Lie. Cheat. Steal.
Want to learn my secret for growing an impactful brand with thousand of devoted followers? Then read on.
Do you want to know a secret?
A secret so big that it will completely change the way that you think about everything you've ever read, seen or heard?
All right then, I'll tell you:
Every idea you have ever heard has been stolen from someone else.
That's right-- EVERY IDEA you come across is either borrowed from someone else, remixed, or a mash up of multiple ideas repackaged to sound new.
That social media guru who claims to have a trademarked strategy for growing followers? Stolen.
The entrepreneur who said he/she developed a growth strategy on their own and have a patented method for doubling your sales in a month?
All of those 'overnight' success stories who claim they created a magical formula all on their own?
There is nothing new under the sun.
That means that everything you do has been done before, and probably better. No matter how hard you try, it is highly unlikely that you will invent something completely brand new in this wold, and everything you do for the rest of your life will have already been done by someone else.
Now before you go getting depressed, this is actually a good thing.
Why? Well first of all it takes the pressure off. You don't have to be a savant or a genius to start a successful business, write a best seller or launch an awe inspiring course.
All you need to do is be yourself.
Each person that you admire started out where you are: in research mode.
They followed public figures in their niche, researched popular brands and did their homework to understand exactly how to excel in their industry.
But what they did next is what differentiated them from everyone else in their field:
They leveraged their unique selling proposition.
Your unique selling proposition is that special quality that makes you you, and is your brand calling card. It is the individuality you bring to what you are selling that adds that special flavor to your product. So even though you are selling what hundreds of others are, the brand experience is different because you are an individual!
I will never forget that day in my Master's program when my professor told me that I'm not a PhD student and I'm not bringing anything new into the world of program design, so I should lie, cheat and steal. I can tell you with certainty, that was the #1 most important lesson I learned in my program, and it has transformed my approach to life.
You don't have to be an expert at what you are doing and you don't need to have the perfect resume to be an industry leader. The enemy of progress is perfection, meaning if you wait until you have the perfect resume/product/website to launch, you will never actually get anywhere!
Start where you're at and talk a big game. This is definitely my sales background coming out, but I firmly believe that you should create your positioning around how you want to be seen vs where you are actually at right now.
If you don't have all of the clients in the world. that's ok! When I first started consulting, I would volunteer or coach fellow business students, then use those experiences to get paid clients by demonstrating my VALUE.
When I interviewed for jobs in the tech industry, I would talk about the skills I am capable of even if I hadn't applied them all in past roles, because I didn't want my interviewer to be limited in their beliefs of my potential simply because it was too early for the evidence to prove what I know is true.
Wherever you are at in your journey, dream big and speak that vision out loud until it becomes reality. Act on it as if it is already true and don't let anything stop you from achieving your goals. Don't aim for perfect, aim for done, and pivot along the way as needed.
Then when your vision does come to life, dream of something else!
Everything you need or want already exists. If you are trying to build a brand, don't make your life harder than it needs to be.
If you want to create beautiful social media posts, branding for your product or a new course, find examples of what you like and what resonates with you, then recreate those examples with your unique selling proposition.
That could mean changing the colors, the tone, or mixing up elements of two brands to get what you like.
Never start from ground zero. It's way harder to create from scratch than to edit a finished product, so find something that already exists that resonates with you, then make it your own.
Why waste precious time trying to invent or create something brand new when you can take an idea that works and just improve upon it? Businesses do this ALL THE TIME. This strategy works.
When you put your unique spin on an existing product, it becomes BRAND new (new to your followers because of your branding.)
Whenever you think you're reading ground breaking content or looking at a revolutionary new product, I promise you, the formulators found something similar and then just tweaked it. This happens in the fashion, electronics, food and beauty industries every minute, and no one says anything because each idea is packaged in a unique way that speaks to that brand's elements.
So what are you obsessed with? What drives you? Leverage what's already out there to see what speaks to you, then make it known in your content! Speak to your unique quality and make it part of your USP. The little things that make you stand out will give your followers something to connect with that has little to do with what you actually sell. What you sell isn't unique, who you are and what your brand represents, IS.
And once you find what you USP is, inject it into everything you create, speak or do. It will be the unifying chord that ties together your brand strategy and allow you to scale infinitely, without having to create a single. new. idea.
Get inspired by brands that are doing it better than you! See who is doing what you want to do well, then figure out how to make it better, or tweak it for your industry.
You are a unique individual and your voice, perspective and experiences will make you communicate an idea in a completely different way from someone else, so it's ok to start with someone else's idea as long as you give it your unique spin.
This post was inspired by my time getting my MBA professor and a podcast from Jenna Kutcher. Am I writing it the exact way they would? No! Because I am a unique individual who has my own voice and my own approach to content recreation.
It's ok that I use other influencers, brands and campaigns to inspire me, as long as I lead with my USP, brand tone and brand voice.
Once you have that identified, creating content becomes a breeze because you have your own success formula that no one else can duplicate, even if they sell the same products/services as you.
Are you feeling inspired? I hope so!
This secret gave me a sense of freedom and lifted the burden of my expectations of greatness for myself, allowing me the space to find my unique voice and ease my journey of entrepreneurship.
I hope that it does the same for you! And remember, the goal here isn't for you to mimic someone else. It's to take the hard work out of ideation by focusing on how you can add value to that existing idea, and then flourish in your niche because of the amazing being that you are!
Make life easy for yourself by leveraging the work others have done so you can scale faster and more efficiently
Find your USP and use it to cut through the noise of all the voices in your industry
Take what works and then remix it in your voice, brand and tone, to create a new experience that consistently engage your following and allow you to showcase why you are amazing. Once you figure out your formula, repeat it!
Keep checking back in weekly to stay up to date on all the latest content, as well as to get inspired as you grow what you love. If you liked this post, please share it on your social media accounts, and leave a comment below! Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions, or are interested in working with me to help you build what you love.