If you asked who was giving new and upcoming streamers the best advice right now, you’d be hard-pressed to not say Ashnichrist. Twitch Partner, podcaster and coach, Ashnichrist has built up a amazing community with her brilliant YouTube videos, Twitter conversations and podcast.

We spoke to Ashnichrist about what got her into gaming, work/life balance, how a streamer can turn their hobby into a career, and her dreams for the future.

What got you into Twitch and streaming?

I’ve been a gamer since the early 90s. A boyfriend introduced me to Twitch in 2012 and it kind of shocked me. When I first watched it, I thought people watching others play video games was really weird. After watching a few streams, I saw the fun and community and become completely obsessed. I got a credit card so I could buy a PC and start streaming. Please don’t follow my actions here!

Where did your username come from?

Oh, it isn’t creative at all! Its my first, middle, and last names all smashed together.

What is your earliest memory of gaming?

Oh wow. It’s probably playing Mortal Kombat on SNES with the kids around my neighborhood. That game came out in 1993! I miss those older titles. OMG do you remember the Mortal Kombat movie?!

What is your favourite memory or achievement on Twitch so far?

I think its the recent change to focus less on myself as a creator, and more on helping other streamers through educational content. My podcast and YouTube have really changed the game for me, and I’m so proud and happy to be in a position where my content is resonating with people. My DMs are filled with people thanking me for my guidance, but I’m just happy to be a part of their journey. I know a lot of people say “streaming isn’t for everyone”, but I believe that if you really love it, it is for you.

I believe most people can be taught how to stream successfully, and I believe there are enough resources to make anyone on Twitch full-time. Some streamers take a little longer than others to have it click in for them, but it can happen. Honestly, streamers just inspire me so much. It is NOT an easy job.

Before this change, it probably would have been the night I went full-time on Twitch. My community made some huge moves to make it happen, and I turned into a crying, drunken mess.

How do you mix work/life balance and producing your content?

I actually don’t believe in work/life balance. So many people try to force themselves to find the perfect mixture of work and life, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that just doesn’t happen. Work and life workloads fluctuate all the time, which means one thing usually needs more attention over the other. And this can shift so intensely day by day.

If you strive to find the “balance” of work and life, you always feel like you are struggling to keep up. It’s like you have 2 buckets, and each one has a hole in the side. When you fill up your life bucket, you realize you haven’t been paying attention to your work bucket and it has emptied. Instead, I believe in becoming comfortable in the imbalance. You will always be slipping up somewhere, and that’s okay! It’s really important to learn to notice that as quickly as you can, and course correct.

Now that is general life advice. I do think that, when it comes to streaming or content creation, you need to be giving it your all every single day. Depending on your level of work ethic, you might even stay up in bed, working on content until your eyes start drooping. That is the love and dedication level you need to have to grow a community in this industry.

What advice do you give to those who want to start streaming?

If you haven’t started yet at all, I think there are two pieces of advice you need:

  1. Don’t get a credit card to buy equipment. But really, I see a lot of new streamers procrastinating on starting to stream because they think they need some big, fancy setup. The people that have setups like that have been streaming for years and have made those adjustments over time. You absolutely don’t need anything fancy to start. Use what you have, and if you love it, then start investing

There is so much more to streaming than just turning on a camera and playing games. It’s a really attractive hobby or career path for people because they think “oh, I’m going to be playing games anyways, I might as well stream it.” While this is a fine reason to start streaming on Twitch as a hobby, most of these people get caught up in the race once they’ve started. They start worrying about follow numbers, subs, getting tips, etc instead of just playing because “thats what they were going to do anyways”. Then those people realize, it takes a LOT of work. They start feeling frustrated, or entitled to viewers because they “stream for the right reasons”, or they start hating on others for their success. It really brings down the Twitch community, when we should all be lifting each other up. Mindset is such a huge piece of streaming. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there too! It took me three months to start talking to my chat. That is why I’m so adamant that people can be taught the skills they need to succeed. Because I’ve failed so much, at so many things. And this is why I think it’s important to do your research. Streaming is so much more than software, hardware, and video games. There are real, marketable skills that you develop as a streamer and you need to be prepared for that.

Do you have any tips for people looking to grow their streaming into a business?

How have I never been asked this question before! Yes! I love the business side of the industry so much, and I really think streamers are in a fantastic position to start their own businesses. I think the statistic is.. only 1% of streamers made over 20k in 2016? Of course those numbers will change a little for 2018, but its obvious that these people need to make more money. Not only do streamers work INSANELY hard and do the job of 5 people, they are also new media celebrities.

Popular content creators are basically the same as Hollywood actors in the 1920s, and the rest of the world will catch onto that eventually. They deserve more money. However, leveraging an audience to create a business can be difficult if you don’t have experience in it, because any good streamer wants to maintain that intimacy with their community, and a lot of streamers just don’t have the time to focus on anything other than their stream. So finding time to work on a business can be really hard. But I do think its the best thing to do if you want a stable income for your future and a better chance of longevity in the community.

I think my best tip would be: Create a business based on the value you are already giving your audience. Are you funny? Honest? Meme-y? Why do people watch you? What do you love that is a staple in your community? When you know your value, you can start thinking of products or services that fit that value. This has a higher chance of resonating with your already established audience, because you are giving them an opportunity to deepen their relationship with you. Think about BromanGothalion, and everyone selling coffee at Kings Coast. They have done a fantastic job.

Wait! Were you asking how to take your streaming more seriously? LOL!

In that case, if you want to take streaming more seriously and turn your content into a full-time income for yourself, you need to have a rock solid foundation. So many people want to skip the foundation work and start reaching out to sponsors, but if you can’t be consistent, grow a community, be charismatic on camera for hours at a time, those people aren’t going to want to work with you and help you pay your bills anyways. Get really good at being consistent, entertaining, and learning to network/market yourself before you go to the next level.

Are there any social platforms you feel that streamers are neglecting right now?

Yes! Instagram is so under-used, and a lot of the people who actually do use it, aren’t using it well. Our community needs to learn about the algorithm and the importance of aesthetic. Aesthetic on social media in general is just huge, so take better photos! If you aren’t trying to make your stuff look good, or you’re adding a bunch of small streamer hashtags to the mix, you are doing it wrong!

Also, where are the Facebook Ads for Twitch streamers?

Which feature do you wish Twitch had that would change how people stream?

I love Mixer’s “Up and Coming” section of their website. They do a fantastic job at making streamers of all sizes feel welcome and noticed in their community. I’d love to see Twitch implement something like that. I’ve heard some rumors about it happening, so hopefully those come true.

Also, co-streaming on Twitch should be much easier and aesthetic. It would be so neat to see 2 streams on one page, integrated chats, right on Twitch. Mixer does this one too — Mixer is a great platform!

Who do you love watching on Twitch right now?

I love watching the people I’ve interviewed for my podcast. It feels like I am watching my friends.

Right now I’m loving KateCahlaflourKittyPlays, and the streamers in my community. I try to stop by as often as I can, but I don’t have a lot of time to watch lately.

What are your future ambitions?

In my professional life, I have some pretty scary goals, some of which I can’t say here. I’d love to create a few online courses, write a few ebooks, write a real book or two, start speaking at events, host my own events, and turn Stream Coach (my coaching services) into a legitimate business. I want all of these things to revolve around helping streamers.

In my personal life, I want to travel more. I just got back from the Bahamas and I am itching for my next adventure!

Thanks for chatting with us Ashnichrist!

I know this took almost 2 hours for her to complete… so let’s all go follow her on TwitterSubscribe on YouTube and check out her Patreon!

Part of our Emergence link up – https://medium.com/the-emergence