COPY CATS: WHAT TO DO WHEN OTHER VENDORS STEAL YOUR IDEAS

vendors stealing ideas copy cats

(Image via gritphilm on Flickr)

No doubt almost all of you have your own websites to help promote your businesses. When clients are looking to hire a caterer, photographer, planner, designer, florist etc… for a big party or wedding where do they start their search? The internet, of course.  In today’s market, if you don’t have your own site, it’s harder for potential clients to find you. A LOT harder.

However, there’s such a thing as publishing too much of your work on your site. Last week, we discussed at length the good and not-so-good reasons you should list your prices on your website. This week, I’d like to address an even bigger issue: many artists and vendors worry about putting their work on the internet, because they fear other people will steal their ideas.

I’m constantly asked if I mind when people copy my work. My response? “No, I don’t mind as long as it’s a GOOD copy.” The reality is that just because someone sees a picture of something you created does NOT mean he or she has the first clue HOW you did it. What those “copiers” are really making is an approximation of your original idea.

And let’s not forget that copy cats often have very small budgets, which means not only are they trying to recreate your work without knowing exactly how you did it, but they’re also trying to recreate your work with less money and fewer resources.

The bottom line is that you need to put your work out there in order to attract business and a consequence of that is potentially seeing your work copied. But if you’re getting copied then you’re probably really good at what you do. And if you’re really good at what you do, then you need to publicize that fact in order to get new business and make a living.

Remember, if you hide your art in order to prevent copy cats, you’re also hiding your work from potential clients, and that is NOT a good business practice.

So let’s say people are copying the work you put out there in the public domain. So what? You’re an artist, and you should always be coming up with new and exciting ideas. When someone copies you, just smile and say, “Been there, done that.” That’s what I do!

How do you feel about being copied? Have clients ever taken your idea and asked another vendor to duplicate it for a fraction of the cost? If so, what happened?

I’d love to hear about your opinions and experiences. Please share.

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