In the first couple of years of my business I went through a phase of signing up to every freebie out there. Every webinar, telesummit, free ebook, white paper or report that had anything to do with my business, I was there, handing over my email address with excitement and anticipation!
2 years later I've had thousands of emails from these people. Some have been e-newsletters with good content.
Most, however, have been promotional stuff and it's taken me on an interesting journey.
At first, I'd look at these amazing freebies that I'd downloaded, and look at how I could produce something equally as amazing. After a while though, the gloss started to wear off and I realized that they were all a bit samey.
The free webinars, all too often, were 20 minutes of 'me, me, me' by the host, then 10 minutes of fairly useful content, followed by 40 minutes of 'me, me, me, hard sell'.
I couldn't stomach many of them.
It all struck me as SOUL-less - no real personality, no real substance - no soul.
I decided to do things differently and so my free webinars have always been 100% content, with lots of the 'how' (something you usually have to pay for). My free e-book has 55 fantastic marketing tips - it's good! It's definitely worth downloading!
My weekly e-newsletters always have a useful article that I've spent time writing, and which always has a lesson that you can put into practice in your business.
I do send out promotional emails but I try not to go overboard - I just know that my subscribers often need a couple of reminders - even then, I STILL get people saying 'I wish I'd known about this' after the event. And I don't do clever copywriting - I just tell it like it is.
And then this week, two things have happened.
The first is that I've decided to unsubscribe from all of those lists. Hundreds of them. I'd stayed subscribed because I thought I could learn from them.
Then I had an 'aha' moment when I realized that a) I rarely take any notice of them when they come into my inbox and b) when I do take notice, it's all the same kind of stuff. Clever headlines. Words that are designed to get you drooling and hand over your credit card.
The second thing and my biggest aha moment was when I realized that I don't want to be like them.
I don't want to be compared to them. So it's not really worth me staying on their lists.
If I want to learn, I'll buy books for my Kindle and I've been on a buying spree this week - I've made the time to read some excellent business books and I've loved it. I can take what I'm learning and translate it into things that work for MY ladies, my audience.
So I've undergone something of a metamorphosis - it's led me to restructure my entire business (more on that soon) and it's freed me from the tethers of comparing myself to other people in my industry.
I don't want to know what they are doing. I don't need to know what they are doing. It's actually a distraction if I take notice of them. What they are doing bears no relation to my business - my business depends on me forging my own path, in my own way.
I'm going to be turning up the 'me' factor in my business. The projects I'm working on this year are 100% me (I mean, who else has a Big Girl Knickers Business Bootcamp?) and I'm LOVING it. I'm having so much fun, because I can be me and not worry about what other people are doing. The right customers will love it, that's all that matters.
And my business will boom as a result - I can already see it starting to happen and it's very exciting.
So how can you apply this to your business?
Are you taking too much notice of what others are doing? Are you comparing yourself to others in your industry?
Are you trying to be like them, instead of doing the opposite and standing out for all the right reasons.
Blending in is safe. Standing out is kind of scary but no-one ever remembers the people who blend in.
If you want to build a business, see how you can stand out:
- What can you do differently?
- How can you buck the industry norm?
- What can you charge for that everyone else is doing for free?
- What can you give away for free that everyone else is charging for?
- Put your prices up and show how you are worth it, by offering truly incredible value, so it's a no-brainer for your customers.
The best way to stand out is to stop being like 'them.'
Be you. Be you with bells on, in technicolor, unapologetic and with all your weird little ways!
Write from the heart when you're writing your websites and emails. Speak the truth. Tell it like it is.
Challenge the boring normal.
The best way to stand out in business is to be yourself and when you do that, no-one can touch you.
Love, Claire x