Have you ever had that drop-of-the-stomach feeling when you spot someone in your field/market has launched a product that looks just like one of yours? Or have you ever felt defeat, disappointment, discouragement, when you notice a once-loyal customer now shops with them? Have you ever felt like quitting because it looks like they’re so much better than you? If you’re like many small business owners, looking at your competitor’s work and approach can breed feelings of self-doubt, jealousy, and a whole of stress. But here’s the truth;
You are your competition, and that’s the only person you should be competing with. Comparing your own successes to the perceived success of others is a waste of your time. Don't waste your day by focussing on other people’s efforts rather than looking and working on yours.
Think back to when you last doubted your abilities because of what you saw in someone else. The reality is, you probably weren’t seeing the whole picture of their situation. A good chunk of my clients will come to me feeling down and ready to quit because they’ve been focussing on someone else in their field, and have come to the conclusion they are never going to reach that level of success. I can tell you that that someone else is probably feeling exactly the same about another ‘successful’ person, and that's the truth of it. We all feel defeated by the green-eyed monster at some point.
If you’re basing this perception off of someone’s social media, remember that all you are seeing is literally a square of someone’s life. You’re seeing their highlight reel, not the full picture. You’re seeing the tidy workspace, but you're not seeing the stock overflowing on shelves behind, or the stress and tiredness in their eyes. You're seeing how many followers they have compared to you, but interaction is all that matters, not numbers. They could be booking some serious commissions, but they might not even be getting paid for their work. It might seem like they have their life together, but chances are they don’t. Do anyone of us really?!
I’m not going to say it’s ridiculous to feel this way, because they are your feelings and they’re valid, but these feelings of self-doubt can be so detrimental to you and your business’ wellbeing + growth. It’s time to starting focussing on you, and bringing your best work to the table, so keep these tips in mind when the green-eyed monster says hello:
BE 100% YOU
It can be tempting to adjust your brand to how you think people want it to be, because you’ve seen them respond to how your competition does it. But, oh my word, please please don’t. Why are you in business if you want to be just like everyone else? You obviously set up your business for a reason, and I’m going to take a guess that the reason was you. So why change it to something someone else has already done? Just do you, and remember why you started.
Sometimes when we get upset because we see other people slaying it, it’s because of our own insecurities. To stop comparing yourself to others, it’s time to get real and be honest with yourself. Are you happy with your efficiency, your skill level, your approach? Are you happy with where your business is going? When you start feeling defeated after looking at what someone else is doing, ask yourself why. What specifically is making you feel outdone, rather than ready to out-do?
USE YOUR HEAD
If you are someone who feels overwhelmed when their competitor comes up on their feed, unfollow them! Simple. In fact, this is something I insist on. If you are constantly looking at their social media and how well they are doing, and you’re met with that beaten-down feeling, don’t look. It’s not fun for you, and it’s just a waste of time. How about making a note of people you’d like to check in from time to time, and scheduling in some time every month for a bit of research? It could be just to see what they’re getting up to; how they interact with their ideal audience. You might even learn a thing or two, and you could see what they are lacking in order to come up with a way to stand out against them.
THERE IS A SEAT FOR EVERYONE
You are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is ok. Your competitor is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, as well. If you have done your market and customer research well, you will know exactly who your ideal audience is and that is who you should be aiming for when it comes to drawing people in. Even if you have a direct competitor, chances are they may going after someone with a different income status, or a different age group. There is room for everyone.
COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Coming back to ‘there is room for everyone’. There really is. This is such a big part of One Girl Band, and there's a reason why. We are all doing our own thing our own way, and that is what matters. Let’s quit with the drama, and just accept we are all here to work and be the best versions of ourselves. It's proven that we work better and smarter when we join forces, rather than icing each other out. I remember my mum was worried when I started offering brushlettering workshops because she thought people might take my tips and start their own paper goods company. And if they do, good on them. As long as they do things their way and are 100% authentic in their approach, it won't be like LH design, and that's fine. It gets messy and complicated when people unfortunately take it the other way and imitate/rip off their teachers, but that's a topic for another day!
Just remember; constantly look at opportunities for your growth and progress, be 100% you, and you’ll reap the benefits. I'm cheering you on.