meaningful work podcast

Episode 22: Render your competitors irrelevant

May 14, 2024 | Podcast

Everyone gets spooked by their competition sometimes. But we don’t have to! Because the role of powerful, effective branding is to render your competitors irrelevant.

I’m human too, and I’ve definitely felt that jealousy creep in when I see someone else doing something I had planned. But feeling those ugly emotions and judging ourselves for it? Not helpful, my friend.

You’ll learn:

  1. How to not let your competitor fears derail you – instead focusing on your own strong branding.
  2. Why your marketing should attract your people and repel those who aren’t a fit.
  3. To be willing to ruffle feathers and actually say something worth consuming.
  4. In this saturated market, there’s an opening for brave entrepreneurs with real thoughts to share.

Let me know what resonated most with you from this one!

Want to discover the future of premium programs? Check out my free training – 7 trends that will impact your industry! 

In this video training, you’ll learn:

  • 7 trends for premium group programs that will impact your industry
  • How to have the audacity to own your expertise
  • What you need to do to step up and start playing a bigger game
  • Why your clients are waiting for you to charge premium fees and how to get started.


Welcome to meaningful work remarkable life. I’m your host Brook McCarthy and I’m a business coach, trainer and speaker living and working on the unseeded lands of the cameras located here in Sydney, Australia. In this podcast, we explore the paradoxes inherent in working for love and money, magnifying your impact, and doing work you feel born to do. We explore the intersections of the meanings we bring to work and the meanings we derive from work.

What does it mean to render your competitors irrelevant, this is something that I say quite often. And I get a lot of funny looks from people when I do. I know so many business owners get really spooked by their competitors. And I’m not going to mince my words here or tell you that I never do because I would be lying. I am human. Of course, I get spooked by competitors. Of course, sometimes I look at what other people are doing. And I think shit, they jumped the gun, you know that they’ve, they beat me to it. That was my idea. I was the person that was going to do that first, that was a great idea. And look, somebody else is doing it. And I think this is, you know, a really common thing that business owners do. And of course, it’s no fun feeling like this. We don’t like feeling jealous. We don’t like feeling less than we don’t like feeling shame. We don’t like feeling embarrassed, we don’t like looking at other people’s businesses. And feeling that, you know, wow, they’re doing such a brilliant job that looks fantastic, I should be celebrating them. I’d like to be the kind of person who celebrates them and who sees it for the good thing that it is for the obvious good work they’re doing. But instead, I’m feeling all these ugly emotions. So what do I do now? Will I make it so much worse, by judging myself.

Some years ago, I had a client who was a legitimate leader in their field, they were doing something that was very, very niche. And they’d been doing it for 15 years, it was a relatively new part of business as well. So it was like a subset as a kind of a niche within a niche of business. And it wasn’t that well known in Australia, it was really kind of emerging. And they had a fairly sizable team, these people weren’t new to business, they weren’t tiny, they had, I think from memory about eight people working for them, plus a load of subcontractors such as myself. And they were doing great things, they had absolutely every reason to be feeling proud about themselves. But whilst they were a client of mine, what I witnessed happen over and over and over again, is that this niche reached a kind of a critical mass. And this tends to happen with ideas, right ideas, you know, kind of new ish, I guess. And it takes a little bit of time for you know, the first mover advantage to be established, and then the second mover in the space comes in, and then more and more and more and more, that particular idea becomes picked up by people and it starts to kind of, you know, reach a critical mass and it may still be niche, it may never become kind of mainstream, it may never be, you know, bread and butter, so to speak rice, you know, it may still be unknown for the vast majority of people. But the point is, is it reaches a critical mass. And when that happens, you get a lot more competitors that enter the field, the niche gets a lot larger, the sector gets a lot larger. And what I witnessed happened with this particular client over and over and over again, it would really spook them, it wouldn’t just spook them, but it would cause them to question everything and over and again, I saw this happen where the business owner would call on a meeting and it was almost like, you know, an emergency meeting like down tools immediately. We need to review our strategy, we need to review our plan. We need to you know, make doubly sure that we’re doing the right thing because yet another competitor has entered the market. So this is not something that is you know, only happening to soloists or micro businesses or you know, emotional business owners not by a long stretch. This is something that all businesses regardless of the sector

The industry, how long they’ve been established how legitimately awesome they are, and how big they are all of us struggle with this.

So, back to that question of what does it mean to render your competitors irrelevant as more and more people enter your particular industry or sector and when it feels crowded, it feels like you know, it’s getting more and more difficult to be seen and more and more difficult to be heard. Well, what next? Like how exactly do you render your competitors irrelevant. So this is the role of branding. This is what branding is really all about, when we have got a strong, memorable brand, our competitors and what their brands are, and what they are doing, and the ins and outs of what they’re selling, or not selling and the price point and inclusions and what it doesn’t include, and all that jazz becomes irrelevant, because we have become a category of one. And this is the aim of branding. Yeah, because otherwise, if we are not rendering our competitors irrelevant, then we are the elevator music of the internet. And of course, the elevator music of the internet is not seen. And it’s not heard, it has absolutely no effect whatsoever, it is not even noticed in the same way that elevator music isn’t noticed. So if we think about marketing as a magnet, and marketing as a magnet that specifically magnetises A type of person or type of ideal client to us, in the same way that magnet will repel others who aren’t a good fit. And this is the joy in the strengths of branding, right is because there is a brand for every person. And what I find extremely off putting personally when I look at other people’s branding is a hugely aspirational and attractive to other people it you know, it is repelling me and at the same time it is magnetising other people. Now, of course the risk with this the risk with saying something worth listening to the risk with creating marketing that magnetises and repels the risk of you know, our endeavours to render our competitors irrelevant is that we are humans and humans are strange and unusual creatures, are we not? And the biggest risk that I see in business is that we would rather be likes than be paid. So what I mean by that is we would rather not ruffle feathers, we would rather blend in, we would rather be agreeable. We would rather write well done. Congratulations, that’s awesome. on yet another boring us LinkedIn post than actually say something that actually, you know, engage in a debate than actually contribute to a living, breathing conversation, which is what social media is supposed to be about. And back in the day, now I sound super old. Back in the olden days of online business and digital marketing it you know, I’m thinking circa 2010, the glory years 2010 2012 2014 I lay even is that odd years? It was actually a conversation, it was actually a real conversation by people that were not praying that we’re not just going Yeah, yeah, that’s great, you know, the equivalent of, you know, how are you? Great, and how are you? Great to that. You know, that small talk that just absolutely kills me that so much of social media and I’m looking at you LinkedIn has become nowadays where you could get on social media and you could actually instigate real conversations with real human beings from across the globe. And it felt like such a radical thing to do. It felt like such a fun thing to do. It actually felt like you were meeting a real person that and getting real insight into their lives. And there are still people I joined Instagram in 2011.

There are still people on Instagram, that I have been following that entire time, where when I see their posts about you know, hot cross buns or, you know, here’s me taking a selfie and a lift in a mirror and a lift. I actually feel a real warmth towards them in the same

way that I would do a real life friends that I know in real life, you know, even though I’ve never met these people on Instagram, and I’ll comment on their posts you know about Hot Cross Buns what an easy way to get an engagement post food you reach the gluttons such as myself. But you know there is a realness to it. There is a you know, I’m I’m I don’t think I’m overstating it, there is a real warmth to my relationship with this person, even though we have never spoken, we have never met.

So getting over this desire to be liked is really, really important. And there are so many businesses who make their marketing into the elevator music or the internet, because they are marketing likability. And it’s understandable why we do this right? It makes sense for many and varied reasons, you know, that are best covered in different podcasts. And I will go back into the archives and link a couple. So you know, ranging from the fact that we’ve been conditioned to be kind conditioned to be liked, we have been censored. We have seen other people’s censored we have seen other big mouths, and let’s be honest, other women with opinions censored, and that has a very conforming effect of making a stay likeable, stay small, stay smiling. And, of course, you know, we are trying to sell stuff, right? Where we are concerned with ultimately exchanging value for cash and people aren’t going to buy from us, right? If they dislike us, that was would be

number one. But of course, the problem is, we’re dulling ourselves down. We’re Beijing ourselves out, we’re blending ourselves around it’s boring as batshit dollars dishwater to mix my metaphors to, you know, to bring in every metaphor, every hackneyed metaphor I can find.

And we’re missing the opportunity to make a real connection with people. Because this is 2024. Correct? Have I missed anything?

And Seth Godin seminal book, permission marketing was published in 1999, which is bizarre to me. This was a seminal business book, because it ushered in this whole era that we are all participating in, I would, I would hazard a guess right now, I’m not just going to hazard a guess I’m going to make a bet. I’m feeling that confident. You are listening to a business podcast, which means you are participating in Seth Godin, his idea of content marketing, and he gave it you know, a name, he gave it a term, this idea of permission marketing, which was radically different from everything that came before it. Before we had content marketing, we had advertising that was it. Yeah, we were either being advertised to. Or, you know, we were getting kind of recommendations from family and friends, which was of course, the precursor to influencer marketing. These are not new things. These are old things in new clothing meaningful on. So I want to stop this episode just for two quick minutes to tell you about an awesome free resource that I have for you. It is a free video training short, sharp, filled with insights and value. It’s called The Future of premium group programmes, and it’s especially for consultants, coaches, and values based experts. It covers the seven key trends right now. And how these will impact your industry is especially if you sell or want to sell premium group programmes. We also look at how to have the audacity to own your expertise and elevate it, and what you need to do to step up and start playing a bigger game. We also cover why your best clients are waiting for you to charge premium fees, and how to go ahead and make it your new reality to access this awesome free video training the future premium group programmes go to hustle and forward slash future or click on the link in the show notes. Okay, back to the episode. So the idea of permission marketing, which is you know what, I’m going to give you my email address my most precious email address and I’m going to ask you into my inbox to come

and market to me to sell to me. This is, you know, a radical thing. And it’s ushered in what we now know of as marketing, everything, pretty much if you’re not paying, then it’s content marketing that you are either participating or creating yourself. And of course, the democratisation that came with the internet, which meant that anyone, anyone could get on the internet and they could market and they could sell their products and services online, and it wouldn’t cost them a single dollar.

Of course, those glory days are over those golden years where you could put up any shitty post, you know, you could put posts on your facebook group as I would do my Facebook page. And I would say, Hey, I’m coming to Byron Bay, I’m running a course I’m coming to Melbourne, I’m coming to Sydney, I’m coming to Brisbane, I’m coming to Perth, I’m running a course and people would not just see the post, they would actually click and they would buy. And they would show up. Like it was so so easy. It was like, you know, it was just it was it was glorious. It was glorious. But unfortunately, or fortunately, those days are over. And so when we think about our competitors, and we think about the crowded marketplace, and when we think about how difficult and how hard and how saturated a day is. Yes, you know, to an extent all these things are true, yes. Those are the lenses through which you can view business online in 2024. And yes, you would be correct. And yes, those would be true things. But I’m going to ask you to put on a different set of glasses, I’m going to ask you to try a different lens through which to view things. Yes, the market is saturated. But the market is also sophisticated. And this is a good thing. Because it means that we now have reached a critical mass of people who are critically thinking about what they’re seeing on the internet. They’re not just seeing any old social media post, and thinking, yep, that’ll do. Let me whip out my credit card. So the market is now more sophisticated, the strategies and tactics that used to work even in 2020 2021, and no longer working or at least no longer working, you know, to quite the same extent. Because people are more discerning people are more discerning people are more critical. And they’re thinking people are more sophisticated. And they know how digital marketing works, they understand you know that if they sign up to something that’s free, or they sign up to something that’s low cost.

Even if it looks like an awesome sales page, or perhaps especially if it looks like a super awesome sales page, that they’re likely to be pitched to that it’s likely to become a bit of a pitch fest with maybe a little nugget of value, you know, in between.


when we look at the world through these, this lens, when we look at online business through this lens, and we look at marketing, we look at messaging, we look at branding, this represents an opportunity, it represents an opportunity to business owners who are willing to be disliked. It represents a an opportunity for business owners who are willing to put a stake in the ground and say this is the hill that I will die on. It represents an opportunity for business owners who are happy to stick their head up. And to actually say something worth listening to to have a nuanced well formed opinion. And to not be scared of critical discourse to actually invite critical discourse, knowing that they don’t own their ideas that good ideas are cheap, that implementation is everything. And that a good idea can only get better when it invites people in to have a critical conversation about it. So in this next era of business, when we have reached that kind of peak saturation point and a hey, there might be more to come right when the bubble of 2000 22,021 2022 is over. This is an opportunity for brave, bold, courageous or dangerous business owners who have thoughts in their head and more importantly, are willing to share them and to say something worth listening to

Real quick before you go, if this episode has gotten you thinking gotten you excited or has you changing the way that you do business or life? Would you do me a super quick favour and write me a short review? Your Podcast review means so much to me and it helps other values based business owners just like you to find this show which is a fantastic gift to me.

Brook McCarthy Business Coach

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