Your Biggest Business Competitor? The Answer Is Smiling Right At You.
Who would you say your biggest business competitor is? Do you know them? The answer is smiling right at you. Or frowning. Or likely looking confused right now.
Who is it? Look in a mirror.
Your biggest business competitor is you. Or at least it should be if you're a small business owner.
So often when we go into business for ourselves, we focus on how fast we can become successful. But what does that success look like? It's different things to different people. Most of the time it focuses on the number of clients you have or the amount of money you're making. It can focus on name/brand recognition, how many followers you have online, even the "stuff" you get. But how do you define EXACTLY what success is?
I'm sure you had (or currently have) an idea of what success looks like in your head. When I decided to launch my own freelance copywriting business, I had an idea of what it would look like. I pictured who I would write for and what types of things I would write. I defined success in the amount of money I would make, and how fast I would make it. I knew people would start following me online and recognize my skill set immediately. (Spoiler alert: none of these things match my current line of thought.)
And then reality hit.
While some big things have happened and I'm making great strides in building my brand, I committed a sin.
I started comparing myself to others in my industry. Then I started comparing myself to other entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. It didn't take long for me to start questioning why I even HAD a business. I felt like a failure. I found myself putting in 18 hour days and not taking care of my family nor myself. I was asking anyone and everyone for their opinions and advice on how to improve. I considered buying every course and program I could find to teach me all the ways to make me an overnight success. I was miserable, frustrated, and fearful.
Then it hit me.
None of these people know my business. Only I know my business. Only I know my original goals, motivations, and ideas of what success is for me.
Here's a secret for you. Only you know those same things for yourself.
So why are we letting other people define what we should be doing, or what success should mean? Why are we sprinting to accomplish someone else's goals?
We get so busy looking at other people we forget to be ourselves, and that's a roadmap to failure in business. We forget that many of these people failed REPEATEDLY before they gained success. On top of that, a lot of these people are lying about their success. A LOT. In the day of social media, no one wants to show the struggles they are facing. Anyone can craft a narrative showing only the BEST of everything they do. Much like using filters for a selfie, people can create a doctored view of their business success. It's all about the hype; don't fall for it. Most are working as hard as you are to continue to grow.
So who should you look at to measure your business success? Yourself. Compare where you were a year ago, a month ago, even a week ago. Have you improved? Have you made gains? Are you in a better place than you were at that time? If the answer is "yes", congratulations! You're successful!
Do you enjoy what you are doing? Can you see yourself doing it next month? Next year? Congratulations! You're successful!
Did you land your client goal for the year? Did you get new clients this month? Did you land your first client? Congratulations! Once again, success!
Are you on track to hit your financial goals? Are you making a profit? Are you at least breaking even? Yep, you guessed it. Success!
We all have had different reasons for owning a business. So why would we compare ourselves to someone else who has a different picture of what success looks like? Why compare our goals with someone who wants something completely different? It's like the endurance racer comparing themself to a sprinter. The sprinter might be faster at the mile mark, but they can't last as long as the endurance racer. So long as you keep hitting your own benchmarks and show consistent growth, you're winning.
Business ownership is hard enough. Don't make things even harder by letting someone else define your success. Only you know what will make you happy, and being happy will go a long way in continuing to watch your brand flourish.
Sheral~Owner/Founder of C3 Specialties