I recently read a Reader’s Digest article about Jay Leno and all kinds of marketing lessons jumped out at me. First of all he says, “I’m a huge believer in low self-esteem… If there’s a secret to my success, it’s that I honestly don’t think I’m better than anyone.”
He goes even further and says he has never spent a dime he’s made in television, he only lives off the money he makes as a stand up comic so as to avoid becoming a “TV personality.”
Imagine an internet marketer saying that he doesn’t touch the money he makes from his own products, he only lives on the money he makes writing for clients. I’m sure I’d fall over if I ever heard a marketer say that.
But this is a good reminder for those of us immersed in positioning ourselves as experts or our (or our clients’) products as the savior. It’s too easy to take ourselves…and the money…too seriously.
I also like the way Jay summarizes the craft of stand up comedy: “When you’re a stand-up comedian, it’s like being a transmission specialist. You can make something, you can fix something. I can go to a comedy club, tell jokes, make some money, and go home without having to bother anybody.”
That’s a great way of describing freelance copywriting as well.
Many copywriters trumpet the advantages of having your own product and making seven figures a year and refuse to take clients anymore. And thats fine.
But there’s also a lot to be said for an honest day’s work at the computer writing copy and not having to bother anybody and avoiding all the headaches of increased taxes, customer returns, outsourcing fees, product development, etc. in the process.
I also enjoy the luxury, so to speak, of zeroing in on my client’s email marketing and finding the gaps and noting areas that need improvement. It’s like playing detective and a busy marketer usually doesn’t have time to do that themselves.
Being a freelancer also helps keep the insecurity close to the surface. I don’t know about you, but I can get really insecure sometimes, wondering if, say, a client’s delay in replying to me means they hate the copy they wrote.
Frankly, I hope I don’t ever lose that edge of insecurity. “Insecurity is your best security” as they say.
Here’s one final quote from Jay: “To me, this job is like giving people M&M’s. You give them a couple, they want more. If you stop, they wander off. My job is to make sure I have enough M&M’s to keep people happy.”
Basically we’re all in the M&M business too.