Valerie Khoo


This is the personal blog of Valerie Khoo – artist, author and podcaster. Valerie is passionate about exploring the worlds of creativity and business. She is co-host of the popular podcasts ‘So you want to be a writer’ and ‘So you want to be a photographer’. Valerie is a mentor to artists, writers and business owners on how they can turn their passions into thriving professional practices. She is author of ‘Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business’. Valerie is also CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, one of the world’s leading centres for writing courses.

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  1. Belinda Weaver

    So true Valerie! Be more awesome. It’s all you can do.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Love that. Be more awesome!
      And can I say how awesome it was to catch up with you last week in San Francisco – so fab 🙂 Thanks for making the trek into town.

      1. Belinda Weaver

        It really was my pleasure Valerie. I talked too much but it was brilliant to see you and Liz. Next time we’re in the same hood I’ll let you get a word in edgeways 😉

        I’m grateful to have never found my work stolen. I’m not sure I want to look to hard as it’s just inviting rage into my life. My ego hopes it’s happened at some point though 😉

  2. Krissy Bradfield

    I really don’t understand the mentality behind stealing other peoples work. It baffles me.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      I know – I don’t get it either!

  3. Ingrid

    I’m hearing you Valerie! Last year I was receiving eNews from some I’m “acquainted” with in Sydney and there was a photo of a baby hedgehog. Random? My own blog post the week before had a baby hedgehog. This went on for a couple of months. My blog topics turned up in his eNews, and yes, i went through all of your stages
    Outrage springs immediately to mind! and then Pity!! Sad, Very sad! from him…
    Valerie, I can not imagine how you are feeling. You’re a bigger, better person than this!! How can they imagine you won’t notice!!!

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Goodness me Ingrid. You must have thought you were seeing things when you saw your blog topics (and even the hedgehog!) featured in your inbox. So weird when people do this – crazy huh?

  4. Y Kwei

    About 12 years ago a client of mine engaged a copywriter to draft some words for her Australian website. She discovered he had plagiarised word for word the copy he provided and charged her! We both couldn’t believe it!! I took him to task via a legal letter and with his tail between his legs, he immediately refunded her! As she was a start-up (and I was relatively junior), I only charged her what the copywriter had charged her as this one was a matter of principle!

    1. Valerie Khoo

      That is terrible! Seriously, who does that kind of thing?

  5. Marshall Brentnall

    Great post Valerie. A fellow financial planner recently ‘cut and pasted’ our site and used the exact same theme and design that we do – it’s disappointing to say the least.

    We opted for having a direct conversation with the individual, which led to some changes but it’s also led to us realising we need to step things up and take our site to the next level (under construction).

    So I guess it’s a reminder to keep moving up the escalator.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      It’s amazing that people can even think this is ok. Well, I guess the silver lining (sort of) is that it’s spurred you to upgrade your site, Marshall. Good luck with it 🙂

  6. Kate

    Hi Valerie, great article! Working as an IP lawyer I spend a lot of time writing about and educating my small business clients on the importance of not only protecting their own copyright, but respecting the copyright of their colleagues who also work hard to create unique and original work.
    I’ve never understood the point in replicating something that’s already out there anyway. From a branding perspective it makes the business appear very generic and doesn’t provide potential clients with any clear point of difference that separates the business from its ‘competitors’.
    There will always be copycats out there without any unique agenda of their own and so my philosophy is just keep innovating and they will always trail behind. Or, as Belinda Weaver said below so perfectly and succinctly – Be more awesome!

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Yes I love Belinda’s take on it too 🙂

  7. Cas McCullough

    Great article Valerie. That has happened to me so many times. I hate how it makes me feel, especially when my writing is so fueled by life. Thanks for articulating the thought processes. I wish it made it easier to deal with.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Cas, just take consolation that “they will FOREVER be scrambling in your wake”.

  8. Alison Vidotto

    Fabulous article Valerie, Thank you! I’ve shared it with an online business community. It’s interesting just how often it happens. I found three of my articles in an online magazine. I contacted them and gave them links to the original articles and asked that they link back to the original and attribute myself as the author. They agreed. 🙂

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Good Lord. Three articles! I’m dumbfounded at the extent to which this is happening.

      1. Alison Vidotto

        Yes, it seems to be happening far too often. All three of my articles were taken from the Australian Business Women’s Network site. I think I went through all five stages you mention! 🙂

  9. Jewel Divas Style

    I agree with 1 and 2 but NEVER will I pity someone who not only believes it’s okay to steal from others but does so, sometimes on a regular basis.

    #4, not happening. My anger will see me through to dealing with them just as I dealt with a google page that was claiming it was giving one of my novels away for free. I filed a complaint with google and they withdrew the page.

    As for #5 I believe some public shaming can be good for thieves and liars. And NEVER forget it. Learn from it, put a plan in place and remember it the next time it happens so you’re ready to go.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Well, definitely never forget it! As for public shaming … well I do agree that it’s appropriate in some instances …