My Origin Story

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of these marketing strategies, I wanted to give you a brief overview of who I am. Although this podcast will not be full of origin stories (it’ll be more strategic than storytelling), I do want to give you an idea of where I’m coming from – so consider this my “origin story.”

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt  0:01  

You’re listening to Social Slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7 Let’s get started.

Hello, friends, this is Meg Casebolt. Uh, before we get into kind of the meat in the bones of this podcast, I wanted to take some time, before we leap into interview mode, and really getting into the nitty gritty of these marketing strategies, and explain to you who I am. So consider this episode to sort of be the origin story, similar to the way that you know, my kids are really into comic book characters and superheroes right now. So it’s similar to the way that most comic books start with that first episode, that is the, you know, the equivalent of spider man having with great power comes great responsibility. the why behind the people do what they do. Now, this podcast as a whole will not be full of origin stories will be much more strategic than storytelling. But I do want to give you an idea of where I’m coming from, because I think that will feed through the the threads of what we’ll be talking about in this podcast. So I was born on a cold February night. I won’t go I won’t go that far back into the actual origin story. Let’s start with, you know, my childhood was really great. I had great parents, I was in a stable environment. And when I went off to college, I recognized the value of having that stability and the value of knowing that I wanted to give back to other people. So after I graduated from college, I started working at nonprofits. I worked a lot at mission and values driven organizations that were really important to me. You know, I worked at places like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and partners and health and some really great organizations that have huge impacts on their community, because I wanted to be able to see the way that the things and actions that I was taking would have a greater ripple effect on the community at large. My role within them was a fundraising and communications role. So I became sort of like a Jill of all trades, out of necessity, you know, nonprofits don’t have huge budgets. And so I had to do a lot of different things and wear a lot of hats. So I was managing databases and doing email marketing and print design and web design and grant writing. And like very early social media, we’re talking like early aughts social media. And at one point, when I was writing a grant for the nonprofit I was working for I threw in a line item for me to start taking graphic design classes. It made sense at that point for us to stop outsourcing our graphic design and bring it internal. And so that was sort of how I got my start in graphic design, which eventually became my business. While I was working at nonprofits in the Boston area, I was set up on a blind date with this very handsome guy who was in the Navy. And he was stationed in upstate New York. And we did long distance relationship for two years before I moved to New York. And I couldn’t find a nonprofit job that I loved there. So I started working for a sustainable architecture firm, and interior design firm as their marketing director. I loved the position, loved working architecture, we got married, I got pregnant, we sort of sat down and looked at the finances, I had never made more than $50,000 in any of my jobs. My take home pay from the marketing job would have been mostly eaten up by childcare, like it would have been half of my money going to childcare, and I would have been working 8am to 6pm. And it just kind of didn’t make sense for me to continue at that position. So instead, what I did is I leaned on those graphic design skills, and on the network of people that I knew, and I took a leap of faith, which I would always recommend to people as the way that you start your business. I reached out to people who had been my childhood friends and two of my first clients were actually people that I knew from, you know, 25 years prior. One of them ran a web design firm where I was a junior designer Another one worked at a law firm and brought me in to design all of their sponsorship and you know, event design needs. And so I left my job in May 2014. And our first child was born in November of that same year. And in that first year, I didn’t even come close to replacing my income, I think I made like $20,000. But I had my husband’s income as a safety net, and I stayed home with our son part time and worked part time and, and made it all work. Now let’s talk about the privilege of what I just said, first of all, my business did not need to be profitable right away, because I had that support net, I had my husband’s salary that we were able to, to live on, and then mine was extra. And it took me about two years to replace that income to bring in that $50,000. From what I was expecting from my salary. From that last job, I didn’t hit six figures, you know, I didn’t grow six figures in my business for five years. And when I say gross, I mean the full amount of money that I brought in, that’s including all of my expenses. So I actually paid myself about $50,000.05 years in, and I didn’t hit net, six figures. So actually paying myself until two years even after that, I would never have been able to support myself alone, let alone anyone else on what my business was making. So I want to make that clear to begin with, because I think we don’t talk often enough about those of us that are starting businesses and have those safety nets. And a lot of the expectations around business building is that they will be profitable immediately. And I wanted to give you that context of my business that that simply was not the case for me.

I want this to be a thread through the conversations we’re having here, which is that rags to riches stories are much rarer than slow, sustainable growth stories. Wait, let me clarify that statement. The privilege isn’t actually being in the relationship, it’s the ease with which I can navigate life because we live in a heteronormative culture. But I digress. Let’s talk about some of the other privileges that I’ve mentioned here. Like a network of people that I already knew, who were able to give me work to do, because I’d grown up in this upper middle class suburb, I was set up with my husband by my childhood, next door neighbor, you know, being in this prosperous suburb and having two college educated parents, it opened so many doors for me that I know not everyone has. So I want to acknowledge that in this conversation too, which is that I started a few steps ahead, and it still took me forever to make this business really profitable. That’s, that’s common, that’s normal. I don’t want to perpetuate this myth that every business is profitable right away. In addition to that, my privilege extends even more because of the body I’m in. I am a white woman, I am cisgendered I’m able bodied. I’m in a heterosexual, heterosexual monogamous relationship. All of these are privileges and things that other people may not necessarily have in their favor. So I’m fully acknowledging that in this conversation. Now, let’s go back to that idea of an origin story. You know, I want to wrap my head around that idea. I sort of joked about Spider Man’s origin story at the beginning. Here’s like a spoiler alert from where whenever Spider Man first came out in the 60s, right? Peters Uncle Ben use that phrase, with great power comes great responsibility. And when Peter didn’t take responsibility, his uncle died. Right? That wasn’t too much of a spoiler for you guys, because it’s like literally every Spider Man movie starts. But I do think that motto is applicable here. I was born into privilege. And with that comes the responsibility to help others and to light the way for others, especially those who don’t have the advantages that are working for them in the way that I do when I started my business. And I continue to have now you know, having a really supportive partnership relationship with somebody who, you know, my husband’s impediment is he wants to see me succeed. He’s not emasculated by my success. He wants to help the business be more successful. And not everyone has that as a given in their lives to have that supportive partnership. So I just want to be really clear in this conversation that I that there’s an honesty here that I want to bring to this. And I’m explaining all of this because I want your business to be easier and more profitable, faster than mine was so that you can support yourself and support your family, whatever your family looks like. So I’ll be sharing marketing tips that don’t require you to have venture capital. You don’t need to have a giant audience. Most of the advice that I’ll be sharing from my business will be based On free content and leveraging relationships, and those are the marketing strategies that worked for me, because they don’t require that huge upfront monetary investment. But they can also just take longer than other options that are out there. You know, and lots of business advice out there is based on the idea that you have to grow, and you have to grow fast. And that’s the only way to recognize your success. And I don’t believe that I am here running, quote, unquote, a lifestyle business, which some people will scoff at that term, because it may seem like you’re, you know, playing small, and they may kind of look down on that. But my goal with my business is not to grow the next Amazon at the fastest pace possible and sell it off to the highest bidder. Instead, I’m focused on building a relationship that will help me meet my financial goals, and make an impact in the world through the ways that I am able to support my team and the work that I do with my clients, and maybe the ways that I’m able to share with you. And also, it’s really important to me, that my business is able to support me and my family, through ups and downs, that it’s not a burden, but it’s actually something that is giving us more flexibility and more freedom. In my eight years of running this business, I’ve had two children, which means that I’ve had to self funded maternity leaves, we’ve also moved twice, I’ve dealt with illness that required a surgery to fix, I lost a parent and I was able to step away from the business to be with him. And through all of that I’ve built my business to have these systems and strategies that allow it to run without my constant attention, because I’ve needed to step away. And when I need to step away, I don’t want things to come to a screeching halt, and then feel like I have to restart the bicycle, you know, I want things to be able to move smoothly in the background, even if I’m not constantly attending to the business. And when I’m interviewing my guests in these future podcast episodes, my intention is to get to the bottom of what their marketing actually looks like, and actually feels like for them, I’m going to try to ask them how much time it takes what their success looks like. If they are, you know, investing time or money into these marketing strategies, I want to know how much they spent, and what percentage of people bought, I want you to have a really transparent look at how these tactics work, not those seven figures, Rags to Riches launch tales that don’t reveal that they secretly had, you know, outside funding to pay for full time employees, and they can just pretend that everything was perfect the first time around, and then promise that you can do it. But without having that, you know, network of people, those full time employees, all you need is their course, that just doesn’t feel fair to me, we’re also going to be talking in this podcast about the ways that you can market and run your business in a way that supports your mental health. Your marketing strategy shouldn’t be one of the reasons that you need to go to therapy. It shouldn’t be more of a stress to you than any of the other things in your life, it should make your life easier. I’ll also be talking to neurodivergent entrepreneurs who have had to find ways to run their marketing in ways that works for their brain. So in all of these, we won’t just be talking about the quantitative numbers of you know, what is your acquisition strategy? And what is your conversion rate, although I will certainly ask those questions, but also the qualitative metrics of how are you taking care of yourself through all of this? And if you had a particular launch that sent you into burnout mode? How did you back off from that? How did you make it feel better in a way that is more sustainable and supportive to what you need as a person not just as a business owner, but trying to take into account through all of these conversations, that we are people running businesses, and we need to take care of ourselves just as much as we need to take care of bringing in a certain income level. So I hope that this overview to my approach to my perspective into why I am asking the questions that I will be asking it gives you an idea of what to expect from these future

conversations. If you have any questions about what this could mean for you, I encourage you to head over to social slowdown comm get on the email list and email me in reply to whatever that first intro email is, and tell me what’s going on with your business with your life and how this is all working for you. And I will be back with future episodes talking all about how to make marketing strategy that works better for your business and better for your life. I’ll be interviewing tons of guests and I would love to hear more about what you’re learning from them. So please come join the social slowdown community at social Leave us a rating or a review and I will be back in the next episode starting with our first interview of Yay. I will talk to you then friends. Thank you so much for listening To the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to or grab that link in our show notes for easy access will be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then

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Episode 2: my origin story