This is going to be a stream of consciousness kind of blogpost. I have been thinking about this website for the last couple of days and even weeks. About what I want to do with it. Because it has fulfilled many different roles in my life. Just as it covered different kinds of topics over the years.
First of all, I won’t stop writing on here. I think it’s way too fun to have this ‘hobby’ website for me to play with.
And although I just called it a hobby website, I take it very seriously. Maybe even too serious. That’s why I’ve been thinking about the purpose of this website so much.
About the past 6 years
Let’s take a step back. I started this blog in 2015. The reason for me beginning this was practicing blogging. I had just started working for a company as an SEO junior. It wasn’t really anything advanced, but I felt I should experiment for my job. So I created this website. To play around and see how I could do SEO experiments.
A second reason was to practice my written language. I used to write in Dutch (more Flemish, though) here. As my friends will tell you, I am very sloppy with my language. Some rules don’t even make sense to explain in English. But they are “important.”
So actually, all of this website was meant as a self-improvement experiment.
I wrote about what I cared about, not really focused on a topic for a year or two. Once in a while, I thought of a series that I should do and then gave up on it after 5 or 6 articles.
For example, I had a “the favorite tune of person X” series. In which I asked my Twitter friends to talk about their favorite songs. In hindsight, it should’ve just been a tweet.
One trip to change it all
Then I went on a “life-changing” 🤮 trip to Namibia. In one way, it was life-changing as I took up photography again. Something I hadn’t done since graduating from secondary school/high school (the one at age 18), which was 4 or 5 years earlier.
I was in charge of making the photos on that trip because of my photography history. The pictures of that trip aren’t great. But they also aren’t bad. So I started doing photography more again. I really dove into it.
On this blog, I started to share about those adventures. Urbex trips with a friend, random photo report from even more unexpected locations. It was a lot of fun.
Another reason the Namibia trip was life-changing was because I decided to stop my job as an SEO junior. I did a series of other jobs that eventually resulted in me being exhausted and disgusted by the corporate/agency world for a bit.
This chain reaction made me become a self-employed photographer. But more on that later.
This blog was a third reason for the “life-changing” comment about my Namibia trip. I finally found a topic I was comfortable writing about regularly: travel.
Jobs that sucked (the life out of me)
In January, three months after the trip, my job as SEO junior ended. I started as a content manager with another company, which only lasted about 6 weeks. I was destroyed after that job. I resigned on Thursday and left the office permanently on Friday morning.
In a funny twist of events, my train home got stuck in Mechelen, and I decided to hop off and discover the city. I asked for some recommendations on Twitter, and this guy that I vaguely knew told me to have lunch with him. So we did. Having a ‘smoske’ on a bridge in Mechelen.
Later on, that guy became my love- no, I am joking, he just became my best friend. Weird how some things go.
Anyway, I had had enough of working for a bit and needed a breather. So that Monday, I went on my first ever solo trip. I chose Berlin because I knew some people I could use as a safety net in case I hated solo travel.
I loved it, returned on Friday, and left again for Copenhagen the following Monday.
All while job searching and blogging about my travel experiences.
It also got me into smartphone photography.
While traveling and finding a job, I worked at my parents’ place. Just not to be completely useless.
In August I started a new job. Again as social media and content manager. But after 6 months, they decided to end the collaboration. Fucking hell.
Got the news on Wednesday and left the office permanently on Friday.
Two weeks I was mulling over what to do. I loved doing social media as a job, but I resented the corporate world and agency politics.
Be Your Own Boss
My parents, both self-employed accountants, told me to go freelance as a photographer. My brother paved the way as a freelance cameraman; I had been doing photography for a while already. So I should give it a try.
Living home, the financial risks of going freelance were almost nonexistent. So I decided to dive in. With this blog as a bit of a business card, I was able to get some first clients.
Looking back, those shoots sucked. The photos are okay, the price was way too low, and I should’ve used contracts and all that.
It was all just: it’s on email, I think this is an okay price, and I trust you not to screw me over.
The dream was to become like Brendan Van Son and those other travel photographers. Just going all over the place and selling my work.
I only had to figure out how they did it. Meanwhile, I thought doing corporate shoots would be a good idea to get some money.
A couple of small businesses asked me to report their events and make some portraits. For 100 euros I did it all.
This blog went from almost purely travel to also photography. But photography that’s related to travel, landscape, and other popular hobbyist topics.
For my professional photography, I made a specific website.
Soon though, I buried the travel photography plans. I started to get some interest in the more corporate world again. This time from the outside of it. Doing photography for smaller businesses was my new goal and one that I am still doing today.
As a social media manager for smaller businesses, I noticed how they never got any good photos. So my goal in life was to help them be in the spotlight.
Okay, I am aware that this has been a long text already. And we aren’t even talking about what’s to change yet. I am surprised this is all written here now. Seems like I needed to let it all out for a second. 😅
I texted my girlfriend to tell her how this ‘step back for a second’ turned into 1164 words about my past 7 years.
Back to the blog and what’s going to change around here
As you might have noticed: travel and photography are a big part of my life. But it’s not the only part of my life. I also make music, for example. I love reading books, diving into productivity, and helping people achieve more.
Travel and photography are always the main thread that everything is attached to. I am a photographer, not only as a job but also as a hobby.
I do it for clients and for myself.
This blog has been about photography and travels for the last few years. And I will continue writing about those topics. My style might change and get a bit more personal, and looking at this article, that might seem obvious.
My feeling with my blog is that it’s been kind of forced and stiff lately. Thanks to Covid-19 (after +1300 words, the virus is finally mentioned), I haven’t been traveling that much. So that river of inspiration feels more like a dripping faucet.
Same for photography. It’s such a broad topic, but I will not write about boudoir photography. Because I’ve never done it.
But next to those two topics, I am also a business owner, a random guy with random thoughts, a music lover and a creator.
And this website is called Fredericpaulussen.be. Not that photographerguy.com or travelman.co.uk.
(I hope those aren’t real websites.)
So the website is about me.
Why not write more about me? About my experiences. With a focus on photography and travel, but not exclusively.
I am going to be honest. I was writing this article not just to bring this news across but also to convince myself. See where I was going with this and see if secretively I already had made my mind up. Looks like I did.
And I think my mind is even more made up now.
From now on, this blog will contain, but is not limited to:
- Photography tips and tricks
- The photography I do
- The business side of photography
- Travels and trips I do
- Travel tips
- Productivity tips I encounter
- Business tips I needed earlier
- Books I can recommend
- And the odd thought once in a while
I already feel like writing more again, and I feel inspired to write things that really mean something to me. Rather than filtering out my thoughts and seeing what will work in Google.
I’m ready to write what I want to write about (with a bit of a strategy, of course) and just see articles succeed or fail.