Entrepreneurship Forums and Copycat Entrepreneurs
Here’s a confession: I often browse various entrepreneurship forums for new ideas for these daily articles.
However, I rarely find any material to work with. The reason for that is that most forums are filled with reiterations on the same topic. Entrepreneurship forums are filled with new entrepreneurs who are on the forums to get ideas and learn about business.
There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you could argue that it’s a great thing that people are trying to build businesses and bring value to the world.
However, it’s the reason why entrepreneurship forums don’t work.
The vast majority of business owners don’t go on entrepreneurship forums. The most successful business guys I know don’t even go on the internet all that much. This means that those entrepreneurship forums have a lot of newbies to money making and not a lot of actual entrepreneurs.
This leads to groupthink and it leads to copycat entrepreneurial endeavours.
What Is Copycat Entrepreneurship, And Why Is It On Entrepreneurship Forums?
Those of you who hang out on entrepreneurship forums and business forums probably know what I’m talking about.
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For those of you who don’t, let me explain.
You know how there are temporary business trends that seem to come from nowhere and appear everywhere for a while, before fading away again just as quickly as they arrived?
Things like short not-quite how-to books for Kindle Unlimited?
Or Printed T-shirts with funny slogans?
Or those survival flashlight things that were advertised everywhere a few months back?
Maybe SEO services that beat Google Panda?
These are all examples of copycat entrepreneurship. One guy finds success with a short-term trend, and then provides a blueprint for doing what he does. (Sometimes, he’ll charge for this blueprint either directly or indirectly.)
Then, thousands of newbies think that they’re going to be millionaires, and so they do exactly the same thing as the guide.
This leads to a snowball effect.
Those early adopters make a ton of money because the market isn’t saturated yet.
Then they post their results and their “twists” on the method.
Hundreds more newbies pile in.
Eventually, the market saturates, Amazon bans everyone or the T-shirt companies stop dropshipping because it makes them no money and more problems.
Then there are tons of business forum threads about the fact that the method doesn’t work, and tons of people asking questions like, “How can I make money from selling iPod cases in 2017?”
This is copycat entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship governed by seeing someone else’s idea and copying it mostly-if-not-totally unchanged.
It’s the thing that you’ll find most on entrepreneurship forums.
There’s no moral judgement here; if you can make money riding the next great hustle wave then by all means go for it. Usually though, it’ll lead to short-term profits at most, and heartbreak if you’re not an early adopter.
What You Can Do About This and How You Can Avoid Copycat Entrepreneurialism?
Here’s the long hard advice (don’t worry… we’ll get to the hacker part in a short while): It’s far better to develop your own interests and businesses that you’re an expert in and have a passion for. This is the boring business advice, but it’s what’ll work best long term.
That said, here on JamieMcSloy.co.uk, we’re not in the business of throwing the baby out of the bathwater.
How To Take Entrepreneurship Forums And Make Their Copycat Ideas Better
I wrote a set of posts a while back about writing books taking scammer ideas and using them to create great products.
I’m going to do the same here, but with things other than books.
The first step is to find your idea. Let’s use iPhone cases as an example, because they’ve tempted many a would-be entrepreneur with their cheapness and dropshipness.
The second step is to look beyond the product. If a person wants an iPhone case, what is it they’re saying? They want phone accessories, sure. They wanted branded merchandise or cute panda pictures on the backs of their phones as well. They want something for a £5 note that comes in the post and makes them into an individual.
Carry on until you find the actual hook point. It will be obvious when you find it. People who want printed T-shirts need clothes. That’s it. People who buy erotica on the kindle are looking for a way to have a fifteen minute guided daydream that won’t leave any evidence. (To put it politely.) You get the idea.
The third step is to brainstorm around that idea. If a person wants an iPhone case because they need to protect their phone from their keys in their handbag, then there will be a product that achieves that that isn’t a phone case.
The fourth step is to think about your approach, target market and everything else. Unless you want the copycats to steal your idea, then you should think about making your product appear different to the masses of private label Chinese shipments that everyone else is using.
Doing this + having a different product are the easiest way to take the copycat’s ideas and make something better out of them.
The fifth step is to keep the idea to yourself and instead, spread the word about how learning how entrepreneurship actually works so that new guys can build long-term businesses as opposed to short-term cash grabs.
Most entrepreneurship forums are filled with guys who think that they’re going to make millions from reading other people’s progress threads and copying the ideas themselves, replicating the success without the hard work.
These copycat entrepreneurs might even read, “You’ve got to put your own twist on it.” They’ll think, “Alright… I’ll create Samsung Galaxy cases instead of iPhone cases!” or they’ll think, “I’m gonna try and find a printed hoodie supplier instead of a T-shirt supplier!”
That sort of twist might delay the inevitable slump in sales for a few weeks, but eventually the short term thinking will catch up with them.
However, any product that sells solves a need. The very least you can do is work out what that need is. Create something different that fills the need and then serve it in a different way. You’ll have separated yourself from the unwashed masses of copycat entrepreneurs.
Most online business guys will never do this.