*Lynette Adkins is proof that a leap of faith can create big results. Especially if the leap results in life as an influencer, switching from a high-paying job at Amazon to a new career online.
Adkins currently has more than 105,000 YouTube subscribers, 22,000 Instagram followers and 101,000 followers on TikTok, according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted the 23-year-old self-taught content creator’s status as “a so-called micro-influencer on the ascent, someone with a sizable and engaged following but who isn’t a big brand personality or household name.”
Despite the micro-influencer label, Adkins is making big noise, courtesy of two viral videos rejecting the live-to-work culture. The videos are part of a series of clips that finds Adkins highlighting herself with spilling the tea on exactly how to make good money and a sustainable career from having an online following.
“I never see this kind of information about what people are making … what the true possibilities are as far as profits go when it comes to creating content,” Adkins said in a video posted in July on YouTube, her main outlet for making money, according to the Times.
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Adkins’ road to influencer-ville started when she discovered in June that she made more money from her YouTube videos and brand sponsorships than marketing cloud products for Amazon Web Services. It was then that she quit Amazon, documenting the whole process for all to see. In an emotional YouTube video, Adkins found herself crying as she shared her thoughts on the move.
“I’m scared to not be making as much money as I’m making from this job,” she said in the video, “I quit my job (and filmed everything).”
Adkins’ breakout moment came with her next YouTube video, the first of what would become her now-signature budgeting videos. The initial video shows Adkins breaking down her earnings, down to the dollar, to explain why the thrill was gone with her Amazon job. From the $14,023 income she earned in June, just $5,300 came from Amazon, with the rest of the money coming from her online work with YouTube, Instagram and others.
An elevation from the days where accidental YouTube celebrities came from homemade videos spontaneously going viral, today’s crop of influencers are strategic with what they do, with making their living sharing their lives or skills online. According to the Times, Content creators are the fastest-growing type of small business in the U.S.
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Adkins’ success pokes holes in the false notion of her type of content being in an exclusive realm of spoiled or lazy well-to-dos. For the record, Adkins comes from a middle-class family in San Antonio, with her father working as a real estate agent, while her mother made her living working for an insurance company.
“I’m currently trying to unlearn a lot of things that I grew up learning around work and money,” she told the Times. The publication noted deeper themes (discontent that runs through Gen-Z-produced social media) associated with Adkins’ viral videos, titled “I became the main character and it changed my life,” and the other, “I don’t have a dream job,” respectively. The influencer, with her videos, is sending a message to her viewers as she encourages viewers to separate their self-worth from their jobs.
“These corporations will try to make you feel like at home in your work or at your job,” Adkins stated in a later interview. “It’s just a source of income. For me, that’s all it will ever be.”
Adkins’ message has apparently struck a nerve as she gained 70,000 YouTube subscribers in four months. The influencer’s mutual disdain for unfulfilling white collar jobs with her followers is evident with her audience growing from her budgeting videos
And there is money to be made. The Times cites research by Kozinets in finding that the influencer marketing industry will command about $12 billion this year in the U.S. and closer to $30 billion globally. Among other findings are the following:
– On LinkedIn, the share of job postings for roles with the words ‘influencer’ or ‘brand partnerships’ through July of this year grew 52% from the same period last year, according to an analysis done by the company for The Times.
– On YouTube, the number of U.S. creator channels making at least six figures in revenue was up more than 35% year over year as of December 2020, according to the company.
– YouTube’s Partner Program, which pays a set amount of ad revenue per every thousand views a video gets, has shelled out more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies.
In her June earnings video, Adkins explains that of her $14,023 take-home pay that month, $8,723 came from her creator work: about $4,700 from sponsorships, $3,599 from YouTube ad revenue, $263 from affiliate marketing and $63 from TikTok.
For more about Adkins, including the influence of George Floyd’s death on her work, her beginnings filming YouTube videos and where her questions about “hustle culture” began click here. Scroll down to see Adkins’ YouTube video “i quit my job (and filmed everything)”: