You've got a friend in me 🤠👩🚀
I am friends with my competitors - and this is why you should be, too 💌
When I am delivering LinkedIn training or working with a client on their content strategy, I might ask people if they are connected to their competitors.
More often than not, they say they’re not because they’re concerned that their competitors will copy them or tear them down. And some might (it’s certainly happened to me before), but really... who cares? Not me.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
I am good friends with a lot of my ‘competitors’ - I say ‘competitors’ because I don’t really even see myself in competition with them. Yes, we might go for the same jobs and sometimes clients will choose one over the other, but I firmly believe that the benefits of having strong relationships with your competitors far, far outweigh the risks.
When I went freelance back in February 2019, I was very lonely. I had returned from Sydney with four days notice and my fiancé was still working, now on the other side of the planet. I was building my business from my childhood bedroom between popping downstairs to encourage my sick mam to eat or even sip a cup of tea. I wrote articles from beside her hospital bed and answered calls in the hushed corridors of NSECH.
During these dark times, I found a family on Twitter. Fellow copywriters, web designers, content designers, strategists and marketers who actively meet once a week for #ContentClubUK to chat about our little industry, became my co-workers. I started writing every week and submitting it to the #Write52 newsletter, a community of people who write something anything - every. single. week. Ed even hosted a Write52 pub quiz mid-lockdown where we could put faces to some names we all knew so well from reading each other’s articles every week.
I joined Steve Folland’s Being Freelance community on Facebook, attended the Book Club and actively listened to the podcast. I’ve bought, read and loved books by my amazing peers (and idols!) Sarah Townsend (Survival Skills For Freelancers), John Espirian (Content DNA) and Tom Albrighton (The Freelance Introvert).
Over the last year, many of these people have become great friends. When I tweet into the void about my creeping depression, you can bet a lovely face will pop up and say something lush, or even just share a photo of their fluffy companion (see Helen’s rescue buns).
Even since launching this newsletter back in March, I’ve received so many kind messages from this crew, and I continue to do so every Wednesday when my ramblings land in inboxes.
My competitors are some of my closest online companions. They are there for me at my worst and big me up at my best. I know not every industry is as friendly as mine, and even within the content community there are some less-than-lovely folks, but I truly believe that by being a kind and compassionate person, you can find the good in every relationship - even those with a bit of healthy competition!
Are you friends with your competitors? Let’s chat on Twitter @ContentByTheSea.
If you’re new here, this is the part where I share some of my favourite things from the week since I last darkened your inbox.
This week, I devoured I May Destroy You, the fantastic BBC series from incredible writer and actor, Michaela Coel. I don’t even know what to say about this show except watch it. The story follows dark themes and might be a difficult watch for some, but somehow it also managed to be hilarious and devastating at the same time. I highly recommend it.
Reading-wise, I finished Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker and it was fantastic. If you are a newbie to fantasy and you are feeling a little intimidated, then you should check this out. It’s a standalone novel, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck into a huge series. Also, if the idea of fantasy fiction brings to mind dragons, wizards and potions then this is a perfect example of how the genre has evolved to become so much more than these euro-centric tropes.
On the topic of common fantasy tropes, I read Crescent City: The House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Mass (800 pages in four days, so that pretty much tells you how my weekend went). This is Mass’ first adult fantasy novel (she is known for her YA series: Throne of Glass) and it’s an urban fantasy about a half-fae and archangel who are investigating a massacre.
And somehow, I also found time to finish Jade City by Fonda Lee, an Asian-inspired fantasy about feuding clans and martial arts. It’s wild.
As always, you can find me on Goodreads.
Don’t forget, along with writing this newsletter, serving clients and reading a stupid amount of books, I also run the LinkedIn Toolkit - a monthly subscription to support your LinkedIn content creation. Next week I’ll be hosting my first webinar for premium tier members, so if you join before 28th then I’ll hopefully see you there!
Find out more about the LinkedIn Toolkit and sign up on my website.
That’s all from me this week!
See ya next Wednesday,
Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:
15 July - The hardest part of writing is writing 🖊
8 July - The dangers of the side hustle
1 July - I timed my working life for a month 📅
24 June - Hi, I'm Ellen and I'm a productivity addict ✅
17 June - Grow through what you go through 🌿
10 June - Can you separate the art from the artist?
3 June - Know your worth 💸
27 May - Let's talk about money