You’ve probably heard since you were a little child that you are unique. You are special. There is nobody in this world quite like you. These aphorisms can get trite and, if left unchecked, can fester into an entitlement culture, but there is definitely a sort of truth behind them. Nobody in the world has quite the same set of experiences, skills, opinions, and beliefs as you — and this puts you in a unique situation to solve problems.
Entrepreneurship is, at its core, simply creative problem solving. It is a desire and an ability to see problems and demand in the world and to synthesize original solutions. What influences these solutions are the experiences and skills of the entrepreneurs themselves. The desire for simplicity behind Apple was surely a combination of the experiences, beliefs, and desires of Steve Jobs and his team. The sleek, retro style and business platform of the Virgin brand is surely a reflection of the places and things that have impacted Sir Richard Branson. Even the local ice cream shop is simply a culmination of the owner’s own desires and solutions.
Even if your idea has gone through the minds of other would-be entrepreneurs, your idea is still unique. It is still the product of your own unique reasoning, and how it is processed by your mind is a unique process itself. “Somebody else is already trying it,” isn’t a good excuse. You can try it better.
One of the core concepts in economics is the division of labor and comparative advantage. Everybody’s comparative advantage is different. Even if Billy and Sara both have the comparative advantage of picking oranges, they each pick oranges in a different way, even if it is just in how they think about picking those oranges. One day, because of how he approaches picking oranges, Billy may think of a way to do it more efficiently.
On a deep level, you are uniquely suited to propose the next big thing. Your experiences and beliefs are special. You have lived moments no other person has lived and have thought thoughts no other person has thought in those moments. If you think your big entrepreneurial idea isn’t worth pursuing because you’re just like everybody else, here’s some news: everybody else is just like everybody else — even the best entrepreneurs.