There's almost nothing better than being a top earner in your field, and getting to that six-figure mark is a big career milestone within itself. But what about those of us who don't work in the typical fields where the journey to making $100,000 or more is a bit more feasible, a lot more cookie-cutter, and much more straight-and-narrow than others. (Hey, creatives, hey! I see and feel you!)
The frustration is real, especially when we're thinking along the lines of the usual get-a-college-degree chatter about how best to get to that tax bracket (and how nontraditional routes are the exception, not the rule. Don't we all have an auntie, uncle, mom, dad, or other elder constantly pushing that narrative?)
Well, take this list to the naysayers. We know of more than several high-paying jobs for women with no degree:
A license, flight hours, and a love of, well, flying, are the minimum requirements for the role of commercial pilot, and you can earn up to $139,000 to boot. You can work for a major airline, only do private chartered flights, or start your own company offering services or teaching. The sky's the limit. (Hey, sis. I couldn't resist.)
Sis, don't sleep on this multi-billion-dollar industry. As a truck driver, you can make up to $145,000 per year with a high school diploma, a commercial drivers license, and exemplary experience. It's also a plus if you are the owner-operator of a truck and you know the ins and outs of the industry.
Media Communications Equipment Professional
For this one, we're looking at up to $131,000 in yearly salary potential, and you can find success (or at least get your foot in the door) with a two-year associate's degree for this amount of pay. If you are great at setting up microphones, comms tech, or working sound, lighting, and mixing boards for large-scale events, this is the opp for you.
If you work in larger markets like San Francisco, there's the potential to make up to $129,000 per year as an agricultural manager. In this job, you'll supervise and manage farm or agricultural workers, determine budgets and create strategies for the maintenance and growth of farms or a company's farming activities. You'll need at least a high school diploma and some companies require special certifications as well as experience in the industry.
Transit or Railroad Officer
At the top ranks and in larger city markets, transit or railroad officers are making upwards of $99,000 on average, and more with benefits and incentives. A high school education is the starting point in terms of qualifications, and of course, experience in law enforcement, management, and training is a must.
Supervisor, Non-Retail Sales
There's up to $151,000 a year up for grabs with a gig like this, and you'll need a high school diploma and a knack for sales and communications. This job requires managing sales professionals, as well as budgeting and accounting and is perfect for someone who has a bit of skin in the game.
Senior Web Developer
You can earn up to $101,000 as a senior web developer, and you'll need skills in designing and/or building websites. Though there are four-year college programs that strengthen those skills, associate's degree programs or even online certification courses can provide ample training needed for this job, especially if you've already got the gift and passion for this sort of work. Of course, experience is a plus, but talent and tenacity definitely trump all.
Even on the lower end of the average, you can earn up to $153,000 per year in this field, and you'd be in charge of all aspects of running a casino, including operational budgeting and forecasting. Sometimes, this role is one within a corporate entity, and an MBA might be great, managerial and casino industry experience are king for landing this gig.
Nuclear Plant Manager
OK, sis. You see the word "nuclear" and think Homer Simpson? Well, at the higher end of management in this field, you're looking at a yearly salary of at least $100,000. (I guess Marge and the fam was living large. No wonder Homer could afford all those donuts!) This job entails overseeing teams that handle electricity services and ensuring governmental compliance. While some companies require specific licenses at this level, the minimum requirement for the industry is a high school diploma and, to become a manager, good ol' hard work and experience.
Whether you work for a major firm or you're off on your own, you can make a salary of at least $105,000 as a senior consultant. Some companies indeed require a bachelor's or even a master's degree, but many of today's innovators do not, especially when it comes to industries like public relations, automotive and transport, personal finance, or technology. You can bank on experience, great communication skills, and actual results to lead the way on landing this gig. Independent certifications or training completions are a plus.
If you're super-organized, great at planning a project or transition from start to finish, and even more great at rallying teams to actually execute a plan, you can earn up to $152,000 in the role of project manager with only an associate's degree. Also, there are several options for certifications in this field that boost your salary potential.
Senior Engagement Manager
You're looking at a little over $100,000 in annual salary for the job of senior entertainment manager, and the name of the game for this one is relationships. Businesses want savvy professionals who can not only build new relationships with clients or customers, but create strategies to keep them coming back for more. People with amazing interpersonal, networking, sales and communications skills thrive in this sort of work, and having training in marketing or digital media is a plus.
Senior Visual Designer
Senior visual designer is another great option for creatives, especially if you're great at creating bold and vivid experiences and concepts for brands and their customers. You'll be heading the creative direction for campaigns and contributing to strategy for customers to buy into new products. The annual salary potential for this role is up to $138,000, with a minimal requirement being a high school diploma, vocational training, and of course, experience with providing a decent body of work.
Creative Lead, Retail
This job requires managing the art elements and designs of a project, and having skills in project management is a plus. You might also have to manage artists and designers part of a team to execute your vision and deliver what the company wants as the end result. Vocational training and experience are important to this role, which has the annual salary potential of up to $145,000.
You might be thinking that becoming a film director is far-fetched, but not so fast, sis. There is indeed the potential to earn more than $100,000 per year even if you haven't completed a film school program. True, many greats earned that four-year degree, but just take a nod from the career journeys of icons like Quentin Tarantino, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Regina King, or Tyler Perry, who have seen major mainstream success without traditional film school experiences.
(And just a side note: Even our good sis Ava DuVernay—who brought us Queen Sugar, Cherish the Day, Selma, and A Wrinkle In Time—actually studied journalism and African-American studies before venturing into film directing, so technically she falls in this category as well.) From music video productions, to major streaming network deals, to documentaries, to TV ad projects, if you really have the vision, go-getter attitude, internship experience, and work ethic, it's possible.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Originally published July 5, 2021
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In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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'Act II': Beyoncé's Country Era Is Paying Homage To Black Artists & Daring Us To Exist In Any Space We Choose
Super Bowl Sunday Queen Bey struck again, snatching all our edges and keeping us in the same chokehold we’ve been in for the past couple of decades. After her Verizon commercial, where she alluded to her power to break the internet, Beyoncé essentially broke the internet with her announcement that Renaissance Act II would be released on March 29, 2024. The final drop in this marketing masterpiece was the release of two new singles, “16 CARRIAGES” and “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” which have both soared to number one and two in the iTunes country music category.
However, despite the pure excitement by the BeyHive to follow Beyoncé wherever she leads them, there has already been pushback in the country music arena to deny the Queen access. Oklahoma station KYKC 100.1 FM denied a listener's request to hear Beyoncé’s new songs on its station because “We do not play Beyoncé' [sic] as we are a country music station," it responded via email.
This isn’t the first time Beyoncé has been dismissed in the genre. In 2016, when she released "Daddy’s Lessons" on Lemonade, she not only was met with backlash from country music fans but was also denied by the Recording Academy’s Country Committee after she submitted the record for a Grammy.
Beyoncé (2nd R) performs onstage with Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, and Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks at the 50th annual CMA Awards in 2016.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images
We saw a similar response to Lil Nas X’s "Old Town Road" in 2019 when the original single was removed from the Billboard Country charts because it didn’t “embrace enough elements of today’s country music.” Lil Nas X went on to win a Grammy with Billy Ray Cyrus for the song’s music video but was only accepted into the category after Cyrus joined for the remix.
Though the origins of the country music genre are an extension of Black culture and African ancestry, Black artists have been essentially erased from the genre's existence. Examples of this are the modern-day banjo – featured in many country songs – which is a descendant of the West African instrument, the Akonting. As with most things in American history, once white audiences were introduced to the banjo in a more “acceptable” manner through racist minstrel shows of the 1850s-1870s, it was quickly appropriated.
This unintentionally led to the creation of the 1920s Hillbilly music, which at the time was mainly popular in the South and later evolved into the country genre we know today. Hillbilly music drew its inspiration from slave spirituals, field songs, hymns, and the blues, which all originated within the Black community, and up until the end of World War I when major record labels rebranded it as country, the genre was successfully integrated.
In fact, in Patrick Huber’s 2013 essay, "Black Hillbillies: African American Musicians On Old-Time Records, 1924–1932," he details the vast diversity in the genre. In the time period chronicled, approximately 50 Black artists were featured on commercialized records within Hillbilly music. Huber’s essay was part of a larger work edited by Diane Pecknold, "Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music," which focused on the large contributions Black musicians had to the industry.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Despite the huge success Hillbilly music had, record labels couldn’t fully capitalize on it while remaining diverse because of segregation throughout America. In order to market the music and artists to “mainstream” America, music executives not only segregated the genre but promoted it as “white music” and as white southerners migrated throughout the country, they took with them the ideology that country music was solely theirs. This eventually led to the erasure of Black artists and their contributions to their artistry and history.
These artists include DeFord Bailey, who was the first Black musician to play the Grand Ole Opry, and Charley Pride, the first Black person to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Many of us know musical legend Ray Charles for his contribution to soul music, but it isn’t common knowledge that his ability to blend country, R&B, and pop music greatly influences country music to this day. Additionally, Gus Cannon made jug bands (an ancestor to country music) popular in the 1920s and taught Johnny Cash, who is a country music icon.
As we make efforts to honor and acknowledge the Black musicians who helped mold country music into what it is today, we must also acknowledge how the intersectionality of Black womanhood has practically left this demographic out of the country music fabric completely.
As Black women face both racism and sexism (a.k.a. misogynoir), their denial of entry has been easier to maintain in this genre. Linda Martell, the first Black female solo artist to play the Grand Ole Opry, released her debut album, Color Me Country, in 1970. Though still considered a pioneer to many, her career was short, and she faced relentless discrimination and violence within the industry that eventually led her to leave country music altogether. The documentary, Bad Case of The Country Blues: The Linda Martell Story, chronicles her experiences from 1969-1975.
Though there are many up-and-coming Black country music artists, Beyoncé's entrance into this arena creates a clear and imminent threat to the genre’s marketing strategy that it is “white music.” She might be one of the most unapologetically Black artist of our times, penning lyrics such as, “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros” and “I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.”
Argue with me if you like, but for the past decade, Beyoncé has been uplifting and celebrating Black culture and history.
She has made it clear that she has no desire to assimilate herself or her music into mainstream white culture. She is proud of who she is and where she comes from, which is why her making a country music album is a natural progression. Beyoncé's roots are in Texas, she often talks about her love for her state and her upbringing, and just as we heard in Act I of Renaissancewith the inspirations pulled from Chicago house, funk, soul, gospel, and New Orleans Bounce music; we will be serenaded by another layer of her upbringing and soul in Act II.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance is her unabashed way of not only using her stardom to prove that Black people are not a monolith but also paying homage to the Black artists who paved the way for her but are seemingly erased from history.
She highlights the multifaceted nature of Black culture and ignites conversations that force the full history of these genres to be represented and told. As a Black woman who grew up in Alabama and isn’t ashamed to share her love for country music, I was thrilled to hear "Daddy Lessons" in 2016 and I can’t wait for Act II of Renaissance to come out on March 29.
Whether you’re a member of the BeyHive or not, I hope you can see how Beyoncé’s musical evolution is allowing space for Black people, and moreover, Black women, to exist in whatever space they choose to pursue without feeling the need to diminish, readjust, or mold themselves into what someone else says you should be.
Through her art, she is creating a space for us all to live and exist in our fullness, or in short to live in true liberation.
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