If you are in business, especially if you are self-employed, odds are that you aren’t the only person trying to make money in your field of work. Whether you are a wedding photographer or provide professional photo editing services, odds are that your job is not “cookie cutter”. You create something special for your clients, and that “something” cannot be replicated by other businesses.

People copy ideas. It’s human nature, and some even say it’s the highest form of flattery. I’m not talking about plagiarism or copyright infringement here. What I am referring to are ideas for photographs, or products, or business models. I have had photographers and other artists create their own versions of my images, and I am always very flattered when I see them.

I’m self employed, and my job consists of photo education. I create eBooks, videos, and other photo tools and sell them online. Am I the first person to come up with this model? No, of course not! Are there other eBooks out there on the same topics as mine? You bet. So why do I even bother? Obviously, I have my own unique skills and talents, and I also have a very large following of photographers on both my newsletter and social media. I like to think that part of the reason people purchase my products is because they like something about me, my style, or my approach.

Competition also breeds quality. If there were only one restaurant in San Francisco selling hamburgers, odds are that they wouldn’t be the best they could make. Or maybe they are good, but just not to everyone’s taste. But when there are more options, businesses cannot get away with being mediocre. The same goes for every other business out there. When we have competitors, we are constantly striving to be the best version of ourselves possible. And in doing so we create the best photos/eBooks/etc. that we possibly can.

When we have competitors, we are constantly striving to be the best version of ourselves possible.

To embrace competition, we need to be confident in our abilities. The opposite of confidence is insecurity, and boy oh boy have I seen my fair share of insecure photographers, some who are extremely talented and have no reason to be fearful of other photographers or businesses. It’s important to find a balance, and look out for yourself. See what others are doing, but don’t let it get to you if you see similarities or parallels with what you do.