One thing that is possibly going to hold you back is comparisonism. I doubt very much that it’s even a word. No, I don’t think I invented it, but I’m sure it’s been used often.
I see this over and over . It effects a lot of people. If you deal with this, believe me — there’s nothing wrong with you. You are not alone, we all do it.
But what happens is we look at people who are further down the road of success, and we compare ourselves to them and we feel that we are not worthy, we are not adequate, we are not good enough, we are not capable of doing what they do.
However, let me remind you that we only see the finished model.
So take Apple for example — it is so darn easy to compare things, but look at the iPhone. When they bought out the iPhone, there were other phone companies, like Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson LG, Motorola, and more.
Then iPhone came out and did anyone say “Ugh, no! We can’t do that.” Did they give up? Did they think “Well that’s fantastic, we’ll never be able to do that.”?
No, they went for it, or some did. Samsung tried to do better, and then Google came out with android and so on, I don’t know all the ins and outs.
But even when we saw that iPhone, do you think their initial prototypes all looked like that? How many prototypes do you imagine they came up with?
How many designs, how many attempts did it take to get to that iPhone? And I might add, by the way, a few short years later, we are on at the time of this recording, iPhone 6+, so even then they didn’t think that was perfect themselves, they continued to improve.
But that iPhone, we saw the finished article, we did not see the prototypes.
The Same Principle Applies to Your Business
So for example, you’re listening to me and I’m telling you that I’m pretty good at this stuff and I run a successful business and I have built a successful business.
But had you come and listened to me in, I don’t know, 1992 or something like that, it would not have looked like this, I was still developing, I was on my journey, on my road to success.
And we’re continuing on that road to success; while we do this, others try and catch us up and we have to keep ahead.
But, do I compare myself to others and think “Oh, I can’t do that.” No, because what’s that going to do for me?
In fact, in my other business, I used to sell fire extinguishers door-to-door, cold calling, every day, through the winter snow, when it was raining cats and dogs, and gale force winds.
I was even out in the hurricane back in ’87, so it was not easy and I eventually didn’t like it, I did very well, I made great money but it didn’t look like a future.
So what I did, was, I thought “Okay, there are some big companies in this area that are selling fire extinguishers, large multinationals in the UK, let me have a look at what they do and what they do differently.” Because I knew nothing.
And their entire business was built on servicing, so they didn’t just get a sale, they sold something and then came back year after year to maintain it and it turns out that these things need little parts and little extras.
They get used to it so if you are the maintenance company, you’re the one that gets to refill them, hopefully. And every so often they need replacing.
They don’t last forever and when they need replacing, you’re on the spot and you get to do it, so you get ongoing business, lifetime value.
And those customers as they expand and open more stores, they generally will call you and say, “Hey, we’ve got another store, another shop, can you come and check it out?”
So I looked at that and I thought, time for change, I pivoted, stopped selling door to door and learned to service, went and put myself on a course, and I started all over again.
I had no customers and started from scratch all over again. Years later, I built it up, and watched what they do, and don’t forget I never worked for them but I watched what they did.
Now I did not take that as something that I could not aspire to, I took that as inspiration and a model to emulate and to do my own thing with it and see how it went with that.
So I wasn’t comparing myself to their success. And that worked, business was great. In actual fact I sold my business back in 2003 , for a lovely seven figure sum and then I started again, and the current one, Fire Protection online, is even bigger than the last one.
Never Compare Yourself to the Big Companies
But when I started in there, I started online, there were already companies at the top. Did I look at them and think, “I can’t do that”? No, I looked at them as inspiration as what’s good and what’s not good.
I looked at them and thought, what can be done better , what not to bother doing and what they’re not doing at all that I could dive in with.
So if you’re photographer and you’re starting off, you’re probably not going to be brilliant but everybody starts somewhere and everyone learns.
But if you compare yourself to those glossy magazines and catalogs or even your teacher, if you think “Oh, I’m never going to be this good”, how is it going to affect your work, how are you ever going to let yourself grow and learn?
What you’ve got to acknowledge is your path, your path to success and it’s going to go up, you are going to learn.
The harder you work, the more you learn and perhaps the faster you’ll get to your success, the faster you will improve; but you will improve, experience counts for everything.
Now I will tell you about the seven P’s marketing system , perpetual sales and how easy it is to build the list and how you should be doing this and how easy it is to change your website to make it grab leads and to build your e-mail list.
So you’ve got a queue of customers in the future, how easy it is to get referrals, etc. And you’re going to think, well, yeah, that’s easy for you, Jon, you’ve got a company that does few million and you’ve got staff and so on.
But trust me when I started Fire Protection Online, it was me, I wasn’t even in the country, but when I was, I used to sit in my office, in my dining room at home, referred to as the office, and I used to do stuff on my computer.
Then around lunchtime, I would jump in the car and drive 20 minutes to my store which was a shack that was the size of a double garage, it even had a double garage door with no electricity, no toilet, no water, no nothing.
I used to go down there, pack the stuff, the carriers came along and took it away about three o’clock. Then I would drive back and go back to work. And in the evenings I would do all sorts of stuff, but eventually I hired someone to help me in the office, I then hired someone to do the packing and so on.
And I learned this from watching others. But I didn’t suffer from comparisonism. Please don’t let this hold you back, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Tuesday Toolbox Tip
It is a Tuesday, so that means it is time for a toolbox tip. Today is for a software to help you with your systems. Now it’s called Process Street.
This is software from Vinay Patanker (and I’ll let you in on something — on Wednesday, I’m actually interviewing Vinay Patanker).
He is young, and he is fantastic. This is a great business; it’s kinda like Trello and so on. If you look at it, it’s free.
There are paid versions but we use it, you do not need the paid version, it’s brilliant, you can use the paid version forever.
But it helps you systemize your business by writing processes that then have to be followed. So if you’re going to hire team members, outsource, this is fantastic, it is not like just writing out a system on a piece of paper or on a spreadsheet, it is a process that each thing has to be done through and ticked off and then it resets it back to zero, ready for the next time it’s done.
You can use the process for recording your podcast, editing your podcast, getting guests or for writing blog posts or for your social media strategy.
Go on, go have a look and listen to the interview with Vinay tomorrow, you won’t regret it.
See you soon.