My loyal readership consists largely of people I have never met in my life. I have several people from my hometown or who knew me in high school and college that read my website on the regular but it’s really the strangers who make up the bulk of my numbers. With that said, many of you won’t know exactly where I’m coming from with this post…but I’m sure you’ll be able to apply it somewhere in your life so that you can relate. Oh and by the way, this is about two totally different subjects but because I like to keep the venting and negativity to a minimum, I just combined them in one post.
Here we go…
Originality means having the ability to THINK independently and creatively. I like to consider myself as someone who possesses this quality but unfortunately, I live in a place where not many other people do. I haven’t just noticed this in my particular industry (blogging/public relations but I see this mostly with blogging) but I’ve noticed it in just about all other industries that have found a home in the city that I spend most of my time in.
You see one t-shirt line pop up and then within a year, there are five more that all offer the same type of products. You see one blog gain popularity and now everyone thinks it’s the thing to do. One person hosts a ladies night with certain features and two months later an almost identical event is being advertised. Someone hosts an exhibit/expo and now there’s another one with the same concept.
Before I go further, let me clear one thing up. In no way am I saying that there should only be one of everything. I would be a fool to think that I’m supposed to be the only blogger in the world or in my hometown. Most of my friends have similar degrees so I know many of us will be in the same line of work. That’s common sense. But what I am saying is this – if you’re going to do something, do it because you have a passion for it and always stay in your lane. Too many people step out of their lane, which is why they can’t be original. I’ve literally seen people start the same types of series I’ve started on my blog, used ironically similar hashtags that I’ve used and so on. Hey, I love that I can be an inspiration and I want to be an inspiration but imitation is not flattery. Imitation is annoying, especially as and when a craft that you take seriously is being watered down by people who can’t think of their own ideas.
I started my blog after someone I knew had one, but nothing that I do has ever been similar to what that person did. I never looked at that person’s website while designing and planning mine nor wanted to be like them. I started my blog for my own reasons – that had nothing to do with trying to compete or be like someone else – and that’s how every business venture you start should be. Always have genuine intentions…people can pick up on your intentions whether you realize it or not.
Same thing goes for all the t-shirt lines. You can go into a store and there are hundreds of different brands selling the same product so please know that it’s fine. You’re giving people a choice and brand competition is a good thing because it keeps you on your toes. However it’s not fine when you don’t even respect your customer enough to give them consistent products and merchandise nor do you have a professional way to provide them with the product (i.e. a website). Come on now.
Life is not a popularity contest and you will not survive in business if you can’t be original. I’ve said this before, there is only one you and you have to be you through it all. Copying someone automatically puts you in second place. Aren’t you better than second place? You’re going to have to rely on them to give you direction and show you the next step to take because you are operating outside of your lane. I mean, Great Value has great products but everyone knows they’re imitations of other brands. They’re looked at as off-brand, the cheap stuff. Is that what you want for your business?
My advice for those of you who truly have a passion and want to start a business because you were inspired by someone else is this – talk to them…be mentored…intern…whatever. I even interned as a blogger for one of the top celebrity bloggers around. Do what you have to do to learn the craft inside and out so that you can come up with your own ideas and your own spin on things. Don’t steal their ideas. Don’t steal my ideas. We work hard and spend long nights pouring over projects and planning and building strategy for what we do. Respect the game a little more than to just use someone else’s hard work for your own (usually attention seeking) reasons.
Ok…done with that subject.
This is for my local “celebrities” and public figures. Why are ya’ll so damn Hollywood???
It’s very rare that I meet people around my hometown who are known for what they do and that person be humble and down to earth. You would think they were President Obama (well he’s probably less Hollywood than they are) or Jay Z or somebody like that.
Interviewing some of BET’s College Tour artists (one of which just released an album) made me realize how Hollywood these local acts are. You act like you can’t give me an interview and you only released a [free] mixtape! Where they do that at? LOL! Or you won’t pay for your music to be advertised on my website but you’re paying for it to be played and then want me to write about you for free every time you need some publicity because the radio stations and big name publications don’t care about you? Oh and I’ll never forget being pulled to the side of an event by a local celebrity and being questioned by them about why I hadn’t written about them on my website. *blank stare* I’ll have to tell ya’ll about that another time LOL. Also, this isn’t just for local musicians. I’ve experienced this with many local business owners as well. Ya’ll too Hollywood for me!
I really don’t get it.
I wish we could all just come together and use our unique individual talents to build each other up. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting something together but I can handpick those who would actually use the opportunity the way it has to be used in order for it to work. A lot of people would just be there to learn what their “competition” is doing. SMH. Maybe one day we’ll get it right.
If you know me or have worked with me, you know what kind of person I am and this truly wasn’t meant to call anyone out. Rather, I’m challenging you to be original. Think for yourself. You have so much to offer the world…don’t be afraid to tap into your brain and go for it. Don’t settle for being an off-brand version of someone else. Be the best you!
Love ya’ll :)