I was recently invited by a friend to be a last-minute presenter at a local WordPress meetup. I’ve been looking for ways to be more involved with the WordPress community and was immediately excited and flattered for the opportunity to talk with this group about a topic I love.
I’d barely read the email confirming my attendance before I received a second email from the meetup organizer with the subject line “NOT APPROVED to present.” I went back to my friend to find out what was going on. The bottom line? The organizer was concerned about me as a competitor and cancelled the meetup.
Now, I’m not saying I had something amazing to offer this audience, but I am disappointed. I’m losing out on an experience. A group of WordPress users are losing out on a networking/learning opportunity. One person was worried about “the competition” and the WordPress community lost.
5 Reasons Carrie Dils is Definitely Not Your Competition
(I realize YOU may not be worried about ME as competition, so feel free to pretend I’m the freelancer sitting one table over from you at the coffee shop…)
#1) I’m Limited
I’m a one-woman shop with a limited capacity for active clients and projects. Last year I probably worked with 20 clients. Let’s say this year I’m able to increase my efficiency and workflow and can *maybe* double that to forty clients. Maybe.
With over 5 million people in the Dallas Fort Worth area, I’m hogging up only .000008% of my fellow WordPress developer’s potential market. And that’s assuming I only work with local clients, which is not the case.
I’m being ridiculous and literal with this example, but you get the idea. There’s plenty of market share to go around for us freelancer types.
#2) I Can’t Use Your Portfolio
Your craft and the quality of workmanship you produce is yours alone. If your work is good, it’ll speak for itself. And when your work speaks well for you, your business will grow.
I can’t compete with your portfolio and I don’t even want to. Why? I’m focusing on making my product better.
#3) I Don’t Have Your Experience
We may all call ourselves something similar – WordPress developers, web designers, internet nerds, whatever. The fact is we all offer a different combination of experiences and skills that translates into a unique offering for our clients. Maybe you have a background in finance, fitness, or retail that helps shape the way you interact with clients or the exact WordPress services you offer.
I can’t replicate “that special something” you bring to the table for your clients. And I’m okay with that.
#4) I Can’t Leverage Your Network
It takes time and energy and trust to build a solid network. It’s also a very personal thing.
Networking is what’s going to expand your reach in the industry you’re in. When you build your own network of reliable sources (people you can trust and do quality work) than you’re in actuality, building up your business!
– Jon Perez (from Social Networking, Why is it not being used?)
Trust me, I can’t prance into your world and sneak off with your network, like some WordPress Pied Piper.
#5) I Want You to Succeed
Nope, that’s not a typo. I want your business to be successful. Why? On a macro-level, I believe in the benefits of capitalism to society. On a micro-WordPress-level, I believe that when one member of the WordPress community wins, we all benefit to some degree.
Call me crazy. Just don’t call me your competition.
/ End Rant >
You may think I’m writing this because my pride is wounded (it’s not) or I want to enact some social justice against the meetup organizer (I don’t). I’m sharing my experience to encourage thought around the subjects of competition and community.
As I’ve become more involved with the WordPress community via social media, I’ve discovered a group of people who are SHOCKINGLY GENEROUS with their knowledge and skills. I want to be like that. It’s the reason I write tutorials on my site and try to help out in support forums now and then. I’ve witnessed an amazing ecosystem develop around people who pour back into the community what they’ve gotten out of it.
As fellow WordPress junkies, we’re not all competing for the same slice of pie. I’d rather spend my efforts collaborating with you and learning from you than calling you my competition and shutting the door on a possibility.