I originally wrote this article for the Boss Women Community, a group of female entrepreneurs who evoke collaboration over competition and creating a strong support network to encourage each other to strive for success. You can either read it below or by following the link and learning more about the community.
Business envy is a bitch, and I don’t mean a bad bitch.
As a boss woman who started her own jewellery, or jewelry as it is misspelled in the US, business in a very competitive market. With a propensity for anxiety, it would be fair to say there are periods of feeling major doubt. This is often exacerbated when I start focusing on other jewellery businesses and comparing my brand to theirs.
Before we really dive into what business envy is and how to deal, let’s break it down. Envy is that feeling when someone has something you want. It seems once envy rears its vile head, the cycle of negative thoughts begins and often we don’t even realise it’s happening.
“My brand will never look as professional as Brand X”
“Why do they get so many comments?”
“They probably get way more orders than I do”
“I wish I’d thought of Brand X’s idea”
“I wish my product was as nice as theirs”
“I wish (insert another defeatist and totally untrue notion here)”
We have all fallen into this toxic way of thinking at some point or another. However, it’s not whether or not unhealthy thoughts cross our minds that defines us. It’s what we do about it.
Do we allow these type of negative thoughts to fester and develop a negative mindset? Does it start to permeate into our actions and guide us away from our business vision?
As a result, I have created a 3 step CHECK YOURSELF system to overcome these type of low vibration thoughts.
WHEN BUSINESS ENVY STRIKES:
1. The focus is not on MY business
2. Wins are not being celebrated
3. It’s self-serving and wallowing, most of the above sentences started with “I”
So what to does one do about it?
The above examples are thoughts based out of fear that will continue to pop up every once in a while. The key here is recognising when it’s happening. I’ve had to actively rewrite the stories I tell myself to not make comparisons, enjoy wins no matter how small, and have an empowering talk with myself about how my brand serves others.
For instance, after almost 2 years of being in business and hundreds of sales, I got my first return from one of the online boutiques Leo With Love sells through, boo! Now, that would’ve been fine had the reason for return not said “poor quality”. It felt like I had died a little inside. As it was through an external boutique, brands can’t directly contact the customer and they get many returns so I couldn’t get any info as to why the customer felt that way.
Cue self-pity mode.
This particular piece of jewellery was a bit expensive, it’s a £90 necklace made of thick rose-gold plated brass. My logical mind said maybe the packaging took away from the perceived value of the item, something I know is a potential issue.
The very illogical side of my mind started trying to blame the customer. I mean, this person had a big order according to the returns form, it was just before Valentine’s day, the returns form is dated on the 15th, they probably wore it and now don’t have a use for it so are returning it.
Oh, of course, no spiral is complete without comparing my brand to those with similarly priced jewellery selling through this online boutique and questioning if customers could have a better experience elsewhere.
Let’s take a step back here, shall we?
I WAS TOTALLY MISGUIDED BY THE 3 TRAITS OF BUSINESS ENVY:
The focus was on other brands and blaming others. I didn’t recognise that a return rate less than 1% in almost 2 years is pretty fantastic. It stewed for a few days and I couldn’t just let it go, thus affecting the way I was communicating with customers and followers.
Yes, it’s a shame there’s not much to be done in getting more info about customer feedback or prove if it was actually worn. Regardless, dwelling on things like this doesn’t help you. What is helpful is remembering why you started your business. Your WHY is everything.
Leo with Love started with the idea that my designs can accessorise a woman’s confidence and give that little extra boost to be bold today! My why is to have the people who wear my jewellery feel exuberant and poised. All by making a small choice to wear something representative of how they want to feel today.
When you started your business, it was because you felt passionate and called to action. Something inside of you was ready to burst like a firework for this idea that was going to change the way people did some aspect of life! You felt on the verge of something bigger than yourself, on the path where it just felt right.
Somewhere along the road, you got sidetracked by a few bumps, like I did after one return. Instead, you started looking at other people’s routes that seem similar to yours but seem to have gotten further ahead somehow.
Look, it’s totally human, normal, and okay.
What’s not okay is holding yourself back because you’re too focused on other people’s success. Analysis paralysis because you are so stuck on analyzing what everyone else is doing that you are overwhelmed and cannot stay in tune with your own brand.
It is not to say you shouldn’t see what other people are doing that works and useful tools to help scale your business. Their map for success is something you can tweak to YOUR business. Integrating information from a few sources and putting your own spin on it to streamline your way to where you want to be is savvy and smart.
Sitting down and making a conscious effort to remap your thinking is key here. You're a smart businesswoman, right? You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise. And don’t feel discouraged. It takes time because the mind needs to be retrained out of bad habits.
So let’s do a little exercise here! Ideally, an actual writing utensil and paper as this allows for deeper resonation and manifestation. However, boss women are usually on the go so no worries if you type this out instead.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS:
- What was happening went I felt that pang of envy?
- Are the answers to question 1 the actual reasons or is there something underlying? When writing down those answers, was there something else that popped into your head that you didn’t write down?
- Are these businesses actual competitors or are they similar with a different clientele? If yes, great! There are some fantastic ideas you know would work for your brand, never hurts to test it out.
- Is this line of thinking actually helpful to my business success?
- What actionable steps can I take to change my mindset when business envy strikes?
I have found taking actionable steps like sending emails, doing follow-ups, picking up the phone and calling a strategic partner or potential client, and working on my next marketing campaign are all things that alleviate stress by putting the focus back on my business. I have to take it easy on myself and employ some self-love as I build my brand.
Owning a business isn’t easy and sometimes you will have feelings that make you wonder if you’ve made the right decision. However, it’s only in those feelings of uncertainty and pushing your own boundaries do you find out how strong you truly are.
And you know what? Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. Shout out to Oprah for giving us “teachable moments” because learning from your mistakes is the best way to move forward.
Business envy doesn’t have to get you down; utilise it as an advantage to make your business stronger and give you a competitive edge.
Get it girl, you know what to do AND how to do it!