The incredible opportunities available to people to share their creative work and build a tribe are unprecedented. Whatever your work, cause, or mission, you can use the web, social media, and digital publishing to spread the word. The gatekeepers have been shoved aside, and never before in the history of mankind have such opportunities existed.
And we’re drowning.
There is a dark side to the wide-open digital world we’re living in. You have the opportunity and the tools to succeed, but so does everyone else. Odds are, someone is creating a project strikingly similar to yours. The competition is staggering.
This isn’t exclusive to the digital and creative fields, small businesses are growing, the local goods movement is fueling a new breed of Mom & Pop stores and restaurants. Competition is everywhere, and it’s fierce.
Therein lies the opportunity.
The first job I had out of college, we were in direct competition with another established brand. I can remember my boss saying,
Competition is fine, and we’re only going to get better because they exist. We will push each other to provide a better service to the customers, or we will go out of business. That’s all there is to it.
Those words have stuck with me, and I’ll always view competition as an opportunity. If you’re comfortable in the status quo, soaking in a monopoly, unwilling to serve the customer’s needs, then you need to be shaken up a little bit.
Build the Community
While the temptation to tear down your competitors may arise, resist! The market is now large enough to support each provider, assuming both are willing to serve, engage, and evolve. Don’t waste even one moment of thought to how you can attack the competition, because the social mechanisms in place will expose any breakdowns or poor service. In fact…
Embrace the Competition
In a culture of mass information, millions of blogs, and billions of tweets, there is more to consume and fight against than ever before. So, love your enemies (I remember someone else saying that once). Realize that if you successfully eradicate the competition, there will likely be a decrease in demand as well. To quote Jeff Goins,
Maybe the pie is bigger than you thought and the world smaller than you realized.
Think about the opportunity! Everyone is accessible, and there is enough to go around. Maybe we won’t all make millions, but I’m sure we will make enough to live comfortably, provide for our families, and do work we love. A community of fellow writers, creatives, and businesses working together will allow the market to grow, and facilitate a culture of improvement, service, and fulfillment.
People must band together and fight the status quo, not each other (click to tweet that).
This type of thinking has come full circle today. I’ve been thinking about the nature of competition and community for years, am reading The Unconventional Guide to Art+Money (from Chris Guillebeau), and finally read this announcement from Jeff Goins and Joe Bunting. There’s a cartel in the works, and the name of the game is collaboration, not competition. When a group of like-minded artists band together to encourage, edify, and share each other’s work, the world’s going to change.
What do you think about this shift in behavior? Share in the comments
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