As promised, but late, due to the fact we are traipsing around the Philippines at the moment. We have our next digestion of how our new project is being created.
We spoke last time about the types of questions we had to ask ourselves before coming together with an idea.
We realised that creating something that is exciting, useful or inspiring for ourselves has always been the way that we have managed to attract like minded folk and this is something we would like to continue to do.
This week I want to talk about how we ensure that we are unique and that we don’t just blend into the background of internet noise.
This is a common worry for a reason. Without being unique or memorable you will have to do a LOT of social network shouting to be heard. Not fun for you or the people you are shouting at.
First, Don’t Be Too Unique
There is a careful line with uniqueness to balance on.
It sits between not being unique at all and just being in direct competition with somebody else and being so unique that there is no existing community or market for what you are offering.
An easy example of being too unique is trying to invent a brand new product.
Nobody knows that the product exists. Nobody is looking for it. You are the one who has to go round telling everybody about it. To have any chance at all you will have to work really, really hard everyday to try to convince the world that you have invented something that they need to exchange their money for.
Obviously, this costs a lot of time and money. This is perfect for some and is needed to get new products out there, but is far from ideal for us. We never wanted to be a startup.
Being Unique on the Internet
Being unique isn’t actually about offering something that nobody else is. You could be offering the same thing that many are – this is actually a good thing as you know there are already people out there, buying it and searching for it daily.
But it must be offered in a unique way by having a unique story or approach within a specific community of people.
Travel bloggers, for example, can appear invisible to other travel bloggers if they are just doing the same. In their circle of friends at home they may sound very unique and be really interesting to read about, but compared to other travel bloggers they offer nothing remotely unique or memorable.
Using a Story to Be Unique
A travel blogger who is also running an ebook-design freelance business for example.
She would have a very unique story to tell within the ebook design communities. She would likely be the only person in this group who travels full time and manages to run her business whilst on the move.
Her travel story would seem very interesting to the average work from home designers in the groups and would put much more attention on to her blog and increase her following.
This increase in following could then be used to create a second income stream such as promoting some of the products that she uses to make her life easier and which enable her to make such quality designs.
Her on-going stories of her travels would keep readers coming back (as this crowd had probably not read many travel stories) and with the extra ‘half-passive’ income generated, she would eventually be able to accept less client work without a drop in income. With more time spent on each client, the quality of work would go up, her reputation would increase and so could her prices.
Without presenting the right story to the right people she may have just washed away as another failing travel blogger who does some freelance work on the side.
So How Are We Unique?
This can be hard to figure out unless you reword the question. How about..
“How are we different and interesting to THAT group of people over there?”
In our last post we spoke about these three big communities that we were apart of online in some way or another. There are more, but these are the important ones:
- Digital Nomads – Other people who work while changing location regularly.
- WebDesign, specifically Genesis - Other people who are very particular with design and user-friendliness of websites.
- Minimalists – Other people who share the philosophy of owning very little, only using things that work very well and having more time for life.
How We Are Unique in Each Community
- In the digital nomad scene our travel lifestyle doesn’t win us any unique awards, but we have noticed that we are some of the few that take the ‘minimalist business’ approach as far as we do. We start new projects all the time, we automate absolutely everything we can and very rarely have any type of schedule. From the other digital nomads we have met and others we have followed online, there seems to be a much more dense population of those who enjoy rigid schedules for one business and who do client work. I’m sure there are others like us, we just haven’t met you yet
- In the Genesis web-design scene, as far as we can tell, we are the only designers/developers who do not build websites for clients and instead only use our skills to optimise and better our own websites. This means a gradual increase in monthly income over time as opposed to being paid one-off from clients. Also, we are the only known perceptual travellers amongst the group (even though the group is filled with work-from-anywhere skill sets). Both make our story stand out from the rest and make us more memorable.
- In the minimalist scene we are unique in our approach to business. This is quite a large community so we cannot say for sure that we are completely unique, but on average its seems like the minimalist approach to life doesn’t quite leak into business like it does with us. There are some travellers amongst them, but not working travellers, so our story seems to ring out quite loudly.
This is just an example of three of the communities we are apart of, but there are many more.
Concentrating on how we are unique and how we can approach something in a new, exciting way gives us the opportunity to easily step into something which already has quite a structured and reliable business model, but without the worry of heavy competition obstructing us.
To each community we will have a unique and interesting story already behind us. On top of that, the members of each community all share similar interests and beliefs to us.
This means we have the freedom to be ourselves, to be completely transparent and honest and will find it much easier to connect with people we like rather than trying to advertise to the masses.