Good morning! I’m thrilled to present a special guest post from Create Hype – a fantastic resource for women entrepreneurs. In once of their recent emails they presented a list titled 5 Reasons Why Comparison Can Wreck Your Business – and it struck such a chord with me that I wanted to share it with you here. The team at Create Hype was kind enough to even add a sixth reason, just for you!
It’s natural to compare your work to others but does it really do you any good? We argue that it does the opposite for 6 reasons.
1. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Nobody is going to blog about their product flopping, how they’re struggling to pay their rent, and why they are contemplating closing their business. All you will see is the successes, the good news, and the pictures of their family.
2. Everyone has different goals. We all set individual end points and goals so there’s no point comparing where you are now to where someone else is because you don’t know where they’re going.
3. It won’t help you get out of a funk. In fact, it will likely push you further into one if you’re currently struggling with seeing your successes and feeling like you are moving onward and upward with your business.
4. Most business owners need to double their prices. Don’t assume that just because every jewelry maker you know is selling their necklaces for $20 that you can’t sell yours for $200.
5. Everyone has a unique market. Copying someone’s product or marketing techniques will get you nowhere because your market will not be the same.
6. There’s a fine line between inspiration and copying. While you may intend to be inspired by someone’s work, you run the risk of eventually being inspired ‘too much’. This can quickly lead to copying and that generally leads to legal battles, nights of tears, and your fans wondering why you’ve suddenly changed your brand and your vision.
This is not to say there is not a time and place for comparison. Certainly when doing market research, you need to look at what others around you are doing. But remember that everyone is different and you can’t declare a business ‘successful’ or ‘better than mine’ just by reading their blog and looking at their site. There is always a story going on behind the scenes.
Action: Take a week and unsubscribe, unfollow, or ignore all of the people you view as your competitors/similar business owners. Instead, spend that time focusing on your own work. You may be surprised by how much freer you feel. You may also find yourself overflowing with new ‘crazy’ ideas.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you compare yourself to other bloggers, artists, entrepreneurs, etc.? How do you overcome the temptation of comparison? Have you found comparison to be a positive or negative thing for your business?
This week on Style Illuminated, I had some fun designing a room based on a famous artwork by Henri Matisse. Check out the post here to see the original artwork, and how it inspired this living room design. (I love that design inspiration can come from anywhere!)
If you are a lover of Comic Sans, this post probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for some rad free fonts for your blog design or graphic projects, I’ve rounded up 10 of the best free fonts that I use and love. Most are available at dafont.com (and if you haven’t heard of dafont before, well…you’re welcome!). Click each graphic to download the font.
Artistamp Medium: This is a fun font to use in digital collage projects, since it really lends the look of rubber alphabet stamps.
Error: Simple and graphic. I think this font would be great on the business card of a graphic designer.
FFF Tusj: The loose and sketchy look of this font is so fun!
Honey Script: This is a sweet script that’s a little cleaner than handwriting, with a bit of a retro flair.
Impact Label: I love labelmakers. I also love labelamaker fonts. BOOM.
I’ve been hung up on this idea for a while that I need a studio. Not just want, but need. I mean, how else can you create art? It’s soooo much work to take my boxes of art supplies out of the closet and set everything up and then clean up; and when I work I awkwardly take up the entire living room floor; and it’s so messy to work with paint and spray adhesive and gel medium in my tiny, white-carpeted, one-bedroom apartment.
Writing that makes me sound like a huge whiner. Which I’ve realized, I am.
I don’t need the perfect time, or the perfect space, or the perfect supplies to create. I just need to do it. So…I’m doing it! Above are the beginnings of a few beautiful messes.
Good morning! Thanks for your patience and understanding during my little blogging break. Here’s where my heart is at after taking time to breathe and think…
I have followed all sorts of tips and tricks to “build a better blog”. I’ve read every article, followed every how-to that’s out there, and taken e-courses and workshops. But here’s the thing – I’ve gotten so caught up in trying to be a successful blogger that I’m not actually creating anything myself! My own art and creative adventures have come second to simply sourcing content to share here – and the kicker is that top of that, this sweet ‘lil blog isn’t all that successful anyway. This whole process of trying to “create a successful blog for my audience” has been incredibly frustrating – and it’s not working, because it’s not true to me. I feel that blogging should be an outpouring of my ideas, inspiration, and creativity…and right now, it’s taking all of my ideas, inspiration, and creativity just to keep up with what I “should” be doing as a successful blogger. And dude, it’s totally draining.
There’s a fear mentality that is communicated to bloggers: You really must post 5 days a week or you don’t exist online! You really must leave a bazillion comments on other blogs to be part of the blogging community! You really must create content carefully targeted to your audience! You really must guest post to get noticed! You really must do x, y, and z to be a success! My response to the “you really must” attitude communicated to bloggers is this, as written by the fabulous Tina Fey in her book, Bossypants: “When people say, ‘You really, really must do something’, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, ‘You really, really must deliver the baby during labour’. When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.”
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. And what I’ve realized over the last two weeks is this: I don’t want to build a successful blog. I want to build a successful career as an artist – an artist who just happens to have a really great blog too.
Recently I watched an awesome video by my one of my sassy business mentors, Marie Forleo, on differentiating between fear and intuition. I’ve been wrestling with what I “really must” be doing with my blog, and what I feel in my heart. I don’t often share videos here, but Marie rocks pretty hard and I genuinely feel that this is awesomely valuable information:
Did you watch the video? Keeping on my current blogging path definitely left me feeling contracted. And despite the fact that my new plan for this blog doesn’t involve any of the things that bloggers “really must” do, just the thought of making changes leaves me feeling so expansive and free that I have no doubt that this is what my heart and intuition is telling me.
So what’s the new plan?
+ To post when inspired. To share what is genuinely inspiring me. To share what makes my heart flutter and my creative juices flow.
+ To post when creating. To make more time for art in my life. (This. Is. Huge!) To share the creative process.
+ To post when educating. To share experiences as a freelancer and as an artist. To share the ups and downs.
Short, sweet, simple, and rings true to me. I don’t think that there’s anything better than that. And even though I’ll no longer be doing what I “really must” on my blog (*gasp!*), hopefully you’ll stick around for the journey with me. xo