How I Started My Small Business

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Business

After I left the U.S. Marine Corps in 2015, I fumbled around for about a year and a half trying to gain my new footing as a free man…I mean, civilian.

Transitioning from the military back into civilian life can be difficult as a former enlistee. You don’t have anyone telling you what to do, where to be at what time, and holding the fear of punishment over you in a passive-aggressive manner all the time.

I was a bugler in “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, but make no mistake: life as a military musician in the USMC is just as stressful, and unfortunately you don’t gain any direction or real-world skills after you leave active duty service.

Figuring It Out

During the period of time between my discharge from active duty and starting Cassus Media in August 2017, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I moved back to my home town of Altoona, PA and took a job with a cell tower construction company.

That lasted for maybe a month. Then I quit and moved to Virginia.

After struggling financially for about three months in VA, I decided to move back to PA, and ended up in a relationship. I was a stepfather to an awesome little boy for about three years, and during this time I was able to finally gain some concrete direction for my life.

Reconnecting With My Passions

During the years of 2015 to 2017, my path at the time led me to finish my bachelor’s degree at the Berklee College of Music through their online music production course. This allowed me to work a full-time job and finish school.

I fell back in love with producing and composing music, and realized that I needed a website. I found that I was very, VERY good at this (at least in my own opinion), and the visual arts overall to include graphic design and video editing.

Thus, I started forming the idea that perhaps I wanted to go into marketing, since people would pay me to be creative – a need that I didn’t know I had.

Not According To Plan

Well as it turns out, what ideas may pop into our minds more often than not misalign with reality.

I applied to dozens and dozens of marketing positions across the U.S. Not many employers got back to me, and those who did said “no thank you”.

Weird, I thought. Marketing can’t be that difficult to find work in.

What I didn’t know what that apparently, I needed a degree in marketing, taught by those who have never worked a marketing role in their entire lives and business professors who wouldn’t know how to sell fire to an Eskimo.

Yep. Very weird.

Carving My Own Path

Through my online journey of creative discovery, I found a tribe of individuals (quite literally called “Vetpreneur Tribe”) that was a collection of entrepreneurial military veterans.

My brothers and sisters and arms inspired me to start my own business and truly take control of my own destiny. MY path. MY choices. No boss, just me, my skills, and the customer’s satisfaction.

So, on August 14, 2017 I filed Cassus Media LLC as a legal entity with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Building A Business

At this point, I starting learning how to actually earn a living with my newly-established business.

I figured I would need customers – I preferred to call them “clients” since I’d be working with them on an ongoing basis – so I researched how to do approach new clients with what I do.

I made a few poor choices in the beginning – a bad partnership here, taking unneeded business loans there – but after about a year of learning the ropes of business ownership, I finally understood the process and my role in others’ lives.

I was the guy who made things happen, not just look good.

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Paul Cassarly is a professional musician, marketer, and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. He established Cassus Media | Digital Marketing Solutions™ in 2017 with a mission to help small and mid-sized businesses grow their business online.

Paul has been playing the trumpet since 2001, and served in “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps in Washington, D.C. After leaving active duty in 2015, Paul earned his Bachelors of Music Production from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in 2019.