Gamer's career 'snowballed' after £10k MrBeast tip

Tom gaming at his desk
Tom Gardiner has recently moved his editing suite into his new home office [BBC]

A teenage gamer with half a million YouTube followers says social media changed his life after he was sent £10,000 by world-renowned content creator MrBeast.

Tom Gardiner - known as ReniDrag on YouTube - began streaming videos of himself gaming in 2017.

But the 18-year-old from Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, was inspired to make it a full-time career when he was set a series of gaming challenges by MrBeast in a "surreal" streaming experience.

He now earns up to £25,000 a month and has been able to treat his family to holidays, a hot tub, and buy himself a car.

MrBeast, who has more than 250 million YouTube subscribers, is the platform’s current highest earner, and famous for hosting large giveaways and competitions.

"I felt so lucky," said Tom. "Honestly, YouTube has changed my life."

Tom was initially inspired by his favourite content creators, such as PewDiePie, DanTDM and DougDoug.

He said: "I had so much passion for editing and making videos. Even if no-one watched it - I didn't care.

Tom with his Corsa
Tom bought himself a car with his YouTube earnings [Tom Gardiner]

"It was just a hobby at that point and I was really enjoying it."

The "incredible turning point" came in March 2021, as he was finishing Year 11 and getting ready to start sixth form.

He was streaming every day, and people would watch and donate to his account.

"Anyone can be in your chat box, people are watching you play, and they can donate, like a tip jar," he explained.

"But MrBeast is crazy, he takes that to the extreme."

The YouTube star "jumped into my live stream randomly", Tom said, and initially donated £700.

"Minecraft is all about mining, and the challenge was to find a diamond," he continued.

"I think I had a minute against the clock.

"He then donated another £2,000 and set me the challenge to create a portal and I was able to do that too."

In total, MrBeast gave Tom $14,000 - then about £10,000.

MrBeast is YouTube's current highest earner and often hosts major giveaways and challenges [Getty Images]

He was featured as part of one of MrBeast’s videos, in a series where he gave fellow gamers extravagant donations and recorded their reactions - a video which has had 70 million views.

"The whole thing really inspired me to knuckle down and work hard to try and become a YouTuber full-time," Tom said.

"Before then, it was pocket money, something to do on the side. MrBeast’s connection didn’t give me much exposure, but it gave me the boost. And it snowballed from there."

£25K in a month

Tom said his most profitable month so far saw him earn about £25,000, but people he knew were earning as much as £300,000 a month.

"I like to think I’ve been responsible and put most of it away. You never know what the future holds and I could never take this for granted," he said.

But he has splashed out on an upcoming family holiday to Florida, bought himself a car, and invested in a hot tub for his family home.

"That was probably my biggest purchase, and something my parents were like ‘wink wink, nudge nudge’."

Tom with his 100,000 subscribers plaque
Tom's success has meant he is able to work full-time as a YouTube content creator [Tom Gardiner]

But with the rewards come challenges, and Tom said a big one was having to stay "relevant" and "trendy" on YouTube.

"Trying to stay fresh is a massive thing because you are on this YouTube treadmill," he said.

How do you become a successful YouTuber?

Gav Murphy, from Maesycwmmer, Caerphilly county, produces videos and podcasts for his own film company.

He said people "underestimate the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes" of a YouTube career, and finding a niche was important, as well as "making something you care about".

"I think the worst thing possible is to go chasing subscribers or make content that other people are doing, because you think it will do well. The audience will see through that."

Tom’s next goal is to hit a million subscribers, as well as travel more and meet other gamers at conventions.

"When people ask me why you’d want to watch other people play games, I always compare it to sport. Why do we watch other people play sports? It’s very similar in that sense," he said.

His love for games started with just an Xbox, and he said people should not be put off by lack of equipment.

“When it progressed into more of a career, I bought more stuff, but you don’t need an over-the-top super set-up.

“Honestly, just a computer and a microphone and the sky's the limit."