It seems like nearly every freelancer in New York, and half of those in LA and SF are nervous about 2023.
I finished 2022 with a bit of momentum and had one fairly nice-sized job booked that will start when I return to New York and/or Connecticut in mid-January.
I'm not sure it ever gets easy dealing with the unknown. Unknown as in it's unknown where my revenue is coming from.
Because even as I have had my GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company shingle out for three years now, you never know. I have only three retained accounts and while they cover my former Ogilvy salary, they don't cover the work we are doing to unramshackle our ramshackle beach cottage on the Gingham Coast. Including Connecticut's most expensive kitchen, about which the less-said, the better.
The worries about business are not inconsiderable. With giant holding companies chasing after the banner ads for local burrito stands, it sometimes feels like the little guy is pushing water uphill.
However, I have at least ten advantages over nearly every giant agency out there.
To use a sports metaphor that's like knowing you've got four solid pitches and pretty good control. They'll be days when your curveball isn't and your fastball's slow, but if your pitches are solid you'll wind up winning at least as much as you lose.
Here are GeorgeCo's thirteen lucky advertisable advantages. Of course, all these aren't worth a hill of beans if the work sucks. But anyway...
1. Businesses get to work with the founder. The lack of founderness often means a company has replaced energy and gusto with bureaucracy and angst.
2. I don't tell; I show. Every day, clients can see how I think, how I write--between my 80,000 readers-a-week blog and my well-viewed ads. Clients daily can see my proof. What I do. If they like it, they call me.
3. I have fans. I've gotten referrals from some of the biggest names in the business. And from clients. Companies buy agencies a lot like you'd buy a contractor. From referrals.
4. I do it myself. I named GeorgeCo. GeorgeCo. because after almost 40 years in the business I finally realized my uniqueness. Clients come to me and get me, not an ersatz George.
5. I over-deliver. That's not exactly right. I believe the only way to deliver is by over-delivering. Clients like when the old notion of a Baker's Dozen applies to the work you do for them.
6. No layers. Clients and I work things out together. We fight, partner, nibble, improve, perseverate and stubbornize. We tear things up and start over again. It works.
7. Research. When I was a Masters' student in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, I was widely regarded as the program's best researcher. I work to find things out that others miss.
8. Laughter. I'm funny and I like to laugh. Most clients do too. I try not to forget that. And if you don't like to laugh, GeorgeCo., is probably the wrong agency for you.
9. I have no overhead. I don't practice borderless creativity with 1,976,562 offices in 1,837,640 cities. My clients' business isn't subsidizing a network. Whatever clients pay me goes to the work I do for them. Life is fairer that way.
10. I don't waste time on fake ads. Or fake awards or fake wins. I have enough to do thinking about the work I do.
11. I hate jargon. I've dedicated my life to two things. 1) writing in plain English, and 2) empathy with my readers.
12. I'm upside down. I have no corporate agenda but to turn things upside down and look at things differently. Not for the sake of being different, but for the sake of waking complacent viewers up. GeorgeCo., LLC, is living-proof that a different perspective is worth 85-points of IQ.
13. I've been poor. In my first job, I made $11,700, had no help from home (or no home, period) and had to make my way in a tough and dangerous New York City. Alone. I worked hard not to be poor--maybe harder than anyone--and I'm not stopping now.