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Curating (Your Own) Content And The Fictitious Line Between Business And Personal

By October 13, 2015October 29th, 2017Podcast, Ralph and Carol Lynn
Curating (Your Own) Content And The Fictitious Line Between Business And Personal

Tea Snobs, Unite!

This episode of the Web.Search.Social Podcast begins with Ralph sharing a pet peeve: people who show up in restaurants with their own tea and ask the waiter for a cup of hot water.

Of course, he then confesses to being that person.

Thanks, Mike Brooks!

Mike is also responsible for turning us on to Simpson & Vail and Tea & Sympathy. He brought us a bunch of loose teas that were quite lovely except now we’re in a state of “tea-mergency” because we’re running rather low. Hint, hint.

There Is Actually Something Good About The Twilight Books

Ok, yes, that was slightly biased. I read the first book of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (because I had just finished reading the Harry Potter series and someone told me Twilight was just as great – pft!) and it made me want to kill myself so I wouldn’t have to read another word.

Slight exaggeration, I’m still alive – but let’s say I’m not a fan. However, Ralph brings up something positive that’s not related to the story but to the content itself.

Turns out Stephenie Meyer has a new book called “Twilight Reimagined” which is the same story told with the genders reversed. Edward the vampire becomes Edythe, and Bella the.. the… the deadpan dishrag?… becomes Beau.

Sorry, sorry… I know this is not about the story!

So what Ralph says is that despite the book’s detractors (hey, haters gonna hate) there is a hungry audience for this content and Stephenie Meyer does a brilliant job capitalizing on her own content by telling the story with a different spin.

So what does this mean for you, the business owner?

It means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every piece of content you put out there. You don’t have to come up with original content every time. You can repurpose and reimagine an old blog post, and old podcast, an old video.

Take the theme and topic and recreate the content with the same core but a new angle, or a new perspective.

It’s Kind Of Like… Curating… Your Own Content!

If you don’t already know how we feel about “content curation” then you may want to start here. Or here. Or here.

But this is a good kind of curation, because you’ve spent a lot of time creating your content. Why let it sit in an archive somewhere?

Bring it out. Freshen it up. Update it. Write like the more experienced person you are. Use the content you’ve already created and spin it into more and more content.

As an added bonus you can repurpose you own content for different platforms to take advantage of different opportunities. Pick a blog post and switch it up a bit from what’s on your blog so you can take it to LinkedIn Publisher or Medium or Google Plus or anywhere.

Let’s Get Seriously Social

We’re adding a new weekly segment to our podcast called The Seriously Social Moment, a snippet of social goodness contributed by Ian Anderson Gray.

This week he goes all out with five reasons why scheduling (or in British, “sheduling”) your social media posts is a good thing. I’ll sum them up here and you can listen in for the full effect.

  1. You need to find quality content to share. Scheduling gives you time to find it.
  2. You can spend more time running your business.
  3. You can spend more time offline with the important people in your life so you’re not obsessively on social media while you’re having a good time with your family.
  4. You have more down time to revive and rejuvenate.
  5. You can reach people when they’re on social media – even if you’re not.

Ian reminds us that scheduling is a big advantage but that doesn’t give us license to be a robot. You still need to take time to engage, but scheduling can save you a ton of time to do it!

It’s Just Business

Have you heard this one before?

It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.

The idea has been bugging me for a while, this idea that someone will behave badly and then tell you it’s just business.

First of all, this undermines business. It’s just business. As if it’s not real. It’s not real life. So people think that gives them an excuse to do things they would not ordinarily do, presumably, if it weren’t business.

Secondly, all it amounts to is an excuse for bad behavior, whether that’s failing to pay you, cheating, lying, undermining you. Hey it’s just business.

But there is no hard line between business and personal. If your business fails or is hurt, so are you. If you lose money, that affects you. Unless you can tell your mortgage company, “Hey, it’s just business…” then what happens in your business affects you, financially at a minimum, and probably emotionally, too.

Unless you’re independently wealthy and investing in businesses solely for the sake of making money, chances are that you are personally invested – not just financially invested – in your business.

So when a deal falls through, when a client gets angry, when someone fails to pay you, when a prospect walks away, you can’t detach from that. Yes, we try. We all try to maintain that division so we “don’t take it personally.”

But what is a business, if not people? There is no ethereal “business entity.” There are people. And when other people reject us or cheat us and do it in the name of business, it’s personal.

Ralph Learns Young

Turns out Ralph had his first run in with bad behavior in the name of business when he was just a kid. He got a job with a friend delivering store circulars door to door to apartment buildings in the Bronx. They delivered hundreds of circulars and when they were finished, the boss said they had delivered to the wrong buildings and he wasn’t going to pay them. But they were smart kids, and they looked up the written parameters of the job and pointed out that the buildings they had delivered to were, in fact, the ones they had been instructed to visit.

But that didn’t seem to sway the boss, who never paid them and brushed it off by saying, “It’s not personal, it’s business. I like you guys…”

Well, of course he did. Who wouldn’t like free labor?

Strangely, I never heard this story! Not sure I’m glad I did now, because this behavior is truly reprehensible. What “business” did he think he was dealing with that was separate from the kids doing the actual work?


My thought? If you can behave that way in business then that reflects on you. Personally.

The Line Between Business And Personal

In my opinion, there is no line. Your business overlaps with your personal life. It’s all life. If you run a business then it’s part of you. Chances are you love what you do, or at least like it, a little!

You probably invest a lot of energy and passion into what you do. So as part of you, the whole person, why do we feel so compelled to draw a line?

I’ve noticed that people tend to want to keep business “off limits” when they’re doing personal things. At the dinner table, for example, have you ever been told to leave business aside because “it’s family time now” or something similar?

But I like business. Mine and others. I like reading about it, hearing about it, learning about it, debating and imagining and talking about it. So to not be able to do that because it’s “other” is just deleting something that is part of who I am.

So for me, I don’t think business is 9 to 5 and everything else is “life.” I think there is overlap that we can and should enjoy and appreciate.

Ryan Hanley Brings On The Audio

If you haven’t read Content Warfare yet, what are you waiting for? If it’s audio, well now you have no excuses. Ryan has begun to release chapters of the book as audio on his podcast and today we bring you the intro because it’s such a great story.

He talks about his inspiration and why he got started as an entrepreneur. And I just made that sound super boring and ordinary but I promise you it’s not.

It’s actually a riveting read – or listen – so I highly recommend you enjoy it one way or another.

I don’t blow smoke about this book, and even after reading the intro numerous times it still gives me happy chills.

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • The line between business and personal is fictitious. One affects the other … PERIOD!

    Screw me over once, shame on you. Screw me over twice, shame on me. Funny how that first screw over makes you NEVER want to be screwed over again. Nothing worse than putting your energy, your passion, and your whole soul (and loads of moola) into a business venture only to be ROYALLY SCREWED. No, it’s not just business, folks …

    It’s a personal sting in the most painful realm of human existence.

    I could say a lot more on this topic. But I don’t want to drone on and turn into a Negative Nelly. Suffice to say I’ve witnessed far too many screw overs and bad, unacceptable, inhumane behaviors by less than stellar business owners. Also, I’ve been privy to far too many snide and snarky remarks online. Really mean and nasty stuff! Why someone would intentionally set out to hurt someone else is beyond me. Isn’t life hard enough? Whatever happened to kindness?

    Let’s talk tea …

    Whilst I love the Seriously Social Moments from Ian, I love tea (and coffee) even more. Ralph, please stop toting your own tea to restaurants. People are starting to stare in disdain. 😉

    Love Ryan’s message to “cultivate creativity”.

    • You may be surprised to know I actually got your comment notification today! Maybe we’re turning a corner. One can hope.

      I think we are preaching to the choir by talking to each other about ethic in business. We’re already on the same page 🙂

      I never drank coffee and always drank tea. Except never put a cup of Lipton in front of me! I don’t know what kind of shredded rabbit cage liner they put in there but that stuff is nasty. Instead of complaining about business or tea (and being a Negative Nellie, lol) I will tell you a tea story….

      One day I was having dinner at my parents’ house and the topic of tea came up and I mentioned my feeling about Lipton being the worst thing on earth. Dinner goes by and afterwards my mom asked me if I wanted tea. I said sure and a cup of – you guessed it – Lipton! appeared before me. And I was just like… MA! Really?

      That went RIGHT over her head. We had a good laugh and I can tell you I never saw another bag of Lipton in that house again 🙂 Turned them all into tea snobs!

  • Leslie L Denning says:

    Hi Carol. The story you brought up at the beginning about the teabags reminds me of a story my high school history teacher told us. He said he was really poor during college so he & friends would go into a restaurant and order a pot of tea. It used to be that there were always crackers on the table, so they would make a cup of tea, mix ketchup into the rest of the hot water to make soup, and eat it with free crackers. LOL.

    I agree with you and Melanie that the line between business and personal is fictitious. The guy in your story is one of the reasons the business has such a bad name. I believe that a business should be a reflection of its owner. I much prefer my business to equate with integrity rather than cheating people or just wanting to grab their money. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    All the best,


    • Ok, ketchup is admittedly gross 🙂 But I guess when you’re broke and in college you do what you can! Very ingenious.

      I think big businesses behave badly – in part because they are all about the shareholders (ie: the money) and in part because they are impersonal behemoths and the people you talk to are just employees as opposed to people like us, who care about our businesses – who ARE our businesses. So sometimes small bizes seem to forget they are not big ugly behemoths so they behave like one, instead of dealing person to person. And thus business gets a bad name. And the cycle perpetuates itself.

      You said it – there should be integrity in business. Someone can’t say they are an ethical person then behave unethically because “it’s business.” The world needs more people like you who recognize that there is no “other” thing called business and that it requires just as much care as everything you do in life!

  • When someone says to me “don’t take it personally”, I respond: “how would you like me to take it?” Plus, it’s really a B.S. qualifier. When I hear it, I disregard what’s said after, because if the person had a really important and significant comment/criticism to make, they wouldn’t need the qualifier. I also think that qualifier is used when someone’s providing unsolicited “advice”, or when they’re unable to provide a constructive, actionable piece of feedback. In my life as a business and athletic coach, feedback is best delivered in a results/outcomes framework, not a “don’t take this personally” comment, which is like the person who delivers a problem rather than a possible solution.

    And I had to laugh when you used the name Ike. That’s my hubby’s name (well, actually it’s Dwight but I call him that only when I’m mad, haha!)

    • Kaarina, “Don’t take this personally” to me is equivalent to “Don’t take this as a human being”. Pffttt!! It’s ALL personal on some level.

      I laughed when you said you only call your hubby “Dwight” when you’re mad at him. I call my partner by his first AND last name when I’m pissed off. LOL!!

    • Don’t take it personally is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. If someone says something to you or about you, it’s YOU. Like your job/career/business is something you separate out into a box and don’t care about. Well I guess if you stamp envelopes that may be true but really…

      Yes, I do think it’s often used as a qualifier when someone wants to say something they probably shouldn’t (and they know it). It’s also insulting, really. You are totally right – if you have something of importance to say, then say it.

  • I agree that business is just another part of life. I think the whole “it’s just business” thing is old school and reminds me of the earlier days of Trump on The Apprentice. I think it’s actually how things used to operate back before our business and personal lives were forced into blending by technology. I do think though that there are times that you shouldn’t take things so personally. As an example, I used to work for one of those sites where ALL they do is curate content. I was only a curator, not an editor, but a set of bloggers were very pissed when they saw that the site did not link back to the bloggers original post and instead only mentioned a link to her blog (not a hyperlink). The post was getting a lot of traffic and in my naiveté as a blogger (even though I’d been doing it for years) I assumed that everyone would be excited to promote the content even though it wasn’t the original post – simply for the fact it was going viral. Now that I no longer work for the company, I would say that I learned from the experience if I ever use actual text from a blog post I quote it and ask permission before I use it. I would do this regardless of legal guidelines. I kind of just think you should use similar ways of doing business on your blog as you would for a college paper. If you’re going to quote more than a few sentences, then you’re going to be meeting with a judicial affairs officer. 🙂 Usually, if I want to publish a post on my blog I just ask the person if they would mind being a contributor to my site. Then if they say yes, I ask them if they would mind republishing their post on my site with a link back to theirs.

    On another note, I have been a jerk plenty of times. I get irritated when people assume that I have time to help them for free. Just because they have helped people for free doesn’t mean I want to. I actually don’t mind helping people for free on occasion, but it turns me off when people ASSUME it. I think people should approach you in a way that values your time. And if they can’t afford to pay you, then maybe they could provide a way to link back to you. Or they could ask you to write a post on a particular subject so that you can profit off of people reading it.

    As far as repackaging things that are popular, I do it all of the time in blog post form! I look to see what the trends are on google search, on big name websites, what is trending on social media. I take my own posts and give them new life, as you say. I also find things from other sites or channels and share them. If it is publicly posted, such as a YouTube video, I just link back to the source.

    • No doubt we live and learn as a business AND human! I think you’re right, “it’s just business” sounds like something out of an 80s movie that got trumped up (no pun intended!) and brought into this millennium. It is especially irrelevant in a digital world where lines are perpetually blurred between business and personal. Good luck to the person who still insists “I only use Facebook to keep up with family.” …At least in the connected small biz space.

      I also think there is a difference between not taking things personally and dismissing the personal aspect of business. Sometimes people will behave poorly, for whatever reason, and sometimes people will make mistakes. So we can’t be constantly offended by everything but the problem arises when someone deliberately tries to draw that line in the name of their poor behavior. “Oh, it’s JUST business.”

      If you’re tired of giving stuff away for free, you will love our “death to free” episode.

      Got another one coming up on the topic because it resonated with so many people!