For years, I did freelance copywriting for a small-town advertising agency. It was run by awesome people who had tons of experience and understood the business. They knew how to treat freelancers. A great client.
Then they decided to sell the agency.
I can’t say for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say the new managing partners had previously worked in septic pumping, pet grooming, meat processing or some similar field that would naturally lead a person to conclude that creative services/advertising was a logical next step.
Along with the client base, the new partners inherited many of the agency’s supplier relationships. Before long, I get the call to work on a lengthy brochure for one of the agency’s government clients. I’m relieved that a consistent long-term source of work and income isn’t about to disappear with the change in ownership.
At first, everything goes well. I attend a meeting with one of the new managing partners, a very talented in-house graphic designer, and client representatives to review the brief. No problems here, though I do get the creeping sense that the managing partner isn’t playing with a full deck. I have my marching orders. I do my research, complete my first draft of the copy, and send it to my client—the agency—for review and discussion.
Eventually, I get an email from the managing partner to invite me to another meeting with the agency’s client. Still not a word of feedback about the copy. I’m assuming everything’s A-OK.
When I show up at the meeting, right off the bat, the agency’s client makes it pretty clear that they’re happy with the copy. Love it. From what I’m hearing, it sounds like my work is done.
Boss: That’s great but I think the copy is going to need a fair amount of revision...
To the client who'd just expressed satisfaction. After not saying anything to me in advance.
Yes, that's the sound of my jaw hitting the table.
Finished that assignment, swore “never again.”
I think she’s back to pumping septic now.