Episode 139: Being Inspired Without Being A Copycat: Know The Difference

Quick question — and you can be honest because no one is recording your answer — have you ever copied someone? If we are truly honest, ALL of us are guilty of being a copycat from time to time. 

I mean, it could be copying a favorite celebrity’s signature look. Or copying Joanna Gaines’ obsession with shiplap and shiplapping the heck out of walls all over your house or office. Or reading a blog post and feeling like you could do better so you rephrase it a bit and pass it off as your own. Or seeing a successful business owner and copying what they do because they’ve already got it all figured out, right? 

That’s what happened to me when I joined a high-end mastermind. I joined because the leader seemed to have everything figured out. She told me that she had a system that I could swipe and use in my own business and by copying her I would also find success. 

I fell for it. I thought if I copied her business model, her offers and her approach that I’d find success. Instead, what I found is that I’d lost myself. I’d lost everything that made me ME. 

And it didn’t work. At all. 

So even though I had swipe emails, even though I had mastermind coaches who re-designed my offers to look and feel more like that mentor’s, even though I followed her approach of going to events and speaking tours, I didn’t find ANY success. 

Because I was a third-rate copy of the original. 

The mastermind coach was a flaming extrovert. I’m a quieter ambivert. Too much engagement with people at event after event absolutely drains me of creativity and energy… whereas that was her fuel. 

I am a win-win type person. I’d never hard-sell someone into an offer. She’s a win at all costs type of person who proudly states that she will take your last dollar. 

But the worst part was that she had a clear and distinct message, while I was floundering trying to wordsmith a pithy sounding message that would stick. 

The reason she had a clear and distinct message was because she knew EXACTLY who she was. And she had no problem putting that into words. 

But I’d thrown everything about myself to the wind to copycat this successful person… and because of that, I lost my voice. Not literally, I mean, I could still talk. But I lost my grounding, confidence-giving message about who I was, who I helped and how I uniquely helped them. 

It was awful. 

In looking for a shortcut to success — or as that mastermind coach would always say “the FASTEST PATH TO CASH” — I actually found the best way to stall and almost bankrupt myself. 

And I don’t want you to go through that because it’s completely  confidence-stealing. 

Here’s the thing. In this world of business celebrities it’s so easy to feel like someone else has everything figured out. And they may or may not (you don’t know unless you get to see behind the scenes) but even if they DO have the formula to success, that’s their OWN formula. Not yours. Not mine. 

Here are three key things I learned as I was trying to ground myself and find my own voice again.  

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#1: Believe there’s a place for you (and me).

The first thing I had to do is believe there’s a place for me as ME. That my own unique experiences, skills and ways of working with people had a place. 

I had to BELIEVE that I was good enough — now — to help someone else. 

That may sound super simple, but I’ll tell you realizing that and saying it out loud was life changing. 

I did this exercise that I got from my coaching certification program called the “I’m Awesome List”. This is a super powerful exercise. Basically, you sit down and write out all the things you’re awesome at. For me, it’s usually really hard to get the first 20 or so on paper, and from there it’s easy to get 100+ things. 

And this can be anything you’re awesome at, not just business-related things.  

I challenge YOU to do it today. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just write everything down you’ve ever felt great at. Anything. Getting up early. Going to bed late. Taking a shower daily. Making a great cup of coffee. Writing a high school paper you were proud of. Running a mile. 

It doesn’t matter what you put down on paper, what matters more is how you start feeling about yourself.

Once you get into the groove, more things will come out. Things that have been hidden for awhile or that you downplay, but those may be the very things your audience will love about you once you let it out. 

Try it. I dare you.

#2: Use your OWN stories and experience.

I can’t remember who the speaker was that I heard this from years ago, but it’s stuck with me and has served me well.

One of the best ways to avoid being a copycat is to use what you’ve experienced and stories from your life in your teaching. It is powerful to first of all invite your audience to know more about you. It’s also a powerful way to be human and not so marketing-ish. (Yeah, I know that’s not a word but stick with me here…) 

So many things out there are formulas — even how people tell stories. There’s nothing wrong with a formula — PASO, PASOP and AIDA are some of my favorite ways to organize my thoughts and write — but I HAVE to bring my own flavor, my own personality and my own experiences to anything I share.

And so do you. Because you and I are enough RIGHT NOW. We don’t have to become anyone special to be good enough to share. 

Just make sure it’s YOUR story — not a made up or copied one. 

#3: Don’t be afraid to start small.

This was probably my biggest hangup in becoming a copycat. I didn’t want to be seen as small potatoes. 

I wanted to be a big name. I wanted the shortcut to skip over all the hard work of finding an audience, testing out products, finding my voice, learning the tech and creating a business. Instead, I wanted the fast track to success — shortcuts, templates, swipe files and all — to catapult me to  success. 

In case you didn’t know, that doesn’t work. AT ALL. 

It wasn’t until I really started testing and living my message that things started falling in place. It wasn’t until I was willing to show up messy and test out little tiny mini offers that the a-ha moments hit me. It wasn’t until I started doing my OWN foundational work (even if it meant selling a $7 PDF) that things started turning around for me. 

Which was the opposite of what my mastermind coach taught. She was all about signature offers and high ticket sales, while scoffing at the small stuff that was too much work for not enough money. 

But that work, I found, WAS my shortcut. That work is what helped me learn about my audience. That work is what helped me learn about how I help people. 

That work is what helped me lay the foundation for a business I truly love. 

So, no matter what you hear from the big names, don’t be afraid to start small. And starting small doesn’t mean you’ll stay small either. It’s just your starting point in creating a business, offer and message that is unique to you. 

And let me tell you — that path is 100% worth it. 

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time. I’ll show you how to attract a steady flow of buyers without all the hustle with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.

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