Your true value beyond the job title

Written on Mar 29, 2024

Recently, I was inspired by Coby's reflection on channeling his inner Purple Cow, a concept introduced by Seth Godin. It made me reconsider my self-image and how others perceive me. The idea of being remarkable, in a way that compels others to talk about you, resonated with me deeply.

Some time ago, a client engage my services to upgrade their Rails views to UI components with Hotwire. I was prepared to discuss code, design, and technical details. 

However, the meeting took an unexpected turn. 

It lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes instead of the initial 20 minutes plan.

And not once did we talk about code or design. 

Instead, the conversation revolved around their problems, their pain, and their needs.

During the meeting, I was thinking, They are like my patient. They need a guaranteed medicine that works. They don't care about its formula nor where it's made. They need a solution. I'm their doctor. Not a technician .

As consultants, you're not just a coder; you're a problem-solver. A business enabler. A catalyst for growth. But when someone asks you, What do you do? How do you respond?

If you're like many consultants, you might dive into the technicalities: I build web applications using Ruby on Rails full stack or I specialize in back-end or front-end development. While accurate, these responses, as you might know by now, don't capture the essence of your value


Similar to Coby, to stand out in the Purple Cow Era, where being 'remarkable' is key. Being so remarkable that people can't help but talk about you. You need to redefine your answer. Think about the outcomes you provide, not just the activities you engage in.

For instance, instead of saying I build web applications, consider this: I empower startups to bring their innovative ideas to life with scalable and maintainable web applications. Or I help businesses thrive online by building robust and user-friendly web applications.

These answers are client-focused and highlight the outcomes of your work. By shifting your focus from activities to outcomes, you not only communicate your value more effectively but also align your services with your clients' goals.

Your journey as consultants is not monolithic. You wear multiple hats—developer, designer, mentor, writer, speaker and more. Each role you undertake adds a unique hue to your professional palette, making you more than just consultants. You are creators, shaping not just code but also knowledge, experiences, and connections.

Your value as a consultant goes beyond even the outcomes you deliver. It's woven into your experiences, your approach, and your unique perspective. Every project you've worked on, every discussion you've had with a client, every challenge you've overcome, and every success you've celebrated has shaped you into the professional you are today. Embrace that.

Remember, clients aren't just looking for someone who can code; they probably can do it themselves. They're looking for someone who can understand their vision, navigate challenges, and drive their project to success. Your experiences, your approach, and your focus on outcomes are what set you apart.

To adapt to this new way of thinking, you also have to adopt a new way of compensation; Pricing the Outcome, Not the Hour.

This is a hard one. Many developers charge hourly, but this can be limiting. By pricing based on the outcomes you provide, you move towards a value-based approach. This not only reflects the true worth of your services but also ensures a more collaborative and results-oriented relationship with your clients.

Here I quote a client wrote me: 

As a client, I vastly prefer a fixed price per deliverable, rather than a fixed price per week/hour.

If you were buying apples, would you rather get some unknown amount of apples for $1000/week, or 2000 apples for $2000. I'd take the latter unless my requirements are very vague, or unless I already know the apple supplier very well and know they will deliver >1000 apples per week.

Fixed price per week/hour only helps you manage cash flow, it's generally terrible for managing project budget.

In summary, when someone asks, What do you do? don't just tell them what you do; show them why it matters. Highlight the outcomes you deliver, the problems you solve, and the value you bring. In doing so, you'll not only answer their question but also leave a lasting impression that sets you apart as a consultant.

Here are a few key points to take away.

  • Avoid being me-focused by listing your expertise or activities.
  • Be you-focused by defining what you do in terms of client outcomes.
  • Use language that resonates with the client's world.
  • Be Remarkable, emphasizing being unique, interesting, or delightful in a way that makes people want to talk about you or your services.
  • Move away from pricing based on time or activities and instead price based on the value or outcomes you provide. This can lead to increased profits and a more satisfying work-life balance.


what do you do? 

It's time to redefine the answer and showcase your true value. 

Hit reply and let me know :-)



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