Day #188 | Competition

Ever since I started building online businesses, my idea of what competition is, changed.

I had only competed in combat sports before that. There, by design, when one man wins, another man has to lose. Sometimes in devastating fashion. It's a zero sum game.

That might be the reason I kept building unique products. I would have an idea and I would google it. If I found that it existed already, instead of thinking "validation", I would say "Shit, it's taken" and move on. As if it was a fucking bus seat.

I thought competition was scary.

Then, I started a full time job. My priorities flipped. I loved my job (and still do), but I didn't feel in control of my life. I wanted to become financially independent. I forgot about changing the world from my bedroom while in my pajamas.

I have to change my own world first.

I entered a market with competitors, and for the first time I didn't build a unique product. I felt like shit to be honest. Unoriginal. A thief. As if I was stealing food from someone else.

Fast forward six months, this is how I look at competition.

Let me paint a picture for you:

We are at a river. The river is the market. Let’s say.. the lead generation market.

The fish swimming with the river represent all the potential customers.

Different kinds of fish represent different niches. For example: lead generation for startups, freelancers, enterprises, gaming studios, whatever.

The product (or positioning) is the bait. Let’s assume that each bait attracts a specific kind of fish. You can position yourself as a lead generation service for startups, freelancers, etc etc.

Last but not least, all the different spots you can sit and fish are the different distribution channels.

If even one of all four (market, niche, product/positioning, distribution channels) doesn't match, you are not competing. There is no overlap. Especially in a big market.

One example:
Someone arrives at the same river (market) as you. He or she starts fishing with the same bait (product) but on the other side of the river (different distribution channel). That’s fine. You are not overlapping. You weren’t going to catch those fish anyway.

You get the point.

The only “issue” is when all four overlap. Someone arrives, sits right next to you and starts fishing the same kind of fish as you with the same bait.

“What the fuck dude, move over a bit!” It doesn’t have to be hard for anyone.

That’s what I did with Cyberleads. I didn’t want to overlap with others. 

Their lists of startups targeted journalists, VCs and startups. I targeted digital agencies.

They didn’t launch on PH, so I launched there.

They invested in SEO, so I went with social media marketing.

There is so much room for everyone. But it’s plain stupid to bump heads when we have all this space.

The internet is not a zero sum game, if you play it right.

Especially if you are not planning to be a billionaire, but a small and humble poor millionaire.

Do you know how much money is being spent online every second? Enough to live a lifetime.

Now go and catch some fish.

@alexwestco