As a professional, we cannot please everyone, but if you stay within your sweet spot, you can become indispensable. When you focus on your specific value proposition and concentrate your efforts on a defined market with a refined set of skills, you will perfect the art of serving them and overshadow the competition.
Your service should enable you to market specific solutions where you cannot be generically labeled within a large group where it is difficult to stand out. Your mission is to provide solutions, not just activity, influence, not just support, proficiency, not just knowledge.
Promote your mission by leaving a lasting impression, not just a job well done.
This will cultivate ambassadors that endorse you to their community, with the credibility that only they can provide.
If you want to be paid for results rather than by the hour, become the authority surrounding any one of the many common small business challenges such as market visibility, customer service, policy and procedures, project management, inventory, or budgeting. Then, master any supporting technologies.
Promote yourself as the authority by writing articles about your area of expertise, post them on blogs, or send them directly to your potential clients. Commit to writing content on a regular basis and establish yourself not only as a knowledgeable expert, but also as an authority with proof sources where you can present yourself with conviction and self-confidence.