Will – The Winding Road to Becoming a Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

Will – The Winding Road to Becoming a Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

#13 - Will Smyth (a.k.a ImperialJedi) didn’t always know he was going to be a Youtuber/Twitch streamer, but he did have ambitions to do something grand or different. Racecar driver? Radio host? He couldn't settle on one thing, so when he had to pick a path out of high school, he decided to attend the University of Guelph. The plan was to work in either law or law enforcement, but an ‘existential crisis’ led to him abandoning that idea. While taking some time off from school, he stumbled upon a YouTube video of someone who had early access to Sim City 2013, the newest version of a game he played when he was younger. Early access? He wanted early access, so he decided to try and make his own YouTube videos with the hope of getting a few free games out of it. After going back to school for Business Administration, a marketing professor heard the passion he had for his YouTube channel and encouraged him to keep growing his online content. Then in 2015 with the release of a new game, Cities: Skylines, Will was hooked.  The day the game released, he created a tutorial video, uploaded it to YouTube, and by the end of the day, it was by far his most popular video. After funding a stable full-time job that allowed him to rebuild his relationship with his father and continue to work on his content, he built up a catalog of quality Cities videos and began to stream on Twitch.tv more consistently. After numerous false starts, he finally made the jump to full-time content creator early in 2020, and now instead of getting video games for free, he's getting paid to play video games. Listen to episode 13 of Career Crossroads to hear Will’s story. 

ImperialJedi Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/imperialjedi

Imperial Jedi Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/TOvlogs

The transcript for this interview is A.I generated and may not be 100% accurate.

Transcript
Jonathan Collaton:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening and welcome to career crossroads. I'm your host, Jonathan Collaton, and this is my podcast where I talk to one person each week to find out how they ended up on their current career path. This week's interview is with Will Smyth, who has recently taken the plunge to become a full time youtuber and Twitch streamer. That was definitely not always part of the plan. So listen in to how he ended up on that path right now. Will, welcome back to round two of your episode of career crossroads. Thanks for coming back.

Will Smyth:

Well, thanks for having me.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I know that you as someone who makes content all the time online and screws up making content all the time on line, you're willing to you know, you understand what I was going through. When the audio is not working.

Will Smyth:

Oh, 100%. Man if I had a $1 every time I had the mic on mute when I started recording, oh my goodness, especially in the early days. Oh, boy,

Jonathan Collaton:

Ohh, that has not happen to me, that would be no fun at all.

Will Smyth:

The worst feeling is when you're recording like multiple things, and you're two or three deep and then you realize the audio doesn't match up. And there's some stuff missing. You're like, these aren't the what what do you know?

Jonathan Collaton:

You know, I did. So I had an episode come out this morning. And it was fine yesterday when I did all the editing or when I finished the editing. And then when I had my transcripts come out this morning, I used this AI system for transcripts. And all of a sudden when I was editing them just to get them online, I noticed like an hour in all of a sudden there's this weird echo. And I was like what the hell is this? And thank God, I was able to fix it. I just went in and it was quick. And I re uploaded the audio and no one will ever know.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, I've had that to where I've had accidentally like webcam, audio and microphone audio as input sources know, you're just like, Oh, my God.

Jonathan Collaton:

And like,yeah, so I'm sure as we get further into this, maybe we will talk a little bit more about editing and things like that because that is certainly something you do often in your career now. But let's go back to to the beginning. And so when you're younger, you know, we all have these dreams about what we want to do when we grow up. But for you, what was the what was the first realistic thing you thought you could do? And I always do ask everyone kind of where were you raised? Because sometimes that impacts what you end up wanting to do.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, so I I come from a military family. My dad was in the Air Force. And so I was born in Ottawa, spent about a year or so there and then went to...i'm gonna get this so wrong. Ottawa to Alberta, then Alberta, to Toronto, Toronto to Ottawa, and Ottawa to Toronto. And then when my parents split up, my dad did Ottawa to halftime, so

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, yeah, so that's, that sounds like the local military kid type of lifestyle moving around everywhere.

Will Smyth:

But I would say that I kind of grew up in Toronto.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so Toronto is home. Gotcha. And so in high school and in Toronto, right?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

Alright,so you're in high school and what is the thought about you know, when I graduate high school, I have to do something. So what did you want to do?

Will Smyth:

Man, that's the problem was, by the time I got to high school, I assumed I would know what it was going to be right. But no, I had no idea. Like, all my friends wanted to be like doctors, like, you know, lawyers, dentists, and now they're all you know, going to school, making the grades making all that possible, right. And they knew what colleges they want what universities and I was just, like, still so unsure.

Jonathan Collaton:

I you know, it's like, I think maybe some people know that. But I think back to my own kind of choice about University. And I think I was just kind of funneled towards university because my parents...

Will Smyth:

Yeah I agree vwith that too. It was the thing to do. All your friends are doing it. Yeah. It's what everyone in the previous generation did.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. And I like I remember, you know, I had some history professors and they got you to this trip to Europe every year. And I went on the trip and I was like 'I'm going to be a teacher."

Will Smyth:

Oh you hear about the college lifestyle university experience, you know, yeah, you want part of that? Of course.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, definitely and then I thought I could just continue that by going and becoming a high school teacher and going on that Europe trip with the students.

Will Smyth:

Oh, sure.

Jonathan Collaton:

Not to party with the students. But I know how much fun the teachers made it for me so..

Will Smyth:

Oh yeah, traveling and all that too.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah, it was great. All right. So then you're kind of you funneled towards that that plan then?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, I kind of thought like, maybe I'd follow just like in my dad's footsteps, Army, Air Force, that kind of thing. Maybe I kind of thought like, you know, I'd have these like grandiose dreams of doing something different, you know, a radio host or movie star, like, race car driver or something, you know, just outside of the box, basically.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right? Is that like, Did you just want the fame or is it the money with a lifestyle?

Will Smyth:

I really, I don't know I think comes down to the fact that I love talking. So I think I want to just an audience to maybe listen or something. I don't know.

Jonathan Collaton:

I totally get that. So how do you like decide what kind of what's the path to get?

Will Smyth:

That's it right so a lot of head scratching, but yeah, I didn't really fully know I was gonna be like a YouTuber like Twitch streamer until I was maybe halfway through college. I want to say. But in high school. I just kind of went along with the masses, you know, like school, go to the next level of it.

Jonathan Collaton:

So you go to college, then

Will Smyth:

yeah, I took a combination of like university and college so it's like a double degree program.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Where was that?

Will Smyth:

Originally to be a police officer with a backup plan to be a lawyer.

Jonathan Collaton:

Police Officer. backup plan to be a lawyer. So working in the law

Will Smyth:

Yeah, it seemed interesting to me you know drive fast catch the bad guys you know? So moral compass good versus bad. Putting bad guys away.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I get that Yeah. Like a lot of people

Will Smyth:

well no I went to um, Guelph and that Guelph have that kind of dream right so I kind of definitely appoints Humber so it's kinda like a combo but I want to say like thought about doing some stuff like that myself. Did you sta local for school? Go away? local and air quotes don't really go too far for

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, Guelph is 45 minutes away. I just depends on where in the city you live,Toronto is so big right? Okay,

Will Smyth:

well, Toronto was a 45 minute drive from Toronto. Remember that too right?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, exactly. That's right. So hey, I get it. I live at the West End and I drive to the east end.

Will Smyth:

I miss the old days when it was a 15 minute city. That was a good time.

Jonathan Collaton:

I don't have those memories. I was lived kind of in the burbs. And the only time we were like heading anywhere other than within Etobicoke was going to Leaf games or Jays games and we were on the subway. Yeah, that's so cool. But I had no concept of time because we were in a tunnel. So yeah, yeah. All right. So you start that program. And early on, was it something you realize that you really enjoyed? Or?

Will Smyth:

Well, I enjoyed the police officer aspect a lot, then I realized that the City of Toronto is very, very competitive. So I would need something like additional, which is kind of what pushed me into doing the criminal justice. And that I found like the lawyer stuff to be so fascinating. So I started pouring my heart into that. And then I don't know how this weird, like one day almost like an existential crisis where I kind of thought, like, what if I get a bad guy? And like, I know he's a bad guy, but I try to like lessen the sentence make almost a game out of it, you know? I kind of thought like that might start adding up and like maybe affect my psyche or something. You know, I don't know how this weird like

Jonathan Collaton:

So like, what if I'm a lawyer, but I'm too good that I have to just gain myself to see how good I can be?

Will Smyth:

Exactly I feel like I would have a moral like explosion and just be like, I can't do this anymore. One day in court be like, nope, we're done. It's walked right out or something. You know.

Jonathan Collaton:

Jeez. Yeah, no, that's a that is an existential crisis. And so knowing that you're kind of in school with that, that was one of your plans so the the police officer side of things, were you still thinking then like, that was the only real option because being a lawyer, wasn'g going to work?

Will Smyth:

it seemed seem it kind of fell into place where I just couldn't really do it in the city of Toronto without anything like, extra

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah, of course

Will Smyth:

o I'd have to move way and I just wasn't ready So I kind of

Jonathan Collaton:

So what would be like extra?

Will Smyth:

Well, like, you know, um, like, more post secondary life experience that kind of stuff.

Jonathan Collaton:

Gotcha. They just aren't hiring like young people who graduated. You gotta... Yeah. right out of high school Oh, yeah. Okay.

Will Smyth:

So even then, if you could please foundation is not a guarantee. So

Jonathan Collaton:

right, of course. Alright. So how do you like, what do you decide to do?

Will Smyth:

Oh, man, whoa, jeez. So yeah, I know, going back home, took a little time off school decided that wasn't really what I wanted to continue pursuing. And like, my mom was like, Alright, you can live at home. But you got to eventually figure it out. So

Jonathan Collaton:

yeah. All right. So you move back in with your mom. And what are you doing like day to day full time work? part time work?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, no, I go ahead and get a part time job working in Banana Republic. Very, very cool.

Jonathan Collaton:

I owned many Banana Republic clothes at one

Will Smyth:

Yeah, same, they were the nicest stuff I own too. point. And also got a discount there. So that's kind of a very big

Jonathan Collaton:

that's an amazing computer lab. factor. Yeah, part time job just doing that for a little bit. And pay a little bit the bills, like cell phone, that kind of stuff, but are still kinda like, you know, dreaming all these ambitious thoughts. And this is kind of one of those weird times where like poker was popular. So I was playing a little poker one afternoon, and sort of like multi table tournaments. And on my side monitor this is around 2013. On my side monitor, I had some YouTube videos. And I was really, really, really obsessed with SimCity as a kid, like to the point where it like I think, affected my social. my social life, I would skip recess and lunch at the play. SimCity sometimes our computer lab got it at school. And it was oh,

Will Smyth:

Well, yeah, in our classroom, too. This is like she needed technology in 2000, or whatever.

Jonathan Collaton:

Very nice.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, so I'm, I'm just playing some poker and I have a SimCity 2013, early access, youtuber on. And I just watching, like, every single bit of content this guy had. And I kind of noticed that he really wasn't the best, like building cities not to be critical or anything. So it's kind of like, it's kind of weird. So I was jumping around, and I ended up watching almost every single person that had early access to this game,

Jonathan Collaton:

and early access is like they get a copy before the game comes out?

Will Smyth:

Yeah. That kind of let the masses kind of see it, get some feedback.

Jonathan Collaton:

And this is probably an arrow where, like, I can't really think back to when was it that kind of online gaming streamers or youtubers started to really kind of become a, like a career?

Will Smyth:

I want to say like, around like, 2010 to 2013 sort of was more of the live streaming phase. And then before that, like 2006 2010 was kind of like everyone was a YouTuber. Yeah, everyone had a YouTube channel everone had a reaction channel. Everyone wanted to, you know

Jonathan Collaton:

Reaction channels. They were everywhere.

Will Smyth:

So I feel like But yeah, I think live streaming kind of evolved in like, 2010 onward.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so you're watching these videos? And you Realize like, I'm better than these guys?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, in a weird way, sort of. Yeah. So I was kind of confused and I didn't know it at the time. That kind of set a whole bunch of stuff in the motion there.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, really?

Will Smyth:

Yeah. So like the city building and are just kind of in a weird way jealous. I'm like, how do these guys have early access? I want to play this game. I could play it better. So I kind of you know, that's it, you know?

Jonathan Collaton:

So that's just a thing that happened. Yeah, but that just kind of sits there.

Will Smyth:

Brewing in the back of my mind there, stewing. I didn't realize it, but it s stewing. So it's funny i end d up winning the poker tour ament, which is a TSN turn ng point for me in my life. And 'd gone from kind of sitt ng around doing nothing to, um. .. the girl I was dating to as kinda like, you got to f nd direction. My parents been li e, you got to find directions o ly gone for so long here, you kn w. And so yeah, I decided to u e this money, go back to scho l round to try and try my hand again. Try something diff rent this time around. So I went in for Business Admi istration.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. School in Toronto?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, school in Toronto back at Humber. Okay. And he actually my travels, like everyone I had met who was like, successful, happy, rich, you know, they had their own business.

Jonathan Collaton:

So, business, makes sense.

Will Smyth:

Business for the businessman. I'm like, Let's go, you know, try something different here.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right. So you start that program and is that like a three year program or four years?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, it was a four year program. I was gonna do in three. I was very ambitious.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, very ambitious. Good for you.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, we went during the summer, which was a super hard grind. I had no idea what would be the first year?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, so 12 straight months just going all the way.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. And then in the summer months, that was Oh, God. So socially, not fun.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah. It's no fun. Right? Like, I guess depends on like, where what your friends are doing if

Will Smyth:

Oh they're having fun. They're all doing great they're still in school... hing that can't then going to oncerts doing you know, doing

Jonathan Collaton:

And There you are business admining it up. reat stuff.

Will Smyth:

Oh, yeah. But i had great parking, though. Yeah, great parking. lots were all in the summertime. That's the only good part.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, and there's giant parking lots at Humber.

Will Smyth:

Caffeteria, no lineups either. Oh, very nice. Okay. So you kind of push through that. And like, as you're doing it, does it feel like it's the right thing for you? More, more so than the lawyer in police stuff? Yeah. But like, at the same time, too, though, I just started thinking like, more and more outside the box again, you know, Mm hmm. I was like, Where is this going to go? Like, what is this going to lead to do I do my own business? Do I work for someone else like, like, what, what is the end goal here where there's no light at the tunnel yet for me?

Jonathan Collaton:

Alright, so yeah, it's a bit of a slog, then to get through that program, and you don't really know where you're going. And so how long into the program was it before you started to kind of see a light at the end of the tunnel?

Will Smyth:

I feel like it kind of had a weird eureka moment. I was in my second year. And at this point, like SimCity had come out. And I just started trying to make some just really simple, like little dorky like tutorial videos. Because I did kind of like, I low key wanted to play games for free. That was kind of it. I wanted early access. I was really jealous people that were playing SimCity and those kind of games. And just like SimCity for me was like the catalyst, but it opened up like my eyes like early access, and like youtubers can play these games. I had no idea. Right? So yeah, I started trying to explore that idea. I'm at a marketing professor, that he was like, the only person that didn't laugh at my idea when I said maybe I can make some YouTube videos as a side income. And everyone was like, "well you can make $1 a day or something"? I said we'll start with that. Maybe you know if I'm lucky. And then I think Yeah, my first day, making like an ad revenue, YouTube kind of style videos, I think, like 13 cents. And I was telling people this might get we got to start somewhere. If I make it up, end of the day, maybe it's dollar, you know, and everyone's tell him just laughing at that. It's not like you're wasting your time, right? Go to go to school. Next school, your priority. Don't worry about this, right? And then yeah, my marketing professor was the only one was like, that's cool. I think you're onto something here. You know, keep up that might be something in a few months. And I was like, This guy gets it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. So like, I've talked before about the idea of like dual paths where you can have a plan and for you, you're in this business admin program, but then you can also do this other thing on the side and try and build it up. And it became profitable for you because it was only costing you

Will Smyth:

Yeah, exactly. I thought as an investment of time, right? time, I wasn't doing it for the money. I was doing it initially. Because Yeah, I want to free games and like, stuff, right. But the more I did it, the more people like genuinely enjoyed the content and like, wanted more like that was really a fun thing. I started engaging with people. It was such a fun distraction from school. Like School's Out if I was bummed out or having a bad day or anything, I could pop up in my, my comment section, just chat with people. It was just a really weird concept, and a fun concept to.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right. And so like, as you're doing that, you're, you're moving on with classes, but at some point, you got to pick like, okay, when I graduate, I'm gonna do this for work, or were you just planning on like, let's just get through it. And then...

Will Smyth:

Stillkind of going through the motions, I kind of thought that would just fall into my lap or by the end of it, I'd have some internship, at like NASA or something like that, or it would just work.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Alright, so how'd that pan out?

Will Smyth:

Um, I want to say so, it was kind of a weird one. So it's getting closer to 2015. Now, and I want to say I'm like, in my third year of school ish, somewhere around there. And, um, there's a weird indie game. It's a city builder. And it's, it's

called Cities:

Skylines. And I see trailers for that. And I'd be really been into like, the SimCity 2013. I think I accumulated maybe like two or 300 subscribers. And before that, I had, like, you know, five people and like two of them were my friends. Right. So it was just like, I had nobody on the channel before. Now. I finally some people following me, so it's kind of cool. And I have it. Yeah, City Skylines, pops up on my radar. And I kind of thought to myself, I was like, this could be it. Like the city building. If I give myself a shot. You know, I don't think I'm big enough to get the early access, but I could do a tutorial again, I could kind of help people out. And that could be the way I could get some views, get some action, maybe get like the actual ball rolling on this.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. And at that point, are you still thinking side business or?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, a little bit of side hustle. It was like, again, a fun thing to keep me going during school. Yeah, if school was keeping me blue or wanted to procrastinate, I could procrastinate on something that was maybe gonna make me rich one day, hopefully.

Jonathan Collaton:

So I got to ask then. Because you mentioned a couple times was school not really that fun? Were you just doing it because you were you already?

Will Smyth:

Yeah. And I felt It's weird. Cuz you're paying to

Jonathan Collaton:

And you made it like in the morning and 3 and go there. Right? Yeah. And if you're not there mentally, like, it's just such a tough sell. You know what I mean? So I just kind of like doodling, when I was supposed to be taking notes. And so yeah, just one day it was it was another one, my, my economics professor. He just kind of saw me daydreaming and was like, "Will, what are yo doing here?" And I just kind f looked at him as like, I don t know. And I thought, yeah, th t was a weird moment right ther . And it just it beautifully lin d up, though, with when the Ci ies: Skylines game came out, had this Yeah, there was a e reka moment, make the tutorial try it out. I know nothing bout really anything in the rand scheme, but this could b it, just give it a try. And so I woke up early that morning, an I got class at like, 8am. An a half hours later you're in class and all the sudden like I was like, I might be late. So I woke up at 6am, which was wh n the game went live on Ea tern time. And I think I tr ed like 12 different re tarts. And I was using, like, my SimCity knowledge as, as the ba kbone of this. And I made li e a 15 minute game tutorial on like, how to get started with a ity and city skylines. And I wa like, Alright, uploaded, i h d a little headset mic. It wa so just like, very not ood quality. But I really sai to the world, and I was re lly proud of it. And yeah, I ust went out went off to school. And I think it was like, ma be, like, 10:30 or whatev r. I finally checked my phone. A d it was just like, blowing up nd I had never experienced it be ore. And the video got like 4 ,000 views in its first day. that video is blowing up.

Will Smyth:

And then I literally ran to my, my marketing Professor guy who got me like all fired up and inspired. I showed him I was like, Look, man, we're doing it. This is it. And he was so proud. He was one of those like, that was the moment where I was like, this could be it. that's it. By the end of the day. I think I have some like 6000 new subscribers. And it was just like the weirdest coolest feeling to finally have just like, like not made it but like taking the first real step towards it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Well, it validates your wants.

Will Smyth:

Oh, right. Absolutely. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

Like you realize, I want to do this and people must think I'm good at this or else they wouldn't have subscribed. I mean, people could watch it the first time and then decide not for me but if that many people I mean I don't know about like view verse subscriber rates, but that sounds pretty good to me.

Will Smyth:

Oh, it was it was great. It was just like a breath of fresh air is just what I wanted. It was literally the kick in the right direction. It was the greatest thing.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so I have to imagine at this point, it becomes very hard to focus on school. When you..

Will Smyth:

Oh my God, yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I mean,I know what it's like when any game comes out. I I was joking with somebody recently. Just see the anger that so many people on the internet had recently when cyberpunk for delayed again.

Will Smyth:

Oh my god, I know

Jonathan Collaton:

People are like, I booked vacation for this

Will Smyth:

People have like gone to school and gotten jobs and habe had kids and got like, married if a house now and the time since the first trailer came out, you know, like,

Jonathan Collaton:

yes, so I have a pre order of cyberpunk that I now have to get the delivery address change on because that's how long it's been since this game came out or wad was announced or I pre ordered. Anyway, you know, get a little sidetracked from that. But

Will Smyth:

it'll come out eventually,

Jonathan Collaton:

it'll come out eventually. So you've got this, this game you really enjoy. But games are just that's fun, right? And you're you're in this program that's supposed to lead you towards a career in business. But now you realize the game is you can clearly do it. And it's leading in the direction of like, I couldn't make money off this. So like, How do you do? Do you make a leap and you just decide I'm gonna work full time on this or you're gonna finish school and get a job and keep building that up on the side.

Will Smyth:

I kind of thought I'd initially just like keep rolling because I you know, to day one results, I was like, this will be like this every day. I'm gonna make $1,000 by the end of the day, like, no, it's not gonna happen, right? But in my mind, that was gonna happen. And of course, everyone's like, no finish school, like, go back. And you know, this is a good thing, but it's just a little blip might not happen again, you know? And so yeah, I just went back to class and found it ever increasingly difficult to stay focused. Like to the point where again, yeah, my teacher, same idea, more of them kept noticing, like, why are you? Like, why are you here? What are you doing? When you come to class? You're not really here. And it was just it was just this weird battle. You know, we're like, your parents, they want you to go to school. Like you know, society has expectations. We'll go to school, get a great job and pay your taxes and get your normal. I don't know what is it? What are what are the wants? Right? Like your car and kids I guess. Right?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Yeah. So I mean for you then, like, what do you do when you you want one thing society wants you to do something else? And everyone around you is saying stay in school?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, it's really tough. Like I did, like I didn't know how I was going to financially do it, but I did want to pursue this. And it was kind of a weird moment in my life because um, my parents are divorced. And my dad mentioned earlier as a military and Yeah, so my parents did split up when I was in grade four. And for whatever bizarre reason, religion just kind of got a little bit worse of my dad. And just, you know, teenage rebellion, I guess, or whatever, just we just stopped talking. And that carried through into my 20s, which was a terrible choice. And now it's, you know, at home butthurt confused about what to do with life. And it's just, it's just, I'm at the crossroad. Do we continue with school where I'm distracted? I'm paying money to be there, but I'm not even there. Or, I don't know, do try something that maybe may not even pan out. And so yeah, my dad out of nowhere, just gives me a call. And I've been ghosting him up until this whole time. And I just for whatever reason was like, okay, when I picked up the phone, I was like, hey, and he was like, Oh, good to talk to you. You want to do lunch or something? I'm in town. And I, I was like, sure. In my head. I would didn't want to say yes, for some reason. But I was like, No, just Just say yes. Do it. Life's too short. This is so silly. I'm talk to him forever. And so I go out to lunch with my dad at pickle barrel on Canadian restaurant. And, yeah, I just visibly look stressed and anxious, you know, because I don't know what to do with work. Like, I can't make it on like banana republic, you know, salary, right? Like, for goodness sakes, right. And there was school. Yeah, I literally am pained to be there. And I'm not even there. And so my dad could just see it, like, totally like, you know, written in my eyes or whatever. Right? And yeah, it's I just started asking the right questions. And it just I, you know, I was crying at the lunch table right there, right, it just poured it up. And it was really good just to kind of get this weight off my shoulders. And then my dad interesting enough, was actually looking for someone to, to hire for his aeronautical engineering business.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay

Will Smyth:

so there you go. And on the spot, just was like, you know what view needed? There's a job for you right now. And I was like, Are you messing around with me here? And he's like, No, do you want to take it, but you have to work hard. And I was like, Okay, done. You know, it's done. Okay. Wow. Okay. So, and that's full time like school. So we're supposed to be part time, okay, to help me. You know, like, stay in school. I was my dad's condition initially was like, please give school a real try here. But we'll make sure we can kind of get the financial sorted. And I told him about all this YouTube stuff, you know, and my dad's like, a business minded person, and kind of saw that there was, you know, there's something there. It's not there yet, but if you keep at it, there's something there. Mm hmm. But, you know, finish your studies first kind of thing.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right. Okay. So you know, you start working part time.

Will Smyth:

Yes, working part time, rebuild a relationship, which is the greatest choice ever, like, Holy smokes, I can't even believe that. I felt like no time gone by too, which is really nice. So

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, that's good. It's funny how much like personal relationships really do affect? Oh, yeah. Like your whole life. And in particular, given the context of this podcast like careers, right, because you have a lot of influence on what you end up doing. They're the ones who are kind of pushing you in a certain direction, early on. And then as we find for you

Will Smyth:

So ironic, yeah. Because my mom was more of pushing for schools, even my dad too, but it was just like, my dad was the lifeline at the moment. My dad had no idea too. That was the beauty of it all. Yeah. And, and so he kind of gets you in a place where you're, now you've got a better job. So you can be making money, continue to build the YouTube thing on the side. and learn more about business too. And like a real radical sense. So like, my skills from school are now being applied. I'm enjoying it so much more. I can help my dad with a family business, which is cool.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that is really cool.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, so I felt like I just had a new direction, like New Life breathed into me. So that was, it was really good.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so how long did that kind of arrangement work? How long did it stay that same arrangement? I guess?

Will Smyth:

Um, oh, man, up until like, only about eight months ago. Funny enough. So I ended up going going to school for only about one more year. I didn't quite finish it, which is really disappointing. I got like, three quarters of the way there and just yeah, pull the plug, I just got to the point where I just could not stay focused. I didn't want to financially invest in the last year term. I was like, oh, we'll take a little bit of time off and then finish it. And that turns into more time. And yeah, next thing I know, I actually took a road trip across America, which could be a whole other podcast and story in itself. But oh, fascinating. 66 in its entirety. That's a weird one.

Jonathan Collaton:

fascinating story. Yeah. Well, we'll do that on my road trip Podcast.

Will Smyth:

yeah, places I could tell you man

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, the number of podcasts that have branched off from this podcast from hearing other people talking about their stories. We'll see maybe full time one podcast every week with whoever is on for this and they'll tell their own other story. Yeah,

Will Smyth:

yeah. Aaterisk, if you we ever get a chance to do route 66. Amazing. Absolutely. I want to do it again. But That's not today's story.

Jonathan Collaton:

Not todays story. Okay. So, you know, it's funny, because when I said like, how long did you stay on that same path, you know, like eight months ago, and then you immediately were like, I left school a year later. So it's funny how we view different

Will Smyth:

Oh,yeah, time too.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, like But well, cuz To me, that's like a huge thing, too. When you have all these, like your mom and your dad, everyone's saying Do you like stay in school and work on the side and do YouTube on the side? And then a year in you realize, like, I'm gonna take time off.

Will Smyth:

My passion, yeah, it wasn't there. It wasn't there. Yeah. But my passion for the YouTube was just so ignited. But like, you know, realistically having just a few thousand subs, if he doesn't views you're making like $10 a month, right? So it wasn't, it wasn't one of those things, but like some people saw it, you know, if you keep at it in a few years, or however much time it could be something, something large And that's when like, you know, pewdiepie was in the news making like, you know, $7 million that year or something. Yeah, it just, it seemed like something that had no ceiling like a job that was really out of the box. Could be up my alley. I didn't even realize it, you know?

Jonathan Collaton:

Mm hmm. Yeah. Okay. So, like, I guess when you leave school, are you putting a lot more resources and time into YouTube? And or were you just like, all that time

Will Smyth:

sort of school, or it was more like going from school to helping my dad little bit more.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Gotcha. All right. So you're working full time or full time plus, depending on, you know, what the job is, and

Will Smyth:

just doing the live streams on the weekends and just videos at that point kind of in the evening. So the YouTube kind of slowed down a little bit. And I started shifting things into the live streaming world.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, and so live streaming through Twitch. And twitch for the handful of people that will listen to this that don't know is like, just basically an online platform where you can watch other people play games, comment on what

Will Smyth:

It doesn't have to be games though it can be like they're doing, lifestyle stuff like songs. , literally anything. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

I guess i've only ever heard of it through like the gaming kindo f realm.

Will Smyth:

it's huge for gaming. eSports and gaming, what it's known for. but it does come from Justin TV, which was originally just like, kind of like anything goes kind of thing.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Give me a definition of Justin TV, cuz I've heard of it.

Will Smyth:

But oh, my goodness. Justin TV was like, anything goes anytime a day, any amount of clothing. And if anyone had a problem, you make it a password room and boot those people out. It was a weird.

Jonathan Collaton:

It's like the early days of just people streaming

Will Smyth:

Anything? Yeah, like games opinions. They'd have like just you know, Hangouts. Okay. The internet was young and innocent. It was a weird time back then.

Jonathan Collaton:

I mean, I know, this is not related to to this podcast. But if anybody wants to get an idea of what that might have been like, there's a podcast called reply all. And one of the first episodes, it was Episode Five, they talked about Jenny cam, which was the first ever person to stream themselves through a webcam. And she did it like 24 hours a day in Florida. And then when Yeah, when she got a job in Washington, and then put cameras all around her apartment. but that was before anyone else. Yeah, it was. I don't know if it was the late 90s. Or what I just I listened to that.

Will Smyth:

Crazy. Now that seems like the norm Exactly. Right. It's so so normal.

Jonathan Collaton:

And I guess that's before like, reality TV was really too. So

Will Smyth:

what a pioneer?

Jonathan Collaton:

She was yes. Okay, so you're starting to do more streaming than YouTube then?

Will Smyth:

Yeah. So streaming funding fundamentally is a little bit more profitable than, than YouTube. And you can make more money on the live streaming platforms with less people.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. And at this point, like, city skylines is out. And that's what you're playing. That's your game.

Will Smyth:

Yeah. And like, you can only make in my mind, like so many YouTube videos, I've actually had a lot of people just like, ask, Hey, have you heard of like, you know, Twitch. And back when Justin TV was around, it really wasn't cool to tell people you watch like live streamers and like weird amounts of clothing plane. So yeah, it was it was a weird dynamic. So I was a big lurker back then. And I finally made an account in 2013, to try streaming myself. And I spent a game called Daisy like a zombie survival game. But I had like zero to five viewers, and it just never went anywhere. And it was funny enough, because at the same time as the SimCity, 2013 games, and I was like, Oh, you know, I'll just try something different. Be you know, popular and this did not work.

Jonathan Collaton:

No, no. And then you go off streaming, go back to YouTube.

Will Smyth:

But yeah, then in 2015, when I made the city skylines video, people were like, Hey, have you heard of Twitch, and I tried live streaming, it was like, Okay, and then I went back to live streaming, I think my first stream back with like, 20-25 viewers, I think I'd be like, 40 bucks, or something like that. And I was like, What? That's crazy, I think, yeah, I was like, I'm playing this game for fun anyway. And instead, I'll just making 40 bucks on YouTube, you know?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Not bad. Alright. So like, how many hours a week are you putting into? I mean, like, you play games for fun, but you're making content out of those games to streaming in YouTube? Yeah, how many hours a week

Will Smyth:

I was doing, I was about four to six hours every single Sunday. And it was just kind of like, learning for my business class and all that stuff. Right. And it was the marketing guy who would always use YouTube examples. And, you know, consistency, scheduling, that kind of stuff. And so I always do a Sunday 2pm, eastern city skylines stream. And then I would try to like, you know, maybe once a month, maybe once every other week or whatever, depends on the flow. Sometimes once a day, I would make YouTube videos, but I started to slow down and I really started pushing, pushing the live streams more.

Jonathan Collaton:

Hmm. Alright, so yeah, you starting from like a slow ish pace, but like, consistent and yeah, consistency really was the key. That's what I learned. In the beginning. Yeah. All right. And how do you like, how do you scale that up over time?

Will Smyth:

Oh, man, that's how do you still do that? Now? I don't even know. Right. But I think honestly, if you're consistent if people know when to find you where to find you. That's the best the best part, right?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, okay.

Will Smyth:

That's biggest piece of the pie.

Jonathan Collaton:

Are you just growing your audience on Twitch through you know, people finding on YouTube or they

Will Smyth:

pretty much like twitches, it's an you can get organic growth there, but it's a challenging place to get growth on Yeah, in the platform might recommend you but they're in the business to make money. Right. So they're recommending people that are already popular because they're, they got a proven formula, you know,

Jonathan Collaton:

Mm hmm. And, you know, using both platforms kind of hand in hand them

Will Smyth:

Yeah, so use YouTube as a point of discoverability. I'll use things like Google Trends to actually like, look and see what people are actually searching for. You can tailor make tutorial videos, which is for the most part people search for, like YouTube is the second largest search engine after after Google.

Jonathan Collaton:

So like that's, that makes me kind of very curious then about like the the analytics business side of doing this. So it's not just as simple as like, make a video, put it out there? No, because then you're able to find it. But you're doing research to figure out how do I make this

Will Smyth:

Same with the live stream? There's so much good content out there. But how do you get people to find it and see it? Like, what makes you different than the next person?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So like, what are your kind of what things did you do to try and grow your audience?

Will Smyth:

So you so many have heard the marketing guy learning that you can literally game the system, you go on Google Trends, you can see what people are searching for. And you can make tailor made content. And so for cities skylines, for example, it's like, you know, tutorial stuff, how to use the DLCs. What's the difference for like, console? That kind of stuff?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, when I like definitely, I've seen it from what I see on your channel, your tutorial videos in, particular, like how to start a city in whatever year...

Will Smyth:

So that brings in the people and then hopefully, you've got a few catalogs or some long form content for them to enjoy. And then you want them to always want more. So you may not finish stuff, you may keep stuff on kind of lingering. And then you hopefully get them to sneak out over to the live stream.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so it's just this kind of constant cycle of like, building it up.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, you always want to roll with momentum, if you stop even for like, two weeks, like two weeks on Twitch is like 10 years in the real world. Yeah, people just follow me. If you don't stream for two weeks, people ask me You've died. Like it's crazy. Like,

Jonathan Collaton:

so you're pretty reliant on like, very consistent.

Will Smyth:

That's it? Yeah. At least once a week. You got it. You gotta go.

Jonathan Collaton:

And like a consistent audience, too, though.

Will Smyth:

That's Yes, I have a lot of people that are still there from day one, which blows my mind, but you do shed every year is I think the stats are like 30% of your viewers. So if you have to keep on cycling, which is crazy,

Jonathan Collaton:

you gotta be growing 40% more? to keep growing or whatever.

Will Smyth:

And they have to compete with other people that are also growing too. So

Jonathan Collaton:

yeah. Okay. So like, You're, you're doing that still kind of on the side, and you're working full time. But then you said something changed eight months ago.

Will Smyth:

So yeah, finally, it was like the TSN turning point, like the tipping point was reached, like the straw that broke the camel's back, there was finally enough like incoming action between YouTube and Twitch, that it was starting to rival like real people paychecks.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, and so you decide to leave the job?

Will Smyth:

Not not initially, it was there a lot of false starts, where I kinda was like, This is the moment let's see how we do in the next few months. And it's kind of like, you know, I didn't put enough effort I want to say sometimes as well, I kind of thought things might get handed to me. So it took a little bit of time. But yeah, I finally found the moment I want to say about eight months or so ago, we had about three months of like emergency fund monies kind of built up. And we have enough like, just traffic. And I was I was like, yeah, I'm ready.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, and so, what's that conversation like with your dad?

Will Smyth:

Oh, so so we're, I feel like I was letting them down. So it's kind of a weird one to start

Jonathan Collaton:

Really?

Will Smyth:

Well, you know, like, you're having so much fun. we're rebuilding the relationship or working together. And it's like, I got to end this right. It was kind of a weird. Yeah. So weird dynamic. I had to change here.

Jonathan Collaton:

I got to ask to like, was it easier to make a jump? Because you knew that you sort of could fall back into working for your dad?

Will Smyth:

100%? Yeah, yeah. And I was able to start doing the transition where I was maybe doing three days a week instead of five days a week at the office. And so that got me. Yeah, kind of rolling into the momentum a bit easier.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So like, all these things kind of have to line up in the right way. Because you have a regular Monday to Friday, nine to five job. You can't just necessarily...

Will Smyth:

you can do it. But it'll take you maybe a different approach. And it might take you longer.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, like, I guess, do you have the advantage of because your dad, you're able to like to work with him on your schedule to make it so that...

Will Smyth:

all because I picked up the phone call. That's what blows my mind sometimes.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Cuz like, and you also said like, he normally wouldn't, he wouldn't just call like, yeah,

Will Smyth:

just

Jonathan Collaton:

it just randomly happened. Yeah, pick up the phone.

Will Smyth:

I've been ghosting him up until that whole time. So no incentive to keep trying?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, yeah. Okay. So it's kind of interesting timing, too, because you said like, eight months ago, and this is like, what, just prior to Covid?

Will Smyth:

Yeah, right. When the pandemic was wtarting too, that was a weird one. So the first two months was great, because everyone's working from home and stuff. Yeah, then it got kind of stressful because everyone's losing their job. And I'm doing a job that's like, like the ads, don't pay the bills, the ads pay a lot of it, but just it's never enough, you know? And so like a lot of my people who are like donating and subscribing, they can't do it anymore. So that was a weird one. Yeah, that's got to be so strange, right? So the summer summer was tough. I honestly had no idea we were gonna make it through. Yeah, so I kind of I kind of went back to the basics, I want to say, okay, starting with like, yeah, just kind of going back to like, new tutorials, everything that kind of like made made sense in the beginning. So I feel like I'm kind of shifting and cemented myself here. It's kind of it's cool. It's a cool transition. I've learned a lot in the last few months here.

Jonathan Collaton:

Do you think you like....so you know, the way that kind of I the way that got you here to this interview is because I two and a half years ago or whatever it was came across your YouTube videos for cities skylines when I bought the game, and then I started, I watched like a lot of our videos because you get hooked on like, it's like I've always had this interest in urban planning and then I just watch somebody else build a city and in like,

Will Smyth:

you know, that was my frustration watching everyone in the beginning with early access, because they were just building like they do a six lane Boulevard into like, side street. I'm like, What are you doing?

Jonathan Collaton:

You're like, this is crap that would ever happen.

Will Smyth:

Trams don't go here.

Jonathan Collaton:

Like there should be a bridge here.

Will Smyth:

Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So it's very like soothing. I think to like, watch somebody who's good at this and be like, wow, that like that looks good. And looks like it should work. And so for you, though, I've noticed over time, and maybe only because I started watching on Twitch later because I was never much of a twitch guy. It is funny though. Now that I think about it. It would have been right around the time, or just prior to the pandemic starting when I guess I started following you on Twitch. So

Will Smyth:

that's when twitch got a huge boost.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I guess so. I was one of those people who started working from home and I dual monitors. I can put the stream on for a little bit while I was working on just admin stuff, and then turn it off when i had phone calls and stuff.

Will Smyth:

You're not alone.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Oh, no, there's tons of people doing it. And so, so for you, like I feel what I've noticed is just a little more diversity in content too, as you've gone on.

Will Smyth:

I've been trying that out. Cuz city skylines the game. It's like, you know, it's like five years old now. It can't be around forever.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, not Many games can survive that long and still have an audience that's

Will Smyth:

that in itself is a weird one. And like, it's such a, it's such a beautiful game. I feel like anyone could enjoy it. And there's still new people that find it every day.

Jonathan Collaton:

I guess it because it kind of like dominates the genre. It's not like every year, there's 10 new shooters replaced, like nobody cares about Call of Duty from two years ago anymore,

Will Smyth:

But there's no other City builders.

Jonathan Collaton:

Exactly. And so it's kind of the only one out there. That's really good at what it does. Mm hmm. Yeah. So you can keep making new content for it. And people

Will Smyth:

yeah, a lot of my content is tailored towards like newer players, and trying to capture that I do like the Bob Ross kind of styled approach where like, I probably could build something better, but then it wouldn't really feel approachable. I

Jonathan Collaton:

I can put some happy little trees over here.

Will Smyth:

Oh my god. Yes. Trees. Oh, my. Yes.

Jonathan Collaton:

Which is funny because I have seen people compare you to Bob Ross in your comments.

Will Smyth:

I get that comment often, which I really I smile every time because there was nothing better than staying home sick during like, you know, grade four or whatever. And you watch prices right and Bob Ross

Jonathan Collaton:

Yes. Prices right. Oh, you know, I just, it literally two days ago, I remember out of nowheree I was like Bob Barker still alive. I googled him and he's 96.

Will Smyth:

Yeah, but Drew Carey? Great job on a PR.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. I have not watched it in quite some time.

Will Smyth:

Oh, yeah. You should watch.

Jonathan Collaton:

I just have all these Bob memories. You know, I don't know if i can go back. So anyway, you're, you've kind of diversified the content more, at least on Twitch, right? Yeah, over the last number of months.

Will Smyth:

YouTube, it's a little bit trickier. I'm trying to diversify over there. But the algorithm really just like, it likes the cities skylines stuff. And when I don't do that the people that are subscribed, also, they like the city skylines stuff more.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right? Okay. And, like, how do you? You know, I do wonder about stuff like this, like, as a long term career, if you're gonna be a streamer, do you have to, like, pick specific games? Do you think or can you

Will Smyth:

I want to say, the short answer is yes. But you want to make sure you have enough of a rolling audience that when you move into a brand new game category, you have to dominate the search, you have to be the top of the category. You can't be like, 10 rows deep, because one's gonna find you.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right, right. Right. Because you're very much you have to be an entrepreneur now, like you worked for yourself. And so all the decisions you make... Yeah,and I guess you do find like you've mentioned the marketing a couple times. So some what you learned in school, do you think that does help you now?

Will Smyth:

Oh 100%? Yeah, like the networking, the marketing, the consistency, the hashtags, all that stuff? Right?

Jonathan Collaton:

You know, I find that so interesting. Because, like, there would be some people who would think, Oh, well, if you didn't finish school, like, maybe you didn't get much out of it, because you didn't finish it, but I'm of the opinion...

Will Smyth:

Oh i got like, I got too much. That was the issue.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Like the it's not about getting a getting a paper degree or diploma. It's about like, what you actually learned in those courses.

Will Smyth:

It's what lights the fire, you know,

Jonathan Collaton:

exactly. And so you learned enough in those courses that it was able to help you get this started full time. And you're, you know, it was great that you were able to rebuild the relationship with your dad and work there.

Will Smyth:

That was so fundamental in this. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

So that's a whole kind of all these things that came together that

Will Smyth:

just pillars building the foundation here.

Jonathan Collaton:

100%. Okay. And so, long term, you're gonna find other games bring your crew over.

Will Smyth:

Yes, the idea is kind of I'm doing right now. And YouTube is kind of going back to the beginning. Like all the dorky, little things that worked in the beginning, they'll work again, I'm doing more games, doing the Google Trends, finding what people are actually searching for, until they're making the content and just rolling with it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, and I gotta ask to then, because your channel is called Imperial Jedi. Okay, why? What's the story? There's got to be a story behind this this way.

Will Smyth:

This is such a common Common Core. I love this question.

Jonathan Collaton:

Because it's like it's it's your identity. That is everything. Yeah. So it's the same as asking like, why does Coca Cola call themselves Coca Cola except you're not worth $90 billion I imagine?

Will Smyth:

Well not yet maybe, right. No, well, yeah. Not that I know of. No, I used to play a game called Star Wars galaxies. And it was the Star Wars version of like World of Warcraft, and religiously played that game. So I had multiple characters. And like two years into the game's development, they finally let you have like Jedi characters. And I choose it up until that point or chosen sorry, up until that point to be an imperial character. And I was I city planners, I'm a dork. And we were on Dantooine, we had a detachment of stormtroopers, and like, blah, blah, blah. And so we had the Jedi character finally come out. And I would have my Jedi character follow my main character. This is very dorky, unless you play the game, you totally know I'm talking about here. So I had the, you know, characters walking around imperial city. And the same time they released the Jedi update in the game, you could also be a bounty hunter and go hunt the Jedi. And so I was in my city, whole group of bounty hunters show up. And I was with my Jedi friends, which was a very dorky, and the bounty hunters could kind of gauge whether they could win the battle or not. And this time, they knew they could not win, there's enough of us that it just wasn't even a fair fight. And so we started, you know, like smack talking to each other having some fun. And one of them thought it was a little bit odd that there was a Jedi walking around with all the stormtroopers, you know, and he just was jokingly asking, What is this some kind of Imperial Jedi? And I was like, just a light bulb went off. And I was like, Yeah, man, that's exactly what this is. I tapped out right there and change my Twitter. You know, like tha was it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, it's just clicks. And there becomes your brand for the next however long.

Will Smyth:

Yeah. And I was like, I don't even know when that was a long time ago. That just stuck with me. Yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

that's a good story. At least there is a story right? Yeah. It's not like why is that your name.? I randomly picked a generator, and that's what it picked.

Will Smyth:

Oh, happy its not that. But it's a little dorky though, Ihave to admit,

Jonathan Collaton:

that's alright. Star Wars is up until the last few movies was very popular.

Will Smyth:

Still, well, God, that's a whole other podcast in itself.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's another podcast. start next week, my Star Wars podcast.

Will Smyth:

You know, I still come across people. Almost every time I stream who have never seen Star Wars. And I've also never played city skylines

Jonathan Collaton:

interesting. Yeah, I wonder. Like, I guess that just probably goes to show that the the accessibility of what you're doing as a career now that anybody from anywhere with an internet connection can find it online.

Will Smyth:

So you're aiming for you want evergreen content? Anyone any age, anytime it can be an eight year old video, they'll still enjoy just as much as it was made on day one.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right? Okay, so an evergreen, I've heard this term before. So that basically means it's like. So they could put on a video from three years ago, and it's still relevant.

Will Smyth:

You can be 75 or tou can be 13 doesn't really...for everyone, basically. Yeah, more that you have, the better you'll do in the long run.

Jonathan Collaton:

Seems kind of crazy to think that like Star Wars, there are people that don't know about Star Wars, but especially if they're on a platform like Twitch,

Will Smyth:

I know it. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's what seems strange to me.

Will Smyth:

Like Twitch is niche, you know, it's kind of a weird one.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So and like, you know, it's like the nerd Mecca. And so to like, to not know, Star Wars and be they're strange to me.

Will Smyth:

It's almost like a badge at this point. You know, people are proud of it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Makes sense. All right. And so, for what you do, the career is very much dependent on people finding your content interesting. And supporting your channels. Yes, basically. So, like, what are the various ways that people are listening to this and they're like, I want to support this channel and watch this, what are they ways they can do that?

Will Smyth:

I've also learned and this is also one of those things that they they kind of reinforce, is give people multiple options to support and supporting can be it can be financial, it can be following it could be telling your friend, that's a good way to grow as well. Right? I have a Patreon. You can subscribe for free on YouTube, you could subscribe with money on YouTube, you can follow for free on Twitch, you could subscribe with money on on Twitch. Or just send me like you know, a little PayPal donation. But yeah, the doors wide open but up forever. And always the content will be free, you know?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. And and like the one thing that I, the way that I ended up kind of supporting your channel was through twitch prime, which I didn't even know was a thing. I know that one. So yeah, as it turns out, if you have amazon prime, you get something called twitch prime for free and you can subscribe to one channel every month for free. It cost me nothing, because I'm not paying for Prime but then you gain financially from that. Yep, that's fantastic. Yeah, cuz like the amount of hours of YouTube video that you've put out that I've watched. And now I get to kind of help support the channel, it's nice.

Will Smyth:

Oh dude like one twitch prime is worth like, I can't really go to the numbers, but it's a lot of YouTube ads. Oh, like more than you'll ever watch in your lifetime. So everyone came in and gave me a twitch prime once like, that's a lot of coffee that can buy you know.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so if you are a viewer of Imperial Jedi, and don't subscribe on Twitch prime and you have amazon prime, go hook it up. It's not that difficult.

Will Smyth:

Otherwise, follow for free.

Jonathan Collaton:

Otherwise follow for free. Okay, great. Well, it sounds like that brings us to where we are today in your story?

Will Smyth:

I think so. I hope so too, this was a lot of fun.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this and hopefully some my listeners are gonna get something really new and interesting out of this. Yeah,I'm glad and

Will Smyth:

I enjoyed talking with you too.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, good, man. This is great. And I know we get a couple cold beers in the fridge. Now we'll just hang out and have a good time. Talk about city building and urban planning.

Will Smyth:

Sounds good.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right, man. Thanks for thanks for coming on.

Will Smyth:

No problem. We'll see you again.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right, so that was Will's journey from trying a few different things to becoming Imperial Jedi a full time content creator on Twitch and YouTube. After each episode, I'd like to reflect a little bit on some of the things we heard the interviewee say. So what lessons have we learned today? For me, I walk away knowing that sometimes the unexpected can throw a wrench in your plans in a positive way. After Will's first post secondary experience, he took some time off to figure out what he wanted. And he decided that to get what he wanted, he needed a degree in business administration. He was ambitious, and he wanted to do a four year program and three, but a sudden bump in popularity of his YouTube channel started to distract him from his studies, enough that he started to feel really lost. And professors were asking him, What are you even doing at school? And he couldn't answer them. All it took for him was answering a phone call from his dad, which he normally would not have answered to change his whole trajectory. He was able to rebuild his relationship with his father, how about his dad's business and also gain the flexibility to required in a work schedule that allowed him to grow his online content. Eventually, he was able to make the leap to full time creator, when all he ever wanted was to play some games for free. I also learned that when making online content, the passion has to come from what you want, but the content has to come from what the community wants. It's not just as simple as making a video and putting it on the internet. We love to put in the work by looking at Google Trends and engaging with his community in order to figure out what type of content will be successful. And it took him years to build up to that level of success, where he was constantly working towards that growth. That meant working every Sunday and many different nights of the week to curate content that people would enjoy. So the ultimate lesson is that there's a lot going on behind the scenes that you don't necessarily get to see with someone like well and what he does. The last thing I want to mention about his interview is something that you may have noticed, which is that will often says we instead of I and that's a habit, I noticed he's picked up from his work on Twitch and YouTube. He talks like a streamer. My belief is that he wants the community to have a say in the direction of his content. So he often refers to them as the collective we people want to feel like they're part of something. And streamers use that to make their community feel involved. And involved community is more likely to financially support a content creator because they have a greater appreciation for what's being created. I think it's similar to how sports teams get their fans involved. Often when I'm talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs, I say things like I want to see us win the Stanley Cup. I'm not playing hockey, I'm watching them play hockey. But I've had years of hearing myself referred to as part of leafs nation from a highly paid marketing team, and I'm drinking the Kool Aid. The difference is that it cost me hundreds of dollars to financially support the Leafs and it literally cost me nothing to support the content Will is creating. So if you're a fan of Imperial Jedi, go subscribe to him through twitch prime or support him through one of the other options he mentioned in his interview. It helps him pay the bills so he can keep making content you enjoy. And if you've never seen one of his videos before, and you're interested in watching the Bob Ross of city building, take a look at his YouTube page or catch his Sunday Cities Skylines stream. I'll link to both of those pages in the description of this episode. I hope you have enjoyed this episode of career crossroads. And while you can't financially support me, you can help me in a few other ways. If you're listening on Apple podcasts or iTunes, or any other app that allows you to review or rate the show, please consider writing a short review that helps others who come across the podcast decide if it's the right show for them. You can also follow me on Instagram at career underscore Crossroads or follow my LinkedIn page career Crossroads podcast where I post audiograms and quotes from the show to facilitate some online discussion. Thanks for tuning in and come back next week to hear from Sen a doctor in China who had stopped doing surgery early on in his career and then decided to bring his family to Canada for a better work life balance.