The battle for originality and individuality…

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The battle for originality and individuality in blogging, business and media.

Creativity and innovation are not easy to come by.  Some are naturally gifted, unique ideas flow without much effort, or so it seems.  But with the the world wide web, can you be truly unique and/or original and is it possible to set yourself apart from the rest, even if it is just for a brief moment in time?  What exactly is originality?

orig·i·nal·i·ty
noun \?-?ri-j?-?na-l?-t?\

Definition of ORIGINALITY (according to Merriam-Webster)

  • the quality or state of being original
  • freshness of aspect, design, or style
  • the power of independent thought or constructive imagination

From my experience having been an online retailer I realized quick that your “admirers” a.k.a. competitors keep a close eye on everything you do, and you may do the same, in fact if you’re smart you WILL do the same.  For the most part they do it in private, they can read your pages, follow your blog, twitter, facebook, etc. and keep tabs on your every move.  They can even copy your every move if they really want to.  So after pouring over your new package deal or promotion or other new concept, they can essentially rewrite your idea and pretty much instantly begin competing against you using it.  Sad but true.

Aside from watermarking your photos, what can you do?  If you suspect someone of copying your content a little too closely then you can try and contact them, but do you really have time to look over everyone else’s sites and try to determine if they may or may no have copied you?  What good is that going to do you?

So what can you do?  In my opinion all you can do is keep moving, keep innovating and continue trying to outdo yourself.  While the feeling your being copied is discouraging, it’s not the end of the world.  I like to think that internet karma will prevail.

Essentially, to succeed in business, blogging and marketing online, whether you feel you’re being watched or not, you should live and work like you are.  Remain passionate about what you do, continue to challenge yourself, strive to be inventive and unique and although keeping an eye on the competition is important, don’t let it paralyze you.  Think you may have a copy cat?  Feel flattered.  No one wants to copy someone who they don’t think highly of.  If someone considers you their competition, their rival, then let it inspire you to keep moving in the direction you’re headed.

This is just my two cents.  What are your thoughts?  Ever felt like you’re being watched?

 

Is it better to act like a big fish or a little fish?

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This is a really interesting topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time.  When you’re a small business there are many types of customers whom you’d like to attract, and some you end up wishing you hadn’t…None the less, you need customers in order to succeed, unless you’re independently wealthy and your business is more of a hobby.

Since there are different types of customers you need to decide whether you want to specifically target one group and risk turning away another, or if you can figure out a common denominator that will allow you to attract them all.  Here’s my breakdown on the different types of customers out there.

Customer A: These are customers who take pride in supporting small businesses and actually seek them out.  They don’t mind spending an extra couple of bucks and usually they can afford to.  Once they find a business they like then you can expect them to become repeat customers.

Customer B: Customers who fall into this group also like to support small businesses but only really when they feel it works out, the price is right, etc.  The majority of the time they end up shopping elsewhere because for them it’s all about the end price, no matter how small the savings.

Customer C: Hmmm… Customer C is more of a hybrid customer, or maybe I should say they’re a High-Maintenance customer! lol  They want to support small businesses and they prefer to, but they also want you to act like you’re a big business and uphold the same sorts of policies and practices as the big businesses.

If Customer C were to shop online at big box retailer’s website for example, they’d just pay the advertised price, shipping, research the product themselves before they checkout and voila!

However, if Customer C were to shop at a small business for the same product they’d likely compare your price to the big box retailer’s price, check out your shipping prices and policies, and then email you with all their questions.  I think they might like to do this to ensure that you’re really there and because they like to make you work for their money.

Customer C isn’t really a problem customer and personally I prefer them over Customer B’s but they really make you work for your sale.  At least they give you an opportunity to earn their sale, that’s how I always looked at it.

Now I wonder, if you were to act like a big retailer or business, put up a facade implying that you’re a little bigger than you really are, would they question you as much?  This is the question to be examined.  How do you attract customers A, B and C while not turning one or the other away?

Well, if you’re still reading this then I hope I have you intrigued enough to look for my follow up post in the next couple of days.  For now it appears my inspiration has led me to end this question with another question!

Do you all wonder these same things?  Do you feel pressure to act larger than you are?  Do you ever feel like it’s better to appear smaller?  What are your thoughts?

About Me

about-me-slider
Welcome!

Thanks so much for visiting She Thinks Media. My name is Julie and I am a work-at-home mom to three crazy kids. My daughter is 7 and my twin sons are 4. In 2007 I opened my own retail website where I sold natural and eco-friendly items for moms and babies. I dealt primarily with online orders and since the start of my business I have had to learn how to take care of my own website and graphic design needs. Out of this I realized I have a passion for design and love helping other family owned businesses succeed. I believe that success online depends 100% on the product and business presentation through professional website design and marketing. Just as I wouldn’t shop for clothes inside a store that looked like a mess, I also wouldn’t shop online in a store that didn’t look like it took pride in it’s website and presentation.

There’s no job too small and no task too simple. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. I truly love helping small businesses achieve success and can customize any job to work within your budget, I even love bartering!

Why do I believe that supporting WAHM and Family run businesses is so important?

Not long after starting my business and creating my first website in 2007, I realized the importance of supporting other WAHM’S (work-at-home-moms) and other Small Businesses. The first few weeks, ok the first month, was really slow. The internet is a big place, they don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing, and it takes a while for your site to start showing up in searches,etc. Many times a day I’d check my email, “refresh” -no emails, “refresh” -no emails, “refresh” -no emails. It was depressing, all those dreams and ideas, all the inspiration, it was hard to keep my chin up and keep on keeping on. And then it happened, “refresh” -“A New Order Has Been Placed.” My first order, it was as if the clouds had parted, the angels sang out. The amount of the order didn’t matter, it was the fact that someone visited my site, my store, my baby…and made a real purchase!

You know what? Many years later, I still check my email way too often, and I still get that giddy feeling when I see that someone’s placed an order. The difference is that now I know how it feels to struggle, to have a dream, to own a small business, and I want to support others who are in the same boat as I am. I want my order to give some other wahm that excited feeling, I want to imagine them packaging my order with care while holding their babe on their hip. I want my $10-20-30+ dollars going into their bank account and contributing to their success. I want their dreams to come true just as I imagine and hope for my own dreams to become a reality. So, I hope that you’ll remember my little story and imagine the small business owners appreciation of your business next time you’re shopping for a gift or looking to make a purchase. You could be making someone’s day and not even know it!
stmjulie