The $100k Club

Freelance Content Marketer & Writer Earning $132,000/year

Jimmy Daly
May 24, 2023

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.

For more info on content marketing salaries, check out our salary report.

If you'd like to see more info on salary by job title, check out these resources: Content Marketing Manager Salary, Content Strategist Salary, Head of Content Salary, and Content Director Salary.

What was your first full-time job in content? What was the salary?

I've been a full-time content marketer and freelance writer since 2014. I started out writing blog posts for $15 for 1000 words, and slowly increased my rate to $450 for 1000 words. Note- I'm not sure if you are interested in freelance content, but figured this may be of interest if so. I've also helped other freelancers start their careers and have helped some hit 6 figures by sending them leads and offering advice.

List out your income by year for as long as you've been working in content marketing.

  • 2015 (first year full-time freelancing)- $30,000
  • 2016- $60,000
  • 2017- $120,000
  • 2018- $165,000
  • 2019- $198,000
  • 2020- $172,000
  • 2021- $201,000
  • 2022- $186,000

All of this was purely through freelance income through my own business.

Path to six figures from freelance content marketer

How much do you earn today? What's your job title?

I earn between $11,000-15,000 most months. I haven't dropped under $11,000 (except for March 2020) since 2018.

What's the single biggest salary jump you've made? (either from job-hopping or a promotion/raise)

I guess I'm not really a fit for this question. Every year, I'd increase my rates as soon as I had a booked schedule. My biggest jump in rates was from $200 to $350, which was in 2019.

What is your most valuable skill?

My most valuable skill is that I'm a strategic content marketer who is capable of really understanding how a business's goals, their audience, their products, and the content strategy need to align. I also believe that slow and steady wins the race, and that careful research, engaging writing, and careful optimization is a powerful triple threat in content marketing. When it comes to running my business, my content marketing skills speak for themselves, but my most valuable skill is the ability to leverage and highlight the value I offer to potential clients. Selling my services— and why they're worth my price points— is an enormous asset and a skill more writers should practice.

What's the best book you've ever read on writing, marketing, sales, business or productivity? (Feel free to suggest more than one!)

Sin and Syntax is my all-time favorite.

Have you had a career mentor/coach? If so, how did you find them and what have you learned from them?

I have not. I tried a one-time appointment with a freelance coach, but I did not feel that she actually offered any actionable tips or content for how to earn more. I've found that most freelance coaches do not offer actionable feedback on how to actually solve new freelancers' problems.

What skills or habits help you thrive at work?

Organization. I have a database in my Google Docs where I store each client's pay rates, special requests, work processes, style guides, and more. I review it every time I'm starting a new project, even for clients I've worked with for years.

Maintaining genuine relationships with my clients. If people like you, they want to hire you, and if you've cared to ask about how their five year old and their dog by name and send pictures of your own family in return, that goes a long way.

Staying up to date with what's changing in content. This is important- SEO is always changing. You need to be on top of those changes or you'll fall behind.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the $100k club?

Finding momentum is important as a freelancer. A few great clients will often refer you to other great clients, helping you gain momentum and a busy schedule.That aside, learn how to reach out to clients, pitch projects, and highlight the value of those pitches. Explain why a blog post will be relevant to a client's audience and what sort of business results it can drive.

Where do you live?


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