Kwame DeRoché

Copywriter. Creative Director. Geek. You know, that guy who writes that cool stuff.

20 years of agency experience.

Thousands of ideas -- some of them award-winning.

And yet, plenty of words left over for your next creative project.

Let's do this. 

Don't Make Me Angry. You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry.

So I get my 4As SmartBrief this morning, and it's got an article which, of course, caught my eye:

"THE HIDDEN COST OF AGENCY FREELANCERS."

This article went on to basically say that we freelancers are expensive and wasteful, costing agencies lots of money and quality compared to our full-time cousins. Here's my problem -- well, several problems, actually.

Full-timers can be essentially forced into the 50-60+ hour work week because they're salaried. So of course your ROI will always be better with staff than with freelancers. As a freelancer, you want *me* to spend 50 hours on it, you're going to have to pay for 50 hours. You can't make me work more for less, just to improve your numbers. But those people with the fancy nameplates and dental coverage, they're yours to do with as you please. Hmph. I think there are some 19th century plantation owners that would whole-heartedly agree with the logic the author is putting forth. 

Hidden costs? Only if you’re covering your eyes and ears when you hire me.

Secondly, sure, you save money now by having your staff do it, but you will spend WAY more later recruiting, training and replacing the full-time staff you've completely overworked, burned out and underpaid, because they up and quit.

Don't cry for the agencies. They routinely underestimate the staff needed during the pitch so you can be the lowest bid. Then they spend the rest of the project trying to make up the difference, doing "more with less." Agencies do it to themselves, regularly. Turnover happens WAY more at agencies than other businesses for this exact reason. And it's a story all us agency folks have heard/seen/lived before. 

Last, QUALITY. I can't speak for every freelancer, but my eye is on the relationship, getting the next project, and being a trusted resource when my clients need an experienced, expert copywriter. So I do my best, period. Many of the projects I'm brought in on are because I'm a pair of fresh eyes, and I'm not punch-drunk from staring at the same brief/product/script that they've been stuck on (and I remember those days as a full-timer -- sometimes, you're just DONE). I also  know my time is money (on both ends), so I don't waste it. I spend it doing what I've been tasked to do -- avoiding water cooler chat, long lunches, and other distractions along the way. 

But hidden costs? Just because I'm a freelancer? No. Only if you're covering your eyes and ears when you hire me.