No matter what profession you currently hold, ask yourself this: “Why are you a __________?”
I’m a web designer. I make websites and more specifically, I make websites for small and medium businesses. That’s my niche, that’s my selling point and while I’d love to be making tens of thousands of dollars more working for corporations and conglomerates, I don’t. I make websites for car dealers, charities, foundations, clothing retailers, photographers, counselors, writers, associations and dozens more.
Often, when I talk to other designers and developers, the topic ultimately devolves down to what work we’re doing and usually who we’re doing it for. My anecdotal observations lead me to believe that I have a pretty high volume of work compared to others. Everyone else appears to be working on a handful of projects per year and I’m taking on dozens.
There’s a reason for that. The websites I design are usually relatively small and I work very closely with the client on making them. Sometimes, though, the client just wants a site, I make it and we publish and we’re good to go. Regardless, in order to pay my bills, I have to keep a stream of clients knocking on the door.
A problem that I face, however, is that I sometimes get a string of clients that may have the wrong expectation, or have ideas they insist on despite my best professional advice otherwise. In those cases, they aren’t satisfied until whatever it is they want done is done and ultimately, it flops. In those cases, I always do my best, but I know it’s not good. That’s a hard position to be in, but I ultimately believe the client has to be convinced or satisfied first. It’s their money and their website. I do what I can, but so be it.
This leads a lot of designers and developers down a path of not wanting to work for these kinds of smaller clients. They’re written off as ‘small potatoes’, as difficult and too low-paying. It’s my opinion that these are the people who need the most help.
Small businesses in America and the owners behind them form a backbone for our economy – every big business was once a small business. Those people need services and help like larger corporations and companies do and truth be told, I see it as my job to help those people.
That’s why I’m a web designer. I make websites for small and medium businesses that are affordable and good, which is increasingly rare and difficult to find. This means I work the same hours as other designers, but take less pay in some cases and work for people in industries I know nothing about that others would shy away from. If it makes for a better Internet and helps other people become more successful, then that’s what I’m here to do.