Last week I had a bit of a freakout.
Five years ago, when I started introvertology, there was 10, maybe 15, people out there who were blogging regularly about introversion. Which was awesome, I got to know and collaborate with most of the people in the space.
…And then I became a life coach for introverts. At one point I noticed there were more people asking for my advice on how to become a life coach than there were people asking me to coach them. I’m not a competitive person. I don’t like competition. So I freaked out, realized a life coaching career wasn’t important enough to me to compete, and then changed my job title to social media consultant for introverts (now it’s visibility advising for introverts).
Flash forward to last week when I freaked out again because every few days (or so it feels like) I see someone new who is marketing their services to introverted business owners.
And then I thought about sharks. There’s this concept in business called The Blue Ocean which means that it’s better to be in an untapped market (a blue ocean) than a competitive space (the competition, sharks, are all fighting for the same customers). It’s kind of a gruesome metaphor, but I was feeling like the sharks were circling. I was feeling trapped and claustrophobic. And like I had screwed up a huge opportunity (of being in a blue ocean) that I would never get back.
So I went into a Facebook group and complained about it.
Here’s some of the amazing words of wisdom from that community:
There is only one you and your audience needs exactly what you are offering. As long as you stay true to your awesomeness there’s not a person alive that can touch you. Be you, be honest, be true to yourself, and give tons of value to your tribe and they will flock to you.
Takeaway – By being visible as myself I’m automatically my own blue ocean.
Competition means there is a demand in your industry. But nobody brings the same solution as you do. Your talents, lifestory and approach are different and you will attract those that need you. I am in a very crowded space with huge companies with unlimited budgets (wellness) but bring my own secret salsas… and one of them is that I love what I do (and am very good at it). I am sure you love what you do and are very good at it. I have seen your generosity here and others have too. Your customers or prospects have seen it too. Suerte y un abrazo!
-Maria Del Carmen Uceda-Gras
Takeaway – There may be competitors, but you have your own secret salsas.
It doesn’t serve you to regret lost opportunities. We build our castles on the bricks we keep. You have the beginnings of a strong foundation Thea. Keep your focus.
Takeaway – Damn, I love this quote. There’s no such thing as lost opportunities. There’s lessons and wisdom learned that will serve as a foundation for whatever you do next.
It seems like there are a million people out there doing the same thing but I just remind myself that this is a BIG world on the internet and in your case there are millions of introverts that could potentially work with you. There is more than enough business for everyone and you have unique qualities that will appeal to people that your competitors may not have.
Takeaway – Facebook has 2 million monthly active users. And if introverts are 50.7% of the US population (% is from an actual study), that means there’s probably around 1 million introverts who are on Facebook. Let’s say only 1% of those people are going to be interested in what I do, that’s still 10,000 people.
I always think that when a huuuuuge shake up is happening energetically in my life or biz.. that it’s a clearing and a break away from old energies! Kind of like a “grown ups energy clearing tantrum”.. This is usually followed by a new direction, new opportunities, new clients and a new and more aligned energy!! I may be mad! But mad and happy seem to go together well for me!!! ♡♡
Maybe this is your break out from the stuckness so a fresh new vibe and energy can forge ahead for you and your business! The big biz shift!!
Takeaway – My freakout really did feel like a tantrum. Next step – channeling this into reaching more people.
When I see other people supposedly doing what I do, I instantly look for what they’re missing. They don’t cuss, they’re always “perfectly coiffed”, make up perfect, they speak in vague ass terms without using examples.
They don’t seem to have any life stories worth telling. They aren’t certified coaches, they don’t have the diversity of experiences I have – most of them aren’t active in their communities, nobody knows them locally… They don’t specialize in creating community leaders…
I mean the differences go on and on and on… Whenever I see someone who “appears” to do what I do, I instantly hone in on which audience they’re serving and which members of their audience I don’t want to serve. Then it becomes a lot easier to see I really am in a league of my own.
–Natisha Willis, Board Certified Executive Coach
Takeaway – No one is a direct competitor. Look for proof that you’re in a league of your own.
Quick thought that people often miss… it’s not just red ocean vs. blue ocean; there are many shades in the middle.
Also, as appealing as being in a blue ocean is, it has many downfalls. You have to create the market and the customers. This is no small task.
What’s often much easier is being in a red ocean (or pink ocean, even better), where the market and customers are developed/more mature, then making yourself a purple cow (search Seth Godin) and make sure that you stand out.
(Side note… most people would probably read that last paragraph about colored oceans and cows and assumed my 5 year old daughter wrote it… Seriously, these are all real concepts)
Takeaway – It’s not the end of the world if you have competitors. You’ll be seen if you stand out.
(by the way, if you want to read about blue oceans and purple cows, read Blue Ocean Strategy and Purple Cow (amazon affiliate links))
Sorry love…..This happens to all of us!!!!! It’s how the business journey is!! I actually think this is a good thing!!! It helps to put the fire under your but!!! That’s how I use it when it happens to me!!!
Takeaway – Use this to propel you forward, not keep you looking back.
With closed fists we feel protective, competitive, resentful, or closed off. We see the negative.
With open palms, we look to serve. We look at who we can help serve (maybe even a competitor). We focus on relationships, opportunities, and as the saying goes – abundance.
I’d say you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Because as you move forward, this experience will help you grow and move beyond these perceived limitations.
Reminds me of this ‘spiritual’ principle – when we are in a funk, one of the best ways to get out of it is to help someone else. Open fists and open palms. And relationships. Hang in there…
Takeaway – Always be helping others, and being closed off doesn’t help ourselves.
Remember, people will pay attention and buy from you because of YOU… not just because you’re one of the only options.
You’re building a great thing and it’s all working out for you exactly as it’s supposed to.
Takeaway – Until I read this, I didn’t realize that I was just seeing myself as one of the options. But I (and you), aren’t peanut butter on some grocery store shelf.
Don’t get dragged down, thinking that you’re in a red ocean prematurely. There are SO MANY PEOPLE in the world. SO MANY PEOPLE who need your help. Competition is a good thing, it means there’s a market for what you’re doing.
Don’t take the appearance of competitors as a sign that you’ve missed the boat. Take it as a sign that there’s a NEED. Please.
Takeaway – Stop freaking out, start helping.
So if you’re freaking out about the competition, wondering how you’ll ever compete with all the other people out there in your industry, remember, you are your own blue ocean. No one can compete with you on being you. Instead, focus on expressing your uniqueness. Stop freaking out, start helping.