We had the pleasure of sitting down with Forrest Waldron, creator of KreekCraft, to see what he’s realized from operating his gaming channel. We mentioned how his channel began, some early errors, balancing income streams, taxes and work-life stability. Kreek spoke candidly about what it was prefer to be a younger grownup selecting this path and gave some recommendation for newbies simply getting began.
Video views: 1,152,708,062
Content material sort: Gaming
Consumer created: Apr 9, 2014
Rising up and early missteps
When Kreek talked about rising up in Florida, he clarified rapidly that it was not like beachy cities in Florida – extra like rural, small-town vibes the place everybody is aware of one another and everybody loves soccer. “There’s a lot of ‘outside stuff’ going on, and sports are really big,” he says of his hometown, “I couldn’t go to school in 8th grade though, not like physical school.” Recovering from surgical procedure at the moment, he opted for a web based faculty as an alternative of the same old residence faculty route children would possibly take. The net faculty supplied issues like coding and programming lessons that he couldn’t get within the native faculties. Since he wasn’t capable of be outdoors and energetic along with his buddies, he began gaming lots. “Then it got to a point where I kind of needed another avenue of stuff to do, and that’s where YouTube came in.”
Forrest’s first foray into gaming was on Xbox. His username was FlyingEye128 – a simple shoutout to his birthday on January twenty eighth and, as he tells us, “because I had this obsession with drawing eyeballs with wings. I learned how to do it, and I just kept doing it!” He laughed on the reminiscence. “Eventually, I got into World of Warcraft with all my friends, and I couldn’t have FlyingEye, and so I used the random name generator.” It dubbed him Kreek. Later, when he began enjoying Minecraft, he discovered that Kreek was already taken, too. And so KreekCraft was born. As monikers go, it caught.
He began his first YouTube account when the platform was nonetheless pretty new. In 2014, he shut it down and opened a brand new account. Reflecting, Kreek needs he had stayed with the unique account. “I felt like my videos had improved so much since I’d started — the first videos on the channel were just like, not even talking, just me punching a tree in Minecraft. It was so bad. And I thought having those on the channel would hurt the channel. Obviously, that’s just not how that works.” By beginning over, he misplaced his opening fanbase, his longevity on the location and the accrued engagement stats. Once you’re working with reputation and algorithms, these items matter.
Not getting a “real” job and discovering success with KreekCraft
As Kreek received older, he selected to make gaming content material as an alternative of following extra conventional paths, similar to going to school and getting a payroll job. Most of his family and friends didn’t actually perceive. “Eventually one day came and I was like, ‘Oh I’m moving to Pittsburg and I’m buying a house, and everyone was like ‘Wait! What? How‘re you doing that?’” he laughed; the idea of getting paid to play video video games on-line was nonetheless so new. Kreek additionally is kind of cautious along with his cash, including to their shock by simply how a lot he was making on YouTube.
“I don’t really buy a lot of stuff,” he defined. “A lot of YouTubers, they’ll run out and buy a fancy car and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, well he’s making money now,’ but I don’t really do stuff like that, I’m more of a saver person … So, the house was like the first big thing. Yeah, that was definitely the moment.”
KreekCraft’s income streams
Kreek’s launch into monetization on YouTube occurred at a time when advert income was the one viable supply of earnings. “I think my first paycheck was like $30, and it was crazy. I just made money on the internet, this is wild,” he reminisced. “Then, over time, YouTube added more options like Super Chat, livestream and fan donations. You can sell merch, and sponsorships come in eventually. It’s expanded a lot over the last few years, and I’m happy with how it’s expanding.”
Kreek’s private favourite income stream is direct fan funding. ”I like followers having the ability to help you instantly. You often have a bit of loyal supporters who’re simply at all times there. It’s much more secure in some elements in comparison with advert income.”
“The problem with ad revenue,” he continued, “is that it can be very finicky. Back in the adpocalypse days, all the ad rates just went down and everyone was freaking out. But even throughout the year, it fluctuates so much. Near the end of the year, it skyrockets because everyone is selling toys for the holidays, but then in January, it plummets.”
Kreek doesn’t put numerous vitality into monitoring his personal analytics for income. “Sometimes creators get too far into their own head about that stuff,” he warns. His recommendation is to deal with engagement and having an excellent time along with your viewers. The opposite elements will fall into place finally.
A tragic reality of content material creation is that it will probably result in burnout. “That’s something I’ve always struggled with,” Kreek shares. “I’ve gotten better about it recently.” Being a full-time content material creator usually forces you to be consistently on the clock. “Part of the job is staying connected to everything. I’ve gotta know what’s going on,” Kreek says. “If there’s some big Roblox update or something, I’ve gotta be here to talk about it.”
The job’s workload finally caught as much as Kreek. “There was a period back in 2019 where I just had no free time. My life was just wake up, do YouTube stuff, go to sleep,” Kreek reveals. Now, Kreek now has assist to ease a number of the load. “I’ve hired a few people. I have people that help me edit videos and that kinda thing. It’s helped take a lot of that workload off.”
He additionally makes positive he carves out a while every day to do issues apart from creating content material. To Kreek, it’s necessary to find time for your self, even when it’s simply extra display time like watching a film or enjoying a sport that isn’t for YouTube. This helps hold the sensation of burnout away. “I have to have something else to look forward to at the end of the day,” he says.
Adulting and private progress by means of KreekCraft
Operating a profitable YouTube channel and managing your funds at a younger age might be fairly annoying, however for Kreek, now 25, it’s been a largely constructive progress expertise.
“In terms of business and financial stuff, I feel like I’m just so far ahead of where most people my age are because, as a YouTuber, you don’t really have a choice. Like, taxes are complicated, but you have to do them,” he tells us. “You kinda get a head start because it’s forced on you.”
Being a YouTuber has additionally helped Kreek develop his social expertise, too. “I’m a lot more extroverted now. I’m a very shy, keep-to-myself person in real life. But it feels weird because I’m like that, but KreekCraft’s not like that.” Kreek’s expertise being a YouTube has inspired him to step out of his field, like being on a panel at VidCon earlier this yr. “That was terrifying,” Kreek reminisces, “I was going up in front of all these people, all these lights … but then I went there, and it was just like all the fans, ya know? So it was just like, I can do this. It’s fine.”
The enjoyable stuff
With an viewers of greater than 4.5 M subscribers and so a few years of operating channels, there have been many highlights for Kreek. His favourite moments thus far have been in regards to the issues that cash can’t purchase. “I’ll never forget hitting 100,000 subscribers because that was the moment that you get the plaque,” he beams. “And I know, they send you a gold one at a million, and I know a million is a big number, that was really cool, too … But that first one!”
Additionally, someplace within the far corners of the web, there’s a KreekCraft fandom web page that mentions his favourite meals is Pop-Tarts, and he needs he could possibly be sponsored by them. We needed to ask. With numerous laughter, he admitted that is nonetheless true. He wasn’t capable of decide to a favourite Pop-Tart taste as a result of they’re all so good. “When I was a kid, everyone made the joke that I ate so many Pop-Tarts that one day they’d sponsor me. Now I’m in a position where they COULD sponsor me!” he laughed and agreed that it’s a very distinctive place to be in life.
Recommendation for the newbies
“I feel like the game of YouTube has changed so much in the past few years. The one thing I’d say is – and I do this all the time, too – study what’s working and what’s not working. What kind of videos are the big people making? How do they film their videos? How do they edit their videos? That kind of thing,” he suggested. The times of posting unedited movies of punching bushes on Minecraft with none narration are lengthy gone. “That’s been done so many times. No one wants to watch that anymore. You gotta get to the interesting part, bring something new to the table.”