Why Copycats Fail: Only The Real You Can Succeed In Business

December 5

You find someone successful to learn from. They offer to show you their entire process, step by step. They strongly encourage you to follow their example – because it’s a proven system. So you do just that. You copy them move for move – doing everything they’ve shown you… and it’s not working.

It could be because you’re basically a Copycat – and Copycats always fail in the long run.

I know copycat is a strong word – I’m using it mostly to make a point, not to insult.  Like a kid copying off a fellow student’s test, (which can work to get a good grade – but not for long term educational success) being able to copy someone else’s business model can make you look good for a minute – but it rarely creates long term success.

There are gads of business coaches out there with programs designed to create perfect copies of themselves.

Uniquely creative people sign up, are taught to conform to a style and process and come out the other end of their time in the program as perfectly molded Business Coach Mini Me.

Wait Kelly… are you saying it’s a mistake to work with a Business Coach?  Heck no!

Work with coaches you admire and make a study of successful people – but never try to copy everything they do. They’re doing what works for them but you’re not them – You’re YOU

Let’s talk Personality Types.

There are a lot of different approaches to the idea of ‘Personality Types’ and I know you’ve been exposed to a few your lifetime. You may even have a personal favorite.  For my purposes, I’m going to introduce you to the concept of Personality Types introduced in the book Personality Plus’by Florence Littauer.

Four Basic Personality Types

  • Choleric
  • Sanguine
  • Melancholy
  • Phlegmatic

Funny words, right? We can credit the ancient Greeks for them. The theory way back when was that humans had bodily fluids that impacted our personality traits and behaviors. Of course, our personalities have nothing to do with our bodily fluids – but the personality type names stuck through the centuries.

A Few Personality Type Truths

  • There’s no such thing as a ‘Bad’ Personality Type, in fact – they’re impossible to rate in comparison. (We NEED all of them present in our lives, businesses and communities.)
  • Each Personality Type has Strengths and Weaknesses. (Strengths can be developed and weaknesses can be minimized.)
  • Nobody is ‘only’ one Personality Type. Rather, we’re a unique blend.
  • We are not defined by our Personality Type, but we can learn a lot about ourselves through understanding them.

Personality Type Traits

Let’s take a quick look at the Personality Types, naming just a few positive and negative traits.

The Choleric Personality Type 

  • Positive traits: prone to leadership, gets things done, practical in action
  • Negative traits: stubborn, impulsive, impatient, demanding of others

The Sanguine Personality Type 

  • Positive Traits: fun loving, friendly, life of the party
  • Negative Traits: fails to finish, unreliable, often late

The Melancholy Personality Type 

  •  Positive Traits: detail oriented, meets deadlines, creative, sensitive
  • Negative Traits: moodiness, struggles to delegate, takes critique overly personal

The Phlegmatic Personality Type 

  • Positive Traits: content, kind, not easily ruffled, observant
  • Negative Traits: procrastinates, fears change, passive-aggressive

Keep in mind, this is a very brief introduction – there’s so much more to each of the Personality Types and when you consider how they mix and blend together, there’s no end to the complexities that an individual person has going on inside of them.

Find Out Your Type

By now you’re probably most interested in knowing WHAT your Type is if you don’t know already. I recommend reading the book!!

Now That You Know

How’d your numbers come out? Remember, there’s no good or bad, only info to be considered for new awareness. According the the quiz style provided in the book, out a possible total of 40 – I am 32 Choleric and 8 Phlegmatic. That tells you a LOT doesn’t it? LOL! No wonder I’m such a bossy thing!

Let’s revisit the Copycat idea again in light of what you’re learning about yourself.

Maybe you admire me and want to build a business just like mine. I have a lot of products that teach you everything I do. Maybe you’ve emulated me to the greatest degree possible – but it’s just not working.

  • Well, are you a ‘high’ Choleric like me? You’d pretty much have to be in order to do everything I do the way I do it.
  • What if you’re a Melancholy? You can duplicate most of my processes without fail – but you probably lack the desire to be as bold and opinionated as me.
  • What if you’re a Phlegmatic? My business is way too much ‘go go go’ for your tastes.
  • What if you’re a Sanguine? My business is way too much ‘buckle down and get it done’ for you to be happy at for long.

What a mistake it would be for any Melancholy, Sanguine or Phlegmatic to try to ‘copy’ me and deliver the same results! They’d quickly become frustrated and drained.

Does that mean Melancholy, Sanguine or Phlegmatic can’t be successful bloggers, podcasters and business coaches? Absolutely not! They CAN be successful – but they’ll have to craft an approach that suits their unique bend so that they can thrive in the doing.

I keep this in mind when I’m working with my coaching clients.

I am not aiming to mold anyone into a Mini Me. I’m looking to discover who they want to be and what they want to create so I can support them in becoming the entrepreneur they will love living into every day.

Take this information and use it to consider those you’ve attempted to model your business after in the past. Can you guess what their Personality Type might be in comparison to you and spot why you struggled to ‘be like them’?

It seriously lifts a burden off of your shoulders as you realize you haven’t been failing because there’s something wrong with you – you’ve been failing because you’ve pursued what isn’t RIGHT for you.

It’s About More Than Personality Of Course

I gain a lot of awareness about myself from noticing how my personality shows up – but that’s only one little measurable part of me. I’ve made self awareness a high intention in my life for several years now. I’m constantly learning something new. I highly recommend retreats like Radical Leadership and courses like Beyond Circumstances to turn the dial up on your self awareness.

The Marketplace Rewards Originality

Study successful business leaders to glean everything you can from what they do – but then sit down and figure out how the tips, tricks and strategies will best be implemented to compliment YOUR unique self.

When you stop trying to emulate perfectly and craft a business that expresses who you are, you’ll be amazed at how things change for you in the business world.  When you let the real you come out, when you apply smart business tactics in your own way – you’ll stand out.


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