I’ve always been bad at math.
To this day I can’t solve a basic division problem that isn’t divisible by two without a calculator.
You know why I’m bad at math?
Because I copied other kids in school.
For years I copied and cheated my way through math because for me...it was difficult on day one.
So I chose to copy.
I always got decent grades in math...but only because I cheated.
Because of this I never developed any real math skills...
I was math illiterate.
Which wasn’t really a problem for me because I figured I’d always carry a calculator and it wouldn’t be a problem.
Turns out I was right. Thanks Apple.
But that’s not the point.
The point is...
I got an F in math in 7th grade.
Why did I get an F?
I copied on my final exam.
No, I didn't get CAUGHT copying.
...the wrong dude.
Turns out the kid I chose to copy was pretty fucking terrible at math.
So we both got Fs.
This is why most people fail as well.
In their personal brand & who they chose to be.
Copying is not the sincerest form of flattery.
It’s weak, stupid & bad business strategy and will almost certainly guarantee you are constantly struggling to gain traction.
Here is why:
1. Like I learned in 7th Grade math...you have no clue if what other people are doing is even working.
There are lots of people and companies that from the outside seem to have their shit poppin...
...but in reality, they don’t.
Behind close doors things are falling apart.
Their success is all smoke and mirrors.
In today’s world it’s impossible to truly know who’s legitimately dominating.
Lots of people are professionals at looking the part.
You know those people you think are killing it...
Those people who you would never imagine are struggling...
Some of those people are literally 30 days out from going completely broke.
Thats a fact.
The truth is...you have no idea what the truth REALLY IS in any scenario.
So what happens to you when you copy one of these people or companies that seems to be doing great and they are actually one of the pretenders?
That should scare you.
2. If you do happen to pick a great person to copy, you are choosing to copy a person/company/product that likely took years to develop into what you see.
What I mean is...there is a time to market when it comes to ideas, branding and even personal branding strategies.
This means the end product you see with your eyes today that you are copying is the result of ideas/thoughts/conversations that were probably discussed and chosen 2-3 years ago by the leader (the person/product/company you choose to copy).
This is why you can never catch them.
Because you are copying what you perceive them to be “right now” and you aren’t privy to what they are currently working to become...and are becoming.
This, by default, puts you 2-3 years behind the leader at all times.
So it’s literally impossible to ever take market share from that leader by copying something they already did ...and did well!
No matter how slick you think you are....you will always be behind.
Let talk this through...
So you are gonna come along as a lesser, slower, less recognizable version of a brand you are trying to emulate...
....a brand that already came along and won big and is evolving and improving into something even better...
...and you think people are going to get off their train and get on yours?
...and you think this is a good strategy?
If you do...that should also scare you.
Besides all that...
3. People know a knock off when they see one.
Because people can recognize a knock off...your brand equity suffers.
Meaning...the customers/fans/followers will see you as the knock off and automatically value your brand below the leader.
This makes you and whatever it is you offer less valuable in their mind.
Which ultimately also causes you to get less attention in general.
Once you have that stigma it’s nearly impossible to shake without a full wreck and redo.
This is extremely important when it comes to personal branding.
Its extremely fucking difficult for most people to rebrand because they are not dynamic & don’t know how to evolve their skill set.
...if they were dynamic & knew how to evolve they’d be the leader by default.
Dynamic people/companies don’t copy...
...they evolve & innovate!
Look at any top of market personality, artist, company, etc
Do they copy anyone?
Do they resemble anyone?
Do they remind you of anyone?
No, other people remind you of them!
If people say to you:
“You remind me of...” that's not a good sign in most scenarios.
Listen, I get it.
It’s super tempting to copy. You see someone killing it with something and you think:
“I could do THAT, I could be THAT.”
...you’re probably right.
THAT might not be working as well as you think.
THAT will take time for you to become and already exists in the present time and “the original” is better, faster, and better funded than you.
THAT has already been done...and by the time you become just like THAT...everyone else is already familiar with THAT and on to the next thing.
Meaning...you’re always old news...and less valuable...with less attention...and less money.
It turns out “Be Yourself” really isn’t a meaningless cliche.
It is great advice that can actually make you a lot of money and bring you a lot of happiness too.
Create your own lane.
Take the effort you put into “emulating” & stealing other ideas and put it into figuring out YOUR LANE WITH YOUR OWN IDEAS.
Thats a far more effective plan than being a bottom feeder copycat.
There are no cover bands in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.