The End of Competition — The Beginning of ?

The other day I mentioned some ways to learn about your customers . Ways to find out who your target market is.

One of those ways, according to my post, was to snoop out the competition and see what you could find out about their customers.

Here’s a question:

Is the term “competition” really the right word? Does that accurately express the relationship between you and other people who make and sell items or services similar to yours?

I think I did you a disservice by using such a word. I owe you an apology. I’m sorry.

The truth is this: There is plenty to go around. There are plenty of customers. Plenty of Facebook fans. Plenty of blog followers. Take it even further and I’ll tell you that there is plenty of money out there and plenty of ideas that can help you earn some of it.


Competition implies that one person or company wins and another loses. That’s really not how this works. In fact, I’d venture to say that in online business, the opposite is probably closer to the truth. It’s more like the more people that win, the more room there is for more winners.

Success in your niche by someone else is good for you.

That’s not the way I was raised I tell you. But it is the way it is.

So let’s pick a new word and forget all about competition.

Can I put this out to everyone? What’s a better word for companies or individuals who are in a similar business to you?

Friends? Fellow Travelers? The Others? There must be a better word than competition.

Any ideas?


  1. says

    I agree – there is much variety in the world of handmade, it’s hard to find direct “competitors” anyway. Should we maybe say “peers” instead? Though that word has always carried a hint of underlying competition to me….

    • Tim Layton says

      I like “peers”. I knew there was a better word than my brain was providing… thanks. Anyone else?


    • Joelle says

      I agree Kim, there is a lot of variety, everyone has their Unique Style even if they make the same product. I have found this to be true because I purchase many things on Etsy. Etsy is a place where everyone can celebrate their uniqueness which includes the process, time and materials used on their product. I must say also that to me (as a buyer), it is evident that everyone loves what they do.

      With that being said, there are PLENTY of customers for everyone, we should all be helping each other to succeed – not be so protective of their steps to success. If a company becomes a million-dollar business–that is great! If a company makes enough to keep a home over their head–that is great, too!

      For me personally, just keeping afloat financially is a challenge at times, building my business is a daily task and Kim’s wisdom has contributed to my success immensely! She sends out quality information for FREE! I am so thankful for that. She has created an environment of “Giving First and Sharing Always”.

      Sorry for the long post–my Vote for a good alternate word is ‘peers’, too. The only other word i thought of was colleague- but didn’t sound well when I tried to make sentences with it, lol..

  2. Laura Smith says

    I absolutely whole-heartedly agree with your perspective on competition. I’m so glad to see someone who has lots of readers bring this subject up. Nothing in life has to be a contest. Everyone can win and nobody has to lose. I wish more people would look at things this way and not just in their business lives.

    • Tim Layton says

      Hi Laura,

      I was thinking the same thing… how does this idea apply to other areas of life? I think I’m probably so wrapped-up in the idea of competition that it’ll take some effort to find all the areas I should re-think!

      Thanks for your comment.


  3. says

    Competition – may be very effective, it’s depends on the point of view
    Our life like breath – we feel up and after feel down, so when I feel down, other one who I feel better of me give me motivation to going up, and when I feel up – I can help to support other,
    Competition it’s only word – most important what is our intention.

  4. says

    What I great post! I couldn’t agree more. I love making things, and sharing them with people who will enjoy them. I love seeing what other people are making as well. If I think about all the competition in the market place, it kinds of makes me stop and can really hinder creativity-it becomes all about beating the other guy or improving what I do to be more competitive, instead of doing something I love and sharing it. I am not certain about a good word…perhaps fellow makers???:)

  5. says

    I like fellow travelers. I am extremely competitive as well but I also feel there is plenty to go around. On the forums I always see people say they are pricing their items so low they barely make a profit in order to remain competitive. I always wonder why? Don’t compete, make you work better and charge more. I look at fellow steampunk artists and I see some beautiful items and some that are a little different but as a whole they were all priced higher than mine and selling. So I raised my prices, maybe we should call them “teachers”.

  6. says

    How about fellow artists or artisans? I like the community feeling that implies. I’m inspired by others’ work, and I completely agree that a rising tide lifts all boats.

  7. says

    I finally read the word I was thinking of in the last comment. Community!

    Etsy is big on community, and there, even though there is competition, it is community based, and everyone cheers each other on! What better way to learn then from your peers and fellow artisans on what works and what doesn’t? Isn’t that what makes us a community? It sort of takes the harsh bite out of “competition”.

    Great comment Jean. We’re on the same page. :)

  8. says

    I think community is a great word! We are all just trying to do the same thing. Instead of being competitive we should support one another and like you said learn from other people.

  9. says

    I’ve been saying this for quite some time and it’s really encouraging to hear others who are in agreement!
    As for a word..there are a few words and phrases that spring to mind: companions, likeminded individuals, success buddies (OK, not really my favourite but it just popped in there!), fellow creators. It’s not easy to pin it down to a word.

    Thankyou for reinforcing this truth – that there is enough for everyone,plenty of customers and plenty of money. The more people that challenge the old belief in ‘competition’ the better as I believe we will evolve our thinking towards new and healthy, positive concepts and beliefs.

    There *is* enough, we are creating it as we go along!

  10. says

    I have never been a competitive person, and completely agree with the idea that business doesn’t have to be a win or lose situation.

    One word that comes to mind is cohort. If you look up the definition, you will see words like collective, gathering, group,association.

    Over the years I have worked in many diverse industries and found that businesses that cooperate with each other tend to be stronger and are more trusted by their customers.

  11. Nina says

    Counterpart (something or someone that strongly resembles another) or Co-op member might also serve. If we view Etsy as a “Co-op” for the businesses we have or want to attempt. Root word cooperative.

  12. says

    Mentors… as everyone I see is someone I can learn from …even if it’s what not to do… and the level of what I want to reach….is always somewhere other than where I am…as I hope to always grow.