You know those things that give you a leg up on your competition? You might not even realize you have them. Your inherent talents, people you know or your likeable personality— some call them favoritism, inequalities and sometimes even nepotism. But mostly, people call them unfair advantages. You’ve got them and other people don’t. Seem unfair?
I don’t think so! Everyone comes to the table with different offerings. It’s what makes being a human so interesting- we’re all different! So while “unfair advantage” sounds negative, today let’s flip the script. I think that one man’s unfair advantage is your MAJOR advantage.
What’s So Unfair About an Advantage?
A real unfair advantage is one that cannot be easily copied or bought. It’s anything you do or have that makes you better than your peers. It can be how you act, where you live, or even your passion. Your unfair advantages are basically who you are- all the little pieces that come together to make you the uniquely talented, business-minded, blog-writing you.
And you know what? You shouldn’t be embarrassed about them. Some people are going to tell you that you shouldn’t use these advantages. They’ll say you should earn it on your own merit or that you’ll be seen as weak because you had help. Please, don’t listen to this misguided advice.
Those people are the ones whining about how easy it is for “so-and-so” to get great interviews because of his uncle or how “what’s-her-face” is always getting new clients because she’s just so charming. While they’re moping about how they don’t have those advantages, old “so-and-so” and “what’s-her-face” are putting in hard work and making a name for their business.
And so are you. You’re still working hard. You’re still earning it on your own. You’re just a step ahead of them because of fate, luck, your history or whatever and that’s ok. Honestly, they probably wouldn’t be complaining if the roles were reversed. We’re in a competitive field and you should use what you have to give you an edge. These advantages are yours and you should use them as best you can.
Using Your Advantages to Your Advantage
Now that you and I have established that unfair advantages are actually ok to use, let’s talk about how to use them. In Episode 2 of Reach, our weekly podcast built by bloggers, with bloggers, for bloggers, Val talked to Brian Clark from Rainmaker Digital actually brought this up. While discussing how to engage your audience, Brian said:
Give more value, give it in a unique way, more than your competitors…Your competitors probably aren’t doing anything great. There’s always this room to go ahead and outdo the competition. That’s your mindset. And outdoing them isn’t some cutthroat thing. It’s, “How can I give more value to my prospects than they do?” And that’s good for everyone.
As a blogger, the way to engage your audience is to give more value than your competitors can and in a unique way. Sounds like a great place to insert your unfair advantages, right? What better way to bring in some uniqueness than with all your own special attributes, history and connections?
These unfair advantages are what make your blog more interesting, more compelling, and more valuable to your customer. Are you bilingual? Are you a great essayist? Have you worked with teams? Do you know a big name in the industry who can promote your client? This is the kind of value that only you can give.
Your advantages could use help you build trust with your audience. Maybe you can bond over a shared experience or because of your background in baking it’s easier for them to charge you with their vegan recipe needs. No matter how you use them, just use them!
Detecting Your Unfair Advantage
Not sure about your own unfair advantages? I know you’ve got them. Everyone has some. Let me name a few so you can get thinking about how to flaunt what you’ve got.
Your Talent is an Unfair Advantage
I bet your skills were the first thing you thought about. If not… come on! Sometimes being Captain Obvious isn’t overrated. Let’s shine the spotlight on what you do best. Are you a prolific poet? A spectacular speaker? Debonair designer? Scrupulous scrapbooker? Ok, let your audience now it. You never know what someone is looking for.
And on top of your recognizable skills, are you adaptable? Can you listen and build off feedback you’re given? Can you see two steps ahead and anticipate the needs of your audience before they do? Now, that’s what I call talent.
Your Connections are an Unfair Advantage
You know how the saying goes. “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” And it can’t be more true. The more connections you have, the greater your chance will be to find out about job openings or get that recommendation that puts you ahead of another freelancer going for the same job.
Personally, during my first foray into freelance writing the majority of my clients came from my dad’s business contacts. I wasn’t ashamed to say I got work from my dad. I didn’t worry what it could possibly look like to an outside. Really, an outsider would have only seen that I had work and that I was in demand. Who cares where the work came from. Those first clients helped me get my little baby deer legs sturdy
It’s how ConvertKit got rolling. Nathan was able to rely on his personal network in the blog-world to get some of our big clients to switch over. In fact, because of those connections, only about one-third of all his outreach emails were cold calls.
So if you’ve been in the industry for a while, know some big names, or know someone who knows some names (big or small)- use them! If you don’t, someone else will.
Your Experience is an Unfair Advantage
Think about all the things you’ve done in the past. Your experiences- your work history, your projects, your childhood, your schooling, your friendships- are all unique to you. Those are the things that have made you who you are today. Finding someone who has been through exactly what you’ve been through is highly improbably. And that’s what makes them an unfair advantage.
Did your Italian grandma only speak in that language to you growing up so that now you’re conversational? Did you do theater in high school and know about set design? Have you worked in project management and can create systems like pro? Because of your English major are your friends always asking you to proof their important emails and resumes?
These experiences have given you special skills that other might not. So, think about everything you’ve learned from life lessons and your history and put them to work.
Your Personality is an Unfair Advantage
Yes, even your personality can be used for your advantage. Do you make connections well? Do people feel instantly comfortable around you? Do you have a witty sense of humor? Are you humble? Willing to learn? A good listener? A team player?
If so, put it on display. As important as experience is when people are looking at your credentials, turning on your effervescent charm (as long as it’s genuine) will make you just as hirable. People want to work with people they like to be around. So don’t be afraid to show off that award winning personality your mom is always bragging about.
Get an Advantage on Yourself
Did any of those sound familiar? Start taking stock of all your fabulous attributes. Being self-aware is great first step in understanding what your unfair advantages are and how to use them.
And now that all this has been brought to your attention, is there anything you could do better? Maybe you could take some classes or online courses to gain new experiences or hit up some more after work networking happy hours to expand your connections. Maybe it’s time to try to outdo yourself.