This Calgarian quit her high-paying job to become a full-time social media streamer

This is what she learned.

By Krista Sylvester | December 9, 2021 |12:01 am

PineappleHoops left her high-paying job in corporate to stream on the social media app Twitch as her primary source of income. She uses hula hooping as the main draw.

Photo: Submitted

It’s not uncommon to hear about someone leaving a high-paying job to pursue their dreams. 

It’s a lot less common for someone to quit their longtime day job as a project manager to become a full-time social media streamer — but that’s exactly what Calgary’s PineappleHoops did. 

PineappleHoops, who didn’t want to use her real name to protect her anonymity online, has been using hula-hooping as the base of her Twitch stream as her sole source of income since August. 

In her words, she’s still pinching herself after leaving a high-paying job. It might be unconventional but she’s doing what she loves — and she’s making money doing it. 

Let’s rewind — how did this happen? 

PineappleHoops had what many would describe as a good job at a well-known company where she spent 12 years moving through the ranks, most recently working as a project manager, but she didn’t find it fulfilling. 

“I had been really unhappy for a long time towards the end there,” she says, adding she started hula hooping about three years into her career. 

“It was just a hobby, but over time, it started to evolve. I started teaching, and it became a bigger part of my life. And then I discovered Twitch, and I started really putting myself out there on the internet. I discovered I could make money.” 

At first, telling her friends and family was scary. She didn’t know how to explain Twitch or what she was doing. 

“I kind of kept it to myself, I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing. Not that it was shameful, but I wasn’t sure what I was doing. So I didn’t want to talk about it.”

As time has passed, she’s introduced her new career to her family. At first they didn’t understand, but they were supportive. 

“They saw how happy it was making me, and I shared with them the success that was coming from it,” she adds. 

But wait — what’s Twitch anyways? 

Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers, and according to Consulting.com, the #1 Twitch streamer in the world right now is Ninja (Richard “Tyler” Blevins), who earns over $5.5 million per year streaming Fortnite. 

To earn that much money, you need about 12 million subscribers, while the average Twitch streamer makes $250 per 100 subscribers from ad revenue, according to CNBC. 

Many users stream games, but other people also stream anything and everything from cooking and sports to movie watching and in PineappleHoops’ case, hula hooping. 

“Slowly but surely, I started to discover other flow artists, people who dance using props. It turns out that there is quite a market for performing arts. People just want to hang out with other people, connect and be entertained,” she explains. 

“I discovered that I’m an artist for this journey.”

In order to start making consistent income on Twitch, you need around 500 concurrent viewers, which is around the level PineappleHoops is at after streaming full time for four months. She started streaming casually on Halloween 2019. 

She credits her penchant for fostering relationships while being silly and making people laugh for her success. 

While she has around 500 paid subscribers, she also has more than 5,000 followers. Sometimes she streams for a few hours, sometimes she is on there morning to night. 

“You just have to have something that people like and maybe some ‘right place, right time,” she says, adding she’s aware that many people on Twitch struggle to make enough money to rely on it as sole income. 

“So the fact that I can do this in my second year of streaming is pretty amazing.”

High risk, high reward 

PineappleHoops is aware of the risk she took, and she’s even more conscious of the fact that this could all end tomorrow. 

“I do feel stressed sometimes because before I was making a regular paycheck, and I didn’t have to worry. If I wasn’t feeling good one day, I could go home and I would still get paid,” she says.

“Now, if I am not out in the world and not pushing my business, that could have a direct impact. So that part’s a little bit scary. But I think that’s just an entrepreneur’s life. And this is the first time I’ve ever been an entrepreneur.”

That said, she is doing something she is passionate about 

“It sounds cheesy, but I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place, and feel like I’m making an impact,” she says adding she’s always felt she had a gift of bringing people together with positivity. 

“Now I have a place where I feel like I’m actually making a difference. I’m not just punching some numbers into a computer… Now I can impact people from all over the world.” 

Her positive vibes are infectious. 

“I’m watching friendships being made, they’re talking with each other. People are influencing each other to do better, and to try new things and to expand on their hobbies,” she says.

“I feel like I’m making people happy, and I’m helping them find their own happiness. And that’s just beautiful.” 

Her message for others who might be on the fence about pursuing a passion? 

“You’re not stuck. That’s something that really resonated with me. I was feeling stressed and trapped that I was going to be stuck in corporate forever,” she says. 

“Then somebody told me ‘you’re not stuck. You can do whatever you want.’ So, just give yourself some time to think about that, and try something new. If I can do it, you can do it.”

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Krista Sylvester

Managing Editor at Calgary Citizen

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