Cover . Joe Zeigler . Mr Write

“Dad! Do you want to go sledding?”

“Yes. Yes I do.” 


It was mid December 2007 when the first significant snowfall of the season descended upon the Twin Cities. From his ad agency office, Joe had watched about 6 inches accumulate through the day. Foreseeing a particularly sluggish commute, he prepared to leave early. It was his turn to retrieve their then first-grader from her after after-school care program. Joe raked the unfinished business of the day into his briefcase, anticipating a stressful trip home followed by another evening on the couch with his laptop computer.

He made it to school just in time to claim the last child at Friendship Connection that day. His 7-year-old was beaming as she climbed into the car. “Dad! Do you want to go sledding?” The contents of his briefcase flashed across his mind. After a moment he replied, “Yes. Yes I do.” They did.

While he can’t always go sledding at the drop of a snowflake, launching Mr. Write has given Zeigler much greater control of his time, and virtually eliminated time spent commuting to and from work. Joe enjoys his work, but values that self employment allows him the flexibility to make family his priority.

So he launched Mr. Write in 2008, after over 20 years of working at ad agencies and in marketing communications departments of large corporations, supporting global brands, like Harley-Davidson, Honeywell, Motorola, and Sears. He knew the principles that make these brands iconic can be applied to effectively differentiate an organization of any size. The process begins with effectively expressing each unique brand in words.

Joe’s inspiration? David Ogilvy. And many of his contemporaries: Leo Burnett, Bill Bernbach, Rosser Reeves. Old-school ad men who established principles of creativity and effective communications that are more relevant than ever in today’s digital, interactive, internet, social media world.

“Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.” – David Ogilvy

The hardest part of being a microbusiness for Joe? Wearing many hats. In addition to being the purveyor of a particular product or service, you are also responsible for accounting, IT, office management, housekeeping, human resources, purchasing, strategic planning, marketing and promotion, web development, database management…

Fortunately, through networking

and coworking, he’s found other microbusinesses who can provide expertise in areas he may be lacking.

Like most micros he has a work at home lifestyle. Frustrations?

“There is always something to distract if you let it – from laundry to home maintenance, from pets to kids.”

His wish for the next generation?

That they are better prepared to take care of their parents than his generation.


Favorite song?

Don’t know. But it was probably written by Johnny Cash. Or sung by Frank Sinatra.

One word description for himself?


Wishes he would have tried?

Still plan to go skydiving. One of these days…

Adapts as the situation requires—the youngest of 7, all born within 10 years. Irish. Catholic.