Today's guest article is brought to you by our friendly neighborhood accountant, Nick.
Every day there are new decisions to be made, both in life and in streaming. If you’re indecisive like me then plenty of those life choices end up with a face plant of some kind. Getting up, it’s always important to consider how a situation could have gone had we chose the door on the right instead of the left. In order to successfully do that we need to consider looking at it from different viewpoints. Here are a couple words to consider:
Sight: the power or faculty of seeing.
Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through senses.
I’m Nick “Smoose” and, with the help of dictionary.com there, I’m here to give you a glimpse of the world as I see it. Numbers give the ability to look ahead or behind us, which is incredibly useful when it comes time to make another one of those life choices.
Numbers Don’t Lie
We can always trust numbers since they don’t lie. You spent $1,200 on that new computer? The numbers will show you exactly that. Need to know how much of an impact playing a new game like “We Happy Few” had on your stream? Numbers are right there to tell you. Whether it’s how much income it made you through new subs or how many people were watching consistently, numbers will reflect that.
What we also need to consider is the fact that while numbers don’t lie, they don’t necessarily tell the truth either.
Let’s say you’re looking over the last three months and you see a dip in income for June, which happens to be the month you went to E3. The numbers will show lower income from the lack of streaming and higher expenses from traveling/networking/socializing in general. Is this bad? Not necessarily, which is definitely an odd answer coming from an accountant but that is where my next point will help us understand why.
Investing your time into a project or an event could make you better off in the long run. Things like networking or even just taking a small break to readjust are both things where time comes into play.
For example, maybe you accepted an invitation to an awesome game studio like Gearbox or Blizzard to test an upcoming game/patch. Taking the opportunity to go out and socialize with these developers definitely helps in more ways than one (Exposure, unique networking, and most importantly playing a new video game since we’re all gamers here after all).
Time is a perspective that goes overlooked too often. Don’t dismiss how much time it takes to perfectly set up your stream or how little time it takes to take a five-minute break after going for a few hours. Especially since time can feel like it’s moving by faster and faster, it helps to record what you do and how long it took you to do it on a spread sheet or even just a notepad.
Every Number is Equivalent
The goal of streaming part or full-time is to make money. I’m sure most of you are thinking that this should be the most important number but let me tweak your goggles a bit. What if you had a consistent amount of revenue every month (subs, regulars who donate, etc), but you’re always a just a bit behind on the new game or don’t make quite enough to update your branding? Fortunately, since every number is the same, we have an answer besides the mundane “Oh, just get more viewers my homie”.
One way to do it would be to lower expense, like eating out less or skipping a smaller convention. I’m with all of you on this one, it was a real sad day when I couldn’t buy into the new Magic: the Gathering Core 2019 set, but in the long run we will be more successful.
Another example is deciding where to spend the money that you’re making. Maybe branding is the way to go, even if you would have to squeak by the next month or two after spending that money. It’s true that numbers are going out, but confidence may go up when you see those awesome emotes flowing through chat in the sleek overlay.
These three points are what I see as a numbers person. Being able to look at a spreadsheet of the literal facts with no fluff or a Paypal account with all of the income and expenses flowing through it has helped my decisions be significantly easier and I hope they do the same for you.
If you have finance questions regarding your stream you can reach Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org.