Too many people are dismissive of what real competition looks like, or that exists at all. The industry newcomers don’t have the skill set, connections, or years in the game that you do, so they can’t possibly compete with you. The other person doesn’t even play in the same sandbox as you, so they obviously aren’t a competitor.
Here’s the truth: budgets are limited, no matter how large. If a person or company competes for the same dollars in a budget, they’re your competitor. If a potential client hires them and therefore no longer has as much money left to hire you, that professional is a competitor. This means that an event planner is often in a position of competing with a splurge-worthy photographer. A business consultant competes with a software program. A restaurant where an entrepreneur spends money getting face-to-face with potential clients competes with a publisher’s ad platform.
Many of the people you may not consider competition are serious about building a brand that makes what you bring to the table less relevant. And the more you keep your head in the sand about who does and does not compete with you, the better for them.
You can be friends with and build community with your competitors and there is certainly room for many people to be successful – but you cannot succeed if you don’t compete.
Originally published March 2015