I first started my entrepreneurial journey in March 2013. I made the choice in spite of all the risks to start my own coaching business. It was a dating and relationship coaching business. I’m not ashamed to admit that my first business wasn’t a success. I ended up going back to my nine to five. It’s a choice I made willingly with a determination to make my next business experience more successful. Fast forward to 2016, and I’m now experiencing a greater level of success. I’m know how to create a strong brand, use social media to connect and find my ideal clients. What made my second experience better is my desire to learn as much as I possibly can, a daily decision to push through my fears and take action, the support of a coach, and surrounding myself with like-minded people. While surrounding yourself with like-minded people has a lot of benefits like most things in life, there is a danger to this practice. The more you spend time with whether physically or virtually, there is a tendency to become like the people around you. This is not good news if you’re trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. For the sake of clarity, I’m not suggesting, to not connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, but simply be aware of this phenomena, and take active steps to ensure you do not become a victim of being a copy-cat or clone of someone else you admire. So, how do you surround yourself with like-minded people and resist the urge to become like them?
How Do People Become Clones in Business?
This generally happens either intentionally or unintentionally. As entrepreneurs, when we first start out in business, myself included, we can fall prey to checking out what others are doing, and then applying this to your own business. This is neither a good or bad business practice. However, there’s a difference between, looking for design inspiration and copying a design, or looking at the structure of a sales page, and copying the marketing copy of another person. In the application process, people focus on applying the wrong types of things and end up as a copy-cat or clone. I’m not saying to never look at what others are doing, but focus on looking how something is structure and why it’s appealing to you.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen quite a lot of copy-cat or clone bashing online. This is why, In today’s blog post, I’m going to share 3 tips to help you become more authentically you and stand out from those amazing people you admire. Standing out from the crowd is so important because people first connect with you as a person, then buy your products and services. It’s not the other way around. So, it’s imperative that you are instantly recognisable; for the sake of clarity, I will focus on using the graphic design or branding, and marketing copy as example’s throughout this post because they are the most common ways entrepreneurs fall into the copy-cat trap, both intentionally and unintentionally.
Remove the Temptation
When I created my brand I chose fonts and colours that I loved and were a reflection of who I am. I achieved this by focusing on what I liked and not trying to replicate what others had done. If you’ve found yourself in a place where you have copied someone else, learn from the experience. If this is something you have done, then I want you to know there’s no shame in it, but recognise it for what it is, an error, and an opportunity to learn and grow. In order to stop yourself from repeat offending, I recommend removing the temptation to look for inspiration or copy. This may mean, no longer looking at the websites of other entrepreneurs until you’ve created a brand style sheet, or created your own system for structuring your marketing copy. Whether it’s your brand or copy, close all the other windows in your internet browser and focus on creating something that’s uniquely you, without looking at what everyone else is doing.
Create a Style Sheet for Your Brand
As you create your unique brand it’s important that it reflects who you are as a person because it’s you that your ideal clients connect with, not your products and services but you and your story. Before you build your website and start creating content for your social media platforms open an online programme like Canva and choose font’s for your logo, headers, subheadings, and paragraphs, and even the sizes of the font’s as well. Choose the colours you want to use in your branding. I have one dominant colour and a few others that I use with my main colour of my brand. Keep a record of these fonts, colours, and sizes on hand. When I first started I kept them in the notes section on my iPhone and referred to them quite frequently but now I don’t need to, I know these elements off by heart, including the Hex colour codes. When you first start designing graphics for social media and your website give yourself the time to play around with the layout and experiment with colour and fonts until you get something that you love. A few months ago, I started using Canva for Work. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Canva for Work, it has all the benefits of the free version with extras like, the ability to create a brand kit, transparent backgrounds with PNG files, uploading your own templates.
Look for Information in the Right Places
I know what’s it like to start out in business, as I shared earlier when I first started out I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no idea how to find the information I need to make my business a success. This is the reason why I believe many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of becoming a clone. The cure for this is to look for information in the right places. If you’re stuck for ideas about design, colour, and branding, talk to someone you know who has a great idea for design. If you don’t know anyone like with that expertise, create a branding board on Pinterest and start pinning things to the board that you love, include things like colours, fonts, and images you love. After a week, come back to the board and look for a common theme, such as consistent colours or types of fonts, and use this as a basis for your brand.
When you’re starting to create your very first sales page for a product or service look for experts in the field of writing copy, read their blogs, attend the webinars they host and avoid the temptation of looking at someone you admire as inspiration. If writing copy, is something you are struggling to write then I can’t recommend, Courtney Johnston from the rules breakers club, enough. She has a free webinar that’s still available to watch on Youtube. It’s quite a long webinar but it’s packed with value on what you should put on your sales page. I watched this webinar, took notes, and created the sales page for my Zero to Business coaching programme, solely based on the information in the webinar, along with a little fine tuning from my coach.
- Canva for Work: Helps you set up a style sheet of fonts, colours, upload logos that’s uniquely you. Check it out here.
- If you’re struggling to structure or write the marketing copy for your sales page, I recommend watching this free webinar by Courtney Johnston from the Rule Breakers Club. It’s quite long but the content is so worth it. It helped me to create the sales page for my Zero to Business coaching programme. Watch it here –> Watch Courtney’s Video
- If you realise that you don’t want to create your business on your own and would love the support of a coach who has been there and done that, and you want to make 2016 the year you step out of your comfort zone and finally create your dream service based business then I would love to invite you to join me for a complimentary discovery session, where together you and I can explore how you can create the business and life of your dreams and decide whether working together is a right fit for you. Book a complimentary discovery session, today! –> Discovery Session
As always, I have to ask: what’s one action you are going to take today to avoid the trap of being a clone in business? How are you going start implementing this action in your business and life, today? I want to hear your story. Let me know by sharing your story in the comments section below.