‘I quit job to play Football Manager full-time and ended up doubling my salary’

‘I quit job to play Football Manager full-time and ended up doubling my salary’


A YouTuber shared how he quit his job to play game Football Manager full-time – and has doubled his salary in the process.

Tom Kelsey, 26, from Lincoln, creates videos about the popular computer game, which he shares with his 119,000 subscribers.

Starting his YouTube channel 'TomFM' back in 2017 while at university, Tom was inspired by other content creators making videos about the hit game.

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Fast forward to now, he boasts thousands of subscribers and a staggering 24million views on his channel. The game, which started as Championship Manager in 1992 before being rebranded as Football Manager in 2004, puts players in charge of running a football club.

The series has grown massively over the years, with the latest edition, Football Manager 2024, released just this month.

From his bedroom at his parents' house, Tom now posts three videos a week and runs his channel as a full-time gig. Reflecting on his journey, he said: "I always backed myself so in the back of my mind, I thought I could have a good go at this.

"But I think when I started, nobody who was making Football Manager videos had more than 100,000 subscribers so it was a bit of a glass ceiling. I never quite thought it was going to happen but when it does, it's quite crazy."

Tom's content varies from tips on how to play the game to a series on his virtual team's journey. He also conducts experiments where he fast-forwards 100 years into the future in the game to compare different teams and see where they are now playing.

He spends about 40 hours a week working on his YouTube channel, which includes writing scripts, filming and editing videos. Despite spending so much time playing the popular game, he admits there are times when he gets bored.

However, the beauty of his job is that he can take a day off whenever he feels like it. "No matter how amazing or how much a job is your dream job, you sometimes feel like that and want a rest day," he said. "But the beauty is that I can have days off when I want to, which is quite nice."

He loves the freedom his job offers, allowing him to work whenever he wants. This flexibility also gives him the opportunity to seize exciting opportunities without worrying about taking annual leave. "Some of the opportunities I've had because of it is just crazy and I've made friends with people through doing it," he added.

Earlier this year, Tom even flew to New York to visit a friend he made while playing Football Manager. He believes that if he worked a 'normal job', he would feel limited.

Tom left his job as a business support assistant at Lincolnshire County Council in August 2022. While he didn't disclose his current earnings, he did reveal he has doubled his salary since leaving his previous job. The average salary for his old post is estimated to be around £20,734 per year.

Tom now earns his living through AdSense, a Google-run programme that pays him every time an advert is viewed before one of his videos. He shared: "AdSense is the biggest way I get paid, someone will watch my videos and then I get paid a certain amount every time an advert is shown."

He says brand deals bring in the cash too, adding: "I've got brand deals as well and they definitely help, I've been able to work with some cool companies."

Tom admitted it was a calculated risk to go solo but he's glad he took it, saying: "It was scary but it was a calculated risk but I made sure the numbers indicated I would be fine to work for myself as long as I kept going."

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Despite dedicating around 40 hours a week to his YouTube channel, Tom only spends about 45 minutes playing the game per video. He doesn't play Football Manager outside of creating content as he feels it would be too much. Tom explained: "You actually spend the least amount of time in the process to play the game.

While he'd love to continue this job forever, Tom recognises that such roles didn't exist five to 10 years ago.

In the future, the die-hard Lincoln City FC fan dreams of becoming a football commentator. He currently volunteers as a commentator for visually impaired fans at his favourite club.

"It would be amazing to do this sort of thing forever but this is a 21st century job," he said. "Around five to 10 years ago, this sort of job wouldn't have been possible, so I'm sure it will completely change in the next ten years or so. I'm obviously open to all sorts of opportunities. I'm talking about football all the time, so I think becoming a football commentator would be a logical step."

* This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]

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