Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cassie Paton, Founder of Mettle & Tonic, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm the founder of Mettle & Tonic, and I write potent copy for gutsy entrepreneurs. Service providers, coaches, and creatives come to me when they need help attracting more perfect-fit prospects with copy that's punchy, powerful, and persuasive. If you're ready for a website copy refresh, to finally grow and nurture your email list, or launch your newest offer, let's talk. We'll turn your lurkers into paying customers and capture your brand's spirit in the process.
Tell us about yourself
I'd always had an entrepreneurial streak and the desire to write for a living, but timing really was everything in my case. I was burned out in a job I no longer loved but one that gave me some valuable skills and allowed me to build up my savings. There was a very sudden realization that there was going to be no better time to go out on my own than right now. And so I did! I left my job just a couple of months after launching Mettle & Tonic.
I truly love what I do. Not just the writing but all the hats I get to wear as a business owner. It's not always easy, but it's also never boring, and I like to be stimulated that way. A big part of what motivates me is that no other option is acceptable to me. Now that I've established a foundation as a business owner, I can't imagine working for someone else again. It's liberating and a privilege for sure.
But mostly, it's the clients I get to work with who motivate me. I've been so fortunate that my own messaging has really resonated with the right people. Working with entrepreneurs is gratifying because, as an entrepreneur myself, I can appreciate what they've built. I enjoy getting a glimpse into their world, understanding their perspective and what drives them, and capturing their voice and personality. They're just good, passionate, smart people. I don't take for granted that they've put their trust in me to get their messaging across.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
At first, it was starting my business. Now, it's the fact that I've stayed in business—and have replaced my previous comfortable salary in the process. It's easy to overlook these accomplishments when you're constantly striving to do and be more, so I do try to pinch myself every now and then.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Shutting down and prioritizing other parts of life can be difficult when you're obsessed with your business. It's something I'm actively working on. More and more entrepreneurs in my circle are having open and frank conversations about this and sharing the less glamorous side of self-care. Sometimes that's forcing yourself to go for a walk, even when you're on a deadline. Sometimes it's shutting down early instead of trying to fight your tired body and work beyond your capacity. But I've realized that if I'm going to be in this for the long run, I need to make these things a habit and a priority. Isn't that why most of us got into business in the first place—more freedom, flexibility, and happiness?
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find support early on. Whether that's a coaching program, online community or mastermind, or even just an accountability buddy. Some people do it alone, but they're not winning gold medals for it, and they're likely on the longer path to success.
- Say "yes" to things that scare you a little. Whether that's a big job, a speaking opportunity, or putting your face out there in your marketing, the things that make you a little uncomfortable are the things that will help you grow the fastest. Courage is a muscle you build.
- Say "no" to opportunities you don't truly want. Don't lower your rates just to get a job you're not even interested in. Don't do a ton of free labor in exchange for "exposure." Don't work with the prospect who's giving you all the red flags. "No" is also a muscle you build, and it helps you make room for the opportunities that ARE a good fit. As a recovering people pleaser, I'm a big fan of "no."
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you're unsure about your next move, look to your values. Building a brand, marketing your business, and loving what you do are only successful if you're true to who you are and what you value. That's why when I work with clients, I focus a lot on what THEY value so we can craft a message around that. I swear it's the key to most things in your business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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