Woman earns up to £92,000 a year making jingles and only works 15 hours a week
After eight months of looking for a job, Sarah Hughes ended up taking a role in a cinema.
Although it paid her bills, she was worried she would be stuck earning minimum wage forever.
The 28-year-old,of Cinderford, Gloucestershire, started advertising her musical skills on freelance marketplace Fiverr to earn some extra cash – but six years on, she’s given up her job at the cinema and now earns up to £7,700 a month writing jingles.
Her business has been so successful, she’s managed to get on the property ladder, buying a three bedroom house with her husband, Gareth, also 28.
And despite the huge jump in salary, she only needs to work for three to four hours a day, four days a week.
She had the idea after training as a musician and completing a degree in creative sound from Newport University in South Wales, she said: ‘Not many jingle artists can play, sing and produce an entire jingle themselves.
‘Because of my degree, that’s something that’s second nature to me now and I think that’s why I’ve done so well.’
Every jingle Sarah makes takes roughly 30 minutes, not including any revisions.
For that, she now charges an impressive £200 – up to £100 more if she pens the lyrics herself – bringing in as much as £7,700 a month, which if it remains consistent could mean earning £92,400 a year.
Sarah’s love for music started at a guitar class at the age of 12. She took music at GCSE and A Level, she then took a creative sound degree, forming Toy Pop, a student band with an emphasis on using toy instruments, including the kazoo, maracas and a melodica, while she was at university.
‘With toy instruments I found my niche,’ she said. ‘I set up a band with some fellow classmates as part of my practical study and we’d play the instruments over a pre-recorded backing track we’d made.
‘Then we’d start improvising or singing stuff we’d written ourselves. I guess, looking back, that was the starting point of my jingle career.’
She graduated in 2012 and moved back to her hometown of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, but after eight months of struggling to find a job, she started working at her local cinema.
‘After years of being told an academic career in music would land me nowhere, I suddenly found myself, as predicted, going nowhere,’ she confessed.
Keen to get out of her job and to make extra money, she heard about Fiverr through a friend and she decided to start advertising her skills online.
‘I knew there was quite a demand for cutesy, light-hearted instrumental pieces, so I started off by advertising 30 second instrumentals with toy instruments for £4 a pop,’ she explained.
After saving £120 in her first month, Sarah used the funds to purchase a microphone that she could hook-up to her computer, enabling her to add vocals to her services.
Equipped with new technical gear she began charging £20 for a fully packaged jingle, with the requests soon coming in thick and fast.
‘You’d be surprised how many people out there are looking for a jingle,’ she said.
‘It’s not just toy companies and children’s adverts. In fact, my biggest source of income for the first few months were podcasts and YouTube channels.’
Over time, her rating on Fiverr grew and she became a top trade seller in May 2013 and it’s gone from strength to strength.
Along with commercial jingles, Sarah’s services include professional voiceovers, personalised ringtones and bespoke love songs.
‘Everyone is looking for an alternative to a bunch of roses or some fancy chocolates when it comes to special occasions, such as Valentine’s day,’ she explained.
‘That’s why I started advertising personalised love songs on my profile too – and the rewards soon started to add up.’
With jingles for big name brands like John Adams’ Tiny Tears doll and Styling Head under her belt, by January 2017 Sarah was earning up to £3,000 a month from her jingle-making.
‘Hitting the £3,000 a month mark was a big deal for me,’ she said.
‘I finally felt like I was making a proper salary from the work I was doing after nearly five years establishing myself as an artist.’
Two years later, she was making up to £7,700 a month, working for just 15 to 20 hours a week.
‘With my line of work you never know when the demand is going to fall and each month is different to the last,’ she explained.
‘It’s brilliant having the tools to make as much money as I have, but it is still freelance work and you need to make sure you have a contingency plan and factor in things like your tax bill.
‘That being said, it feels great knowing that we’ve been able to save up so much money from doing something that I love.
‘Even six years in, nothing quite beats the thrill of hearing one of my jingles being played on telly for the first time.’
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