How to Handle Burnout Without Sabotaging Your Streaming Career
As much as you love being a live streamer, trying to consistently put out high quality content can take its toll if you’re not careful. These days, burnout is a real issue for content creators across all platforms with famous Youtubers and Twitch streamers such as PewDiePie and Lirik sharing their difficulties with keeping up. Ironically the more success you achieve, the more pressure you begin to put on yourself to not only stay relevant, but to stay on top.
What’s more, unless you’re friends with other streamers, it may be tough to find someone in your life who understands why you’re feeling worn out, as friends and family who know little about the live streaming industry may be under the impression that becoming a popular live streamer takes little more than simply chatting with people on your phone.
More often than not, burnout can be prevented. But what are the signs of burnout? Burnout starts when content creators start to feel something it not right, maybe they’re constantly tired, maybe they feel like they’re out of interesting content ideas, or maybe they feel like they’ve lost the enthusiasm they had for creating content in the first place. Yet despite these symptoms, they continue to push through. Before long, they’re feeling massive burnout.
Unsure how to solve the problem they do the worst thing possible, they stop. They disappear for a couple days, a week, a couple weeks. And when they get back, everything they built up is gone and they have to start from scratch and work twice as hard to get back to where they were before. Once they do that…you guessed it, they get burnout again and the vicious cycle continues.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are many ways that streamers can avoid burnout in the first place. You just have to be self aware and create habits that prevent it from happening.
But before we get into that, I want to talk a bit more about taking chunks of time off. It’s possible to do, but you need to be smart about it and take specific steps (which we share later on) to avoid losing the audience you have worked so hard to earn.
Many streamers underestimate the impact that taking time off will have on their growth, but it will sabotage their success. Live streaming is an up-and-coming medium with more and more people joining live streaming platforms and trying to grow an audience every single day. The moment you leave for a week, someone else will take your place.
Thomas Vojnyk, VP of Community and Content at The Meet Group has seen this happen time and time again. “Consistency is honestly the number one struggle for our streamers. It is a key metric to becoming a successful streamer on any live streaming app or mainstream video platform. However, we’ve seen so many streamers become successful and then take an entire week off without any warning. When they return, they essentially have to start over building an audience.”
He went on to share, “For example, earlier this year one of our live top streamers had their best month by far and chose to reward themselves for reaching that milestone with a two week vacation. After returning, it took them two months to get back to the average monthly performance levels they had been reaching prior to the holiday.”
What’s more, live streaming audiences are a bit different than audiences on other platforms. For many, live streaming is a way to pass time, something to watch during their lunch break or a way to wind down before bed. They have a set time they like to watch, and if you’re not on at that time, they’ll simply watch someone who is.
Vojnyk agrees, “Live streaming audiences are fickle and expect discoverability and predictability from the streamers they support. Viewers tend to move on to another streamer relatively quickly when an extended absence happens.”
On top of that, live streaming is ephemeral. Once you’re done live streaming, the content is gone. Your fans can’t go back and binge watch, so they need new content every day. And again, if you’re not there, they’ll find someone else.
I’m not saying this to scare you, or to give you pressure. I’m simply trying to make sure you’re aware of the possible consequences. Too many streamers step away and lose it all.
So what are some things you can do to avoid burnout in the first place?
Take the focus off of yourself
In her recent Stream Wars podcast interview, top MeetMe streamer Holly shared that whenever she feels reluctant to stream, she thinks about what her streams mean to her community.
“Probably the number one reason why I stream every single day is because there are so many people that tell me on a daily basis that they were dealing with depression or they were so sad and they didn’t have anyone to talk to, but at the end of the day they always knew that they could come into my live stream and they could smile and they could count on me to be there for them when nobody else in the world was.
So when you have a bunch of people looking to you to make them smile, make them happy, and to help them get through all their problems and help them be happier and not be so sad, that definitely helps me push back my feelings of being really tired.”
Have a life outside of streaming
When your streams start to take off and you’re gaining momentum, it can be really tempting to go nonstop. And while yes, the more time you can put in the better, it’s also important to continue doing other activities and interacting with people totally outside the streaming world.
Holly continues to have a full time job and that helps her feel less pressured when she streams. She feels that if streaming was the only thing she did it would take the fun out of it.
Going to the gym, dinner with friends, taking a class, having regular activities that will give your life balance.
It’s no secret that getting the right amount of sleep can do wonders for your mental state. If you’re not enjoying streaming, it might just be because you’re tired!
Occasionally stream less instead of not streaming at all
In her podcast interview Holly also shared that she has now been streaming for over 365 consecutive days. The majority of the time she will stream for a minimum of four hours per day, and during contests, she tends to stream more than that. She admits that streaming everyday over such a long period of time hasn’t always been easy. However, on days she’s feeling a little burnout, instead of taking the day off, she will just stream for a shorter period of time. Hopping on for a little bit is better than nothing!
And if 7 days a week is too much for you, consistently streaming 5–6 days a week with one day to refresh and reset is better than streaming 7 days a week for a couple months, getting burnt out, and stopping for a week.
Mix up your content
If you keep doing the same thing all the time not only does your audience get bored, you will get bored too! Add some new props, play a game, switch up your environment. Trying something new can keep streaming fresh and fun!
Be tactful about taking time off
There may be times when you really need to take more than a day off. In this case, there are some things you can do to minimize the negative effects.
Announce ahead of time that you will be taking time off. Repeat it in several streams. If you only announce it at the end of your stream the day before you take off, the majority of people won’t know. Change your streamer bio to display the dates you will be gone. Tell people a set date and time you’ll be back and then show up when you say you will. The worst thing you can do is just disappear without letting anyone know when you’ll be back, and nearly just as bad is saying you’ll be back one day and then not showing up until the next.
Live streaming is an amazing means of connecting with people and building an audience. While it is necessary to consistently put in the hours if you want to see success, in order to maintain that success, self-awareness is key. Pay attention to your body and your mood and take measures to prevent burnout before it hits you. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!