The importance of authenticity in a crowded market.
In this week's newsletter, I'm going to be blunt.
But Agnes, you've always been blunt!
Yeah, well, I'm going to be blunt-er.
Because the internet and cancel culture has made society as soft as a marshmallow.
‘A’ for effort...
You did amazing...
Blah, blah, blah...
To improve, step 1 is to face the music.
Gasp. How dare you!
Well, take a second and think about it.
The internet has made it so easy to start a business.
It's extremely competitive nowadays.
Even highly specialized fields like space tourism and brain-computer interface (BCI) have multiple players.
Can a coaching, SaaS, or service-based business be that different and special?
Plus, anything new, trendy, or novel will be copied within 24 hours.
So, how special is your business, really?
And if you've ever had the chance to pitch to venture capitalists like I have, you'll be humbled very quickly.
But once reality kicks in, you will see that this is all a game.
Look. I'm not that smart.
I need a lot of information, context, and examples to understand something.
The irony is that the more information I have, I start to get overwhelmed and stressed.
But with time, I began to harness a new skill called simplification.
And I think I might have simplified this whole business thingy.
It is just this: supply and demand.
The most basic fundamental of economics that has been overcomplicated.
USP or UVP...
Whatever it is, they are all based on this fundamental principle.
The goal is to drive supply down, or boost demand way up.
Before you start drawing circles in the corner of a room because you don't know how to do that, I have some good news for you.
There is a way for your business to win the game.
And the best part is, it's not duplicable.
Imagine you're a chef and your dream is to have your own restaurant.
So, you look at the world's biggest chefs, say Gordon Ramsay.
Then you emulate what he's doing.
There's probably more, but I grew tired of searching.
Anyway, if you tried to copy what Gordon Ramsay did, the only direction you'll go is down.
Why would anyone be so stupid to do that?
Let me tell you a story...
When I was just starting out, I did what any sensible entrepreneur-wannabe would do.
It didn't work and the reason is pretty obvious now after the example above.
But yet, people (especially online businesses) still copy content, ideas, designs, etc.
How would we drive supply down or boost demand up if we just copied?
Here's the good news:
Every human being has a purpose in life.
It's something that you will never exchange for money.
And here's the truth: when you've found your purpose, you will become a little weird.
It's all you will think and talk about.
It will become an obsession.
I know this because I lost all my friends in the last few years when I found my purpose.
I stopped participating in gossip and meaningless meet-ups.
All I was interested in was business, self-improvement, and autonomy.
Unfortunately, none of my friends were at the same level as me.
I decided to walk away.
Now, my obsession allows me to outshine my competition.
To show up every single day with fresh new ideas.
In the meantime, my competitors are copying and struggling to keep up.
So, I urge you to read the previous newsletter on Purpose if you haven't.
It's the best way for anyone to stand out from the sea of same.
Yes and no.
Sharing your purpose and explaining your unique thoughts will make you stand out.
Having a purpose as a North star is also a great way for you to keep going.
To never stop improving, in order to realize your purpose.
However, you can have too much of a good thing.
In the movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt's character says, “Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer. Maybe self-destruction is the answer.”
It stuck with me till this day.
The quote in the movie is meant to challenge the conventional idea that self-improvement is always a good thing.
Now, look at your competitors.
All they're talking about is improvement.
How to do X better or faster.
Why doing X is a mistake.
You need to do X to achieve your goals.
Because of competition, everyone is trying to see who can come up with the best self-improvement “hacks”.
Get the biggest results with the least effort.
And now, self-improvement is just a drug that gives you the high from a faÃ§ade of self-improvement.
People start to feel bad when they make a mistake or see no improvement.
So, if all you do is talk about your purpose and how you're improving yourself everyday to reach it...
Are you actually getting closer to reaching it?
I've been following and studying 8 creators with massive social engagements.
This is the 1 thing they all have in common - storytelling.
But not just tell any types of stories...
Here is the secret to outshine your competition.
The part Fight Club referred to as “self-destruction”.
In a world where society is overly focused on materialism and consumerism, people are constantly striving for things that don't bring them true fulfillment.
People are in dire need of advocates to prove to them that it's okay to let go of the things that don't bring them true happiness.
The material possessions and societal expectations.
That it's okay to embrace a more authentic and fulfilling way of life.
(Think Steve Jobs and Apple)
So, when your competitors are saying Why doing X is a mistake...
You could say Why it's okay to make mistakes.
Then share your story, what you learned from your mistakes, and how you overcame them.
Uncover the lies, over-exaggerated fluff, and unspoken bullsh*t.
Here's an example using one of my Twitter threads. Click here to view the full thread.
The caveat is you need to have personally experienced it AND overcome it.
Refrain from sharing other people's stories unless you helped them overcome the problems.
If you would like to learn more on how to craft your own stories, look out for next week's newsletter.
For now, you have enough to think about from this newsletter.
Have a good weekend.