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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One Thing

Design

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“I just haven’t decided what I want yet.”

It’s the thing we hear the most from potential customers. They’ve decided they’d like to order something, have a place picked out in their home, and they’re ready to put something there, they just can’t decide what it will be.

It’s a tough decision. There are several factors to consider. What will it say? What color? What size? What font? Not to mention the variety of items that can be made. In a little over a year, we alone have made over 400 signs. That’s not even taking into consideration the thousands of designs available on Pinterest and Instagram.

We’ve seen these factors and others hold potential customers back. The thing is, this isn’t just a small issue, it’s a documented occurrence in our culture. It’s called The Paradox of Choice. It’s a phenomenon studied by psychologist Barry Schwartz and it basically is summed up by the following:

We assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of choice overload: it can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run it can lead to decision-making paralysis.

It’s the difference of walking into a store trying to find a pair of jeans you’ll be happy with by going through a rack of 100 pairs or three pairs. It’s easier to find the one you like the best in a smaller rack.

The good news is that you can easily avoid this dilemma with one quick thought.

What are the most important things to me?

It may sound cliché, but it works. Is if your family? Is it your faith? Is it the fact that before you do anything else you really need coffee? Think of those things then let us do the rest.

If it’s your faith, tell us your favorite verse or the one you know you need to see everyday. If it’s your family, just think of what you want them to know. You can commemorate the day your family started with a sign and your wedding date.

And trust us, if there were a Bible verse about faith, family, and a cup of coffee, we would have made that one a long time ago.

The main thing is just think about what’s important to you. We’ll  walk you through different colors and sizes and fonts. That’s what we enjoy the most. We love helping our customers create something that’s just for them.

Think of one thing and let us find a way to say it.