Video games have come a long way since the days of Atari and Pac-Man, haven’t they? Esports is the latest Gen-Z disruption to take the world by storm. Teens and young adults are forming teams and competing professionally in gaming tournaments around the world. Gaming is much more than a form of entertainment. It’s become a way of life. Why not make money off this thing you love?
If you’re a gamer looking to pivot into entrepreneurship, here are some things to keep in mind.
> You Still Need a Business Plan
No one is going to hand over a wad of cash because you crushed it at Assassin’s Creed. You still need to do all the things to prep that every other young entrepreneur does. That means writing out a business plan.
As with every other small business startup, your business plan needs to include things like a list of reasons why investors should give you financial backing, a timeline, goals, and a marketing plan.
Investors are important because you’ll have some of the same startup costs as everyone else. As a gamer, you may need even more venture capital for things like a world-class gaming system and a team to help you with social media and fan interactions (should you go that route).
> Create Your Brand
Who are you? What’s your game? What makes you special?
Sure, your friends may know you as the being best at Fortnite 1v1. But how will you let the world know this?
Remember that you need to be professional so people will take you seriously. Come up with your gamer handle and use that to lock down your social media profiles: YouTube, Twitch, etc. Design a logo, or have an artsy friend help you out.
As you create your brand take into consideration how you want to be seen by other gamers. What game are you going to specialize in? What platform? If you’re going to live-stream, what will you be doing? Tutorials? New game reviews?
While none of this needs to be set in stone, you should at least have some idea of your gamer brand before you launch your business.
> Choose Your Path
Streaming your gameplay on Twitch is just one way to make money as a gamer. Here are some ideas for other gaming businesses you might consider.
*Design and code your own video games.
If your gameplay involves hacks, mods, and messing with the game’s original code, why not design your own game? Gamers are full of ideas for better ways to play, awesome games that others will love, and generally have a knack for knowing what people want. Sites like Steamworks offer ways for you to then publish your own games for the world to enjoy!
*Rent out your gear.
Have an older but still useable gaming system? Just upgraded your controllers but the old ones are still in good shape?
Plenty of gamers would love to try out your stuff for a small rental fee. Your target customers might be parents of young would-be gamers who want to see whether a system is a good fit. Perhaps gamers who want to (safely) get together for an onsite tournament need some extra PS4s. Or children’s birthday parties!
Treat this as a regular business with a website, good photos, and a professional attitude. Potential customers are more likely to trust that you know what you’re doing and can offer them quality products for a reasonable price.
*Sell in-game products.
You know best what gamers want. Maybe you and your friends have spent hours lamenting the lack of a certain weapon, skin, or tool.
Young entrepreneurship is all about filling a need or solving a problem. For gamers, that’s a built-in business opportunity! Create the thing you wish you had. Chances are good that if you want it, someone else does, too. And they’re willing to pay for it.
Again, just because this comes easy to you doesn’t mean you can take it lightly. Selling in-game products still requires you to be a professional. Potential customers want reassurance that you are not a scammer. Your best bet is to present yourself as a pro, with the website presence that goes with it. Find a trusted e-commerce site for conducting your transactions to give other players peace of mind.
There is an enormous market out there for game-related books. For you creative writers out there, put your talent to work in the form of fresh, new stories that take place in-game. Or channel your expertise into a how-to guide for noobs. (Everyone wants tips and tricks!)
*Tutor new players.
This is a great job that works for two reasons.
First, you’ll have a constant turnover of clients who want to play a new game but need some guidance to get started. Think of grade school kids who have only *just* learned what Minecraft is. (Remember what that was like?) Or teens who got a brand-new gaming system but aren’t sure how to get the most out of it.
Second, you have parents who haven’t played a video game since Sega Genesis and want to keep up with their kids.
With a gaming tutoring business, you can work remotely or in person. You can charge by the hour, offer deals on referrals, or discounts for members of the same family.
For this job, you’ll need a great deal of patience and be able to break down complex actions into instructions anyone can understand.
*Become a streamer.
Streaming your games might seem like the easiest way to make money off gaming. Before you dive in, this blog post has some great advice on the professional gamer mentality and what it takes to succeed in the world of esports.
> What now?
The great thing about starting a career as a gamer is that the gaming field never stagnates. There is a constant flow of new games being released all the time, as well as upgrades, add-ons, and new gear. Stay professional and you’ll always have work!
Will you be one of the next recipients of a Kantner Foundation college scholarship? If you are a Florida high school entrepreneur, click here to learn more!