Caitlin McCabe – Founder of Real Bullets Branding

[quote style=”boxed”]Just start.  I used to try to plan out new ideas forever and come up with the best ways to work them.  Now if I come up with something new and want to try it, I either try it on my own brand or tell a client “this is new, it may be awesome or it may not.” If they are up for it, we just jump right in.[/quote]

Caitlin McCabe is the Founder of Real Bullets Branding.  She opened her first company at age 24 and has been on a journey to find the best ways to connect clients with their audiences ever since. As someone who has been involved in social media marketing since the outset, she serves as an online branding and strategy resource for business groups and organizations across the country and is a frequent speaker for national organizations.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on developing strategies that use social media actions like sharing and connecting with customers offline and online.  We’re also launching a new initiative that gets farmers across the country to share ideas about how to use environmentally sustainable methods to receive grants.

Where did the idea for Real Bullets Branding come from?

I was working with a ton of advertising agencies and I kept thinking, “this is more than content online, brands have to use this new way of interacting holistically if this is going to work for them.”

I kept going to meetings and saying, let’s try this at an event or we should help the sales team to be a part of this campaign and eventually I just took the idea and started a company.

What does your typical day look like?

I get up really early and make coffee in my pour over pot while I get organized for the day.  I actually get a lot of work completed before my phone starts ringing.  At 1:00 PM, I take a break and run to the gym and then return to take calls.  In the evenings I usually read and make lists of cool things I saw during the day that I can think about as ideas for clients.

Some days I work from a space I rent downtown, so I usually book meetings and calls on days when I’m there.  When I take breaks, I usually go find new food trucks to try.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Just start.  I used to try to plan out new ideas forever and come up with the best ways to work them.  Now if I come up with something new and want to try it, I either try it on my own brand or tell a client “this is new, it may be awesome or it may not.” If they are up for it, we just jump right in.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I love that social media is affecting the way that businesses run.  Events are different, employee schedules are changing and the way we gather and use content is different.  We’re starting to incorporate these into our strategies now. It’s more than “let’s fix up your Twitter feed.” We now have so many more ways to help brands.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I worked for a department store and I loved the clothes and products.  The problem was that they REALLY didn’t trust employees and would check your purse before you left.  Nothing feels worse than working for a company that doesn’t trust its employees.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

That’s a tough one to answer because all of the mistakes I’ve made have been really good learning experiences for me. If I had to start again, I’d probably try and nail down the best client type for my business earlier instead of just working with anyone.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Get a mentor.  Get someone who can talk to you about your business and listen to your business problems.  Being the owner of a company can get really lonely sometimes because you can’t always vent to your employees, your friends won’t always understand what you’re going through and your significant other can only take so much work talk. A mentor is a total lifesaver on the days when you want to throw in the towel.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Find a way to turn some of the things you do into an online revenue stream.  There are probably a lot of byproduct in your business, whether you make a product or have a service based business.  Take a look at all that extra material or knowledge and determine if there’s an audience for them.

Tell us a secret.

I wish I spoke French, it’s such a sexy language.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them? is an amazing web based to-do list.  I don’t like really complicated online organization tools.  I just need a to-do list that I can cross off.  It also has a mobile app so you can add to your list on the go.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.  Actually, read anything by Daniel Pink.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • @fastcodesign
  • @hipstermermaid
  • @keithstoeckeler

What’s on your playlist?

I love surf music in the winter so I’m listening to a lot of The Drums and Nada Surf 🙂

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Honestly?  The Damn You Autocorrect website.  It publishes people’s texts that iPhones auto-corrected.  It’s not highbrow stuff, but it is so funny.

Who is your hero?

I have tons of heroes, both in my industry and not.  For advertising, I love Dave Trott and John Hegarty.  They have done such great work and have great insights on advertising.

I also really like Maria Popova from BrainPickings; she’s got some amazing articles and ideas.

I also have heroes in the art world. I admire those who were able to look at things differently like Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Frida Kahlo.

What is one thing that entrepreneurs should avoid at all costs?

Avoid choosing a partner if you don’t need one.  I know it’s really scary to open your own business. You think how much easier and nicer it would be to have someone to plan with and work with right off the bat.  Unfortunately, I have seen many friendships ruined by becoming business partners with a friend just to avoid not having to do it alone.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have an English Bulldog named Lucy.


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Real Bullet Branding on Twitter: @realbullets