably not name more than a dozen off the top of your head. It’s a very saturated market.

Rather than just focusing on making it as a full time professional streamer, especially from the jump, we’d suggest taking a different approach. Focus on having fun streaming. Make this a hobby, not a job. And if you find success and can turn it into a job in the future, that’s beautiful. But the bottom line here is that you should be streaming to have fun. Streaming should be a great time, and you should be looking forward to it. By focusing on the fun, rather than monetary success, it makes the grind a million times easier!

So now that we’re in the right mindset, let’s take a look at goal setting. Even if we’re just in it for fun, doesn’t mean we can’t try to grow! But, just like with anything worth doing in life, we are best served to create SMART goals for ourselves. Now, SMART goals could probably take their own blog, but let’s just distill it down to the basics for today. SMART is an acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. We need the goals we set to be both specific and measurable, so that we can nail down exactly what we are trying to achieve. Most importantly, we want to make sure that we don’t set unachievable goals. They also have to be relevant to what we’re doing, and we need to put a timestamp on when we want to hit this goal. 

For example, a great SMART goal for a beginning streamer could be “I will reach 50 followers on Twitch within the next 3 months”. We nailed down Specifically what we wanted to grow (followers), made it Measurable (50), made it within an Achievable goal in that time, it was Relevant (you need followers to progress on Twitch), and Time-bound (3 months). By using SMART goals, it allows you to quantify your own measure of success, and allows you to adjust future goals as you learn more about what you are capable of.

Of course, while you’re on your streaming grind, there are a number of different techniques to keep your spirits up, so we polled a few of our community admins, including Queen, Joe, and Breen, for some tips. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Stream what you love, not just what gets you views. The viewers will find you eventually.
  • Turn off your viewer count, and don’t worry about numbers on stream.
  • Always just assume you have a few friends hanging out in chat, even if they aren’t saying anything. If you want to talk to them, you can just refer to them as “chat”. You never know who might talk back!
  • Focus on having fun. The moment this starts feeling like work, take a look at what you’re doing!
  • It’s ok to not be ok. Take your mental health into consideration, and don’t push yourself beyond what you are able to do.
  • It’s ok to take a break. Whether you need to throw up a BRB and step away from the stream, or if you need to take a day or two off, you have every right to do that.
  • Most importantly, if you are genuinely happy on stream, you are so much more likely to attract and retain viewers, so do what you need to do for you to be happy!

The streamer grind is real, that’s for certain. But there are a few things we can do to make it a lot easier, and better on our mental health. Today we learned how to set appropriate expectations for our streaming journey, how to set SMART goals, and a bunch of little tips and tricks to keep our spirits up! What tips do you have? Share them with us in the #nerd-health channel on our discord! Not already a member? Grab the links to our communities at NerdsBelongHere.com! And as always, stay tuned to this blog for more great tips and tricks!

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