What I’m listening to: The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
Today was going to be a This Job, Not That Job post, but then a comment came in from a reader. Michelle had read The $100K Myth post from nearly two years ago, and her comment was spot on.
She said this:
If I have to see one more “how I made six figures as a freelancer writer!” post, I’m going to puke. It’s literally always connected to an expensive informational product, which right there tells you this person couldn’t have been paying their bills as smoothly as they would have liked or they wouldn’t be cobbling together these pie in the sky, pipe dream info products to sell.
Michelle, you’ve inspired this follow-up post.
I’ve said much of this before, but repeating it seems necessary. New writers are coming onto the scene every day, and they’re the ones being targeted by people eager to sell them on the “How to make $100K a year” dream.
The operative word there: Sell.
Look, we’ve all seen writers claiming to hit that six-figure income and yes, some of them have done so purely by writing and editing. What do I mean by that? I mean they’ve made their money without including the income they would have made had they sold you their success secrets. But they’re busy making money through actual work, so you wouldn’t hear from them, would you?
I’ve already gone over the ways to vet these claims, so I’ll let you go back and read that at your leisure. Today is about why it matters to you, or anyone else, that you hit that arbitrary earnings goal.
Hint: It doesn’t.You can be a successful, happy, busy freelancer doing your own thing without making six figures. Click To Tweet
You can pay your bills, live well, and have nice things without a six-figure income. You don’t need it unless you do.
By that I mean if you’ve done the math and realize that $100K is what you need to get by with some cash in your pocket, then yes, you need it. But to say you, writer making $45K annually or $25K working part time, need $100K because you’ve been told you do is to say you’ve bought into the hype. Think of it this way: If you’re making $100K just writing, do you really have time to teach other people how to do the same thing?
Not that there’s a thing wrong with using multiple streams of income to reach your targeted earnings goal. Not at all. But a little truth in advertising is sorely lacking in many of these sales pitches presented as wow-look-at-me-go statements. In so many cases, the person selling you the course or book or whatever is counting your cost in that equation.
So how much of that is from actual writing? Hmmm…
My advice to you, the freelancer who isn’t sure if the $100K Valhalla is right for you:
- Do the math: It could be that $50K annually would make you swoon and keep you in a pretty comfortable life. You won’t know that until you factor in bills, taxes, expenses, and savings/fun money.
- Consider how busy you need to be: If $100K is your goal, do you have the time to make that happen? If you’re looking at an easygoing career that gives you ample time to yourself, you may not be well-positioned for that. You may need to either raise your rates or increase your time commitment.
- Think about what you need to put in place to achieve it: And I’m not talking about decreasing your income at the start by paying for those pie-in-the-sky course or book promises. I’m talking about what information, resources, skills and yes, clients do you need to reach your goal. Would your current client base support your goal? If not, how many more clients do you need to win? At what rate? How will you measure your progress? Hold yourself accountable?
- Ask yourself why it matters to you: Look, I’d love to make $100K a year, but I’m at a point in my career where I’m winding down a bit and working in more leisure time. I’ve come close to that number, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll repeat that: it doesn’t matter. This is where I want to be right now. Do I need that $100K? No. Do you? That’s up to you to answer. But if you want to make it simply to say you did, you’re going to have to put the action behind it and maybe sacrifice something. And ask yourself why it matters so much to you — to say you did? To see what it feels like? To have enough money to survive and meet all your goals? Only you can answer that.
- Ask yourself why you haven’t earned that so far: Tough love time. If you’re thinking of going from $35K annually to $100K, that’s a big jump. I’m not saying you can’t — I say go for it if you want it that badly — but I will ask you to really examine your actions, your business processes, your skill level, your marketing prowess, your branding… really look at why you’ve not reached for that $100K before this. Are you really that consistent, motivated, dedicated, confident, committed to working your ass off to get where you want to be? If not, that’s an honest answer, and maybe it’s a clue to whether you should be attempting this or finding a goal that suits you for now.
Writers, how did you come to your earnings goal?
What do you see wrong with the $100K pronouncements?
What advice would you give new and established writers in building their income goals?