Perhaps this post will upset some of you.
Perhaps this post will make some of you nod in absolute agreement.
However you feel, I don’t think you’ll be sitting on the fence with this one.
It’s time to stop copying.
Yes, I see you. We all see you.
The social media world isn’t all that big. You’re going to find that you move in the same circles. You’re also going to find that you consume so much information and perhaps store it without even realising.
That means, you’re going to notice when someone copies someone else’s work quite outrightly. You won’t say anything out of politeness and thus this person probably thinks they’re getting away with it, but let’s be honest, we all notice.
We store this information and we begin to associate this person as being rather inauthentic. We don’t see the value that they may (or not!) be sharing because we don’t believe it’s theirs.
You see, the problem isn’t just that they’re stealing someone else’s creativity and hard work.
The problem isn’t just that it is offensive and may upset the original creator.
The problem is that this person is going to struggle to build an authentic brand, trusting audience and strong reputation.
This rings true especially when this is a personal brand.
Let’s hear it…
Building a personal brand is so difficult, I really don’t know where to start.
Of course it is! Quite honestly I’d put it out there that building a personal brand is more difficult than building the brand for a business!
I think the problem is that too often people think everything needs to be perfect before they start.
That’s because we look up to so many people online who have incredibly strong and polished personal brands.
What you may not realise is that these people have full teams behind them and have spent years and years building up a personal brand. It doesn’t come out of thin air, it comes with you experimenting and being creative and following what you feel is true to you in your gut. Those are the personal brands that are successful.
If your personal brand is copied from someone else because you feel like they’re so similar and it represents you well, or that this is what you aspire to be so you’re going to build a personal brand around it, chances are you’re not going to get very far.
If you’re not struggling when creating your personal brand, you’re probably not working deep enough.
This doesn’t mean it’s okay to copy someone else’s and hope that in turn this leads you down the path of finding yourself.
Doing this will have the opposite effect. Rather than slowly building up your brand and reputation respectably, you’re going to give people a bitter taste of your brand before you’ve even gotten started.
Don’t be known as the girl who copies.
Don’t be known as the girl who is afraid to express her individuality.
Don’t be known as the girl who isn’t putting time into her own creativity.
Be known as the girl who is fearlessly herself even if she struggles to really define what she stands for right now.
Understand that the beauty of being you is the fact that you don’t fit into a box.
The beauty of being you is your originality, your creativity and your absolute refusal to piggyback on anyone else’s work or ideas as your own.
Who cares if that means you don’t have a defined colour palette or Instagram theme?
Express yourself just the way you are.
Because those are the people that you look up to and respect.
You’re not inspired by the babe who is copying. You’re inspired by the babe who is always herself and doesn’t apologise for it. You love what she has going on, even if not everyone shares that opinion!
There’s nothing wrong in taking inspiration from others, but this should be left at just that: inspiration.
Take inspiration from a number of people and a number of brands. Let those ideas sit with you and use that to help your own creativity flow.
Before you put anything out there, ask yourself, is this truly me?
If it isn’t, get back to the drawing board and enjoy the process.