The Real Female Entrepreneur

When Your Unique Business Idea Isn't As Original As You Thought

Lauren FrontieraComment
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"As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it."

Did you come up with your next best business idea only to realize it's already been done? Take a breath sister. There's a light at the end of this tunnel.


Leitia McHugh, the founder of The Confetti Post, shared her story on the podcast. If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen right here.

There's a piece of her business story you won't hear on the podcast, though. And that's why you're here. 


you know when that thing you were reallyyy hoping would never happen actually does? 

like going to pour a glass of wine and realizing THERE IS NO WINE?!

This story isn't about wine. I'm going to go pour a glass, though, and let Leitia take it from here!


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I knew in high school that I was interested in business. But I also knew that I couldn't handle what I perceived to be the "cut-throat" nature of business, and that I could never sell something unless I was head-over-heals passionate about it.  

So, I found myself on a career path in the non-profit world. Then, as you heard on the podcast, I became a mama and, well, that was the catalyst for starting a business and eventually, launching The Confetti Post.

Unfortunately, though, one of my fears about the business world came true pretty early on.


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I came upon the idea for a "party in a box" gift package thanks to Pinterest. My love of parties quickly turned into me being madly in love with this business concept. At the time, everything I found was creative bloggers who were creating the cutest little handmade packages for loved one's birthdays. They would included a cake mix, card, balloons, confetti, birthday candle, and some small gifts. So cute, right?  

Pretty soon after my obsession began, I started Googling this concept to find out what else was already out there like it. I couldn't find any other businesses doing this. I found "parties in a box" that were complete party kits you could order to throw an in-real-life party and also boxes of mass-produced junk food you could send for a birthday from generic websites like www.carepackages.com. But I couldn't find anything quite like what I wanted to create!


"I thought I was really on to something! I also felt like I had found a gap in the market..."


I thought I was really on to something! I also felt like I had found a gap in the market for a more "modern" gift/care package. Everything I found felt really impersonal and generic.  

This can be a really scary place to be when starting a business. There was nothing else to validate whether my idea was viable or not.

Being the obsessive researcher that I am, though, and doing the research any business owner should do, I kept digging. I eventually started finding some more modern gifting services, mostly through good old Instagram.


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I found really elegant gifting companies, and then started finding even more modern gifting companies, too ... even a few with concepts really similar to mine. And ones I wanted to start sending my friends because they were so amazing! I even found a company that seemed to be doing really well and was almost exactly like my concept for The Confetti Post.


"Instead of feeling discouraged though, I felt encouraged. It gave me hope that a market did exist for the vision I had been planning out on paper. Maybe I could make this work!"


Instead of feeling discouraged though, I felt encouraged. It gave me hope that a market did exist for the vision I had been planning out on paper. Maybe I could make this work!

Thanks to the advice from my mentor at the time, I tried to learn from all of these other awesome companies and see what needs I could meet that they weren't. This is called market research. 


"After I finally launched The Confetti Post, I had this nagging sense of guilt..."


After I finally launched The Confetti Post, I had this nagging sense of guilt that my idea and product was so similar to another business' (even though the idea for The Confetti post was formed from my own heart and ideas and those early Pinterest pins and blog posts).

So, I decided to write the owner of the other company a note. Naive, perhaps.


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I wrote this heartfelt email, praising the owner and the business they had created, explaining that I had come up with a similar idea, but felt we occupied different spaces and different target audiences and had different execution strategies and goals. Surprisingly, I never received a response. And soon after, they blocked me on Instagram. (insert shocked/sad face here)


"Being a person that believes in community over competition and that there's enough room for us all, this was a total blow to me as a new business owner."


Being a person that believes in community over competition and that there's enough room for us all, this was a total blow to me as a new business owner. I did understand their perspective ... a little. But this was my first dose, and luckily the only one so far, of that cut-throat nature that kept me away from business for so long. 

Now, I sometimes find myself holding back my ideas out of fear that they'll look like I am copying someone else's, when I really should allow myself to move where my heart leads and do what is best to serve my customers.


"The truth is, there are very few ideas out there that are truly and inherently unique."


The truth is, there are very few ideas out there that are truly and inherently unique.

That cut-throat mentality isn't everywhere in business, though. I later came across another woman with a similar business model that had started her business around the same time as mine. We found each other at least a year into our new ventures. Our brands and models are very similar, even down to the heart of our missions and our branding colors. Instead of operating from this place of competition, though, we cheer each other on on Instagram, along with so many other awesome small business owners whose businesses occupy this similar space. And for me, that is the la-la land that I choose to occupy.  


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As an aside, living in my community over competition lal-la land does not mean that we are sharing all our "secrets." It simply means we root for each other's success, instead of shunning each other or trying to bring each other down. And for me, it means that when a customer reaches out to me because something on my site is out of stock or not quite what they are looking for, I know where to send them so they can have their needs met.


"As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it."


As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it. And I hope this goes without saying, but never, ever copy someone else! Use your own voice, but learn from others who have gone before you, so you can better serve your customers.  

There is room for you and your idea. Learn, grow, and do what works best for your business. Most of all, let's always keeping working to make the world a better, more beautiful place with our ideas."


STILL FEEL LIKE, "BUT MY IDEA IS ALREADY TAKEN!!"?

Read this article from Entrepreneur. Here's a sneak peek:

"And do yourself a favor -- stop freaking out every time your amazing new idea is already being done by someone else. Instead, celebrate whenever you see other people already making money doing what you want to do.

After all, if you come up with an idea that no one else is doing, there's probably a reason for that."


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Leitia McHugh

Leitia McHugh is the founder of The Confetti Post, an online "party in a box" gifting service. She started The Confetti Post as a way to share her love of parties with everyone and to help others bridge the gap when they want to celebrate someone they love, but long distances get in the way. Think care packages, but a lot more fun and without all the work hopping from store to store to find the perfect items, buying a boring box, then fighting the lines at the post office. These party themed gift packages are the best solution to brightening days and celebrating others even when miles separate.


MORE OF LEITIA

Leitia on the podcast

www.theconfettipost.com

The Confetti Post on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest


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