Review of Making a Six-Figure Income as a Technical Writer

by Debra Page, Secretary

For those of you who missed the September program meeting, here is a review of  the event:

Program Meeting Review

Jack Molisani’s dynamic and inspiring hour-long presentation, “Making a Six-Figure Income as a Technical Writer,” is based on his own successful career path. After describing his background, Jack compared the typical career paths for software programmers and technical writers to his own unique and alternate career path as a technical writer, which, in turn, led to his becoming a business owner ans president of ProSpring Technical Staffing.

He explained that you can create multiple streams of income to generate those six figures: for example, as a salaried employee (with compensation including health insurance, 401K, etc.), as a part-time contractor (hourly or fixed-bid), as a business owner, and by pursuing other sources of income including investments and consulting. Completing additional education is yet another way increase your income, such as earning a project manager certificate.

In order to build a six-figure income, Jack’s plan is to take these steps in the following order: begin with your current salaried job, supplement it with contract work on the side, build volume until you are losing money by remaining in the salaried job, subcontract extra work as needed, and build volume until you can hire employees (if you so desire). Jack discussed at length the advantages and pitfalls of doing fixed-bid work, cautioning that you need to get as much specific information from the prospective client as possible about the project. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you should write a detailed proposal based on your research before signing that contract. For those who do choose the ultimate step of creating jobs, he stressed the importance of being a responsible employer and meeting payroll during tough economic times.

One of the many valuable tips Jack shared with us is to begin networking with potential employers by attending meetings of other professional organizations rather than networking exclusively with other technical writers. (Jack said that it’s important to think creatively, mentioning that he knows of someone who is making a living by going to garage sales and collecting action figure toys for resale on eBay.)

Jack encouraged audience participation during his presentation, and members asked a lot of great questions. He concluded his talk by providing us with a short recommended reading list. One of his favorite authors reminds readers that “you have to send out ships in order to have your ship come in,” and another favorite author encourages readers to stop thinking in terms of “I can’t afford that” and replace it with “how can I arrange things so that I can afford that?” You can access his slide presentation through the ProSpring website at

At the end of his presentation, Jack held a drawing to give away one free admission to this year’s the Fifth Annual LavaCon conference on advanced technical communication and project management in New Orleans from October 28-30, 2007. Please click for details.

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