Don’t bother trying to stand out – be the only one in the room
I’m going to just say it …don’t bother trying to stand out in a crowd. I promise you, there’s always someone (or someones) willing to out-yell you, out-dress you, out-cheap you and generally jump around like a baboon to make more noise than you. And, they’ll use all that energy to scramble for as many low-paying projects as they can get. They’re not dedicated to the craft, or place high value on conceptual strength …they’re just louder than you.
I realized there was no point in playing that game a long time ago. I recently saw a guy advertise that he would do $5 web banners. I saw that, and immediately became excited. I even called my friend, totally pumped, and suggested we promote this guy, voluntarily, and get him as many web banner jobs as possible. My friend talked me down.
From experience, I’ll tell you something that any good account person (never mind creative) will tell you as well. Don’t be the cheapest, the fastest, or the one willing to work the hardest – because that’s all you’ll get. That’ll be what you’re known for. Don’t fall into that trap.
Valuable means many things. And, if your clients value you, it’s okay to do one project cheap, or turn around on a fast deadline or work an all-nighter for your client if you want to help, and they’ll be grateful and not expect it of you, because they know your REAL value. Understand their brand. Know what your client needs to get through their day easier. Be on call, but not a push-over. Bill a fair price, not a cheap price. Be the one person they’ll call on the big projects, because they can’t imagine any one else they’d want to work with.
THAT’s value. If you have that, you don’t stand out of a crowd …you walk right past them to your next project. Easy to say, less easy to do, but you CAN do it.