You want to know my favorite thing about working in the digital economy? The internet makes it possible to connect with anyone, anywhere. That means you cannot possibly serve every potential client you can reach. For practical purposes, your pool of potential customers is endless because it’s no longer bound by physical location.
And that’s a very good thing, because it effectively kills aggressive competition. Think about it: with an infinite source of business (i.e., more customers than you could ever possibly serve all on your own), there’s enough for everyone.
You Can Start Collaborating and Still Succeed in Business
Traditional ways of doing business say to watch your competition with suspicion, and protect your products and ideas from the competitor. They might steal those ideas, become more profitable than you, and take away all your paying clients! They may cause you to fail!
This is an outdated way of thinking if you’re a freelancer, a solopreneur with a digital business, or even a professional trying to get ahead. And it’s just not true.
Again, we’re talking about infinite pie here. Everyone is welcome to take a slice all their own because of the sheer volume of people out there. Still not convinced? I regularly refer people to my “competitors” because I know someone else will be a better fit for that potential clients. And my “competitors” do the same for me.
You no longer need to feel fear, jealousy, or frustration when you think about other people doing the same job in the same industry. They are not a threat to your business or your side hustle.
If anything, they are assets that can share experiences, lessons learned, and advice to help you grow and find even more success. But only if you stop competing with them and start collaborating instead.
The Collaborative Power of Smart Women
Nothing proves this to me more than the women in the financial blogging space.
I started thinking about this earlier this month, when my friend and talented blogger, financial planner, and podcaster Shannon from Financially Blonde created a post to celebrate women she admires. She created an amazing movement in the financial blogging world last year with her Women’s Power Wednesdays series and I loved taking part in that. (Unfortunately, my 2014 WPW post was deleted due to a malware threat just weeks after I posted it.)
This year, she’s continuing the support of her fellow smart and talented ladies and encourages others to do the same.
This sort of collaborative project that shines a spotlight on people you admire — people who, arguably, could be seen as “competition” — is only possible we focus on collaborating together instead of jealously guarding our resources, client lists, ideas, and experiences.
As further proof, consider the photo above in this post. From left to right, that’s me, Melanie from Dear Debt, Cat from Budget Blonde, Erin from Journey to Saving, and Carrie from Careful Cents. We got together last year at FinCon as part of a Careful Cents team meetup.
We all had experience working for Carrie — but Erin and Melanie were also invaluable members of my own biz team and Cat was a fellow writer the freelance arena. And we all run blogs that produce financial content in one way or another.
I’m proud and honored to call these women friends and I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them. In fact, I continue to learn from them and grow because they inspire and help me today.
Do More with Your Work by Working Together
I can’t call out all the women who have helped me over the last few years as I’ve ventured into the world of blogging, freelance writing, marketing, and running an online business. Undoubtedly, as thorough as I may be I would leave a name off the list — that’s a testament to how long and full it is!
I can say that I never experienced the kind of friendship and kindness from other women that is present in the financial media space before I started writing and blogging. The women who constantly impress me with their business knowledge, inspired ideas, and spot-on thoughts about how to do more with money also blew me away by how willing they were to help, support, and encourage everyone else around them.
To each and every one of them, I’m channel my inner Leslie Knope on this Women’s Power Wednesday to say:
You’re wonderful, ladies. Thanks for inspiring me and for showing how much more successful we ALL are when we stop competing and start collaborating.