Don’t Commodify Yourself

Ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of competitors offering services just like yours? In the current market, web design businesses are a dime a dozen. Anyone with the technical proficiency can enter the field, but the most successful people are the those who recognize the commoditization of the industry and have chosen to break out of it.

But how?

Set yourself apart. Technical skills are key to being successful, but they are not everything. Be wary of only emphasizing what you can do…it can make you seem more like a commodity. Breaking out of the commodity mold can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

Here are 5 steps to get you started:

1. Determine your passion.
Take a moment and think about WHY you do what you do. You likely didn’t go into web design purely for the money. Are you passionate about helping companies grow and succeed? Do you love offering insights and advice to people just starting out?

Consider how your passion drives your business. Don’t forget, clients are more likely to do business with someone they feel they trust.


2. Express yourself.
Be vocal about your passions! Once you’ve determined your values, figure out how to express them in a relatable way. Tell your story and tell it well. Marketing your passions and values is half the battle.

    New Perspective: Crafting a narrative can seem daunting if you don’t think your story is all that exciting. But the reality is that you’re working for yourself and you are making it. Even if you’ve just started out, there are always reasons for your decisions and crossroads you’ve come across and each are part of your story. More than likely, you’re not the only one who feels the same and you can absolutely use your past experiences to make relationships with your clients. In web development, you can interact with anyone from a CEO to the IT guy. There are many commonalities we share once we open up. Our stories all blend together eventually!

3. Find out what matters to your client.
The kind of client you have determines the type of service you provide to them. Certain clients will only want to obtain services without needing the business advice and expertise you’ve learned over time. Others will value the insights that you bring to the table.

Decide if you want to cater to both kinds of clients or focus on one. Ultimately the decision is yours, but you must recognize that you can’t serve each type of client in the same way.

4. Don’t be a Jack of all trades.
While needs will vary from client to client, focusing on a specific niche allows you to target certain clientele. Sure, offering a wide range of services seems like it will bring in more business, but the truth is actually the opposite. When your focus in on a target audience, you’re crafting your level of expertise which produces more valuable work. There are only 8 hours in the work day and time is key to developing a skill level and expertise that rises above the rest.

focus locally

5. Focus locally.
Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face relationships. While having a wide range of clients from a wide range of places may seem like a great goal, some of the most mutually valuable relationships are the ones formed with local clients.


Remember, your skills are not all you bring to the table. Determining and expressing your passions, finding a niche, and learning to see the value in the unique perspective you offer are essential to breaking out of the commodity mold. Don’t be afraid to highlight your strong suit and emphasize the ways you relate to your client. A little interpersonal communication goes a long way!