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The Frog Is Boiled

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday March 24, 2009 )

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the “f” word (no, not frog) in an article on AdvertisingAge, but I guess it’s a sign of the times.

AdvertisingAge has been around for a long while and is primarily geared to our suit-wearing counterparts who babble marketing corpspeak. That’s not dissing AdAge, it has some really interesting articles; but it’s not really geared to the solo online business owner or freelance marketer working for small business.

I almost choked on my coffee when I read the following quote from an article titled “Future May Be Brighter, but It’s Apocalypse Now“:

“The sky is falling, the frog in the pot has come to a boil and, oh yeah, we are, most of us, exquisitely, irretrievably fucked.”

It was so left field :).

The “we” in this case is mainly the larger ad firms and tv, radio, magazines and newspapers. Despite 23% population growth in the past two decades, U.S. newspaper circulation has dropped 20%. In 2008 magazine sales fell 12% and this year is expected to be worse. TV viewership is down, cable is in trouble.

Even the online leviathans such as Yahoo are facing tough times.

It’s reading this kind of thing that really makes me feel lucky to be a freelancer and approaching working the web as I do. It doesn’t make me bulletproof by any means and there’s been hiccups along the way, but having multiple streams of income and very few overheads makes it a little easier to duck and weave when the proverbial hits the fan.

I’ve resisted rapid growth or putting on additional staff after realizing growth for growth’s sake just brings us to the mess we see today. There’s been times where massive growth and revenue was there for the taking, but the more you make, the more you spend and the more worries you have. That’s not just a platitude for the poor; it’s incredibly true in most instances.

.. and really, who *needs* a Ferrari or a million dollar yacht anyway?

It’s great to have ambition, it’s great to want a better lifestyle; but entrepreneurship and even freelancing is a little like gambling; don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose. Be prudent in what you aspire to and whom you choose to emulate. Better to get comfortable slowly and keep it than to get rich quick and perhaps lose it all. The Internet has taught me just how quickly things can change for the better or for the worse.


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