The machismo of the start up

Three women started their own place today.

It’s a revolutionary model: a central management structure involving those three leaders, hiring freelancers on an ad-hoc basis, possibly extending to permalance terms, or even full-time if there’s enough growth.

In addition, they will only be taking on project based commissions, some lasting just half an hour. Absolutely no retained business. They’re looking at volume here, expecting hundreds, possibly thousands of clients per year.

They’ve found central London premises and plan to open their doors next week, but there will be no announcement in the trade press.

Yes, Cutz Hairdressers will be ready for the public by next Wednesday!

I was having a chat with the always-delightful and inspirational Trevor Beattie last week.

He pointed out that in the world of advertising the whole hoo-haa and rigmarole of a few people starting their own company is given a strange amount of respect and attention. But look around your local high street… Every single one of those independent mechanics, newsagents, nail bars and sandwich shops has been a start up, each relying on a steady flow of customers who must be pleased on a daily basis less they decide not to return.

And they’re not spending £25k. They’re blowing £1.57 on a Mars Bar and a paper, or £35 on a cut and blow dry.

They almost certainly have employees, insurance, lawyers, terms of a lease and supplier issues. They might have WH Smith or Starbucks opening next door in October. They might have a racist customer who isn’t fond of their muslim assistant. They might be robbed at 3am on a Saturday.

Or they might thrive and open another place.

So if you’re wondering about whether or not to start your own agency, and thinking it might be a big, scary risk, take a look around.

It’s so normal, it’s barely worth a mention.

Except for that headline in Campaign, of course.