lessons in beekeepingGuest post by Ken Mueller

A bee in my bonnet

Often when my wife and I are taking our dog, Shadow, for a walk, we go past a house in our neighborhood that has grabbed my attention.

There are two vehicles parked out front bearing license plates that include variations on the word “beeswax.” The front yard of the house is decorated with a variety of ornamental beehives and other bee-themed items.

I”˜ve concluded that the family that lives there is in the beekeeping business, and I swear that one day I will knock on their door and ask them to tell me about it.

You see, while I know nothing about beekeeping, it fascinates me. We are raised to fear bees, and yet here is someone who makes a living off of raising them and harvesting their honey.

It’s outside of my frame of reference, and even my comfort zone, and yet I could see myself trying my hand at it someday.

But I’m a marketing and communications guy. Why would I be interested in bees and honey? Shouldn’t I be focusing on honing my craft instead?


In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that I think this is why so many of us struggle with creating content for our blogs or other online social properties. We focus so much on our own business and what it is that we do, that we don’t allow ourselves to breathe. We seek to tell stories, but too often the stories are too me-centric.

I blog every day, and if all I did was focus on marketing and communications and social media, I’d be pretty boring. OK, perhaps some of you already think that, but I love learning about all sorts of things. I want to be a well-rounded person. As I blog, I want to draw in ideas and concepts from other disciplines.

It is for this reason that I’m grateful to Shonali for introducing me to the world of cricket. It takes me out of my own little world and opens me up to new ideas and concepts.

As individuals, and as businesses, we often operate as if we are the center of the universe.

By reaching out and learning about things that are “different,” we understand that everything else doesn’t revolve around us.

I’m grateful to my friends who use Twitter and Facebook to share their love of different types of music, a wide variety of authors, and even strange and exotic foods. I love learning from my friends who live, or have lived, in other countries, or even other parts of the country.

Don’t be defined by what you do. Instead, learn from others. Incorporate outside elements and influences into your work in order to make it more interesting.

Heck, it’ll make you more interesting, and you’ll be surprised how it will help you connect with more people in deeper, more meaningful ways.

In fact, that personal touch of being interested in others, and being able to communicate with them about the things that interest them might actually be the element that wins them over and makes them want to work with you as opposed to your competitor.

So think about the bees, and cricket (are you sensing a theme?) and step outside your comfort zone a bit.

You might actually like it. And chances are it might make you a better business person.

Image: julochka via Flickr, CC 2.0

Ken Mueller is the owner of Inkling Media, a Social Media and Inbound Marketing sole proprietorship in Lancaster, Pa. In addition to being the hippest cat on the planet, Ken loves working with small businesses and non-profits. He also loves sports (especially cricket!), music, and reading. He can be found working from his front porch with his trusty sidekick, Shadow, a Chocolate Lab.