COVID-19 has forced all of us to stay at home, increasing most of our screen times and sometimes blurring the lines between our workspace and bed.
The pandemic has also amplified the importance of diversifying our income sources, which made me even more curious about side hustles that can be done right at home.
Since most of us are mostly facing our screens during this period of time, it is no surprise that live-streaming has recently taken the world by storm.
This could be seen by how e-commerce giants like Shopee and Lazada have boosted their earnings during April when COVID-19 was at its peak.
Lazada recorded 27 million active users on its live-streams across all markets, while Shopee recorded 300 million live-stream views in Southeast Asia in April itself.
This live-streaming fever has also reached the shores of Singapore, where young Singaporean millennials could be seen raking up 4 figures monthly through live-streaming as well.
Live-streaming used to be an avenue for avid gamers to share their video gaming experience, but has grown so rapidly and evolved into a money-making opportunity.
Since most of us do have the basic equipment required for live-streaming – a steady internet connection and basic video equipment, could this be a potential side hustle (or even an alternative career route) for most of us?
We took a look at some live-streaming options that are available, and how you could potentially be the next millionaire right from your study desk. 😉
How Much Are Live Streamers Making?
Live streaming is a lot bigger in countries like China and the States, and so the biggest live streamers in these countries can receive pretty big paychecks.
While the market is still not as huge here in Singapore, it is probably something that could blow up in the very near future.
Here’s how much some of these live streamers are making:
|Name||Platform||Specialty||How Much He/She Earns|
|Zina Ng||BeLive||Sings while playing musical instruments||$1,900 per month|
|Veekher Wong||BeLive||Sings while playing the guitar||Average of $1,500 from donations and BeLive's incentives|
|Zxuan||Tamago||Plays Mobile Legends||Earns up to a five-digit income per month|
|Emma Jacobs||YouNow||Showcases her exotic pets such as snakes and giant cockroaches||£75 in half an hour|
|Tyler “Ninja” Blevins||Twitch||Plays Fortnite||US$$500,000 per month|
The paychecks of live-streamers are not readily available, but here’s a good gauge of how lucrative the live-streaming business can get.
We also have popular live-streamers that sell products online and have since become notable figures themselves.
Who remembers S Hook jie and Wang Lei becoming a fishmonger?
How Do You Earn Money by Live-Streaming?
Revenue from live-streaming comes in a few ways.
For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on live-streamers that are not making the bulk of their profits from e-commerce products.
Depending on the platform, individuals could earn advertising fees or through functions such as Super Chat on YouTube (where viewers can pay to have their comment bumped up).
But most live-streamers make money from the funding from their fans.
For most of these platforms, virtual gifts are made available for purchase by fans for these live-streamers.
Gifting usually happens during the live streams as there is real-time interaction between the live-streamer and his or her fans.
Vulcan Post did a brief comparison of the types of gifts that are available on these live-streaming platforms.
|Live-Streaming Platform||Virtual Gifts||How Much Is Required To Cash Out|
|Loops Live SG||100 Coins for $1.48|
500 Coins for $6.98
1100 Coins for $14.98
5000 Coins for $68.98
11,000 Coins for $148.98
|$6,777 worth of gifts to cash out $1,000|
|Bigo Live||42 Diamonds for $1.48|
297 Diamonds for $9.98
850 Diamonds for $28.98
2,558 Diamonds for $148.98
|$5,403.90 worth of gifts to cash out $1,000|
|BeLive||100 Gems for $1.48|
310 Gems for $4.48
520 Gems for $6.98
1,650 Gems for $21.98
5,000 Gems for $63.98
12,000 Gems for $148.98
|$2,328 worth of gifts to cash out $1,000|
Source: Vulcan Post
Live-streaming is slowly being considered as a platform for new online personalities, the same way YouTube, TikTok and Instagram have become platforms for the influencers we have today.
These direct engagement people could have with these online personalities would encourage them to return to these platforms and build relationships, and help contribute monetarily to content creation.
How Can You Start Doing Live Streaming?
Are you interested in becoming a live-streamer?
Here are things you can take note to get yourself started.
Pick Your Niche
Most live-streamers specialise in one specific area to showcase.
This niche would set the foundation of your channel, allowing you to create content with more intent and purpose.
One thing to note is to preferably be working on something that has demand in order to gain audiences.
That being said, entering a market that is already saturated would also mean tougher competition.
Therefore, it is important to work on something that you’re already passionate about (people can feel enthusiasm!) and hone it to make it personal.
Some topics include:
- Mukbang (Eating show)
Platforms That Are Available
There are various platforms that are available now to get started.
Some platforms are more popular for certain niches, so you can choose the one that might suit what you are looking for.
|Live-streaming platform||What you can do||What you need|
|BeLive||Conduct live shopping and trivia|
Beauty camera and face filters
Shareable live link for social channels
|For incentive programmes, a stipulated amount of live viewers is required to receive these incentives|
|Bigo||Select live tags to be distributed on relevant platforms|
Fuss-free interaction with audience
|Facebook, Google or your phone number to sign up|
|Facebook Live||Unlock Facebook Stars so your fans can support you|
Access to Fan Subscriptions once you meet the criteria
Limited Access to Beta Products & Features
Invite to Community Group with other members
|Joining the Facebook Gaming Creator Level Up Program which includes:
To stream gaming content for at least 2 days in the prior 14 day
Have at least 100 followers on their page
Admin of the page must be 18 or older
Stream gaming content (with game tagged) for at least 4 hours in the prior 14 days
|Twitch||Join Twitch's partnership program to enjoy perks like potential ad and subscription revenue|
Automatic transcoding of your content
Edit archived video into highlight clips and create highlight reels
|Computer or gaming console running the right software
Basic account is free, Turbo account is US$4.99 every month
|YouTube Live||Allow viewers to support you through Super Chat|
Get channel membership which takes a subscription fee from any subscribed users
Enable pre-roll ads before your live video starts
Add mid-roll advertisements during streaming
|1,000 subscribers (for mobile devices)
Verified channel (with phone number)
Mobile device, webcam or with an encoder (more advanced, good for game streams)
Things To Note About Live-Streaming
The allure of live-streaming stands from how it might seem possible to earn fast money without leaving our homes.
However, individuals have to be aware of the potential pitfalls of live streaming.
Being exposed to the online world would mean being vulnerable to derogatory comments posted by strangers.
There have been instances where streamers were cast racist slurs or body-shamed by viewers, therefore becoming a target of cyberbullying.
Also, with the convenience of interacting with strangers via live-streaming, there is a danger of sexual grooming, especially for young teens as it is now easier to build an emotional connection to lower the teen’s inhibition.
There have also been instances of strangers asking teen girls to show off their bodies as well.
While these apps have precautionary measures to mitigate such situations, the very nature of live-streaming (where everything happens on the spot) could create difficulty in such efforts.
Also, live-streaming, similar to other online career paths would require a lot of effort before it becomes something profitable.
According to Singapore gamer Zxuan, building it up to be a viable career is not easy.
“It takes creative effort in developing a niche or a character that can keep an audience coming back for more. You need to be a good gamer, possess a character or personality that’s interesting, and a bit of luck with timing and opportunities.”
Like it or not, live-streaming is here to stay.
This can be seen by how *SCAPE and Twitch has recently launched a partnership, Pathway, which is a platform that aims to support local aspiring streamers.
There are now even crash courses for live-streaming and tutorials on how to become a successful one.
So if you’re looking for a side hustle or am interested in walking down an alternative career path, this might be something you can take a look!