Community Over Competition

Design

“There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.” | Zig Ziglar

Wood Background

When we started this business a short time ago we learned very quickly that we aren’t the only ones in the game. We were just launching our message and already I felt drowned out by everyone else. Etsy, Shopify, and Instagram are for full of people who make hand-painted  reclaimed wood signs like us. And like everyone else who is insecure, I would size up the competition at every turn.

“Eww that’s ugly.”

“That looks like a third-grader did it.”

“I mean it looks nice, but they are charging way too much.”  

It was almost a little game to critique everyone’s work I saw. I know, it sounds awful, but what’s worse, it was fun. It made me laugh and made me feel better about my own work.

Here’s the thing though; It didn’t make my work any better. It didn’t get me any more sales or any more orders. It wasn’t constructive. When you don’t have a lot of spare time you realize anything that is not constructive can easily become destructive.

So I stopped.

Instead of looking at other people’s work with the critical eye of competition, I started looking at things through the welcoming lens of community.

I’d try to find something good in any work I saw and if I had a chance, I’d let the maker know I liked it.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s also is constructive. When you open yourself up to seeing other people’s work in a positive light you open yourself up to learn. You see new techniques, new setups, new ways to market products.

You also get more business. If you follow a business similar to your own, their followers will likely to do the same. They’ll see your work and explore your page. With increased traffic comes the higher likelihood of orders. It’s a win-win.

I still feel competition often breeds the best work, but the best place for it is with yourself. Compete against your own high standards. Compete against your own past works.

You have to decide to run the race like you are running against yourself and see everyone else as the crowd at the finish line.

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