I grew up on Nintendo games, specifically Pokemon. My first ever game was Pokemon Leaf Green on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and I still remember being shocked that such a big and amazing experience could be contained on such a small cartridge. Pokemon was my main game from that point on. That series alone is what sparked my love of gaming. I didn’t get a console outside of strictly Nintendo until 2012 when I was introduced to the Xbox 360. There I found a love for Call of Duty and The Elder Scrolls series.
Growing up I rotated who I played games with. Internet friends would come and go, people would get busy, but I think the people who stayed the most consistent were the closest friends I grew up with in real life. Shoutout to Dallas, Myles, Braedyn, and Ben if you’re reading this. But they’ve helped me through a lot when it comes to my streaming career and my own personal issues in life. I still play with these guys today, even though all of our schedules have been busy thanks to entering college.
People often ask me where the name, “UniqueGeese”, came from. If you want to know the honest truth, I have no idea. I’m not particularly fond of geese and I don’t know what’s so unique about them. I originally had a Minecraft YouTube channel when I was in elementary school and I went by the name “Aqua Gaming Minecraft”. However, I felt like I needed to start fresh without most of my school knowing about it. I never got bullied or anything about it, I just didn’t want to be a starting varsity lineman in football and have people in the crowd yelling out my YouTube name. I just wanted to keep it separate. When I decided I wanted to start fresh, I remember laying in bed trying to think of a name that would be so strange or unique that no one at school would naturally find it. So the name DozensofUniqueGeese came up which was shortened in the last couple of years to just UniqueGeese.
I mentioned that I had a YouTube channel before, and I think that was my first moment of knowing I wanted to get into content creation. Before that, there was a website called Kidstube that I made videos on since my parents thought it was safer than YouTube (it wasn’t and is now defunct). But I made content from time to time when I was bored or had an idea, but there were a few people that really got me into content creation and more specifically streaming. My biggest inspiration was Etika from the Etika World Network. Etika was a Nintendo reaction streamer that mainly streamed on YouTube. His content was my first experience of seeing a chat on screen and being able to react to content along with someone. Even though he has unfortunately passed, I still do my best to honor him, his content, and the community he built through my own work. Another big influence was a Pokemon streamer named aDrive. Like I said, my favorite game was Pokemon and he was one of if not the biggest streamer on Twitch for that category. I would watch him for hours, and I still love the man.
So with my desire to keep making content and being exposed to some awesome content creators, I finally had the courage to hit that “Go Live” button and stream myself playing Pokemon. Until very recently, it was 100% for fun. With little viewership, not many connections, and little money being made, I focused more on school and freelance graphic design. I think there’s a lot of younger people who go into streaming or making YouTube videos with the intent to turn it into a career. I’m still not at that point after 5 years, so it’s important to realize that there is no easy path in this and you can’t expect for it to be paying bills, especially when you start.
My community is amazing. For the longest time, it was pretty small. Especially then, I knew almost every single person who came to my streams by name. The biggest thing when you start out is building a connection to your audience. I have viewers that have turned into good friends, I have viewers who I’ve sat in a Discord call with when they are having a hard time. When you’re starting out, it is important for your viewers to realize that you are more than just a person on a screen. But overall, my community is super welcoming and supportive. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your views are, what you look like, your sexuality, it doesn’t matter. We have such a diverse group of people in our community and I am proud to be a part of it.
Starting out, I strictly played Pokemon. You hear about “sticking to a niche” all the time in streamer tip videos, which I agree with to an extent, but I didn’t see growth on my channels until I started to branch out to more variety content. Original Just Chatting ideas, Minecraft on a server dedicated to my viewers, variations and challenge runs on the games you’re playing. You have to switch it up and spice it up for your own sake and the viewers’ sake. It’s also important to try new things. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I didn’t try playing indie games like Friday Night Funkin’ which ended up blowing up and helped grow my channel a ton. That being said, you have certain games you want to play. I would love to do more Pokemon and Minecraft on stream, and I would be playing them if I never got into streaming. But you have to meet in the middle when it comes to what you want to play and what your community wants to watch. I think the biggest thing that can help with growth is viewer interactivity. If you can get your viewers involved in some way, you’re doing a lot for growth. For example, I play with my viewers on our Minecraft server. The only way to join it is to be in my Discord where the IP is posted, that way it stays to people in our community.
I think overall, I am pretty true to myself when it comes to my content. For almost all of us, we’re different when there’s a camera pointed at our face, so of course I do over express and act a bit different, but it’s not like I lie about who I am or put on a face for the brand of the channel. I just think it’s easier to just be yourself and it makes it a lot more relatable.
I get asked a ton how to grow your channel and I have one easy solution, get active on as much social media as you can. I would say pick 3 platforms to be making content on. The biggest choices are Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You need to be consistently uploading to multiple platforms if you want to see growth overall. Now I understand it’s completely possible to grow just by streaming on Twitch or just making YouTube videos, but doing this worked for me and has worked for several streamer friends of mine. My workflow is pretty simple. Come up with an idea, incorporate it as a segment on stream, edit that into a YouTube video, edit that video into a TikTok, reupload the TikTok to YouTube shorts, Instagram, etc. This way you are maximizing your reach and getting as many eyes onto your content as possible. Again, you can easily stream on Twitch and get by, but if you’re looking for a magic way to grow, you have to make good, relatable content on as many platforms as possible.
I think one of my biggest struggles was just developing into a better content creator. I didn’t know it at the time, but I used to mumble into the microphone, I would go into a stream with no goals in mind, and I was just hopping on to play games. You have to do more than that. It took me about half a year to get Affiliate when I first started but it’s taken about 4 years since then to get to Partner. Another thing to keep in mind is that Partner’s minimum to apply (75 average viewers) doesn’t mean that you’re going to get in, in most cases, you won’t. I applied 3 times and it wasn’t until the last application where I was averaging over 135 that I got in. Just stuff to think about when you’re using “Affiliate” and “Partner” as milestones in your career.
I’m currently not doing this full-time but sometimes it feels like it. At the moment I’m a Freshman in college working towards my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design. While I would LOVE to drop out of college right now to stream and make YouTube videos, it’s just not realistic or reliable. March was my best month on record, but I would have to be getting paid much more than that to drop out. My goal right now is to finish off school and gain some valuable design skills, then after college, I can make the decision to start fading out content creation and get a formal design job, or really go hard in streaming and apply my design knowledge to it. I think picking a major that relates to streaming helps make streaming a more viable option in the future.
I’m not going to lie, balancing life and streaming can be difficult, especially when you’re a full-time student. My normal, let’s say Tuesday, starts out at 6am. I wake up, I edit a YouTube video and get it uploaded for 8am, then it’s off to the studio to do work. I’m in the art studio about 4-9 hours a day, so I usually work until 2pm when I have a class. After that class I work on school work until about 5:30pm. I set up OBS, clean up my workspace, get my lights set up and get together my plans for that night’s stream, then I start my Twitch Preshow on YouTube at 6:30pm. I stream on YouTube for about 30 minutes to engage my YouTube audience and let them know I’m going live on Twitch, but to also have a more casual “warm-up” stream. Then at 7 I go live on Twitch. Depending on how much homework and studio work I need to do for the day, I do anywhere from a 1 ½ hour stream to a 5 hour. Then I work on school work until about 1 or 2 am and head to bed. I take Mondays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays or Sundays “off” of streaming just because I have classes from 8am to 5:30pm with a ton of required home and studio work due the next day.
I think the idea of “a day off” when you make content is really nonexistent. Sure, you can say that you’re not going to do anything stream or content creation related for an entire day, but you’re always thinking about it. Always through your mind you’re thinking about stream ideas, you’re remembering that you need to edit a video, whatever. Content creation is a lot more intensive, and it’s hard to truly find “time off”.
Because of classes and schoolwork, I still interact with people a ton. It’s not like I’m not social. I just spend a lot more time dedicated to content creation as that’s what I want to do and it’s truly my dream. When my parents first found out about my stuff, they assumed it was just a passing hobby. The issue with most parents is it’s hard to explain that you want to play video games and have fun talking to your computer without it sounding super strange. As my parents started to see my success and see what I was really doing, they became extremely supportive of it, and I am super thankful for that. Friends were similar, but they were a lot more understanding since our generation grew up on YouTube and the internet. I tried to hide the fact that I streamed from people who weren’t close friends of mine back in high school, but really it’s a part of me, it’s a lifestyle, so there’s no real need to hide it.
I would love to do this for a living and do it without the stress of school, but again, it’s all going to depend on if I can work it like a business and actually make a living off of it. I don’t do it for the money, but if I want to do it over a traditional job, I have to find ways to make it sustainable. Let’s say I have a lot of success and I decide to do it full time after college. I could see myself doing it into my late 30’s assuming it was successful.
My apps and extensions are pretty basic overall. I simply use OBS Studio, although I’d recommend Streamlabs OBS to starting streamers. I use the Streamlabs application to update current events like recent donations and such on screen. I use the Streamlabs Chatbot, which allows viewers to type commands like “!discord” to get a link to the community Discord. All the graphics and overlays were done by me. I actually did a lot of freelance work making layouts for streamers, so it only made sense to use my own assets. I don’t think there’s any particular extensions I would recommend, I think I just have the Twitch Prime alert one.
I think it’s important to look at your analytics, but don’t let them overtake your life. I could stare at and refresh my Twitch and YouTube analytics for days, but what really matters is making content that you genuinely enjoy. If you would watch it, you’re doing it right. Try not to compare yourself to others, that’s your ticket to getting discouraged and even quitting. It’s important to note though if you have a viewership drop in one stream. Was it the game you were playing? Did you announce the stream in a different way? Use analytics as a tool, but don’t let them overtake you.
One of my top tools when streaming is an Elgato Streamdeck. When I first started streaming this was one of the most important tools for what I was doing. I use scenes to create more interest in my content. Fun zooms, cuts between scenes, and even intros to streams can all easily be controlled without spending a ton of time scrolling through your scenes. I will say that now there’s a lot more options for a similar effect. I know there’s apps and custom macro pads that do similar things for cheaper or even free. I’d highly recommend checking those, I think Elgato even has a Streamdeck app.
Another important tool has been a good microphone. If you’re going to invest in your stream, audio should be one of the first upgrades. I currently have a Sure MV7 which I run through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo, but I ran with a Blue Snowball for years and it was extremely good for starting out, and it’s what I recommend.
Another important tool I would recommend is a second monitor or PC. Have something to pull your chat, OBS and alerts up on. While there are alternatives like having an overlay that puts chat over your game, I still find it best to have a place to look away from gameplay that has everything you need to interact with chat.
The biggest thing about Twitch Partner is that in the end it’s just a title. Don’t base your content or anyone else’s on a purple check mark. I love that I finally got Partner, and I really appreciate Twitch for allowing me the opportunity to do this, but don’t aim just for Partner. I see people hitting affiliate and saying their next goal is Partner or that they’re starting their Push for Partner. No. Set reasonable goals for yourself and try to improve your content. If you just hit affiliate, try to aim for an average of 10 viewers this upcoming month. If you aim to Partner right off the bat, you’ll get discouraged and you’ll be less likely to keep pushing. Aim small and work big.
I would say it’s discoverability. I don’t think there IS an answer on how to fix it, but I think starting streamers should in some way be easily exposed to viewers. They’ve done a lot to improve discoverability, but it just seems so much easier for new people to find you on YouTube or TikTok. Maybe implement a system where you can click through recommended streams that auto play and don’t show preroll ads. That way you have something like TikTok’s For You Page that is constantly pushing out streams and if you don’t like what you see, just keep scrolling.