Why I Don’t Believe in Competition (Especially in Business)

I was 15-years-old and about to start my after-school job at the local gym my brother and his family owned.

As I walked into work, members of the gym were asking me questions.

“How come your brother’s talking to that guy in his office?”

“What guy?”

“The guy that owns the gym that other people work out at – you know – the competition?”

“Hmmmm…I have no idea.”

I took a stroll by the office where this chat was taking place and I saw two men in conversation – wasn’t sure what the big fuss was about.

Being the nosy sister I am – and super curious why people were shocked about this meeting – after the gentleman left, I went in and asked my brother what the meeting was all about.

My bro was like, “Well, so and so wanted to know how we ran our EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) system and so I told him.”

Easy as that.

One dude helping another dude out.

Back in the late 90’s EFT was a brand-new way of collecting money. Our small town gym was one of the “pioneers” in doing gym memberships through EFT.

And others wanted to adopt it.

Instead of my brother being stingy, or thinking he was lacking anything by “giving away” his EFT experience and set-up – he happily obliged in sharing what he knew about it.

And neither business was negatively affected by my brother showing another gym owner how to collect money electronically; it appeared this experience only lent support to a business each of them loved so much.

Nature Versus Nurture 

If we’re going to consider nature versus nurture when it comes to competition – I’m going to have to go with I just wasn’t born with a competitive bone in my body.

Now my husband on the other hand – the guy is competitive.

He thinks it’s healthy and when it comes to sports especially, he loves nothing more than blasting a ball out of the field and obliterating a bat while he’s at it.

Me? Not a feeling like that in my entire life.

Am I not competitive because sports have never been my thing?

(I mean, you guys, I played basketball once and acted like a ballerina trying to get the ball in the hoop. And there was a time playing tennis with my friends I thought I was hilarious and got myself wrapped in the net. I’m that good.)

Am I not competitive because my parents never pushed me to excel?

(As long as I was breathing and happy, that was winning in their book.)

Am I not competitive because I’m afraid to be?

(Is this an upper limit problem? Am I scared of rejection?)

I examine my view on competition because not only do I NOT feel inclined to compete with others, I feel that way in most areas of my life, especially business.

When I first started out online I heard the line, “Collaboration over competition.”

I know that’s probably been said by everyone and their online business mother, but it felt so damn right to me.

As right as non-dairy creamer feels in my coffee.

Why I Don’t Believe in Competition (Especially in Business)

Obviously, we’ve established it’s in my nature-bones I don’t feel the need to be competitive with others.

But, what about competition with my own damn self?

Is there such a thing?

Does that mean you’re a perfectionist, if so?

I’m not sure what textbooks or scholars say about this, but my take is I’d rather be “competitive” with myself than anyone or anything else.

I can control myself (if I’m not throwing too many margaritas back, that is), but I can’t control others – especially in business.

I can’t control your business and how you advertise.

I can’t control your marketing and how you show up in your newsletter, social media and website.

I can’t control what videos you make on YouTube, or how you structure your sentences, or how you network with other entrepreneurs.

But I CAN control showing up in my own unique way and tell my stories the only way I know how.

I CAN control what works for my business and my life and let that be the centerpiece of how I run things – not how I’m “supposed” to do life and business.

Because I’d rather spend my time focusing on how I can show up – with my distinct gifts – than worry what the “competition” is doing.

People (along with their business) are going to show up either way – and so am I.

Because there’s room for all of us.

Drive down any Main street and notice all of the shops.

Ever see two convenience stores across the street from each other? I always thought that was so crazy. But what I’ve witnessed is a steady stream of business to both stores.

I’m not saying competition is a bad thing.

If that works for you – work it.

In business, however, if it’s driving you nuts what your competitors are doing or not doing – perhaps you rethink your relationship to competition.

What if, instead of focusing on what others are doing, you pour that energy into your business.

Invest in yo’damn self!

There’s a difference between market research (aka, what are my “competitors” doing) versus allowing that to bring you down, become reactive or sway you from YOUR vision.

Because you probably have no idea what another business owner’s intentions are and what they’re sacrificing (or not sacrificing) to achieve certain goals.

Create a business (and life) that lights your candle and your people will find you. 

Some people/business dig a properly placed F-bomb.

Some people/business don’t.

Some people/business have strict return policies.

Some people/business don’t.

Some people/business believe in using social media.

Some people/business don’t.

That’s the beauty in it all: YOU GET TO MAKE IT YOUR OWN.

So don’t waste another hot minute on what you “should” do, or what your competitor’s doing.

Question what YOU want to do.

What you CAN do.

And show up right there and use your time and energy like a mo’fo.

Love + Leaning into Nature, 

Keli 

Should Every Business Have A Blog?

I was in high school when I overheard the TV in the background refer to Rosie O’Donnell and her “blog”.

I was like, “What in the hell is a blog? That name already sounds like it’s doomed.”

Boy, was I all sorts of wrong on that one.

To get all nerdy on you, the term blog was officially coined in 1999 when Programmer Peter Merholz shortened the term “Weblog” to blog. (Feel smarter already, don’t you?)

Cut to 2018 – there are more than 440 million blogs on Tumblr, Squarespace, and WordPress. Now that’s a whole lotta writing on the Interwebs right there.

If you’re a business owner, you might have heard everyone and their sweet mother, aunt, and distant cousins tell you that having a blog for your business is  E V E R Y T H I N G  (in their most exaggerated voice of course).

So, I bet you’re wondering if they’re right —

should your business have a blog?

Asking this question — to me — is like asking if Chris Hemsworth should take his shirt off more (hell yes).

But, that’s only my preference because I have a wild hair for Aussie’s with blue eyes and ripped abs.

Case in point:

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth

Ok, enough drooling over here.

Now, it’s not my style to tell people what to do (unless you’re my husband and I’m in major need of dark chocolate).

But, I will point out some highly qualified reasons why a blog could totally benefit your business and let you decide from there.

After all, it’s your business and YOU get to decide how you wanna run the damn thang.

Should Every Business Have a Blog?

Here are four reasons you might want to consider a blog for your business. 

#1 – You Own the Damn Thing

Ever heard of the concept of renting versus owning? (I know you have).

Now, I’m not ALL in favor of strictly owning (I’m a gypsy of sorts, y’all), but when it comes to your online real estate, you better own your shit.

I love me some social media. Get me all up in that Facebook and Instagram and my thumb’s ready to fall off by the end of the day.

But, what happens when Mr. Z (Mark Zuckerberg that is) changes the algorithm (which happens more than us business owners would like)?

That’s right, your organic reach usually goes down and all that time and energy you placed into social media (and not your website or blog) goes up in a cloud of algorithm smoke. Poof!

When you blog on YOUR website, you literally own that piece of online land. You own your website and ALL that goes in it.

Now, I’m not saying throw all of your social media out the window.

Just don’t place every ounce of your content in the house’s that others (like Mr. Z) have built. Spread the love to your website and newsletter as well (the online real estate you actually own). 

#2 – Your Blog Brings all the Boys to the Yard  

You built (and paid a pretty penny) for your beautiful website front, and now, nobody’s looking at it.

What the? Nobody likes the sound of virtual crickets.

Here’s the deal, Google LOVES content-rich websites that are full of answers and solutions and all things a human can Google.

And a blog is super handy for that reason and helps to drive traffic to your website.

The more you blog and build quality content on your website, the more people can find you – organically – through search engines like Google.

The longer your ideal customer stays on your website and gets to know you, and decides they kinda like you, they are more likely to buy from you (milkshakes included). 

#3 – Get on the Stage

Leather pants not required (but could be useful, I mean, look at Jon Bon Jovi).

If being a business owner makes you a rock star than what stage are you going to perform on? Your virtual website stage, of course!

When you consistently blog and create content that is useful for your audience, people get to know you.

They get to know your opinions, your brand voice (how you speak in your writing), how you deliver content – and over time – they get to decide if what they are consuming is something they want to continue doing or not.

By stepping up to your virtual stage, you get to showcase your talents and resources for your audience, and that, is how you get to create groupies and raving fans or those that say, “Nah, not for me” (and that is completely ok because you want an audience that’ll wait in the rain for you, versus a fair-weather fan).

#4 – A blog solves problems

Why do you have a business in the first place? To solve a problem, correct? To help someone achieve or buy something that could benefit them in some way. A blog does the same thing.

If you’re a doctor wanting to build your practice, or a photographer wanting to showcase your mad skills — having a blog to point your patients or customers to is invaluable.

If you’re the doctor, write about the problems your patients come to see you for. If you can, offer a solution or point them in a direction that’s helpful on the blog, and use the blog as a reference for patients with similar problems.

If you’re a photographer, write about the process it took to shoot certain pictures (what camera you used, the angles you chose and why, what homework you did to make that day/shoot happen).

Let people into your world and they might just keep “following” you around.

You don’t have to be an “expert” — just showcase the knowledge you do have and if that can help someone…even better! 

Things to Ponder Moving Forward

  • If I choose to have a business blog, who will write it (Marketing department? Hire a content writer? You’ve been dreaming of writing a blog for your business forever?)
  • How often will I blog (Once/day? Once/week? Once/month?)
  • And how practical is that number?
  • And how will you accomplish this blogging goal?
  • What topics will I blog about?
  • How will I distribute the blog (Newsletter? Social Media?)
  • Are aliens real? 👽Hmmmmmm.

Whether you decide a blog for your business is worth implementing or not, keep in mind that quality content is better than no content.

If you can’t keep a schedule of once a week posting, try bi-weekly or at least once a month to start out with.

Over time, you’ll start to flush out the kinks and get a clearer picture of this whole blogging thing.

And if you don’t think blogging is right for your business, or you don’t have the time to implement content at this point –

start where you are, keep showing up and know that you are doing a helluva job, my friend! For real. 

Love + Loving The Word Blog,

Keli Conci

GIPHY Source

I’m A Content Marketer?

We like to place labels on things, don’t we?

I, personally, love placing things in their appropriate boxes in life. It makes me feel all accomplished.

That may not always work out the best for me though, because I can get really stuck in certain boxes and eventually outgrow them.

Like when I said I was going to be a famous actress (my name is not up in the lights, y’all. Only on the website type of lights—if that counts).

A box I have yet to outgrow is writing.

Writing is a place of solace (especially when I was younger, and I started every journal entry with, “Dear Diary…” I seriously thought that was so cool).

And it’s also a place where I continue to learn about myself and this crazy thing called life.

So, imagine the surprise when I began to discover that I reeeeaaaalllly love digital marketing and more than that, I reeeeeaaaallllly love to write copy for businesses and brands.

I fell in love with writing newsletters and blogs.

I have this thrill that gets my heart all warm and tingly when I open up my laptop and I can’t wait to dig into some mean-ass research and word-slinging for the content I get to create.

Over time, I’ve learned there are so many facets of digital marketing and niche’s to uncover.

And it didn’t take me long to come to understand a kind of marketing that I was doing (but didn’t know I was doing): Content Marketing. 

What is Content Marketing?

 

Neil Patel (Marketer Extraordinaire) explains, “…content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.”

 

What does this high-quality content look like?

Blogs. Newsletters. Social Media. Infographics. Ebooks. Guides. Videos. Podcasts. Content you can produce that isn’t a billboard basically.

And, consistently, you show up with that content and over time you gain your audiences “know, like and trust” factor.

Your audience has the opportunity to “know” you through your quality content and decide whether or not they “like” it enough to stick around and if they do stay, then you get to gain their “trust”  — and in turn, eventually, they might buy a product(s) or service(s) from you.

That is the idea for content marketing: consistent (think weekly blog/bi-monthly newsletter/daily social media posting), quality content that is geared toward educating and entertaining your audience.

Content marketing is much different than advertisement marketing because content marketing plays the long game. There’s no short game strategy with this type of marketing – and there shouldn’t be.

Michele Linn explains, “Content marketing is educational, not promotional,” and points out, “…content marketing takes a lot of work, persistence, and patience – and it’s not for everyone.”

Can I get an, “Amen?!” 

Why I Love Content Marketing

This concept of creating consistent, quality, educational, long-game strategic content is what I’m all about.

If I’m going to label myself anything in the marketing industry I’ll proudly wear those big ole CM (Content Marketer) initials proudly.

That’s the type of marketing I can get behind, especially when it’s done in a non-sleazy (no click-bait headlines and crappy content), yet effective way.

I didn’t realize that my love of writing, storytelling, and digital marketing could collide like it has with content marketing and content writing.

Not only does this tickle my writing brain, it also plays with my highly strategic and optimizing way of thinking when it comes to marketing.

I’m A Content Marketer? Why Yes I Am. 

And so are you, if you want to be.

This post isn’t all about me peeling back my own layers of discovering what content marketing is — this is also about YOU understanding what content marketing is. 

If you run a business and are hell-bent on providing the best information to your clients, customers, and audience, then you might want to consider the use and implementation of this type of marketing.

It’s easy to throw up an advertisement or billboard and call it marketing.

It’s a whole other paleo enchilada to show up nearly daily and weekly — digitally — with content that keeps your audience shouting (or silently thinking), “We want more!”

More blogs that educate, more newsletters they look forward to in their inbox, more likelihood of pressing the “follow” button because they don’t want to miss what you’re putting out into the online world.

Questions to ponder if you’re a business and believe in playing the long-game in marketing:

  • How can I provide the most informative and entertaining content to my audience?
  • What channels and/or platforms (blog, email, graphics, social media, podcast, etc.) can I utilize to get this content to my audience?
  • Practically, how consistent can I be with this content and how committed can I be to seeing this plan through?
  • How will I execute this content marketing plan — will you write the content? Have an in-house marketing team? Hire a freelancer?

Whether you choose to implement content marketing as part of your digital blueprint for your business or not — know that it’s an option and a long-term strategy to nurture your audience, as well as give back in a way that feels damn good!

Love + Loving This Label, 

Keli 

Choosing Curiosity Over Comfort

We don’t always have it figured out, do we?

I know, as a child, I thought I had my dreams narrowed down and that my mind would never change.

Silly girl.

Turns out, life has the greatest sense of humor. EVER.

As the unassuming editor of my high school newspaper, I didn’t dream of being a journalist or even working for a Chronicle, or a place with “The Times” in their company title.

Nope.

I was just decent at using words, understood sentence structure and had a mad love affair with storytelling.

Words have always been one of my best methods of self-expression (ooookkkaaaay, and talking with my hands).

However, all I ever wanted to be was “famous” – not as a writer, but as an actress.

I would tell everyone I was going to be a famous actress, but in all honesty, I could care less about acting. I’m sure the dysfunction of my childhood had a lot to do with my desire to escape to Hollywood and become “famous” – but at the time, going through it, I thought I was so sure.

I think I pined more for living in the sunshine state of California than being on a stage though.

Detours

When it was time to head to college I gave a firm “hell no” to the college route and started making plans for California.

After having a conversation with my brother, I decided to try university life for one term and go from there.

Little did I know, that would be one of the first “detours” I was to take on a path that has not led me to the fame I sought as a child (I’m still holding out for Oprah though, ya dig?!)

And that is completely and utterly ok.

You see, I’m the type that has learned to follow the breadcrumbs in life.

My curiosity keeps me looking down roads I never dreamed of spying on and saying “yes” to opportunities that make my soul light up like the Fourth of July.

I definitely don’t have my name up in lights (does my website count?)

And I haven’t accepted any acting award for my performances (when the drinks are flowing in me and I decide to give a sermon on life at a bar, perhaps those are my Oscar-worthy performances).

What I have done is choose to pick up and investigate the pieces of curiosity along the way.

Marie Forleo says, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”

And that’s what I choose to do: engage with life.

I never thought my writing would lead me to have a blog or write for a business’s website, social media, newsletter, and blog. Those were never on my dream list.

And now — that’s all I can dream about — is writing.

I would never know this had I not followed the knock that was banging so loudly on my head and heart around writing and digital marketing.

When we dismiss those whispers we hear within (which sometimes sound a little bit crazy), that’s when we shut off what could be — a dream we never knew we had.

There are some people in this world where they knew when they were 2-years-old what they wanted to be when they grew up. And at 25, 35, 45-years-old – that is what they are.

And then there are people, like myself, who may have thought they knew their life plans, but turns out, not so much.

Hummingbirds

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about being a hummingbird with your curiosity and passion.

And that’s where you will usually find me, dipping my beak into sweet nectar of curiosity, dabbling around in it, trying it on for size, making it my own.

I may not be a lifelong practitioner dedicated to just one instrument and mastering that…

I show up to the curiosity that stirs my soul, dive in, engage and get to work.

Sometimes, you find that “thing” you want to dedicate your entire life to.

Sometimes you mosey from one curious project to another; figuring out what works for your life and what doesn’t.

You are not bound by a childhood dream.

Nor are you hopeless if you still don’t know what you want to be when you “grow up”.

Just keep showing up.

Engage.

Because I’d rather jump in the river and swim to find what I’m looking for…

Instead of sitting on the shore watching it all pass me by.

Jump.

Love + Curiosity,

Keli Conci

Resources for the Multi-Passionate and Curious