How Can I Stop Someone From Stealing My Idea

I often get the question, “How can I stop someone from stealing my idea?” My answer, “Why are you even taking the time to ask me that question?”

Check out this website for organizational planners.  Do you see what is written on the very first page - “Do Not Pin Any Of These Images On Pinterest”.  This makes me want to pull my hair out.  I know the thinking behind this message. “People are sharing everything for free!  I must keep very, very close control on my intellectual property or someone will steal my idea and I will have nothing.”

First of all, no one wants to steal your idea.  The idea is only half the battle.

Let’s say 100 people who see your image are thinking of building a business.

  • 90% of those people have the guts, balls and work ethic to build a business from scratch and could compete with your business.  They have their own idea. 
  • 9.99999% of those people have the guts, balls and no work ethic.  These people could copy your idea and run with it.  You will beat them because you are a harder worker.  Period.
  • .00001% (that may be wrong I suck at math) of those people have the guts, balls and work ethic, but no ethics.  They will copy everything you do and they still won’t beat you because you have built your business the right way.  You have followed the Freedom Formula process outlined above and have a loyal and enthusiastic tribe built around a purple cow product.

Thanks to Amazon, there is now the chance for your product to become a commodity product (someone copies everything and it becomes all about price) - if this is the case figure out a way to work with that, or get the hell out of that business.

If you have the tribe and a purple cow product you must encourage your tribe to share everything about you and your product(s).  In fact, you should be giving away your best stuff because that is what the new economy is about… sharing and generosity.  Every time a visitor pins an image from your website (and yes, I am even talking to you painters and photographers) they are linking back to your website.  Why would you want to discourage that?  Millions of marketers are trying to get the word out about their product but you are saying…

“I know you like it but don’t tell anyone”.  

Yes, there will be times when someone gets hold of a photo and uses it without credit and doesn’t pay you a penny for your art.  Yes, there will be times when someone doesn’t buy your planner and just drafts their own version using a spiral notebook.  Yes, there will be times when people use your 18 inch doll patterns to make their own copies of your designs and sell them for profit.

So what?

Generosity is key in the new economy.  If you don’t want to share your art why are you making it?

Oh yes… people are sharing everything for free.  So stop asking, "How can I stop someone from stealing my idea", and start asking, "What am I creating that's worth paying me for?

Today’s “Ship It” Tip:   Are you encouraging your customers to share?  Think of one thing of value that you can give to your best customers for free with permission to share it with everyone they know.