I initially wrote out this post in March. Since then, I have experienced a really triggering episode related to being emulated or copied in my business offerings. I was particularly triggered in April, when I found out someone I knew ripped-off my business model. They literally copied and pasted from my website. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time I’ve experienced plagiarism of my work and offerings. I formerly owned a Fashion Brand and I’ve lost count how many times my designs were ripped-off. In only a little over a year since launching my conscious company, Nature and Intent, it has expanded with a wider net of visibility online.
Before being ‘conscious’ was mainstream, I set the intention over a decade ago to always lead with integrity in all my professional pursuits. What frustrated me the most is the fact that running a business is already a deeply challenging endeavor. To create a brand with the intention to be different from other established businesses with similar offerings is even harder. The irony of it all is that through Nature and Intent (the brand that is being emulated), we promote authenticity. To elevate your true nature and purpose is our motto.
When someone misses the point and does the complete opposite of authentic, that truly frustrates me.
I’m not claiming I’ve never copied or emulated someone. With so much inspiration and content consumed online, we as a collective can have overlapping content and offerings. Being original is nearly impossible. I only know for a fact that someone has infringed on my work when 1) They follow me on social media 2) When it happens more than once 3) I ask for a 2nd opinion and it’s blatantly obvious to someone else that it’s not a coincidence.
Personally, I’ve been inspired by others and emulate people who are truly in their worth and authenticity. That has inspired me to nourish my own. I’m not original. I’m not the first photographer nor the first conscious business owner offering creative, marketing, and production services.
What is unique to me is the years that I invested in developing my conscious perspective and my holistic approach to providing elevated branding, content creation, and marketing.
What is unique to my offerings is how I provide my services and the way I execute them.
I’ve learned that someone copying something external (similar content, layout of a website, marketing messaging) is harmless even if it’s initially irritating. What matters the most is what clients say about working with me and what people closest to me have mirrored to me.
No one can copy your essence and the actions behind your intentions.
Even after years of resisting being labeled an “Influencer”, I’ve become comfortable sharing on my platforms my authentic story and essence to inspire conscious living. I find joy in sharing the brands I love, my travels and destinations, wellness journey, and spiritual experiences. I also get to express all the above through my passion of photography, content creation, and writing.
To clarify, I promote finding inspiration in conscious individuals. There is always room to find be inspired but express that inspiration in a way that is uniquely you not a knock-off of someone else.
I would not be writing this if my intention was not to influence people to live authentically and invest in meaningful experiences.
When friends and acquaintances travel to the places I recommend, purchase from the brands I love, and is inspired to be a freelancer or start a conscious business, that shows me I’m manifesting my intention to create a meaningful impact. I also interview brands and individuals via Nature and Intent Journal to create a resource of inspiration of individuals who live their nature and intent.
What I’m mostly concerned about is copying someone’s BUSINESS and OFFERINGS.
Copy and pasting someone else’s words or taking too many elements of ‘inspiration’ as your own is manipulating potential clients and diluting what makes you and your unique gifts. It’s so easy to start a website on Squarespace site, add photos sourced via Pinterest, then copy and paste web copy and messaging that someone else crafted. Plagiarism is not as thoroughly monitored on the world wide web as it was in college. Regram culture also doesn’t help artists and creatives and has created less personal accountability & integrity. But to truly embody what you promote and preach will not be so easy to ‘copy and paste’ IRL. Sooner or later, catfishing someone leads to being caught.
I have discussed these matters with lawyers on how to deal with people who infringe on my intellectual property. My options are to send a cease and desist letters or sue someone for not having integrity. The process would be energetically draining.
I am fully aware that my moral code, awareness, sensitivity, or experiences may differ from others. I’m only sharing my personal perspective. At some point, mentors and trusted advisors have shared that it’s out of my control and that being copied is ‘proof of concept’. I’ve resisted seeing emulation as flattery because I personally felt attacked. I know I could quietly pretend to not get bothered because it can come off as ‘petty’ or ‘negative’. That I should be more positive and just focus my energy on elevating my brand.
But I’ve learned to communicate when my boundaries are crossed. The way I process something challenging will differ from your process. I appreciate the few individuals who’ve held space for me to express these triggers and frustrations fully. My share is not an open invitation for unsolicited advice. If anything this ‘negative’ experience is more motivation to elevating my brand and offerings even more.
What I’ve learned is to listen to my inner voice (intuition) by allowing the full expression of my frustration and only seek the advice of people who have my best interest and understand my perspective fully with compassion. If you’re read through this far, I’m grateful to have your attention for a matter that is so sensitive to me.
The key point and main takeaway I share is that whether you consider yourself a conscious business owner or conscious individual, honoring your unique essence is the gift that will create purpose and direction. It’s not looking outside yourself and emulating what everyone else is doing.
If I’m truly living and preaching consciously, I know that I can always chose to reframe these experiences and find compassion in myself and those I perceive to purposely disrespect me.
I’ve been asking myself:
How can I be more compassionate?
What lesson(s) can I learn from this?
My intention is to not allow my fear of emulation and judgement to my reaction of being copied to cause me anymore unnecessary suffering nor stop me from continuing to expand my brand and offerings. When I say suffering, its not caused by physical pain but the self-inflicted mental anguish, obsessive internal dialogue, and emotional reactions. What has supported this intention to share more online is doing Shadow work, journaling, meditation, and sharing publicly on my platform.
Writing this is out is equally cathartic and therapeutic.
Leading up to this Full Moon in Scorpio has brought me closure into this recurring frustration.
I’ve learned that it is in my choice of response that I can truly release this hindrance. Looking outside of myself is a constant cause of unnecessary suffering.
What someone does that is out of alignment with my moral code is out of my control and not my issue. In the grand scheme of things, these micro-triggering experiences are unimportant. There’s so much more unfair pain and suffering in the world. This is minuscule compared to the current state of things.
What I hope is that by sharing honestly and vulnerably, you find insight and inspiration to live in your authenticity and find compassion in whatever human experience you are currently having.
My biggest lesson from this is learning to lessen my judgement of my own negative reactions for these occurrences and always choose compassion.