Streaming for money and accepting tips when you first start streaming has recently become a point of discussion within the streaming community. When you begin streaming, often one of the first steps taken is to set up a tip button or a way for viewers to support the stream financially. Many people make the mistake of getting into streaming to make money or focus too much on tips.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting up ways for viewers to support you and the stream financially. The communities you find on sites such as Twitch, Beam, and Hitbox are some of the most friendly and generous you will encounter, with many willing to tip the streamers they enjoy. However, you should never expect to receive tips, these are totally voluntary means of supporting a streamer. As such, you should never enter streaming expecting to make loads of money: do not prematurely quit your job and cut off all other sources of income. There is no guarantee streaming will ever be able to support you financially.
When you begin streaming you should enter with the mindset of it being something you enjoy doing; your passion and hobby. The trap many small streamers fall into is focusing too much on money in streaming, allowing themselves to get caught up in the fact they aren’t making money or putting emphasis on tips. Those who allow themselves tips to become the focal point of their stream are less likely to put on an enjoyable show. If you enjoy streaming and don’t allow yourself to get caught up on the small things, then you are more likely to put on an entertaining show and are thus more likely to retain viewers. The ability to retain viewers is key to growing your stream, and eventually being able to support yourself as a streamer. While becoming a fulltime streamer is never a guarantee, having the correct streaming philosophy and approach to streaming goes a long way to helping.
Another pitfall for many budding streamers is they put too much emphasis on the tips they do receive, dedicating far too much of the stream and overlay towards tips. Messages such as “Tips are greatly appreciated, but not expected” displayed on stream are needlessly obnoxious, and are essentially passively asking for tips, which is one thing you should never do. If you plaster your overlay with donation goals, top tippers, monthly top tips, it is also going to be a massive turn off for viewers. This also applies to your description section, don’t fill it with long lists of previous tips and tippers. The only thing in your panels below your stream shouldn’t be your tip button, take the time to fill it with information about yourself and the stream, social media links, and other ways they can interact with you.
To summarize, stop streaming for money and focus on the general quality and entertainment value of your stream. It’s okay to want to make money streaming, just don’t expect it or beg to your viewers to help keep you afloat. Create a situation that allows you to be financially stable outside of streaming. Especially as a new streamer with not even double-digit viewer counts, minimize displaying financial information on your stream, otherwise you are turning viewers away. Accepting tips is fine, but don’t make it your stream’s focal point. Build your community, be entertaining, and viewers will start asking you for a way to tip you.