Introducing Caylin White
Caylin is the growth manager at GoWP. She’s a marketer and an artist who shares her art on CBCinked.com.
Preferred Pronouns | She/Her
Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.
Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.
Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 134.
Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.
Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Caylin White. Caylin is the growth manager at GoWP. She’s a marketer and an artist who shares her art on Cbcinked.com. Welcome, Caylin. We’re glad to have you today.
Caylin: Thanks so much. I’m so excited to be here.
Liam: We’re excited for you to be here, Caylin Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, please?
Caylin: Absolutely. I am so excited to connect with you guys on this. I work at GoWP, like she mentioned, in growth and marketing. It’s been my world for, I don’t know, years. 12 plus now makes me sound a little ancient. I’m originally from Michigan, but I’m here now at Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve been here for quite some time—10 plus years. And I am a huge fan of WordPress. I think it’s been almost four or five yours now in this space.
One of my favorite things to do is connect with people like you. So I’m excited to kind of dig into this. Tara and I met on the GoWP Niche Agency Owners Facebook group as part of the GoWP world. And then I got a chance to connect with Liam. So I’m excited to talk to you guys today.
Tara: We’re happy to have you here. Can you tell us what growth marketing is? What is that?
Caylin: It’s a new term. Do you like it?
Tara: I do. I mean, I think marketing is about growth. So I’m wondering, is it redundant or what’s it? I’m sure it’s not. So tell us about it.
Caylin: It’s a hybrid term actually. It’s a hybrid term. I don’t know if you realize this, but the word “sales” is starting to leave the vocabulary of selling. So it’s a hybrid term for sale and marketing. It’s a two-part role, which is kind of my favorite part, is you get to do the digital marketing like content and social media and networking and partnerships like this. And then you get to help those leads that come in and help answer the questions and jump on calls with them and have a chance to explain how we can help their agencies grow.
We actually do a lot of calls with people that are just starting out and they are growing beyond their capacity. So it’s kind of fun to hear each agency owner’s story. You’ve got the sales and the marketing side in one, and then really they just created the term growth for all things growing. We want all avenues growing. So marketing and sales and happy customers. I actually really like the term. It’s been, I think, a year or two since they kind of transitioned from the sales and marketing manager, which is what I’ve been or just a marketing manager or sales team lead. Growth is definitely an all-encompassing sort of term for it. I like it.
Tara: Is it replacing sales?
Caylin: I don’t think so. I think it’s just transitioning the way that you sell. For instance, the way that I think of it is you don’t really pitch yourself any longer. It’s not the sort of that door to door salesman style, sales technique any longer. It’s about connection and human to human interaction, being real, and understanding how they think. I think it’s not about sort of the cold call any longer. That kind of sales mentality is just not the way the growth side does things.
One of the things I love about GoWP is they’re always like, you know, you don’t have to sell them what you’re selling. Just explain how we can help. And if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. But it’s so nice to walk into each call that we have with an agency owner and just say, “Let’s take that off your plate for you and you get to go out and do the things that you love.” And so we’ve met a lot of great people along the way. But yeah, that technique is a little transitioned. It’s more about educating people, instead of “this is what we do. This is what we do. This is what we do. I’m selling.” It’s more so just, “Hey, we’re putting out helpful content, we’re educating you on how to do things and hopefully these free resources will help you do what you want to do.”
For instance, just like you guys, you know, owning businesses and working and sending out work, that’s amazing. That’s exactly why we do what we do. And I love it. I love my role. I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s evolved so much and it’s exciting. I actually love the avenue that it’s taking online and in the social world, which is why I love the WordPress community because they’re so awesome online. Anyway.
Liam: I like the idea of growth marketing because really sales at its most efficient is about solving problems, right, solving customers’ problems. And if they don’t have a problem that my business or your business, Tara or GoWP can solve, then we can still support them and be friendly and have a relationship. But there’s no point trying to sell them circle screws for square holes. It’s not going to work. They’re not going to be happy. We’re not going to be happy trying to explain to them how to get the screws into that square hole. So I really like that idea.
Caylin: And then the other half of it is that if it doesn’t work out client relationship, 99% of the time, there are other ways that you can support them, promote them. I’m big in the content world. So writing blogs featuring. And then of course, our fun Facebook groups. Stuff like that. It’s been a nice balance between the two sort of partnerships and client relationships. That’s been fun.
Liam: Yeah. And I think it takes the pressure off sales, not only to hit targets, although targets are important, right? If we don’t have enough sales, we don’t pay people. But also just the “Oh, crikey! She’s calling. That’s going to be a sales call.” If it’s just a good fit, then it’s “What are you going to charge me for that? How does that work with what I’m doing? Do I want to pay for that? Do I think there’s value there?” And we can talk candidly about it. It just makes it a lot more transparent and less pressure.
Liam: I applaud you and your colleague for taking that route. It’s certainly one that I use in my own business.
Caylin: Yes. Awesome. Thank you. I coined it the human-centric approach. I don’t even know if that’s a word. If it is, I might have made about made it up. But we’ve been talking a lot in the Facebook group about profits and how to just help people. Chris Lemma mentioned, if you have to pitch the sale, you’ve already lost it. So if you’re on a call with someone and it’s someone that’s really truly interested, you’re basically just walking through the technical details seeing if you work well. That’s a great way to look at it.
Liam: I really like that. And you know what, guess what, as we’re talking all about this, I realized that I don’t have a very firm grasp on what GoWP does. We’re not a sales show but maybe you can give us a thirty second, one-minute overview of what actually the company does.
Caylin: I know a little bit about GoWP. I’m happy to help. We provide white label WordPress services. Basically, our motto is we just want to help grow agencies. Things that they don’t want to do: website maintenance, content edits. We just offered our new page build service, which is really exciting and very popular building out landing pages.
The thing I love about the team is that they’re super communicative. I’ve never been with a team so much that just communicates about whatever it may be. Like, we need to help this guy, we have a new client or we want to send out mugs, or whatever it is to make us happy. The team is…this is why it works so well is because they have such great communication. That’s what we do.
Our team is growing by the day. We’ve got new hires, I think one this weekend, one last week. So that’s really exciting to me. Of course, I love all things growth. So that helps, but that’s what we do. Emily, our director of growth, runs the Niche Agency Owners Facebook group, which is taking off as well. We have a lot of great members there. Where else are we? I think that’s where we’re at, and that’s what we do.
Tara: How many people are at GoWP now?
Caylin: Total, I think we’re almost at 15. Somewhere around there. It’s growing every day.
Tara: That’s good. Let’s take a step backward and talk about your path and your background, and how you ended up doing what you’re doing, both in WordPress and in marketing in GoWP.
Caylin: That is about a three-hour phone call.
Tara: Give us the short version.
Caylin: I’m just kidding. My adventure is long, has had many different paths. I’m sort of a hobbit when it comes to adventuring. But basically what happened was, I became…I’m from a family of artists. My mom was an art teacher; my dad wrote for all these different publications. So art is in our family. And with art comes creativity and comes selling online and comes learning about marketing and learning about sales. And so it naturally kind of just drove me to that.
About 10 years ago, I opened my own WordPress site on my own with my own little knowledge, which was none at that time, and created CBC Inked—and I create positive affirmations for daily wellness. So they’re basically drawings of positive ways to start your day. That evolved and brought me more to the digital marketing side where I kicked off this journey of content marketing and social media marketing.
All along that path, it was various companies, but all along that path, WordPress was sort of there. It always was a part of what I did, and what I shared and things like that. But the types of roles that I’ve had have all been wonderful roles and blessed to work for the people that I have. Honestly, each role has taught me something thing that brought me to where I am. So I love that and I love the people that I’ve worked with.
But I had a chance to kind of transition into software maybe about five or six years ago. You don’t know this about me but I am a huge nerd when it comes to learning new software, learning a new skill, or trade online like learning integrations and all that fun data. And so, I started to kind of certify myself, like get into WordPress myself and teach myself and take the courses. I got content marketing certified with HubSpot, which was a journey over three or four years. So very fun for me along the way.
Then I was able to sort of mesh the two together with GoWP. I went to a few WordCamps, I met Brad, we talked about all these different ways that we were growing, and I loved the way that the team works. And so the stars aligned and here we are. But it was funny, I was telling, you know, in the Facebook group about, I basically approached Brad and I was like, “I love what you guys are doing here. I would love to join the team.” I didn’t go through any of the application process the way you’re supposed to do it. I didn’t do any of that. And they basically created a role because they were growing so much, and they needed help with both marketing and sales. And so I thought that was really amazing to sort of fit in there. But that’s been my journey.
I get to paint and draw on the weekends and I get to play with WordPress and help agencies grow on the weekdays. And somewhere in there I sit playing with my dog and going outside and watching fun stuff. That’s sort of been my path. There’s much more in there, the ups and the downs, but like I said, that’s a three-hour podcast.
Tara: I have a background before coming to WordPress in artistic stuff as well and marketing too. Do you enjoy I guess the coding and that type of thing with WordPress? You said you like digging into technology and tools. But then I find sometimes artists are very hesitant to get into the technical stuff and so they leave that to others. And me, as an artistic minded person, I just love CSS. I’m using that to change the way things look So talk a little bit about the marriage of those two ideas.
Caylin: That’s so funny. I agree with you. It evolved for me. At first, I was very like, “Oh, I don’t understand this. It’s like the matrix.” And then once you start to grasp the small things and it starts to make sense, I think that’s why I like it. It’s like a puzzle. I’m a big gamer. My husband and I are big video gamers. And the thing I love about playing video games is solving the puzzle. It’s like you look at something you’re like, “I want to figure out how this works. And I want to do it myself without looking at it.” So it’s been an interesting journey.
I am nowhere near even medium expertise. I am just starting out in the code world. Like, I can read some HTML and I can understand what people are sort of saying and manipulate it a bit. But that’s sort of on my bucket list to get better and better at. I also love learning new software like the tools that I use for productivity and marketing every day. Like that saves me minutes. Anytime I can cut time off my day by loopholes and hotkeys, I’m all about that. So those are fun things to do, too. But I am like you and my technical brain. There must be a certain creativity evolving.
Liam: I’ll save Tara the effort. Can you talk a little bit about the tools and the tips that you use, the tricks that you use? Because she’s a big tools guru.
Tara: Thank you, Liam. You’re going to regret getting us started down that path.
Caylin: Right. I’m compiling a list of them right now because honestly, they’ve saved me, oh my gosh, so much time. So, 100% the ones that I use every single day are TextExpander. Are you familiar with it? It’s an amazing tool. I love the company too. I met them at a WordCamp. Fantastic. We use Notion—is a piece of software for internal GoWP. Complete organizational tool. You can collaborate, communicate, have whiteboard sessions with like Nero boards. It’s truly amazing.
Obviously, there’s small graphics things that I use. To me, my calendar and my integrations from whether it be an email or whatever it needs to be, if it doesn’t go in my calendar, it doesn’t happen in my life. So I take the time to filter through my Gmail messages with all of the things and the different avenues. So they all have their own folders, they all have their own kind of reminders and tasks associated. I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a new task feature on Macs that you can set up for your day. Kind of like those reminders that go off in your computer. I know they can be annoying, but they save your life sometimes. So calendars for sure.
Other software that I use, honestly, we do a lot of Buffer. Buffer saves me so much time with social media automation. And Canva is our quick and easy branding graphics tool. Those are sort of the ones that are quick and easy. But TextExpander saves me a lot because we do a lot of repeat typing throughout the day social posts and like landing pages and going back and forth in the WordPress admin panel. So much, much appreciative of their company.
I’m sure that there are others. I was actually thinking of putting together a blog post on all the productivity tools. We just did a webinar or a workshop with James Rose from Content Snare, and I was furiously writing notes because he was recommending so many good ones.
Tara: Yeah, he has a lot of good ones.
Caylin: I’ll share that with you guys for sure. Thanks.
Tara: Thanks. I have a website where I have a list of all the tools. I used to use TextExpander but then I’m also a Mac user, and then I was already using Alfred. Alfred added snippets which are like TextExpander so then I didn’t have to have two tools. Because Alfred is also amazing if you don’t know that.
Caylin: It is a free tool?
Tara: You pay for it but it’s not that much. It’s like $100 a year. But it has snippets in it but it also does other things. I don’t even scratch the surface of what all it does.
Caylin: It saves you so much time.
Tara: Yes. I know when you’re on another device that doesn’t have it—I mean, just to type my email address, I just have to type three letters and it pops in, that type of stuff—you realize how spoiled you are.
Caylin: Very true.
Tara: We ask our guests about success, Caylin, and how they define it and what it means to them. Can you talk to us a little bit about your definition of success?
Caylin: Sure. Big word. It’s a big term. I don’t even know if I’ve hit it yet. I’ll let you know when I do. Because I kind of think it’s an everyday…sort of, every day is different. Like your definition of success is different every day. I think you evolve with it. For me, a successful day goal, whether that be now or in the future is, did I put my best effort in to make it happen? Did I just talk about it or did I actually do it? Did I actually put those tasks in action? Did I actually schedule the call? Did I actually publish a post? Did I actually sell the piece? Whatever it means to me, did I actually do it or did I just talk about it and then didn’t do it? So, to me, every day it’s getting things done.
My sticky notes are always full with tasks. And I don’t know if you guys do this, you probably don’t. It’s a super nerd alert. I make little boxes around next to my task list and I literally, physically check them off. Yeah, I physically have to check them off and in my brain, there’s something that’s like, “Yay.” Just a little celebration of those wins. That’s success to me is like okay, every day you put your all in, you’re either talked about it, or you did it. That’s what I’ve been working on.
Liam: I like that. In a world of lists and checklists, and success being really getting through that to-do list or being reasonable, how do you deal with when you didn’t, in your definition, win and maybe you did slack off and not because you’re tired or you’re exhausted or there’s a family something else but you, on a scale of 1 to 10, you pulled a 6. I’m not pointing at you in a negative way, I do the same. How do you cope with that? What’s your list kind of look like? What does that mean for, Caylin?
Caylin: What a great question. And that’s every day probably. I mean, do you really check everything off every single day? No. But realistically, you made an attempt. For me, I attempted the Pomodoro Technique. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the Pomodoro Journal. It’s basically one page, you literally only can put five things on there. My problem, and I know this about myself, is that I put 95 things on my list per day instead of the five Pomodoro Technique that you’re supposed to.
So I then have a secondary list over here. These are the ones that you have to get done today, and then you have your other big worldly list. I can’t tell you how much stock I have in sticky notes. I literally have an entire cartridge there. But that’s the way that I do it is I wake up, I’m like, “All right. I dialed down my big list into my little list, get it down to the five.” And if I haven’t checked off the five I’m just being lazy at that point. At that point, I got to kick it up into gear.
And every day at the end of the day, you can’t get mad at yourself if you haven’t done it. That took me years to do. Especially working remotely, that took me years to say, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t done with my list. I’m going to have to work through dinner. I’m going to have to work this weekend.” All of that. You can’t really do that. You need to be able to manage what you have on the shortlist, unplug, understand that it’s going to get done and move forward. That’s been a work in progress for sure.
Tara: I can relate to all of that. So you were you already working remotely before COVID happened?
Caylin: I was, for about five years now, which I feel very blessed and very lucky to have had that. I feel very grateful to have still had work during that time. And it felt not that unnatural.
Tara: Yeah it’s not that different. Your productivity approach hasn’t changed because of the shutdown.
Caylin: Well, it’s been harder to focus and harder to do it. But these connections are literally…I don’t know. Liam, I might have told you this already, but these are what kind of kept me going because it was like, we started the happiness hour and we got to connect and I got to get on Michelle’s WP Coffee Talk podcast. That productivity, that being able to connect with people at that time, I think literally was what kind of got me through on a productive level for sure. So that sort of focused and help. I don’t know if you guys experienced the same thing, but you kind of get swept away in it. And you know, reconnecting with people online has been a lifesaver.
Tara: I found, we were saying before this that I kind of now just tune out all the Zoom stuff because they’re so many. And so, I can’t even put them all on my schedule because it’s just too much. I find I’ve actually been doing less of the sort of group things on Zoom. But what’s interesting from a personal standpoint for me is I found that I’ve been reaching out to longtime connections. And I’ve read this too. It’s like nostalgia or comfort or something to center yourself in who you are in your history. So reaching out to college friends in high school friends. And that type of thing has been more of my focus on connection than actually WordPress groups.
Caylin: Absolutely. The best. Those are the best connections for sure. I was going to say that might be one of the nice things that to come out of this, you know, is just the reconnect. Definitely important at this time for sure. And I’m feeling sort of that we’re coming out into a nice place. We all need to make some changes. I think it’s going to be a nice avenue for us. Everybody’s just trying harder and we’re all sort of coming together. It’s kind of hopeful. We’ll put some hope out there.
Liam: Well, we certainly need some hope. As we’re recording this, many states are actively relaxing stay at home orders and expect that a number of us are wondering what the health effects are those going to be as excited as we are to get back out in public and help the economy, particularly retail and hospitality industries.
Caylin, I want to ask you about advice. I want to ask you one of our signature questions and it’s around advice at youth been given or you’ve received or you’ve encountered maybe in a book or on a sign or in a poem or somebody shared with you? What’s been a big piece of advice that you’ve adopted and successfully implemented in your own life?
Caylin: That’s a good question. Another big question. This might be kind of funny, but I had a mentor in college. And also my husband has told me this many times, but the gist is one word. Just listen. Because I am a passionate person. Growing up my family was always like, “Caylin, you’re too loud. You’re talking too much.” I got excessive socialization on my report card, all these fun things where I just “brah, my personality.”
And the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is to listen. To literally just slow down and listen. That has been something I’ve been kind of working on myself professionally personally. And also to just listen to myself too. You know, all three. It’s definitely been something that I think has helped me not only with just hearing, observing but my reactions to things and slowly processing. As an Italian passionate creative, you just kind of want to “brah, I changed the world.” So you need to listen.
Tara: That’s great advice. Also as an Italian passionate, artistic person, creative person, I have that problem too. Do you catch yourself not listening and remind yourself of that? Because I don’t think I’ve heard of the term “excessive socialization”
Liam: Is it like anti-social distancing or something like that?
Tara: I find that fascinating. As somebody who’s diagnosed with that, is that by your fourth grade teacher? It must not necessarily come naturally. It probably comes naturally to most of us to listen. And I think now we’re spending a lot more time thinking about that word “listen.” I know I am and I find it very hard. Especially when you get passionate, and when you get in a heated conversation, you get excited. I interrupt people and that type of thing. Do you have a tip on how to remind yourself of that in the moment and not after when you realize that you weren’t listening?
Caylin: When you’ve already messed up. It’s so hard. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, honestly. And working on myself, it’s so hard. And it’s a combination of things. There’s no one answer to that. To me, the biggest thing I think that’s helped me is my meditation app, my Calm app. And not really for the meditation. I mean, I love meditation. It’s so hard. I’ve never mastered it. But there’s a breathing exercise on there that it’s just time and tones. I’ve done it for a few years, and I’ve used the process of implementing. Because meditation is not supposed to be on the time when you’re on the apps doing it. That’s a training for you to actually incorporate it into your day on a daily minute by minute basis.
So I’ve been using their techniques and incorporating them into my conversation. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue. And I have literally typed things out, and then just deleted them. I read things three times, I take out all the exclamation points. How many exclamation points can I possibly have? Take out all this excessive noise. I dial it down to the most simplest thing in my brain before I speak and on my emails and chats. I literally just take a beat. I take a step second and I just…it’s the hardest thing ever.
But the breathing thing, I kind of go back to that where it’s like you’re not allowed to respond until after you take a breath or something. There’s some sort of like fun rule where you listen, and then you you’re not allowed to respond until you’ve taken a breath. And it’s this weird silence where you’re going to want to do it and you’re going to want to react. But that forces your brain to just kind of put the information together that you need but not going to react poorly. I’ve been working on that, and I’m not good at it. I’m still trying but the hardest part is just not bursting with that passion. But I definitely recommend that app. I’ve got Calm and Headspace but I think Calm is the best one.
Tara: I have Headspace and I don’t use it very often.
Caylin: Headspace is different. It’s more of like a wake-up. And they do a lot of like exercises, like brain things. Calm applies it to your life. Those are I guess the two differences. To me, I like an application process. I can always lay with headphones in bed and listen to a meditation app, but if it trains you how to put it into your life and your schedule and when you need it, that’s kind of what helps me.
Tara: Thanks for sharing that. That’s great advice.
Liam: I feel like I could listen to this conversation all day long. I think there’s a lot to unpack there. As Tara kind of touched on a little bit, certainly in an era in the United States anyway where there’s a lot of conversations going on around social justice and equality and racism and the value of black lives in American society that many of us are questioning our ability to listen in the first place and trying to develop that skill set. So thank you very much for flagging that up and for joining us today.
Caylin: Absolutely. So great to connect with you guys on this. I didn’t get a chance to hear much about you guys. I’ve been following you so long. I’d love to ask you a question. I heard that was allowed, right?
Tara: People have done that before, though I’m getting a little bit nervous.
Caylin: I promise.
Liam: We’ve got to get this out if we need to.
Tara: That’s true.
Caylin: I just wondered, you know, now that you know a little bit about me and my journey, in both WordPress and artistically and you, Tara seems like a much like me, what advice do you have for me going into this next phase of my life. I’m excited to kick start more art for people and I’m excited to grow in the WordPress community. What advice do you have for someone like me where I’m at now?
Tara: Wow. I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that question. I mean, it sounds like you have a lot of good things going on and the practices that you’re bringing into your life from a productivity standpoint are really important. You’ve mentioned that the path that you took to not beat yourself up for not getting everything done. So I think being kind to yourself sounds like something that you’re working on. So I would recommend that. And making sure that you do develop a habit, a practice of not working too much. I wish I could take my own advice in that regard, but you have your art. And so keep that because it’s easy. I used to do a lot more of that and now I don’t anymore. And I don’t really necessarily miss it, but it’s because I can’t remember it. Don’t let it go. I guess that’d be my advice to you.
Caylin: Great advice. And I promise I will keep creative.
Liam: Hold on, Tara. Hold on.
Caylin: She’s qualified. She’s qualified.
Liam: I think she is. I think she is. I concur. All righty. Well, on that note, shall we call it a day here? But before we do say goodbye, actually, Caylin, let me catch myself and ask, where can people find you online to connect with you?
Caylin: Sure. And I would love that. My work is at GoWP Support on all social. My personal is at CBC Inked on all social or CBCInked.com. I’m happy to connect with you guys. This was awesome.
Tara: Yeah. Thank you so much. Great to chat with you.
Caylin: Thanks for having me.
Liam: Thanks, Caylin.
Caylin: All right. Take care.
Liam: Bye for now.
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