Design is design.
If you can design one thing, you can design anything.
Anything a client might need. Website, web app, mobile app, sure I can do a logo too and a bit of illustration.
How can you turn down a client request, that’s money or a good reputation. You can do it all. For a fair price.
It’s human nature to think that way. Self-preservation. I will get anything I can, because who knows when the next opportunity will come.
And what’s the result of that?
- Your portfolio is all over the place
- You blend with all the rest of the mass market that does the same
- You are stuck doing meaningless tasks, like Facebook covers
All because of fear.
Fear to not disappoint your client. Fear of not getting another job. Fear of failing and looking stupid in front of friends and family.
A few years back, I was in the same position.
I was freelancing for 5 different clients, plus my full-time job. I counted that, in one day, I worked on 7 or more projects. In one day! Some of the clients had multiple projects.
I was so happy. I was thinking this will be over soon and I will have a good amount of money saved up, so I can quit my full-time job.
Then, one night, I smoked some weed. Passed out. Was rushed to the hospital. That event kicked in the year and a half that I spent battling severe burnout.
I had time to think. And set priorities.
No more compromises with my health and my work.
I started studying.
How can I make this freelance thing work like a real business?
After reading a few books, listening to a bunch of podcasts and taking a few online courses, the answer was clear.
I needed to niche down!
I have cleared my portfolio projects. Re-wrote my home page and my LinkedIn. It wasn’t all perfect — but I roll with it. In a month or so, I landed my first consulting client, not doing hands-on UI work, and getting paid much more.
It’s like in the movies. But not quite.
It was obvious that I was lacking some skills — and that resulted in some setbacks. The difference was … now I knew what I needed to do.
I needed to niche down if I wanted to be treated as an expert, not a fairly priced pixel pusher.
I regret not doing this earlier. But you can do it. Anyone can.
You need to go through all the lows to realise the same thing I did. You can become a niche design expert who gets paid more than you can ever imagine — and work much less.
Niching down will future proof your career in the ever-growing ocean of designers.
And don’t worry — you will still have the chance to design things outside of your niche. Just make sure you are not known for that.
Be known as a niche designer. And get paid more.