Hello, my name is Anna (annaverse) and I am a full time content creator on a platform called Twitch.tv. For those who don’t know, Twitch is a live streaming platform, owned by Amazon, that’s primarily focused around video games, but has also branched out into categories such as art, music, cooking and more. I’m considered a variety streamer meaning I play a variety of games (GTAV, Fortnite, League of Legends, etc.) as well as some interactive chatting streams.
I made my Twitch account back in January of 2018 with no intention of becoming a streamer. Instead, I made it to start watching Overwatch streamers in an attempt to get better at the game. Originally, I wanted the username Bananna but it had already been taken and the only other thing that popped into my head was Annaverse because I thought it sounded like universe. I didn’t love the name and told myself I would change it when I thought of something better but I never did, so here we are.
I’ve been streaming for almost a year now, and still feel a sense of excitement every time I go live. I really enjoy creating a positive, entertaining environment for people to be a part of and it always surprises me every time I hit the “Go Live” button that people are there ready to say hi.
I was born in Texas, which is where I currently live, however, I actually spent most of my childhood growing up on a small island in Central America. My mom bought my sister and I each a Nintendo Gameboy (mine was red) and we used to play on them all the time. We eventually upgraded to Nintendo 3DS’s when those came out and I was obsessed. However, living on an island made getting new games impossible. We would have to fly or take a boat into the mainland just to buy an incredibly overpriced game that had been shipped in from the U.S. It limited the games we could play, but I still always enjoyed the ones I had.
I didn’t start playing PC games until I had already graduated from high school. I was 18 and my current boyfriend Cole (known as Aserie on Twitch) introduced both Overwatch and Twitch to me. I was hooked. I ended up spending my entire savings and all my tax returns that year on building a custom PC, which now that I think about it, probably wasn’t the smartest use of my money but hey, it worked out. Eventually, all this led to me wanting to stream on Twitch and Cole, being incredibly supportive about it, gently pushed me to start doing some research on what it meant to be a streamer and how to do it.
I started streaming on January 30th, 2019 while working towards an Ecology degree at the university I was attending. At the time, I hadn’t intended on streaming becoming my full-time job, as I was still actively applying for part-time jobs after moving cities to pay my rent. A couple of months into streaming, and simultaneously not hearing back from a single job, I realized I was making enough to supplement having a part-time job.
While I was making more than I would’ve at a part-time job, I was also putting in significantly more hours. I currently stream 5 days a week and while I’m actively live for roughly 20 hours each week, I’m spending countless hours every day brainstorming ideas, preparing content, contacting editors, commissioning artwork, working with a logo designer, filming for youtube etc.
I am constantly thinking about new content ideas to the point where it might be a bit unhealthy. When your job is creating content it sometimes gets hard to stop viewing everything as possible content, especially with my plans of branching into youtube now. It’s important to have that separation and it’s something I’m still working on.
When I do get an idea, I use this website called Trello to keep track of them. It’s nice because they also have an app meaning if I’m out and about I can always just pull up my phone to add something or review them if I need to. I have a twitch section, youtube section, general to-do section and then a completed section. It’s super easy to drag tasks or ideas between each section and they’re colour-coded to help keep me organized.
When I first started streaming I used Streamlabs OBS as it was more user friendly but eventually transferred over to Streamelements + OBS since they offered more customization that I think is important to have as a streamer. Other than that I use the general equipment such as camera (planning on upgrading soon), microphone, two monitors etc.
Here’s a list of my stream setup that I try to always keep updated.
My main platform is definitely twitch but I also have an Instagram and Twitter (both under @annaversee) Like I said earlier, I’m currently working on posting consistent content on youtube but that’s proven to be a challenge so far. Youtube has a steep learning curve but it’s a necessity at this point for career longevity. Twitch is my comfort zone, I understand it. Youtube puts me back to square one, like the first couple months of streaming, and that scares me. I’m excited to start putting more time into Youtube and see how far we can go there.
My biggest fear was streaming to 0 viewers. There are roughly 3 million active streamers every month on twitch and it's terrifying to put yourself out there because you don’t know if anyone is going to show up. I kept putting it off for months. I was supposed to start in October of 2018 but didn't end up going live till almost February. I finally told myself “Okay. You are going live on January 30th. No matter what happens you have to go live at 3:00 p.m.” And so I did.
I think I averaged around 10 viewers that stream which at the time I thought was insane. Over time I organically grew. I never collabed with larger streamers however I’d love to be able to do that in the future. Today I’m averaging over 100 so that's a pretty big leap. I did spend some time going on some podcasts on Twitch and I think that helped get my name in front of more people but it wasn’t an overnight growth sort of thing.
In the beginning, I was terrified of anyone I knew in real life finding out about twitch. One of my old friends from high school followed my instagram account and I started having a panic attack in my living room. I mean like full on hyperventilating, about to pass out, couldn’t breathe type of thing. Cole had to physically coach me through it because of how bad it got. I’m a lot better now obviously. I’m a lot more confident in myself and what I want which helps a lot.
I’m still working on my brand even in 2019, it was a huge year for me and it has definitely changed the course of my life. I see this past year as laying the foundation for the years to come. I spent a lot of this year building a solid community and working towards Twitch partner. Now that I feel I have those two things, I’m starting to work on what I want beyond that. Yes, I want to continue growing the stream but I want to have a more solid idea of what I stand for, the impact I want to have, what the annaverse brand is about.
In terms of getting where I am today, I think a lot of it has to do with mindset. Streaming on Twitch can definitely be a hobby, and that's okay, but I think it's important to realize that if you want it to be a career, you have to treat it like one. I made a schedule and stuck to it. I try my hardest to not cancel or postpone streams if I can help it. I spend my free time networking, posting content on other social media sites, brainstorming content ideas etc.
Streaming can be hard sometimes because there’s not really any guidelines so you don’t know if you’re doing it right. My average views were growing pretty consistently from the beginning and then peaked around mid-30s to low 40s for a while. I felt pretty stuck because I couldn’t get passed those numbers for a couple of months. My PC was having issues and was crashing on me most streams and I had never felt so unmotivated. There was a solid week where I was seriously considering quitting but I didn’t because I knew there were people that were waiting for me to stream and I didn’t want to disappoint them. In September 2019 right before Twitchcon, I started averaging around 60, which was the first month I finally broke my previous plateau. After Twitchcon, I was more motivated than I ever had been and by November I had not only averaged 130 for the month but also unlocked the Partnership application. I ended up applying for partner 3 weeks later and on December 19th I was accepted. It crazy to think how far I’ve come looking back on the year now.
Oh gosh. I get this question a lot during stream and it’s always a challenge to answer. I think my advice to anyone wanting to get into streaming (as a career) is this: It takes time and effort.
"You can’t expect to just stream yourself in a dark room at 3am and have consistent growth from that. You need to make a plan for yourself, whatever that looks like to you."
There are millions, literally millions, of streamers on Twitch. Why is someone clicking on your stream versus the guy next to you? Now that they clicked on your stream, what’s going to make them stay? There are some really good articles and videos on youtube talking about twitch growth and understanding it so I definitely recommend watching those.
I don’t think I would’ve done one specific thing differently. There are obviously some things I wish I wouldn’t or would have done but if I start thinking in the “what if” mindset it can easily turn into negative thoughts so I try to avoid that. Instead, I think about what I can do now and in the future.
I will say I think I got lost there for a couple of months. I got caught up in numbers and views and it made day-to-day life really hard for me. I would obsess over my numbers after every stream and beat myself up if I didn’t do as well as I thought I should’ve. I think I took it a little bit too seriously sometimes instead of just enjoying it, which is what I’m doing now. There’s definitely a balance and I think I’m a lot closer to it then I was even a month ago.
Like I said earlier, I started streaming on Twitch when I was in between jobs so I never really had that moment where I was like, “Okay, I’m making enough money to quit my job” sorta thing. I’m not necessarily making a stable or even comfortable income some months but I’m okay with the struggle because I really enjoy what I do and I know it will continue to grow as I work more. I definitely wouldn’t be making enough to support myself if I wasn’t able to split the bills with my boyfriend, who has a fulltime job, so I am incredibly grateful to have him.
This semester I decided to take a break from school. I had already switched majors a couple of times and wasn’t doing well in my classes because of my lack of motivation. I’ll be taking the next eight months to focus more on content as well as researching possible degrees that interest me. This is the first time I’ll be taking a break from higher education since I graduated high school back in 2016 and I’m actually looking forward to seeing what I can do without the crippling pressure of grades and student loans on my shoulders. :)
I talk more about my journey with school and dropping out here if you're interested in hearing more!
I hit Twitch Partner last month which was absolutely insane for me. I remember watching partnered streamers who were sitting around the same numbers as I am right now and thinking how huge they were, and how together their lives must be. I ended up crying in the Target parking lot when I got the email from Twitch saying they accepted me into the Partner program. Crazy day.
One of my most memorable streams however, was this one when a member of my community told me they had an assignment for one of their classes where they had to write a paper about someone that was important to them and he wrote about me. If I’m being honest I didn’t believe him at first but he ended up sending a picture and I read it on stream and ended up leaving the room because I was crying so hard. It was so sweet and kind and I think that was the first time I really realized the positive impact I could have on someone. There’s been times where people send really nice heartfelt messages and I appreciate them all but this one was the first and therefore really special to me.
I’m not sure I’d consider this a milestone but it’s pretty cool so I’m going to include it. A producer from Buzzfeed reached out to me a couple months ago and asked if they could use my instagram as reference points for one of their upcoming videos (I believe it was an e-girl makeover related video but I’m not sure). I obviously said yes and had to sign some forms. I don’t know if they ended up using any of the photos but it was still a cool experience.
I independently manage everything, including marketing. I’m going to be honest, Twitch is a terrible platform for discoverability. Generally, it’s pretty hard to grow if you don’t have a following from another platform. Before I ever went live, I spent a lot of time in other small streams talking to the streamer and getting to know the community. I ended up becoming genuinely good friends with some people through that and when I went live for the first time, some of them showed up.
Social media is a huge tool that I actively use. Consistent posts on instagram are incredibly important. Twitter is a great place to share clips from your streams. Tik Tok is the easiest platform to gain followers and go viral. Each social media outlet has its own type of content that you can put there. Larger streamers tend to have a manager or agent that deal with a lot of the promotions/marketing but I’m definitely not at that stage. I still consider myself a relatively small streamer. There’s definitely a lot more I plan on accomplishing as time goes on.
I haven't reached out to any brands personally but have had a few reach out to me. If I look it over and it’s something that interests me I’ll message them back and start the line of communication. If it looks like something that doesn't fit me or my values, I’ll just politely decline. I tend to decline more than I accept because I’m a bit picky when it comes to whom I work with. I don’t want to represent a brand that doesn’t match my style of content or community.
There are some larger companies I’m very interested in working with however I’m not in a position where I feel comfortable reaching out to them just yet. I want to expand and solidify my content before I take those big steps.
I’ve had a couple deals fall through because we couldn’t agree on a price. I think it’s important not to sell yourself short. At the end of the day, your face is being attached to this brand so it’s important that you can 100% feel comfortable with that. I try and stay away from affiliate code deals as well. A lot of the time, the streamer gets next to nothing for promoting a brand name on their stream every single time their live. If a company reaches out to me but I have to buy their product at a discount and then only make anything through affiliate codes, it’s a hard no. You’d be surprised how many times that’s the proposition. I would say know you’re worth. That’s the most important thing.