How To Stay Ahead Of Competition and Copycats

How To Stay Ahead Of Competition

Imagine this: you get an email from a friend with a screenshot and a link to a website that seems suspiciously familiar.

The blood drains from your face and it hits you in the gut: someone copied your stuff.

It happens more often than we think in this online world of ours because it’s so easy to get “inspired” by other people’s work and get away with it in the world wide web.

So what’s a smart business owner to do to stay ahead of the copycats and steer clear of the competition?

How To Stay Ahead Of Competition & Deal with Copycats

The first thing is to recognize that people can only copy the outside of your business, because that’s all they can see. So while they’re copying what’s out there right now, you’re hard at work coming up with newer and more amazing things.

Take this quote from Kipling to heart, if you’ve ever been the victim of a copycat:

“They copied all they could follow but they couldn’t copy my mind, so I left them sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.”

I’ll also add that no one can copy you: your sincerity, your unique gifts, and your one of a kind story.

How To Deal With Copycats Online

Now it’s all well and good to recognize this but what do you actually do if you find out that someone stole your stuff?

I’ve seen a range of reactions from public humiliation of the copycat all the way to totally ignoring it ever happened.

I happen to think that there’s a nice in-between where you can reach out to the offender and ask them to remove the pieces of your brand, copy, or content that they stole.

This happened to me a few years ago when someone stole my website optimization quiz word for word, along with the graphics, colors – everything just short of my code. Instead of calling this person out publicly or taking it laying down, I emailed her with a firm but straightforward cease and desist letter.

I recommend working with an attorney to figure this piece out but usually just communicating that you don’t want your work to be used in this manner is enough to get someone to take it down.

It’s also important to note that sometimes people don’t realize that what they’re doing is wrong, or if they do know it they don’t understand how much it can hurt both of your businesses. That’s why communicating clearly with them with a combination of “sweet as pie and tough as nails” is your best bet for getting a good resolution.

So that’s what I recommend if you’re getting copied in your business.

But you can do even more to keep competitors at bay…

The next level of protection from copycats and competitors is to be a little more strategic about how you build your business.

Think about the resources, assets, and skills that only you have and that if you were to focus on them would leave your competitors in the dust.

I like to think of this as building a moat around your castle that others can’t cross over.

For example, in my business I realized that there were a lot of people who can teach you how to use technical tools to grow your business online but very few of these competing businesses were able to create the tools that grow your business.

In effect, our software products under the AmbitionAlly brand (such as PopupAlly) act as our moat to keep out competition and copycats. (Plus, it’s been really fun to work with my spouse!)

Other digital strategists and techies can copy my tutorials but they don’t have the same capabilities that we have to create and market new tools.

So now I want you to think about what things in your business would put you in a totally different zone than your copycats and competitors. Can you think of a moat that you can build around your business?

It could be top of the line customer service. A high touch experience. Customized delivery. Free shipping. Stellar design. Your no-non-sense attitude. Creative names.

Your business is yours to create, and protecting it with a “moat” can be fun and profitable!

What Are Your Tips For How To Stay Ahead of Competition?

Please take a few minutes to leave a comment below with your (hopefully resolved!) copycat stories and any advice you have for anyone who is in this situation right now.

Oh, and if you have any questions about building moats or being strategic about your business, ask away!

How To Use Google Hangouts For Business

Google Hangouts for business

You might have heard about Google+ and Google Hangouts, they’ve been around for a few years now. But it’s not until recently that they’ve started to really make more sense for us as business owners.

5 Ways You Can Use Google Hangouts For Business

Let’s go over 5 ways that you can use Google Hangouts to improve your business, save money, and even make more money, too.

1. Google Hangouts for conference calls and team meetings

Here at Lussier Heartquarters we meet every Monday on a private Google Hangout, so we can talk about our big plans for the week and see each other’s lovely faces.

It’s pretty simple to get a Hangout going, and unlike telephone conference lines we know when someone is typing or not paying attention. It’s also a great way for us to know what’s happening, like if a kiddo or cat walks in the background we get it.

2. Google Hangouts to replace webinars

You might have explored and tried a few of the webinar software companies out there, I sure have. I love Gotowebinar, but I also appreciate that it’s a monthly expense that you might not want if you don’t run webinars on a regular basis.

That’s where Google Hangouts On Air come in – you can use the platform just like you would to run a webinar, and the bonus is that your attendees don’t need to download any extra software to attend.

Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Your Hangout is recorded for you and you can trim the beginning and end if you don’t need the extra pre-amble in there. The video immediately gets turned into a YouTube video on your channel, which you can edit to become Unlisted or Private if you don’t want it publicly available.

Best of all, you can embed your Hangout on a page of your website so you can keep the branding consistent across the board. Plus, you can answer questions or have people share the Hangout on their Google+ pages, which in turn increases the attendees and social reach you’d naturally get.

3. Google Hangouts to host virtual summits

If you’ve ever wanted to put on a telesummit where you interview other experts and share the recordings with attendees, then hosting your guests on a live Hangout gives you major brownie points.

Here’s why.

You can have each guest join you live and the whole thing gets automatically recorded, so no editing or uploading required after the event itself. With many guests and moving pieces, anything that can save time coordinating or uploading files is a win.

You can also keep the recordings up for your desired “free access” period and then just change permissions to private when you’re ready to switch to the paid version of your summit.

Plus, when you do a live Hangout your guests can ask questions and really participate on a whole new level.

4. Google Hangouts to demonstrate software and create tutorials

I personally tested this out when we rolled out the free version of our WordPress popup plugin (PopupAlly). I just loaded up a Google Hangout, and selected my browser window to demonstrate how this WordPress plugin works in real time.

You could do similar things if you want to walk people through any technical process or even show a slide presentation.

Most Google Hangouts are videos of the presenter, but switching to your screen is an easy built-in function that’s worth exploring to keep things fresh on your Hangouts.

5. Google Hangouts to run a regular web show “live”

If you like watching these Off The Charts pre-recorded episodes, imagine if we were to run a live version of the show?

The sky is the limit when it comes to Google Hangout shows – and having a regular schedule for when you host your own show can help people connect with you more before they take you up on your paid offerings.

You can think of your web show like a set of office hours, where you answer questions and hang out with your audience. Or, you can script it and come up with topics each week. Or even invite guests on a regular basis too, like Yifat Cohen does. You can do what BakeSpace does with their ongoing baking shows.

Your turn to share…

Now I’d love to know – what’s holding you back from trying out Google Hangouts? If you’ve attended or hosted your own hangouts for your business, what did you love or hate about them? Leave a comment below and let me know!

See Google Hangouts In Action…

Want to see what it’s like to be on the other side of a Google Hangout? Come join me Friday September 12th for a live hangout experience. Click here to join me.

Google Hangout Webinar

Ever Feel Like You Don’t Belong?

What to do when you don't belong


We all crave this feeling of belonging, being part of a group of people who love and accept us.

It’s primal.

We know that we have a higher chance of survival if we’re part of a group that will take care of us if we need it.

Ever feel like you don’t belong?

We’ve all felt like an outsider at one point…

What happens when you pick up social conditioning in your early years that tells you that you don’t belong?

We’ve all felt it one time or another. You see other people laughing together, hugging, or having a great time and you wonder why you’re not in on it all?

Social media makes this sense of missing out even stronger, and you start to wonder what’s wrong with you and why you’re not part of this group or that group?

You decide what identity you want to take on

You take on the identity of an outsider, and before you know it you’re the one who is cutting yourself off from belonging to groups or friendships you’d like to be a part of.

It’s not your fault that you’ve taken on these automatic patterns, society and pop culture thrive on creating separation. They tap into our basics human fears, and get us all riled up at the oppressors and mean girls when the ability to belong has always been in your own hands.

So how can you start to reclaim your belonging?

Reclaim Your Belonging

It starts with extending belonging out to others in your life and seeing what happens when you invite others into your own circles.

It can be life changing to see how a simple smile or sweet message can change someone else’s life or business.

But you also need to step up and ignore your “outsider conditioning” to join in the groups that you really want to be a part of.

Chances are the people who are in those groups will welcome you with open arms, if you approach them with a sense of confidence and love.

I’m not perfect and I don’t have this all figured out, because I sometimes still fall into the “I don’t belong” story that I learned in high school and through pop culture.

If you feel like you don’t belong in certain areas of your life, you need to practice feeling what it’s like to belong.

Creating Space for Belonging

One big mission in my life and business is to create the space for this belonging and community to take root.

I’ve seen the power of women supporting each other at my live Off The Charts events and in my private work. It’s amazing what deep shifts this kind of unconditional support can make in someone’s life.

You deserve to have this level of love, support, and friendship in your life too. And I understand that not everyone can make it to a live event, especially if you live on the other side of the planet.

That’s why I’m taking a stand and creating a safe, welcoming place for small business owners to support each other virtually.

Introducing the Heartquarters Insider


Many times we join online communities that grow to an unmanageable size, and we can’t form the bonds that are so powerful when there are hundreds or thousands of people in a tribe.

That’s why I’m creating small pods of 100 entrepreneurs who will get to know each other over the course of a year, and truly experience that sense of belonging that is so necessary to us as human beings.

I’m calling this experience the Heartquarters Insider because each of us deserves to feel like an insider, and to be supported in a safe heart quarter that’s designed to help your business flow.

Choose to belong.

But right now, I’d love to have you share in the comments below one way you’ve overcome the feeling of not belonging.

Was it approaching a group at a networking event and introducing yourself? Was it pulling someone who was standing on the sidelines onto the dance floor?

Let us know!

Want more? Join me and your fellow go-getting entrepreneurs in the Heartquarters Insider community, where we dive deeper into the skills and money-making strategies that will help you grow your business.

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