Last summer, Lynette Adkins was a fresh college graduate starting a corporate career at Amazon that she thought would be her ticket to financial freedom — the kind that seemed out of reach growing up in her middle-class family.
She lasted only a year.
Today, 23-year-old Adkins earns double as a self-taught content creator what she made at Amazon Web Services marketing cloud products. In a crowded influencer market, she’s carving out a niche by turning the camera on herself in a way few others have: detailing how, exactly, 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 moneymaking platform.
In June, when Adkins saw that she made more from her YouTube videos and brand sponsorships than from her 9-to-5 job, she quit Amazon — and documented the whole process for all to see.
“I’m scared to not be making as much money as I’m making from this job,” a crying Adkins said in the video, “i quit my job (and filmed everything).” Her next YouTube post became the first of her now-signature budgeting videos — and maybe the moment her college side hustle turned into her new career.
In it, Adkins breaks down her earnings, down to the dollar, to explain why the Amazon job had lost its luster. Of her $14,023 in June income, just $5,300 came from the e-commerce giant. She earned the rest through YouTube, Instagram and other online work.
Gone are the days of the accidental YouTube celebrity — a teenager whose homespun video spontaneously goes viral, landing her a moment in the spotlight. Many influencers set out strategically to make a living from sharing their lives or skills online. Content creators are the fastest-growing type of small business in the U.S.
Gone, too — for the most part — is the misconception that this digital work is the exclusive domain of spoiled or lazy well-to-dos.
“I’m currently trying to unlearn a lot of things that I grew up learning around work and money,” said Adkins, who grew up in San Antonio and started working at age 15 to ease the financial load on her father, a real estate agent, and her mother, who works for an insurance company.
Adkins’ content also speaks to the themes of discontent that run through Gen-Z-produced social media. Two of her videos denouncing corporate culture went viral earlier this year, one titled “I became the main character and it changed my life,” and …….