Poisoned Inspiration

Here’s a cautionary tale.

I’m gonna be excruciatingly vague here – partly because I like the person involved.

I’m not gonna name names or even say which of my projects or businesses I’m talking about.

You don’t need those details anyway.

I noticed one of my customers/clients offering folks something that looked a tad familiar. Not long after we worked together, I noticed their new business model.

They offered the same service as me, at the same prices, using the same digital infrastructure…

They even used the same sort of language I did.

What did I do?

Did I call my lawyers?

Tell them to knock it off?

Rally against them on social media, complaining to my followers, maybe even try to get them deplatformed?

Goodness no – I can’t imagine a bigger waste of my time and energy.

My strategy was very clever.

I sat back and watched.

My offer sold so well that, after a little over a month, I had to double the price – twice – and that didn’t even slow down my sales. In fact, if I crunched the (admittedly small) numbers, I’m sure I’d see an increase in the number of folks who bought.

Meanwhile, my would-be clone halved their prices and sat around, their offer gathering dust.

That was the likely outcome. I built and priced my offer around my brand, my audience, my proof and expertise. Their offer was, with respect to them, inferior in many aspects and they didn’t have the same history with the market I did.

So I wasn’t surprised.

What if it went the other way, though? What if they did exactly what I did… only they made more money off it?

Well, why would I complain about that?

Think about it – someone takes my business model, my style and my offer… and makes more money than I do? That’s a handy experiment that shows how I could do something better.


If they stole my content and sold it as their own… or even swiped my copy… that would be a different conversation.

But my business model?

I built that in an afternoon.

They were welcome to try it, but I knew how it worked and why. The only move they knew to play was to drop the price.

(Personally? I would have raised the quality… )

By all means, look around and see how other folks run their businesses. Let them be inspiration for you. But you need to understand your business and your market, to see what bit apply. You’ll never see everything that’s under the hood, so all you can copy are superficial details.

Unless you know how your business works, it won’t work for you.