“I had an idea but someone out there is already doing it” (here’s why that’s a good thing)

Today’s post is by guest blogger Marianne Cantwell, Head of Adoration, Ideas and Kicking-Ass at Free Range Humans., director of career change coaching organisation, Career Revolution and a leading writer and speaker on career change.

Reading time: 55 seconds (unless you speed read)

I know what it’s like. You have an idea for something you’d like to do, you Google it… and find that someone has beaten you to it. Someone already has your dream business. Doesn’t that suck?

Well actually, it doesn’t. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t let someone else’s work stop you from making use of your own idea.

1. The second-mover advantage.

If someone (or lots of people) are working in your area then that’s great! You don’t have to create the whole field, you tweak it to fit you and what you want to offer.

Not being the first mover can be an advantage. Think of the iPod and the iPhone. Did Apple have the first smart-phone? No, but they do have the best selling one now. Did they have the first MP3 player? Of course not.

In fact, do you even remember who launched the first smartphone? (ok, I know a tech-geek is going to reply with the answer here, but you see my point! First isn’t always best).

2. You will be different in ways you can’t yet imagine.

Your difference may be in your message, in your service or simply the way youcommunicate your message and service. But chances are you don’t know it yet.

When I first went into business for myself I did the usual competitor research and found someone who had precisely the business I wanted.

Right down to the brand name (poo!). She said everything I wanted to say, had the website I dreamt of, and worst of all had a great media presence. How on earth could I compete as a newbie with nothing? What was the point?

Fastforward to now… and I don’t even view this person as a competitor. When I started discovering what I really wanted to say (which was different from what I first thought), and actually launched and worked with clients, I realized my message was different from other people’s, my delivery was miles away.

When I really focused on who I was and what I wanted to shout out to the world, I was somewhere completely different, and very me.

Now I wouldn’t take that business if it was handed to me because it’s not who I am. You simply don’t know this stuff when you are just intellectualizing and doing ‘competitor research’.

3. You won’t be just one of the crowd.

Well, not if you do it right. There’s little point going into a crowded market and being just another face with an indistinguishable offering (and that’s what most people do). However it does NOT have to be that way.

So many people spend time trying to emulate others, thinking that the way it has been done before is the way they should do it. That’s where copy-cat, generic products come from (again, think of lesser iPhone copycats…).

Trying to emulate others is the obvious way, but that is what causes people to struggle to stand out from the competition. That’s what results in people saying they are in a crowded market and struggle to make ends meet.

Following the rules, sticking to what has been done before, not being you…  that’s not the Free Range way, is it?

All I’m saying is: if you have something you REALLY want to do, please don’t hold back because of the competitor fear.

The world will be losing out if you hide away.

For more on this topic, see: “Do you try so hard to blend in and conform that you are making yourself invisible?”

You can find Marianne at http://www.free-range-humans.com/