By Andrew Neitlich

Three Case Studies: Are you a superstar?

By Andrew Neitlich

Last blog asked if you are a flake. This blog presents the other side of the coin. Here are 3 case studies of superstar web designers I am working with, and lessons learned from them:

1. Arthur is a superstar because he has defined a niche talent for himself: He knows more about designing to get customers to convert to paid subscribers than almost anyone else out there. His career focus has been on sites that attract and convert subscribers. So he knows all about which types of offers and page flows work best, and he can also bring a clean sense of results-driven design to the process.

2. Jim creates web designs and overall marketing collateral/design for emerging technology companies. He is gifted at creating a unique look and feel for a company, so that it stands out to investors, partners and potential clients alike. His standards are high, and he refuses to let anything go out unless it meets the look and feel he wants the company to have. So he takes a leadership role in representing and standing for the company’s overall brand.


3. Catherine moves from home to home, housesitting. She has an extremely low overhead situation as a result. Her niche is creating quick, affordable designs for people and organizations — not necessarily leading edge (like Jim in #2), but with clean, clear layouts and speed. I use her often as part of an outsourced design team, allowing me to quickly flex up with capacity for clients. I’ve never met her as she could be anywhere at any time, and we correspond via email and PayPal. But she is the best there is in terms of faster, cheaper and competent.


1. Get a clearly defined niche. Don’t be all things to all people. Arthur focuses on conversion for subscription programs. Jim brands emerging technology companies. Catherine is fast, affordable, responsive, and very competent — the perfect outsourced design resource.

2. Be the best at your niche.

3. Get visible and known for being the best at what you do. The above three have become known in their circles for what they do. For them, it is easy, because they can clearly describe their talent/niche.

  • pdxi

    Andrew, your articles are always spot-on. Another great article! Virtually everything you say has a practical meaning and applciation in just about everyone’s business. Please keep up the great work!

  • Dr Livingston

    Yer, I follow all your blogs for just that reason – you know your business and you know what your talking about; you make sense really ;)

    So, do continue if you please…

  • quick question while the fact that these people target a specific niche is good practice as a freelancer i don’t nessarily think it totally applies always to a web development business. more to the point can you say your business has an equally specific niche? and who is more successful? My guess is you are and you actually do try and do everything in the web development sector for your client. So there market is getting outsourced work while yours is on the front line off the customer.

    In saying all that focusing on a niche market is the best way to go. But there is allot to be said for being able to satisfy all your clients requirements. That’s what outsourcing is all about.

  • Been identified with a niche doesnt stop you from expanding, it just give you an area of focus with which you get to be refeered to

  • Andrew, First of all i thank you for the nice articles you write for everybody. I agree with you. No business ever grow great untill it is focused and have a clearly defined niche. ‘Clean design and speedy delivery’ become a niche for me to make more business.

  • Excellent points. We’ve begun work on our new business plan that focuses on a particular niche. I’m using our new tagline in networking events to promote our new niche and the response has been fantastic. Much better than “being another web designer”.

    In Seth Godin’s book, [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=mjswebsolutio-20&path=ASIN%2F159184021X%2Fqid%3D1106696486%2Fsr%3D2-1%2Fref%3Dpd_ka_b_2_1]The Purple Cow[/URL], he talks about how we have everything in this world, so separating yourself from everyone is crucial. We have so many choices. Why would I choose this web designer when I could choose this one?

    Since re-targeting our focus, our ideas, advertising and marketing efforts have become so much easier to establish and focus on.

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