do the same work as everyone else does, but do it a little bit cheaper than the next person. make it a bad financial decision for a customer or client to choose someone else. that means relentlessly fighting with competitors to remain the cheapest option in a crowded market.
do the unglamorous work that no one else wants to do. it’s highly admirable to choose this option, and some of the best people i’ve ever known were people who chose to do this kind of work not because of the pay—it’s usually not very good—but because they actually loved doing it.
or, alternatively, you can do the ambitiously glamorous work that no one else wants to do. the world-shaking work that’s risky, that takes courage, that has such an indefinite upside to it that just the very thought of it scares people away.
all three options work. the question is which works for you.