About Kjell Vandevyvere

(Read about my background)

Last update: 1 June 2024

Recent activities

Since I started freelancing for Willow, I’ve been overwhelmed with work. Settling in took some time but I also had a few other projects in May that requested more time than I expected.

I’m enjoying the regular work and paycheque. It’s great meeting new people and learning about a start-up from the inside. The downside is that I haven’t had time for my own side projects. My positioning is all over the place, as well. So narrowing that down (again) will be my focus for the next few weeks.

So far, I’ve tried a few 30-day challenges this week. No meat and no alcohol were pretty successful. Walking 10k steps per day was a mixed experience. On average, I might have gotten close because I went to Mullerthal with three friends and I walked almost 55k steps in one day. That’s about 35km — it was hell. I had blisters from the 1km but didn’t want to give up. (I did take the bus for the final stretch.) But that’s what these challenges are about. They’re more about proving to myself that I can be disciplined.

Unless it’s about sugar… I tried to reduce my sugar intake last month. Well, I did, but not as much as I wanted. This month I’m trying to survive without coffee. I’m a bit afraid of how it’s going to affect me, to be honest, but we’ll see. I’m starting tomorrow. My wife just brought me a coffee and made me drink it. 🤷‍♂️

Freelance career numbers

In terms of numbers, this is what 2024 looks like so far.

202420232022
Clients111924
Projects193891
Website projects3810*
Blog posts315051*
Other projects/income sources41015*
Percentage of target revenue45%53,2%65,3%
* unsure about the numbers. Lots of projects were split into multiple invoices.

What’s Kjell’s background?

Born and raised in Belgium, matured all over the globe. I’ve lived in Spain, the UK, Bolivia and Peru. I also spent a brief period in Uganda.

I’ve always wanted to have my own business and become a freelancer, probably since reading the 4-Hour Workweek or so. But I was scared of taking the leap and finding excuses not to. But at the height of Covid-19, I lost my job and there was no way I’d find another good-paying job in Bolivia at that time. So I had to take the leap. And still, I didn’t…

In 2020 and most of 2021, I did some odd writing gigs. But I mainly focused on building a small audience on Twitter, making a podcast and creating writing guides.

Somehow it was a loss of time and somehow it wasn’t. I learned lots. And I made many friends and connections I still benefit from.

Then in October 2021, I moved back to Belgium and finally made the call. I became a full-time freelancer. You can read more about my story here.

Archive

27 March 2024

Big news: I’ve started a new job as a Customer Success Manager at Willow. I’ll be helping small and medium-sized businesses (mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands) with social media marketing.

It’s a career change no one saw coming, not even me, but it does make sense. Bear with me.

I’ll be answering a few questions below:

Why this job?

For the past few months, I’ve been carefully looking for a remote job that offers more stability and more strategy. I wanted to be part of something bigger and also help more on the strategy-side of things rather than just the execution. My former colleague Orisa thought I’d be a good match for the job, Willow reached out to me, and within a few weeks I got started. I’m excited to put everything I’ve learned about social media into practice and help SMBs develop better social media strategies.

PS: Orisa and I hadn’t been in touch for 5 years, but she followed me on LinkedIn and liked my posts/style. So if you ever doubt about the use of posting regularly, this is a good reminder to keep doing it.

What about freelance copywriting?

I’m working with Willow as a consultant for 4 days per week. That means I’ll still have 1 day for other projects. It also means I’ll be much pickier with projects.

What does it mean for other clients?

On my free days, I’ll continue writing blog content for Accountable. Next month, I’ll also be starting a new project with a global SaaS company. Other clients that work with me on an ad-hoc basis, can still count on me as well, but they might need to plan a bit more in advance.

What does this mean for new clients?

Accepting new client might get a bit difficult. Long-term commitments are out of the picture, but I’m still happy to take on ad hoc projects related to digital marketing for fintech startups. That could include:

  • Website copy
  • Conversion optimisation
  • SEO strategy

I’m also thinking about taking requests for hero section/home page reviews @ The Copy Galaxy. I’m planning to make it very affordable but haven’t figured out the details yet.

What does it mean for other side projects?

Overall, I’ll be much busier than I used to be, so things might be slower. On the other hand, I won’t be spending time on job applications, prospecting, and so on, so that will make most evenings free for just side projects or ad hoc work. Right now, my focus is on The Copy Galaxy and since I have a finally clear vision for it, I’m confident that I will be able to continue doing it. On the side, I’m also documenting my monthly challenges but after this month’s veggie challenge, that shouldn’t take too much time. Finally, I’ve been creating a ginormous glossary about payments and digital banking. The problem is that every time I’m adding 5 definitions, I find 10 more terms to add. It might never be finished so I’ll probably publish a work in progress soon.

Monthly challenges

This month I’ve been eating exclusive veggie meals and it’s been great. To be honest, I’m not even missing meat for lunch. Next month, I’m going on a long hike with some friends. In prep for that, I’m thinking about doing daily walks of at least 5km in April. And I’ve got other challenges lined up until November. I might take December off. Check out my veggie recipes :D.

1 March 2024

I almost dropped my coffee on my Macbook.

As I was taking a sip of coffee, I remembered I hadn’t written my monthly review yet. Not a big issue, you’d think. But I’m a bit afraid and not feeling to great about last month. So I lost focus for a split second, the cup slipped from my hands, a few drops of coffee went flying through the air, and I recovered my cup just before it hit my keyboard. Phew. No damage.

So what went wrong last month?

Pretty much the same as always. I’m counting on work that’s not 200% confirmed. I was convinced this month would be much better than the previous, but in fact, it was a bit worse.

I could blame my clients for the delays and for not delivering the briefs they had promised. Not replying to emails or pushing back work for weeks isn’t nice, but it’s part of the business. The one to blame is me.

So I’m writing this as a little reminder to myself (and other freelancers). Keep looking for work until the briefs are in your inbox. You never know what might happen between confirming the collaboration and actually starting the work. It could take months.

In other news, I didn’t drink alcohol last month. (In all honesty, I didn’t drink from the 2nd until the 28th — I cheated on the first and last day of the month). Contrary to what most people say after doing a challenge like this, I didn’t experience any chances. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink much anyway. Maybe it’s because the baby gave us a few very difficult nights this month.

This month, I’ll be doing a veggie challenge. I’m going to start on the second of the month again because we still have homemade hamburgers in the fridge. I wonder if this is going to have some sort of impact on me.

Finally, there’s something funny about these challenges. I decided on my own to do these challenges but coincidentally, there was a national sober challenge last month and there is a national veggie challenge this month. Next month, I might quit coffee or added sugar. I wonder if there’s going to be a challenge about that too.

31 January 2024

At the end of last year, I was expecting a busy January month. Unfortunately, most project discussions have taken more time than expected and they’re more likely to start in the next few weeks or even in March. The bright side is that I got to spend ample time with family this month. I also started working out again. And I got some time to work on my business website: www.kjellvandevyvere.be, which looks much better now.

In February, I’ll continue focusing on work, sports and family. I would like to pick up some sort of side project or hobby but I’m not sure what to explore. I also have a tonne of unopened books and bookmarks. I’ve made good progress with newsletters and bookmarks this month. I hope to catch up completely this month and then stay on top of it.

This year, I also want to track my income goals much better.

In January, I made 104% of what I wanted to earn after expenses and social contributions. But that was only 5,4% of my revenue goal for this year. So this month was acceptable but it needs to get better.

19 December 2023

Things have been strange in the past few months. There seems to be a lot of work in the pipeline, but it’s all taking a long time to get started. Especially the past two weeks have been a bit underwhelming, but I’m expecting a very busy start in 2023. The lower amount of work has given me time to reflect and work on other things, like Poppy Websites. We’ve created a few offers that we want to launch soon and we’ve decided to write a book about “creating your first startup website”. Eager to see where that will take me.

As it’s the end of the year, it’s a good time for reflection too. The first quarter was by far the best financially. I hit the best two months of my career as a freelance copywriter. The second and third quarter were hell. My son was born in April, and I was on a high because I just had a very well-paid quarter. So, I let things slip…

Usually, business picks up again in a few weeks. But this time, it came with a bunch of circumstances that made it much more difficult: agencies didn’t have work for me, companies were testing AI, and social media algorithms didn’t help me anymore. Sure, I picked up a few projects, but far too little to maintain a family. On top of that, Poppy Websites didn’t get the traction we expected. I did market research and saw we could do much better for local businesses. However, I overlooked the importance of networking. And because networking isn’t my forte, we switched the model to websites for global businesses. We’re more excited about this audience, there was a lot of unpaid work involved.

Just at the point of reaching complete desperation, things started improving again. A few referrals came my way in the final quarter, and a company I’d love to work with gave me a trial. Everything seemed set for a grandiose end of the year. But as I said, it all moved a bit slowly, so much of the work got pushed back until next year.

This leaves me a bit disappointed with my final quarter, but also very excited about what the first quarter of next year might bring. With nine blog posts already confirmed and a few website projects still in discussion, I’m ready for better fortunes next year.

A quick summary of this year:

  • 19 clients (24 last year)
  • 38 projects (91 last year)
  • Website projects: 8
  • Blog posts: about 50
  • Other projects (mainly translations): 10

Compared to last year, there were more website projects and fewer blog posts — a move in the right direction for the balance I want. I also did fewer other projects and the ones I did were more relevant to my core business.

24 August 2023

Since the birth of our second child, times have been difficult. I think for many freelance writers it’s been harder than usual to get clients. Combine this with two small kids at home and you’ll understand life is quite stressful here.

For the past few months I’ve been trying to grow The Copy Galaxy but despite my best efforts it’s not going the way I want.

So behind the scenes I’ve been working on something new. I’m going to start creating websites for local businesses. We’ve already created one project for our portfolio but our own website is still a work in progress.

I’m both excited and scared about this.

8 May 2023

On 11 April 2023, my second child was born. His name is Mateo Esteban.

For just shy of four weeks, I took a break from work. As expected, it was difficult for me to switch off entirely. The stress of an entire family depending on one freelance income never fully goes away.

Nevertheless, it was a welcome break. Creatively, I feel rested. I’ve finally got the energy to embark upon a new creative journey. It won’t be big, and I still need to figure out the details, but I feel it’ll finally be sustainable.

So apart from the usual parenthood stuff, nothing’s new right now.

I am taking on new clients, however. So do get in touch if you know someone who needs help with their conversions or website copy.

26 March 2023

In the first months of this year, I’ve been able to focus on website copy projects almost entirely. The most significant projects were Xenn and Winwinner.

We moved in February, causing that month to be a little slower. But I feel like I have a steady freelance business now. It’s hard to be sure, though, and the next month won’t prove it.

We’re expecting our second child in less than three weeks. So I’ll be finishing up my projects, maybe do one more smaller one if the opportunity arises, and then I’ll take a few weeks off.

I’m looking forward to it, but I’m stressed about it too. What if it takes a while to pick things back up afterwards?

Fortunately, I’m working on a side-project already with a fellow copywriter. That’ll give me something to look forward to and keep me busy.

20 January 2023

It’s been a crazy start to the year with two big and exciting projects.

After two and a half full-on weeks, I’ll be slowing down a bit and focusing on finally renewing www.thecopygalaxy.com next week. In February, new projects are waiting.

My goal for The Copy Galaxy is to create the best web copy guide for all sorts of pages. It’s ambitious, but I know I can do it.

Why?

The competition is huge but the competition pays freelancers for clickable content. I’m going to create it for myself first. I’ll put more work into it, and I’ll know the audience perfectly – I’m my audience…

On a personal level, I’m getting really scared for my second child to arrive soon. In the next two months, we still want to move to a different place, buy lots of stuff and get everything ready.

I also want to do a few more big projects before I slow down in April.

Exciting times!

23 December 2022

It’s almost Christmas and I’m winding down after a few busy months. In fact, I’ve been so busy I haven’t updated this page since May. It also means I barely made any other website changes since then. That’s a record.

As the end of the year is getting near, it’s time to reflect. Next year, we’ll become a family of four and there’ll be less time for distractions. I’ll go all-in on my freelance business and avoid any ecom or creator economy side hustles. But it will be hard :)

I do want to create something. That’s why I’ll be building www.thecopygalaxy.com into my own primary resource for website copy. My motto: if it’s useful to me, it’s useful for others. But it doesn’t stop there. I want the content to be top 0,1% in its area.

We’ll see.

Let’s gain a few extra X-mas kilos first.

I almost dropped my coffee on my Macbook.

As I was taking a sip of coffee, I remembered I hadn’t written my monthly review yet. Not a big issue, you’d think. But I’m a bit afraid and not feeling to great about last month. So I lost focus for a split second, the cup slipped from my hands, a few drops of coffee went flying through the air, and I recovered my cup just before it hit my keyboard. Phew. No damage.

So what went wrong last month?

Pretty much the same as always. I’m counting on work that’s not 200% confirmed. I was convinced this month would be much better than the previous, but in fact, it was a bit worse.

I could blame my clients for the delays and for not delivering the briefs they had promised. Not replying to emails or pushing back work for weeks isn’t nice, but it’s part of the business. The one to blame is me.

So I’m writing this as a little reminder to myself (and other freelancers). Keep looking for work until the briefs are in your inbox. You never know what might happen between confirming the collaboration and actually starting the work. It could take months.

In terms of numbers, this is what 2024 looks like so far:

202420232022
Clients51924
Projects83891
Website projects2810*
Blog posts135051*
Other projects/income sources21015*
* unsure about the numbers. Lots of projects were split into multiple invoices.

In other news, I didn’t drink alcohol last month. (In all honesty, I didn’t drink from the 2nd until the 28th — I cheated on the first and last day of the month). Contrary to what most people say after doing a challenge like this, I didn’t experience any chances. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink much anyway. Maybe it’s because the baby gave us a few very difficult nights this month.

This month, I’ll be doing a veggie challenge. I’m going to start on the second of the month again because we still have homemade hamburgers in the fridge. I wonder if this is going to have some sort of impact on me.

Finally, there’s something funny about these challenges. I decided on my own to do these challenges but coincidentally, there was a national sober challenge last month and there is a national veggie challenge this month. Next month, I might quit coffee or added sugar. I wonder if there’s going to be a challenge about that too.