Six Figure is a biweekly PiggyVest series that focuses on how real Nigerians achieved dramatic income growth that made them millionaires.
For this week’s episode of Six Figure, we spoke to a writer who was previously earning ₦10k/month as a waiter. He shares his income growth over the years, especially how he managed to earn $36k (over ₦15m)/year.
What’s your first job and salary?
It depends. Are you asking about my first-ever job or my first content job?
Your first-ever job.
I was a waiter, earning ₦10k/month alongside daily free dinner. This was in 2016.
Oh wow. And what was your first content job and salary?
My first content job was more or less a gig. I was paid ₦1 per word.
Can you give a quick overview of your career and earnings annually since then?
Sure! In 2017, I earned ₦38k/month as an intern and contract administrative assistant at an oil and gas company. In 2018, I couldn’t work because I returned back to school.
I graduated in 2019 and during NYSC, I earned ₦25k/month at my assigned office. In 2020, I spent time researching ways to make money online and chose freelance writing because it wasn’t as hard as coding, and my writing skills were pretty okay.
For a novice, my freelance career turned out well: I earned over $15k by the end of the year. In 2021, that doubled to $36k. However, I paused freelancing in November 2021 because I got a full-time job at an agency, paying me $3k monthly and other exciting perks.
How did you double your freelance income from $15k to $36k?
That happened when I landed a UK client who paid me £350 pounds for a single landing page. Before then, I charged $250 for a thousand words. The UK client’s work was so well done, he gave me 9 more landing pages to optimise, totalling my earnings to $3500.
This gave me the confidence to increase my rate, leading to a $36k annual income.
What is your most valuable skill?
Research. I can unearth facts about any topic, no matter how complex.
Ever had a career mentor/coach?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had a mentor or coach in the traditional sense. But I’ve always had people I turn to whenever I need help. For instance, I’ve built a network with fellow freelancers who I share ideas with from time to time.
I also pick up nuggets from other writers who are well ahead in their careers. It’s one of the reasons I chose a 9 to 5 this year.
Given your history of freelancing, how has your transition to a 9 to 5 been?
It’s been a great learning experience. Unlike my freelance career, which involved only me, I’m able to collaborate with peers at my full-time job. I also have seniors who are very helpful. Overall, I’m grateful for my 9 to 5 because of the learning and networking opportunities it grants me.
Interesting. What would say to anyone who wants to earn 6 figures?
Do the work. It might be tempting to go mainly after the money (money is important o), but it’s also as important to do the work. This means you might have to do some low-paying work if you’re a newbie. Doing this will help you gain experience. In addition to this, guest post on authoritative sites to build your portfolio. Once you’ve bagged those features, use them to command a higher rate with clients
For the more experienced content professionals, go where your clients are. For example, if your target clients are lifestyle or business coaches, you should focus your strength on Instagram, as that’s where your audience hangs out the most. And if you’re a B2B content marketer, double down on LinkedIn.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to increase your rate, especially if current clients aren’t complaining about it. For instance, if you close 3 clients all paying $100 without fuss, ask for $120 from your next client.