We all tell the story we want other people to hear. When we write the “About Us” page, we talk about the things that will promote our business and showcase our credibility. But even if the “About Us” story is totally authentic, it’s never really the full story.
I talk to individual entrepreneurs every day. Everyone knows that entrepreneurship is hard, but we’re out there every day anyway – trying to show the world that we’ve got everything handled.
Other entrepreneurs read the advice and stories of others, and it seems like everyone else is further along. We compare ourselves to other business owners, so then we feel bad that we’re not doing all of those things the others are. And then, to put the pin in the cushion of our already precarious egos, someone comes along with unsolicited advice.
Reality Check: As an entrepreneur, are you being your true self?
Sure, sometimes we speak on panels or write articles about the struggle. We share memes like this one that I reshared months ago – but then we go back to trying to show our clients, our employees, and our investors that we’ve got it all under control. We know what we’re doing, we’re gaining traction, making money, and everything is fine. But even if all of those things are true, there are always more truths than just one.
We read their “About Us” stuff and we sometimes can’t help but compare ourselves – oh, they look further along the journey, we want to be like them too.
For every entrepreneur’s success story, there are thousands of other parts to it that we don’t know. Everybody is putting their best foot forward and that’s the only thing we see – whether it’s in their business website or social media pages. We want to put everything together in a shiny package because we want it to make sense.
So at the end of the day, it’s best to stop comparing your entrepreneurial journey to anyone else’s. What we see on the outside is probably not the same as what the actual reality is.
3 Reasons Why You Must Stop Comparing Yourself as an Entrepreneur
Here are three reasons why you should stop comparing yourself to other business owners and start ignoring your competition:
#1 Comparing doesn’t get you far
I wish we could stop comparing ourselves to other entrepreneurs. We hear the advice to stop comparing ourselves to others in life but then we’re taught that in business we need to learn the competition.
When entrepreneurs compare their business to other peoples’ businesses, it doesn’t help. Instead, it makes them anxious and worried. It makes them doubt themselves and it doesn’t make their business better.
I’ve literally seen entrepreneurs stop to a screeching halt when they started worrying about their competition. They overthink their business plans – thinking over and over again how they can set themselves apart from the competition. Usually, these entrepreneurs get stuck trying too hard, and the end result? Months of planning, but no action.
#2 You’ll lose sight of yourself and your company
Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s fun and that’s why we do it. No one is telling you to risk everything to start a business. You’re likely doing this because you want to. So do it the way you want. Learn from others when you can but be yourself!
Entrepreneurship is a true expression of creativity and individuality. When we compare ourselves to other entrepreneurs, we forget why we went into business. We hop on their journey and that makes us lose sight of our own unique value proposition. There is no way that you can be interesting and unique by trying to be like someone else. So say no to blandness and build your company according to you.
This is where core values come in. Core values are the heart of your company which most of the time, sets you apart from the competition. Your business’ core values should be embodied by all of your team members, plus should transcend to your marketing, operations, and customer service.
#3 You’re starting from scratch
Honestly, if you want to do something just like somebody else and you can’t find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or even a different set of core values, then maybe you should open a franchise. You’d have everything laid out for you, and maybe then you could directly compare yourself to other franchise owners because you’re building the same exact thing. There’s nothing wrong with owning a franchise, by the way, but I imagine it’s very different from founding your very own business from scratch.
Still, the beauty of entrepreneurship is working to see your vision come alive. If you have a vision that you truly believe in – and you sincerely believe that it would help others, then go for it. Ignore the competition, plan for your business and start the work. It’s best to get the right people on the bus to help you.
Don’t Stress Over the Competition
There is ample money and opportunity in the world. There are enough clients. The world will not run out of adopters, users, and customers. There will (almost) always be companies that are bigger than yours and companies that are smaller. As an entrepreneur, you get to build the business that you want and that fits who you are.
I realize that for some competitive people, competition is motivating. Some people like to get out of bed in the morning with the idea of crushing their competitors. If that’s you, then you do you. But if you’re like me and a lot of the entrepreneurs who I talk to, the benefits of comparison don’t outweigh the costs.
Here’s something to try: for one week, try to make no judgments – good or bad – about other people. When you find yourself judging, take note of it by writing down your thoughts. By doing this exercise, you will learn a lot about yourself, your habits, and how often you compare yourself to others.
Hi! I’m Diane Prince. I co-founded a company that we built from scratch to $50 million in six years and sold to a strategic buyer. I am a keynote speaker that talks and writes about building startups, founding businesses, and entrepreneurship. I share my perspective from my own experience from over 25 years building, scaling, and selling businesses.
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