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Should You Open The Kimono: 3 Ways To Deal With Industry Competition

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Have you ever felt torn when it comes to the idea of “competition?”

For example, how do you respond when someone in your industry asks you to open your business kimono — so to speak — and spill all of your hard-earned secrets?

While most of us know that there are more than enough customers, love, opportunities and success to go around, and we love to help others…

We also have the right to choose what we feel comfortable sharing, when and with whom.

Like most things in life, there’s not one right answer here. So much of it is about context.

But the real reason I wanted to tackle this question is because it’s something many of us secretly feel ashamed, conflicted and embarrassed about.

Especially if we’re on a spiritual path.

We worry that wanting to keep some things private makes us ultra-competitive, scarcity-minded, stingy, less enlightened or somehow a “bad” person.

Not true at all.

We shouldn’t make ourselves wrong for feeling how we feel.

And making a blanket statement that you should always do something or never do something fails to honor the nuances and complexity of life, as well as the wisdom of your intuition.

The good news is that when we’re not comfortable sharing (for whatever reason!) we can handle situations like this with kindness, honesty and class.

In today’s brand new MarieTV episode, learn three ways you can deal with curious competitors — specifically when you’re not comfortable opening your kimono.

When helping others, don’t look for a reward. If you’re looking for a reward, don’t help others. – Chinese Proverb via @marieforleo

**Muy importante: In this episode, I’m offering Jessica — a specific person who wrote in her question — a variety of ways to handle the situations when sharing doesn’t feel right to her.

I’m not saying YOU should or should not open your kimono, so to speak. You’ve got to respect your truth, always doing what feels best and most honest for you.

My sense is that you have a big heart and 99.9% of the time you love to be helpful and share everything you have with others.

And when and if you don’t — that’s OK too. Be able to honor where you’re at and respond to yourself, and others, with love.

Since this topic can be a toughie, I’d love to know how you deal with curious competitors. Do you ever feel guilty, torn, ashamed or stingy by keeping things to yourself?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

Thanks as always for reading, watching and sharing. You rock my world!

P.S. B-School 2014 early enrollment is happening now through September 23rd. We’ll send you the full scoop via email if you’re on the list here!

With love,

xox

Marie Forleo

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Read the comments or Add yours

Kristen the 20-Something Breakthrough Coach

Hot kimono, Marie!

This is a tough question – I don’t believe in true competition, since we all have our own unique way of offering products and services. But that doesn’t mean you should always be fully open with people who you intuitively don’t feel comfortable with. Great tips!

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Galina

I totally agree, Kristen! What I’ve learned from Bschool is that every business is unique just like we are!

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Emelia

Co-sign. Our uniqueness can’t be replicated.

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AsaS@22.COM

ASA

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Darlene with BlogBoldly

Galina.. If you don’t mind me asking.. is what you learned in B-school reflected in your current blog?

About competitors:

When I used to build houses, I was always free with the names of my sub-contractors and building tips. Once I married my husband, he asked why I’d hand over a golden list that took years to assimilate. It simply never occurred to me not to because I have this deep desire for everyone to get ahead..

Now that I build online businesses instead of houses.. :) ..the competition is different, but the heart is the same.

For me, I share practically everything with my peeps and if a direct competitor wanted the info, they could access by getting on my list.

But there are still “secrets” I don’t share because they’re too complex for beginners.. and most people wouldn’t have the tenacity to implement them, anyway. (I’ve been known to share those one on one,tho.)

I’ve recently started a new segment for my readers called Grand Blogger Showcase where I interview bloggers making $1000+ per month. It’s been amazing because the bloggers have been extraordinarily generous with their tips.. and it’s encouraging (and helpful) to someone not making consistent income, yet.

And I’ll say this about the Grand Blogger “shares”.. even tho almost anyone can implement the strategies, it doesn’t hurt the blogger who shared. So there is plenty we can share without giving away the farm, so to speak. :)

darlene

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Lisa Robbin Young

I think there’s a time and a place for generosity, just like there’s a time and a place to protect your interests. It takes courage to do both.

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Darlene with BlogBoldly

I 100% agree with you Lisa. It may not seem so from my comment, but there is a time for everything.

And I really like your view of it “It takes courage to do both” because I think it can be even harder to hold back sometimes.

darlene :)

Galina

Hi Darlene! Thank you for asking!
I hope it does reflect what I learned!)))
I think the most important thing for me is that Marie helps to overcome the fears I have. So I think it’s a mix of life coaching and business training.

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Darlene with BlogBoldly

Hi Galina!

Thanks for sharing..

You know, I used to think that pp mainly needed help with the technical aspects of online business.. and to a degree that’s true.. but fear.. ohmygosh.. fear cripples us more than any lack of knowledge, doesn’t it?

darlene

Jamie makes 30 Promises to Happy!

This really is a tough question… A close friend of mine got burned by this situation with a friend recently turned competitor. Even if it makes me mad when others willfully try to deceive or take your ideas without being open about it… I really do feel each and every person brings something special to the table… so try and let try! :)

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Jessica

That’s a great point, Kristen. From working style to just plain who we like to work with, there’s a lot less real competition out there than we think.

There’s lots of reasons not to be completely open, though. (For me, one of them is just plain not having time–if I answered all the questions I get from people who want to do what I do in the necessary detail… I get overwhelmed just thinking about it!) And that’s why I think your second part, about trusting your intuition is so dead on. It doesn’t matter if you’re just plain uncomfortable with someone, or if you think they could try to copy you… If you don’t want to share, you don’t have to.

Marie, I’m so glad you answered this one! I could have written this in myself a few years ago, and it’s a message I can pretty much always use a refresher on ;-). So it made it fun that the asker’s name was Jessica too.

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Shola | The Positivity Solution

I feel you on this, Kristen. I’m a very competitive guy, but I never really focus on competition in the traditional sense. I’m only trying to be a better dude than the guy I was yesterday. And for me, a huge part of being a “better dude” is being ruthlessly authentic (at least as much I can), because that makes it easier for me to not share things with people/businesses who I don’t completely resonate with. Keeping it real though, as a lifelong people-pleaser, the hardest, and best lesson, that I’ve learned (and am still learning) is being cool with saying “No.”

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Kristen the 20-Something Breakthrough Coach

I love that! “Be a better dude than I was yesterday.” THAT is what competition is really all about. And I’m with you on the people-pleaser thing – saying “No” is really uncomfortable, but sometimes it’s necessary, and it can feel like such a relief afterward!

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Vicky

Totally irrelevant but I love seeing guys in this community :)

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

100% true. But there are those sneaky people who want to make a quick buck on your years of hard work. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

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Katie Goode- Get Paid What You're Worth

Agreed! There’s enough for each of us and we’re all different in our own way :) One of my most successful business building strategies has always been refer to others frequently and often. Although, I am careful about making sure I’m referring/supporting someone who has the same abundance mindset. (I don’t refer to people who see everyone as “competition”).

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Jamie makes 30 Promises to Happy!

ditto! :)

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Galina

Hi Marie :) Thank you for this episode!
I think my competitors haven’t found me yet :)

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Galina

oh is it a bad thing?..
Because when there are competitors I think it actually shows that you are doing something right :)

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Soma Pradhan

I dare say you don’t have competition because people would rather work with you. What you do is absolutely inspiring and empowering, how could everyone not want to get on board? I’m sharing your website on my facebook, btw!

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Galina

Hi Soma! Thank you so much for saying that and for sharing my work on facebook! I’d love to connect with you!
I noticed that women who went through a lot are very generous and want to give back.
Also immigrant women, refugees and ethnic minorities have a huge potential to solve the problems in their communities. Because they know them so well!
One of my goals is to make sure they know about the business options they have to do so. That’s why I also interview founders of companies that successfully use entrepreneurship to improve the lives of women from disadvantaged countries and communities

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Mariah

Galina,

I’ve visited your website, and I love and support what you’re doing! You are such an inspiration for me this morning. Thanks, Galina!

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Galina

Hi Mariah,
Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words! I also went to your website! I like how vibrant it is!

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Mariah

As you mentioned, you have to respect your truth and always do what feels honest and good to you. Love this episode, Marie!

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Kathryn Bryant

I agree Marie and Mariah – it’s about doing what feel right to you and listening to your intuition.

It’s good to remember that we all need help and support at some point (especially when starting out) and being there to give someone something they need or encourage them, brings it’s own reward. However that is coming from a totally different place to the feeling that you are being taken advantage of.

As always Marie has come up with a variety of practical strategies to help us out. Thank you.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

I also couldn’t agree more. Even though I really do preach boundaries and keeping business business-y, sometimes I have that tug in my heart or gut that tells me to go for it because there will be other rewards that will pay off. I have a friend who is also a coach that I have mentored for the last few months. We have so much in common that she has become a great friend which is actually more valuable to me that some of the business secrets that I have given up to her more easily than I have with other people. That kind of interaction and tribe building feels good so I do it!

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Ms. Pillowz

Do I feel guilty? Absolutely not!

‘m usually ready to give a resounding hell to the m f’n naw, but there is a way to do it without being unprofessional or nasty.

It’s true that you should consult your intuition about it, because there may be certain cases where dealing with curious competitors could end with a great business relationship or collaboration of some kind, but that is not the case for everyone. You have to be able to make the distinction.

Marie’s tips were spot on, as usual. I especially like having an FAQ page. It’s a great way to taper the amount of questions that you are asked.

Another thing to consider, if enough people, competitors included, are asking you for your business expertise, maybe you should consider creating a course. That’s what I decided to do. :-) Food for thought… Have a great day everyone!!

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Kim

I try to think about where I’d be right now if it weren’t for some amazing mentors that helped me along the way.

I give to people that need me as a way of giving back to the great mentors that gave to me.

That way I feel great about what + who I’m giving too!

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Emelia

Great question and great answers. Two big takeaways/reinforcements for me:

#1. There is infinite power in saying “no.” It’s allowed. It’s my right. If it doesn’t feel right intuitively, no need to question myself any further.

#2. Nobody owes me anything for what I have done. If I give with expectation, it’s not truly giving. Unless there is an explicit arrangement, expect nothing.

Thanks for the reminders, Marie.

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Caroline Frenette Intuitive Leadership Coach

The beauty of owning my own business is that it’s my own business (!!) and I make the rules. I share my expertise with a few select peeps that are part of my Master Mind or part of my mentorship program.

Wanna know the secret to my success? With pleasure!
I have created a mentorship program where I will share my expertise so that you can create a successful & thriving business as well.

The key? We’ll playfully tap into your creativity (and my expertise) to find your own unique voice (we won’t be copying competitors no, no.)

Bottom line, brining value & sharing your expertise is FANTASTIC if it honours your value as well.

XO

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

I love this Caroline. You took the inquiries and ran with it. You created your own program out of it! Awesome!

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Leo

Well I just try to choose the information that I can share – if I feel that is sensitive information, then i do not share it at all. After all, I am bound by an NDA with the company I work for. I get away with the conversation either by talking in general terms, or I right away say that I cannot share the said information, then I try to talk about something else – something more about the industry in general.

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Jessica Weagle

Oh Boy this is so me ! And I am working on not giving away the farm ! And I am a work in progress in just saying no.

I have had to stop myself many times to not offer help.

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Erin Giles

Love the metaphor here Marie! In my business it’s natural to give…since that’s what I do is all about…BUT you have to remember not everyone is asking for the right reasons. I help people who are my competitors, as well as collaborate (although there aren’t a ton) but yet I’m close to keep an eye on someone who isn’t 100% aware of who they are and what their business is all about yet.

Thanks for the great vid!

xo,
Erin

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Rebecca Fraser-Thill

Implementation is more important to success than is information. So I say share information freely, and then trust that the ways in which we each implement based on the same information will set us apart.

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webly

I agree Rebecca, we always get what we put out and the best thing is not expecting anything from the person we are helping. It will come back to us one way or the other.

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webly

I got burned so many times helping others and sharing some of my secrets with them that I stopped counting and stopped sharing with the wrong people. One of the people I shared with actually took a job away from me. I confronted her in a classy way how wrong it was and left it at that (what she does is her karma, what I do is my karma).
As women we have this six sense antenna that comes out whenever we feel someone if fishing to just take from you.
I don’t let those bad experiences change who I am but I had to take accountability for allowing myself to repeat that mistake more than once. Now I look to surround myself with people who are doing what I would like to do and follow them. I am willing to pay to learn from them because I understand they put hard work into what they are doing. Besides I find the real successful people are happy to share and don’t really care what you do after.
I am now happy to share but this time I don’t expect anything in return also what I don’t want to share I just say that it’s part of my work and I charge for it.

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Clare Bowditch

Marie,

That was a great video, and what also really impresses me is the LEVEL OF OOMPH YOU PUT IN.

There’s only one Marie!

Thank you,

CB xxx

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Natalie MacNeil

Totally agree with having an FAQ! I also have “personal policies” for myself to help me make easier decisions about where I draw the line on sharing.

I have a few blog posts that contain answers to questions people commonly ask, and more details about some of these personal policies. “Oh, you want to have a coffee with me to ‘pick my brain?’ My personal policy on that is in this blog post post: [insert url here].”

Or this was one of my favorites… “You want a copy of the killer business plan and pitch I wrote that won me a big competition and secured my investment deal? I don’t share that information, here’s why: [insert url here].”

There are also many times when I wholeheartedly share my secrets and experiences with others, especially the people who work with me through my products and services. The thing is I absolutely love sharing and helping other people grow, it just has to be the right person. Great episode, love the kimono!

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

I love the idea of having personal policies for yourself – things that no one else sees but it keeps you accountable! And to boot, you share the reasons in your blog posts too!

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Laura

Wonderful episode Marie! In my industry I am constantly asked by people to share my ideas and experience. I choose carefully the people I decide to help and it has nothing to do with geography (I am in the personal services business) but everything to do with their approach. If they feel entitled to pick my brain, you know that gets them nowhere!!

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Abby Wynne

This is great, but I’d like to re-iterate what you say at the end of the video – “the world needs that special gift that only you have.” I agree with that, and for this reason I don’t believe I have any competition!
This frees me up considerably, maybe it could free up a few people here too.
What’s my issue? – How much do I give away for free? And let me tell you, you’ve got some great ways to say “No” here, and I trust my gut instinct to tell me when enough said is enough said and a No is what I need to say.
Keep doing what you do, loving getting to know your work!
Namaste,
Abby

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Galina

Hi Abby! I agree…I have a friend who gives out most of the information he has and people still buy coaching sessions with him. Even though it’s practically the same stuff he writes about on his blog. He says it’s important to his clients to “experience” his personality one on one.

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PollyAnna

I totally understand the issues raised in this video, which is epic! I get questions a lot from people wanting to get free readings, free mentoring, or wanting to know the details on the scripts and books I’m writing. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell people no, but I find I’m getting much better at it. When it comes to my writing, I generally say something like, “Thank you so much for your interest and support. It means a lot to me. I’m not giving out the details of the story right now, but when it’s ready to be published/released, I will definitely let you know.” When it comes to other things, like people trying to get free services or insights, I will say something like, “I’m very grateful that you appreciate the work that I do. It would be an honor to work with you. Visit my website (insert web address here) to see my list of offers and prices.”

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Lasse Bauer

For me that´s pretty simple:
If it makes sense for your own business, tell them everything!
And here´s why:
No matter how much time and energy you spend telling others your trade secrets, there is a helluva difference between RECEIVING the information, and actually USING it. No matter how much you tell them, they will only grasp a small portion of your experiences and learnings.
They simply will not be able to absorb it all, no matter how amazing your info is.
And while they spend time understanding and digesting what you learned in the past, you have moved on with new experiences and new learnings – and hence they will be (yet again) left in the rear view mirror.

It´s the same philosophy that they use when it comes to open source computer coding: Be open about your work, because at the end of the day YOU are the original source of experience, learnings and information…so who do you think has the edge, and who do you think people will turn to for more info?

Lasse :o)

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Gemma

Love this, Lasse – very well said! Most people will only hear what they *think* they need to know.

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Stefanie

AMEN! I was just going to say information will only get you so far…. its all the work and what you do with that information that matters. Many arent ready or want to put all that information to work, no quick rich schemes here!

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Rebecca Tracey

SUCH a good topic. I find it helps to have a list of resources where I can send people to get the info they are looking for. If someone wants to know how to grow their list, I send them my affiliate link to a great list building program. If someone wants to know how to get clients, I send them to my paid Coaching Business Jumpstart program. And if someone wants to know how to make a website, I send them to my free video.

It feels great to have a long list of great referrals, and takes the onus off me to have to tell them everything that took me 2 years to build up!

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Galina

awesome, Rebecca…so you basically can use their questions to create new products and services!

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Tanya

Omg Marie this was spot on! In addition to my jewelry business I am starting my consulting business. A newbie jeweler started asking a few questions which I was happy to answer. After a while they said I am so happy to have found you! You can help mentor me and share your wisdom and advice! I did respond that I am coming out with just such a program to help newbie fashionistas who wish to create a line of clothing or jewelry get started. Sourcing factories and trims. Helping them navigate the landscape etc..I then told her I would be offering free 20 minute phone consultations. She is on my waiting list (as the program is currently being worked on).

:)

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Steve Freeman

Marie,
As always you have great answers to hard questions. I am always looking for ways to collaborate with those that service parts of my niche. I believe that by working together creates a synergy that I cannot find working by myself.
I’ve yet to find someone I don’t want to share with.
Steve

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Jessica

Marie it was like you are talking to me, name and all! I have had a bunch of beginner photographers approach me for information about how I am running my business. I started out helping but learned quickly it was not beneficial to my business to share with anyone local.

I do belong to a private small online group of photog sisters that all share & raise each other up. Finding the right network is key. I know that has helped me continue to grow in my field while others business have hit a stand still.

Thank you for today’s q &a it reminds me it’s not personal just business I can say no. I will be working on a FAQ page in the future that idea is terrific!

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Lauren

Totally agree. I belong to a closed Facebook group of other RDs & a few listservs to bounce ideas off each other & share business ideas, new research, and more. I don’t view them as competitors, but we’re more like professionals who can work together to better our careers & businesses. I actually found Marie’s site from one of the girls posting in the group. Networking is so fun & essential!

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Erin

Great video! I’m ALWAYS being asked all sorts of questions about how I run my web design business. I’ve started answering questions on my personal blog, and even created a few resource pages for both running a small business and web designers (my “competitors”) so that I spend less time answering the same questions over and over via email. I think my next step is going to be an e-book with all the dirt on running my business!

If anyone wants to check out my resource pages, you can find them here:
http://www.erineflynn.com/resources-small-business-owners/
http://www.erineflynn.com/resources-web-designers/
Hope they’re helpful! =D

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Annakelly

Great advice and so timely. It is about give and take. I find it is a balance of supporting my peers verses “giving away the store” so to speak. I own a custom drapery design and sewing studio. Not only am I constantly asked how did I ever learn how to sew but how did turn it into a business. I often get asked about techniques and sources. I often direct them to Custom Home Furnishings Academy, Charlotte NC. This is where my adventure into world of custom draperies began.
thanks for sharing…………………

Invest in yourself……..it is all worth it.

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Sofia

Great topic, and I’m loving all the awesome comments! I definitely think you should keep whatever you want to for yourself, that is UNLESS someone is paying you to share it.

I can’t help but to think of some of the conferences I’ve been to in the past where I was stunned by how little useful information the speakers were sharing.

I know I wasn’t the only one feeling as though the speakers were only revealing as much as they “had to”, keeping the information that would actually be useful and truly helpful to their audience to themselves…

Balance is key!

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Natalie Sisson

I take a very open and transparent nature with everyone – especially my community which I know contains people who’d like to do what I do, or potentially already does have similar product or sevice offerings.

I’ve found it’s really served me well to open up on how I run my business and the strategies I’ve used to do this. People really appreciate how generous I am with my knowledge and as a result I gain more clients and customers this way.

I see most competitors as potential partners actually and have happily promoted people who are in the same niche as me of location independence and running an online business. That’s because I’m my own unique brand and that’s not `stealable’.

But of course there should be competition in my niche as that proves there is a niche and customers too.

What I don’t like is people who just email asking you how to start a business like mine and what they should do – that whole free advice thing. For that I direct them to my start page on my blog where I detail out key resources and great articles they can dig into to give them the answers.

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Lori-Ann Wells

Life is so not about money, gave everything away including my car. Moved away from family/friends. Started all over again. I awoke[see attachment} Rented a place furnished got a used car. I have NO debt, except usual. No charge cards etc I live in the moment giving away is about freedom from yourself and things and for yourself spiritually. Faith is knowing that you can give it all away including your ideas and knowing all is well. It was between you and god not you and them. I AM………..
The Awakening….
A time comes in your life when you finally get it…
….when a midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the VOICE inside your head/Soul/ your heart cries out ENOUGH!
Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then like a child quieting down from a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is YOUR awakening.
You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change.
You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of
“happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process of a sense of new serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not prefect and not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of what you are or how you think.. Especially your family. And that is OK !
They are entitled to their opinion.
You learn to love and champion yourself….
And in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop blaming and complaining of what others have done to you. And the only thing you can count on is the unexpected. People don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say. And not everyone will always be there for you and everything isn’t always about you.
So you learn to stand on your own two feet and take care of yourself.
You stop judging others and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as the are and overlook their short comings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment
is born of forgiveness.
You begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view.. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought to begin with.
You learn the that principals such as honesty and integrity are not outdated, but the mortar of the foundation that holds us together. You learn that you don’t know everything, not your job to save the world, and you can’t teach pigs to sing!
The only cross to bear is the one you have choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then …..you learn about love…its two sided not one…..you look at relationships as they are,
not how you want them to be.
You also stop putting your feelings aside and learn to say NO. How you feel is important.
You learn that you get in life what you deserve, and much of life is a truth self-filling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and wishing for something to happen is different then working toward making it happen…
More importantly you realize no one can do it alone and asking for help is OK !
You learn the only thing to fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens, you can handle it . And to give fear away for the right to live your life and not squander it. You learn life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you want or what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to good people.
And sometimes letting go instead of holding on is freedom of and for yourself and those you love.
And you learn not to take it personally. You learn that no one is punishing you and everything isn’t always someone’s fault. Its just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong to build bridges instead of breaking them down.
You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, that millions around the world can only dream of, food, clean running water, a warm soft bed, a long hot shower, a job.
THEN …YOU BEGIN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF BY YOURSELF AND YOU MAKE YOURSELF A PROMISE TO NEVER BETRAY YOURSELF AND TO NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOUR HEARTS DESIRE. YOU MAKE IT A POINT TO KEEP SMILING TO KEEP TRUSTING AND TO STAY OPEN TO EVERY WONDERFUL POSSIBILITY. AND EVERYDAY BECOME JUST A LITTLE BETTER PERSON THAN THE DAY BEFORE. JUST A LITTLE KINDER, JUST A LITTLE MORE PATIENT, JUST A LITTLE MORE FRIENDLY…JUST LISTEN A LITTLE BETTER.
BREATHE IN SLOWLY AND OUT SLOWLY, HANG A WIND CHIME AND HERE THE WIND BLOW.. LOVE YOURSELF DAILY, ALL IS WELL.
WE ARE ALL THE SAME “ HUMAN BEINGS”……………

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Nathalie Lussier

I have to say that this hasn’t happened to me very much because of the consulting packages I’ve had in place.

The other missing piece here is to surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart, and I feel like I’ve been blessed with many of those people in my life.

If I do get a weird vibe from someone, it’s usually a matter of trusting my intuition and not sharing. Once I’ve got my inner knowing, it’s way easier to move forward. The hardest place to operate from is the “should I or shouldn’t I?” spot, because then things just get murky.

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Ritu

Nathalie, thanks for the reminder on trusting your intuition! It’s the best guide and takes you out of the horrible place of “I should but I don’t want to” as you said. I’ll remember that one :) x Ritu

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Vicky

Totally agree with you Nathalie- your intuition is so key when it comes to sharing biz info. If you sense that someone isn’t quite the person to share info with it’s often best to not share it. I’ve personally found that trusting my intuition always trumps trusting my thoughts.

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Ritu of The Lifester

Solid tips here, thanks Marie! Here is what I do when people want to peek under my bonnet:

- I’m sure my strategy for ___ isn’t too different from yours. What do you do? I bet it’s the same.
- It took a lot of thought to get there and I couldn’t give you the play by play even if I tried! But to summarize, I did (a few words in summary of what I did)

Hope this helps! xo Ritu

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Tracy - Professional Fire Starter at Ignite Your Life

I love this post! As someone who is just getting going on my current business I haven’t encountered this challenge quite yet. However I have encountered it in the past with other things I’ve worked on. I’ve been caught in the past between wanting to be generous and feeling taken advantage of.

I’ve leaned that following my intuition is the ticket. Pairing that with your great tips and strategies really gives me the sense I can be gracious, manage my time and my expertise, and be at choice with how and who I partner with. Love it – Thanks

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Kristi

Marie,

Another great video!

I’m a fashion designer (self-taught). The fashion business is NOT traditionally the most open and friendly – people don’t want to tell you where they buy their fabric, who is creating / manufacturing their designs because there is this fear that people will ‘steal’ and there will be a lack.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to interact with many in the industry who are NOT like this, so I feel like it’s my duty to pay it forward as well. While I won’t share patterns or obvious intellectual capital, I’m happy to discuss my strategies and what I’m doing – what’s working/what’s not.

Keep the good karma flowing!

Cheers,
KS
encircled.ca

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Liz

Marie, you crack me up. I love Q&A Tuesday. This one was extra funny and useful! Thanks, doll! XO

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Melody

What if that competitor enlists a “potential client” to get some of that information from you….what do you suggest then?

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Ina Sahaja - Embodied Sanskrit for Yoga

really good question! sneaky petes!

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Katie Lee

This is so timely! As I’m working with more and more clients (female entrepreneurs) I’m noticing that they are all asking me for my story or how I did it. I’m finding it tricky to share just enough of my story without giving too much away.

I’m going to craft my story ahead of time so I know exactly what I’m comfortable sharing before being put on the spot.

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maureen

Excellent idea!

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justine

your videos are becoming funnier & funnier!

while I’m still laughing, I also have a bitter memory when it comes to sharing info. In my case to the wrong person really,
to keep it short, this is the story:

one of my dear friends called me one day, she has a shop where she sells my jewelry, and she asked me about the techniques I use for my jewelry, she had really detailed questions and I don’t know what I was thinking but I told her EVERYTHING, a couple of weeks later I accidently saw a picture online of jewelry that looked pretty damn good like mine & I decided to check it out, just to find out shewasbehind it, she had copied an entire collection AND apart from selling the same stuff (secretly) online, she also had the copied stuff in her Brick & Mortar shop. The quality was aweful and my clients started asking me questions. I did not expect that from a friend that close to me at all! I didn’t see it coming, I was hurt & confused. I lost a good friend in that battle. And now I’m extremely cautious of what I tell to who. My husband & I set up a list of certain techniques we will never share (mostly things we had to find out for ourselves the hard way) and then other things that are share-able….. and that, has worked very well for us.

I also accepted that there will always be copycats. The bigger your brand the more copycats around, it keeps me motivated to design new collections and offer a better service every single day!

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maureen

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Next time just wink, smile and say “Sorry, trade secret.”

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Joanna

Justine, copycatting is a form of compliment ..we don’ t want to receive. Your jewerly is so pretty and unique !

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maureen

One day I was completely floored when another massage therapist left me a voicemail saying she was opening a business in the building next to mine and had a few questions for me. She needed to write a business proposal and wanted to know how many clients I had a week, what I charged and what I made for income month and year. Also, did I have any tips on how she could market to the people in our business complex. Amazing, no?!
I told her that I felt that my finances were personal information and were nobody’s business but my own. I did tell her that I felt she was completely out of line to ask this of another business person, whether they be a friend or not.
Being honest… if you wish to share any info on your business, then go ahead and do so. If not, just explain that you are uncomfortable with doing so but maybe someone else would be. You don’t need to explain yourself any further than that. **Also, there is a lot of info they can get from professional organizations that are focused on providing this service to businesses. Like yours truly, Ms. Marie!

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Sandy: Adventures of being a Woman

Oh boy! Yep, others have peeped inside the kimono only to run off with my ideas and never contact me again. I’ve learned the hard way. But in the end it doesn’t even matter. I continue to be original by being myself. I stand by my material and work.

Others however may copy or use me, but that’s their karma. I will follow my instinct and only share with those who truly care.

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Larry

I have been a relatively successful Mortgage Broker for the past 17 years. And as crazy as it sounds, I don’t want to know what my competition does. I would certainly never ask them. How lazy would that be?? How disrespectfull would that be?? We should all do our own research…seek out our own mentors…be creative…try new things….fail a bunch…and then keep rolling. There are enough consultants, advisors, mentors and such to keep us all busy with new strategies.

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Kimberly Cain

Sometimes what we see as competition may be admiration. It can also be an indication of suffering. People don’t always present, on the surface, what is really happening on the inside.

Saying “no” is absolutely acceptable, but when I find myself in a reactionary mode, it is often appropriate to “feel into” the situation – or use my intuitive skills, as Marie says. The person asking for your “secrets” may actually be saying, “I wish I could be more like you” or “I need someone to help me succeed”. This can be an awesome opportunity to create healing by seeing/hearing/feeling more than is being said & responding in a way that validates & honors the other person. You can do that while still keeping the goodies in your jar! They can’t really use your goodies the way you use them anyway.

I am completely convinced that our primary job in this life is to learn to love more…& more…& more. (And yes, saying “no” is also a part of loving ourselves & others).

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Ana

So much wisdom in what you said Kimberly… Thanks!

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Christine Matteson

Such a great video! A delicate topic handled with charming wit with great advice! Love it!

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Joanna

In my previous business, real estate, in times when i was doing very well regardless of economy, i had new agents asking what to do. I had lazy agents copying / stealing ideas and content from my website. I actually shared what we thought was most effective, and shared what big successful agents taught us…. And you know what? They didn’t go to be a successful agents… Why? Because some people dont want to do the hard work, dont want to put so many hours into this work and in case of certain key ideas they decided they dont make sense and they know better. So i didnt lose anything in this case. Now in area of my new expertise i decided to keep the advice to 3 concepts. If they ask specific questions , i can always say: “it depends”.

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Julieta

I have learned from the beginning, in the lenses business, that we all are competitors and we all need each other. One of my roles inside the lens lab is to take care of our customers, and this puts me in a very awkward position.

My daily job is to be an Optometrist in Ópticas Metro, the biggest customer of the Lab, but I also have to visit other optics that are clients of the lab. I visit them because they are key accounts, so basically I provide them with marketing (POP), information of products, services, how to deal with customer and I also help them with difficult cases.

What do I do with those 2 hats? Well, very simple. I play with them, always trying to be in equilibrium: give generously and if I have to say no, I say it.

Like Marie said, it is very important to share without expecting a return. and if you feel that they are picking your brain in a mean way, just say no next time.

I had to ask for help to some of my competitors, ’cause sometimes sh*t happens, and they responded with a smile, so there is good people in the world.

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Heidi Nicole, Life Coach

Hi Everyone,

I often have inquiries from other coaches wondering where I trained, how I got started and to have a “look” at my materials. Marie is bang-on! These things have taken me years to create and perfect. I am not going to just give them away. I have discussed with many times with one of my coach colleagues (and she’s a friend!). Together we have drawn up some pretty clear boundaries around what we’re willing to share to support our industry and develop our community, and what we’re not. I have only said it a couple of times but when people push me too far I’ll say something like, “There is only so much that I’m willing to give away, but you know, I have coached other women to become coaches themselves! I’d love to discuss setting up a more formal coaching session for you”. Definitely a difficult conversation but it does get easier with time. The more you get burned, the tougher your skin gets.

Heidi xx

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Amandine Ali Khan

Very nice subject today !
I always give all the informations I’m asked, because I am very confident that everyone is unique and we will never have the same persons as clients. Even with the same process and tools, we will make something very different, and will attract other people. I give everything, except when i don’t feel it (especially when the person has a bad vibe, a bad energy or bad intention).

Thanks Marie !

Much Love
Amandine from Paris :-)

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Dawn Gluskin

Cute kimono, Marie. :)

Very classy and practical advice on diverting from giving away your special sauce when somebody outright ask for it. It’s important to only give what you are comfortable sharing.

When my tech company was booming, we had several competitors “stalking” our page – even a couple who re-used our copy with just switching a few words around & one even had the gall to use our actual tag-line (which we paid some beaucoup bucks to a creative agency to come up with!!). While it really bothered me at first, I had to come with terms that when you put everything out into the public, and especially if you are doing well – people are going to want to copy you. Now, when it came to the actually copyright and intellectual property infringement, we had to get our lawyer involved (because that is just a big no-no). But, with competitors being “inspired” by your work, it is best to take it in stride & as a compliment. Because everybody looks elsewhere for ideas & inspiration. Plus, if the tides turn & you are no longer doing well, nobody is going to want to copy you. So, count the blessings!!

Love ya, Marie!! :)

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Ina Sahaja - Embodied Sanskrit for Yoga

countin’ ‘em! thanks <3

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Dawn Gluskin

Nice! XO, Ina :)

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Su

Marie –

I love your tuesday q’s! Quick question, where did you buy your dress? I love it!

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Elsa Isaac

Hi Su!

Marie dress in this video is from Asos.com

xx,
Elsa

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Su

Thank YoU!

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Shana LaFore

Ooooh! LOVE this! I am by nature a “helper”. I’m a teacher and mentor and when competitors are curious about how I do what I do, my first reaction is to just spill it. I really resonate with what you said about trusting your intuition. Plus, just listening to questions from a place of being tuned in to the “why” behind the question makes a huge difference in what your answers are. I can still answer the question without giving away the whole shebang. Also it really helps to remember that no one can do what I do EXACTLY the same way I do it. Its like this, I can give away my grandma’s recipe for her famous tomato sauce, but no one will ever make it like nanna. ;)

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Alison

WOW. I am dealing with this right now. I agree that helping without expectation is important. But in some businesses there is definite value to setting up referral relationships. I believe it depends on the business. And if you don’t set up those parameters initially, you certainly cannot expect anything in return. BUT! I totally think it is an option for a business owner to align with certain people and work out a referral relationship.

The conversation needs to be clear. If it’s not clear, then you run into issues.

In the same vein, having boundaries is a direct reflection on how seriously you take yourself and your business. No boundaries typically means that you don’t place value on what you are bringing to the table. So, running a fact check on what you are giving and just trusting it at face value can help to identify the boundaries you need to set.

I think women can get into a pattern of seeing what others have and what they don’t have…but they cannot step back and view it from another person’s perspective to see what THEY bring to the table.

Men seem to be able to see this naturally.

Just my two…or three cents.

Great info. Great food for thought.

Alison

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Joanne

This is a delicious answer, I reap value from it..thank u for sharing

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Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady

I love sharing info with my peers but have had to learn some discretion due to a few ne’er do well biters who were trying to swipe my swag. Since then, when a “brain picker” shows up at my door, I direct them to some of the free info that I have already out there – and remind them of the consulting sessions I offer. This approach is saving my sanity and creating healthy boundaries.

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Erin

This was really helpful, as always!

I have one friend who continually does this. We both work in illustration, and have a lot of mutual friends. A few friends and I had planned to go to a convention to visually scope out what was working for artists there, and maybe what was missing that we could bring to the table, should we apply to be a part next year.

Despite knowing the money and time involved in attending, this friend said, “Hey, can you guys just go and bring me back all the intel?” (Yes, you heard that right. That’s verbatim. How rude!)

A mutual friend who had seen this go down and I discussed what we would do and were faced with the same dilemma: we want to be good friends (and good people), but didn’t think it was fair for us to do all of the work while he just sat on his rosey-reds and waited for us to report back.

In the end, 2 things happened:
1. We decided to give a cliff-notes version, but be very selective and general in the details.
2. This moochy-moochy friend ended up pulling more drama and has shown his true colours to our entire friend group. Welp.

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Joanne

It sounds like you handled the situation as best as you could!! People will show their true colors!!! And to quote Michelle Tanner… HOW RUDE… That. Dude needs a reality check..geshh

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Erin

Thanks Joanne. And haha, I love quoting Michelle Tanner… classic.

And yea, I don’t want to wish him ill, but he’s fresher in the industry and I think doesn’t always know how to handle situations. This one in particular wasn’t malicious in intent, I just don’t think he realized how his request came off.

Since then though, many of us have decided to quietly begin stepping away from our relationship with him, as it’s become a habit.

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Joanne

In my line of work (garments – hard goods) people don’t really ask for trade secrets as much as they try to acquire your hard earned supplier contacts. It kind of follows a chain of command… the suppliers get grumpy if you aren’t selective about who you provide info to…and they will let you know. So I as my self WWMST (what would my supplier think)..lol.. It’s easy to say know if sharing your contact info is going to put u in the doghouse. Lol. If there are people asking for my trade secrets, I direct them to a particularly good “how to book” and tell them once they have read it, Im happy to sit down and chat.

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Joanne

P.s. I really need to figure out how to turn off auto correct on my ipad :/

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Francisca Pineda

Joanne, I also manufacture, and people always want to know who my factory is. My factory contact told me to never connect them to anyone without a successful track record in the industry, she’s very busy, so I just say “I get asked this all the time, but unfortunately my factory is very busy right now and has asked me to keep their contact info private.” One person I said this to actually wrote a negative review about one of my design details on a site that I sell at (for a product she never purchased), AND she still contacts me to connect. Psycho! Imagine if I had introduced her to the factory, not worth it unless you really know someone very well.

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Erin

That’s a good idea! I should start directing to How-to books, there are a lot of good ones in my industry (illustration) that many people know of, but don’t buy and read ;)

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Michelle

Wow. Marie, you have articulated this issue so, so, soooo incredibly well. Thank you for the amazing tips!

Regarding how I deal with this, I have found that being prepared with a response is a life saver. This is especially true with in-person interactions, when I don’t have time to think and prepare an answer.

Also, what I am willing to reveal changes on a case-by-case basis. As you mentioned, there is an instinctual component that is involved. Intuitively, I get a sense of what, how much, and with whom I will share. Sometimes, it feels right to divulge nearly everything… because intuitively, it feels like the right person/time/situation to do so. Other times, the opposite may be true.

So, by developing my intuition, this (and so many other issues) have become much easier to handle, as if I can “flow” with the moment better and make the right call… and even if someone may be considered “competition”, when I think about the greater good, it always makes me feel better knowing that value is being added to the world.

The hardest part is finding that middle ground, where fear/ego/self-love/boundaries/generosity are all in balance. Tricky… but thanks to your awesome video and post, I have yet another tool to draw upon.

THANK YOU!

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Nyk Danu

Yay! Thank you for making me laugh every Tues AM! I have no problem sharing with others in my field & hopefully I’ll never regret that :-). However I am only likely to publicly share what I have already done, not what I am currently brainstorming or working on. Only my friends and business Bestie get to hear about things while they are in dream and create mode. I have also found that sometimes ladies are asking me questions (in my field or others) because they are lacking the ability to hold themselves accountable, don’t have the trust in themselves or don’t want to invest the time learning. If those cases I don’t share much. Unless I can tell they are ready to act, otherwise they are just wasting both of our time.

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andrea scher

You just totally rocked my world with this one Marie.

Thank you!

You’re wise + hilarious. What a blessed combo!
andrea

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Teresa

Great vid. Really appreciate you bringing this forward.
I’ve helped so many people with tons of tips and insights and while I didn’t offer it for a pay back, I’ve
was shocked to discover how few reciprocate.

I’ve learned to be more conservative with sharing details and as you say, honor the fact I’ve spent good time and money to build what I know. With few exceptions, that info should be paid for or not shared at all!
Thanks Marie, you look more gorgeous than ever…love the Kimono!

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Michelle Wald LMT

I like how you phrase things and I work with someone -her business who is so fearful of sharing anything, no one really gets what she does!

I guess it is a balance.

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Louise

I don’t often mind giving away business information because information is only information. Values are values. My business has been built with drive, determination, commitment, passion and a lot of hard work and unless the person asking for the information holds the same values the information is all but useless to them. I can tell them how I do things but that doesn’t mean they can do it. For example, you can ask an elite athlete how he/she managed to set a world record but it doesn’t mean that even if you emulate everything he/she has done that you’re ever going to be able to compete on that level.

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Hanna

I’ve experienced this before. I thought we were having a casual conversation about our mutual interests…connecting and developing a genuine relationship. At least I was genuine :) Later I realized the noise I heard in the background during our Skype session was the sound of a pencil tick-tick-ticking away. And when I emailed her and asked that what I shared be honored and respected as my own, she refused claiming that she liked to connect with others to learn from them.

My lesson as a spiritual practitioner…I source my information from Spirit, but other spiritual practitioners may not. So I’m more aware of where others are at developmentally, so I can honor their growth and encourage them to seek their own answers.

I think this goes for everyone…whether you’re spiritual or not…call it inspiration, your muse, “aha!” moments. We should all seek our own answers, our own truth, so that we can bring our unique gifts into the world.

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Hanna

…and encourage others to do the same :)

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Hannah Ransom - Fertility Awareness Educator

I answer questions all of the time! I have others ask me questions about specifics on the information we teach (classes and consultations teaching natural birth control), and lately a lot of tech and marketing stuff, too. It’s funny because in terms of the tech and marketing stuff I was soooo clueless just a few months ago and am just putting in tons of hours to learn everything I can. I don’t mind giving the information, though, since I care a lot about what we are all doing and want to see it succeed in the world overall.

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Jill B

My goodies…my goodies.. totally stuck in my head now! Great advice, love it. I too believe there is enough business to go around, and really appreciate these tips for feeling in control when you choose to share (and what to share). Thanks!

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jo

well,

i just had a show and wish i’d seen this before and told my staff about it.. they were nearly givin’ away the recipe! yes it made me feel weird, competitive, protective and i wish i had kept my goodies in my jar in a nice way..next time i’ll know! i like to share..but like you said.. when it’s my blood sweat & tears.. come on guy.. don’t be a cheap #&^$* and pay the 10$ or hit the road! (or go make your own! ) thanks marie!

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Rachel

What a great topic!

When people ask me for insider info I tell them about a program I created exactly for that, a combo of coaching/mentorship regarding building a passion-driven business.

Some sign-up and others I never hear from again — so win win!

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Monique

Hi Marie,
Thank you so much for brightening Tuesday morning with a kimono of thoughts.
Competition is good, greed is not. I totally agree with some comments that we all have a unique edge in our businesses. Our websites should be transparent enough and give potential customers and competitors all the info they need prices, products and business model). Sharing our business secrets should be handled with our intuition and business sense. We should not close our opportunities of networking with the competition as they may lead to increased clients. I recently received 2 voicemails, 3 texts and 2 emails from the competition within 4 hours with really pointed questions. My intuition sounded alarm bells and I replied politely twice and as the questions continued at a fast rate, I decided to go silent as I felt I had replied sufficiently. Perhaps I lost an opportunity to meet a great colleague but something felt wrong.
Thank you all. Have a great day!

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Nicole

When I run into someone and they seem to want to pump me for information and we’re at, say, a friend’s barbecue, I just say something like “This is a lovely discussion but we’re at this awesome party, let’s not talk about work- so boring!” Then I can go on socializing or whatever, asking them if they’ve traveled anywhere interesting or ask them about a mutual friend. If they really want to know, they can (and sometimes do) email me later and I invite them in for a consult, just letting them know I charge $75/hour. This pumping for information happens almost never now and social events are a lot more fun. :)

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Zuri Eberhart

For me, the best way to handle these types of scenarios is to direct them to my mentorship or intuitive coaching services, where I’m happy to work with them to build + grow their biz forward. Those who come from a place of integrity don’t have an issue with paying you for your time and expertise.

When you build relationships from an honest and non-competitive heart space, you’ll find that others are more than happy to invite you into their groups for guidance, networking and brainstorming opportunities.

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Fayola

Sorry that this is off topic, but can we just shout out Elsa today on a banging outfit! Marie is WEARING that blue dress!

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Elsa Isaac

Awwwww thanks so much for the shoutout Fayola :)!

xx,
E

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Josephine

Great tips, Marie!

I actually am an open book. When I first decided to start my business, I was a complete and total newbie! Very naive lol. I was met with a few “hurtful” seasoned folks in my industry who really looked down and trash-talked those just starting out.

I felt awful! I thought, what had I gotten myself into?? I didn’t realize how cutthroat it was.

But there were a handful of others who did reach out, who were passionate about helping others launch their businesses.

I am so grateful for those who showed kindness and wanted to help people like me succeed.

So because of the people who openly bashed newbies, I promised I would never be like them and help others out as much as possible.

I know there are still business secrets you worked hard to learn and you want to protect, and I respect that about others.

I guess when I get to that stage in my business where I get asked a lot about my “goodies”, I’d love to apply that quid pro quo method :)

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Francisca Pineda

Great tips Marie!

I’m in Fashion and people always want to know more, like how I got interviewed by WWD for my brand, how I did my site, all the little things it took me years to figure out.

When someone approached me a few months ago, offering to pay me to learn about the process is when I realized the true value of all my years of experience. That week I created a “Launch your Brand” offering to my consulting site and it is currently one of my most successful products. So I do give all my secrets, but only to those who respect what my time is worth.

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Gladis

wow, this episode was SO timely for me as well!

Our industry (private lactation support) has had a lot of new rules and game-changers coming into play recently (with the affordable care act).

My business partner and I have been kicking butt for being a new business, marketing/networking/etc AND paying attention to the new opportunities that have just opened up this industry to potential clients. It seems to us like our competitors have either less design/marketing mojo, or are less networking driven than we are, or I don’t know what! But I do know that I have been feeling nervous about how much “WE ARE AWESOME!!” I want to shout because we have gotten a few inquiries from less successful competitors about how we are operating.

For example, our website comes up #2 in a Google search (woohoo!), just after a non profit that has been around for 50+ years. But I always feel like our competitors are going to copy us. One actually did start promoting a class recently with wording that is *very similar* to the wording we use to describe one of our published service offerings. Hmm.

I feel like I need to not be paranoid about this because there are more than enough opportunities for everyone and as it was said above, that can’t REALLY copy us because we are all unique individuals, but it is still nerve wracking.

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Ina Sahaja - Embodied Sanskrit for Yoga

Totally hear you– and feel like we’re in similar situations. It is nerve racking– I agree — i just wouldn’t want to not be able to teach and share what I’ve already put loads of time, sweat and tears into!

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Messias Lumingo

I find that when competitors come knocking for FREE info, is only because they are trying to get their work cut out. If it means that much to them, surely the internet, books and word of mouth is also available to them as it was available to me. Please let me know what you think!

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Gerald

Thank you Marie this was a very timely subject to cover.

I just found that an account manager for a competitor has registered for a product seminar here in our office.

I was mulling over how I was going to approach this and your advice (as always) was spot on.

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Ina Sahaja - Embodied Sanskrit for Yoga

This is such an awesome A! Thanks, Marie. I’ve been dealing a lot with this recently, as I have a number of people (who do similar things or want to do similar things to what I do) take an online class I recently offered.

While I want to help others out, it’s really not fair for people to take my curriculum (that I’ve developed for years and received University degrees in, in order to truly be qualified to teach) and then repackage it as their own.. Unfortunately it’s something I notice happening too much in the Yoga world: It’s Cool to site your sources and it’s okay to have resources!

The bigger issue for me is just feeling the tender heart of sadness (a Trungpa-ism). In other words, deep compassion for any lack others see in their own life, which is the source of the need for imitation.

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Karla T.

I can’t believe someone would be so bold as to ask for secrets to one’s success. Like what are they smoking? I am great at giving like 6 word answers that satisfy no one’s craving for information. That stops all questions. Especially when you just stand there with the awkward silence enveloping them.

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Nakeia

I freaking love this question Marie!

I understand what it is like trying to get a foot in the door. So, when someone asks me a question that I have a great answer for, I just want to spill all my goodies. I know what it’s like to just have a “quick question” about something.

I think your FAQ advice is solid. It’s an opportunity to answer those questions for those who REALLY just have a quick question, and weed out those who are just trying to still all your stuff.

There is enough to go around, but everyone must get on their OWN hustle…you know what I’m saying?

Best!
Nakeia

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Jennifer

First of all, LOVING the kimono! :-)

This topic came up at a good time for me, as it is focused on a bit of the realm that I have been wondering about. However, my current issue has a slightly different twist…

I’m just starting out (have had my website up for a little over a month) and in order to draw in prospective clients, I have been responding on forums to people’s issues in my area of expertise.

It seems to be working fairly okay, but I find myself getting into this little debate between: Did I share enough here? Am I sharing too much? Am I directing them to my services too soon (with some guilt coming up cause directing them to my services would mean I’m asking them to give money)?

Generally, with that I guess I’ve been trying to just follow my intuition on what feels right at the time… and if I mess it up just let it go and hope I do better on the next one.

However, in this process I have run into a more difficult situation (which if you could answer sometime, this would be fantastic!): Since I have just recently started my business in this previous month, I know and would like to find people to sign up for my products as beta in order to get feedback and testimonials. Most of the time so far I’ve found level headed people, but recently I’ve had one wanting to sign up for my coaching package who I feel isn’t quite so level-headed. I just get the impression that this person is just wanting some cheap services but isn’t really going to do the work or rely on me to just “give them all the answers for what they should do in their life”. Basically, just really depend on me. I mean, I like challenges but with someone like this I don’t particularly feel comfortable allowing them to have such a discount in price cause I get the impression that it’ll just unconsciously tell them this isn’t that serious of work. If a person like this already knows that I’m doing this beta and offering a discount, how do I work my way around to express my feelings of “Hey, sorry I don’t think you’ll be a good fit for what I’m offering cause I don’t feel you’ll give me what I’m wanting from this beta trial.”

Any suggestions on how to deal with this? Thank you so much!

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maria

There is this saying that goes: have your friends close, your enemies, closer. I do that with my competition. If they are dangerous, they must be good, aka, I need to keep them really close and learn a lot from them and share with them!
Thanks for the video, mArie!

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Rebecka Hathaway

When I started my sign business 15 years ago, I was amazed by the number of women who would call me to ask what kind of equipment I use and they could purchase it too. I really made me mad that they had the nerve to ask instead of figuring it out for themselves like I had to.
I still get that call once in a while, but I’ve created a script so I don’t come away with that nasty mean-girl feeling.
Basically I say:
“Do some research and buy the best equipment you can afford. Cheap is not the best way to go.”
It infuriated me to see my designs copied online. This caused me huge stress and anger. After an attitude adjustment and the realization that these copycats are not going to go away, I created a website where they could purchase my files so at least I am willingly providing the images and getting some sort of compensation. If you can’t beat ‘em, figure out how to get their money.

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Leigh Harris

This conundrum is similar for blossoming writers. We need feedback and editing (lots of it) but don’t want to give away “the plot.” Truth is, we each have our own style. Even if we have the same ideas, our presentations (biz or writing) will be very different. This is what makes critique groups (in writing) and mastermind groups (in business) work so well.

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Amandah

Thanks Jessica for asking your question on how to deal with industry competition. And thanks Marie for answering Jessica and helping those us who’ve struggled with this topic.

My nature is to help, but as Jessica mentioned, the reciprocity isn’t always there. So… I help when I want to and decline when I don’t.

P.S.

I like the idea of sending competitors to a FAQ page.

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Catherine DeAngelis

Marie – Wow! Thank you so much you make it fun, answer questions never thought to ask, and help overcome growing spurts during the growing of a business!

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Kim K.

Marie! Thank you SO much for covering this and for the 80s music flashbacks which always make my day:) As I work to increase my income I find myself swinging between scarcity consciousness of old and over giving — aka bad boundaries. You hit the nail on the head when you said it doesn’t feel spiritual not to give. At the same time it feels VERY spiritual to say NO when my intuition tells me to. I’m going to tap into that and use some of your short scripts.

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Rowena List

I have always been an open book. People helped me when I was first starting out and gave me some of their secrets. For that I am eternally grateful so I share whatever info a competitor wants. They have a different work ethic and different clients so I am not concerned about a ‘takeover”
That being said I do not give my phone number or email to just anyone:)

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Juan Johnson

This one is hard, but what I try to do is keep a good boundaries with people so that I always remember it’s business first with my business, and that it’s first with my friends after business. I think everyone can invent their own routines geared towards themselves. This video was whats up ! AJA ! #ajalife

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Rhonda

It’s a sad truth that when you have a highly successful, million-dollar business, certain people will do underhanded things to get next to you. There is no safe niche if ours is not. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way and just move on. The worst offenders in our field were two separate individuals who were involved in our master program at different times They took the training, charged back their tuition and went on to compete with us directly costing us potentially hundreds of thousands. I have seen from the sidelines that there are certain types of information including your trade secrets, that you never, ever, under any circumstances share, with anyone. Wise saying: When in doubt, don’t!

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Allyson

I find myself doing nice things for others in my industry solely so they’ll do nice things for me in return and then get disappointed when they don’t reciprocate. I know this is no way to do business so I’m working on just giving when I want to give and not expecting anything in return.

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Melissa Atwood - Seward

Not having my own business set up yet – I have over heard friends that are professionals (Doctors, Lawyers, Trades, etc.) being asked their “success secrets” or professional advice on a topic – most of the time they give a brief answer, but when questioner persists they reply with the “why don’t you schedule an appointment with me and lets discuss this more” while they are handing them a business card. Just as Marie suggested in Step 3.

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Melissa Hager

Thanks so much, love each episode! I often find myself tiptoeing around the answer because I often feel bad for saying no but I know I shouldn’t and need to grow a pair to make my business succeed!! :D

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Valerie

You just made my day with this, i really needed to laugh (tough day!)thanks so much…
Regarding secrets in business, i just “trust the gut!” i always know when someone is really just trying to get information to help others or if they are just being nosy and wondering “how did she do that?” i often invite them to come and visit me and we can talk about how to improve services (i work in addiction and mental health) it scares the bejaysus out of them because they know im going to pile more work on them so they just feck off back to their own corner…result!!!!!
Ireland has less than 4 million people in the WHOLE country so its like Ireland is a village…..there are no secrets!!

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Carolan Ross

I love attending art fairs though that is not a business I see myself ever doing. Sometimes I talk with the artists, genuineley curious and amazed…’how did you DO that?’ I’ve noticed that some do draw back, apparently thinking I might be trying to steal their techniques. I found this odd til I really considered how much time and effort they’ve invested in their art. I respect that.
One guy, an amazing artist…we were talking about that and he said something like, ‘Oh yeah, people do that, they try and steal my methods. So I just keep creating new stuff. It’s what I enjoy anyway and hell…they can’t steal my brain’.

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LoJamm

“They can take our lives… But they will never take our FREEDOM!!!!”

Lame^
But yeah, same thing.

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Shelese

I don’t look at people as competitors, ever. Instead, I look at all the ways people helped me build the successful practice I have today. I sincerely love to help people create their own thriving businesses. If you can focus on what you have done well and feel confident about it, I believe you can share it. I also believe in good karma. I think good things happen to kind people. Just remember to also have healthy boundaries.

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Molly Hahn

I have to say…that I haven’t really had this happen to me *yet*. One thing is for sure, there really isn’t anyone like me – Mollycules – doing what I do – “Buddha Doodles”. So hmmm…..

However, I do LOVE to show other artists & entrepreneurs how to empower themselves to start makin’ money doing what they love. My first question always is – “So what’s goin’ on with your email list”. 9 times outta ten…there ain’t no email list.

Then I refer them to MarieForleo.com – no joke!

I rarely give my time away one-on-one and if I do – I use it as a learning experience so that I can create more content for my larger audience.

XOX
molly

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Stephanie Weeks Marketing Consultant Skyrocket Your Biz

Hi Marie! Best form of flattery is copying me. Keeps me on my game to create new and wonderful things. I share my secret sauce during my Skyrocket Your Biz marketing seminars. I do however get paid for my time to privately consultant and I give away just enough to get them to hire me to take them to the next level.
Happy Tuesday!

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LoJamm

When saying “no” remember:
Those who matter, dont mind. And those who mind, dont matter.

werd.

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Jen

Like with so many things, it just sounds like you have to follow your intuition (not always easy to do!), and maybe err on the side of being generous. I love how you give concrete examples of how to phrase things, Marie. Even if it’s not something I’m facing right now, finding diplomatic ways to say potentially “tough stuff” is always helpful.

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Virginia (The Heartographer)

I totally thought this was you answering my question, because I think I asked you much the same thing. :) I’m in a really niche industry as an online dating coach, and it’s one that young whipper-snappers and savvy copywriters often think they’ll naturally excel in. So I have competition from people who haven’t spent years analyzing the ins and outs of every single online dating platform and detail and choice of wording, haha.

I always feel guilty saying no to requests for info about how I’ve built my business or where I find my clients, but no is always my answer. I’m totally going to just start replying with the “my consulting fees are X” answer instead of straight-up “no” from now on!

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Ezzie Spencer

Intuition all the way. I ask myself whether I will feel drained or energised by this kind of interaction (a little different to doing something for a reward via reciprocation: more about my own needs and boundaries).

I used to be torn by my feelings about competition. Less so, now, with more experience and greater trust in my judgment. I also used to give and give and give….and at last discovered useful boundaries that allowed me to give in a way that would also allow me to stay healthy, productive and creative.

Great video Marie.

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Rachel Hunter (TraderRach)

Great guidance Marie.

This helps me with my forex trading education business where I’m inclined to be too helpful at times.

Cheers Rachel

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

I’m REALLY open and transparent (in fact, I shared my exact income for the first two years of my business here: http://www.luckybitch.com/2013/08/first-year-in-business/)

I had some people tell me privately that they were surprised I was being so honest – but I realised that most people DON’T talk about it – and the problem is that newbies sometimes get unrealistic expectations about both income AND the work required to do it!

xx Denise Duffield-Thomas
http://www.LuckyBitch.com

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Adrienne

People ask me all the time where I do my prints or what tools I use or where I get my fabric printed… It has taken me a lot of time and resources to get my product high quality. Personally, I have never asked an artist or competitor their secrets. Ever! When I am asked, I usually direct people to Google or another company, or tell them to keep searching until they find what works for them. I never give away my secrets.

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Ms

On a similar vein (sort of) :

I work in a job where I started as an admin and have worked my way up through the company by seeing a need and then offering a clear solution. Because I work for a mid-sized family-owned business who is often behind the times but welcome help & creativity – every opportunity that I’ve asked for, I’ve been given. Included in that is the recent takeover of all of the company’s marketing (which was previously parceled out to nearly everyone in the company and never executed consistently). I do not have a degree in marketing or graphic design (or any degree for that matter) – I know my limitations. But I also know my strengths. I wrote a marketing plan when I presented my ideas & I have an intense desire to learn & grow. I look at my job as the brand administrator – keeping the real designers & promotional companies that we hire (and already have good relationships with) consistent with how we want to be represented and on task for timelines, as well as pushing the owners (who are the if-its-not-broke-don’t-fix-it types who often don’t recognize “broke”) in the right direction concerning embracing new avenues & technologies. Despite the fact that this business isn’t mine, I try to treat it as such & look at building the brand as building “my” brand.

I was recently approached by an acquaintance from church – a young man my age, who had just lost his job & decided instead to open his own marketing/consulting company. He had worked with our company through a previous employer and handled some of our print materials years ago. Thus, he thought he knew the brand and essentially told me that (since I knew nothing about marketing) I was going to hire him to manage the brand for me. That God said so. (I might be married to a youth pastor, but… don’t even go there with this “God told me so” bull$hit!) Since politely telling him “No, thank you” several times, his new tactic has been to ask me for advice on issues related to his business – do I have a source for this or that, what is my opinion on this marketing issue, what blogs am I reading, etc. I thought we had developed a friendly, professional discourse despite the fact that it seemed like he was sometimes a bit snide about his responses. I recently discovered that he turns around and uses my information or opinions to mock me in professional social media. On public marketing boards on LinkedIn, etc – my feed is now bringing to my attention that Mr So-&-So has commented on a long rant about how he could have more business if idiots such as myself were not out there thinking that they know anything about marketing & essentially stealing his business. Oh & by-the-by, I have this opinion & isn’t it ridiculous?

I feel a little vindicated since the marketing professionals in these boards have sided with several of my “ridiculous” opinions and cited their sources (often the same high quality publications that I’m offering him with my feedback). I’ve learned a valuable lesson about backbone & boundaries but, as one of the other commenters asked, how do you counteract high-school drama-esque practices like this or competitors that pose as clients and fish for information & your resources?

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Alyxandria Rae

This is happening to me too! They try sneak attacks to get valuable information from you while trying to bring you down in some way. It’s all very high school and it’s coming from grown adults. Seriously. Not. Acceptable.

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Rhonda

Love all the feedback. Great topic.

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Alyxandria Rae

This is like the answer to the people who want to pick your brain for free instead of hiring you to be their consultant, only for competitors. I will say this. I set up a Pick Your Brain session and have had a bunch of brain pickers disappear. I do still run into the problem of people, such as neighbors or people who know about me from my site or from someone else, who get very passive-aggressive and try a variety of tactics to bring me down or try to trick me into giving them a free session or free hard-earned information. It’s tiring sometimes because I’m not doing anything to drive them to my site and I rarely discuss my business with them (not my target audience by far, so no point to it). Still, they show up and they snipe. What’s that all about?? Haven’t had any competitors do that with my consulting work, but they sure did when I worked in journalism. Sigh.

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Emma-Kate

Great piece, Marie. Over the 8 years of running our social enterprise, we decided that our IP was created on the shoulders of other great idea-makers, and so we made it open-sourced right from the get-go. Many people turn their noses up at this as we haven’t benefited financially BUT what ended up happening was a MOVEMENT around our country that created a new awareness of the issues we were wanting to solve.

My beloved, and business partner looked up the roots of the word “competition” and guess what? It actually means: “to help each other get better, together”. Cool, huh?

Share the love, and the great ideas, and of course, use your power of discernment when Mr Shonky comes your way ;-)

EK
xxx

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Tobi Britton

Awesome Emma, Love it!

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Arianna

Hi,

I do not run my own business (yet) – but I have the same problem at work. I do my work well because I know ‘the ways’ and have knowledge. People come to me all the time to pick my brain and ‘take stuff’ from me. I am politely pushing them away…but sometimes wonder if this is OK. Past experience taught me giving too much is not good idea and will come back to haunt me.

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Akasha

What if what they want from you is a full run-down of all of the knowledge you have on a specific subject, one that you spent thousands of dollars studying and invested a lot of time and energy into, although it is not what you are doing for a career or business, but they know that you know it … and they expect you to give it to them. You say no politely and they still try to take jabs at you or somehow trick you into giving them the informational goods. You can’t avoid them because it’s a person that lives near you that you see regularly and while you can keep the conversations short, they are still nasty towards you. *And* you have absolutely no interest or desire to turn this knowledge into some sort of product or service, like a book or lesson, which is also why you aren’t particularly interested in giving out lessons for free in your free time. Love to hear thoughts on this. Even if you’re good at something or you have expertise in a field, that doesn’t mean that you want to use it for business or teach about it in your free time. Maybe you just learned it for your own private use.

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Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

My favourite way to say “no”, is “I’m sorry, but I’m not comfortable with that”.

It’s short, it’s sweet, it saves me having to explain or justify myself, and no-one can argue with it!

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Sandra Burgos

Thank you for these tips, Marie!!
So far, nobody has asked me to tell him/her the secrets of my business… But I’m constantly telling everybody what I’m doing LOL
XO
Sandra

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Ann & the Dog

It’s kind of like dating. Always safer not to love someone more than they love you. Sharing with someone (a competitor) who supports you and shares with you makes sense. Other than that, I’m friendly and don’t mind sharing a tip or two, Sharing information I’ve paid for isn’t fair to who I paid for the training. Kind of like telling tales out of school. 99% of the time, people don’t do what you tell them works anyway. Maybe they think just KNOWING how to do it will work. NOT!

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Paul

If you decided to go with the “I charge X dollars an hour for consulting fee” to your competitors for my business secrets. If they want to get my info for $100 or $1000 hour is it really worth it?

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Tobi Britton

I say yes Paul. Today people can google how to’s and find out how you did what you did anyway if they want to badly enough- why not make them pay for it!LOL

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Aradia

Once upon a time I use to share EVERYTHING – if you asked I’d give up the info. Since I was just an artist (not a coach or consultant) I didn’t find it to be harmful because even if I was talking to someone in my industry (art) they weren’t in my specific niche. (A little transparency from me: the whole scarcity & lack mindset that follows the idea of competition is still hard to deal with sometimes.)

One day I put a stop to it. I found myself up late (which I would have been anyway) talking to a “casual friend” who was trying to start up a jewelry business. 1) this person had taken to picking my brain for information I had learned via training & “the hard way”. I ended up staying up an extra hour discussing the finer points of pricing. 2) despite my good intention to be helpful to a friend, at some points it was nearly an argument (long story short I’m further along on the business trail and have thusly learned some hard lessons that aren’t always apparent at the outset) because they didn’t agree, despite not having anything to back up their opinion because it was just that.

My solution…I’m developing a coaching practice *specifically for* budding artists getting into the creative business scene. My purpose is to shortcut some of that “holy crap” I had to go through for others. I’m doing a short e-book first, then I’m launching a full coaching practice. What this means for me – is I’ll be able to help people who are truly committed, my ebook will serve as a little bit of a FAQ so I’ll still be able to “give away” tips without feeling my time & generosity is taken advantage of!

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Robin Hallett

What a fab topic, Marie!

It’s good to have a policy about these things – and we entrepreneurs really need to have policies!

The first policy for me is: Just because they ask, it doesn’t mean I have to! Especially in a spiritual business, it’s often hard to say no. But that’s the policy. I stick to it. Sometimes we count on other people to have boundaries and they often don’t! They want to know certain things that are clearly over the line–to us–but, not to them!

My other policy is to help people getting into the healing profession, as I was helped. I’ll offer a free 15 minute consult call and give them some tips and ideas. I might follow that up with an email if I have more ideas for them. Beyond that, I suggest they book a session. I know the value of an exchange – and I think it’s important to pay for support!

Also, it’s a good idea to have the faq page so you are not repeating yourself in single emails – just send people the link… oh and good to have several blog posts to point to when people ask questions.

Thank you for all you do Marie!

Robin

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Michelle

Hi Robin! I love that you offer a 15 minute consultation. It also brings up the flip side of things (at least for me)… because while I am open with what I share with others, I often have a tough time ASKING!

I have no problem paying for advice, which I think is vital in a balanced exchange, but sometimes, it’s a big leap: pay, or don’t pay. So, offering something like a free initial consultation helps to open up the dialogue on both sides for people who may never reach out in the first place. It closes the gap in making that leap AND, at the same time, communicates the value of what you are providing… a FREE consultation sends the message, “Hey! PEOPLE USUALLY PAY FOR THIS stuff!!” :-)

Brilliant!

Michelle

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Cathy | The Health Coach Group

I had a competitor call and ask if she could purchase my program. Never believe them if they say they are not spying…just want to use it to work with their own clients…especially if they do the same as you only on a smaller scale. I still think I am better off…because she knows that I know that she has it! :)
Over the years, I have trained a lot of my competitors. That is just part of the business. They never last because they see one little part of the business and not all facets.

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Llyane @ FrenchOnSkype

I was approached by someone from my industry and what I chose to do is to share my approach in the area that we don’t compete.

We both teach French, both online and offline, and – as we don’t advertise in the same geographical area for our in-person sessions – I gave her all my insights regarding that side of the business.

I did say ‘no’ for the online advice, though.

Another time, I was approached for a guest blog post by a competitor. I had to say a fast ‘no’ to that one – it was also a little surprising to me that someone would make such a proposition :)

Thank you, Marie :)

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Joe Breunig

As a self-published author of Christian poetry, I’ve (intentionally) chosen to NOT view other unpublished poets as competition. In addition to leading a local poetry group for three years, I gave talks about the book publishing process – both to demystify the process, as well as point out potential problem areas (from my own personal experiences). Besides blogging my poetic scribblings, my sharing of Christian topics and ideas for overcoming writing problems, allows me to build writing relationships with future poets. That seems to be a win-win scenario for a full life.

-Joe Breunig,
Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory

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Denise Posnak

You are Hi-larious, Marie.
Love it love it..
Just say no – as women, we have the hardest time with this one, no?

I think it’s a GOOD idea to write down what you DO talk about and what you DON’T.. part of this issue is knowing what you want to share and knowing what you don’t.

Thanks so much!!

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Virginia Klein Psychotherapist

You are right on with that article. Nothing is 100% -demanding that you “always” or never” something or other is a disaster! Horney and Rubin
talk of this and I’ve know it for years in my practice and before that!
Good for you! Bestwishes Ginny

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Virginia Klein Psychotherapist

You are right on with that article. Nothing is 100% -demanding that you “always” or never” something or other is a disaster! Horney and Rubin
talk of this and I’ve know it for years in my practice and before that!
Good for you! Bestwishes Ginny

Read more: http://www.marieforleo.com/2013/09/industry-competition/#ixzz2ecT5BnD9

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Jennifer Bardall

I met a blogger once at a conference who was a fan of my food blog, and she started asking me questions about this and that. And I was happy to give her answers because she told me she was just starting out, whereas I’d been blogging for years. Plus wine makes me chatty.

Then she started emailing me over every little detail on my website, two or three times a week. Eventually I recommended that she schedule a consult with my husband, since he designed and built it, telling her that I was sure he’d be happy to help her out better than I could (many of things she asked about weren’t something you could just put together easily with no coding skills). And I never heard from her again. Surprise.

This also reminds me of the time back in grade school (yes, y’all, I’m whippin’ out a grade school memory here) when it was the day before our science projects were due. A friend of mine called to ask me what my project was, so I told her all about my volcano. She kept asking questions, and I happily explained how I put it together and the “report” part of the project.

And then she showed up the next day with the exact same project. The end.

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Kristina

If we identify as a Person with a little identity to protect, things like competition, worrying what others think and trying to do the right thing will take a lot of energy.

Everyone is unique… life unfolds naturally and in my experience, it’s only ever a person with a heavy identity who fears competition. When we relax as our natural being, it doesn’t arise… for there is no “other” to fear and you simply delight in everyone’s expression.

Responding / sharing happens naturally which doesn’t involve thought or analysing it. You just notice that with this person you share and with another, for some reason you’re quiet. Something knows who and what to share with whom and when!! What a divine Universe it is :-)

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Shanna Duffy

This post was just what I needed!! I openly share, a lot- even sending a ton of clients to other photographers and allowing them to shadow me at weddings if they ask – all with zero reciprocity. Some people are just not cut out to be professional. I have found that most people who would go the route of taking short cuts are lazy anyway and they either won’t use, practice or retain the information, or they will not follow through with the same work ethic and spirit that a hard working individual will. I keep in touch via social media with many of my peers, and in three years I have transformed and am becoming a more polished business and experienced photographer while they remain the same. There will never be a substitute for hard work and dedication.

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Janelle Evans

I love the phrase “secret business sauce” and that Ciara is in your video! :) (OH! Plus your rapping! YES! <3) I appreciate your training on how to say no. That's a lesson I'm going through now. One thing I've found (and am practicing) is that if I sound uncertain or even use phrases that are related to uncertainty, like "maybe…", then people don't take my boundaries seriously. And it's because I'm not taking them seriously! When I speak confidently and use language that reflects that (clarity on what I believe and what I want and what I am willing/unwilling to do), then people truly hear and respect what I'm saying. Anyone else have experiences like this? Love, Janelle

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Tobi Britton

I look at competition as a three way mirror, and my business as cellulite!
Competition, although sometimes painful and a big pain in the bottom, actually is the direct line to making your business bullet proof. It is what makes it possible for us to choose between a bunch of smart devices instead of just one (even though I’m an Apple girl). I mean think about it: For a few good years you are the big fish in a little bowl, then along comes some copycats to eat your market share. Not only did they copy you, they added some really great ideas and may even be better than you and now you have to work harder for your share. I know that’s what we all fear. But without competition we are stuck in “fat-n-happy” which means we just become maintainers instead of hot innovators which actually equals death. You might as well take a full time job. Eeew.
I lived this- (being the big fish and then getting LOTS of competition) and I am now in the process of reinventing which is why I joined BSchool. Here’s a short story re:sharing info.
When I first began teaching my makeup classes to fledgling makeup artists I had this fear that I would be training and giving my business secrets and creating my own competition. Then I hosted a traveling makeup school at my shop and was invited to the classes. The instructor didn’t hold anything back and I felt i got so much value that from that day on I revised my courses and my business exploded. What I realized was that even if i shared my secrets, the students weren’t me and not many would follow thru as much as I did when I first started being a makeup artist. So when it comes to classes or coaching that people are paying for, I say don’t hold back. A friend once told me when i was pissed that one of my interns had been taking jobs meant for me behind my back-”Tobi, you can’t possibly eat the whole cake”.
She was right. And to add to that, I firmly believe that there are no missed opportunities or “woulda-coulda-shoulda’s. Everything happens exactly as it is supposed to, and freaking out and staying closed up is not healthy. So relax and stop being paranoid cause all that does is draw that exact energy to you!
Having said that, I don’t believe it wise to spoonfeed your competition all of your secrets, but being inspired by companies that are working examples of what you want isn’t a bad thing just make it yours and know that others will be doing the same to you. It’s part of maintaining a healthy and vibrant business! Phew! Now why can’t I help myself like this??? LOL

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Tobi Britton

Doh! I just realized I was commenting on the comments instead of the Video question! (Blonde, no really)
I think Marie had amazing answers which I will totally be using when i redo my site. Sorry for the previous gigantic off topic comment!!!- I guess i should have watched the vid before reading comments!

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Dawn

For me it depends on how the person is asking and what type of information they are looking for. If a colleague approaches me in a way that feels good, I’m usually pretty happy to help out and share lots of information. It makes me feel good.

If however someone just starts pumping me for information and it feels kinda douchy, I may answer one or two questions and then politely excuse myself from the conversation or say directly that I’m not really comfortable discussing it. Sometimes I feel a bit awkward, but I don’t usually feel guilty about it.

I like Marie’s advice on how to handle it. I never thought about it as a way to help someone realize that it took a long time for me to research this stuff.

Thanks Marie!
xo Dawn

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Donna DeRosa

I’m usually open to sharing information, like what software or web host do I use, etc. But I get a lot of requests from people asking for free products in exchange for a review on their blog/website/youtube channel. So, I crafted this FAQ:

Do you provide free samples for reviewers?
I get so many requests for free products that I can’t possibly keep up with them. So, the answer is no, we do not provide free samples. We do, however, send a free sample with every purchase.

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Laurel

I learned how to make my canvas rugs from a book. whenever people ask me questions I refer them to my own guru, and recommend her book. I figure they could find it anyway. The woman who wrote that book has been very generous with me giving me tips, although she has asked me from time to time not to share some of her secret techniques and I don’t! I just say, they are secret techniques I can’t share. because my business is based on art I feel anyone can like my art or someone else’s so helping other artists doesn’t take away from my own business. But answering questions does take time form a business and that’s a consideration also.

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daon

Love it!

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Mary

Since I’m just starting up, I don’t have this problem yet — I hope I do one day! But this is great advice. I like the “just say no” part because I think many of us find it difficult to do.

So many great tips in these comments, too. I’ll bookmark this page for future use, when my Marie-inspired business is so successful, people are knocking down my door to find out how I did it! ;-)

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Dorothy Pang, The Natural Fertility Expert

Thanks Marie! I just had someone ask me the other day about what acupuncture points I use for treating infertility. Well… that info took me a LONG time to figure out and I do consider it an industry secret. Thanks for giving me permission to just honestly say that. :)

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Lizzie Edwards, Personal Stylist

I have always had a lot of people asking me questions about my business and I really love to support others who are trying to start out. I always share and also mentor a stylist who has just started up. When I started my business 8 years ago there were not many personal stylists and I basically worked it out myself. I did find some support in professional organisations. Some amazing women were happy to give advice and share how they run their businesses and work with clients to get the best results. I have the belief that there is plenty of work to go around, and I don’t really see others as competition as I feel confident in what I do and know that if a potential client chooses to work with another stylist there can be many reasons, including cost and location. I know I put myself out in the world authentically and therefore feel the right clients will be drawn to work with me, and I can tell other stylists my tips and advice without them stealing my clients. I am very experienced and those I am helping out are not. I have found that I work quite differently to most stylists I have met, and it just shows me that I made my own methods and ways of working as I set them up, and didn’t use anyone elses! So many people just do what they think they should rather than what feels authentic and best for them.

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Monique Caisie

This really hit home with me. There is such a thing as being too generous. Boundaries are incredibly important! Marie, you really are quite engaging and informative! XO

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Jessica Noelle Glitterpony

Hi Marie,

Thank you for creating this site. I just found it, actually, and wanted to say thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge. My fiancee and I own our own product design consultancy and we find there is a lot of competition in the design world. I think everyone has to find their own way and dealing with the reality and feelings around competition is one interesting topic! Getting clear on what you offer that others cannot is paramount. Having your site as a newly discovered resource is fantastic, especially when you (and by you I mean ME!) feel at your wits end sometimes! :) So, thank you!

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Tatiana Escalada

LOL! Love this video!

I need to know a secret from you Marie, it is not a biz secret though.

Please open your Kimono and tell me what you do to have such FABULOUS hair!!! Pretty please!!!

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lauren

i’m obsessed with your necklace. where can i buy one?

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Doja

I love giving advice to people. I’ll never shy away from sharing my “secrets” because everyone is entitled to success.

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Amy Birks, Your Coach from A to B

I’m a little late to this comment party, Marie, but thanks so much for the terrific reminder about giving your substance where it will do the most good! The comments in the thread are fantastic; I love this community. My business is a little too new to feel like I’ve got competition yet, and I really do believe that when I keep my eyes open for only my “ideal client”, then anyone that might have seemed like competition before will become waaaaaay less so. My ideal client needs me and exactly what I have to offer, period.

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Amy Birks, Your Coach from A to B

Oh!! And I completely forgot to shout out my favorite part of the whole video… The impromptu Blacksheep dance party!! Transported me right back to 10th grade. Awesome… :)

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Joseph Tomusange

Hi Marie,
Thanks very much for your episode, its really a good track towards success, I last studied about competitors in economics at my High School; Without competitors, you can never pass or grow and its better to be with competitors to check or examine our performance in business.
Thanks and God bless!

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Caroline

When I help people by providing something from my knowledge, know-how, or connections, the point at which I take pleasure in it is when I see that it’s worked out somehow. So, after I’ve passed on help, I follow up and make sure people keep me in the loop with their progress. I think it’s that I really care to see it through that keeps me in touch with people and inevitably becoming the recipient of a benefit from them. But ‘this for that’ doesn’t have to be business for business. It could be business help in exchange for personal help, or any other variation.

The best example for me is that I offered help to a guy once, and now he’s my boyfriend of almost 3 years. It’s the help offered plus following up that started a wonderful relationship.

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Christie

I come back and watch this video regularly. Seriously. It’s such great info!

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Kuchyne Na Mieru

Budget is one important element that you need to determine before you undergo
the redecorating project. We usually tend to pay attention to all the other rooms and the kitchen gets overshadowed.

In the kitchen, Heather had tears in her eyes at
every comment Robert made; and he was not even yelling.

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Laine

I agree with the sentiment of setting boundaries, a dynamic women then to be remiss at doing. I must warn against being too open. I say this as someone who has improved her spiritual vibration and is therefore now surrounded by really good, decent, honest people who want what’s best for me. What is yours is yours. Share only as intuition prompts you.

To give an example, in high school, I shared with my best friend a position I was seeking. She wanted details. The next thing I knew she got it since her brother had an inside line and was able to pull strings.

In college, I developed a strategy for producing and developing projects that was extremely lucrative. An opportunistic girl joined the team, pumped my brain, and stole everything, claiming it for herself. Granted, when I was working on it, we had a great team and were succesful. When she took over, the entire project came crashing down, but she still sabotaged and even though she failed to secure what she wanted, I lost too.

As a professional, I freely shared my trade secrets. They were all stolen and the copycats knocked my book project out after making innocent, thoughtful “inquiries”, claimed my secrets as their own and cashed in….I ended up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars I had invested….

After making a purchase for which I sought a loan, a banker, whom I felt to be dishonest, made general inquiries about my business, life, and then used that knowlege against me to harm me and gain more business for the bank. Yes, I caught her, but the incident taught me to hold my own counsel and the despite our inclination to be open and giving, business is business and there are a lot of sharks in the water….

Recently I developed another product line, based upon years of experience, that is turnijng out be quite lucrative. Word got around the office about how successful I was — much to my surprise, I was instructed to just “share” everything, my trade secrets and all, to help “the team.” Much to my dismay, the next time I was in the office, I noticed that my “team,” was copying my strategies and targeting my very clients and prospective clients with MY Strategies and ideas! Granted, they were not as successful, since they had not been the originator of the ideas and did not approach them in the same way or same spirit, I still was injured….Shortly thereafter, they inquired again, if I could email my strategies to them so they could study them and use them as a goal post. Needless to say, I said no….

One of my equally spiritually developed co-workers is also a talker and helper….He actually shared with my leads and secrets in which I was presented an opportunity to outscoop him and cash in on what he had developed. He had essentially given away the shop by being so generous and open…I am happy to say I did not seize the opportunity, but I could have….

Be careful of what you share in business and learn to say no. I read somewhere that the most of successful people are the givers…but givers who HAVE BOUNDARIES and DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM. People tend to trust them and they generate good will. Otherwise takers prevail and the givers remain in the dust since they end up spending their valuable time helping everyone but themselves and giving away the shop, enabling selfish opportunists to exploit their good work Opportunists may not be able to present the product, idea, etc. in as good a way or with the same soul, but they can do damage and cash in big time.

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Ziad K Abdelnour

In general, many early stage companies compete with bigger companies.

At the risk of oversimplifying the competitive dynamic….

• The early stage company’s advantages include: its focus, its product, and/or its team.
• The bigger company’s advantages include: lots of capital / resources / employees, lots of customer relationships, good distribution, pricing power/patience.

So early stage companies often face the threat of a bigger company entering their markets, and they need to have the self-confidence to keep going
http://tinyurl.com/pxfdx9c
Thank you

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