Every industry has standard in place, even in the world of online business. Many of these standards come from outdated practices or fear, such as accepting any project that pays. THey may make sense when you're just starting out and need to find your own way of doing things, but you don't have to be tied to them.
Many of the successful online business owners are doing something different from the norm in a way that makes sense for them.
Lauren Hook of Elle & Company has developed a two-week branding method that allows her to work with one client at a time and charge a premium price.
Emily Thompson of Indieshopography created her own way of billing for projects that means she gets paid before putting in hours of work.
Mandy Fitzgerald found a way to bring her art into the wedding industry through custom backdrops - and filled her client spots for months in advance.
All of the people tried a different way of doing things and found that they were able to run their business better because of it.
So how can you think outside the box of your industry?
- Create your own method and stick to it. Instead of offering everything to everyone, find a method that works for you and stick to it. Sure, you may have to say no to some projects, but you'll become known for your method and people will hire you for it.
- Rethink normal practice. Just because most other people in your industry so something one way doesn't mean that it makes sense for you (or for them). Don't be afraid to rethink the way you approach things - the way you advertise, how your payments are structured, or even some of the items you include in your packages.
- Get rid of what doesn't work for you. If you find yourself doing something you hate just because you "should", take some time to find another way. If twitter isn't your thing, let everyone know you're hanging out on Instagram. Instead of blogging you could start a podcast. If photographing weddings gets you down, stick to senior portraits instead. Don't feel stuck spending your time doing something that doesn't light you up just because it's what everyone else does.
In the end, your business is your own and you get to decide how you're going to run it. So think outside those industry standards that are limiting you and carve your own path.
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.