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Daniel Kwan’s Guide to being a Professional GM

A good proportion of my income in 2018 came from professional GM work. Now, this doesn’t include my work at the Royal Ontario Museum or Level Up Gaming. What I’m referring to is my work as a freelance GM-for-hire. 2018 consisted of 2 private schools and 8 families. At my busiest, I was running 4 games a week – each supplementing the income from my day jobs. From standing weekly appointments to hospital calls and birthday parties, I had the opportunity to play games across the GTA for a modest living.

How did I go about obtaining clients?

So, how do you succeed as a professional GM? How would I keep these clients?

But there are a couple of things to consider before working as a professional GM.

Was this the dream come true many hardcore gamers envision? In a way, yes it was. It provided me with a significant amount of secondary income to a) fuel my hobby, b) increase the value of my product, c) allowed me to develop my GM/table management skills, and d) provided me with opportunities to playtest adventures. But this kind of work is volatile. Clients can cancel last minute, leaving you without any work. This kind of work also leads to burnout.

So take care of yourself. GM-for-hire work is incredibly rewarding, just give a lot of thought to why you’re interested in doing it in the first place.