Somewhere in the last 20-years, the concept of “market saturation” became a viable excuse too many people leveraged to avoid facing their fears and jumping into a new business venture. Popularized with the advent of the Internet, market saturation was referred to as the phenomenon that occurs when a marketplace is “too crowded” and saturated to absorb any new talent. This concept became widely accepted, weaponized by could-be business people to avoid actually trying something scarily new.
Today, millennials are using saturation as the vehicle for their fears of the unknown. Comments can be seen far and wide on social media from individuals ages 18 to 36, claiming they do not want to bother with freelancing because the market is already too saturated. By making such a claim, they are excusing themselves from ever trying to work as a business owner, work as an independent contractor, or freelance full-time. Nothing is more paralyzing than fear of the unknown, which means saturation is the perfect scapegoat in the equation.
Before we look at how to rectify the situation, it is important to first understand why the concept of market saturation is, indeed, a myth.
Debunking the Validity of Saturation
When any new, profitable market comes along, people want to get in on the action. In that first year, a few brave people will try it out. When word gets out about the profitability, more people will join the market. As the years wear on, and the marketplace becomes famous, people will start to make a claim that there are “too many people” in the market, and therefore, any new talent is shut out from joining.
It is true that there are more people freelancing today than ever before thanks to the arrival of the “pandemic economy.” It is also true that more businesses, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, are outsourcing their work to freelancers as opposed to full-time employees that cost tens of thousands of dollars to train and support in the form of benefits. Therefore, the argument of “too much competition” as a freelancer becomes inaccurate.
But, beyond the basic math of this argument, there are concepts to consider that completely shut down the notion of saturation. Think of some of the biggest brands in the world, from Nike and Adidas, to Bud Light and Budweiser. Did no sneaker company or beer company exist before these juggernauts of corporate success? Of course not! They just happened to come along and take a proven concept, perfect it, pair it with ingenious marketing, and run with it.
There is always room for the best, the brightest, and the most creative innovators of the time. Therefore, if you are new to the world of freelancing, are considering joining it, or want to know more about how you can be successful, here are three things to consider under the umbrella of fake saturation:
3 Ways to Overcome Market Competition
- Be the Best at What You Do: Whether you want to be a copywriter and editor, or someone who makes logos and graphic designs from home, commit yourself to being the very best at your craft. Take online classes, acquire certificates, offer to do work for free to build up your portfolio, and practice over and over again. Become obsessed with being the very best at what you do, and soon, you will have no other competition in these same “saturated” markets.
- Be Willing to Do What It Takes: Everything worth having takes hard, tedious work. If you want to manage a 6-figure freelancing empire, you need to be willing to crack the code first. Most freelancing sites, from Fiverr.com to Upwork.com, are based on reviews. The more 5-star reviews a freelancer amasses, the more they can charge for their work. Be willing to charge below-market-rates, at first, to accumulate those reviews so you can come out charging $200 per hour in a few years. It is a long-term endgame that many millennials, thanks to the age of instant gratification, are unable to realize
- Be Receptive to Buyer Demands: Buyer demands shift and change. Just look at COVID-19 and what it has done to traditional foot traffic-reliant industries, like food prep and bars. They are now dependent on mobile apps for online booking and food service. That kind of massive shift happened in just months due to a pandemic. Buyer demands are constantly changing, which means your receptivity to what they need done will make or break your success. For example, suppose your competition is a freelancer of 10-years. They have more experience than you, sure, but they do not have the future skills required for market shifts. How could they? They can’t see the future! They are equal to you in that regard. If you commit yourself to following these market changes, you can be just as desirable as the freelancing veterans.
Instead of referring to a packed market as one that is saturated, start telling yourself it is a market filled with opportunity and welcome competition. The sign of market saturation is a good thing – it means that market is bustling with plenty of activity and potential profit. At the end of the day, saturation is nothing more than a mental construct created as part of a fearful mindset. Don’t be afraid of the unknown – embrace it with open arms.