Well hello there readers! I think it’s time that we have a chat. So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and have a seat. This is going to be a long chat so be prepared. hehe!
Seeing that there has recently been a large jump in readers and clients I think it’s time we get to know one another a little better! So I want to share my story with you! And please! Share your story with me too! Comment below or send me an email! I love connecting with each and every one of you!
Every business owner has a story. A story of discovering their passion and discovering their ability to use that. And this is mine:
Let’s go back to the beginning. I grew up in NC. My mother is a left brained, math minded, person. My father is a writer and creative type. So basically all of their children (five to be exact. I am the oldest.) were doomed to have both left brained and right brained tendencies. For me this comes out in the fact that I love writing and art but also organizing and planning. It also means that some areas of my life are organized to a tee and then others…. not so much. I think this is what happens when opposites procreate. It’s great though! And put me in the perfect position to do what I do! But I’ll get to that in a little bit.
Through high school I lived in a rural town in NC. I was in theater, I founded the student arts council, I showed cattle and started a junior cattle show team, I helped my father market his self publishes book, played volleyball, worked at a local restaurant while also managing their website and social media, and started college at 16 at a local community college. Always the super driven but wishy-washy type. I always had a new passion to dive head first into. Whole heart-ed about each and every pursuit. I started college at a young age with the dreams of becoming a veterinarian. In case you didn’t know, I am not a veterinarian.
I started to realize that my dreams to be a vet had very little to do with my desire to help animals, but more to do with what I wanted to teach youth about agriculture and life. Being a leader for our local cattle show team is what I was really loving! I was teaching kids about cows and also just being there for them. So this is when I decided I wasn’t going to vet school but rather wanted to go into youth ministry. In particular camp ministry. Being the oldest of five kids comes with its own special experiences. Growing up summer camp was a place where I could be me. I wasn’t so-n-so’s daughter, or son-n-so’s big sister. I was Caitlin. And I grew so much as a person each year! It was a special place. And I knew I wanted to create those experiences for youth. So! With that being said, I went and got a degree in youth ministry with a minor in business administration from Charleston Southern University. I also worked at a variety of summer camps to gain experience for the day when I could run my own. I loved these and still get so excited about one day running my own camp facility. But why don’t I do that now?
I fell in love. Trust me, this was not expected. I have always been career driven and would never let a man change or alter my goals in life. But it happened. I married an amazing and wonderful man who serves our country in the military. As you may or may not know, military life includes many, many moves. And moving a campground every few years isn’t exactly an option. So until he retires, my camp dreams are on hold.
But what does a girl with a degree and a dream that she can’t peruse do? Well. For a little bit after getting married I felt so frustrated and empty. I felt like I had no purpose in life. I waited tables for a while and I nannied for a wonderful family. These were great for the time. But I needed something that I was passionate about and something that could move every few years. Not willing to accept waiting tables for the next 20-30 years, I needed to do something more!
I knew I was a half way decent writer. So I started blogging. Collectively Caitlin was born and I blogged my little heart out! I wrote about all sorts of things and made a tiny bit of money. I liked it alright. But I mostly loved when I got to promote small businesses on my blog! I believe in an economy built around local businesses! I sold some direct sales on the side to make a little extra cash while I was at it too. But my blog was where most of my time was going.
Starting off as a blogger was amazing! I learned so much about SEO and was using the things I learned in school about marketing and business! But I really didn’t care to write except when it was helping small businesses. I found myself in a bunch of facebook groups with other bloggers and creative business owners and found myself constantly commenting on posts where people were asking about marketing, SEO, organization, content creation, and more! And I LOVED it! I loved being able to share what I had been learning with these ladies! That’s when I started to realize that maybe being a professional blogger wasn’t for me. I realized that I wanted to help women conquer their business goals! So I started doing virtual assistant work on the side. This was it! I had a passion! Spending my day helping clients get things done to grow their creative businesses! I loved it! BUT.
The biggest problem my clients were facing was organization. Which is often the case with creatives. They needed help focusing their work, prioritizing, etc. Plus, I was realizing that I can only help so many businesses at a time since VA work is very time consuming. So there was a shift at Collectively Caitlin. I started a program to help business owners focus and keep them accountable. This helped them get organized and it was wonderful! It’s a very hands on version of business coaching but not as time intensive as being a VA. At the same time, I started creating content that would help business owners regardless of if they were clients or not. My blog shifted. And let me tell you, I am so in love with what I do now. I am seeing businesses grow in front of my eyes! Women re-igniting the passion in their business and seeing their confidence soar! They connect with each other and build one another up! It’s been so beyond beautiful to see! I have found something I can be passionate about and move around! I seriously love working with each and every woman I meet!
Now you’ll find me working on helpful content or talking with other business owners or on skype with a client always with a coffee beside me. I am an excessive note taker and love big dreamers and big plans! I love hearing people’s stories and discussing plans! So let’s meet up for coffee either virtually or nearby and talk about how to make the business of your dreams a reality!
So that is my story! That is how Collectively Caitlin was born! And I love my story! I love my job! And I still want to open a camp one day. But I feel completely joyful spending the next 20-30 years helping women. It’s amazing!
So what’s your story? Share below or send me an email! How did your business come to be? This is the question I lead all my meetings with and I love all the stories I’ve heard! I can’t wait to hear yours!