- And the newest editor for the Korean Board of Audit and Inspection is…
- Good gigs for English copywriters exist—you’ve just got to keep digging
- Working as an English content writer is challenging—but enjoyable
- Unique position—English proofreader needed, but with a smidge of Korean on the side
- School’s out for summer; school’s out forever
- I’ve met almost all the goals I set for myself as an English copywriter
- I haven’t met one goal as an English copywriter—enter the Korean market
- The future ain’t bright enough to be wearing shades, but it ain’t too shabby
This week marks six months since I posted my first blog announcing my career change. As such, I figured it was time for a quick 6-month update. I know I posted an update a couple of months ago, but enough has happened that I decided it warranted this post.
I’m still adjusting to the freelance lifestyle (see last week’s post for reference), but I’m adapting. I’m learning to roll with the punches, accept last-minute changes, and switch gears at a moment’s notice. It’s a challenge, but one I’m conquering.
This week, I had to wait on feedback from clients before I could proceed. I unexpectedly had more free time on Wednesday and Thursday than anticipated.
Rather than put my feet up, I formatted and scheduled this blog post much earlier in the week than usual. I wrote and scheduled a month’s worth of Instagram posts. I made a few changes to my website and added some content that I haven’t had time to do recently.
By doing so, I freed up time on Friday and the weekend for the work I knew was coming. In an ideal world, I have a schedule and I’d follow it. But that is not the world of the freelancer. I’m learning to accept it.
Regardless, the most challenging part of freelancing is still uncertain workloads. Which is why I applied for a full-time position several weeks ago.
And the newest editor for the Korean Board of Audit and Inspection is…
…not me. Shortly after my last update, I saw a job posting for a native English-speaking editor. The position was with the Korean Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI). It was a government job, and it was only four days a week. It paid around 3 million won a month (US $2,600).
It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. But having steady work and three days a week left to work on my business seemed like something I could do. Based on emails that didn’t use BCC, it appears there were about 30 applicants. I made a shortlist of five.
The five of us went to the BAI for a test and an interview. Internet access was blocked during the test. Though I trust my editing and proofreading abilities, I regularly use online tools, dictionaries, and other sites. And if I’m being honest, it was more challenging than I’d anticipated. I can’t be sure since I didn’t speak to any of the other candidates, but I assume everyone found the test as challenging as I did.
No one finished early and put their feet up. One candidate admitted to only completing two of the three documents in the test. I managed all three, but I finished the last one and a half documents at a much-accelerated pace.
My interview went well. I tend to do well in interviews. When I can get to the interview stage, I have a pretty good success rate. Leaving the interview room, I didn’t think, “This is in the bag!” But I also wasn’t obsessing over stupid mistakes or saying anything dumb. I felt good that I’d answered confidently, and none of the questions caught me off guard.
Long story short, I didn’t get the job. One of the candidates majored in translation. Though the ability to speak Korean was not a requirement, I suspect it definitely helped. I’m not sure who got the job, but I’m pretty sure it was that candidate.
I was disappointed but not devastated. The steady money would’ve been nice, and a government job would’ve looked good on my resume. But I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the work that much.
Good gigs for English copywriters exist—you’ve just got to keep digging
In my last update, I mentioned that there are a lot of crap gigs out there, but there are good ones to be had. I had started working with one such client a few weeks before my last update. It was a 4 hour/week job doing some copywriting.
I’m happy to report I’m still working with that client, and for several weeks, I’ve been bumped up to 8 hours a week. I really enjoy working with this client. I’m learning a lot, but I don’t feel overwhelmed.
The client and I seem to get along quite well. I would like to continue working with this client. And at present, I have no reason to believe this gig will end anytime soon. But I’ve learned my lesson, and I know there are no guarantees in freelancing.
We sometimes need to confer via Zoom, which can be a challenge due to the time difference. Midnight is not my preferred time for such calls, but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. It’s a minor inconvenience having these occasional late-night Zoom calls. I am a night owl, after all.
Working as an English content writer is challenging—but enjoyable
Shortly after my last update, around the same time I applied for the job with the BAI, I interviewed for another position. This client needed a content writer. After a couple of rounds of interviews, they hired me for 10 hours/week. After a couple of weeks, they bumped me up to 20 hours/week. There is no shortage of work with this client.
I’m finding it more challenging getting my feet under me with this client. But each week, I become a little more comfortable. Again, this client is great to work for. Demanding, deadlines to meet, but very patient and full of helpful feedback. I’m also enjoying this gig immensely.
For the first time in ages, I need to attend regular meetings. As a teacher, I was always the one leading online classes. It’s a nice change not being the one in charge. We can often work out task details via online chats, but meetings provide greater clarity.
Luckily for me, these meetings occur during typical business hours. Since I’m working from home, it’s also nice to socialize with a few people as we wait for everyone to join the online meeting.
Unique position—English proofreader needed, but with a smidge of Korean on the side
Finally, I’ve got an ongoing proofreading gig. This one is a bit odd. The client required a native English-speaking proofreader—but with knowledge of Korean. I was perfect for the job, and we’ve been working together for several months. This work is a little more sporadic. But I keep it in the back of my mind that I may have a few hours of work from this client each week.
As I mentioned, sometimes gigs disappear. I thought that’s what had happened with this client. After several weeks of steady work, I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. The client had seemed very happy with the work I’d done. It seemed odd that things stopped, but I’d experienced it before.
But out of the blue, the client got in touch again. They explained that a medical situation had interfered, and they’d had to put work on hold. They assured me work would resume shortly, and sure enough, it did. This is a good example of why, as a freelancer, it’s good to keep the lines of communication open and not assume anything.
School’s out for summer; school’s out forever
I’ve decided not to go back to my part-time teaching gig in the fall. The steady money was nice, but I wasn’t enjoying it. And with my current workload of almost 30 hours a week, teaching two days a week would’ve been tough.
As I outlined in my last blog post, my days are currently pretty full. Carving out six hours a day (teaching hours and commuting) twice a week would’ve been doable, but challenging. More time to focus on making this career switch permanent and successful.
I’ve met almost all the goals I set for myself as an English copywriter
When I started this blog, I had to decide how often to post. In the beginning, without much work, adding content to my page seemed like a good strategy. I settled on one blog post per week.
And with this very post, I’ve hit 26 posts—exactly where I should be for half a year. With my workload increasing it’s getting harder to squeeze in these blogs. Blogs like this one where I write about experiences are easier. But ones that need research and referencing are more labor intensive. They include hours of reading, writing, editing, proofreading—and formatting in WordPress.
My post about writing Korean names in English was supposed to be a quick, simple post. It’s a topic I’d taught often, and I knew precisely what I wanted to say. But then I decided to add the Olympic angle.
That required me to spend time looking up names online. I had to note differences in names while watching events (and remember to write them down). All enjoyable activities, and all interesting to me—but also all time consuming.
I started posting pics of awkward English on Instagram on May 31. I’ve managed to post every day since then. I recently started sharing those posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve posted over 75 images on Instagram. With the +450 current pics I’ve amassed (a quarter are my own), I’ve got enough material to post every day for over a year.
I typically get 3–5 submissions a week from friends. Working from home, I rarely go out, and I’ve already scoped out my neighborhood for examples. I got a ton of pictures from two Facebook groups when I originally asked for submissions. I’m sure if I reach out to those groups again in a few months, I’ll get another influx of material.
I haven’t met one goal as an English copywriter—enter the Korean market
One of the goals I haven’t met is to make inroads into the Korean market. In my last update, that was one of the goals I set for myself. But with my increased hours from my current gigs, and by the time I finish writing blogs and Instagram posts—there ain’t a lot of time left.
I did do one proofreading job for a Korean client. This client found me via LinkedIn, and they were very happy with the work I did for them. I’ll gladly work with them again in the future.
As I get used to my new workload and learn to work more efficiently, I need to find more time in my schedule. I need to devote more time to breaking into the Korean market. If I can get my regular work done during the week, I’ll have time on weekends to start focusing on the Korean market.
I’ve got a pretty solid weekly system for writing blogs, and they are beginning to require less time. I’ve figured out a strategy for selecting pictures and writing posts for Instagram. I need to become more efficient at writing those posts too.
The future ain’t bright enough to be wearing shades, but it ain’t too shabby
I’m moving in the right direction. I’m working on the kind of projects I want to. I’m enjoying them, and I’m learning a lot and developing as an English copywriter. I ain’t ready to give up on this little experiment yet.
Besides, I must be doing something right. On one of the sites I use for finding work, based on my success working with two of my long-term clients, I’ve achieved “Top Rated” status. According to the site, “Top Rated talent delivers quality work with stellar feedback.” Hell, with that badge next to my name, I’d hire me!
My wife has expressed genuine surprise with my progress. She has supported this career change from the beginning and was aware it would take time. Being a freelancer herself, she knows better than anyone what it’s like starting out as a freelancer. She knows how long it can take to achieve some success. So if she says I’m doing okay, I guess I’ll take her word.
Did I miss anything? Is there something you’d like to know? Drop me a comment and I’ll fill in the missing information.