Business

24 Ways You Give Your Competitors An Advantage

Stop self-sabotaging and step up your game.

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark

Your ego is their competitive advantage.

Your complacency is their competitive advantage.

Your procrastination is their competitive advantage.

Your impatience is their competitive advantage.

Your laziness is their competitive advantage.

Your inflexibility is their competitive advantage.

Your jealousy and the decisions you allow it to drive is their competitive advantage.

Your bitterness from clinging to a grudge is their competitive advantage.

Your glorification of busy is their competitive advantage.

Your “no new friends” rule is their competitive advantage.

Your red tape is their competitive advantage.

Your lack of process is their competitive advantage.

Your lack of research is their competitive advantage.

Your preference for short cuts over healthier, organic growth is their competitive advantage.

Your inability to prioritize your time is their competitive advantage.

Your micromanagement is their competitive advantage.

Your refusal to do the boring, unglamorous, tedious work is their competitive advantage.

Your insistence on putting all your eggs in the Instagram basket is their competitive advantage.

Your being ‘too good' to attend that event is their competitive advantage.

Your habit of indulging your FOMO (fear of missing out) rather than strategic JOMO (joy of missing out) is their competitive advantage.

Your refusal to ask for help is their competitive advantage.

Your staying within your comfort zone is their competitive advantage.

Your never raising your hand to ask questions is their competitive advantage.

Your nostalgia for the “good old days” of the industry in 2014/2004/1994 is their competitive advantage.

Work smarter. Work harder. It’s not an either/or scenario, and hasn’t been for a long time.


Originally posted October 2018

The Reality of Being An Original

Everyone wants to be a pioneer. No one wants the scars that come with going first.

Wedding floral design photo by    Cameron Clark

Wedding floral design photo by Cameron Clark

When up-and-comers decide to do things differently than how the industry has always done them they get labeled as arrogant and naive. Then, when their methods work, they get labeled as lucky.

When people with established businesses decide to change course and try a different tack, they get labeled as desperate.

Everyone wants to be known as an original, as the idea guy, as the first mover, as a pioneer. No one wants to talk about the fact that pioneers have scars.

Scars from mistakes made and errors in judgment.

Scars from overwhelm and letting things fall through the cracks.

Scars from partnerships gone bad, relationships soured, and trust broken.

Scars from losing a lawsuit over your intellectual property and seeing your labor of love awarded to someone else.

Scars from an unexpected, prolonged slow season that resulted in laying off talented people.

Scars from the gossip of competitors who refused to discipline themselves to do the work that results in positive change.

Scars are a reminder that not everything in business is instaperfect or #bosslifegoals, but the most important thing to remember about scars is that they are only created by wounds that are allowed to heal.

Do what you need to to stop the bleeding, stitch yourself up, and keep moving forward. Don’t expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don’t allow that to make you cynical.


Originally published December 2014

'No' Is A Complete Sentence

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark

As a professional speaker, I am sometimes involved in conversations that go something like this:

"Hi, we’d like you to speak on creatives charging what they’re worth."
"Okay, my fee is $X."
"Oh, we’re not paying speakers."

Entrepreneurs in every creative field run into similar situations: they are asked to plan a destination wedding for publicity, or produce an event for charity, or to design and provide stationery goods for a conference. At times it makes sense to say yes to working for free

Other times, you need to say no. 

Where we get tripped up – and I see this across cultures – is that we (or the people asking) tend to view saying "no" as us being ungrateful for the opportunity. If we want to thrive, then we cannot allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is never okay to say no.

  • Saying no does not make you ungrateful.

  • Saying no does not make you disloyal.

  • Saying no does not make you arrogant.

  • Saying no does not mean you are not generous.

  • Saying no does not mean you don't value community.

  • Saying no does not mean you don’t consider it an honor to be asked.

  • Saying no simply means the opportunity doesn’t fit with your priorities in this season of your life and/or career.

You can say no to press opportunities that don’t position your brand in a positive way (ex: reality television shows that make you look crazy and your clients like bride- or groom-zillas).

You can say no to events that cause you to miss a family member’s birthday or milestone celebration.

You can say no to opportunities that don’t help you contribute financially to your family’s goals.

You can say no to projects that will suck the life out of yourself and your team.

"No" is a complete sentence. If you want your business to grow and be better, learn how to remove any shame either yourself or others try to attach to you saying no. 


Originally published March 2017