I’m celebrating my first full year as a full-time content creator! In September 2020, I was laid off and left the aerospace industry after 6 years. I decided to take content creation full-time and here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Even though I knew it was the right next step to take content creation full-time in September 2020, I was terrified. Would I be able to adjust to a freelance schedule after being in corporate America the last 6 years? Would I be able to match my former corporate salary of $90,000? Would I be able to save for retirement and other financial goals?
Additionally, I was dealing with major life events I transitioned from being laid off to taking content creation full-time (we had closed on a house before I got laid off and I was preparing to launch my first course: How to Negotiate Paid Brand Collaborations), that I didn’t share it with my community/audience until October 2020 in: Life Update – I’m taking Emma’s Edition Full-Time. So much has happened in one year and I realized that I had nothing to fear because I knew I had the business acumen and creative talent to take my content creation full-time. I’m excited to share that my first year as a full-time content creator has been rewarding, filled with opportunity, and already has me excited for my future as a creator and entrepreneur.
Here are a few highlights of my first year as a full-time content creator:
In 2020, I matched my former aerospace salary of $90,000 with brand partnerships. This was a stretch financial goal for me, and I was so excited when I hit this milestone. I ultimately hit six figures by the end of 2020.
In September 2021, I’ve doubled my aerospace salary and I’m on track to hit my financial revenue goal of $200,000 this year. I can’t believe how well this year has gone and I’m so thankful for my brand partners who continue to hire me for brand campaigns.
For the Content Creatives Podcast, we’re driving 6,000 monthly downloads/listens and we’re on track to hit 10,000 monthly downloads.
Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned this year as a full-time content creator:
I’ve learned that I have no ceiling to how much I can earn as a creator.
In my former aerospace job, I was limited to salary tables and ranges I could earn each year. While my biggest promotion earned me a 29% raise when I jumped from a level 2 to a 3, my other annual increases hovered around 2-3% each year.
Being able to match and then double my former corporate salary of $90,000 has been incredibly eye opening. I can’t believe I can earn as much as I want but also take on the projects that truly align with me and my community on Emma’s Edition. It’s been exciting and motivating to know that I’m able to achieve my financial goals (save for retirement, continue to invest, etc.) while working for myself.
I’ve learned that I still need to block off vacations.
Last year, I went took content creation full-time right in time for Q4. I was so excited about the holiday partnerships and creating content that I forgot to block off vacations. I technically have unlimited vacation since I work for myself. But I only took the week of Christmas and New Year’s off from September-December.
Since I tend to work weekends (either shooting on Saturdays or preparing content to publish for the work week on Sundays), I can get into periods where I never stop working. After coming back from my week off during the holidays, I worked through the end of March. I couldn’t believe how steady partnerships were through January-March. I ended up hitting my quarterly revenue goal and I decided to take a week off and visit my sister since she hadn’t been able to return at home in over a year due to the pandemic.
I spent time with my sister and took the time to unplug. I returned from vacation feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired to create the next quarter of content. I decided that I would give myself a minimum 6-weeks of vacation to use each year and that every quarter I should time take off to reset and relax.
It probably sounds funny that a person with unlimited vacation is setting time aside to take time off. But I’ve realized that’s the best way for me to prioritize time off in my schedule.
I’ve learned that this is the most balanced I’ve ever been in my life.
For the first time in a long time, I’m only working one job and I’m feeling the most balanced I’ve ever been in my life. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I balanced my aerospace career with my content creation side-hustle for 6 years. And for two of those years, I attended and received my Master of Communication in Digital Media. I’ve also balanced creating content for my blog and Instagram with wedding planning and replanning (2019-2021) and launching the Content Creative Podcast (2020).
Ironically, in spring 2020 I was able to break my burnout cycle. I regained my running routine, started practicing mindfulness everyday (journaling, reading, and listening to podcasts), and got to prioritize my health and well-being. I’ve continued to run, take yoga lunch breaks, walk my dog daily, and practice mindfulness.
Because I feel so balanced, I also feel like I’ve been able to produce better content for my community on Emma’s Edition and the Content Creatives Podcast. I feel like I’ve been on a positive cycle the last year and a half and I’m going to continue to prioritize my health, well-being, and balance.
I’ve learned how strong and engaged my community is.
Over the last year, I’ve been especially grateful for the community I’ve cultivated on Emma’s Edition and the Content Creatives Podcast. When I announced I was taking Emma’s Edition full-time last year, my community celebrated with me. My community also celebrated with me as we bought out first house, got married in May 2021 (after postponing and replanning), and every quarter as I’ve hit my financial revenue target.
When I shared with my community that I was the only woman of color on team last year and the only one to receive an involuntary lay-off notice, my community roared in support. I’m grateful for the community who chooses to read my blog posts, engage, and connect with me on Instagram and TikTok, and choose to listen to the Content Creatives Podcast on a weekly basis.
Thank you for reading my reflection as I celebrate my first year being a full-time content creator! For more blog posts reflecting on my journey as a creator, I recommend checking out:
Reflection: My First Year Hitting 6-figures as a Content Creator
2021 Goals for Emma’s Edition
What’s your mission statement and content pillars?