Are you a jealous person? I am. I try not to let it bubble to the surface but I suppose keeping it just underneath is even worse and sometimes it ruptures. I get hecka jealous about my husband spending time with anybody who isn't me.
I'm just kidding actually, I don't really care because he's a grown man and can make his own decisions but I do get severe FOMO (fear of missing out) so when he is spending time with friends without me for whatever reason, even if I literally chose not to be there, I'm afraid I'm missing the best hang-out-and-play-video-games ever.
Stop babbling Alyce, how does this relate to business?
Business jealousy is definitely a thing. When I first started out it would make me seethe to see people succeeding when I wasn't. Why them? Why not me? Why them and not me?
My husband made me read "the seven habits of highly successful people" when I first went self employed and he also bought me another couple business books (unfortunately they didn't really apply to this new breed of creative business which people are opting for in the age of Etsy and Amazon Handmade - so he's writing his own book on his observations of me running my business, so look out for that).
Stephen R. Covey, the writer of the seven habits, talks about the abundance principle and essentially what it touches on is that success is not like a pie. If someone else is succeeding that is NOT taking any success away from you. There's plenty to go around, my loves.
So I'm trying to promote supporting each other and lifting each other up here. Because I've had - and I'm sure you have had too - other small business owners or freelancers who were behind me, behind me, behind me whilst I was building up my business... but then suddenly... as soon as they were behind me (as in, they perceived I was doing better than them - and I say perceived because guess what YOU CAN'T COMPARE because you don't have the full picture)... then they weren't behind me anymore... because I had "got ahead" of them.
And I've had trash talk, about how I've sold out and such (lmao okay). But guess what I'm too busy to indulge in that because I'm over here running my business.
If you're here you probably know what I sell and that my brand is linked around a cohesive theme rather than a specific product... If you don't, hi I'm Alyce the owner and operator of Doodlepeople among other ventures under the same umbrella company (the company is me, as a sole trader). I sell feminist, body positive, LGBTQIA+, social justice, mental health, chronic/invisible illness and hidden disability aiding accessories (pins, patches, etc.), jewellery and wall art.
My products span a huge range of items: pin buttons, patches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, wall art, mini prints, art books, enamel pins, tote bags, clothing, laser cut stuff, etc. But they all have that same angry neighbourhood feminist, social justice warrior, liberal snowflake vibe. That's my brand. I want everyone to be comfortable and happy in society. I want people to mind their own fucking business and be nice to each other. I want to bury rapists in my back yard, alive, so I can hear them scream. ~Who said THAT?? (Obviously I'm kidding like you really shouldn't be taking these blogs too seriously that this point).
So, for that reason... I don't really believe in "competition". I know that this is different for A LOT of businesses and a lot of small business owners. For people who offer custom work, for example wooden signs, they may be in direct competition with other people who sell wooden signs. I get that.
For me, it isn't like that. I'm not in competition with other people preaching intersectional feminism, inclusiveness, self love, body positivity, worth that isn't based on appearance, mental health acceptance, chronic illness awareness... etc.
I am working with them.
We're all fighting the same fight. We're fighting for survivors to be believed. We're fighting for respect for people even if you aren't attracted to them. We're fighting for the recognition of the fact that biological sex and gender are not the same thing. We're fighting for mothers to be able to breastfeed in public AND mothers to not be shamed for NOT breastfeeding at all. We're fighting for invisible illnesses to not be the subject of judgement and doubts of veracity. We're fighting for togetherness. We're fighting for love and lifting each other up.
How in the fuck can I compete against them when we're all working towards the same thing?
So, as I said, I get that this isn't the same for all businesses. I understand that depending on what you make it's a huge part of your success to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of competitors in your market. But I still believe we should be supporting each other.
And before you come at me about how your business is your livelihood - well I'm not just here to fuck spiders, my business is my livelihood too. It's my only source of income.
If people want your product, they'll buy it. Stop concentrating on what other people are doing - concentrate on your own shit. Make it the shit so people want it. Don't be jealous of other peoples' successes (hard, I know, I feel you). Celebrate their successes with them because it's the fucking decent thing to do. And you know what? If they can do it, it means you can too.
Definitely don't twist this, I'm obviously not condoning you supporting people who are selling copyrighted material (don't even get me started), stealing ideas, etc. I just mean, support good, honest businesses and small business owners. We're all in this together, ya know? Support small business as a whole - shop small when you can. Support real people.
And remember that all success is based on its own merit. As the great Earl Nightingale says, "success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal".
Your success is based upon ONLY your own worthy ideal. Below is an excerpt from Earl Nightingale's "The Strangest Secret" (which is fantastic and available on YouTube, I'd highly recommend it):
"Who succeeds? The only person who succeeds is the person who is progressively realising a worthy ideal. He’s the person who says I’m going to become this and begins to work toward that goal. I’ll tell you who the successful people are - a success is the schoolteacher who’s teaching school because that’s what he or she wants to do. The success is the woman who’s a wife and mother because she wanted to become a wife and mother and is doing a good job of it.The success is the man who runs the corner gas station because that was his dream, that’s what he wanted to do. The success is the successful salesman who wants to become a top notch salesman and grow and build with his organization. A success is anyone who is doing deliberately a predetermined job because that’s what he decided to do deliberately."
So there you go. Decide, deliberately, to do it. Base your success on your own worthy ideals. Don't compare. Comparison is the vacant lot where your ideas of success goes to get whacked. Stop comparing. Start supporting. Lift each other up. Support small business (this doesn't have to be by buying!! I'm going to write a blog post on that).
I hope you enjoyed this rambling trip to nowhere. You're welcome. Have a nice day.