A customer told me he was unhappy with my copy because he felt it didn’t make his company look as good as the competition. He said, and I quote: “in this business image is everything.” Then he proceeded to stiff me on the balance of what he owed even though he’s still using the copy on his website. I guess it’s adequate for his image when it’s free. But that’s another article. I realize as a professional copywriter, I’m expected to deliver quality copy that presents my clients well. And I do. But really, people, don’t expect miracles. I have to work with what you give me. And I’m not going to manufacture something about you that isn’t true. In fact, to be honest, I don’t even believe the phrase “image is everything.” Does that surprise you? Here’s how I see it. It’s my job to create a brand for your company. It’s your job to make a name for yourself. Do you offer a good product/service at a competitive price? Do you provide excellent customer service? Are you ethical, trustworthy and dependable? These are the fundamentals of good business. They establish your reputation and ultimately determine your success. Obviously I believe in the value of advertising. But I know several small business owners that make a comfortable living strictly on word of mouth referral. You see they’ve mastered the fundamentals. So engage me on your copywriting project and I will give you my best effort. And I pledge to conduct myself in a manner that demonstrates the fundamentals of good business. But if you’re not making a good name for yourself, don’t expect the brand I create to make a big difference. It won’t. And besides, the pressure it puts on me is such a stress.