As I wind up my "regular" work week, some time before Jeopardy! on Friday evening, my thoughts turn to the work-week ahead before they turn to what I hope will be a restorative weekend.
I take half an hour or so and reconnoiter what's on the schedule. I make sure everything I've booked is in my calendar. Importantly, since the arrogance of my eidetic memory keeps me from writing appointments down as I make them, I try to make sure I haven't screwed up by double or triple booking any time slots.
I also check to see what work I've promised and when. Then I look over that work to make sure I'm happy with it. Or, more likely, if I'm on my way to being happy with it. Much of this is so when my wife inevitably asks me "do you have to work this weekend?" I can answer with some accuracy. "I have about an hour to pull something together." Or, "I need to finish something." Or, rarely, "No, I'm ok."
The sole-proprietor work regimen is grueling, of course. But it beats hands down the 38 years I was salaried at an agency. Then, like most people, I did work each weekend, and didn't get paid for it. Now at least the weekend's grind is calculated into my fee.
When all that's done, I turn to this space.
I've written this blog every working day, five-days-a-week not counting holidays and my 2013 car-crash brush-with-death, for 15 years and three months without fail.
That's 6,408 posts in all, which over the 183 months I've been keeping Ad Aged going, amounts to an average of 35 posts a month.
Back almost 20 years ago, I went to one of the top eye-doctors in Manhattan--a guy with the requisite Park Avenue address--and I had Lasik surgery. When I came in about a week later for my post-operative exam, my doctor was upset. He thought he saw something in my right eye which made him uncomfortable.
He quickly made a phone call then scribbled a name and an address on a sheet of paper.
"Go to this doctor. I want him to check out your eye."
I looked at the name of the doctor and his was Russian. At the time the city was fairly teeming with Russian doctors who were doing high-volume Lasik surgery.
"His name sounds like one of those doctors," I said "who advertises on the subway. Why are you sending me to him?"
"He is one of those guys," my high-priced doctor said. "He's very good. And where I do one-hundred Lasik operations a year, he does two-thousand. I want him to take a look."
Running your own agency, I think, is like running a Lasik clinic that advertises on the subway.
Last year, my CFO, who's also my wife came downstairs around tax time.
"Do you know how many clients you had last year?" she asked me.
"I dunno," I said with my usual perspicacity. "22?"
I did some math in my head. I do about twenty ads for every client presentation. That means in 2021, I wrote 580 ads. Plus the 150 I've written for GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company. Plus my 250 posts in this space.
These days, as I try to build my business, win new business, exceed the expectations of my clients and more, I think a lot about how much I've bitten off.
A lot of my ambition comes because I don't regard myself as competing with little agencies or in-house marketing departments. I believe I can, with my select band of colleagues, kick the collective keister of any agency anywhere. Sans bullshit, we can do better work, faster and more of it. And while GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company charges a lot, I still charge a lot less than my chubby, clubby over-head supporting competitors.
That's when I come back to this blog.
And my push to keep on keeping on.
If I'm competing with another creative--and when aren't we?--I think:
"I've written two-million words in this space. That's two-million words on deadline, directed by briefs I've written, for a growing audience of more than 80,000 readers a week.
"You might be bigger than me. You might have more awards than me. You might have 19 people around you and wads of infrastructure supporting you.
"But I've written two million more words than you. And I'm going to kick your ass."
When I'm done with that reverie, my weekend begins.