At age 38 I have for the last 3 years maintained an average income of over $300,000 a year in gross income. I have been earning a self-employed six-figure income since 2016, and I’ve been self-employed for a decade after leaving an office job making a little over $30,000 a year. I invest roughly 40% or more back into my business in addition to paying taxes but still have a six-figure income after taxes. I say none of that to brag but for the purpose of transparency and context when I talk about making money. What you make is not really relevant without understanding what you retain and the marginal cost within your business.
I also didn’t build all my streams of income all at once. The skills I used to do all of this are things I’ve been working at since I was a teenager and while it puts me in a fantastic position when compared to most people or the average person, someone starting young can put in a fraction of the time and get better results because they have access to more information and are not limited by the technology of their time.
How Roberto Blake Makes His Money
How much money do you make and how do you make that money is often the most searched question for any public figure, author, or social media influencer. Essentially I make my income as a Content Creator no matter how you look at it. Here are the main ways I currently make the most money (rough estimates:
- $10,000+ a Year is Now from Book Sales as a New Author
- $30,000 a Year of My Income is from YouTube Revenue on the Platform
- $100,000+ a Year is from Sponsored Content Across Platforms
- $90,000+ a Year is from Coaching and Workshops
- $90,000+ a Year is from Affiliate Links Across Platforms
Overall I make roughly 15 different streams of income and receive 1099 tax forms from nearly 30 different companies. These income streams were built over the course of my adult life but most of them were developed over the past 10 years or the more recent 5 years for many of them.
As of the writing of this post, I don’t sell a course for hundreds of dollars, but I will be developing courses like this in the near future. I don’t see having a course or not having a course as a point toward someone being more or less credible. I do think that narrative appeals to a certain group of people, but there are plenty of people who are legitimate course sellers, and value is something determined at an individual level. Courses ultimately are just content, if you receive the content described then I don’t see a problem with it, though I do take issue with the marketing style of some course sellers being distasteful.
MY 15 STREAMS OF INCOME AT AGE 38
- YouTube Ad Revenue / Facebook & Instagram Reels Revenue
- Donations from YouTube and Twitch
- Membership Site: Awesome Creator Academy
- Sponsored Content/ Brand Deals
- SAAS Affiliate Programs
- Amazon Influencer Program
- Amazon KDP Book Royalties and Ingram Spark Book Royalties
- Coaching Calls: Awesome Creator Academy
- Public Speaking
- In-Person and Virtual Workshops
- Digital Download Products
- Print-on-Demand Products
- Consulting Services and Advisory Board Stipends
- Licensed Content Royalties (LinkedIn/Skillshare)
- Selling Used Camera Gear
THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO EARN THIS KIND OF MONEY
In order to earn this kind of money there are several skills that are essential. Many people underestimate the technical and creative ability that content creation in multiple formats requires. I have a background in photography and graphic design and I studied graphic design and advertising in community college but took an entire degree’s worth of electives around art, photography, marketing, and technology.
During my teenage years, I worked in retail and often in commission sales jobs in the mall, and learned communication and sales, and marketing from the school of hard knocks one customer at a time, in addition to learning to negotiate rates as a freelancer.
Communication skills and salesmanship are vital to being able to achieve this level of success but you also need technical ability and hard skills in order to scale your income.
Throughout my entire life, I have built creative and technical skills, primarily focused on the visual arts. In my early 20s, I entered my professional career in design, advertising, and marketing. It was through this professional work that I learned about the concept and gained the capacity to scale my skills by learning higher levels of online distribution, client acquisition, and the fundamentals of traditional marketing, as well as becoming an early adopter of online marketing and social media.
My 30s taught me the true lessons in entrepreneurship one can only gain through experience but it was also here where execution matters and you don’t have to prioritize more learning. The information and skills I obtained in my 20s were more than enough to earn a 6 figure income, it was a matter of applying them over a period of time and moving away from wage based and hourly earning, to results-based earning and value-based pricing models.
Additionally, having a community, an audience, a customer base, and clients are all separate things, even though today they can easily overlap. By developing all of these different relationships and managing them I was in a position to deliver several levels of value and monetize them.
For a person who pursues a traditional income, they do not have the versatility and variability, and the assumption is the consistency they have offers more stability. I would argue this is rarely the case, the success and failure rate of entrepreneurship is often cited but not the reasons for it.
I tend to relate it to the analogy of the success rate of people who have fitness goals vs the success rate of people who obtain their fitness goals and ideal body. When it comes to becoming a high earner or entrepreneur, people are very quick to make the assertion you are better off not trying since you will most likely fail. This is not applied when it comes to becoming more fit, despite the fact most people are not in great shape, or even to studying despite the fact very few are honors students.
My hope is that through transparency, encouraging critical thinking, revealing and explaining best practices, and helping others develop skills, the success rate can be increased significantly for those entering into the creator economy and creative entrepreneurship.