- Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård, 28, works full time as a video game tutor for “League of Legends.”
- He’s the highest-earning and top-rated player on Gamer Sensei, the website he uses to find clients.
- This is what his day working at home in Norway is like, as told to freelance writer Max Jungreis.
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The idea of getting paid to teach someone how to play video games may seem odd to you, but to me, it’s everyday life.
I teach people around the world how to play “League of Legends,” the online, team-based game, from the comfort of my home in Bodø, Norway.
People enlist my services for different reasons.
Some want to become professional players, like I used to be. Others are young entertainers who aspire to become famous by streaming games. Some are actors, whom I won’t name here. And a smaller group are casual players who just want to have fun with their friends.
What ties them all together is that they’re serious about wanting to get better and willing to pay for the best. That’s me. I’ve worked to build a reputation as a coach who gives his students the attention they need to perform well — in the game, and in their lives.
I charge $120 an hour through Gamer Sensei, a platform that connects tutors like me with students.
I keep $96 of that after the company takes its cut. In 2020, I made $50,617 from 431 sessions. In July 2020 alone, I made $5,771 after adding on bonuses Gamer Sensei gives to top performers.
I’m both the highest-rated and highest-earning tutor on Gamer Sensei.
Part of my appeal is tied to my past in esports — I was a professional player for years, and before deciding to work full time as a tutor, I was the head coach for the “League of Legends” pro team Fnatic Rising.
But that doesn’t mean my status as a top-ranked tutor has come easily. I’ve still had to build and maintain a reputation as a good teacher. Every five-star review counts. I believe there are things that others who want to teach games professionally can do to build theirs as well.
My day starts when my alarm goes off at 8:30 a.m.
I make something hot to drink — I talk all day, so it helps my throat.
By 9 a.m., I’m seated at my computer and tutoring students. I have a pro-gamer setup that includes two 24-inch monitors, but really all I need is an internet connection and a good mood.
The only tool I can’t go without is tea. I probably drink more than 10 cups a day.
At 11 a.m., I take a break and prepare myself a healthy breakfast, then take my dog for a walk. During this time, I try to plan out the rest of the day.
Back when I was splitting my time between professional coaching and tutoring, I’d usually spend the next few hours tutoring before logging on for team practice at 3 p.m. and going until 8 p.m.
Now, it varies. Since going full time as a tutor, I’ve been able to make my own schedule. I still schedule the bulk of my work in the evenings for overseas students, but now I can make time to work on other projects (like renovating my apartment).
I have what I call a ‘big picture’ approach to coaching.
I focus less on the nitty-gritty details of the game — telling students exactly where and when to click their mouses to win a game — and more on directing their focus so they can play as comfortably and confidently as possible by discussing their mindset going into a game and what questions they should be asking themselves during a match.
That’s connected to the single most important thing you can do to build your reputation: Care about your client.
Genuinely caring about your student’s progression, well-being, and whether you’re applying yourself in the best way possible matters. Clients can sense whether you actually care about them or if you’re just after their wallet.
I’ve heard many times from students that after a session with me, they felt like coaches they tried on other platforms weren’t really taking care of them. That’s why most of my students now have been with me for a long time.
I take a holistic view of my student’s lives.
I ask them what their diet is like, how much free time they have, whether they’re exercising and sleeping properly. If you’re not doing well in your regular life, you won’t do well in the game.
I frequently recommend workout regimes, dietary changes, and new sleep schedules because a client is struggling in this area. I’ve even recommended students get their vitamin levels checked because I think they’re dealing with a deficiency. I also recommend that students not game and eat at the same time, instead treating each meal as an opportunity to let their brains relax.
Things that weigh on my client’s minds can affect their performance. I’m not a psychologist, but just being a good listener is frequently one of the most helpful things I can do. If I notice that a student seems anxious or negative, I try to figure out why.
I don’t pry. I build trust over time, which makes it easy for students to open up to me. Often, they’re more willing to take the leap because they’ve started seeing the positive effects of my health advice.
Some of my students want to become coaches themselves.
I will share here what I tell them: You can’t just be a facilitator who dispenses advice. You need to be the strongest voice in the room.
Don’t expect students to take everything you say as gospel. Instead, prepare to be questioned. In these situations, you need to be confident of what you’re saying — so only speak about things that you truly understand and be prepared to back up your own arguments.
Building up a reputation doesn’t happen overnight. It took me five years to become a professional esports player, which is the bedrock of mine. If you accept that there are no shortcuts and give yourself to students as much as you can — through the bad days, the bad weeks, and the bad months — you can succeed.
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