We can all agree that $89,000 (₦50,730,000) is a solid yearly income for anyone, even those in developed countries. But that’s exactly what Fisayo*, a content writer living in Lagos, Nigeria, takes home. She works at a popular social media company, one paying her $7500 (₦4,200,000) monthly.
Fisayo’s income hasn’t always been this mouthwatering, though. Between 2019 and 2020, she earned ₦200,000/month as a marketer in a Nigerian agency. Indeed, Fisayo has come a long way and surely has a story to tell.
We spoke to her to learn more about her journey, particularly how she achieved a 2000% income increase in less than 8 months.
How did you land your job at the social media company?
I applied [Laughs].
No referral or anything of the sort?
Not at all. Before my application, I didn’t know anything about it, other than it being a social media company.
How long did the application process take?
Wow. So what did those four months entail?
First, I sent in my resume and cover letter. Then I had an interview with HR and took a writing test, after which they promised to get back to me. But they didn’t do so until January this year, when I had a final interview with the CEO. I got an offer the next day.
Interesting. What do you think made your application successful?
My portfolio, track record and confidence did the heavy lifting. I previously worked at a reputable agency, where I had built a solid portfolio of content pieces. I had also done strategy work. So I fulfilled every requirement in the job description.
This made me confident. I knew there was almost no reason for them not to hire me.
Top girl! So were you expecting the $89,000 salary?
Yes, I was. The salary was on the job description.
That’s a lot.
I know [Laughs]
Did the new salary tempt you to do some lifestyle upgrade?
Not really. I was earning $60,000/annum in my last job. So I was already used to earning a great salary. The only difference is, I now have more money to save and invest.
Since I began to earn in dollars, I have tried to maintain a monthly spending limit. The rest of my money goes to savings and investment.
What’s your current monthly spending limit?
$2500 (₦1.4million). Nothing can make me spend beyond this. Not even if heaven falls [Laughs].
Haha. Where does the rest of your salary go?
$2000 (₦1.1million) goes into my emergency fund. The remaining $3000 (₦1.7million) goes into my crypto wallet, mutual funds, and apps like Piggyvest.
You seem financially savvy. Have you always been like this?
I don’t think I’m financially wise; I’m just lucky.
I still live with my parents. So I don’t pay house rent except for a few utilities and my sister’s school fees. Also, I’m earning more than enough (at least now). My financial discipline wasn’t this strong when I was earning ₦200,000 monthly.
You once earned ₦200,000 monthly?
Tell me about it.
Between 2019 and 2020, I worked at a popular Nigerian agency, where I was paid ₦200,000. This was until the pandemic happened.
I hope it’s not what I’m thinking.
It is. The agency had to lay me off.
Wow. How did you survive that situation?
It wasn’t easy. To make matters worse, no other Nigerian company was hiring at the time. This forced me to take freelance resume writing and LinkedIn optimisation jobs on Fiverr. While doing this, someone suggested I could work as a content marketer for international companies. Motivated by this, I began job searching.
So you landed an international job immediately?
Not at all. Every company rejected me. In their words, “You’ve not built a solid portfolio yet.” So I paused my job search for a while and focused on finding short-term gigs that could help me create a portfolio.
Were you lucky this time?
I was. I got a gig paying me $1,600 a month. With this gig, I got to earn and learn simultaneously, as I majorly wrote on topics I previously knew nothing about. I lived on this gig for about 6 months before I resumed my job search.
I’m guessing the job search was successful this time around
Yes, it was. I didn’t even apply for many jobs. I saw my immediate past job on Superpath —a content marketing community. It interested me, and I applied for it. Next, I got called for an interview, and I got in.
You must have been thrilled.
I was! Especially when I discovered I would receive $5000 (₦2.8 million) monthly. It’s not every time someone gets a 1325% salary increase in less than eight months.
Given how comfortable you are, do you think you want to relocate from Nigeria?
Of course. Who wouldn’t?
So why are you still here?
I’m ill-lucked with this japa thing [laughs].
Hahaha. How so?
Something always spoils my japa plans. Back in secondary school, when I planned to do my undergrad studies abroad, my parents weren’t buoyant at that period. Fast forward to 2020, I had planned to go for my MSc abroad. I had even gotten my visa ready, but the pandemic happened. So I had to defer my admission. When the time of my deferment arrived, I had started working at the agency. As a result, I deferred yet again.
Wow. Do you still want to go for your MSc program?
Not anymore. I believe I’ve already gained the experience any marketing program will teach me.
So what’s your alternative then?
I plan to move to a country open to receiving freelance workers.
Have any country in mind yet?
Not exactly. When I visit enough countries, I’ll decide.
What is your advice for content writers who want to get paid in dollars?
First, get your hands dirty and do the work. Have a good number of content pieces in your portfolio. To achieve this, freelance and also try your hands on blogging. Whatever you do, ensure you’re creating enough evidence to show prospective employers that you understand marketing.
Also, join communities, follow thought leaders and get involved in conversations where you can get seen.
Above all, be proactive, confident and resilient. You need to stay aware of opportunities while being confident in the skills you’ve built and standing tall even when you face racial aggression.
When they eventually land a dollar-paying job, how do you advise they approach their finances?
Be quick and intentional about saving money because many expenses will come up. Invest in your work tools, so you are more productive. Make budgeting a habit. Save for the rainy day as it might not always shine.