Emily Merrell 0:04
Welcome to the sixth-degree Podcast, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrell.
Welcome back to the sixth degree with Emily Merrell. Today, I’m thrilled to have my friend Emily Oberman content and systems strategist as our guest. She’s also the founder of copy edit design. Emily, welcome to the show. Hi, thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. I am so excited to have you. And today’s theme is going to be recycling slash upcycle. But not in the traditional sense. So really, really excited to dig into what that means. And who that is, but, or what that is all about. So first and foremost, you are the repurposing queen. You are the queen like I was gonna say the flex for you just like the repurposing queen. Can you tell us a little bit about what a content and system strategist does and how that plays into repurposing, aka upcycling? Sure, so basically, what I do is I work with clients on coming up with a content repurposing strategy. Typically, this is with clients who have some sort of content out there already, whether they’re on video, or they’ve got a podcast, or, you know, they’re showing up on Instagram, and they have a lot of content there. And we figure out what their goals and what their objectives are, what they want to get from this. And usually it’s, you know, they want to stay consistent. And they want to maintain so that when you know they have a launch or something, that they’ve already been talking to their customers without having spent a lot of time and energy on doing that. So that’s kind of the strategy we implement. And we take pieces of content that’s already out there. And we repurpose it, we, you know, kind of add a few things, change things up, connect it to whatever current promotion they’re having. And it’s a lot less energy and time. It’s so basically, you’re having people work smarter, not harder. Exactly. You’re helping people not be silly, and like recreate the wheel. And I have to say, Emily, like since knowing you, you have made my life. There have been moments when I’m like, oh, we should write something about whatever fill in the blank. Mike, wait, stop Emily, we actually know we have this written already. Or we have some incredible piece. So we have this incredible content from a an event that we did like, why aren’t we repurposing the shit that we already have done? Rather than, like, start things from scratch? Exactly. So that is what I helped my clients do. And I’m sure you when you see them, you shake them, all of them.
Emily Oberman 3:10
So you know, I worked for a long time. And in administration, I was a personal assistant in Los Angeles, to a lot of different people in the entertainment and fashion industries. And so that’s kind of where I got my, like, operational experience. And then I got into digital marketing, and I got into the creative space, because it’s something I’ve always been interested in was always kind of like a side hobby for me. You know, I worked for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and the fashion department. And I think that’s actually where the whole creative thing like sparked it for me, because I remember seeing what the students were creating. And I was like, Oh, my God, you know, it’s so amazing. And so, so yeah, so it kind of got me into going back to school, getting a degree in graphic design. And then over the years, I just kind of fused all of my operational experience with my design and copywriting. And that’s kind of what you get today. I love it. I love Yeah, it’s like all these three different pieces of you the copy editing in the design all came together in their own exactly own unique window of time to be what you are today. And, you know, in addition to being a content strategist, you are also a system strategist. You have a knack for systems. I have to say, Emily is one of those friends that she emails me she’s like, Oh, you missed the thing, or like it’s not working, which some people might find annoying, which I find really, really annoyingly helpful. Like, this is so incredible to have someone that’s looking out for you. Because when you were running your business, and you’re managing all these different things, like it’s impossible to catch everything sometimes. And so having someone like you, this extra set of eyes is so helpful, but besides my systems, what’s a typical system you see people screw up all the time.
Emily Merrell 2:47
Why do you think your life harder than it is? Well, before you became the repurposing queen, how did you actually get into this world like who was Emily Oberman before copy, edit design,
Emily Oberman 2:58
um, Emily Overman was definitely a different person. So that’s kind of what I bring to the table now is kind of the experiences that I’ve had and the roles that I’ve held.
Um, you know, I feel like people, they don’t, when they write, copy, you know, I’m sure they approve it, but I feel like they look at it so many times that there’s always bound to miss things or sometimes, you know, especially when, in the online business, especially you work with a lot of like, email platforms. And, you know, I find that every time you go into an email platform in order to fix something, something else accidentally unlinked, and like you didn’t mean to, and so I’ve actually, like implemented this, you know, process where I’m like, we’re going to do everything before it goes in there. And when we’re done editing everything, we’re just gonna go in there what’s because it just, it’s, you know, it helps prevent error that way. So that’s like
Emily Merrell 5:45
me in Zapier every single time for my developers like, um, you developed something or you unlinked something, I was like I was trying to fix it. I was trying to fix the problem. But I think I just created my own series of problems when I when I do it myself. Again, another reason why we need someone like you who is patient and rational and probably reads every single step. Actually, this is a good question. When you get Ikea furniture, do you do love it or hate it?
Emily Oberman 6:12
I actually just assembled a bookshelf for my daughter. And I didn’t want my husband to help me. He didn’t want to anyway, he was like, he didn’t want to do it. And I’m like, Well, I don’t want you to do it. Because I actually thought it was really fun looking at the directions and putting it all together. And I was like, Really, I felt very accomplished when I was done. And I was like, see I can build a shelf.
Emily Merrell 6:33
This is again, another reason supposedly, they asked that question, too. I think it was Labor and Delivery nurses or like one of my friends was somewhere. Yeah. And that was one of the questions like What are your feelings on Ikea furniture, because it demonstrates a good need a following directions, but also like this, this hunger to problem solve.
Emily Oberman 6:52
I’m definitely one of those people where I like, like, when there’s a problem, I get really excited about finding a solution. And the funny thing too, is I feel like I wasn’t like it’s it’s funny to hear that people will say that I’m so detail oriented, because I like wasn’t like that always. Yeah, I used to like I used to have like errors and mistakes all the time when I was younger. And honestly, I attributed to I worked for Pottery Barn for their corporate production design office. And I was on the production design team. And one of my main jobs was I had to like, put all the layouts for the catalogs all the copy layout. And I remember when I first started working there, I you know, I proofed it whatever, I handed it off to the next person, the next set of eyes, and they would bring it back to me. And they would be like, there’s two spaces right there instead of one. And I’d be like, how do you know, and I kid you not by the end of my two years, now I can spot in anything I read, if there’s two spaces, or the littlest, tiniest mistake, so it goes to show that you can you can learn and, you know, I’m detail oriented, even if you’re not so,
Emily Merrell 8:00
and I love that story, too. I think that also has to do with like, practice, you know, practice and training and yeah, you know, training your eye and to do something that it had never done before, which was look for that. And then were tell us about like, how you started working with your clients. You know, you said you were at Pottery Barn? How did you go from this corporate life to, to working in, like convincing people that they need to work smarter, not harder, essentially.
Emily Oberman 8:28
Yeah. So I actually I really, really loved my job at Pottery Barn. It was a corporate environment. And you know, people like to say like, oh, the corporate life wasn’t for me. And I would say it wasn’t really for me. But I actually really enjoyed working there, like the people were great. And so the only reason I left was because I moved to where I live now, which is Napa, and it was like an over an hour commute every day to get into the city. And so I did it for a year. And after a year, I was like, even though I love this job, like I just can’t do this anymore. And so I started looking for like local jobs. And I just came across, you know, a job working remotely. And it was like for virtual assistant work for a VA. And I was like, Well, I don’t specifically want to do this now. But I definitely can because of all my admin experience, and this will get me I won’t have to commute anymore. And so that’s kind of how I got into the online space. And then I realized that there was so much growth, and there’s so much that I could bring with all of my operational and creative experience. And so I kind of just started working with clients, I guess more so on like the digital marketing side of things, and slowly realized that like my, my secret sauce expertise area was in content repurposing.
Emily Merrell 9:38
Wow. And I love that, you know, it took you you weren’t miserable at your job. You enjoyed your job, but it took like this circumstantial reason. I mean, an hour commute every day driving to Napa.
Emily Oberman 9:50
It was sometimes even two hours like I was being Yeah.
Emily Merrell 9:55
And then you have to deal with parking when you get there and parking was like $40 day because it’s San Francisco and It’s like the most, I don’t even know that this is a squirrel moment. But when you look at the parking meters, especially in that area, it’d be like, to 25 an hour from these hours to this hour, but then from noon to four, it’s 425 an hour. Like we fight.
Emily Oberman 10:16
Yeah. Yeah, I remember I was, I would be like taking a break, like every two hours to go feed the meter. And it was, yeah, I can’t tell you how many tickets.
Emily Merrell 10:29
You were paying them? Pretty much.
Emily Oberman 10:33
It kind of got to a point where it was like, Okay, this is like, I get that I really liked this job. And it’s a great company and everything. But something’s, something’s got to change.
Emily Merrell 10:42
It’s gotta give. So So you found this job by fluke, basically, and then it led you to the online world. Now you work? What are your clients? Like? What are the different ranges of clients that you work with?
Emily Oberman 10:52
So I work with a lot of different clients. And, you know, I like to work specifically with video content, people, like people who produce videos and podcasts, because I feel like that’s really great content to repurpose. However, I do work with a lot of different industries. And I really like working with a lot of industries, because I feel like, I learned so much like up things that I wouldn’t otherwise know by, you know, when you write for people, and you create these content strategies, there’s a lot of research that goes into it. And so I feel like I’m just constantly learning new things. And it’s really exciting. So,
Emily Merrell 11:28
yeah, you you have a, you have a way of basically plugging yourself into all these different businesses, but then like, also stepping out when you need to. That’s what I love, is can you give us a if you have any examples? Like, can you give us an example of some brands that you’ve seen that you think are really good at repurposing content?
Emily Oberman 11:48
Yeah, um, so I’m subscribed to this scam. And I’ve been getting their emails for years now. Like, actually, I think I signed up when I worked at Pottery Barn, and that was, like, four years ago. And so um, so yeah, I’ve been getting them for a long time. And I feel like they do an amazing job at repurposing because they’re literally taking news from all these different places, and formatting it into these like fun, digestible ways to interpret news. And I feel like I’ve heard before. I wouldn’t say negative things about it, but just kind of like, Oh, they’re dumbing it down. And I so do not agree with that. Because I think that they make it like super fun. And the language they use is super relatable. And they just, they kind of take something that can be super serious. And not that they make it fun, but they just they, they add humor to it. And I think we could all use a little bit of humor in our lives, even when it comes to serious things.
Emily Merrell 12:43
I agree. And I also think they make it memorable, where you can then regurgitate the fact out versus like, oh, I read this. And I know one tiny little piece about it, because I read a headline, like they take a line and give you like a little bit of meat to play with that you can sound kind of smart at a party. The one headline where I’m like, did you see and then I know nothing more, because I’m just literally quoting a headline now.
Emily Oberman 13:08
Yeah. And they link it to to, you know, credible sources. So you know, you never feel like you’re getting, you know, inaccurate information.
Emily Merrell 13:17
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s a really good way of putting it. You know, and as for the, our listeners, like, what are some next steps we can do to take an inventory of our content or our systems and like, get this party started, so to speak?
Emily Oberman 13:32
Yeah. So I think actually, this is when systems come into play, because a lot of times, people that are, you know, producing content are very creative people. And so they kind of forget, like, you know, there’s a lot of boring, you know, quote, unquote, boring things that go into it. But I guess I kind of like to look at it as like, your content is your front office, it’s like what people see. But if you don’t have your back office organized and in shape, then eventually maybe not right away. But eventually the front office is going to fall apart. And so I really think that one of the most important things that people can do is have some sort of project management system in place, like using a project management tool. I for 1am, a huge, huge Asana person, I love Asana, I, like literally, if it’s not in Asana, it doesn’t happen. Yeah. And it’s something I’m just like, in all day long. I mean, a lot of different Asana is, and so but there’s other ones, you know, people like Trello, there’s clickup there’s a lot of different ones. So as long as you find one that works for you, and you kind of set things up where everything is organized there, then you’re setting yourself up for success for the front side.
Emily Merrell 14:43
I love that. And I I mean, I think our listeners know at this point, I love Trello. I was trained on Trello more than I was trained on Asana, but back to what you were saying about pottery burn about like being organized and whatnot. I don’t even think they had these tools when I was in the corporate world or you were in the group or did they have in the corporate world for you? Um,
Emily Oberman 15:03
we use I mean, we use like communication tools like, we’re actually yeah, you know what they had, I think it was Basecamp. That was the, like, project management tool. But, um, on my side, I didn’t really, I didn’t really have to touch that too much. Because again, it was like, the catalog production. So it was a lot of more, quote unquote, old school stuff, where we had like printouts and highlighters and things like that. And the web, like on the website, like pottery barn.com. That’s where they had more of the technology, technological, you know, project management systems.
Emily Merrell 15:37
It’s so funny to think, though, like, how evolved the system to become over the years, you know, some people would have their own tools that they would create. But now there’s all these tools that are available, pretty much for free or really inexpensive. Slack was not a thing that we had at work. I don’t think it came out. I’ve been out of the corporate world now for five years. So I’m just I’m aging myself here. But the point being, is that what you said about Asana, and when you don’t put it on the sun, it didn’t happen or like things. Yeah, I so feel you were, if you had asked me five years ago, I would probably have told you, you’re wrong. And I would never do that, and blah, blah, blah. So
Emily Oberman 16:16
I had this crazy moment that happened, things last year. I mean, I use a sauna all the time. Like I can’t imagine not using it and but I never really thought about like, where they’re headquartered or anything. And I think I had to, like, look up, like a contact or something like that. And I went online to find it. And they’re based in San Francisco. And I looked there in a building that I used to work out for, like two and a half years when I was in college. And I was like, it was, it was crazy, because because I like pictured myself in that building. And I’m like, Who knew that X amount of years later? You know, SAS company was going to be headquartered, and you know what I mean? Like, I don’t know, it’s kind of mind mind blowing to
Emily Merrell 16:57
- And you’re like, what was the company that was in here?
Emily Oberman 17:02
It was actually, it was a marketing company. So, um, you know, I, like I said, I’ve been in and out of marketing and all that kind of stuff over the years. But that company is not there. I don’t I don’t even know when they went out of business. But, but yeah, it was crazy. I was like, Oh, my God, I was there like every day. Yes,
Emily Merrell 17:19
it goes to Emily’s pass. Just wondering the asana floor is telling them. Right. I love it. Well, you mentioned that, you know, you work with so many different clients, and you’re in and out of businesses. How do you keep your boundaries in place? Because that’s definitely an issue. I think, with being your own boss, no one’s telling you when to start, no one’s telling you when to stop. But yet, then you’re also managing expectations of all of these other people. So do you have any tips or best practices or rule of thumbs for actually implementing boundaries?
Emily Oberman 17:52
Yeah, so that’s, it’s definitely something and I know you and I have talked about it before, but it’s something that I’ve struggled with. But I feel like, I’m kind of starting to get a better handle on it. And it’s honestly, I just, I just have to turn notifications off. Like that was I think, the first step where I’m like, my phone doesn’t need to alert me the second someone messages me, like, I’m not a doctor, we’re not in brain surgery, you know, 30 minutes can go by before I know, and everything will be fine. So once I kind of told myself that, I was like, you know, I’m still gonna be checking my notifications. But on my terms, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t need all these crazies, because at one point, it was crazy. Like, I had all these sounds coming from the computer from my phone, my husband working from home, and he’s, he’s going crazy. He’s like, Oh, my God. Sounds constantly going off.
Emily Merrell 18:43
I hate this. So much.
Emily Oberman 18:45
For me, it was walks or I think that was the one that like really got to me. And so yeah, so it was it’s turning off the notifications. And the other thing too, is I’ve made it a point where at night, when I before or when I’m done with my day, when I turn off my computer, I quit my mail, and I quit my slack so that when I open my computer the next morning, those things won’t automatically be open. And I’ve kind of told myself, I’m going to like the night before, I’ll usually like write down what’s one or two things I want to get done in the morning. And so without those distractions, I just dive right into it and get those things done. So then by the time I opened my email or open something, and I get all the crazy notifications, I feel a little bit more accomplished. I’m like, Well, you know, at least I got, you know, this one solid thing.so That’s really helpful.
Emily Merrell 19:35
I mean, I feel like we have 1000 Little distractions in front of us all day long pinging and swiping and popping in and out. So I love that one of just simple as just closing them and not having them paying at you the moment that you open your computer and buzz for your attention. Fun fact for people who don’t know this for slack, people who have it on their computer and I will Probably take your computer and track it. If you’re an to me, after a while just the bangs, I’m like, okay, stop, stop, you can change it. So it balances on your desktop or it has notification on your desktop. But you don’t have to have the sound on. So just turn that on off, but also turn it off for every single champ every single workspace that you’re in individual, which is annoying. And then second, you can turn it off, turn off your text messages like to not keep your text messages flying in on your computer.
Emily Oberman 20:29
That’s funny, I actually I do have that. But I have one client that I has my phone number but other than that I most of my clients like we communicate via, you know, Asana, email, Slack, or boxer. So usually if a text message comes in, it’s like a personal one. And I don’t know, sometimes I try to turn it off too. But I feel like that one I don’t know that one doesn’t bother me too much. But it was the emails and the slacks and the boxers that were driving
Emily Merrell 20:56
great driving you insane. Just turn everything off. So just as a little notification instead, I don’t know, I’m, I think I have like a sound phobia, which is a whole different. But it’s funny. You know what I mean? Like when you get when you’re on the airplane, and all of a sudden someone’s voice memo in someone, and you’re like, texting. i Before voice memo, and people were like, dear Emily, comma, I will be there period, exclamation mark, blah, blah, blah, blah, and you’re like, just text them. You don’t have to spell it out on the plane, and everyone can hear your
Emily Oberman 21:30
whole text message. Now we get conditioned to sounds too. This is like totally random. But a few years back, I got into this habit of every time we were sleeping, and my husband would start snoring. I would go like really loud. And for some reason it worked. And it made him stop. And like we never talked about it. Because you know, it was that night who’s sleeping. I was doing that for like a year, maybe longer. And then all of a sudden one day we were like it was during the day and something happened and I wish and he was like, Oh my God, why does that sound bother you so much. And we realized that I’d conditioned him to not like that sound. And so it’s crazy. What our brains get used to it right?
Emily Merrell 22:12
To Self say see things while you’re sleeping into your sleeping partner. Ya know, have them get
Emily Oberman 22:18
it’s like secretly hypnotizing them or something.
Emily Merrell 22:21
I love it. Um, so now that you’ve had your business for a few years, what is one thing you had you wish you had known that at the beginning of your business that you don’t know, that you obviously know now, but can’t say that? Right? You know,
Emily Oberman 22:35
I know it. I know, it should
Emily Merrell 22:37
pick it up. But um, but,
Emily Oberman 22:39
um, honestly, I mean, I heard people say this, but I didn’t think it was actually true. And it really is true is that when you work for yourself, you work so many more hours, and you work so much more than when you work for somebody else. And you know, the whole idea is, oh, I’m gonna go work for myself, I’m gonna be my own boss. And I’m gonna go, you know, go to lunches and you know, you see things on, you know, Instagram, people were like, on a yacht, or whatever, or like, at the beach, and which, you know, obviously, it’s totally doable when you’re a remote worker sometimes, but it’s definitely a lot more hard work, and hours than working for somebody, at least in my experience. So
Emily Merrell 23:18
Oh, my God. Yeah, I know, it’s true. It’s like, there’s no one telling you days over or the starting or whatnot, you kind of have to, you can use your best judgment to start and end your day and how to work and when to work. Well, Emily, you are such a wealth of information. So where can people find out more information about you and learn more about copy edit design?
Emily Oberman 23:42
You can find me on Instagram at copy, edit design. And you can also find me on my website, copy edit design.com. Yeah,
Emily Merrell 23:51
so simple, keeping it consistent across all of them. And so we’re gonna switch gears for a little bit, and I’m going to ask you some six fast questions. I want to hear a little bit more about you and less about your business. So I want to hear first and foremost, I want you to tell us an unknown fun fact.
Emily Oberman 24:06
So a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I’m actually a native Russian speaker and Russian was my first language. I
Emily Merrell 24:15
love it. The podcasts I was just interviewing before you, she her friend factor was that she was an Italian native speaker. Oh, yeah. Awesome. Language is a big thing today. I love that. Who would be a dream person you’d want to be connected with?
Emily Oberman 24:30
Um, I would say probably. I’ve been following her for a long time. And I just love the way she talks. I really love Leandra Mundine she had the blog, Man Repeller I don’t think it’s around anymore, but I like read her book a long time ago and I just I really like her the way she thinks.
Emily Merrell 24:50
I love that one. I feel like God, I remember when I started in fashion, and you were in fashion to like that that moment that the man repelled. There was like a whole lifestyle on the way. Right, right. Man repelling now she has twins and does other things have changed her Instagram and Man Repeller is not open. Things have changed. I’ve seen where she lives though. Before and really in New York In New York, I was sitting out to dinner and I started walking into at least I’m pretty positive but she still lives there into this building. Loves the restaurant, low Earth, low to z to z or del anima del anima. I think it was. Anyways very good Italian place. And she her her apartment was right next to it. Oh, wow, that’s so cool. Met her basically. Seen her. And so I like to play that game where I can. What TV show are you currently watching? Or do you recommend watching?
Emily Oberman 25:48
Um, let me see. What did I just finish? Well, actually, I’m really excited. The premiere of you season three is starting, I think in a week. And it’s really, really excited for that we’re watching it. It’s so stressful. And I’m not a big quote like gory horror person, but there’s something about it, but I just like I need to know more so. And it’s funny how we always root for him to steal. I know he’s like the modern Dexter I think which I never watched Dexter because that was like too much for me. So I maybe this one, I don’t know. Who knows, maybe season three is going to get a lot crazier. So
Emily Merrell 26:24
I know. I feel like it’s gonna get crazier. I feel like the season two finale, like, threw everything on it on its head. I was like, Wait, who’s the bad guy here? I’m very confused by this. Yeah, well, we’ll have to, we’ll have to compare notes. What book are you currently reading? Or have you recently read that you recommend?
Emily Oberman 26:42
So I’m slowly very slowly getting through. It’s called the perennial seller. And it’s just kind of it’s about creating a lasting brand. And so I just I, I, I’ve been going getting through it really slowly. I’ll just leave it at that.
Emily Merrell 26:59
So kind of reading it, kind of. Yeah, but yeah,
Emily Oberman 27:03
I mean, it’s it’s good. Like the idea of it is good, but I can’t give it a complete review until I actually finish it. So.
Emily Merrell 27:09
Okay, but it’s on your radar. What is your favorite emoji and or most used emoji?
Emily Oberman 27:16
Probably the face palm, eye roll, and it’s a toss up between those two and like the shrugging one, those are my favorite.
Emily Merrell 27:24
I think you and I speak the same exact thing. Just encompasses everything,
Unknown Speaker 27:30
right? It does.
Emily Merrell 27:31
You’re like, Oh, God, I was supposed to be there 10 minutes ago, facepalm. Or, like, I lost myself out. facepalm? Yeah, I think it’s great. And then my last question for you is Who gave you permission or inspired you to do the thing you wanted to do with your life?
Emily Oberman 27:47
So it’s, it’s been a long journey, to really figuring out, like, I always knew that I wanted to have a business like I, since I was a kid, I had like random little businesses, ideas and things like that. But I feel like now that I’m actually doing it, what I’ve realized is that, you know, there’s a lot of hard days and things like that, and I feel like my daughter who’s six, she really inspires me to keep going because I feel like I want her to know that you can succeed at owning your own business. And it’s a real career path. And, and so, yeah,
Emily Merrell 28:21
I think that’s a great answer. And by the way, are we sick? Your daughter is like 10 years old. I don’t know why I think she’s six going on. 16. So yeah, like she’s so mature. She seems so mature. Six, that’s it. I always really well, Emily, thank you so much for joining us today on the 60 degree podcast and sharing your story with us.
Emily Oberman 28:42
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been an honor to talk with you.
Emily Merrell 28:45
Yeah. And for listeners, check out Emily check out copy edit design. She is literally a life changer. She will if you are a small business and do you need help like she is your gal. And thank you for joining this episode of the sixth degree. If you liked it, please like, share, follow subscribe, write a five star review and we’ll see you the next time on the sixth degree