1 Coin Only

How I Started My Hobby From Playing Video Games Into A Full-Time Business.

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June 26, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

Hello my name is Rick from 1 Coin Only Classic and Current gaming. We are a Facebook group from Australia that focuses mainly on live video game streaming and we also produce a range of offline content. We currently have a team of four people from across the world which allows us to reach and entertain and reach a large amount of people every single day. 

I started 1 Coin Only back in June 2017 as a passion project and now since May 2019 operates as a full time business. I have been a big fan of video gaming all my life but I also wanted to find a way to make my hobby more productive in my life and also beneficial to the community. The name 1 Coin Only came from childhood memories when I was small. Whenever I would go to a burger shop or a video store (remember those?) I would always see a shiny new video game machine and being mesmerized by them I would ask any family member I was with if I could play. They would hand me a coin and I would proceed to have a quick turn so you could say 1 Coin Only is symbolic of that. I was quite fortunate after about a week of thinking I came up with the brand name and it just clicked.

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

1 Coin Only was started from my bedroom back in June 2017 but the journey itself began in May of that year. I was really feeling unsatisfied with life for a number of reasons. From a professional point of view i was a nightclub DJ for over a decade who became stagnant and very unsatisfied and then from a personal point of view all the video games I was playing as a hobby were not satisfying me. It was a very rough time for me and as a man you get to that point where you realise nothing will change unless you take action for yourself.

I remembered my passion for retro video games and decided to make a YouTube page to upload my offline game play using any of the free video recording software I could find on a google search. Quite frankly these early videos I made before 1 Coin Only started were terrible but I like throwing myself in the deep end as we can learn and improve more with experience and just putting ourselves out there. The early videos I made didn't really get any views but it was good to have them there to pick apart to find out what I liked and what I could improve.

A month later things got a little bit overwhelming in my personal life and in June 2017 I went away on vacation. While I was away I was surfing Facebook and noticed that there were not too many retro based video game pages. I thought not only could there be a market for my hobby but the Facebook platform allows you to reach people a lot easier and also from a more personal level. After a week I came up with a name and our main Facebook page was born. The  rest of June 2017 was spent uploading small variety videos of all my favorite old school games but by chance in July I came across X-Bit Gaming and SpinBack retro gaming who were very talented live streamers on the Facebook platform. After deciding it to give it a go for myself the rest is history and now in 2019 I have expanded into both retro and current gaming. I am a big believer that you are only as good as your last video and this is what helps me to keep pushing and improve with each piece of content.

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

There are many different places I like to get ideas for my brand and I carry a notepad around everywhere. I highly recommend this to any creators because you can have the world’s most amazing idea and yet forget it forever if you don't take the time to write it down! When it comes to playing games on my channel it is a mixture of trial and error on my part but also researching what other live game streamers of a similar size are playing that is tending well. It is not only important to research what the community is doing well It is also just as important to research what NOT to do on a live stream. For example be aware of unpopular or over saturated games. It is also inspiring to watch other streamers hosting style to pick apart ideas to improve your own. Making friendships in the community is also important as you can brainstorm and lift each other up together two heads are better than one.

Once a week I like to set aside an hour to brainstorm ideas. Not just for video game ideas on my streams but also brand new show concepts. For example, one day I might stream in a game show type of format. Another time I might stream a single game on its own. Sometimes I might even do a variety show. I find if i constantly jot down this information any time I get creators block I always have suggestions to go back to and get the creative juices flowing. Again the best advice I can give anyone is if you have any Idea for the love of what is good and decent write it down.

What are the tools and platform you use to help with your brand?

To do my offline videos I edit with a program called VideoPad editor. It is a little basic compared to the other big programs but you don't need to spend that big money on the latest software as long as you have all the video making skills you need for your vision. I would recommend doing your research on Google, YouTube or word of mouth through friends to find out what the best option is for you. To broadcast video games live I use a program called XSplit Broadcaster and it gives you wonderful options to add media, overlays and widgets to your presentation. I wont use anything else.

When it comes to platforms I use Facebook and YouTube primarily to post my video content on a daily basis. There are other great platforms but these two are my favorite. I also have an instagram where we bost memes and nostalgic images everyday and just recently jumped on the Tik Tok bandwagon where we are still figuring out a content strategy. Another important tool I use to stream video games is a capture card. This is an important tool if you want to broadcast your video game consoles from your computer it acts like a hub. I use an Elgato but you can easily research for one that is right for you.

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

I have to admit I was a little scared of what people would think it has been a bad habit after all these years that I need to snap out of. It helps me to remember though we all have one life to live for ourselves and I don't want to reach the end of my life asking myself the what if questions. I am not going to lie and say it has been easy the video game community still comes with a negative stigma and being my industry is still so new a lot of the people I felt were close to me do not understand or even support my purpose. Don't let the situation discourage you though if you want something bad enough you will push through all these hurdles regardless and later prove the people in your life wrong!

Unfortunately when you are an online entertainer or any entertainer for that matter trolling or bullying is going to be a daily occurrence and it is never pleasant. It helps to remember that no one who feels good or that is happy in their life is going to have time to go out of their way to make yours or anyone else miserable. Bullies are very broken people and while nothing excuses this toxic behavior I think having empathy and compassion helps depersonalize it for us as a content creator. Sometimes negative comments are delivered poorly but can be constructive too. It is important to use both positive and negative comments as tools to help you improve your craft. When I first jumped behind the camera I was actually quite nervous to be honest I was not comfortable with the way I sounded or looked. Repetition was the key for me to get through this challenge and with each passing video I would gain more energy and have more quirky things to say with my hosting because I was no longer uncomfortable.

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

The first thing I did when I posted my Facebook page was post a small variety of videos and then I ran a massive marketing campaign. Facebook ads were really cheap at the time spending around $2000 got me my first 8000-9000 followers. Over time having a head start gave me the leverage to grow organically once I started providing quality content with the experience I had gained . You can grow organically without spending money of course by doing things like networking with people or groups but if you have a little money there is no shame in investing in what you believe in! While I built the 1 Coin Only brand initially on my own I was inspired to improve by a lot of other gaming pages X-Bit Gaming was a huge influence as well as other popular personalities like Melonie Mac from the USA and Ian Tayao from the Philippines.

After my first year of streaming Duane Reibling aka Headlocked Gaming joined the 1 Coin Only joined the team as our first additional Live Streamer and has provided amazing content and been an inspiration for me to keep improving my own content. Over time we have had other amazing live streamers including Sync, 8-Bit Steve, Casual Coin, Panda Gamer, Bright Id3a Gaming and Commodore 64 Brannigan who have been amazing members of the team and helped move the brand forward. Most of all I need to thank the community as it has been a real privilege to be able to entertain and make a small difference in their everyday life and if it wasn't for their shares and support we would not be at the size we are at now.

Some of the biggest challenges I faced in the early days of streaming was knowing what content I wanted to provide specifically or even what content the viewers wanted to see. This is just one of those things you figure out overtime with experimenting and research. The internet is also a big gigantic jungle so handling bullies and depersonalizing their insults was very hard in the beginning. I never understood why some person I had never met wanted me to kill myself because of the sound of my voice. I guess you can't rationalise with the irrational. One of the biggest challenges of all was working full time on 1 Coin Only for over a year before I even had earned my first pay cheque.

Investing my own time pocket into something I believed in was a huge risk that thankfully paid off in the end after many sleepless nights and people around me questioning my sanity. Setting a consistent schedule everyday is the key to growth and brand loyalty. Once people know when you are broadcasting everyday your growth can snowball and it wasn't long before we were earning 100 followers a week on Facebook which has now increased to 100's and sometimes even more. Streaming takes a lot of discipline and I look at it like TV. If you are scheduled you must be on camera whether you feel like it or not again another challenge that comes with the territory. Discipline! 

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

First of all I want to let everyone know this line of work is not easy if it was everyone would be doing it. There is a lot more to creating content that what you just see when your favorite influencer turns on the camera. I am not trying to discourage anybody at all but rather better prepare those of you who have a passion for sharing your gift with the world and I think that is what is most important. If you are just after the money it may not be the industry for you as a sense of purpose is the important thing for people to keep pushing through the good times and the bad. 

Looking back on my journey if there was anything I would do different I would make sure I was more structured and organised with my content from the beginning. Also when creating ads it is also important to do your market research so you are not wasting your money targeting your content to people who are not interested thus throwing away your money. It is also important,

Do not let the trolls or bullies say discourage you and slow down your progress.

On a few occasions I took a few situations to heart I wish I didn't. If you are struggling with your own content or direction I can't stress enough how amazing the YouTube platform is for ways of researching further ideas or editing skills for your content. You get invaluable material to perfect your craft for free whatever you are thinking should be typed straight into the Youtube or if you prefer Google search engines it seems so simple but it is honestly the best source of help for any questions you have.

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

Before I started 1 Coin Only I had a business buying and selling video games while DJing part time. I gave up the video game flipping business because I felt my passion was better suited for the entertainment side of the industry. When I started 1 Coin Only in 2017 the DJing kept me afloat until I found my feat and every spare cent I had was used to fund its operation. In January 2019 I got my first official paycheck and after I saw some consistency, I retired from DJing in May that same year to make the 1 Coin Only brand my full time focus.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

There have been so many wonderful highlights on this roller coaster of a journey and even though I knew it would all be possible with hard work and dedication to actually see it come to fruition is an absolutely surreal feeling. In the early months creating offline video with 1000's of views was not something I was expecting to see happen but it just goes to show if you keep pumping out content and you are in the right place at the right time anything can happen! When I first started live streaming games I would average 1-5 people in the room watching it was a very humble beginning. Over the following months that would turn into a dozen, to a few dozen and then eventually hundreds at a time. I knew myself and the other streamers on the team were putting in the hard work and it just felt like such an awesome reward. Before you know it our Facebook page was growing rapidly in views and now we are just shy of a 50,000 people following!

Financially these achievements have changed my life as well. Because I work from a computer it gives me the freedom to travel and see the world which included a USA trip with the brand to meet the fans in 2017. It is wonderful to be able to work anywhere you please. I no longer have to wake up in the morning and answer to anyone and while being your own boss does come with some pressure the freedom is priceless. One of the biggest difference makers and achievements was qualifying for Facebooks subscription program where our loyal followers can pay a monthly fee to support us and in return gain all sorts of wonderful benefits such as game requests and private streams.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Well I first started growing one coin only with a Facebook ad campaign they were incredibly under priced and offered great value in reaching people so that gave us the head start by targeting our content to gamers. One awesome feature Facebook provides is the ability to invite people to your page based on engagement, for example if someone has liked a piece of content you can send them an invite to follow your page. Encouraging engagement while live on stream is a big part of our growth strategy and we have a lovely lady on the team now boosting that with funny posts and memes every day on the side. Networking is also important if you make friends with other gaming content pages you can grow both brands by sharing your audience and lifting each other up working with the right people is definitely a rewarding way to grow.

I have always been proud of my methods in growth I have never done anything unethical just always worked very hard. Unfortunately social media does have a shady side or at the very least some negativity but in my case I just hope to set a positive example. I used to work with X-bit gaming which is a sister organization to us and the opportunity to collab with such a big group really helped with our momentum also. Apart from that having various social media pages such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for example get as many eyes as possible on the product it definitely helps to be around as much as you can people won't forget you that way.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

I haven't reached out to any brands yet. I am open to taking a sponsorship deal from the right company but at this point in our growth I am happy to sacrifice a little extra financial support for creative freedom plus we already have our subscription service so at this point in time we are actually fan sponsored. Potential sponsors have been approaching us but we have not finalised on any of these offers as of yet. I do recommend if someone offers you a brand deal that you do your research. I have seen other pages get taken advantage of by people who are self serving it’s important to remember these kind of relationships are supposed to be fruitful for both parties and it is important you live up to your end of the bargain as well.

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