Copycats are out there; lurking …. spying, watching your every move and then trying to be you as if you won’t notice!
These people copy what you’re doing in life, business, and in social media posts. It can sting to see your well thought out ideas be ‘stolen’ by someone else, especially if they’re doing really well using them.
But, it happens and there isn’t a whole lot we can do to stop people from being inspired by our creativity. And, do we not want to inspire people?
Are you sure it's copying?
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if someone is actually copying our idea, or if our idea is trending and it’s something a lot of people are doing or talking about, because it’s not originally our idea at all.
People posting on social media about the same stuff, isn’t copying exactly, as that could just be a trend that many people are following and talking about.
But real copycatting is when people set up a website that uses the same colours as your brand, the same wording, the same fonts ….. Now, that’s copying, and you can actually do something about it.
You can screen shot everything they have copied, from their website to their social media pages, then send them an email and copy in their website hosting company, the support people at facebook, instagram and/or whatever social media sites they’ve copied of yours. There are terms and conditions about copying which tech companies take very seriously.
Cease and Desist
You can send them a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter, a free template is available on Google, advising them they’re copying your copyrighted work. If you didn’t know, in the U.K you automatically get copyright protection over original work that you create, therefore, you are legally protected and can seek representation for damages that the person has created by copying your website, blog posts, captions, social media posts.
A cease and desist letter is a letter that informs someone of their illegal activity, in this case, copyright infringement, aka copying. It’s basically a letter threatening legal action, telling them that you’re prepared to sue for damages, and that they need to take the copied work down and stop using your work.
It might sound a bit heavy handed, but if you’ve spent hundreds of your hard earned pounds having your own website built, then you’re quite within your rights to stand up for yourself.
Original idea or something reinvented?
If it’s business ideas that are being copied, things are a little different unless you have them patented, and the idea has to be completely new and fresh for it to be patented.
What if you’ve created a new package for your clients, or a gift box subscription, and you find out another beautician in the town has done exactly the same as you a few weeks later. Collect the evidence then switch up your idea.
Be unique and change things up
Change the items in your package or gift box, keep your ideas fresh and original so that the other person struggles to keep up and if they do copy you, it’ll be fairly obvious.
You could then approach them informally and challenge them on what they are doing, or even just block them from your social accounts to make it harder for them to see what you’re up to and offering.
Put your style and flair into your ideas
Another more wholesome thing to do is to ensure you put your style and flair into your content and business ideas, because ideas can be copied but you are the only one who’ll be able to deliver it the unique way that you do.
It’s a tough thing to have to deal with, but changing your mindset about copying will also help.
Take it as a compliment
Try and look at it as a right of passage, as you must be successful and good at what you’re doing if someone wants to copy you. Imitation is a form of flattery, so try to feel flattered that someone wants to copy you, as you must be doing something right.
Whilst it can be disheartening and annoying, try not to let it have a negative effect on you. It’s easy to become fearful and not want to put yourself or your ideas out there, but don’t let the possibility of someone copying you stop you.
Shine your light
The world needs your ideas and creativity, so don’t hide away, but instead stand up and show the world what you’re made of. 100% YOU!
Caro Syson is the Founder of Pocket PA and is passionate about helping small business owners to reach their full potential in the easiest possible way.
Pocket PA is a super easy system to manage your finances, accounts and gets you organised in your business to ensure you love your work and shine your light brightly.