We interview Cas McCullough of Content Marketing Cardiology, and she tells her story of how she started out. She had a near death experience and then she really decided that she wanted to start her own business. And so she started a business that took care of moms after they had their babies. But she was so good at marketing that people started asking her about that and so she started a marketing company. She recently has written a book called “Your Brilliant Un-Career“.
The book chronicles the journeys of women from employee to entrepreneur. It’s not about establishing a career. It’s about escaping that paradigm and creating your own path… an un-career.
So, I had a near death experience actually back in 2008. I think it was one of those years where everything bad happened. We had been dealing with a lot as a family at that time. I found out that I was pregnant. And I had an ectopic pregnancy which is when the baby gets stuck in the fallopian tube. I didn’t know and I just felt very unwell. I had to go to hospital and I ended up spending a week in hospital and sadly, lost the baby.
So I was grieving and I also was stuck there because I had pneumonia as well. I was feeling very sorry for myself and missing my kids and reflecting on life as you do when something like that happens. I just had this feeling that if I had died, would I have accomplished the things that I wanted to accomplish? Would I have done the things that I wanted to do in my life, and would I be setting the example that I wanted to set through my kids? And, did I really want to miss another minute of life with them? And the answer was “no” to all of those things.
I guess I just kind of took stock. And after that, I decided that I was gonna follow my own path and take matters into my own hands. I think we all have those kind of moments of decision making where we just feel faced with our humanity. And we reach a crossroads and we go, “Well, I don’t know which way I’m gonna go, but let’s just try this way and see what happens.”
That’s pretty much what I did. I ended up setting up a local business. I think because people had really helped me when I was unwell, they’d brought meals around and had come over and cleaned my house and things like that, I just thought, “Wow, what if there was a service like this, available for moms in need?”
So I created a service called Mumatopia. I was a Birth Doula; I would attend births. I was already trained for that. I also went and cooked and cleaned for people after they had their babies and helped them with their breastfeeding. It was a profitable business. I also had a sideline, a retail line. So I kind of dabbled in everything.
What was interesting for me was, because I had a background in marketing, I could market it all really easily. I knew what to do. And because my background was in public relations, I never advertised; I always relied on word of mouth and publicity, connecting with people. Which is kind of the basis for social media marketing.
I guess I just followed that path and then naturally one thing led to another. People started asking me “How are you doing this? How are you marketing your business successfully?” I just ended up doing a lot of work for people for free for a while, just because I couldn’t help myself. Like I’d see a website that needed fixing, or someone would need help with their marketing, and I could see they were doing it all wrong and I went, “No, no, you cannot do it like this.”
After a while I realized, well, I kinda really need to be paid to do this. I actually have many years experience and expertise. I just haven’t built my confidence enough to the point where I felt comfortable doing that for other people, which is really bizarre, isn’t it? I think I reached a point where I felt quite undervalued and I started to feel really resentful.
We had something happen at home. We’d had a big storm. We had just built a pool, and we’d built this retaining wall. And after the storm, they put all the soil from the pool behind this retaining wall. Then after a week of rain, it collapsed. And I just remember looking out the back, going, “How am I gonna pay for this?” And feeling really kind of overwhelmed by it, because I just felt like I was scratching a living, doing what I was doing. I felt like I was working around the clock even though I was working in the online space at that time.
I just knew that it had to be different and so I could have gone either way. I could just have totally shut up shop, or I could have invested, and I decided to invest. I decided to find a mentor. And I found an amazing mentor who helped me develop what we call Signature System, which is basically your passion boiled down into a brand and into a number of steps. And creating online programs out of it, creating systems out of it that people can invest in. It was at that point that I realized how much I loved marketing. And I sort of had shied away from it for a while because I wanted to do something more down to earth, like help babies be born.
But when I saw that it could make a massive difference to people’s lives, not just their income but their lives, and also to communities by helping a small business or solo business with that, then they could thrive. And then they could pass that on to other people. They could employ other people. It just had this ripple effect and that was what really appealed to me about it.
So, I decided in 2012 to set up Content Marketing Cardiology. I went for content marketing because I love content; I love creating content, I love ideas, I love self publishing. I love just anything to do with writing and speaking, and you name it. Creating videos, everything. I just really have a good time with it. I thought, “Well, if I love it this much, I really should focus on this aspect.”
The other thing was, is I’m also very much a systems girl. I like to see the bigger picture and how things work. And I developed a system that I called the Inbound Lead Generation Life Cycle. And I use this life cycle with every single client I work with. When it’s implemented correctly, it works amazingly. So I work with my clients to get their systems working, basically, so that they are not wasting time on their marketing. And they are not being tactical in the approach, but more strategic and more aligned with what they actually want to get out of it at the end of the day, and what they wanna give as well.
I had such a good experience that I wrote a book to help other women do the same thing. That book has had a really interesting journey, actually. It has been three years. I cannot believe it’s been that long. It actually started out as a completely different book. And what I realized . . . Well, the book initially was about how to set up a home-based business, because that was the space I was in. There was a big emphasis on working from home.
But what I realized is that the goal posts weren’t quite right because people were so wrapped up in the idea of working from home that they weren’t necessarily thinking about doing what they loved; doing what got them out of bed in the morning with a spring in their step. I would hear people complain, “Oh, I’m not earning enough,” or “I can’t earn enough, there are only so many hours in a day,” or “I’m a struggling WAHP,” (work-at-home person).
I would hear this so often and I thought, “Well, why, if it’s all about freedom and working from home and being with your kids and living a free life and doing what you love, why is everybody struggling so much?” I realized that it’s because they don’t put systems in place. And they don’t follow a road map that’s actually gonna take them from point A to point B. They kind of just decide to work from home for whatever reason, and sometimes it’s because they don’t feel they have another choice. It’s more that they go looking for opportunities so that they can stay at home rather than looking for the opportunities that really inspire them.
Or it might keep them small when they have the potential to grow something really big. And growing something big these days doesn’t necessarily mean you need to grow it into a multi-million dollar empire with a hundred staff and an office in the city. It doesn’t necessarily mean that. You can still work from home. You could still work from anywhere and run a very successful business, and have virtual staff.
There are so many possibilities. People, I find, just don’t necessarily even think that those possibilities apply to them. And it’s not that they don’t think that they can do it, it’s more that it just doesn’t even occur to them, that it’s an option . . .
People sort of have two thoughts about starting a business – either they are thinking, “Oh, I am just going to randomly do work for people.” So that’s like one model; the work from home model, and then the other model is they think that they have to go join an incubator and get startup funding, and become this big tech startup. It doesn’t occur to them that there are a thousand shades of gray in between there; of where you could land and what you could grow into over time.
I think the same can be said from where we base ourselves. People think it’s either, “Oh, I have an office,” or “I work from home,” whereas in actual fact, you can co-work in cafes, you can go to co-working centers. You can just casually get together with friends that work from home as well.
You can get a copy of Cas’ new book “Your Brilliant Un-Career” at YourBrilliantUncareer.com and she is also offering 33 bonus resources from the book to help you shift from stuck to inspired in 2015 – http://yourbrilliantuncareer.com/shift-from-stuck-to-inspired-with-these-33-bonus-resources/
Favorite Book: Guy Kawasaki – Enchanted
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Corporate marketing and communication executive, freelancer, singer/songwriter, political activist, craftisan, birth doula, mother, Zumba instructor and social entrepreneur — In my 20+ year un-career, I have done it all. After a near death experience, in 2010 I founded my first startup and now juggle running a successful content marketing agency, a tech startup, and my online training programs from my Brisbane-based home office while solo parenting and home educating my three boys. I co-work, co-create, always challenge the status quo and encourage other women entrepreneurs to embrace their potential at every opportunity.I strongly believes that women everywhere are only just beginning to realise their capabilities in the startup space. My mission is to change the stats on women-owned business and inspire women business owners to lead the way in radically transforming the way we work, live and play. How many of us don’t reach our potential because we’re fearful–of failure, of feeling like a fraud, of being judged? Too many!
I wrote this book to show you how to make the leap into entrepreneurship but more importantly, to show you that you are capable and unique, that your dreams deserve to be realised.
For too long now women have been led to believe they have to choose between career and family, between a life and a career. That is no longer the case.
Your Brilliant Un-Career is your ultimate roadmap for making the leap into your own business, whether you’re a woman corporate escapee, wantrepreneur, or entrepreneur!
Using this book as a platform, be empowered to discover your profitable purpose, and set your own unique path to spectacular success, on your terms!
Cheers to your brilliant un-career! If I can do it, so can you!
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