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Friday, January 24, 2020
By Kelly L. Sherlock
Last week, my wedding tip Wednesday was about wedding vendors being original and true to themselves and their ideas, personalities, products, etc. Despite popular belief, the tip was not a passive aggressive knock to my fellow wedding planners (ain’t nobody got time for that). It was actually about a wedding that I worked recently. The assistant to one of my vendors was posting photos on Instagram as if it were his work, when in reality, he was just assisting (and obviously learning for the growth and benefit of his own business that he is running on the side). Seeing someone okay with taking credit for an idea or product that someone else came up with got me thinking about business owners.
It is always interesting to me when I see people set out on their own, but they actually provide the exact same service, market the exact same way, have the same “persona” as the person they studied under, or have been social media stalking for years. My theory is that business owners start their own businesses because they think they have something different to bring to the table, but as it turns out, some people do not feel that way at all.
In researching this theory and paying attention to what business owners in this field (and I am sure every other field) are doing, I have realized that we have two different kinds of people. Just like in life, you have the leaders and the followers.
I assumed that business owners are always the leaders, but I have come to realize that my mind was filled with yet another preconceived notion as even that is not always the case.
In reality, some people start their own businesses not because they want to be a leader in their craft, but for some other reason all together (no doubt because they thought it would be easy and they could be their own boss, which is hilarious). So now, they are just looking to follow the example of any other person that has ever been successful or any person that will just straight up give them the answer of how to run their business successfully.
Here is the thing though, whether you lead in an industry and come up with the best ideas and you are the most innovative, you will find the right clients for you. And if you are a follower and you literally mold yourself to be just like the other people in your same field that are successful, you will find clients that are okay with that as well.
For me, I have spent eleven years trying to just be me. I rarely change my process for anyone and God knows I have yet to change my attitude. I lead by being respectful to my vendors and learning their jobs and what they need to success so that we can all work together for our clients. I choose to make things more about the client and the vendors that actually make my events success than I do about myself. But that is not everyone’s motive. And you know what? Those people that have a different work ethic than me and a different goal in mind, are still working weddings every weekend!
A friend of mine once told me, regarding selling my house, that there is an ass for every seat. The basic meaning is that everyone wants something different and there is someone out there that will pick you. At the end of the day, that is the truth. As someone that has had a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, Instagram TV, etc. (you name it, I’ve dabbled in it) I can honestly say that I am not afraid to put myself out there and be different. I pride myself on having my own unique ideas and voice, all while rocking my stilettos. But I do not begrudge anyone else that has similar thoughts and ideas. Just try to put your own spin on it and do not be scared that someone will not pick your seat because it looks different.
If no one has told you that you do not have to follow the leader in business, then here is your wake-up call. If fear is what is causing you to work in a way that could be considered less than ethical, or just laziness, then decide that you want to be better than that and change it. Eventually, there are things that separate those that will make it for ten plus years and those that will fizzle out within the first five. Aside from being smart enough to follow the advice and wisdom of your predecessors, sometimes being smart enough to take what applies and leave the rest is what matters the most. Perhaps the followers and copy cats are the first to go?
Just a thought: Even if you are not a leader, per se, do not follow so closely that even you are picking someone else’s seat! If even you do not believe that you have something more, something better, something even just the slightest bit different to offer than anyone else in your field, then why would someone choose you over them? At least they are doing something worth copying. What are you bringing to the table, and will it truly get you where you want to be?
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