Monday, April 22, 2024


As more and more people in the ad industry are no longer in the ad industry, as in matter of fact, now that the ad industry is no longer in the ad industry, I get a lot of calls from friends and associates for advice on how to make it on your own.

As GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company storms into its fifth year as both an LLC and a Delaware Company, word has gotten around that mine is a going concern. There's no real vig in me telling the world how green is my valley or how filthy my lucre, but I will repeat something an old baseball manager said to many years ago when I was in the prime of sinewy youth.

"When you're up to your neck in shit and someone starts throwing baseballs at you, what do you do, duck?"

I spent a lifetime unraveling the wisdom of various Hegels and Heideggers of the Horsehide. What I got from the example above is simple, "believe in yourself and get out. There's no good coming to where you are. Remember, shit, necks and baseballs. As the old joke goes, it's time to leave show business."

Just now an old friend, an accomplished and teetering-on-brilliant strategist sent me a note. She's Oxforded and Cambridged and no more socially-awkward than the usual products of that augustosity. For the sake of anonymity and as an homage to Franz Kafka, I'll call her K.

K wrote, "Hi George! How are you? Wondered if you have time for a chat some time please? I'm thinking about freelancing and would love to learn from your guidance and wisdom! Thank you so much!"

Like I said, I get a lot of notes like these. So I thought about writing one of my quasi-famous Ad Aged lists, like "Ten Things to Think About When You Go Out on Your Own."

But then I realized, I don't have ten things to tell anyone. I have one thing. And that one thing revolves around one word: "Freelancing."

First, expunge, abnegate, eradicate, eliminate, destroy, dismantle, liquidate, never-again-utter the word Free. Even if you're somehow forced at a ballpark to join in during the National Anthem, substitute the word "fee" for free. You are now and forever more a citizen of the land of the fee. 

Got that? Ok. Now to part two of the word, half of which must not be said.


I want you to picture a medieval knight. A guy with a deadly lance.

His lance is his life. His living. His profession. It's how he earns his ducats and gains his self-respect.

What is your lance?

What is your life?

Mine is my pen. My pen is attached to my arm. My arm is linked to my brain. And my heart. A brain and heart that for forty years have solved the toughest, most intractable problems presented to the eighteen or so agencies who employed me at one time or another. 

My lance is my life. My experience. My skill. My craft. My insights. My wit. My synapses. My connections. My listening. My world-view. My studying. My listening. My reading. My thinking. My sweating. My midnight-oil-burning.

That is my lance.

I am not a "- - - - lancer."

I am a "lancer."

My lance is my weapon. My brain. My unique selling proposition. My lance is one-hundred things I can do that no one else in the world of advertising can do. Because my lance is the sole extension of my me-ness. 

If you want my lance, this is really simple, if you want my one-of-a-kind lance, my Harry-Winston not Zale's-lance, you're going to have to pay me for it.

I spent most of my life with my lance in a holding company clamp. That clamp kept me from realizing how special my lance is. After five years helping clients from start-up to Fortune 50 solve problems giant holding-company agencies couldn't solve--because they shed their experience, brainpower and skill, I know how special my lance is. And if you know, and you do, else why'd you call me, it's time to pony up.

One last thing.

I'm sure there are those who will remark about the phallic connotations surrounding the waxing of my lance. This ain't about phallic. I'm taking half of a word we use to denigrate our worth, "- - - - lance." I'm eliminating the bad part and valuing the good part.

If you want to laugh salaciously like a schoolboy re the word lance, fine. You're missing the point in all this. I don't care if you do.

I'm lancing all the way to the bank.


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