Jakayla Toney: Start With Free

Spotlight on Jakayla Toney 1x1 2021

Jakayla Toney is a full-time photographer, but you may know her from Wattpad account where she writes under the pen name MsHorrendous or from her Unsplash profile, where she shares vivid images that go above generic stock images.

Toney is the ultimate creative, sharing her interests across various mediums with the same potency.

Using Wattpad As A Springboard To Success

Jakayla started writing at 15, releasing her first book on Wattpad, in the nine years since joining Wattpad, she’s been able to publish 36 works that include horror, non-fiction, and poetry. 

Using Wattpad as the chosen medium, Jakayla’s stories have gained over 18.4 million cumulative views and allowed her to gain notoriety and popularity as a horror writer on Wattpad.

Her 2016 title “Hide and Seek”, won a Watty award and currently has 9.7 million views on Wattpad, and holds the third spot in the category Scary Stories. 

Examining Jakayla’s Wattpad profile, you can see that it started as a hobby and has now grown into a fierce passion that’s increasingly rewarding. Using Wattpad has enabled Jakayla to create engaging stories and showcase her work to a new and ever-expanding audience. But, it has also allowed her to test the waters with different writing styles and finetune her talents.

While it may not be the choice for every writer, writers like Jakayla have had success using free-to-use platforms, the existing community and social element of Wattpad accelerate the process of finding an audience for up-and-coming creatives. 

Expanding Into Photography Using Unsplash

Most users know Unsplash because of the hordes of aesthetic photographs that are free for both commercial and personal purposes. Jakayla is one of the photographers that make up the fabric of the platform and provide users with the content they need and have come to love from Unsplash. You could say that without photographers like Jakayla, Unsplash would not have its widespread success. 

Going through Jakayla’s Unsplash profile and her images – which have over 1 million views – you can see the progression of her work. It’s also evident that her confidence in the industry has blossomed tremendously.

While Jakayla doesn’t have one theme connecting all her works on Unsplash, her images are more intentional and tell a complete story. 

Some of her most downloaded images include abstract photographs, poignant images from the 2020 BLM protests, and striking close-up shots.

Pivoting From Free Platforms To Premium Services

While some creatives may choose to instantly monetize their work, because Jakayla uses platforms like Unsplash and Wattpad, she’s able to gain recognition for her writing and her photography first before she moves onto monetizing her work, which she’s done successfully.

Jakayla has a website that is home to her best literary work and photography. This is a curated version of her handiwork that make up her digital resume and is what her clients see when they’re in the process of hiring her.

Having this website has two purposes, it enables her to display her work in a professional setting and it acts as a central contact point enabling her to pivot – with ease – into premium content. 

This is something other creatives can mimic if they don’t want to have an awkward conversation about money. But having a website also allows you to take control of your narrative and present yourself in a flattering light that will make clients more inclined to want to work with you. 

Besides, using a website also guarantees you’re able to remain organized, allows you to explain your services and rates to your clients, and eliminates the back-and-forth that creatives commonly experience when dealing with potentially exploitative or – even worse – dreadfully cheap clients.

Jakayla Toney:
Our Next Creator Of The Month

Jakayla’s success in writing and photography, combined with her remarkable ability to maximize sharing her photography for free, is the reason she’s our next creator of the month. Look forward to next Monday when we’ll publish her interview on our podcast.

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