All of us are guilty of at some point – comparing ourselves with other entrepreneurs, peers, competitors, and as a result, feeling behind or discouraged about our own businesses.
When I first started my business in March 2019, comparisons and fear of missing out (FOMO) and self-doubt was at an all time high. This was before I started signing clients consistently and honing in on my voice. I was still unsure what really made me different from all the other business coaches.
I was consuming a LOT of content from coaches and entrepreneurs I looked up to, because I was lacking confidence in whether I could have a successful and meaningful business and I was not confident in my own thoughts and ideas.
This lack of confidence led me to create content that, in hindsight, felt generic and boring. The topics I talked about were really general. I talked about things like niching down, why you need to start an online business, and the pros and cons between different social media and content platforms. Honestly, it was all really basic.
Don’t get me wrong, I still put out quality content that packs a punch and I do believe my old content reflects the quality of my 1:1 program. For example, the amount of detail you’d find in my content is still really really good. However, I do think that what was lacking was originality and fresh new perspectives.
How I was able to make up for this – which I think also contributed to my success back then and helped me to hit my first 5k months and almost 10k months – was that I added my own story, experiences, and personality.
I shared a lot about my why for helping others build their brand and business, and weaved in my personal story and experiences wherever possible. For example, my story of leaving law school to pursue a career in research and to start my business was something that resonated with many people.
Looking back, even though my content topics were not necessarily the most novel and were pretty generic, I made up for this by 1) sharing my story 2) showcasing my personality and 3) putting out content that was still really high quality and reflected what it would look like if people were to work with me.
Modeling after your favorite entrepreneurs, coaches or content creators is a trap many new entrepreneurs fall into. This is because they don’t have the confidence in themselves to come up with original content ideas or achieve success without following the paths that supposedly got other people to where they currently are.
You can’t start out and expect to be at the same stage of success as someone who has been doing this way longer than you have. You need time and practice to hone your craft and master your skills so you can get better results for yourself and your clients. If you truly want to build a brand and business that makes an income and impact, you need to be able to get results for both yourself and others.
Though you can look at those who are ahead of you, analyze their processes and see what you’d like to try for yourself, be careful not to try to run at their pace. Stay in your own lane and focus on your own goals and develop your own skills and methods. Own your actions and be excited about the goals you’re working on. Comparing your goals or what you’re doing with other people’s goals or what others are doing does not serve you, especially if you’re comparing yourself with those who have been doing this for way longer.
The more you compare and see a discrepancy between where you’re at and where they’re at, the more likely you’ll have mind drama about it and you’ll start to spin out in your thoughts about how you’re supposedly so behind. Thus, you’ll feel discouraged and either show up in a negative energy or not show up at all. This definitely does not serve you, your audience, or clients.
Instead, focus on growing and improving everyday, at your own pace. In your own lane. Working towards your own goals. Even if you’re doing the same things as other people because you may have similar goals and similar circumstances, always remember to focus on improving based on your own terms and your own definition of growth. Instead of trying to measure your success, progress or growth based on someone else’s metrics.
This also means be willing to work hard, but work hard based on your own definitions of work ethic. Because someone who’s striving towards the same direction as you, may have entirely different circumstances. You never know what someone else’s situation is like and you shouldn’t make assumptions about it. It’s not your job to make assumptions. Assumptions don’t serve you and if anything, it deters you and slows you down.
It’s so easy to fall into the spiral of feeling bad about yourself. There’s no point at all comparing your progress and results with anyone else but your past self.
You don’t have to try to learn or do everything at once. You certainly shouldn’t be trying to do anything just because you see others doing it. Keep your own focus and keep growing, so long as it’s your own focus and your own growth.
Your growth, your progress, your results. None of this is dependent on someone else’s growth, progress, or results. Looking at what other people are doing literally means nothing for what’s possible for you. Just because someone else looks more successful than you, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same for yourself. Likewise, it doesn’t mean you can expect to achieve those same results in the same exact journey that they had gone through to get to where they are.
There are just too many variables so it’s basically impossible for you to expect that you should achieve success the same way that someone else did. Your personality, your circumstances, your priorities – so many factors influence your journey. So stop trying to match your point A to point B with someone else’s point A to point B and stop trying to match all the steps in between that point A to point B.
There’s no one way to have success as an online business owner. Here are some well-known business coaches or strategists who I follow and admire, and each of them follow a different method for generating sales for their business:
Vanessa Lau built a successful YouTube channel which led to her explosive growth as a business coach. Since then, she’s built an evergreen webinar funnel, but her initial success can be attributed to her YouTube channel which still continues to grow week after week.
Vanessa was also my very, very first business mentor. I was a beta client of hers back in November or December of 2018, which was before I launched my official business. Back then, we worked on developing my confidence to show up on Instagram and YouTube. Vanessa is a prime example of a business coach who’s arguably most known for her quality content on YouTube, which is a key driving force behind her business. You can find Vanessa at @vanessalau.co on Instagram.
Another business coach who, for the longest time, only relied on his Instagram is Tyler J McCall. Although he eventually started a podcast and also runs webinars, I’d say that from the time I’ve followed him, there was a long period of time when his primary source of clients or sales in his business was from his Instagram. You can find Tyler at @tylerjmccall.
Another example would be Shannon Lutz from @thesocialbungalow on Instagram. She currently does a lot of live launches using live training, and she doesn’t have a podcast or YouTube channel. From my understanding, she currently leverages Instagram as her primary source of traffic and leads.
Different successful entrepreneurs, even if they’re selling similar things, utilize different means of getting to where they are today. Whether it’s creating bomb content for their podcast or Youtube channel, doing evergreen webinars, live launches, or simply using Instagram, there are way more methods and strategies than the ones I’ve just shared.
As someone who may not necessarily be hitting 5k or 10k months yet in your business, I wanted to share these examples as a reminder that there are so many different ways to achieve your goals. Your job right now is to pick one route that you like best, as long as you like your reasons for picking it, and simply commit to it.
When there are so many different possible strategies, it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed because you feel like you should be doing everything at once. Do not try to do everything at once, especially if you’re a side hustler. Instead, double down on one or two strategies and master it. Make sure you can repeat your results before adding in additional strategies in your business.
Remember: There’s no single “how-to” or strategy that’s the best.
Rather: Keep innovating and figuring out what works best for you. That’s why you need to get out there and get experience before you know what to tweak and implement next. This applies to both your strategy and content – You need to build experience by working with people in order to truly know what works best for your strategy and content.
I only got to where I am today in terms of my own content and thought leadership through working with many, many clients since March 2019. Working with real human beings, making observations about my niche and the coaching industry, developing my own opinions and stance on different issues – all these took time.
I could not have produced the current level or caliber of content in March 2019. It just would not have been possible without the experience and insights and lessons I’ve acquired throughout the past year and a half.
If there’s one thing you can take away, perhaps it could be this: Even if you’re just starting out, have great belief and confidence in your own ideas and voice and message because trying to create the same content as your mentors or people you look up to isn’t an effective way of setting yourself up for long term business success or helping differentiate yourself from other entrepreneurs, especially those selling the same offers you are.
If you’re drawing excessive inspiration from others, people can smell BS and a lack of authenticity from through the screen. It’s easy to tell who subscribed to someone else’s content or models or philosophies or blueprints. That’s why it’s easy to blend into the online space, because I’m sure even you as a consumer of content can tell who’s really a thought leader in their space.
Regardless of where you are in your business journey right now, what we can all work on is thinking for ourselves and coming up with our own approaches and ideas. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean we should follow blindly. We really need to think of strategies, content and offers that fit into our own goals and businesses. By focusing on being a leader in your niche, that’s setting you up for making the biggest impact in your space. People follow thought leaders for a reason!
An alternative way to look at this is: What would the 6-figure business owner version of you do? Would he or she spend way too much time consuming content from others and thinking of how you can model after that in your own content? Or would you focus more on building your original brand, voice, and thought leadership by trusting your own decisions, message, and ideas?
It’s not that the people you admire are right and that you’re wrong. There’s no right or wrong in business. Instead, the question here is what do you actually believe? What message do you actually want to share? What do you actually want to be known for?
Because perhaps, others need to hear your perspective, not someone else’s. Maybe your own message, your ideas, your experiences, your story, your examples. All of that is what people need to hear from you instead of content that they’ve seen over and over again from other entrepreneurs, who likely have not built up their own confidence in their work and message and thus are also trying to follow a larger, more successful entrepreneur’s content or strategy.
The same applies to NOT comparing your stage 3 with someone else’s stage 10. Just because someone is at the 6 figure mark of their business doesn’t render their business approach the right fit for you. Just because someone has consistently hit 5k or 10k months doesn’t make your own methods and approaches ineffective or wrong. Again: There are so many paths and strategies that will get you to your goal.
If you want to focus on developing your thought leadership, your own original content ideas, your own step by step methodologies, all of this can only come about from experience.
One more thing I want to add is that right now, if you’re still in the stages of figuring out your brand messaging and voice and what makes you different, experiment as much as you need. Because there will come a time when you can’t just throw stuff out there and experiment. Eventually, things need to be streamlined and everything you put out should ideally be on brand so that there’s a consistent message that you’re delivering to your audience.
The more clear and consistent your messaging and content is to people, the more compelling your brand and business is because people are hearing the same message over and over again and they feel that they can trust you to be consistently showing up for them.
Stop trying to model your content or business strategy after other entrepreneurs who are seemingly ahead of you. Doing so runs the risk of making your content and brand seem generic or basic or bland. Instead, start trusting your own ideas and message and personal experiences. These are things people need to hear most from you
Stop trying to compare your business strategies with someone else’s, even if they’re more successful than you are. Just because something worked well for them doesn’t mean that’s the best approach for you. There are way too many variables at play, including your other non-business commitments, your schedule, your circumstances, your personality, and so on.
Instead, start trusting your own decisions. Trust that you’ll commit to your action plan and stick to it for a while, even if you don’t see results immediately. It’s more important to give yourself time to master 1-2 strategies before trying to diversify and add more strategies to your business.
MASTER ONE OR TWO AND GET CONSISTENT, REPEATABLE RESULTS FIRST.
Continue working towards your goals. You need time to achieve those goals, so start detaching from the time you THINK it’s supposed to take to achieve your goals. Whatever you’ve achieved or done so far, that’s still a step closer to your ultimate goal than if you hadn’t done anything or taken any action steps.
Stop focusing on what you haven’t accomplished yet and celebrate what you have accomplished. You need time to work on your goals. More importantly, stand firm in your belief that your content and ideas matter, and your business strategies are working.
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