Why Standing Out Is Actually Bad For Your Business

You know exactly what I’m talking about. The advice that is plastered just about everywhere (and yes, even on my own damn site) that tells you you need to do business differently. The stress on how important is to have your USP. How you can’t be the same ol’ same ol’ – you need to create something new and unique and inspiring.

You’re told that this is the problem with your business – you’re not standing out enough.

The real problem, however, is not that you’re not standing out enough.

Oh no.

The real problem? Is that you are spending so much energy trying to be different that it’s stalling you in your tracks and stopping you from actually moving forward in your business.

Standing out is bad for your business.

The other problem is that it means you end up creating a business that’s not YOU – it’s some weird, skewed, trying-so-hard-to-be-different-that-I’ve-lost-the-real-me version of you. I see it with my Uncage Your Business clients all the time.

And that is DEFINITELY not good for business.

The obsession with being different has become so obsessive that it’s actually taking you a few steps back in your business.

Think about it – you start to look around at what everyone else is doing to see what YOU can do differently. And you start to come across all these other businesses that are just SO cool – they’re doing amazing things,  they have great personalities, they’re fun and funny and smart and well-dressed doing EXACTLY what you want to be doing – but way better than you think you could ever do it.

So how the fuck are you supposed to be different AND be as good as them?

Might as well pack up your bags and go home now before you embarrass yourself, right?

(WRONG – obviously).






Imagine how much momentum you’d gain if you stopped looking at what everyone else is doing, and instead just created what you wanted to create (and trusted that just by nature of you being a completely different human being, it WILL end up being different).


The truth is that you only need to be 1% different (which you will already be without even trying).

But the more you try, the further you get from your real business vision.

I’m declaring an end to the madness about standing out and being different.

Put your head down.

Unsubscribe from everything.

Stop worrying about everyone else’s business and be more YOU in your business.

It’s time to get to work.  YOUR work.

xx becca

PS. I teach a program that helps you learn exactly how to stand out in an authentic way. It’s called Uncage Your Business, and it’s helped 100s of business owners like you learn how to make their businesses actually work. Enter your email here to be the first to know when the cart opens!


  1. solobusinessresources on March 27, 2014 at 10:11 am

    LOVE this- there is so much emphasis on “being different” and “standing out”- so much pressure! Thanks for the permission to just move forward!

    On a semi-related note: wanted to let you know that you’re on our list of <a href=”http://www.solobusinessownerresources.com/50-solo-business-thought-leaders-follow-twitter/”>50 solo business thought leaders to follow on Twitter</a> 🙂

  2. RuthQuick on March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I LOVE this today! as a fellow Bschooler (who has not even started on the Blue ocean and is secretly dreading the arrival of the blue ocean book I ordered because I thought I had to!!) this is confirming what I feel is true but am having a hard time trusting! Thank you… x

  3. Rebecca Tracey on March 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

    RuthQuick  hahaha i love that you’re already stressed about it before you even get started! It’s a great concept and can certainly be helpful if you know there are ways that things are being done that don’t jive with you… but i think the issues comes when we don’t immediately think of anything we’d want to change, but we feel like every aspect of what we do needs to be different!
    Trust that the more YOU you are, the more different your business will just naturally be!

  4. AshleyLashea on March 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Oh girl I freaking love this! It was definitely needed and I felt like you were reading my mind! I just told myself three days ago I was done trying to be different, instead Ima be ME!
    I try to find my blue ocean, I try to design my usp, I study and analyze other businesses in my market and try to do things differently because that’s what you’re told.
    I had to go back and read my business plan I created a year ago and start focusing on that! Running business like I want to not because I’m trying to be different.
    Again I loved this!!!!

  5. otitiovuewhorie on March 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Yes yes yes, totally. I cringe every time I think of a USP, so I decided not to get one. Or have one. Whatever, you know what I mean.

    For me I just want to discover what I’m here to create and who I’m here to make it for. I find that the more I trust my intuition, the clearer I get on moving forward and making shit happen. The minute I take my eye off the ball for a peek at other peeps in my space, I’m lost, so now I only peek if I’m reading their blogs or something, LOL.

    Oh and I did the massive unsubscribe months ago. Now I click over to the blogs I like and stay on top of things (or not) whenever I have the time and remember. Less stress, more ease. Amen.

  6. blickers on March 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I listened so much to what made others ‘successful’that I used their business models for my biz… only to discover after launching that I HATED that biz model!!!  It was soooooooooooooo not me…  So I’m now relaunching an authentically me version after doing UYB…  And have unsubscribed from all and stopped taking webinars and other time-wasting behaviours!!!  You gotta laugh tho… And, not to discourage you younger ones, I’m old enough and self-aware enough to know better!!! 😉

  7. ketaggart on March 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for this Rebecca!  As someone who has a pattern of getting “stuck in my head” the last thing I need is yet another thing to stop me from moving forward.  

    I did just what you wrote about (unintentionally and unknowingly) with my photography business.  I studied, read, watched, and learned what all the pros said I HAVE to do and not do.  And it just didn’t feel right and, not surprisingly, never really took off.

    The hardest thing is that I worry that I’m doing it again and I’m not sure how to tell and stop before it’s too late??  I do subscribe to way too many newsletters (which are awesome, but also stress me out because I don’t have time to get to many of them), but I’m such a constant learner that it’s hard for me to turn that off.  I’ve been taking a lot more action lately (thanks in large part to you!), but I still feel like something’s “off”.

    Not only do I question HOW I am doing things, but I question my entire business concept!  Ugh.

  8. Rebecca Tracey on March 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    ketaggart  If you feel more stressed and worried than you do excited about your vision it’s a good sign you’re doing it again!! Step awayyyyyy and spend a few hours harnessing YOUR  dream and see how it changes things!

  9. Rebecca Tracey on March 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    blickers  haha nice one! There is something to be said for learning from someone who has been there, but no one else can tell you exactly what will be best for YOU and YOUR business.. That’s why trying new things is SO important.

  10. Rebecca Tracey on March 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    otitiovuewhorie  amen!

  11. Rebecca Tracey on March 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    AshleyLashea  LOVE that you went back to basics of what your true vision was! So helpful to remember what we set out to create in the first place!

  12. amyhumphries on March 28, 2014 at 6:54 am

    WORD Lady. So bloody true. Mind your own business and get on with it.  
    It’s pointless trying to stand out when you’re not even sure what you’re doing yet because where your focus goes, inevitably so will you. 

    So if all your time is spent watching the moves of everyone else… you’ll just turn into a pale copy of them and that’s not what you got into business for now is it?!  Rock on, love your work x

  13. lindaugelow on March 29, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    This is thought provoking.  It’s tricky to strike the balance between doing the research on what others are doing and staying true to yourself, allowing yourself to be stimulated and inspired yet hooked in to your own inspiration.  I find it helps when I give myself permission to take the time to gestate and let my own story unfold.  All of my ideas come to me when I wake in the morning.  I don’t feel so much stalled as slow.

  14. Rebecca Tracey on March 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    lindaugelow  It is such a fine balance! I love that you take the time to let yourself realize when you’re in inspiration mode, and when you’re in too deep!

  15. Rebecca Tracey on March 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    amyhumphries  Thanks Amy!!! How are things?

  16. sfpincchicago on May 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Such nonsense. Here is the simplest thing you can ever do if you wanna do
    your own thing:
    What do I mean? I mean, it’s YOUR gig, not anyone else’s. The more you
    listen to whatever everyone ELSE says, “you SHOULD be doing”, the less
    you’ll succeed, because you spend so much time stressing about trying to
    please everyone. Do your own thing, the way you want it, and don’t sweat
    what someone ELSE wants. I’ve done my thing, from the ground up, my way,
    and I’ve attracted the attention of plenty of top guys in this crazy
    business we call wrestling who ask ME to join on THEIR projects. Why?
    Because they recognise that I am like Bret Hart, “The Best There Was, The
    Best There Is, The Best There Ever Will Be”. What bigger honor than having
    people with plenty of money and resources that can easily do things all
    their own, come to ME and say, “I want you, because I know you’re the BEST
    in this.” I do my thing my way, and the only time I’ve ever asked someone
    else something was about a visual aesthetics thing with a certain image or
    logo, but in the end, I use what I like best.
    Is my site big? YES. Complex? Only in the building. Once it’s complete,
    it’ll have so much flow, and be so easy to navigate, because I make it
    complex to BUILD so that it’s broken down Barney-style for everyone that
    Ya know what, tho? Every time I post an update about a client, or play in
    the site, I get more people joining my network, and more hits on site. That
    means people are paying attention! That’s a good thing. I’ve never worried
    about “how different am I gonna be”, because that just flowed naturally as
    the biz evolved.

  17. Nichole Johnson on May 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for the information! I never thought about it that way. The information does ring very true for me. I’ve spent some time looking at what others area doing and trying to be different. I think we start to compare ourselves to others and it keeps us from moving forward.

  18. Jina on May 6, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Hell yes! I just started doing this unsubscribe in the last month because I felt so conflicted all the time. You completely put words and structure around how I was feeling. Spot ON. Thanks woman! 🙂

  19. Denise on May 6, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Oh lawd!

    Yes, I got so carried away watching and listening to everyone else over the years that nothing happened – just went around in circles.

    I finally came to my senses when I was pushed to find my USP.

    Trying to do that kept me stuck, stuck, stuck and had I not escaped, I would still – up until now – be scratching my head, wrinkling my nose and twisting my mouth as I try to find that ‘sweet spot’.

    Eugh, no thanks.

  20. Nadine on May 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Amen Rebecca! If I hear about USP one more time I’m going to scream!!!!

    Your business is about YOU, if people connect with you, like you, believe in you and what you have to offer then they will work with YOU. If they wanted to work with the person you’re trying to copy they would have gone to them in the first place, no?

  21. Alexis on May 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

    YES! This has been a recent shift for me and it has completely transformed my business. I’m just being myself. Obvi?! It’s taken a ton of courage and openness to get to that point and now I’m just so relieve and grateful to be here. Thank you for everything you share it is all treasure!!

  22. Brandy Middleton on May 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Preach Rebecca! I love this post! I know i definitely fell under this trap. I am always having to remind myself: “I created this and it is authentically me. Why am I judging it? Stop right now girl!”

    Brandy xo

  23. ling | business-soulwork.com on May 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    “Put your head down. Unsubscribe from everything. Stop worrying about everyone else’s business.” – Amen to that! Yes, we “stand out” just by truly and fully express ourselves, we don’t have to “look around” and try to “act out”… it’s like wearing bathing suit in Time Square in January… doesn’t make sense. That 1% difference is enough… it sets the human race apart from the chimps 😉

  24. Lil on May 11, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Keeping a firm eye on what your competition is doing can give you creative ideas for your own business. Other businesses in your space can also inspire and motivate you. In other words, competition can be healthy.

    Someone is always going to do business better than you and someone is always going to do it worse. Your job as a business owner is to always do it better.

    While I feel ambivalent about being different in business, I believe it’s crucial to stand out. Not to grandstand but to lead.

    Your business is not about you. It’s about them … your market. If you do the hard yards and understand your prospects (inside and out) then you have a far better opportunity to connect and convert them. This unto itself is far more powerful than USPs and being different.

    Keep your head up, keep your focus on your market, your competition and your business goals.

    Businesses often stall when they’ve lost sight of their vision and mission. If helping or serving other people isn’t your primary goal then you’re not in business anyway.

  25. Katie on May 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve been slowly unsubscribing from everything. I’m on so many newsletters that half my morning is taken up by emails that I skim and delete…what a waste of time (an energy talking myself out of trying more things). Good advice as usual!

  26. Lauren on March 10, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I just came across you’re site yesterday and I’m really loving everything you have to say! So excited to read more and I’m very interested in the sound of your courses.