How I Turned Streaming From A Hobby Into Becoming A Full-time Streamer.

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February 24, 2020

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

Hey there! My name is Nary but I go by Nurri online! I’m a 23 year old based in Toronto that graduated from my Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Animal Biology and minoring in Marketing. But… as of right now, I’m a full-time streamer on Twitch. How the heck did that happen right?

Well, streaming on Twitch was always an interest of mine. I mean, I’ve been on the platform for about 7 years now watching League of Legends streamers, such as BoxBox and imaqtpie. I’ve been playing video games my whole life (thanks to my cousins and their Nintendo 64). So streaming made sense to me, and it honestly came pretty naturally too. Streaming to me purely started off as a hobby, which eventually became a side hustle after graduation, and now it’s a full-time thing. My journey started in January 2019 during my last semester of university.

After graduation, I started taking streaming a lot more seriously once I noticed my growth and saw my potential. I was still working my two part-time jobs in retail, which I had during university, but decided to take my leave in November to pursue streaming full time. It was a big decision and it made my mom really nervous, but it was one of the better choices I’ve made for myself!

I work by myself, but I definitely do have a secret-not-so-secret team. It consists of my boyfriend who acts like my financial advisor and is my #1 cheerleader (although he’s a huge part of my journey, he heavily prefers to be anonymous [he doesn’t even have social media accounts T_T] but I have to respect that). My sister who helps with overall input and appears on stream now and then. There’s Carlos, Mathusan, and Nich, friends I made off Twitch who has been with me for every decision I’ve made on Twitch and who are individuals who I genuinely consider IRL friends now. My mods who helped build my wholesome community and keeping it wholesome.

The origin of my name isn’t that special but, it’s essentially an aid to pronouncing my name. “Nary” was taken, and Nuury was a nickname my best friend gave me in highschool, add an ‘i’ and bam: nurri!

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

I’ve been a “gamer” my whole life and it was a fact that shocked most people in my life. “You don’t seem like the type” or “Really??” were the most typical responses to this little fact about myself. But it’s true! And I have my older cousins and mom to thank for that. They introduced me to the Nintendo 64 where I played Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon Snap and watched them Zelda games for hours. My mom let me play on her PC when I was 3. What was I playing at the age of 3 on the PC?? Good question, I think it was called “My Dreamhouse” or something haha! Then we got a Gamecube, this was truly the start for my love of gaming and the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise was easily my favourite and a memorable highlight of my childhood. Maplestory was also a quintessential part of my childhood too and was a big chunk of my PC gaming when I was younger.

It all started in January 2019. I do these like vision boards and on my 2019 vision board I glued a picture of Pokimane as well as a Diamond rank; this is to remind me that I should step outside of my comfort zone and just go for it. “Hit Diamond and keep your values in line with Pokimane” I told myself (Poki was a huge inspiration of mine because her rise to her success stemmed off being a good player in League of Legends and she always kept it classy when she was starting off).

So, I set out to make my vision board come true. I had some of my IRLs (in real life friends) come over and assess my “fax machine” (it was quite literally the size of one, someone once referred to it as a space heater haha) to see if it was good enough to stream on, it was a hand me down from my uncle. They gave me the verdict, “it may be rough, but you’ll definitely be able to stream League at least”. It was good enough for me! So I did my research and started my first official stream on Jan 7th by playing some flex queue on LoL with friends at like 11 PM. At this time, I genuinely thought nothing of it, streaming was merely an enjoyable hobby since I was in my last semester of university. Who would’ve thought it would spiral into the brand into the “nurri” that is today; I know I didn’t.

At first, my views were around 10 because of my friends support. Slowly but surely, the views began to increase to 20 and soon, there were people regularly visiting that weren’t my IRL friends. I made friends that introduced me to new communities that also helped with my growth. And it genuinely snowballed from here: flying to California, attending meetups, going to conventions, etc. My growth on Twitch was a flurry, but it was definitely memorable and filled with adventure and surprises. Here’s a picture of my first solo trip ever to LA for Anime Expo to meet the first community I met here on Twitch

’ve only been content creating for a little over a year now and I’m so glad I took that step. After being a full-time university student and working two part-time jobs, this revenue was just so much more refreshing, freeing, enjoyable, and so much more to me. I currently only stream on Twitch, but for 2020 I’m hoping to branch out onto Youtube, strengthen my Instagram presence and start an Etsy store because I have a really strong passion for creating things (shocker right). I’m hoping to sell plushies, prints, and stickers on my Etsy and I’m so blessed to have a community that can see my talent and support me. I’m genuinely excited for the future and what opportunities I can take and create for myself!

I’m surprised that I’ve taken streaming this far, for a little over a year to be exact. My streaming anniversary was on January 7th and I got Partnered on Twitch on January 6th, 2020… It’s been a wild journey filled with ups and downs and honestly, the only thing that kept me in on the long run is my wonderful community. I’m so proud of what I’ve built and it’s amazing knowing that there’s a network of people out there that have my back and each other’s backs no matter what.

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

Brainstorming always occurs on the go for me. I struggle with sitting down and thinking “what should I do next”. To me, that process just feels too straining and unnatural. Initial ideas always come to me on the whim or randomly when inspiration hits. Once I got the main idea down, then I'll sit down to think about specifics and logistics. For example, this past December I came up with the idea of “12 Days of Nurrimas” where I would stream 12 content based streams for 12 days in a row. Once I wrote that idea down, I also wrote down ideas that I could possibly do for these 12 streams. I understand that this idea is most likely not unique to me by all means, but it’s how you choose to do it and that’s what sets your content aside from the rest. This is event was actually what sealed my Partnership on Twitch! :D

I usually brainstorm in my bullet journal or in Google docs, depending on the type of brainstorming I’m doing. For 12 Days of Nurrimas, my notes were on a Google Docs. For my Etsy shop launch, my notes were located in my bullet journal. Honestly, no matter if you’re a pen and paper person or a tech person, my biggest advice is to just jot your ideas down as soon as you get it. Also, it’s okay to be inspired by other content creators, but: always give credit where credit is due and always make sure that your personality shines through. Trust me, Twitch chat is smart and they’ll know when you’re being disingenuous !!

I think this was something that sets me aside from some of my peers, cause let’s be honest there are bajillion female Asian streamers that play League. But my following truly grew when I was just being MYSELF and I wasn't worrying about whether or not I should have said this or that or if I should have worn this instead of that. What I’m saying is, you do you and the gems amongst the sea of Twitch viewers will see you for you and stay there for YOU!

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

Obviously the main platform I use is Twitch for my content creating. Whenever I’m doing a main event on my channel such as for subathons or for 12 Days of Nurrimas, I use a program called Canva to create my promotional “flyers” or posters for the event and then post them on Twitter! I also use illustration tools such as Krita or Procreate to draw some art or banners for promotional uses too.

For 2020, I’m making it a goal to create a Youtube channel. I’m not sure what kind of content I want to put on Youtube yet but I'm thinking stream highlights, vlogs, and maybe creative content! I have an Instagram where I stay in touch with my followers outside of streaming and this is a great way to keep them in the loop when I’m not live. My second most used platform in terms of communication with my followers is hands down Discord. Discord allows me to post any important announcements, schedule updates, live notifications, and most importantly is a hub for my community members to chat and game with me and with each other.

Here we also do community nights where we watch anime or movies and play games with each other. I also use Twitter but this is mostly for networking, posting live notifications, promotions for stream and any other relatable thoughts I could be having. I rarely use my TikTok but I hope to grow my following on this app this year too!

Example of me using my discord as a main means of communication with my community, schedules and updates!

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

Of course, streaming was a huge change to my lifestyle and life in general. When you’re streaming, you’re putting yourself out there: just you in the raw, in real-time. So anything can happen! This, of course, is extremely scary and I had my fair share of fears when starting out.

One of my fears starting out is definitely being afraid of what people would think of me and how people would think of me. But honestly, these fears quickly diminished once I built a community that truly reflected me. So I guess it’s true what they say when the community reflects the streamer. I think the biggest thought that relates to this fear that I often have is being afraid if I come off as TOO nice that it seems fake or ingenuine. Because more often than not, a factor that keeps people coming back to my content is how positive and lively and nice I am. But something that helped ease this fear is just being unapologetically me; I know who I am and I know what I am not. Having this mindset totally helps negate any fears of worrying about what people would think of you.

You could receive a flood of positive comments and feedback on you and your content, but there will always be the one negative comment that sticks with you and can really ruin your day. Trust me, I’ve been there done that. But that’s why you need to look beyond that one negative comment and realize that you have a sea of really nice people saying really nice and constructive things about you.

It’s up to you to surround yourself with the positive aspects on the internet! This is the mentality I use when it comes to dealing with negative comments.

It’s also hard when you have to handle it in real time in front of a live audience, so some advice for this is to have a great mod team, skim and ignore the comment, or joke about the comment (a great example of a streamer doing this is PaladinAmber).

Being in front of a camera came very naturally and easy at first. This is probably due to my prior acceptance of how I am, how I look, etc. which obviously helps with the fears mentioned above. Being in front of a camera actually became harder to handle as my stream grew; more eyes were on me and there was more pressure to look presentable and to be entertaining. Again, overcoming this is just making sure that you’re okay with you first because this will totally reflect on how you portray yourself on stream and to your audience! Basically, just be you and in tune with yourself and the rest will follow and reflect in your community and content!

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

I’m going to be completely honest. I was poop (so bad) at being consistent with my streams. To be fair, I was a full-time university student and was working two part-time jobs. When I started out, I literally only streamed when I had free time, and often this was at the end of the day during what we call “degen hours”, basically around 11 pm - 3 am. But as my stream grew I implemented a schedule of 3-4 streams a week! here are some of the pros and cons about schedules:

Some large streamers I know have never implemented schedules in their whole streaming career, so find what fits you and your community and roll with that!

In terms of funds… haha… as I mentioned earlier, I started streaming on basically the equivalent of a giant potato, but it worked so I can’t complain. After graduation and consistent growth of my streams, I buckled down and decided I was going to invest in my very own PC; it would be my first PC I could finally call my own! All the PCs and laptops I’ve owned in the past were hand me downs, so of course, I was heckin excited and wanted to build it from scratch! What could go wrong?

This was what my hand-me down PC looked like

Everything went wrong. My community and I call this chapter of my streaming career the “PC Fiasco”. I knew next to nothing about building PCs so I relied heavily on recommendations from friends and community members. First mistake, I bought a CPU that was way too much for what I needed (I was recommended the AMD Ryzen 3900x that was new last year). Second mistake, asking others to help me build my PC (pins were bent, there was a lot of panic and anxiety and sweat involved lol).

When you have others doing things for you and those things go wrong, the only person you can blame is yourself for putting yourself in that situation!! The PC posted after the build (thank god), buuut, I kept blue screen-ing. Took it in for diagnostics, tech guy said I needed to replace the mobo and quickly added that something was weird with the RAM. More money down the drain as I bought a different mobo, because the new mobo worked, buuuut I started having mini crashes (black screens this time).

Also sidenote, yes everything was hardware related because my IT friend took a look and performed multiple tests to rule out that it was internal issues. To add to the list, my main monitor died, my GPU which I reused died during all this, and finally, my whole PC just died two weeks before TC 2019 (this was when I became a pro mobile streamer haha). Luckily, a friend of mine which I’ve met through Twitch flew in and offered to help fix my PC: we spent approximately 12 hrs trying to figure out what’s wrong, we replaced the CPU, ran a bunch more tests, reinstalled Windows, all to find out that it was actually a faulty stick of RAM this WHOLE time.

We took it out and the PC posted and ran smoothly for hours without crashing *sigh*. So, you can see why we call it the “PC Fiasco”; many hours, lots of stress, and $3k down the drain. But, in the end, it was all worth it because I was able to produce streams I was proud of.

In terms of growth and traction, I started getting the most traction around June and July which was when I was able to stream a lot more. At this time, I had graduated, came back from my grad trip, and travelled to LA to meet up with a Twitch community I’ve become close with. This meet up and just being active in this certain community I think really began my traction on Twitch. Then, I was invited to smaller meet-ups with other streamers in Toronto and posting pictures from this small meet up definitely helped me gain traction too.

In fact, another growing streamer who had close relationships and connections and larger, established streamers on Twitch noticed me and became really good friends with me at this time too. This community also helped with gaining traction on my channel. In August/September (before my PC died), I was the first in these community circles to start streaming the game I played non-stop as a kid, yup, Maplestory. This surprisingly really grew my channel and I went from 60-75 average viewers to well over 90-100 viewers. I think this caused a ripple within my circles because a bunch of my other streamer friends started streaming Maplestory too!

ALSO, side note: there was one community member of mine who was very vocal about how boring Maplestory was and said no one would watch my Maplestory streams; this goes to show that you should JUST DO YOU, BOO! LISTEN to your intuitions, and for lack of better expressions, ignore the haters!! But yes, after Maplestory, my presence and networking at Twitchcon 2019 definitely helped keep my traction consistent into the new year!

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

I’ve sprinkled a ton of little advice from what I’ve learned and little tidbits through this interview, but here’s a basic summary of them.

My biggest piece of advice that I will relentlessly keep preaching (and probably most other content creators too) is to just be unapologetically you! Your personality, your quirks, and your own unique charm are what’s going to set you and your brand apart from the others, especially in this very saturated business! Once you are you, the rest will fall in place; a following that matches your views and even partnerships that match with that too!

Something I wish I knew when I was starting out was to not be so quick to trust others. Some people are really good at reading other people’s intentions and I’m not blessed with that skill unfortunately, haha. I’m someone that likes to look at the glass half full, but this is a reality that a lot of us have to face; so tread lightly my friends! I’m only mentioning this because it has burned me twice during my Twitch journey, but it’s okay because we close that chapter and we move on and learn from it, which is why I’m passing on this wisdom to you. This doesn’t mean to be sceptical of everyone you become friends with/collaborate with though!! (Keep in mind these were only 2 incidences out of the many, many beautiful relationships and friendships I’ve made from Twitch!)

Also, make sure you

Surround yourself with positivity, people you can trust, ask questions to, and people who will support you no matter what.

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

School always came first (no sorry I don’t have a crazy inspirational dropout story). After graduation, I notified my family that I was taking a year off of school, rather than going into a specialization school or getting a masters. So, I was just working one part-time job and streaming after university. This worked out because I ended up travelling so much in 2019. In fact, I was travelling so much (for Twitch actually) that I decided to leave my part-time job at EB Games as a senior sales associate.

It was sad because I could totally balance it on top of streaming, but it was definitely for the better. I have more control, flexibility, and creative freedom now for the content I want to put out there! So in November, I said goodbye to EB Games and invested more of my time into being a streamer. My boyfriend was always trying to convince me to quit earlier because I was making more than I was at my part-time job anyway, and eventually I caved!

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

I’ve only been content creating for a year, but boy has it been filled with milestones. I’ll never forget the moments of hitting 50 subs, 100 subs, and even 1000 subs. I would’ve never thought 1000 subs were even possible one year ago, but it definitely is. Or even hitting 50 followers and getting affiliated on Twitch, hitting 1,000 followers, and now I’m nearly at 5,000! These numbers may seem small or large but that’s because they’re relative. Never compare your Level 1 to someone else’s Level 100 and that’s a reminder I truly lived by.

I remember doing my first ever 12-hour stream back in February/March to celebrate 100 subs. And I also remember doing my first ever subathon in October which also became my first 24 hour stream where we shortly hit 1000 subs a few days later. All huge monumental milestones to be grateful for and humble reminders that you can truly achieve anything you put your mind to.

I remember being accepted into the Maplestory Bean Brigade partner program in September and how much that meant to me. It was my first official “being-a-partner-of-anything” and I was stoked that I got to represent one of my favourite childhood games. Then I was presented with some brand deals with clothing startups such as Super Potion and Project Otaku. All these opportunities really cemented in the fact that I was something seen as worthy to represent an entire company.

TwitchCon 2019 was an incredible milestone for me. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, gain invaluable relationships, and became really grounded. No, truly, TC 2019 was such a humbling and grounding experience. The feeling of being recognized by community members was irreplaceable, like whoa, I’m actually being recognized!! Meeting inspirations within the Twitch community was also incredible such as running into JakenBake and Water who were so so so nice and lovely in person (see what I mean by grounding?). But what really truly humbled me the most was my brave ass decided to host a solo meetup (where most of my streamer friends were doing joint meetups) and the turn out was nothing I could have ever imagined… Here’s a picture of my Bean Team aka the best Twitch community ever!

Finally, I’d definitely say my most incredible milestone is hitting the 1 year streaming anniversary alongside being Partnered on Twitch just 1 day apart… No words will truly explain how I felt, but here’s an illustration I drew of when I received the email. It was my 3rd attempt so it felt so surreal and to this day I still find it hard to believe that there’s a gorgeous lil’ purple checkmark next to my name on Twitch.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

As I mentioned earlier, a really big part of growing my brand was through networking. But I really want to emphasize that there’s a right way to network and a wrong way to network. Now I know, yes yes, all publicity is still publicity, but that’s not personally how I rolled. Make sure you’re networking with streamers and community members that you can relate with, people that kind of remind yourself of you. This is so important because you really don’t want to get yourself into tricky situations and plus having communities that can relate to each other will really strengthen the networks.

Okay, I know I go on and on about this, but I’m tellin’ ya, Twitch Chat knows if you’re the real deal. And once they genuinely support you and believe in what you’re doing, they’ll start talking about you in other streams and may even recommend you for raids and hosts!

Continuing with networking, I think collabs are always a great idea and a fun way to grow as well. Again, make sure you’re collabing with someone with similar audiences and with someone you genuinely relate to (get along with). I would say, don’t do it for the clout!! For example, early on in my Twitch journey, I was approached and asked to get interviewed to possibly be featured in a RajjPatel segment.

At the time, I was just coming back to the platform so I wasn’t sure who this was and what their content was about. So I did my research, watched some vods, and asked some of my friends/mods. I then decided that although this would have been a great growth strategy, his audience and his “vibes” (for lack of better terms) was not something that I could relate to or vibe with; so, I politely declined! An example of an amazing collab I’ve done was with my now friend, Alex (Exla on Twitch). We have similar audiences and when we collab it comes naturally and we easily bounce off each other’s energy and we can naturally meme with each other as well as with chat. These are the vibes you want to look for guys, because trust me, if it’s an awkward collab and you’re not feeling it or your collab partner isn’t feeling it, chat will pick up on it ASAP.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships?

I’ve never reached out to brands myself, but that’s something I should probably try for 2020 huh? But I’d make sure it's a company or brand that aligns with my brand!

So far, I’ve only accepted to sponsorship brands and both happen to be clothing companies. When accepting, I look for a few very important criteria. If there is monetary value involved, a contract should be written up where both parties agree to a set of terms and conditions. I also think a good relationship with very open and available communication is very key so there is little to no room for error. Because errors on either side would directly reflect on the other. Also, if there is a commission that could be earned, I highly recommend working with brands that have a tracker for customers using your link or code to truly ensure transparency. If not, set something up so you know you’re not being “scammazed”. Finally, know your worth as well. I’ve never negotiated pay, but in one of my contracts, I ensured that the money could be negotiable a couple of months down the line depending on my growth as a brand.

Handle each brand deal and sponsorships professionally and show that you’re willing to represent their brand! Also, please please do your research on brands beforehand as well, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. This is important for you and your audience! Receiving brand deals is super exciting but be patient and do your due diligence. You want to prevent misfortunes and you want to rep something your audience can relate to as well!

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