How I Turned My Childhood Hobby Into My Dream Side Hustle.

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July 7, 2020

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

I enjoy streaming very tactical and realistic shooters, first person preferably. After thinking long and hard about my primary game, I chose Escape From Tarcov because of the complexity and the mindset you have to maintain to be successful. I stream on Twitch when I am not working my full time job. I am very passionate about streaming full time so I’m doing everything I can to make that happen as soon as possible. I’m thankful to have a lot of great friends and support in the streaming community. 

It took me a few months to come up with my brand name, RedBeardOperator. I was at work doing a brainless task when I came up with the name. I wanted the name to be something personal, something that described me, but a name that I had never used before. I wanted to take my competitiveness from sports and brand myself as a new me. This wasn’t the kid on the Playstation anymore, or the high schooler that played Call of Duty and Madden casually. The operator was me, now who I am, after years of gaming. I create content for avid gamers that like to take their game seriously. Anything that I stream I want to make sure that I give the viewer the tools and knowledge to be able to get the same fulfillment out of the games as I do.

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

I was about to graduate high school thinking about different career paths and as I thought about my options, I knew only one of them would give me the fulfillment I was looking for in a career. I come from a small town with not very many career path options and I knew I had the ability to do a lot more than the side jobs I had in high school and even the options available in town. I thought more and more about my interest in technology and the fact that I have been gaming since George Washington became president. I grew up with the industry and when me and my friends weren’t playing ball or figuring out a way to get hurt, I was playing my Playstation.

I started out on PS1 my first 3 games were Jet Moto, Ace Combat and Metal Gear Solid. Moving onto ps2 was when I got into Socom Navy Seals which were the start of really getting competitive against others. Once I got to the PS4 the games started to lose me. I feel so many titles and developers move more towards profits than making a quality game. I’d gotten into War Thunder when I saw a video From DevilDoggamer talking about a game called Escape From Tarkov. The game to me coming from console was exactly what I'd been needing. A more up to date realistic style shooter for a more mature audience, a hardcore game that isn’t concerned about your feelings. 

After getting my foot in the door of what I thought were long term jobs, I realized there is no way I would be fully satisfied doing them full time for the next twenty to thirty years. From then on I made a point to put a lot of time into figuring out how to make my passion become a reality. I was at a point in my life where I was either going to quit gaming completely or find a way to make a career doing it. I obviously like to play video games and entertain others, so I begin to figure out what platforms I could use to help me do what I love. My plan was to build a following on Twitch streaming my favorite PC game and using my knowledge to educate and entertain my viewers. I quickly realized the need to incorporate social media.

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

I am a history and military junkie and I try to use what I see to educate people about the weapons and the items represented in game. My selection of games really help make it easy to create content because of the depth in detail of the games I have chosen to play. Being a streamer more than a content creator, I get to see live how my viewers like my content from their involvement in chat and content I should use for my social media.

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

I stream on Twitch and use Streamlabs OBS analytics to gage when I should stream, where my viewers are, and what time of the day they are active. I have a standard single PC dual monitor setup with a stream deck. As far as social media goes, I use the content I create from streaming and post those to the social media accounts. I primarily use Instagram and Twitter. I have a discord that I use to communicate with members of my community and streamers I collaborate with. I use Adobe Rush at the moment until I graduate from Adobe Premiere. It is easier to use having a full time job because I can work off my phone if I get a break. 

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

My fears starting out were moving from console to a PC to not only a platform I had never played on, but also starting out on a game I had never played before. I knew I had the ability to be a great broadcaster and gamer, but my future and heart wasn’t in consoles. It took almost four months playing PC before I felt comfortable going live.

I was never really concerned with what people were thinking and I don’t push myself as a person to be targeted for negativity. My purpose for every stream is to be a stress relief for others and a time for them to enjoy entertainment and a positive environment. Even if I am irritated with the game I want them to laugh at my frustration. My primary purpose is to provide positive entertainment and give others a place where they can come and communicate with others about their same passions. Through doing this, it keeps me level headed and creative because through having a positive stream creates a positive work environment for me as a creator.

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

I have been streaming for about two years now. I began seeing a jump in viewers after three months and getting a setup with a camera. I think viewers like to see my reactions and there is no way my conversations about food can be done without a camera. That is one thing I am known for, hence my cornbread emoticon. I like to use a comedic side to keep my viewers entertained and it often leads to food.

My biggest challenge is my lack of time. At first it was the funding to get the tools I needed to start streaming, once that was out of the way I could stream but I’m only able to the days I am not working my full time job. Once I have enough income from streaming, I will be able to stream full time and my only challenge will be keeping up with the games I play.

I originally started out streaming Squad and was using my interest in that particular game to learn PC and eventually move to Escape from Tarcov. Once moving over to EFT I slowly picked up content creating and learning the basics to editing. I try everyday to have a short 30 second to a minute clip to post on social media. The video could be a great play or something informative or has a purpose with the rest of the post for the day.

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

Whatever it may be, content creation, streaming, etc., please don’t do it unless you are going to put your heart and soul into it. Don’t do it for the money, the fame, or so you can post about it on Facebook. Every day you need to go into this with the mindset to have a good time and keep a clear head. Paralysis by analysis in this game will be the death of you. The only thing I regret about streaming is not starting sooner. I wish I would have started years ago when I first thought about it but at that time we didn’t necessarily have the tools we have today to stream. One of the greatest pieces of advice I got from another streamer named DeadlySlob is to

Turn off the viewer count so you can’t see it. Stream like you are streaming to a million people, is that not what you are trying to reach anyway?

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

I am nowhere near full time or the goals I need to be full time but I am making plans now to reach that point. I am actively starting to look for another job to have more time to put into streaming and content creation. There are little things I have done over the past few years to reach my goals like manage my time very well, use every bit of free time I have to post to social media or communicate with colleagues. As a streamer my goals changed over time. The time spent with chat and connecting with them, you start to connect with them as a person instead of just a name on a screen. Compliments they give like watching me play a game that they don’t even play theirself but they just like to see me play… as a content creator it can’t get any better than that.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

Connecting with the different content creators and the community I have is just short of amazing. I have been able to collaborate with seemingly every walk of life, many nations, people with the same and different goals. Early in my streaming career I had a back injury that sidelined me from streaming and had to be placed on disability from work. I say this not to talk about a hardship, but to let known the support I had from my community and the assistance they gave in helping me overcome that battle and jump back to it when I became well enough.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Networking through other content creators and incorporate every possible social media application I can. Something that I want other content creators to understand is to always treat others as a colleague not a competition. The power of word of mouth through positive engagements and positive interactions with others is the greatest marketing tool you could ever have. Be humble and build others with you. Want the same success for them as you want for yourself. From my actions and willingness to work with others, I have been asked to be  a part of multiple podcasts and interviews such as this.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

They need you as much as you need them. Don’t ever compromise on who you are or what makes you feel uncomfortable. If it feels or sounds fishy, usually it is. As a content creator, all of us are unique no matter what. Our uniqueness is what is valuable. 

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