I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with the saying – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It sounds good, in theory, but in reality, if you’re the one being copied, it most likely chaps your ass. Earlier this week, I ran into two fellow small business owners and they were both venting about having their work knocked off by local copycats. Imagine, you’ve busted your butt to create something only to have some Copycat Jones (that’s the little name I’ve come up with for copycats) swoop in and pull a Kardashian on you. Gggggrrrr!!! The thing I had to remind them, though, was that copycats can’t duplicate their personal touch, their relationships or their magic – you can’t copycat excellence. If you’re someone out there working hard, making moves and getting results, it won’t be long before the Copycat Joneses of the world take notice and try to get the same results, without any of the work. While copycats are annoying as hell, don’t sweat them and here’s why:
Your Dopeness Can’t Be Duplicated
Dr. Seuss said it best – “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” You’re a dope person and there’s no one like you. There’s no one who can do what you do, like you do it, but you. Sure, people can try to sit back and copy what you’re doing, but who wants a knock off when you can have an original?
Your Authenticity Can’t Copied
One thing I’ve noticed in this latest “startup/tech boom” is that you have a lot of companies doing a different version of the same thing and it’s hard to tell one from the other. The companies that tend to stand out, however, are the ones that are genuinely dedicated to their cause vs. having a good idea they think will make a lot of money. Warby Parker, the e-commerce eyeglass company, is an example of the former – the dedication and experience the founders developed in launching the company is the definition of real. The founders built a company around a product and problem they cared about. If you’re not familiar with Warby Parker’s startup story, you can listen to it here. Nine times out of ten, you do what you do because it’s something that moves you, not because it’s easy. Copycats, however, will run at the first sign of trouble because they’re not in it for the long haul. Remember, you were built for your mission, so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Your Personality is Just That – Yours
Never underestimate the power of your personality. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve likely heard this quote half a dozen times – people don’t buy your products, they buy you. When you’ve put yourself out there and have developed relationships, no copycat in the world can touch what you’ve built. Your tribe will seek you out because you’ve connected with them on a personal level.
You Can’t Cut and Paste Passion
Nothing worth having comes easy. Sure, you’ve probably made it look easy to the copycats of the world, but you know the amount of blood, sweat and tears you’ve put in to what it is you do. Why? Because you’re passionate about it and passion isn’t something you can cut and paste – you either have it or you don’t. Copycats, by nature, are looking for an easy ride. They don’t have the passion and dedication it takes to keep going when times get hard (and believe me, they will get hard) and will soon jump to something else, so don’t worry about it.