Week 18 of the Empire Building Kit wrapped up yesterday. I found it to be an interesting week for its diversity of topics. Included was a demonstration of effective “upselling” techniques; an example of how one “Emperor in Training” learned from her own small business disaster; and, a closer look at how the medical insurance restrictions on another small business owner’s coaching practice forced her to think creatively, combine her love of self-help books with one-one-one coaching, and, ultimately, create an inventive and lucrative new online business model.
Lastly, the topic of “imitation” in business was addressed. I find this topic apropos, especially for what I do as a designer. I have talked to designers in both camps – the “copyright-everything-you-make-and-sue-everyone-who-tries-to-copy-you” camp, and the “its-pointless-to-copyright-your-work-because-ideas-are-out-there” camp.
In my experience, the distinction is a little more subtle. Of course, I do not want people to copy my designs; my designs are my intellectual property. And I do realize that there are unscrupulous people out there for whom even a copyright symbol doesn’t mean much. The way I look at it, if a design is copied, it has none of the original creator’s energy – or personality – for that matter. Furthermore, the chances that the “copier” will be successful in the long term are rather limited, since being fake takes more work than being yourself.
I think Oscar Wilde had it right when he said…
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
How about you? Do you know what your dreams are? What are you doing to build them?