I just re-read my 6-month update to make sure I’m clear on what’s happened since then. Wow! There were a lot of typos in that post! Like a lot! I cleaned them up, but boy, that was embarrassing! Yikes! Anyways…

After six months, I wrote about missing out on a full-time job. I was working 8 hours/week for one client and 20 hours/week for another. I was starting to get a feel for things and wanted to break into the Korean market. Let’s say that a lot can happen in three months.

I’ll begin by saying that I have still not cracked the Korean market. I did finally get around to getting my Korean business license. That wasn’t necessary to operate as a freelance English copywriter in Korea. But it was essential for another reason. 

I could’ve worked as a freelancer without a business license, but…

In Korea, if you’re not a Korean citizen, you need a registered business to link a bank account to your PayPal. Since I get paid via PayPal for all my international clients, I had a bunch of money sitting in PayPal I couldn’t touch. It was an easy process to set up a business, and now I have a business number, and the Korean taxman can keep tabs on me. Everyone’s happy.

An image showing Korean 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 won bills scattered on a table

I haven’t given up on the Korean market, but at the moment, I don’t have enough time. I’m still with the two clients I wrote about back in August. But a lot has changed since then—in a good way! 

In my last update, I’d recently received “Top Rated” status, representing the top 10% of performers on that freelancing site. I’ve since been awarded “Top Rated Plus.” It’s awarded to freelancers who perform consistently on long-term contracts and represents the top 3% of talent on the site. Guess I’m doing something right.

Some clients come, and some clients go, while some clients evolve

I finished up the proofreading job that required me to understand Korean. I proofread all the material the client had for me, and we ended our contract on excellent terms. I can only hope other freelance clients are as agreeable to work with as this one was.

With my oldest client, I’ve been bumped up from eight to a maximum of 16 hours a week—but I average 10–12 hours/week. I’ve been given more and more responsibilities. Initially, most of my work involved proofreading and being someone to bounce ideas off of. I’ve since graduated to writing full email drip campaigns and putting together webinar decks. 

A closeup image of a keyboard where one of the keys says 'webinar'

I’m tracking the results of these campaigns and starting to learn what works and what doesn’t. I still have a great working relationship with this client, and I’m enjoying the challenges coming my way.

With my other main client, there have been more significant changes

After my last update, I learned the writer who’d been training and expertly guiding me since July was leaving for greener pastures. This meant two things:

  • I’d have a lot more responsibilities 
  • I’d be the only writer on the team—after two months on the job (the other writer hired when I was didn’t work out)

I was beginning to understand how things worked. But this announcement was an unexpected curveball. Until that point, this writer had been assigning me tasks. She would always check my work before I submitted it officially. All that was gone. 

I’d now be responsible for planning, organizing, and writing. No safety net of someone else checking my work before I submitted it for review. My 20 hours got bumped up to 35. I now work 7 hours a day during the week and try to get work done for my first client in the evenings and weekends. 

With other small jobs that pop up, I’m working 50-hour weeks. With this second client, I’m not really a freelancer anymore—I’m a remote worker.

When is a freelancer no longer a freelancer?

Previously I attended weekly meetings. Now I take part in daily meetings, sometimes several meetings a day. I’m reaching out to and communicating with more people in this company as my responsibilities increase. The work is still chaotic, with the day’s plans usually tossed out the window as more urgent matters crop up. But I’m still enjoying it.

An image of two laptop computers, with a Zoom meeting with several participants on the left laptop screen.

Even though I’m expected to maintain regular office hours so that the team can function, I don’t mind. The team I work with is phenomenal. I genuinely enjoy working with these people. We’re scattered around the globe, across several time zones. But the way we work together and support each other is something I have never experienced before.

And I can still take time off to run errands or do family stuff without issue—things like ferrying my son to university auditions or doing a COSTCO run. As long as I inform my team when I’ll be unavailable, I can make up my hours later on. 

I’m also thrilled to report that we hired two more writers to help me out. There is a lot of writing that needs to be done with this client. We’re also looking to add other members to our team as our workload increases.

An image of someone pour coffee aggressively into a small paper cup as it overflows.

The team’s working hours changed to sync more with the client’s office hours this past week. This was necessary to maintain efficiency. This means I’m now logging on at 7 am. Yes, me—the night owl. 

My wife, a natural morning person, is thoroughly enjoying this. She gleans an inordinate amount of joy from watching me stumble around in the morning as I look for a coffee IV. But this company is worth it.

It turns out working as an English copywriter can be pretty lucrative

I’m now making more money than I did teaching. Granted, I’m working a lot more hours. And I won’t have the five months of paid vacation I had, but I’m enjoying the work. I work from home, and I’ve got great co-workers. 

About a month ago, the team had a Zoom lunch with the writer (my mentor) and another team member that left. It was an informal get together to chat and see how these two former team members were getting on. 

We were informed that the company would’ve covered lunch if we’d all been in the office. As such, we were all given an $80 bonus and instructed to take our families out for a nice meal. That was my son’s birthday meal sorted.

An image of someone cutting meat with scissors over a table grill in a Korean BBQ restaurant.

Shortly after that, we needed to submit dates for Christmas vacation. Our office will be operating at reduced capacity, but we all have to take two weeks off. Though looking forward to the break, as a freelancer, I assumed that meant I’d lose two weeks’ pay. 

Nope! We’ll all be getting two weeks of paid vacation. My wife has been working as a freelancer for over a decade. She’s never been paid if she didn’t work.

And things just keep getting better and better

In fact, I’m writing this post a week earlier than usual. Why? I knew our team leader wouldn’t be online when I logged on this morning. It was a national holiday for the office, but us freelancers had more than enough tasks to keep us busy. Shortly after I got online, the team was informed we’d be getting the day off too. We were told to log our regular work hours but firmly instructed not to do any work. 

So with an unexpected day off, I ran some errands I’d planned to do later in the week. I got an early jump on last week’s blog post. I finished a big chunk of writing for my Instagram posts. Then I decided to try and get a week ahead of schedule with my blog writing. So I sat down and hammered out this post.

An image of a person typing at a laptop

Things are good. Very good. Busy, but good. The experience I’m gaining, and everything I’m learning will only help me in the future. If I decide to work with a copywriting agency in Korea, I’ll have experience and references. If I choose to stick with freelancing, I’ll have more experience and confidence when pitching clients.

And that may not be the end of the good news 

But I can’t quite share it with you yet! I wouldn’t want to jinx it now, would I? Let’s just say hopefully I’ll have even more good news to begin my one year update.

I hope you enjoyed this update. But be honest—how many of you were worried about me? How many of you thought I’d be back to teaching by this point? Share with me—I promise we can still be friends!

8 thoughts on “9 months in and this English copywriter in Korea thing is working out

  1. Heeyyy! I am so glad for you! I enjoyed reading the updates on your success. Please keep it coming. As you may remember, I told you a while back that you will succeed no matter what. I’m glad for having said that!

  2. Good job, hubby! I’ve never thought you’d get up at 6:45 to work. Yes, I’m enjoying watching you half asleep in the morning.

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