Today, we’re talking about something that’s kind of sucky, but inevitable in business. Have you ever had to deal with a copycat? This could be someone who just blatantly copies you or it could be kind of a bit subtle and you’re not sure if it’s happening or if you’re going crazy.
However it happens, it can really derail your confidence. I know that it worries a lot of entrepreneurs really more than it should. In fact, you can be so worried about it happening in the future that you’re even resisting putting your stuff out there, which is no good at all.
Let’s deal with this pesky copycat fear right now so you can get on with being awesome.
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This whole copycat thing might have not even happened to you yet, but you’re using the fear of someone copying you to stay stuck and hiding in the shadows of your business. Lots of entrepreneurs kind of do this idea-hoarding thing because they’re so scared that people will steal their stuff.
Chances are, it’s not really going to happen a lot. But I’ve seen people keep their ideas hidden for years, just to keep them safe from copycats. All that means is that they don’t get to share them with the world, they don’t get any recognition for them and – this is the key – don’t get to make any money from their ideas at all.
Fear is the worst reason for not putting yourself out there.
Don’t let this be you. Be brave and deal with those blocks and know that if you do get a copycat, which is pretty inevitable, then you can totally deal with it.
First up, I want you to get real here.
If you feel like someone’s copied you, the first thing I want you to do is really stop and check in with yourself. Don’t just jump in to sending angry emails or get really upset and resentful – even though that’s probably your first reaction because it does feel sucky.
This might sound harsh, but I’ve actually seen people get really upset about a copycat when, in fact, both you and the copycat are being fairly generic. Nobody’s copied anyone, but you’re both just being safe and mainstream.
Some ideas, especially in the personal development world, are in common use.
Don’t take it personally if an idea that you’ve used is also used by other people. The solution here is to put more of you in your business. Nobody can steal your story, so if you’re putting your heart into your business and your truth, then it makes it harder – and more obvious – if someone tries to steal your stuff. But, if it’s undeniable that someone has stolen your unique product or idea and is selling it as their own, then you do need to take action.
The first thing you can do is just to gather all your evidence, screenshot their website or whatever they’ve been doing – social media posts or whatever – and save any emails that you’ve exchanged. You can even use the Google Wayback Machine to see how old their website is as well. That’s the Google Wayback Machine.
Then you can check your records to see if they’ve been on your newsletter list and maybe if they’ve bought any of your products. I even had a cheeky copycat buy and then refund my program in the same day. Then, she launched a virtually identical program months later.
What do you do?
You can get legal on them. The best way to do this is to outsource it to someone else so you can stay kind of emotionally uninvolved in the whole process. Your legal person will probably send them a cease and desist letter. It wouldn’t cost you very much money to get it done, but that could be enough to get them to stop completely. If it’s not, then that legal person will be able to advise you on the next steps. You can stay calm, look after your energy and take advice from the pros, because they know how to deal with it because, honestly, in business it does happen a lot and you don’t have to do this alone.
The biggest thing is don’t be discouraged.
Treat this experience as just a business rite of passage, just like getting your first hater. Whether you’ve just had your first copycat or you’ve had lots of them over the years, it really is a sign that you’re working in your business. You’re putting yourself out there and making an impression. In fact, re-frame it as a business milestone and celebrate it rather than get shitty about it.
Then, just get on with doing your work and focus on the next step.
If you give the copycats energy and it only brings you down, they’re going to win. Your mindset is your biggest asset. You’ve got to look after that and you’ll find that the copycat thing is just one more business thing to sort out rather than this massive big deal that you have to stress about. When it happens to you – and it probably will – know that you can totally handle it.
If you freak out about having awkward conversations in your business, I’ve actually got a really great free resource for you. It goes through how to deal with situations that might feel a bit awkward, like dealing with late clients, defaulting payments or other boundary stuff that you can enforce without feeling like a bitch.
You can get a copy of that free eBook at LuckyBitch.com/awkward. There’s lots of scripts in there and it’s going to make it really easy for you to have some of those potentially awkward conversations.
Now, gorgeous, don’t worry about those pesky copycats because it’s your time and you’re ready for the next step.
Miss last week’s post? Read it here: “You’re Too Expensive”: How to Deal With Clients Who Say They Can’t Afford You