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It can feel like there is so much competition these days because people can buy creative services from anywhere in the world. The truth is, if you’re a graphic designer in London, for example, you’re competing with designers in Bangladesh, Singapore, the United States, Australia, and pretty much everywhere else.

In this article, I’m going to share with you a strategy that I’ve used with my clients, to help them really stand out from the competition and not just compete on price. You know, the comfortable truth is that there’s always going to be someone who’s cheaper than you, and who can deliver something to the same timeframe, and of the same quality. I see this all the time, really talented freelancers who have so much value to offer, just constantly being undercut.

The thing that they’re missing is the real value in what they do. It isn’t about the design, it isn’t about the photography, it isn’t about the animation, it’s about the value that they have in their business, which they haven’t yet uncovered themselves.

If you imagine an iceberg, the majority of the iceberg is underwater, the only part you can see is the bit sticking out of the surface, and the bit on the surface is the commodity, it’s the design, it’s the photography. The bit underneath the water is where the real value is, that’s your story, your experiences, your network, your insights – all the things that have happened to you in your life that make you, as a person, and you, as a business, unique.

So, we need to really need to uncover what’s underneath and bring it to the surface, so that other people can see it because you can’t understand value if you can’t see the value. Let me give you an example, one of my clients, Scott, is a graphic designer. Before I started working with Scott, he just said he was a graphic designer. When we really unpacked his story and looked at his experiences, what we realised is that he had this amazing passion for the outdoor adventure industry. Not only that, but he had had some incredible experiences around mountaineering and all of these different things that he’d done, which gave him a real unique position to solve a problem for a particular target market. When we really unpacked this, it made him a lot more valuable to those target clients than any other graphic designer because it wasn’t just about the design anymore, it was about how Scott understood that industry and the value that he could bring to those particular clients.

Your job as a creative is to really explore your own value, and to really explore the things that are beyond the skill you have, and how you can solve a problem for a really specific industry, or a specific set of clients.

Following this insight, what are some experiences that you’ve had in your life that you think could be valuable to other people? At first, they might not seem related to your business, or they might even be negative experiences, but all of those things come together to create a unique value proposition and that’s the thing that’s going to allow you to stand out above all of the noise, around the rest of the world. This is going to allow you to create a business that isn’t just a commodity.

What I’d really love to know is, what’s been your experience of trying to compete on price? Have you ever found that anyone’s undercut you? Have you ever found that your clients are continually trying to beat you down a price, and if the answer is yes, what’s your tactic to try and overcome that?

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