Stealing Done Right – When Copying from Other Businesses is a Good Idea

August 21, 2017 - 9 Comments

We all know successful, inspiring people we look up to. And sometimes, we want to be just like them. 

What's their secret? Can we be just as successful as they are if we copy what they do? 

Yes and no. 

While following someone's example and getting inspired by their actions may be a good thing, copying them without filtering can hurt your business. Take it too far and your customers will lose trust and find you unethical.

How to follow someone else's example without crossing the line and still remaining ethical, original and authentic? And how to know what ideas are worth stealing - and what's just a waste of time?

In the newest episode of the ActiveGrowth podcast, we're answering these questions. Listen in!


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Episode Transcript

In This Episode You'll Discover:

  • When copying is 'okay' and when it isn't
  • How blindlessly copying others can seriously hurt your business
  • Some famous examples of pointless copying
  • How to stay authentic 
  • How to copy businesses the right way 
  • What other aspects to focus on when analyzing another business.
  • How to avoid copying unimportant things.
  • Finding the fine line between collection inspiration and full blown copying. 


What Are Your Experiences?

When it comes to collecting inspiration, how much do you rely on other sources? Do you filter what you copy? Join the conversation below and share your experience with us!

Want to be featured in our future podcast episodes? Leave us a quick voice message about your story and experience with the topic:

See you soon with the next podcast episode!

About ​Alexandra Kozma

Alexandra is a traveling marketer. When she is not editing podcast episodes or writing blog posts, she's out there exploring a new city. She's the creator of the Morning Mindset daily mindfulness journal.

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  • MichaelKatzmann says:

    So true! Again you guys remind me what is the most important in Business. Ship and don t spend endless hours in design and plugIns (membership grrrrr). Thanks!


    • Indeed. And trust me: I’m guilty of spending too much time on the small details as well. I shudder to think how many hours I’ve sunk into looking for the “perfect” solution for things like membership solutions, CRM and more. It’s a constant battle for me, to remind myself to focus on what really matters.


  • Lorenzo D says:

    Copying the superficial details of a successful website/business in the hope this will magically bring about wealth = Cargo Cult Marketing.

    “In one instance well-studied by anthropologists, the Tanna Islanders of what is now Vanuatu interpreted the US military drill as religious rituals, leading them to conclude that these behaviors brought cargo to the islands. Hoping that the cargo would return by duplicating these behaviors, they continued to maintain airstrips and replaced their facilities using native materials. These included remarkably detailed full-size replicas of airplanes made of wood, bark, and vines, a hut-like radio shack complete with headphones made of coconut halves, and attempts at recreating military uniforms and flags.”


    • Man, cargo cult marketing! Why didn’t I think of that? That is such a great term for what we are talking about, here. :D


  • John R. Aberle says:

    Alexandra Kozma, as usually, I love Shane’s and Hanne’s ideas on this topic. As a writer, I am sensitive to the issue of copying when it becomes plagiarism and a unoriginal, lazy person’s way to get content. Yet they are so right about learning by imitating the works and motions of others to learn. Further, I felt their point was on the mark about imitating a lot of different masters to develop a new perspective.

    Most professors, as I understand it, wrote their thesis by quoting others’ works and putting their unique take on them – but giving credit to the original works. Doing this is called research.

    I wrote my own take on the issue of honesty: “How Honest Are You Really?” I was inspired to write this, my rare “rant,” Shane, when I heard a couple Internet marketers, who I respect, blithely offering to give away access to someone else’s copyrighted material, sort of a “gift” just among friends. Yet I know for certain that one of these friends, “Tom,” take copyrights very seriously when it comes to his own material.


    • Thank you for your comment, John! Indeed, a lot of professional work involves referencing and quoting other work. It’s a good example of “stealing” done righ, as well.


  • Dearest Shane & Hanne, what you provide on your podcasts is pure gold. I’m so glad to have found you and to have your wisdom and experience to guide me on my exciting solopreneur journey. THANK YOU


  • Loved this one, guys. This might be the most takeaways I’ve gotten from an AG episode yet.

    A lot of my angle for listening is from the standpoint of someone who wants to be selling software – I really liked hearing what went into you building Thrive Architect the way you did, because I’ve thought many times about how clever the TA interface is, and how it blends many programs I frequently use as a designer + dev.

    Whereas prior to TA, tools were either like optimizepress/leadpages, or were on the other side of the coin, like visual composer, which later was improved upon by other things like divi and then beaver builder, but there were all the same little isolated tools.

    Also really liked hearing about Hanne’s deep dives into marketers’ funnels – sounds like a super smart approach that I think I’d get a lot from.

    Took a lot out of this episode, thanks so much Shane & Hanne.


    • It’s super cool to hear that you got a lot of value out of this episode, Zach! Thank you for letting us know. :)


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