One of the main preconceptions people have about starting and growing a business is that you need to be super competitive.
That you need to “crush” every other person out there that is trying to do what you are doing. You need to compare yourself constantly and always do better than “them."
But I was personally stuck with this mindset when I started my first yoga retreat business. I felt like I either had to beef up my competitive self and be overconfident, or my business would fail miserably.
The problem (or blessing) was that I’d never been a very competitive gal.
Growing up, competitive sports were not fun for me at all. I liked to cooperate and feel part of something positive, something bigger. I liked to feel included and have everyone else feel the same way too.
So, there I was trying to start a yoga biz. Was this just not for me?
Was I totally crazy trying to be and entrepreneur? From the beginning it just felt wrong and out of place to focus on competing with other retreats out there.
Good thing I realized there was an alternative path (or many of them for that matter). After I read Blake Mycoskie (the founder of super comfy TOMS shoes) book Start Something that Matters I felt so much better about being myself as a business owner and doing good in the world while following my (entrepreneurial) dreams.
My business could be exactly what I wanted it to be. I did not have to mirror someone else's ways.
I could incorporate all the values and morals that I really cared about personally into my business. One of the sides I incorporated was a less competitive and more cooperative business model. I decided to work in partnership with people and not just have people work for me. And to top it off I realized (with the help of many mentors on and off line) that doing this WAS what made my yoga retreat business unique and true to who I am. What a relief people!! This was when I finally came to feel good in my “business-lady” skin. This is when I truly embraced this new side of me wholeheartedly.
Do you ever worry about having to be super competitive in your yoga biz?
If so, I want you to know that things can be different. Very different. I actually believe that having a competitive mindset in business can sometimes actually harm your business. Here’s why I say that:
- Focusing on being competitive takes LOTS of energy away from what matters: your students and your business. Instead of focusing on creating new cool offerings, classes, workshops and retreats, you spend your time worrying about what other teachers are doing. You only have 12-16 awake hours a day - gotta use them wisely right?
- Competition creates alienation. Yep, you can find yourself very alone at the end of the day.
- Competition can prevent you from creating a community. Remember your peers are the ones who know best what you are going through in your yoga business. They understand because they are in the same boat and have similar struggles and obstacles. Instead of separating yourself from them, create a support community and help each other out.
- Being extremely competitive and over-confident just doesn't sit well with most people. It actually pushes potential students and clients away. Of course we want to believe in what we have to offer and be able to get the point across. But if you are down to earth, honest and humble you’ll find that people WANT to listen to what you have to say. You’ll also attract the right kinds of clients, the ones you really WANT to work with.
Instead of competition think cooperation. Maybe this is the new way yoga businesses are shaping up to be?
If yoga is infused in everything we do in our business, cooperation just seems to be the “better” way. This is the essence of a Conscious Yoga Business, a business that is in harmony with your own truth, core beliefs and values. I’ll go into more depth about Conscious Yoga Business in a later blog post (I love this stuff!).
Check out this infographic we made below about the 3 ways Cooperation Mindset vs Competition Mindset can impact your yoga business (clearly we are info-graph nerds over here). Keep in mind, your business, like anything else in life, is not black and white. We all usually fluctuate between these two mindsets from time to time. But by being mindful about what realm you are in (cooperation or competition) you can shift that mindset when it's not serving you and your business.
Hope this was helpful! This is a good start if you are feeling like the competition way isn't necessarily your way either.