Welcome to another post in the $100k Club series. You can see the full series here. This is "My Morning Routine" for content marketing folks making six figures. The goal is to shed light on the skills and habits that enable people to achieve lucrative jobs and help get more people in this club.
These will be anonymous and updated regularly. If you make more than $100k/year and want to contribute, fill out the form here.
My first job in content was as a part-time editor for a large news and opinion website. I specialized in real estate and development news for my city. I think I earned all of $900/month, so I also did odd jobs to make ends meet. The year prior, I was still working in my first career (as a teacher) and started writing a column for a large regional newspaper. I had written an essay that caught an editor's eye at the newspaper, and when he followed up with me to ask if I had an idea for a column, I said I did. I didn't, at the time, but knew I would come up with something. It was that experience that certainly earned me my first true "editor" gig — which ended up being the foundation of everything I've been able to accomplish so far and led me to where I am today. I keep in touch with that editor, and thank him about once a year for helping a young writer earn her first real writing chops.
Content Marketing Manager: $108,000 plus bonus, stocks, cash incentive plan (total around $122,000/year)
I went from being a part-time editor to a full-time communications specialist at a consulting firm. I went from earning all of $990/month to a base salary of $72,000, with benefits and a generous bonus. I didn't have half of the requirements they listed, but I went for it, and they later told me my resume and thoughtfully crafted cover letter got me an interview.
I am a very hard worker, and don't consider myself too good or too experienced for any task. I will craft a content strategy and then help change the coffee filter in the break room. My team knows they can depend on me to bring that work ethic to everything I do. I thrive when my team and company thrive.
Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, by Kevin Carroll. There is one page that talks about how hard he worked at one point, how little he slept, and how no one noticed. I read this for the first time ten years ago when starting out on my new career in content, and re-visit it often. Sometimes the hardest things we do are things no one will notice. That doesn't make them any less significant.
I wish! I've had an unorthodox career path, so I'm finding people are coming to me now about how to change careers (from education to something else, most often) or how to find a job in content marketing. But I would welcome finding someone who can help me take the next step in my career.
Waking up early: I get up very early and get my free-writing done. I never forget that it's creativity that got me where I am, so I do three "morning pages" each morning before heading into the office or to my desk at home.
Openness: I like to listen and learn from my colleagues. I love process, and refining it so all stakeholders are listened to and feel heard. I'm not afraid of being wrong and take criticism and feedback very well.
Attention to detail: At the end of the day, I'm just a really good writer and editor with great people skills. I am always available for any editing task, whether a short email or 40-page research report, and my colleagues know they can depend on my eye.
I'd say work hard — it's very simple. Volunteer for tasks. Wake up early and deliver important assets with time to spare. At the same time, be a good strategic partner. Speak with confidence in meetings and above all ... listen. Listen to your colleagues, to your customers, and to your peers. Be open to new processes and challenges and don't be afraid to reach out for support when you need it.
Then — if the time comes where a big career move will catapult you into the 100k club, apply for that job. Even if you don't think you're ready, or have the requisite experience, keep applying and taking the losses as learning.