This is the story of how I got to where I am today, running businesses, working with clients and enjoying freedom!
All Great Stories Start in High School
When I was in high school I knew I never wanted to work a traditional 9-5. I wanted flexibility and creative options. I wanted to be in control of who I work with and I didn’t want to waste time everyday counting down until 5pm.
So what did that mean in the early 2000’s?
Starting a blog of course!
I still remember the first time I ran across a blog was on a vacation visiting my family in Iowa and I found abeautifulmess.com.
It was full of color, DIY projects and so much I wanted to create!
I became obsessed with what I could make and share online.
That’s when I signed up for a free blogger account (doesn’t even exist anymore) and started designing the website. Themes were just becoming a thing so I didn’t have one, I created one.
It was terrible, but not to teenage Ashley.
The College Years
Fast forward through college I used pinterest and I blogged to express my creativity. I did it more for myself than others. I even shifted and started an online Christian girls magazine which you can still check out here: createdmag.com
I learned SO much through trying things and writing and creating consistently.
My dad was so proud of me. One year for Easter I wrote a poem on the resurrection. My dad shared it with his friends and one of them owned a 50’s themed dinner.
My First Client
He was impressed with my writing and creative skills. He offered me a job running the social media for his restaurant. It was mostly remote which was perfect.
But I also had another dream I wanted to pursue, full time mission work.
After I graduated college I moved to Ukraine. While I was there I kept the social media client and kept growing my online skills until I moved back to the US.
I jumped back into pursuing my next step. I worked as an admin person for my dad’s company while managing two local business owners’ social media presence.
I learned that was NOT for me. I hate the repetitive nature of it!
So I was thinking of what skills I had that could be project based with an end date and I came to web design. I had designed my own blogs over the years growing in my knowledge of platforms and preferring WordPress.
I then created a really cheap listing on etsy for web design.
One person bought it and she was the sweetest! She was a creative mom who wanted to grow her business and she led me to other women in her business mastermind that needed websites too.
Through those connections I have clients I still work with 3 years later.
I’ve learned that referrals are the BEST way to grow and that requires an AMAZING client experience.
I also have a ton of information about systems, softwares and strategies so I’ve learned to sell design and serve with strategy.
COVID Messed Everything Up
My business shifted and changed with COVID as did everyones so I started working part time at a few jobs.
I wanted to be doing my business full time but I just didn’t have the revenue so I started working at a church job that actually led to another church job.
I was the mission’s director at my church. This meant I led trainings, fundraisers, a team, connected with missionaries and grew in my knowledge of a business structure.
Those skills equipped me to be a better entrepreneur.
In this crazy busy season, I met my husband and after a 13 months we got married. We knew God was calling us to another place so he had been applying for jobs.
He was offered a position in Clear Lake, Iowa so we packed up a too big Uhaul and drove to the Midwest. Let me just mention that the Midwest is COMPLETELY different than the South.
Here I’ve had space to heal, dream and pursue my business full time. I even opened a bookstore, which is a longtime dream of mine out of a mobile trailer!
It’s been a season of change, growth and adjustments as I’ve developed more as an entrepreneur and I am so excited you actually read all the story!
It’s been over 3 years and my income is not where I want it to be but its better than where I started.
Know that everyone’s story is different, people lie on social media and claim their fame came overnight but it didn’t. It takes learning, years of experiences, making mistakes and more to reach your goals.
I want to hear your story! Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you got to this point in your life!