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3 Reasons Why I Don’t Worry About the Competition

I was recently asked who my blogging competitors were. I struggled to find an answer to that—not because there’s nobody else blogging in my niches, and not because I’m not aware of other bloggers in my niches, but because I don’t really worry much about them.

Image by ElMarto

There are three main reasons for that.

My main “competitor” is myself

I’ve always been much more interested in beating my own previous performance than beating somebody else’s. This isn’t a recent thing—when I started blogging, I felt the same way. I remember creating monthly spreadsheets of my traffic and income and always aiming to beat the previous months’ efforts. I’d also try to keep the monthly increases going to beat previous good streaks.

The benefit of competing against yourself rather than other people is that you’re always attempting to keep the momentum moving forwards—you never become stagnant. When you compete against others, if they go backwards or even give up, you’re given an excuse to take your foot off the accelerator. When you’re competing against yourself, there’s always a record to beat.

There’s not enough time to be defensive and competitive

There are only so many hours in the day, and I simply don’t have enough headspace to spend that limited time worrying about what somebody else is up to and how I can beat them.

I see the online publishing space as having so many opportunities at the moment that there is enough room for more than any one player. To get defensive about staking your claim takes your attention away from expanding your own business in a positive way.

That’s not to say that I’m not watching and taking an interest in what others are doing in (and outside) my niches. But I’m not doing so looking to block them or stop them growing. I’m doing it because there are opportunities to partner with them and grow the niche to everyone by doing so (more on that below).

I’d much much rather spend my time and energy building something positive and useful than spend my time and energy worrying and getting defensive about what others are doing.

Competitors are potential partners

The other reason that I don’t concern myself a whole lot with competitors is that in this space there is always opportunity to partner with competitors. With this approach, everyone achieves much more than they could alone.

I guess in some ways I could see blogs like CopyBlogger as competing blogs, since some of our content overlaps at times. But the reality is that by supporting and even promoting what Brian and his team have built, and at times giving them a leg up, I’ve won a lot too. Our niche has grown and so, too, have our profits. It all started very simply (from memory it was Brian sending a link for me to promote … which led to him doing a guest post … which led to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial and profitable friendship.

What’s your attitude towards your competitors?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I love the last point. Blog competitors can make great partners as you leverage your network. Also I think the only “real” competitors are things that would distract your attention away from blogs – like maybe TV and books :)

  2. Graham Lutz says:

    “my main competitor is myself”

    So true. Why worry about all the other people when you’re got enough of a battle inside your own head!

  3. When it comes to “Breaking the News” type of a post, I think you need to be aware of your competitors and try to be a step ahead. But for all other matters, competition is non-existent. Blogging is a huge arena and every blogger has a place to make his mark.

  4. Shane says:

    Excellent thoughts Darren. In my mind and in practice, there is no one else that can compete against ‘you’ – meaning that your unique voice and vision for your readers are something that no one else can ever duplicate. The other blogs which cover similar topics are really not competitors, rather, they are trade partners :)

  5. Rob McGuire says:

    Nice points Darren.

    While I agree with everything you said, I feel that being competitive with others in your niche needs to exist in the realm of SEO.

    For example, if I want my content to draw the most search visitors, I would have to compete against other bloggers in my niche to get the best rankings possible. It’s not that I want to “beat them” as you said in your second point, but in this case there’s no way around it.

  6. Rana Shahbaz says:

    Follow the excellence (Like Darren) and competition will fade away:)

  7. Benny says:

    I do wish I had some of the success or traffic of my competitors but worrying about what they are doing takes away from the energy that I could be using for my blog. I don’t lose sleep at night worrying about what others are doing.

    I’ve learned from some A listers to not see them as competition but as allies. There’s enough readers to go around. One blog in your niche isn’t going to take away all the visitors for that niche forever.

  8. Sameh says:

    “When you compete against others, if they go backwards or even give up, you’re given an excuse to take your foot off the accelerator. When you’re competing against yourself, there’s always a record to beat.”

    That sums it up pretty well!

  9. Constantine says:

    I have learnt it’s best to see your competitors as allies. I write a guest post for their blog and they write a guest post for my blog. Just like you say at the end, we all win at the end!

  10. James Pruitt says:

    Great insight Darren. I totally Agree. I have always told people that competition is your greatest asset not a weakness, no matter what industry you are involved in. Unfortunately, most people will never quit worrying. But that leaves the doorway open for those of us who get it to succeed even more.

  11. I never want to see other bloggers as competitors. It’s more beneficial to learn from each other than to always try to cut each other down. I’ve seen both sides and the latter gets ugly.

    • Patrick says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I believe that the best successes come from helping eachother. Why focus on fighting and competing when you can focus on winning an building relationship!

    • Patrick says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I believe that the best successes come from helping eachother. Why focus on fighting and competing when you can focus on winning and building relationship!

  12. I totally agree that with proper and watchful approach competitors can become partners and help mutually. Competing with one self will always give positive result but competitors always needs to be kept an eye on.

  13. Competition isn’t really there if you know what you are doing and see it as service to others. It’s enough headache to deal with the battle in our heads (to become better).
    I totally agree. There is so few hours a day to waste watching competitors.
    Great food for thought.

  14. Hi Darren,

    I totally agree with the 3 reasons you mentioned above. For that I believe it is very important for us to have the knowledge, determination, implementation & perseverance of the 3 reasons in order for us to really be successful in our lives.

    Seriously, I have to really learn to be firmed to nurture and keep believing in those 3 inspiring reasons. Thank you for sharing the information and may God bless you.

  15. I like what you said about competing against one’s self rather than others. And partnering with our competitors is also a great advice.

    I see competitions, especially the great ones as a source of motivation and learning. I try to take a clue from their strengths and learn from their mistakes.

    Thanks for sharing Darren!

  16. In 2007 I sold a promotional products company with which I had achieved many personal revenue goals. During the time that I owned that business I had employees that always asked me, “What are we gonna do about such and such competition?!”

    I would respond with, “When you run a race you never keep your eye on the other runners, thought you may be aware that they’re there. To finish the race successfully you must keep your eye on the finish line.”

    I get some of my best ideas from my competitors, glad they contribute to the business community in their own unique way. Me, I’ve got my eye on the prize, the goal, the finish line.

  17. Megan says:

    if I was trying to compete with my fellow bloggers, I would have given up weeks ago. I can’t compete as I haven’t been around nearly long enough.

    Besides, I also see other bloggers as potential sources of friendship, inspiration and hopefully future guest posts – why on earth would I want to alienate myself from them by stealing away their readership. there is more than enough for everyone.

  18. For me there are lot to learn from my competitors. As you said I don’t want to put down anyone I don’t want to copy them either but I always look for something that I can absorb from them. It may be a traffic source, income stream or even a writing style.

  19. neil says:

    On the personal blogging perspective, your statement “My main competitor is myself.” summarizes it all.

    It may be different when an actual product is offered. Nonetheless, just keep on evolving and you’re blog should be fine.

    Progress or perish.

  20. In our industry, there are several that are always looking at the “competition”. When they, the competition, put a new listing on the market, the bad talk and irritation starts building. When they do something productive, like work hard in the writing content on their blogs, that part is not seen. They are look at that as “tricking” the search engines and because of that “trick = hard work” is why they are climbing the “SEO ladder…” – This is something I will forward to those that are so distracted by the competition, they are losing themselves in the process. Great Reminder.

  21. Samantha says:

    Great post Darren, you’re right at the end of the day it’s about bettering yourself and your business and at the same time building relationships with others trying to do the same.

  22. Tom Ewer says:

    Third point is the best I think – blogging is quite unique in that your “competition” can also help you and vice versa. I think this is a key point that all newbie bloggers should grasp – you don’t have to be alone!

  23. I don’t really even like the term “competitors.” It’s not like readers have to choose one blog to read in a niche, they can read them all. I think it’s better to think of them as potential partners. Even if the same or similar information is being conveyed, each blogger presents it in their own unique way. It’s fun to read blogs in the same niche because they don’t feel the same.

    Thanks for the analysis!

  24. doms says:

    When I was employed at an e-commerce website, my attitude towards competition was watching diligently what’s featured on our competitor’s blogs and disallowing comments made on our own blog with links going to competitor sites regardless whether the comment they put adds value to the post/discussion.

    I may have developed valuable partnership had I had the attitude that Darren pointed out in this post.

    Now, I certainly know better.

  25. Tom says:

    I just want to beat my competition!

  26. you always inspire me in so many ways. Respect to you darren.. Love your site..

  27. Garry says:

    I follow a group of Mommy Bloggers. It wasn’t intentional, really, on my part. Turns out that my niece entered that niche about a year ago. Her rapid success just blows me away.

    From that group I’ve learned that supporting each other and growing together brings–I guess for lack of a better concept–a sort of gestalt phenomenon … that the sum results in something far greater than the individual.

    They support each other. They actively seek out ways to assist, build up, share, converse, offer suggestions, refer.

    Opposing that, I’ve too frequently found myself threatened by those I perceive as being above me in some way. In such an environment competition is king. I’ve learned to reframe/refocus that, well, … fear … from this small but powerful group.

    Thanks Darren for supporting and acting in accordance with this ideal. It doesn’t surprise me one bit.

  28. Kendra says:

    Being great at what I do is not dependent on whether or not someone else does it great as well. I look to competition to inspire me to never let me guard down and to provide the best service and content I can.

    I say….bring on the competition, because in the blogging atmosphere no one really loses.

    Kendra~

  29. Bill says:

    Very interesting photo and it really speak louder than words. Back to your content i think it depends with the level of popularity of the market whether its passive or active. Competition should not be your scare this is because if you write great content and you add a small powerful link building, then you will get great success. Thanks Darren

  30. Because my blog is about my own journey, I really don’t have competition from outside sources. Of course, I also try to help others as they go through what I’ve been through, but it’s still done through the filter of my own experience. I truly am my own competition, but it’s not about one-upping what I’ve done in the past. It’s more about polishing my site and content to be the best that it can be.

    Thanks for this post, Darren. It really got me thinking about the topic.

  31. Centre us in the progresses of our competitors is simply an error that does us lose a valuable time to continue contributing value to our projects

  32. Patrick says:

    I like the idea about competing against yourself. There is always a scorecard.

    Also when you compete against yourself you internalize your success and gain more disipline than if you jus focused on competing against yourself.

    My happiest moments are when I achieved more than I set out to.

  33. Carey Suante says:

    Competing against oneself is certainly the way to improve and up the bottomline.

    Thanks Darren for reminding us all.

    You should only learn from others and help others but compete against yourself!

  34. George Tee says:

    Hi Darren, great thoughts. I love how you say “My main “competitor” is myself.” It made me think that you are right, most people worry to much about their competition but excluding themselves to it. When you compete with your own its more of struggling and giving your so much effort to beat the record. I do agree that competitors are potential partners. It’s a win win situation that you both achieve your common goal.

  35. You don’t have competitors because you’re like the American judge who makes the law, write the law by expressing it. Who is following your advice has more chances to make something valuable with a blog, than others. You have “partners” instead of competitors because you all are a group of people who share the cash flow on the net. Anyway, I’ve seen more good sensed advice on your blog in one week than on a number of others in one year.

  36. Andrew says:

    ‘My main “competitor” is myself.’ That is so true.

  37. Linda says:

    In competition with yourself is a wonderful methodology. Also, by avoiding others’ and their goings on, you’re not spreading negative energy via competitive shenanigans.

    Love the powerful image (I’m a kickboxer), and I’m gonna add that visual to my memory bank.

    After all, I can always find a sparring partner outside of my biz;).

    Thanks, Darren!

  38. jeff h. says:

    Amazing way to look at it. I’m gonna put that on my desktop to help me remember that outlook at all times.

  39. Hi Darren – Great points! I think that what you are doing is awesome. Worrying about yourself is the best thing that you could ever do. It’s the highest standard that you could ever set and will make you a better professional and person for it. LOVE it! We work hard to not worry about our competition as well. There are a lot of other companies in our space but we think that we have something a little different that might not be right for everyone, but is right for some. :]

  40. As a trainer and a sales manager in the 1990s, the hardest thing that I had to do is convince rookie insurance agents to forget about the competition. If they could just focus on their own business they would make money. If they focused on an insurance agent across the room, across the street or across the country they had a 100 % chance of failure in the first year.

    I guess the same lesson applies to internet marketers in 2011 as to sales reps in 1992

  41. I don’t worry about competitors. No one is writing about finance the way I am.

  42. Rhoda says:

    I love your attitude. I also have to say that I found Copyblogger through one of your links, and added them to Google Reader. However I later deleted them and kept yours because I like Problogger posts more! But I still appreciated the link because if I want to find blogging tips I now know more places to go :)

  43. I actually list all my competitors under the FAQ portion of my website. And I’ve started conferences and invited them to speak. I just concentrate on reinventing myself every couple of years and don’t worry about them at all. There’s plenty of work out there.

  44. Darren, thanks for the tips. You only have competition if you decide you have competition. There’s no harm in doing something well. With regards to blogging, I decided to start a blog for the sake of adding credibility to my PR & content marketing consultancy. Additionally, it’s given my intern staff the opportunity to flex their writing skills and publish something under their own names.

  45. Denys Yeo says:

    To gain from competition you need to know what the competitive parameters are and why doing better than others on these elements will be to your advantage. If you can’t answer these questions then being competitive, as noted in this post, is likely to be just wasting energy.

  46. Hi Darren,

    Our only competition is our own ignorance.

    We go against nothing. Why not be for? You can get wonderful people to work together with you, making your job that much easier, and make their job that much easier.

    All the great ones have zero competition. They operated on a creative thought, well above any form of competition. Sure, they might have appeared to be going against someone, but look at top level athletes. Guys like Michael Jordan were simply going against themselves. He was so talented, so creative, and he worked at becoming so good at his craft, that he was pretty much unstoppable. Nobody was on his level.

    You can take the same approach to anything. Become so good, so creative, that you lose the fear of, or even the idea of competition. When you entirely lose this idea, your ego can take a big step aside, and you work with others, seeking only to create meaningful relationships with like-minded folks.

    Thanks for sharing your take Darren. It’s a reason why you’re as successful as you are. “For” always works, and “against” is just a big ole pain the butt ;)

    Ryan

  47. zeeshan says:

    Yes the things written in your blog post are 100% pure and true which should be always there in everyone’s mind. You need to compete with yourself because that is only you can always be on track to rock and roll your world.
    Moreover I am totally new to this world of blogging and hardly know anything about but still I know that the things written in your blog post are the things which can easily help you out form your hard days and you may lead a exemplary life for others who are interested in this web.

  48. Priit Kallas says:

    Comparing your results to competition may get you way off track as you don’t know their goals and inner workings.

  49. James Greg says:

    A positive approach to produce much better every time. When there’s so much going on with you why trouble to worry about others. The idea is absolutely positive and it creates healthy competition. Try to outdo others and defending yourself will land you nowhere. Competition should be embraced as a healthy experience as it provides opportunities to improve yourself.

  50. Daniel says:

    I think most people know what it is they have set out to achieve. I think everyone would like to find out how they rate out there in the Blog- 0- sphere. Being too preoccupied with this would not be a good thing at all.
    If we keep comparing ourselves with the other sites out there and their overall stats, sure we would get some moments of inspiration, though, we would also have times when the results others are getting could totally unsettle us.