Thursday, April 28, 2016
A Hunter of Invisible Game
I've been busy this week.
I was busy last week as well.
This might not seem unusual to you but it is to the battalions of freelance writers and art directors who are out there right now complaining about how slow it is. They have no doubt stumbled across my WorkingNotWorking page, realized that I was booked and thought to themselves...
"Damnit, how does that fat 44 year old hack keep getting work?"
Well, I'll tell you.
For one thing and this is not fake modesty, there are better freelance copywriters out there. I could rattle off a few names, Kathy Hepinstall, comes to mind, but I don't want to start getting emails from colleagues.
Suffice to say they're better. They have work that's on the air. They have shiny new case studies in their portfolios. And they're hip to some of the newfangled social media platforms like Pizzle™, JamMonkey™ and FlapWap™.
I stay busy, because I stay busy at staying busy.
In the 12 self-taught years of being a freelancer, I'm not ashamed to say I've become an OK copywriter, but a really good hunter. I've learned how to read the terrain, locate turmoil, exploit opportunity and find which rocks to kick over.
It's a matter of resourcefulness -- a rare commodity in this industry.
Quick aside, not long ago we had presented a campaign that employed a certain type of literary trope. Two (2!) junior assistants were asked to research this classical motif in order to fortify our presentation with the client. While I was waiting for their finely-honed study piece and deep-dive analysis, I went online, dug around and put together my own research-backed treatment. A day later, I was emailed a document from the two (2!) assistants. They had cut and paste the first three paragraphs from a Wiki page. This is what passes for doing your job these days.
If I'm lying, I'm dying.
Is it any wonder why clients laugh when agencies claim to be "true marketing partners" worthy of significantly higher compensation?
In addition to being resourceful, I am obnoxiously vigilant. I have friends who operate a different way.
"I just let the work come to me."
Yeah well, I have two daughters attending expensive out of state colleges, I don't have that luxury. I am always on the hunt for the next gig. It's why you'll find me trolling Linkedin or Facebook. Tweeting and Retweeting. Hopefully in an amusing way, but always in a purposeful one.
Because if I can stay on the radar I can stay busy as a freelancer.
And that beats the hell out any regular staff job. Even if there are free bagels.