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Want to know why I am so good at helping people get past the fear of competition and haters? First hand experience. I have 100% lived almost everything people have told me has happened to them.

Whilst I have talked about it in the past, I have never actually written about this before. Not for fear of retaliation (though that was always a possibility) but because I chose to rise about it and not respond in any way. Maybe a splash of denial in there as well? Which can be a tendency for me sometimes, to have a moment of denial and not want to ‘deal with’ things. I’m only human after all.

So once I knew I wanted to start this business ‘formally’ after helping many people informally as I ran my other business, the fear took hold. Was I good enough? Did I know enough? I had a friend in a similar space (although I knew what I wanted to do was very different and would attract different people) would she be ok with me doing it? As a result, I managed to take a solid six months of fluffing around deciding on a business name, a logo, what exactly I would offer, how much to charge for it. Every single decision was met with more fear and pain.

So I really, truly do know how you feel. I’ve been there!

Once I did get up and running, at first it was amazing, I got a few clients fairly quickly and helped them get some quick wins. I advertised a series of in-person workshops and people actually booked in! Happy Days! I wasn’t charging nearly enough (how many of you are feeling me right now?) but I was helping people and using my skills and that was making me pretty darn happy.

Then it started.

Friends started showing me ‘the competitor’s’ post and blogs, and there was a clear sense of ‘not being happy’ with me starting up in the same space at all despite a conversation between us about it where everything seemed ok. I ignored it as best I could, but it was difficult to do so with my loyal friends showing me things all the time and that resulting in me spending far too much time looking at it all the time myself.

I would write a blog about something, and two days later, a blog would appear cutting down things I had talked about. Indirectly, no names involved, but anyone watching both didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to work it out.

I advertised a workshop, and days later, a workshop using my workshop’s exact title and then the words ‘why everything you have been told about <insert name of my workshop> is wrong.’

I found an amazing paid stock image to use for advertising something i was offering, the same image appeared the next week on the other page.

It went on and on and on. I started to second guess every single thing I wrote, wondering what the ‘comeback’ would be and how my words would be twisted. Sometimes, I just didn’t post for weeks or more because I did not have the energy to deal with it.

At the same time, I was also dealing with the declining health of my terminally ill father, who my sister and I tag teamed to help him stay in his home and not have to go into care. That was a lot to deal with on it’s own.

It all became very, very draining. And then the anxiety started to kick in. When I was with clients I was great, confident, made a real difference to a lot of people. Away from clients, I became crippled at any point of needing to make any kind of decision because I just wanted to do my own thing and not have to worry about what ‘someone else’ would think and then say about me. I worried that people would start to believe the lies that were being told about me (and they were all lies, complete twisting of the reality). I worried that I might lose all my clients (because I found out that this person had been calling some of them!) and I worried about… well… everything!

Is any of this sounding familiar to how you have ever felt before?

I never, ever responded in any way. No posts hinting about it, no blogs defending my position, no late night rants on my personal social media when I was feeling down about it. I just kept going along my own path, but with the weight of that worry and bed feeling on my shoulders the whole time.

I can’t 100% recall how long this went on for until I said enough is enough. I blocked all forms of social media, and I ‘trained’ my friends to never mention it or tell me about anything they saw. One friend and I still to this day jokingly mention ‘Voldemort’ (if you don’t know who that is, go read Harry Potter, it will make sense to you then)

There were still many moments of fear about what I ‘wasn’t seeing’. That took a while to get past as well. You don’t recover overnight from a spiteful bullying campaign. But after a while, I started to think about it less and less, and eventually, stopped thinking and worrying about it at all, and got on with being myself, stepping into my ‘greatness’ and gaining confidence as my audience and business grew.

There were so many realisations I would love to share with you.

  • There is room for everyone
  • My ideal client is never going to be the same as my competitions ideal client
  • My style of business offerings is never going to be the same as my competitors
  • Other people’s opinion of me is their business not mine
  • I can give myself permission to walk away from someone or something that makes me feel really bad.

Five years later I haven’t looked back nor thought about it in depth for a long time.

I’m past it.

I am confident with what I am doing, and I have proved to myself and my audience that I am good enough, that I can make a difference, and that I need not fear what someone else might think of me. It’s a pity that mindset growth didn’t go both ways, as recently as a few months ago I heard of something very unkind/untrue/unnecessary being said about me. I guess I can’t be responsible for other people’s mindset, if they get stuck in that feeling for that long, that’s on them.

How did I get here? A lot of mindset work. A lot of writing down things like how many clients I helped over the years. Re-reading my reviews in those moments where I felt a little shaky. Surrounding myself with positive and supportive people and spending no time giving the negativity any of my energy.

Easy peasy, right? Not really. It was a huge challenge, with many highs and lows…

I am so damn glad I made it through to the other side though, because I can say, hand on heart, I am well qualified to help people through fear of competitors, online bullying, and self doubt. Having lived it first hand myself, I really truly can say that I understand how it can feel.

It also equips me well for what sometimes feels like a constant stream of people now that feel the need to hit out at someone else in the space I work in due to their own insecurities.  When you are in the position I am in now, well established in my business, with a reasonable size audience, getting well known for what I do, I become one of  the tall poppies to cut down OR my content and offerings seem to be something that people want to constantly copy/duplicate/leverage off rather than come up with their own unique offering. I’ve come to realise that it’s a reflection of them not me, but I won’t lie and say it doesn’t still tick me off to see people copying what I do without an original thought of their own. My earlier experience did teach me the value of focussing on my own path and rising above the ‘BS’ though.

So, the next time you go to post something, or put an offering out for your business and stop yourself because of worrying about a competitor or even just a ‘hater’, rise above it, put them out of your mind, give them no energy, and take the first steps towards getting completely past it forever.

You can do this!

Melody Semmler
Author: Melody Semmler

Melody Semmler is a business coach for people with horse businesses around the world. Also known as 'the crazy unicorn lady' she brings her sense of humour and down-to-earth nature to her work, resulting in a thriving online community and a following that continues to grow, extending internationally. With corporate branding and marketing expertise, and first hand experience launching and running her own successful small business for just over a decade, she has a wealth of knowledge to share with her audience. She lives in Gidgegannup, Western Australia with her husband, son, 2 dogs, lizard, and 2 horses, one of whom has an instagram account twice the size of hers (@jdtheirishhorse)

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