At the start of any solo business venture, whether you’re starting a blog, teaching others, or selling a physical product, it’s not unusual to feel like it’s tough to stand out. But you can’t let that stop you.

The rest of the world does not determine your success. You do.

If you feel like your business idea needs work and isn’t up to par because other people are doing the same thing, I’m here to tell you that success is not determined by the originality of your idea. You don’t need an original idea: you need a strong brand. The important part isn’t the originality of your idea, it’s how you present it and the way you position your company.

You need a strong brand that shows the world what you’re about, how your product or service can help the people who have been drawn to you.

There may be others – hundreds or thousands of people – in the world who do what you do or offer something similar, but there’s only one of you. What sets your company apart and makes your services or products enticing is you.

People will hire you because of your brand. A strong, authentic brand shines with your personality and your values. Consumers are very conscious of who they are and who they’re buying from; they are aware of the values of the company they’re supporting; and their personal why. People want to buy something from a business owner whose values resonate with them and align with their own values.

Your best shot at success starts with a personal brand that clearly communicates why you do what you do, who you do it for, and what those people can get out of having you provide a service or a product. When you’re developing your personal brand, it’s important to know that you are your only competition.

Early in my entrepreneurial journey, I found a quote that changed everything. Yes, it literally gave me that big of a mindset shift that it inspired an entire blog post.

“If you are your authentic self, you have no competition.” ~ Lindsey Riel

I discovered this quote about eight months after I started my own entrepreneurial journey, and it was a catalyst for an instant mindset shift. I’d heard of several big-name individuals online who talk about just “being yourself.” (I’m talking about you, Marie Forleo and Derek Halpern.) They say that if you are your authentic self, people will love you, the right people will find you, et cetera.

I kind of understood what they were saying, but I didn’t embrace that message at all. That changed when I heard Lindsey’s quote. This is just proof of the point I am trying to make. I had heard that concept many times from huge industry names, but it just didn’t click with me. But when I heard something similar from someone else, suddenly I was able to completely embrace that I’m not comparing my knowledge to anyone else’s.

As a woman, it’s so easy and natural to fall into the comparison trap, and think that you need to do something original. But, it’s very important to realize that the individual with the big name whose work is similar to yours isn’t the first person to do that big thing, and there’s a reason why it resonates with so many people. It’s that person’s brand, and how they present their services and products.

People want to book you for the services that they know they need; they want to buy the product they know they need. An idea that they may not even know about, a service they don’t know about doesn’t typically translate into sales, because they don’t know they need it and it isn’t important to them. It’s much easier to sell to sell your audience on something they know they need, particularly when you focus on the benefits of your product or your service.

Don’t feel that you must have an absolutely new idea. If no one is doing a certain thing or is offering a certain service, there might be a reason. For example, the service can’t be monetized, or the product doesn’t have an audience that is large enough to support the business.

It’s something you’ll hear often, but I’m here to tell you that it’s true. You don’t need an original idea. You need a brand that encompasses your values and your personality. You need a brand that focuses on providing what your ideal customer needs, not something they’ve never seen before.

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