There are a lot of online entrepreneurs out there. And that number is growing every single day.
And we are seeing more and more empowered women step into entrepreneurship, which means that there are more people serving the same people you are.
While your initial instinct is probably to put those competitors on the other side of an arena and prepare to fight for your potential ideal clients’ attention, and yes cash, I want to spend today’s episode sharing with you a different way that will be a win for all parties involved. And let’s be honest, it’s going to feel a heck of a lot better in the long run.
- Listen in to hear the three different ways to lean into a spirit of collaboration instead of competition:
- Ditch your scarcity mindset
- Know what you do well
- Find the people you vibe with
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There are a lot of online entrepreneurs out there and that number is growing every single day.
Especially with the ease of starting a business with the help of the internet and social media AND the realization over the past almost two years that being your own boss actually feels more secure than working for others, we are seeing more and more empowered women step into entrepreneurship.
Which means there are more people stepping into serving the same people you are, potentially providing the same or similar service that you do. And while your initial instinct is to put those competitors on the other side of an arena, preparing to fight for your potential ideal clients’ attention and cash, I want to spend today’s episode sharing with you a different way that will be a win for all parties involved and will feel a heck of a lot better in the long run.
Ready to dive in?
Basically every week, I meet with my dear friend Amanda Warfield. If you are not familiar with her yet, I legit talk about her all the time, but she is the genius behind the Chasing Simple Podcast, a content batching queen, an educator & speaker who helps course creators fit marketing into their business, and runs GlassSlipper Vacations, a Disney Travel Planning agency. I know, she is amazing!! She and I have become friends since she DM’d me after I interacted with an IG story of her’s talking about word of the year for 2020 back in Dec of 2019. We were in the same program before that and had likely interacted through that program (Amber Housley’s Blooming Business Inner Circle) but when she sent me that DM is when we quit being internet acquaintances and a real friendship began.
At that point when she reached out, she was a time management coach and I was a starting to transition from done-for-you systems setup to business strategy & productivity coaching.
While we actually have never seen each other as direct competition, we have overlapping audiences and have had extremely similar offers.
But we’ve never held back or tried to hold close to ideas or tips & tricks & strategies. We’ve never approached our relationship as one of “it’s her or me.”
In fact in Summer 2020, we even considered a formal collaboration opportunity but it hasn’t yet aligned for us both.
She’s invited me to do a workshop in her paid membership and had me on her podcast twice. I refer my clients to her at every opportunity if consistent content creation is a goal of theirs. In fact, we have shared several clients, serving them in different capacities and being able to serve them even better since she and I have such an incredible relationship. I talk about her on this podcast in several episodes and when she is launching Club Content Batching, you better believe I am sharing about it on my social channels. She gives me regular IG shout outs as well and was the reason I exceeded my goal for the last round of Goal-Getter Live.
We genuinely want the other to succeed and that hasn’t changed – from when we could have easily been direct competition to now, as we have both evolved and niched into exactly what we are meant to do now, complementing each other’s work.
Here is why this works:
She and I like talking to one another.
We like supporting one another.
We just plain like one another. We vibe.
We can talk about basically anything, from launch disappointments to insecurities to partner issues to health scares to things we genuinely LOVE. Hers are cats and Disney and mine are the Jonas Brothers & house plants.
We have never been competitors because we never saw each other that way.
We have approached our professional relationship as collaborative and our personal one as genuine friends.
Let’s start with the friend piece.
Having been in this online entrepreneurial world for several years now, I can tell you that it is easy to isolate yourself and to feel lonely, especially if those in your family and immediate friend circle aren’t entrepreneurs. It doesn’t mean that they are less than or anything, but unless you are living the entrepreneurial life, you don’t really get it. What it means to be the one calling the shots, constantly thinking about business and it following you wherever you go. Some days wanting to work for 16 or 18 hours and other days wanting to hid for fear that Instagram trolls will destroy your latest post comments section. Sure, you can explain all of that to non-entrepreneurs but having others who just get it and know the lingo (like what a sales funnel is or talking about open rates for email marketing or whatever else) and who you can share struggles and commiserate with and can laugh with over things that others may not understand to be absolutely hilarious…? That is what makes having genuine friends in the same or similar spaces as you so powerful.
And then there is the collaboration part of it. In the intro to this episode, I hinted at a win for all parties. Here is what I mean. By you creating a collaboration with someone else who has a similar audience, you are setting everyone up well:
- Collaborations allow for more novel and unique ideas that may not have been possible if either of you had come at it solo.
- Your audience (and your collaborators’ audience) gets exposed to new ideas and perspectives and ways of doing things that could be the thing to push them into action.
- You get exposure to a new audience and so does your collaborator.
- You are modeling what healthy female relationships between empowered women could look like.
- You and your collaborator both get to shine in your unique gifts and talents and highlight how you uniquely work.
- And in the case of me and Amanda, working with two service-providers who are so closely aligned and talk regularly creates a better experience for the clients we share (meaning someone is working with me and her at the same time) because we can communicate on that client’s behalf amongst ourselves to create a better experience. We don’t have to rely on the client to relay all the info.
So it’s a win for you because you are reaching more people and getting more visible, your collaborator likewise is leveraging your audience too, you both are creating fun new offers or ideas that wouldn’t previously been possible, and your audience and clients are soaking up all this abundant awesomeness. Win-win-win
Legit, no one loses here. So, how can you go about creating your own collaboration like this.
The first thing is to ditch scarcity mindset. This idea that there isn’t enough to go around and for everyone to succeed. If you are doing business right, you are focusing on solving your potential ideal clients problem and chances are there are more potential ideal clients to serve than you could ever take on. There is more than enough money and there are more than enough clients for you to serve. Just because someone else is winning does NOT mean you are losing. Pitting yourself against others, making people your competitors, will lead to loneliness and ultimately not serving your people as well as you could. Now, I am not suggesting that you openly invite everyone to steal your IP and sell it as their own. That wouldn’t be good business sense. But finding ways to not only play nice with others but genuinely want everyone to succeed will go a long way towards making you successful.
The second thing is to know what you do well and distinguish yourself on that rather than on pricing, exclusivity, results. The most valuable thing about you running your business is… well.. you! You have your own frameworks, strengths, talented, experiences, values, and ideas that add value to the industry you are in. Don’t get caught up in the race to the bottom by trying to beat out your “competitors’” prices or say your thing is better than their thing because you only work with la-dee-dah, or say that you are the only one that can get someone the results they are looking for. First of all price differentiation should be left to Walmart and Dollar Tree. Do you want to be the Walmart of your industry? Second of all, you can certainly define your ideal audience and use attraction marketing to make sure you are attracting the right people (and repelling the wrong ones), but falsely using exclusivity to sell spots is just icky and we don’t do icky. Finally, you get results. Awesome. So do others in your same industry or they wouldn’t be in business (you can only fake it for so long). So, how do you stand out from the crowd? Well, by leveraging your thought leadership to add your opinion and experience to the conversation in your industry. Thought Leadership is defined as the expression of ideas that demonstrate you have expertise in a particular field, area, or topic. But it isn’t just that. It is about forwarding the conversation in your field. For example, my field is productivity for entrepreneurs. The narrative in the field has changed over the past few years from just a hustle 24-7 to adding in a viewpoint of creating a life & business that supports you living a sustainable life. It is no coincidence that my view on this falls towards the latter of these two. Now, I am not saying that I changed the industry… I didn’t have to. I express my ideas and expertise through my content for my audience, so I don’t have to be a world-recognized thought leader like Seth Godin or Tim Ferris or Tony Robbins to leverage thought leadership. I just have to be willing to share that with my audience.
And by doing that, you will ditch the competitor view because who is meant to work with you will work with you and who is meant to work with others in your industry will do so. Amanda and I have a lot of the same viewpoints on a lot of things in entrepreneurship, but not everything. But we know how to navigate those differences and still find valuable what the other does and says.
And finally the third thing that I will share about creating your own collaboration is to find people that you vibe with. There are a lot of people in your industry (likely) and not everyone is gonna be someone you want to align yourself with. That is okay, move on, she is not your person. You want to make sure that you align in values & energy, at the very least. And the connection needs to be genuine. I have attempted to reach out to and had others reach out to me for potential collaborations as our initial goal and it felt transactional, like we just wanted something from other. The best collaborative partners I have had have come out of a genuine connection of “hey, this person is awesome. I like talking to her and I like her energy.” But hey, that is me. You need to figure out how you want to feel in a collaborative partnership, and then go find that!
In the end, there are just too many awesome, amazing women out there who are serving well and who are looking to support others (you included) to isolate yourself and pit yourself against them. We are about empowering women, not tearing them down, and if you see others as competition, the chances of you building them up is slim to none. Instead of creating a competition where one wins and others lose, let’s create a world where we are trying to help all succeed, without that damaging our own egos.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: What would your dream collaboration be? Do you have someone specific in mind or do you know the characteristics and energy that someone needs to have to be a good collaborator for you? Write out your dream collab.