As brand strategist and a newly minted entrepreneur, I spent a lot of time thinking about competition. And all of that thinking made me afraid. I was scared that having a business that was similar to someone else would make me less of an entrepreneur. I feared failing. If I’m being honest, I was afraid to even say hello to owners of businesses similar to mine. It’s all too easy to see everything as a me versus them situation when you use the word competition. The very word implies that there is a winner and a loser. And in the world of blogging and creative entrepreneurship, that is not the case.
This is the story of how I figured that truth out for myself. Quotes carry a lot of meaning for me. I’m always underlining, doodling, and pinning words that speak truth. These words by Zen Shin cut to the heart of my thoughts surrounding competition, “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
Success isn’t about beating competition, rather it depends on self-understanding and self-improvement. All of the effort expended on being better than another person is better spent by investing in yourself and in others.
Every day, I fight fear and envy and the voice that tells me that I’m not good enough and remind myself of this truth: she (or he) is not your competition. I’m just beginning to learn that lesson, and maybe it’s something that you need to hear too. That mindset shift takes time. I often whisper to myself, “Just bloom” because I get caught up in the idea of competition.
These are a few actions that have helped me bloom. Incorporating one or two of these ideas into your blog or business might be just what you need to kick your competitive mindset to the curb.
Instead of avoiding people in your niche, connect with them. Set up a time to chat over coffee, by phone, or through video conferencing. The people that you may have previously considered to be competition are in actuality the people who will best understand your struggles. You are perfectly positioned to offer mutual support, encouragement, and advice. Your “competition” is a resource, not an enemy.
Join forces with others in your field for a collaboration. Write a joint blog post series. Co-host a podcast. Create an e-course together.
I could keep listing potential collaboration opportunities. Even though your businesses overlap, you likely have different customer bases. You probably also have different strengths and work processes. Collaborating creates a win-win situation for all involved while competition only allows for a winner and a loser.
Focus on what you do well and let that be the center of your business. Emulating someone else will leave you exhausted and self-critical. Invest in your strengths. You’ll be amazed at how much more joy you have.
Get really clear on what you do and don’t do. Curate your service list. If a potential client asks for something outside of your comfort zone, refer them to someone else in your niche. You’ll be happier. You’ll be helping yourself and others bloom. And I bet people will return the favour.
Remember, friend: they are not your competition. When the going gets tough, tell yourself, “Just bloom.”
Taylor Bryant is the owner of Jubilant, a brand strategy firm for creative entrepreneurs. On any given day, you can find her practicing Pilates, drinking a cup of hot tea, and helping her clients create brands worth celebrating. Instagram is her social media of choice, so be sure to say hello @wearejubilant
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