Is it ever too early to start planning on how your stream is going to support itself? No not really, it will always start off feeling a good bit weird if you’re not used to making sales or balancing a P&L sheet.
If you’re thinking of waiting until partnership on your platform before you start thinking of monetization, you are doing it wrong. Being partnered will just give you extra monetization options, and is a great integrated avenue for that, but now if you’ve paid attention to your branding you can start capitalizing on that.
Once you have your brand shaped and have begun implementing it across your content and social channels, you will have fans who want to associate with your brand. This can be made up with both physical items, digital items, and group memberships with benefits that further enable your fans to interact with you and your brand.
Physical goods are the simplest to understand as they are simply items with your logo, trademark, saying etc. on them. This can be Bracelets, Hats, Shirts, Stickers, Pictures or basically anything you can slap your brand on. This will also be a secondary method of advertising because what do you do when you have something new? You show it off! This will get people asking what that brand is, and that makes an opportunity for another fan.
Digital goods get a little more on the complicated because you must start thinking outside the box, they can also be addons to group memberships as well. But you are already producing additional content to the mass market, your fans would likely enjoy some personalized content. You could do a fake commercial using a fans name. Do you have a unique voice? You could do custom recordings for your fans. Do you make any kind of art? There’s an avenue of offering!
The final one is Group Memberships such as Patreon, GameWisp etc. Much like a Subscription button via platform partnership. It will allow your fans to engage set amounts of money in exchange for you continuing with your content creation. This will usually incorporate a digital offering as or other perks of membership that can be as simple as personal time off stream via access to a private discord channel. Anything that helps your fans engage with you on a greater level is what you’re looking for.
As you progress with your marketing and brand building you’ll find this starting to come more and more naturally, you’ll eventually get over the fear of offering items to your fans for hard currency and you may just find that even if you’re not making a profit yet, it could spark even extra creativity just by the extra appreciation you will feel for your fans who are wanting to connect on a financial level with you and your content!