Creator Guide: How to Make Your First $1000 as a Content Creator
So how can you make your first $1000 as a gaming content creator? In this guide, we’ll explore several options to help you hit this major milestone.
Fri Jan 06 2023
8 min read
Making money doing what you love is the dream. So how can you make your first $1000 as a gaming content creator? It’s often said the first $1000 is the hardest as you’re just getting established and figuring out what works. In this guide, we’ll explore several options to help you hit this major milestone.
There are many avenues to make money as a creator and their effectiveness will vary depending on the size of your community and following. It’s up to you as a creator to find the right mix that resonates with your audience and also has a good return on investment.
The key to all of this? Building an engaged community that supports you before looking to monetize. Without a core group that wants to support you, it’s much harder to generate income - be this by subscriptions, tips, or other means. The size and engagement of your community can also impact which tactic may work better for you. For example, brand sponsorships are often looking for accounts with more followers. Having big numbers is also not the only criteria for brand sponsorships - engagement and consistency matter as well.
On-platform revenue sources
Many content platforms have built in features to help creators monetize like subscription and tipping. Revenue sharing can range from platform to platform, but this is an easy way to start making money from your content. As it’s built into platforms you already use, it doesn’t require additional effort on your part and leverages the community you’ve built. This is a case where having more users means more potential revenue for a creator.
Subscriptions offer the potential for recurring revenue (repeating payments each month), while tipping can be a more unpredictable revenue stream that is based on your content, activations you run for your community, a viewer’s interest in supporting you, and more.
A few examples of on-platform monetization options:
- FreshCut: Diamond tipping (creators keep 90%)
- Twitch: Subscriptions (50/50 split) and bits (tipping)
- YouTube Shorts: Creator fund monetization for Partners (coming in early 2023)
- TikTok: Roses, Gifts, and subs
- Instagram Reels: Creator Fund payouts
People love merch! This is a strategy that works once you’ve established your brand a bit. Take inspiration from your favorite creators both big and small and see what they do for merch to help spread their brand. This can range from small items like stickers and shirts to larger ones like hoodies. Don’t leave out hard goods like mugs, water bottles, keycaps, and other accessories. There are many eCommerce platforms that enable you to set up your own stores, customize merch, and manage fulfillment like Fourthwall, Spring, and Shopify.
A few things you need to consider before making merch.
- Is there demand for it? Poll your community. Merch can be time consuming and costly to design and create, so make sure that people are interested in repping your brand before you start down this path.
- Do you have good branding? This includes things like a distinctive logo, colors, and style that you want to convey. It’s good to see what big streamers and brands do here with their merch and how it fits into their overall brand and vibe. We love what Pokimane, Sykunno, OfflineTV and 100 Thieves do! If you're not a creative yourself, consider finding a designer on Twitter, through your community, or via sites like Upwork.
- Try using a print-on-demand service first - this means you don’t need to hold inventory of merch yourself and the items are only created when someone pays and orders it. This avoids incurring an upfront charge to create a bunch of merch - only to discover you may not be able to sell as much of it as you wanted. Costs are also transferred to the buyer of the merch vs. requiring an initial investment from the creator.
Brand sponsorships are also a popular way for creators to leverage the audience they’ve built on different content and social platforms. This is most effective for creators with large followings (as brands often search for ways to make the biggest impact) but can also be effective for smaller creators if brands want to work with "micro influencers". Generally, the larger your audience is, the more leverage you have when talking to brands.
TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Shorts are the most popular channels for brand sponsorships right now. This is as they all have huge audiences to reach as well as viral potential for brand ads.
How can you get a brand sponsorship?
You can do outreach to brands on social media. Replying to their Tweets and hitting them up in their DMs. You can also contact them via email or their Discords. This however will be more effective for creators with larger followings. Direct outreach if you have a smaller following is likely to be ignored or deferred to a later date - but you never know unless you try!
If you have a large audience and community, brands may come to you with sponsorship or promotion offers. This could be because you represent a community they want to reach, because they like your brand, or other reasons.
There are also newer platforms like PearPop that serve to connect creators with brands - making it easier for both parties to get what they need. Creators get paid for their content - brands get great promoted content. It’s a win win.
Gaming brands like to leverage creators to spread the word about their product. AdvancedGG and Gamer Advantage are great examples of this! They have affiliate programs where accepted creators are given a code to use to promote their product and given a share of sales they drive for the brand. Many other brands in gaming and outside of gaming have affiliate programs to help drive sales and awareness of their brand. Becoming a brand ambassador through these programs can offer financial rewards, although compensation varies by brand. Having a larger community is valuable here, but brands can also take into account other factors like engagement, community loyalty, average viewers, quality of content, creativity, and more.
Have an in-demand skill or talent at a game to share with the world? Metafy has become a popular way creators monetize their abilities - enabling creators to create lessons and coach students in different games. Whether it’s live sessions or training plans, you can share your knowledge on Metafy and get paid by users who want to level up at their favorite games. For example, FGC champion PerfectLegend offers courses Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken on Metafy.
One thing to keep in mind - name recognition goes a long way with coaching. Fans and community members often want to get trained by or hear from high profile creators, so they are more in demand and able to charge more. Nevertheless, coaching is something you should explore if you’re strong at gameplay or strategy! You can build your brand as a coach over time as well.
Have a passionate community? Memberships have risen in popularity as a way to offer your followers benefits and rewards while also giving creators a financial return. Patreon is the leading membership platform at the moment. However memberships go beyond just offering exclusive access and perks to your community. You need to stay committed to your membership program and always make sure your members feel extra special to keep them happy, build buzz, and make them feel their financial support is worth it. Membership programs require extra work by a creator to make them feel unique and valuable. Done right, they can be very lucrative.
Host your community in a Discord server? Discord recently announced Server Subscriptions with a 90/10 split in revenue. This is one of the best rates on the market and an easy way to start to monetize an existing audience. If you haven’t created a home for your community yet - this monetization feature is one reason you might want to consider Discord.
Creator Competitions and Events
Keep an eye out for creator challenges. Often gaming and creator brands will run competitions, where the top finishers get cash prizes. FreshCut recently ran our first creator competition called FreshCut Rising Star where the winners took home a share of $10,000 and great prizes. While the competition is fierce and many creators will enter for a chance to win, if you’ve got what it takes, this could be a great way to get some cash rewards.
While winning the big prize competition is the dream, keep an eye out for other smaller scale activations and events as well. If you’re strong at gameplay, consider entering tournaments to win cash prizing. FreshCut also holds weekly clip Challenges where the best clips can get cash prizes. Check out our latest #FortniteChamp challenge. Not only do the top clips as voted by the community get rewards, there’s also prizing for most liked, shared, and tipped - meaning there are several different avenues for victory. If you’re already posting content on FreshCut, this is an easy way to showcase your content for a chance to win some real $$$.
Side Gig Skills
While the dream is to be a full time creator for your own brand, there are also other creator related jobs and roles you can take to make your first $1000 in the industry. These jobs can also help to build your community and professional network, leading to future opportunities and connections that can help you to grow as a creator.
- Edit short form and long form content for other creators/brands
- TikTok/Shorts/Reels editors are particularly in demand right now
- Design and make thumbnails. Check out our Guide to Creator Thumbnails and learn why MrBeast spends thousands of dollars to get the right thumbnails.
- Be a social media manager for creators and brands
Life of the party?
- Host events for brands/creators - FreshCut Rising Star was hosted and judged by different creators in the community
- Be a caster for tournaments for games you know well and love
- Be a mod for a bigger creator - find a creator who appreciates mods and pays them for their efforts! Being a free mod is a good way to get in the door, but always make sure you are valuing your time appropriately.
We’ve covered a wide range of ways creators can make money. Your first $1000 will likely not come from just one source. It might be a combination of merch, on-platform revenue, and brand sponsorships. Or it might be from courses and side gigs. Or maybe you hit it big on a creator competition. The most important thing when looking to make your first $1000 as a creator is to experiment, experiment, experiment. The more shots you take as you try to turn your passion into real money, the better your odds are of breaking through. It’s important to take chances and try new things as you navigate your journey as a creator. Good luck!
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