A lifestyle influencer with a unique eye for social media content, Jade Lily (known by her moniker @jadeswildparty) is one of the many creators who’ve been able to turn their passion into profit. Since pursuing content creation full-time two years ago, she has built multiple income streams — from landing brand partnerships, to earning money through the TikTok Creator Fund. Utilizing her photo-editing skills, she’s even been able to make over $1,000 by selling Lightroom presets that allow users to replicate the way she edits her images.
We spoke with Jade about her growth as a content creator — from how she nurtures her creativity consistently, how she came up with the idea of creating her own presets, to how she leverages her social media presence to sell her digital product.
How did your creator career begin? Can you walk us through your headspace at the time?
I’m 24, so I feel like I grew up watching the [successful] millennials on the internet, secretly wanting that [kind of career for myself].
During Covid, I got laid off from my job as a marketing manager. I took a couple of weeks off, and then I decided that I was ready to work for myself. I translated that into consulting and creating content for other people. I also helped my friends with their companies’ overall strategy and influencer outreach. I came to the realization that I have been doing [this type of work] for so long through my other jobs, so I decided to just take my skills and do it for myself. I used to email influencers for my old jobs and I know the whole script, backend, and how it works. So I just started reaching out [to brands] and began posting. From there, my career exploded.
What’s a typical day at work for you?
My work day changes all the time. [If I have to shoot content], my ideal work day would be getting up early and exercising. Then, I’ll have breakfast mid-morning and answer my emails. I have a posting strategy, so my posts go up either at 8:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., and then I’m always posting on my Instagram Stories. Afterwards, I’ll get ready and shoot.
Usually for shoot days, I’ll [set aside time beforehand] to plan for them. I’ll get done with that and engage [with my audience on social], and maybe post on TikTok.
On days when I’m not shooting, I love having my normal routine. I sit around with my computer, which gives me the space to be creative. Throughout the day, I’d be answering emails, but if I have an idea of something I want to create, I can plan it out or get started. If there’s people I want to reach out to or have some big ideas, I’d call my agent, sit around, and have a creative brainstorming day.
How do you stay creative?
[One of the ways I’ve been able to] stay creative is by looking at the content of other creators that are not so similar to me. There are a lot of bloggers I love, but if I pay too much attention to their content, I’d just do the same thing — not even on purpose.
Obviously, Pinterest is such a good way to make that digital mood board for yourself. If I have a campaign coming up, I’ll put together images that I really like.
I love having “nothing days” — the days when I’m not spreading myself too thin. That really gives me the mental capacity to have an idea, plan it, and act on it.
When did you start seeing results in your creator career? At what point did it begin generating income for you?
I’ve had a couple moments. On TikTok, I had a video go viral. On Instagram, I’d seen a slow build from 3,000 to 7,000 followers. When I hit 10K followers, I was very slow to grow, but then I had a couple Reels and posts that did really well and hit the explore page to the millions. That’s when I saw my follower count go from 13K to 25K to literally, 30, 40, 50K. I was like, “Wow, this is what I’ve been working for!”
When I got laid off in October 2020, I started receiving gifts from brands for a couple of months. Two months later, in December, I landed my first paid partnership with French Connection.
For content creators like yourself, it’s important to diversify and have multiple sources of income. Can you talk to us about your different income streams?
I make commissions from LTK and similar affiliate platforms. Sometimes, I make commission off of brand deals. [I’ve been able to earn money through] TikTok’s Creator Fund. And I also have my presets.
Most of my income comes from being a creator, whether it’s brand deals or doing content creation behind the scenes — I do a lot of creative direction for brands without having to post the actual content myself. Those are my two biggest income streams, making up around 85% of my total income.
Can you explain what presets are for those unfamiliar?
Presets are a digital download that you can use in the mobile Adobe Lightroom app. Basically, once
you get the preset, you can copy and paste it onto a photo and it will [automatically] edit your photo [according to the predefined settings]. My older presets have an aesthetic that is bright, airy, and vibrant. My most recent ones are moody and minimal — they make the shadows and blacks pop to give that richness to a photo.
How did you come up with the idea of selling Lightroom presets?
I came up with this idea because I had seen other people do it. This was during the time when I wasn’t fully “influencing” — I think I had 7,000 followers when I first released my presets. I was getting questions so often around how I edit my photos. So why not monetize it? I thought, “Why not create another income stream?”
What’s your experience creating and selling your first preset?
Figuring out how to create a preset wasn’t difficult for me, it was just time-consuming. I’m not a
perfectionist — I don’t need to create the perfect branding for it, or have my own website for selling it. I just wanted to put it out there, and the easiest way was selling it on Etsy.
We tend to get in our heads about things being perfect before we put it out. I was like, “No, I want to do
it!” Figuring out the technology plus listing the product on Etsy took one to two whole work days. Other
than that, it was fairly simple.
Who’s the target customer you had in mind when you’re creating your presets?
My target audience would probably be my general demographic on Instagram, especially those who don’t want to take the time to figure out how to edit their photos. They’re the ones that would look at a photo and ask themselves, “How can I make it look better?” Many of us want to post a cool Instagram photo, but not all of us know the ins and outs of Lightroom.
A lot of content creators and followers who support me and relate to my content in terms of aesthetic use my presets, too.
Have you been able to generate some income by selling presets?
Yes, I have been able to generate an income from them. [Although] to be honest, it’s small. I sold my presets for $2. I wanted to keep them fairly affordable, because I’m not a photographer and I didn’t want to charge people a ton of money.
I started sharing [with my 7,000 followers at the time] that I was making presets, and shared the before and after images of people using them. For the first couple of weeks, I made $200 from them — which I thought was great! That’s a lot of orders. In total, over the last couple of years, I’ve maybe made $1,000 from them. It isn’t a lot — it’s been more of a passion project, and something that I want to give to my followers. It’s so cool to see other content creators buying and using my presets.
How have you been able to leverage your social media presence to build credibility for your digital product?
I have been able to build credibility from creating beautiful and engaging content that people not only love seeing and relate to, but also love to save [on Instagram]. I think that has helped with selling my presets, because people look at [my content] and they’re like, “Woah, I want to take a photo like this.” Every time I post a really cool photo, people will ask if my presets are live, because they want to know how I edited [my photo]. It’s really about creating cool imagery that inspires people.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.