Monday, November 28th 2016 Business
Out of all the things I see floating around about business, competition is the one thing I never get asked about – or see anyone talk about, but it’s a very important subject. Competition and the feelings it brings up can either push you harder in your business or dig your business into a hole. I get asked questions a lot and see a lot of questions in the Facebook groups I’m in. Things like what to have in your contracts, how to talk to clients, what to do if a client doesn’t like something, and many, many more.
When it comes down to the best business lesson I’ve learned, though, and can possibly teach, it’s about competition.
The Start of Competition
As I’ve mentioned before, when I started my business it was just a hobby. I was a teenager and I had no clue what I was doing (truthfully, a lot of the time, I still feel this way), I drew inspiration from all over, and I never really thought too much about people who were doing the same things that I was doing. I was all about people creating amazing things, even if that happened to be the same thing as me. I never once gave a thought to how those other people affected me in a personal or future sense.
I figured out eventually though that I enjoyed designing and I dreamt of making it my career, what I was known for – and in coming to that realization, everything started to look a little red. The friends who were doing what I was doing were competition, I had to be better – I had to top them. Designers I didn’t know, who seemed to have everything going perfectly – I had to do better than them too.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I am always in everyone’s corner, I always want everyone to succeed, and I never wish for someone to fail – I truly believe there is room for us all. But, in wishing for their success I would wish I had just a little bit more or at least something that seemed comparative to what little information I had on their business, and what I personally considered to be success.
I think it’s pretty common that most people, when meeting someone who does something similar to them for a living, automatically feel a sense of competition. I think this is just part of who we are as people who use their work to survive, and I think it’s even more prevalent in communities and careers where the business was built from the ground up.
We want to prosper and we want our business to grow and we’re so focused on that, that often times we feel that if someone else is growing too, they’re taking up our space.
COMPETITION IS A MYTH
The thing that I’ve learned recently though is that competition is a myth. It’s just a thing that we create in our minds as a defense mechanism, to protect what we’ve built, and put so much hard work into. But the truth of the matter is, that for most of us, it does more harm than it does good.
At the end of the day, all of that “competition” you’re seeing, is really just partnerships and opportunities waiting to be uncovered. People who will work with you and beside you to make you a better person and to make your business better, if you’re willing to do the same in return.
Now more than ever, being in business online is about working together. You have people running webinars together, bundling their services + e-courses so that they reach wider audiences, and people writing post ontop of post about helpful ways to combat issues you might be running into.
Especially in terms of business, by teaming up with someone in your field (or a complementary field) and creating things together you’re not only telling your audience about something you love and helping out a friend, but the other person is doing the same for you. Both of you are opening up levels of possible clients you didn’t have before, and generating a larger traffic stream. Instead of being stressed that this “competition” is going to steal your clients, or is going to invade your space, you’ve created a mutually beneficial situation and found a new friend.
Recommending someone for something is one thing, but putting your money where your mouth is and actually working with them and engaging your business with theirs, shows that not only do you suggest other people can trust them but that you do too.
In my personal experience, which I spoke about previously, when I partnered with someone that I thought was competition, I actually ended up getting more work, and getting paid more.
So, take a look around. Anyone that you have that feeling with? That twang of jealousy, or just wishing you had what they had? Reach out and talk to them about what they’re doing, find somewhere where your paths cross, and see if you can turn a sour situation into one that’s mutually beneficial to you both.