From law school drop-out to gaming tycoon


Elliott Watkins thought he was temporarily quitting law school to try his hand at gaming. He hasn’t looked back.

Key Takeaways
  • In 2014, avid gamer Elliott Watkins began experimenting with content creating on YouTube. He now has more than 9 million subscribers to his channel
  • Watkins has since launched his own talent agency, Click Management, to help other gamers navigate the industry
Elliot Watkins is sitting down on a white boucle chair.
Elliott Watkins. | Image source: Damian Bennett

For most teenagers, gaming is a hobby. For Elliott Watkins, it would turn out to become an incredibly lucrative career.

“I’ve always liked gaming – ever since I was a kid and my dad was threatening to throw my Xbox in the pool,” Watkins tells Forbes Australia. But the threats were fair, he admits – “I was playing a little too much Call of Duty and not doing enough math homework”.

At university, where Watkins began studying a commerce and law double degree, his passion for gaming developed. His parents couldn’t police it, after all.

In 2014, he began experimenting with content creation as a fun hobby on the side. “Shockingly,” he recalls, “it ended up getting some traction”. It was a little easier then, he says. Youtube wasn’t the competitive environment it is today.

“It’s an industry now – everyone has teams and operations around them. Back then it was just me on my $1500 compute with a headset mic shouting while playing a game of TF2.” (That’s Team Fortress 2, FYI).

After making minimum wage from his YouTube channel, he decided to game full-time. The idea initially was to take a year off of his degree and see how it all went. Swimmingly, as it turns out. Each time a new game would come out (Overwatch, Fortnite), Watkins’ following would skyrocket. Now, he has 9.3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, and nearly 1 million on Instagram. On both platforms, he goes by the alias Muselk.

“Around the time when I was making minimum wage from my gaming, it felt like a job. I was able to look at my growth trajectory, and I saw some promising numbers. That’s when I made the decision to give it a proper go.”

That was around 2.5 years into his degree, he says. And his parents – Alison Watkins, ex-managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil and board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and former investment banker Rod Watkins – weren’t too pleased.

“My dad would ring me every single day and ask me when I was going back to uni. They were as supportive as any parents could be about their kid dropping out of law school.”

What does “giving it a proper go” look like? Think live-streaming for 12-16 hours per day.

“It sounds like the most small-violin complaint, but being energetic for a long period of time can be exhausting,” Watkins says. “You literally can’t switch off for a minute – you can’t tune out with thousands of people watching you.”

It also means monitoring your channel analytics to make sure your views and subscribers are ticking upwards. This, Watkins says, could be toxic.

“Imagine your boss is calling you after every single little thing you do, and telling you whether you did it well or not,” he says.

“Every time you post a video, Google tells you how it ranks. If it’s good, you feel good. If it’s bad, you start thinking, ‘I’m falling behind, I need to work harder to get that momentum back’. I can literally only describe it as addiction.”

Watkins doesn’t livestream anymore, and he is focused on his talent agency, Click Management, which scouts young gaming talent and helps them navigate the industry.

“You have these kids – some who are 15 or 16 – who are commanding audiences bigger than some TV shows in the country, with no real business experience,” he says.

“It was really out of my own struggles to find my first manager that I realised this was an incredibly fast-growing industry, and there needs to be something here for this.”