An Interview with Cate Caruth of Creative Words 

First things first, who are you and how do you help small businesses? 

I’m Cate, and my business, Creative Words, writes content of all kinds. 

Plenty of small businesses feel overwhelmed by the need to ‘do something with their content’ and this is where we come in. We are their gift of time, helping them add value to their audience through great content which really expresses who they are. 

Every business is unique, and at Creative Words we pride ourselves on creating bespoke packages that are tailor-made for each client. We think of it in four ‘pillars’: 

  • Content for Marketing – websites, blogs, brochures, leaflets… 
  • Content for Customers – customer onboarding, newsletters, guides and manuals
  • Content for Staff – internal communications, from new joiner guides, to intranet and newsletters
  • Content for Income – books, training courses and online memberships

We work with businesses of all kinds and across a range of industries. 

What made you become a member of Start-Talk-Grow? 

When I started Creative Words in 2017, it was a huge leap for me. Stepping out of the corporate world, with its steady income and teams of people there to support what I did, was the great unknown. I knew it was what I wanted to do but, as the same time, I had no clue what I was doing! 

The first time I realised I needed to raise an invoice I remember thinking “Where’s the finance department… Oh, right. There is no finance department. I am the finance department… Now, how do I do this?

It was the best thing I’d ever done – each new thing I learned and every new success has filled me with joy. But it was hard work and, in the early days, I was on my own. 

I would have loved it if Start-Talk-Grow had been there for me so when I was invited to become a member, I jumped at it. 

What inspired you to start your business?

I had always wanted to be a writer – right from an early age. At school, the advice was “writing doesn’t make money, what will you do for an income?” and, being 13, I heard “you can’t be a writer, get a proper job.” That’s what I did – I worked in the food industry and, from there, became a management consultant. Writing was a hobby I did in the evenings and when I was travelling. 

In 2015, I came across a life coach who was doing live broadcasts on Periscope (Twitter’s live broadcasting platform). I’d never entered into personal development before – I didn’t even know what it was – but he was asking questions I’d never really considered: What future do you want to create? What is the legacy you want to leave behind? And, most importantly, What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I knew then that my desire to be a writer, to create stories and change the world, was as strong as ever. 

A few months later, that same life coach asked me to help him create a journal, by writing the introduction. That was when I realised that writing for businesses was a service that people valued and would pay for – and I decided that I would take the big leap. 

In May 2017 I left my job and started Creative Words. I’ve never looked back. 

What makes you different from others in your field? 

In my early days as a business writer, I would create the content – a blog or pages of a website – and email it back to the business owner. And there it would sit, in their inbox, waiting for them to have the time to do something with it. 

That was when the idea of content alchemy was born – something transformative rather than transactional. My background in consulting means I can manage the whole of a content-related project, from initial strategy right through to final publication. That means my clients have beautiful, bespoke content out in the world – not just sitting in an inbox waiting for the next step. 

What are the greatest achievements you’ve had in your business? 

We’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing clients and support fantastic projects. I’ve worked with multiple TedX speakers, large construction companies and we’re now on the list of approved suppliers for several government frameworks. What is more exciting is that we’ve supported the growth of several small clients who have grown and developed into something very special and exciting. 

We’ve written websites, blogs, leaflets, brochures… and also helped create books, online training and membership service and now, even an app. 

My sole trader business now gives work to 10 freelance writers and we collaborate regularly with graphic designers and marketers so they can offer a full service to their clients. 

What did you wish you knew when you started that you have learned along the way? 

To know that value of my time. By knowing that, if I was developing content for a client was worth more than it would cost me to hire a cleaner or a virtual assistant was a massive breakthrough. 

As soon as I got busy enough, I was able to give work to other small businesses and allow myself to focus on what I was really good at and loved to do.

The quick-fire round

Which is your favourite social media platform

For business, LinkedIn and personally, I still love Facebook.

What is the best bit of work kit you have?

I can’t include Lola, my cat as “kit” can I? In which case, my iPad and Apple Pencil. They go with me everywhere and I have virtually eradicated the use of paper because I can take notes on it which then sync up to my PC.

What was the best piece of advice you were given when you first started? And by whom?

“If you start your own business, you’ll never regret it – even if it doesn’t work out. If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder what if?” That was what my coach Pete Cohen told me when I was hesitating.

Imagine you’ve been given an unexpected day off – how will you spend it?

I’d go on a long walk – I love to be outside.

Which is your while-you-work drink of choice?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon – plus I always have water by my side.

Which is your favourite business book?

Can I have two?

The E-myth by Michael Gerber.

Getting Things Done – the art of stress-free productivity by David Allen.

What is your secret to success?

If a golden opportunity comes your way, never be too busy!

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