Tough Love Tuesday: Don’t Stop Yourself From Doing Something Because Someone Else Is Already Doing It

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I’m grateful for the feedback I received on the first Tough Love Tuesday. A lot of “hell yeah!” but also entrepreneurs telling me they won’t give out free products anymore, which really made me feel good. Also, my boyfriend said I should call it TLT by BLT (yes, BLT are my initials). The last TLT by BLT was directed to consumers (but I also wanted it to be a wake-up call to small business owners to stick to their rates), but this one is directly for my entrepreneurs. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do something just because someone else does it already.

I seriously doubt that someone out there told themselves they can’t be a doctor because their friend is a doctor. No one said, “I can’t be a teacher because some girl I follow on Instagram is a teacher.” Just because there is a mall filled with stores, it doesn’t stop someone from opening up a shop. Just because I’m a photographer, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a photographer.

But let’s dive deeper because I think this is where people start to get nervous. Let’s use my Instagram workshop The Insta Edit as an example. It’s an in-person workshop but many people said they would love it to also be an online video course. My first thought was “Well, we can’t do that because So & So on Instagram does that”. That makes no sense. Who says we can’t? I recently signed up for Skillshare and I noticed so many Instagram workshops available to watch. None of those people stopped themselves from making theirs because there was already one on the site. 

I also have a friend who is thinking about doing social media workshops and I told her to go for it. She has a different approach to social media than I do. Our markets may overlap but that is ok. Some people may prefer The Insta Edit, and some may prefer hers. But most likely, if someone really wants to up their social media game, they will attend both of our workshops. It’s not a competition. We all have different insights to share and honestly, it would be pretty crappy to withhold that information just because you’re worried that you will look like you’re copying someone else. 

Now I don’t mean completely steal someone else’s gig. That should be obvious but you never know. If you see someone else’s business model and you want to do the same thing, maybe take a step back and see what about it you like and how can you put your own spin on it. Maybe your target market is different so you can mold your offerings to them. If the market is the same, play up to your strengths. As you build it out, you will see the many differences between your service from another's service. Remember that most businesses are started because they saw someone else doing something and they thought they could do it better. Nothing is original anymore but it doesn’t mean you can copy another person’s business. 

This is a feeling that I believe a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with at some point in their career, especially when they are first starting out. Even though I have been a photographer for nine years, there are still times when I talk myself out of doing something in fear that it is too similar to someone else. That means I am thinking more about others than myself, which is detrimental to growth. The people who succeed keep their eyes on their own path. They are not worried about what other people are doing. So please, take this as your permission to do what you want to do. Launch that course. Expand your target market. Try something new. It may be the thing that takes your business to the next level.