Entrepreneur: Marie Shanley

Biz: Mxiety 

Tilt: Mental health

Primary Channels: Twitch (7.9K), website

Other Channels: Twitter (9.6K), Instagram (1.1K), LinkedIn

Rev Streams: Twitch subs, partnerships deals

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Get boundary reinforcements: Establish your boundaries for each platform and activity to avoid creator burnout. Get someone else, such as a moderator, to help you follow them.
  • Get a hobby: When you turn your hobby, such as Twitch streaming, into a business, find another hobby to have something to do outside of work.
  • Listen, but don’t always do: Take in all of the advice you can. Be open-minded but also do not take it at face value. Instead, sift through it for you and your circumstances.

The Story

By 2017, Marie Shanley had hit rock bottom. “I was like, ‘I kind of don’t want to be here anymore because my mental health had taken away my job, my career, every aspiration,’” Marie says. “I thought I’d never be able to recover and was kind of just done.”

But in the back of her mind was an idea. If she ever felt better, she would do what she could to help others struggling with mental health. “And then, (my situation)  just kept getting worse,” she says. “And I was like, ‘Well, I’m not going to feel better, so let’s see if I can help other people while I’m figuring out what the heck is going on.’”

Marie Shanley launched @Mxiety on #Twitch to help others while she figured out what was going on with her mental health. #Streaming #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Twitch seemed like a good place to start — a platform where she could cultivate an instant, live conversation and engage in back-and-forth discussion with viewers. She launched her channel, Mxiety, in 2017, interviewing friends and later bringing in mental health professionals from places like Take This, a mental health nonprofit focused on the gaming industry.

Marie quickly points out she doesn’t give advice, and she’s careful in her streams and platforms to make it clear she’s not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. Her goal is to share what she has learned along her own path, which includes diagnoses of anxiety, depression, and ADHD, to possibly help others facing the same concerns.

“It’s never from a space of advice, always from a space of ‘here is information that I have, maybe I could show it to you in a way that makes sense to you,’” she says.

Mental health + newbie gamer

Mxiety’s stream includes a mix of chats with streamers and mental health professionals on topics such as LGBTQIA2+ issues and politics and mental health. Her Discord server has more opportunities for discussion, but, again, it’s not a place to find direct support.

“We do have a space in the Discord for people to vent if something is going on, but even the space is called ‘No Reply Expected,’” she says. “You can come in and talk about what’s going on, but you do not expect that anybody has the bandwidth or wherewithal to support you through it. People do come in and offer support like, ‘Oh man, that sucks,’ but it’s more incidental than it is the purpose of the space.”

And her stream isn’t just about mental health. On occasion, she’s a variety gamer with a unique niche — reviewing games based on their beginner friendliness. The streams resonate with fans who came to Twitch for educational content and become intrigued by video games but have no idea where to start. “It was the perfect intersection of my community,” Marie says.

On @Mxiety's Twitch, the focus is on mental health but Marie Shanley also throws in game reviews for a beginner audience. It's the perfect community intersection, she says. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Linking up with LinkedIn

Content creation has never been a full-time job for Marie, who also works for a children’s nonprofit. But she earns revenue as a Twitch partner and through partnerships with Logitech and Steamloots brands. And she’s gained big visibility at times on Twitch, including front-page placement last year for a stream she led on mental health and women gamers. She also runs charity events where creators come on screen to share all manner of uplifting things.

After taking a mental health break in late 2021, her latest partnership, coupled with her full-time job, has taken her away from regular Twitch streaming for now. She’s collaborating with LinkedIn through its Creator Accelerator Program to share about mental health topics by publishing articles and conducting video interviews. It’s part of LinkedIn’s effort to expand its connection to creators, Marie says.

Twitch streamers and other creators often don’t think of LinkedIn as an important platform to showcase their work — and neither did Marie until recently. In fact, she shied away from sharing her creator side on her own LinkedIn page, worried what employers might think about her experience with mental health. But her work on Twitch actually helped her land her most recent job. “All of the gaming companies are (on LinkedIn); your profile and achievements should be there,” she says.

@LinkedIn is an oft-ignored but important platform for Twitchers and other creators to showcase their work, says Marie Shanley of @Mxiety. #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet

For other creators, Marie shares these tips:

Set boundaries  

Your boundaries will morph over time based on your own needs and other responsibilities, Marie says. But, to avoid creator burnout, be mindful and set boundaries for each aspect — your Discord, your streams, and your personal life. Have others, such as moderators, help you enforce them.

It can be easier said than done. Marie has tried to be thoughtful about her own boundaries — taking off days, weeks, and months at a time. But life can catch up.

“If you do content creation, you usually probably do it because you really like it,” she says. “It’s really easy to burn out because it’s really easy to be like, ‘No, I like doing this thing. I want to continue to push myself until whatever happens.”

Do something else

For plenty of streamers, Twitch was a hobby that manifested into a revenue-earning opportunity that would make more of it. “In the process, you lose your hobby,” Marie says. “And then, if you also work and you stream, then you have two things happening full time and no hobbies.”

Have an interest outside of your work and content business, she says. “You are more than your help and the entertainment you provide to people. You are more than that. You do not have to justify your existence by being a helpful person.” 

Take advice cautiously

There’s no magic road map to success. Life doesn’t work that way — and neither does Twitch. Not every piece of advice will apply to your situation. As Marie says: “Make sure you listen to (all the advice) and make sure that you have an open mind. But also have a willingness to sift through it and not take it at face value.”

Listen to all the advice with an open mind. Then, sift through it and apply what's relevant, says Marie Shanle of @Mxiety. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

About the author

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.