5 Steps to Making $100,000+ a Year Freelancing as a Social Media Director

Matt Astifan Convert Your Audience, Start ups Leave a Comment

With over 10 million small to medium businesses in the US, and over 1 million of them in Canada. Even if only 5% of them hired an independent Social Media Director, that’s 600,000+ North American companies looking for someone like you.

Being a freelance Social Media Director comes with a ton of benefits. Tell me if this sounds good to you:

  • Be your own boss. You make the decisions, send the invoices, set your schedule, and create your own policies. You own it and answer to nobody. And you can pay yourself more.
  • No more waiting for raises. In the corporate world, it can take years to get a pay upgrade or a promotion–not because you don’t deserve it, but because there can be a lot of red tape.
  • Set your own rates. Make what you want to make. There’s no cap. As an employee, anything you make will be peanuts in comparison to your earning potential as a freelancer.

Bruce Lee said “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”

Don’t spend too much time wondering if you should take the leap from corporate to freelance. Diving in will be the best decision you’ve ever made.

When you’re a Social Media Director, think of yourself as the director of a movie – or a reality show, if that’s what floats your boat.

You’re guiding the audience, social media strategy, and campaigns. You call the shots. Your work gets results. You get to sit in the director’s chair. Hey, Johnny Assistant, can you bring me a coffee?

5 Steps to Making $100,000+ a Year Freelancing
Ready to make a huge shift in your income and have a more flexible and enjoyable lifestyle?

Here’s what you need to do to hit and blow away that $100K mark:

1. Charge a monthly retainer, and refuse any business under $1,000

You need to be charging at least $1,000 a month for social media management services. Don’t accept clients who can’t or won’t pay $1,000+ a month.

A retainer can either be a single advance payment or a recurring payment (usually monthly). It’s either a fixed lump sum or a monthly rate.

Make sure you put your agreements in writing. Since you’re the boss, you negotiate the terms and policies. Best of all, you tell them when you want to get paid and how much. If they won’t work on your terms, or want to suggest a process that seems fishy or counterintuitive to you, it isn’t worth the hassle.

For every client out there wanting to pay you $500, there are two who are willing to pay you $1,000.

And $2,000.

And $5,000.

It’s knowing who your audience is, establishing your value, and being reliable and self-motivated, that propels you up to six figures and beyond.

Retainers are especially great because it makes it easier to forecast your income. It’s also become tougher to monetize project-based fees as a lot of variables can change during the life of a project and you may be working extra hard (and for almost nothing) by doing additional work for one client while missing out on opportunities with another.

Go with the retainer model. It offers way more stability and helps you build long-term relationships.

Besides, social media is a long-term investment, not a Band-Aid, ‘must-do’ checklist item that has a completion stage.

2. Always charge a setup fee (usually between $2500 – $5000)

Whether or not the company is already set up on social media, you should always charge a one-time fee when you onboard new clients.

There’s two reasons for this.

First, getting familiar with the brand voice, protocols and content can take a lot of extra time (especially if you’re the one creating that – charge for it).

You’ll also want to make sure your client has a solid sales funnel you can send traffic to. This can be done with a tool like ClickFunnels.

3. Take a percentage of every sale.

This is key to creating real passive income. I’ve worked with clients where I earned them over $100,000 in a month. How much did I get paid? About $1,000! I quickly realized that was a mistake, so I started charging an additional percentage per sale. This percentage ranges from 10% up to 50%, depending on the deal structure.
I’m now at a level where I won’t take on a client unless:
a) They agree to the percentage deal
b) I can earn at least $10,000 PER MONTH per client in retainer + commissions (most of these fees are earned in the commission and clients are happy to pay it because it’s on a performance basis)

Clients only pay more money when they’re making more money, so it’s a win-win.

4. Sell HIGH Ticket products and services

This is key if you want to get to that $10,000 per month level. If you ONLY sell products with a price tag of over $1000 and you earn 10% per sale,  you’re making an extra $100 for every sale.

If you want to find these high ticket clients, you need to first know your target market. You should look for businesses that meet the following four criteria:

  1. Has been around for at least 5 years
  2. A profitable product or service to sell (with at least 30% profitable margins)
  3. An average lifetime customer value of $1,000 or more
  4. A willingness to invest at least $500 in advertising for their business

Businesses that offer at least one high-ticket item should be able to justify paying at least $1,000 a month to have a social media manager who drives sales. If their high-ticket item is worth $1,000, they only have to make one sale that month to pay for your services.

However, if you’re only charging $1,000 a month, you’ll need to have at least 10 retainer clients to make that monthly $10,000+. Because of that, you should also be charging a minimum of $2,500 to set up their sales funnel and be taking at least 10% of all sales you generate.

At this rate, you only need to have 2-3 clients to clear the $10k mark.

5. Promote products with at least 30% profit margin

You might be wondering, “Which businesses would pay me 10% of every sale?” The type of businesses that have high profit margins! Where do you find these clients?

High margins, low overhead

These companies offer services and non-physical products. You might want to work with:

  • Coaches, consultants, workshop leaders and event producers
  • Realtors, mortgage brokers and financial advisors
  • Lawyers, chiropractors and dentists

High margins, long-term subscription model

The following businesses have a long-term subscription model and a high lifetime value per customer:

  • Fitness studios (yoga, pilates, Zoomba)
  • Gyms, Crossfit, etc

You should avoid any type of company that offers low value transactions, like restaurants and retail (including ecommerce). Large multi-unit operations like major franchises and hotels might prefer to hire a full time employee rather than an independent practitioner. And for obvious reasons, try to resist working with friends and family.

Action Steps:

If you’re interested in being your own boss, starting a career as a freelance Social Media Director, and building a thriving six figure lifestyle business that generates passive income, you can find out more details about the Social Media Director Certification Program and get the free training video, How 1000’s of People Are Creating ALifestyle Business Earning More Than Six-Figures Per Year Working from Anywhere In the World…” at:



What questions do you have about starting a six figure a year career and lifestyle business? Please comment below and share this article with other social media professionals.