The $100k Club

Principal Strategist Earning $260,000/year

Jimmy Daly
August 10, 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 started my career in PR. As a side project, I started taking on writing gigs. That grew and I left PR to take on a Senior Marketing Copywriter role where I worked remotely making $60,000/yr. The goal with this role was to be able to build my own writing business on the side.

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

  • 2019: $20k (solo income)
  • 2020: $50k (solo income)
  • 2021: $115k (solo income)
  • 2022: $225k gross (hired two contractors within the year -- take-home was around $175k)
  • 2023: $310k gross (hired a third contractor -- take-home will be around $260k)

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

Today I earn around $260k. My title is Principal + Strategist at Talemaker.

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

In my 8 years in PR, I went from $28,000 to $65,000. That's when I pulled chute -- long, thankless hours making more money for someone else. I never made any real money until I worked for myself. Then the growth became exponential.

What is your most valuable skill?

Being a people-person. Being able to sell ideas and concepts. Being able to learn on the fly.

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

The E-Myth Revisted by Michael E. Gerber.

This book single-handedly changed the way I approached my writing business.

In the book, Gerber shares how virtually everyone starts a business because they have a skill -- they're a technician. But eventually, they need to move beyond that role.

In order to build a business and make real money, you need time and space to work on your business, not just in it.

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

I have.

The first writing project I ever received--back when I was still in PR--came from a guy I met randomly at the dog park at 6:00 a.m. on a freezing cold winter morning.

Eventually, he became my friend and mentor.

From there, I hired him as my coach.

I learned so much from him. His expertise in marketing and his advise as someone who had started, grown, and sold multiple businesses helped me see opportunities I couldn't possibly have even fathomed at the time.

His insights opened new doors, taught me how to think outside the box, and helped me get to where I am today.

Having a mentor or coach is essential.

What skills or habits help you thrive at work?

I'm a good writer, but I've started to realize I'm a better entrepreneur and salesperson. I love to build things. And being a people-person makes it easier to get buy-in on what you're selling--whether it's writing work or content strategy.

That said, it's essential to be consistently learning, especially if you're self-employed. The best way to sell your services is to really, really know your stuff.

Beyond that, though, organization is essential. As your business grows, so too will the volume of things you need to keep on top of. Finding tools that can help you do that is vital.

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

Pick a niche. I was terrified to do this for the first two years of being in business. But eventually, I realized that it was easier to market myself to a niche because I could become an expert in that space. I realized I didn't need 100% of a niche to have a successful business. If I could secure 0.5% of the potential clients in that niche, I'd have a successful business that would provide me with a great life.

Where do you live?

Vancouver, Canada

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