If you do not stand out from the crowd, you risk being considered a commodity. This has serious implications for the self-employed businessperson or artist.
Commodities are goods, services, or individuals that are virtually indistinguishable from others of the same type and are usually purchased or hired on the basis of price.
Gasoline, toilet paper, and kitty litter are three product examples that immediately come to mind. Bank cashiers, supermarket checkout clerks, and system administrators are treated as commodities because they are not hired because of their individuality, but because they are a known quantity at a convenient price.
The same can happen to musicians, potters, and plumbers who do not differentiate their services from everyone elses.
If you are just one of an abundant supply of indistinguishably
similar performers, similar pots, or similar plumbers, the best you can
do is get the going rate and that is set by the lowest bidder.
If you cannot immediately identify what is unique about your service or product and communicate it to prospective customers,
your price has to match the lowest price. If the going rate is x
dollars based on availability of imported goods or labor, you have
little chance to ask for more unless you have a clearly differentiated
product or service offering.
If you are not generating the income you want, your first project is
to ask yourself, "What can I change to make my product or services more
interesting and useful to customers?"
This first post is intended to get you thinking, not necessarily to
instantly revise or create a workable plan for success. There is a
great deal more to discuss along this line so this topic will be
continued in future posts. Meanwhile, feel free to comment on
directions this discussion should take.