What does a day in the life of a fellow soloist look like? Today we’re chatting with content marketing strategist Cas McCullough.
Cas McCullough is a pretty remarkable soloist. She’s a content marketing strategist, author of Your Brilliant Un-Career: Women, Entrepreneurship, and Making the Leap and her consultancy was listed as a top 100 business in the Anthill Cool Company Awards in 2014. She is also a sought-after guest blogger for Social Media Examiner, Bluewire News and Startup Smart. (Is your head spinning yet?)
Well try this on for size. In addition to running her business and being a content marketing queen, author and podcaster, Cas McCullough is a single mother of three, two of whom are on the Autism spectrum … and she home schools.
So what does a day in the life of Cas McCullough look like (other than FULL ON)? Here’s Cas:
My mornings usually start at about 6am. I get up, let the dog out, admire the view for a moment, breathe in the fresh air, feed the cat and make coffee. Then it’s off to my office to get started on work for the day. As my kids are home schooled they don’t have set bed times so they often stay up late and sleep in. This actually works well for me as I am most productive in the mornings.
Mornings usually consist of writing or recording podcast episodes, doing research, working on client projects and catching up on emails.
At about 9am I take a break and get the kids and myself breakfast and then go back to it for about an hour.
Depending on what day it is, we may go out somewhere. I spend Tuesdays and Thursdays with my kids at our home schooling group, which is usually in a park somewhere in Brisbane.
On Wednesdays my routine is totally different because I go to a co-working space in the city. I do that commute and remind myself why I don’t want to do it every day. It’s nice to be in the city though. I try to hold all my meetings on Wednesdays so that I don’t have to clean the house. 🙂
If it’s a home day, usually Mondays, the kids are often busy with their own projects by mid-morning and I keep tabs on what they’re doing. My teenager is usually still asleep. 🙂
Lately the younger boys have been making comics. They are up to Number 13 in the LOL and Lime series. The stories they come up with are awesome and it’s great for developing their creative writing, drawing and logic skills. My 12 year old is an extremely reluctant writer, being Autistic and not having a strong pincer grip, so it’s been extra delightful to see his writing progress.
We have lunch at about midday and I will often find we’ve run out of something necessary like bread or butter, and so I’ll head to the shops for some groceries and a sneaky cappuccino.
In the afternoon we settle into more project work and sometimes we bake cookies, draw or play board games or go out to the shops or the chiropractor. On Fridays my youngest has Japanese class and on Wednesday nights my eldest has drumming class. I am always checking in with emails on my phone, which can be a bit annoying for the kids but I often remind them that it’s better than me going to work in the city every single day! Technology can be a wonderful thing. It really depends on your point of view.
We don’t have a lot of after-school activities at the moment as we’ve just returned from a month-long road trip to South Australia. We’ll get stuck into Scouts and gymnastics in term three instead. Even that’s hard because our home school group has regular camps and the kids always want to go to those. Plus, I sometimes have interstate and overseas travel for work. When I go away it’s always a juggle. Sometimes friends take my kids and sometimes they go to their dad’s.
Monday night is Zumba. My teenager will usually cook a uni-student-type meal for his brothers or shove a pizza in the oven and I take off for some creative dance inspiration. Zumba is a terrific outlet for me; it clears my mind and fills my heart!
After Zumba, I’ll usually get home about 8pm, eat dinner and get stuck back into work for a couple of hours. Sometimes I’m wide awake and will work till midnight and other days I’m exhausted and will just collapse in a heap and watch an episode of House of Cards on Netflix. We don’t actually own a TV so it’s good not having that distraction in the house.
Every day looks a little different in our house because it depends what the kids have on and what I have going on. I’ve had some pretty big projects this year including building a large membership site and email funnel for a long term client, working on a virtual summit project and organising a major seminar for a client in Sydney.
I love the variety in my days and how the kids and I all work around each other.
The biggest challenge I face in the average working week?
Staying on top of everything: the podcasts (I have two now), managing client projects, writing, researching, interviewing, meetings, kids’ ‘school’ work and activities. I have some help at home with cleaning the house and keeping the jungle that is my garden under check, and I have a VA whose job it is to handle my diary. I try not to do more than one evening business event a week and keep most of my meetings to Wednesdays, so that my time with the kids is not disrupted more than it has to be.
The reality of being a soloist?
The reality for me is that sleep is often the first thing that is sacrificed. I wish that weren’t the case and I’m trying to streamline my business so that I can work less and play more. I also often feel guilty that I’m not giving more time to my boys.
What keeps me going?
A couple of things. My boys definitely! I want to give them the best start possible and make sure they know they don’t have the choose the well-trodden path if they don’t want to. I also am motivated by a burning desire to support other women entrepreneurs and solo business owners in getting out of the rat race and staying out. I’d like to think that the work I do makes a difference.