Business Success


  • Written by Ashley Ann

I believe in multiple revenue streams, even if you don't want to be a full-time entrepreneur. Now let me say this. I don't like the narrative that people try to spin that if you're not an entrepreneur or a small business owner, then you're trash or that you're not going to be successful. I do not believe that everyone is cut out to own a business (that's real life, and it is what it is.) Finally, I don't believe that you have to own a business to fulfill your purpose or to be happy in life. That's not true. There are tons of people, like teachers, who don't own businesses, and they are definitely fulfilling their purposes. Honestly, if we didn't have teachers, many of us wouldn't be here. Look at all the doctors, nurses, police officers, lawyers, and people who have a strong desire to save, support, help, and serve people. What I believe, especially if you live in America, (I can't say this for all the other countries.) I live in America, but I believe you need multiple revenue sources if you live in America. I absolutely positively believe that.

So if you've got a nine to five, I feel like you need to figure out how to create another revenue stream for yourself. This is where I think it's a beautiful time for us to be alive because of social media, especially with apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and LinkedIn. More specifically, Instagram and Facebook, and YouTube. They make it really easy to generate income for being yourself.

You can generate revenue based on your own opinion or interest that you have. You can also generate revenue based on your incomes, gifts, talents, and things you like to do, like your hobbies. I also feel like if you're going to spend time on social media, which many of us are spending at least an hour a day on, why not make money with the platform? You most definitely can make money with your hobby because some of you guys are out here trying to make a hundred thousand dollars in a year. How many of you would be super happy if you can make an extra thousand dollars a month? How many of you would be happy with just the extra two or $3,000 a month? Not even looking to be ballin' out of control, right? So, if you took the money you make in your nine to five job and you had an extra $2000 or $3,000 a month coming in for many of you guys, it would put you in a position where you could buy a home or pay your home off. It would even put you in a position where you would be able to retire comfortably because now you could put up an extra thousand dollars every month. For some of you, it would ensure that you could build a college fund for your kids, right? Others of you guys, it would help you get out of debt, right? Then, once you paid off all your credit card debt and student loans, now you have money to travel with.

So everyone wants different things in life. For some of you, it would enable you to work part-time and be able to spend more time with your kids or your husband or your wife, things like that. Everyone has a different quality of life and different standards. They're striving because everyone does not want to live in a mansion and have five Ferrari's and fly private jets all over the world. All of us have different ideas of what our dream life is or what we want to create. The idea is to create financial stability and security.

Mistake #1 - I spent a lot of time on it, but it was not reading. You have got to learn to read on these platforms. I know we're used to information being quick and just being able to skim. Stop skimming, and read to see what's going on because some of you miss opportunities to connect with people. You are missing opportunities to grow your business. You are missing opportunities for partnership, and finally, you are missing opportunities to make sales because you're not willing to read what others are telling you. Remember, you sell by listening, you sell by listening, you sell by listening, sell-by listening, and that includes reading what people write to you.

Mistake #2 - I see people making this mistake out here in the streets often; when it comes to making money online, it is having very poor quality content. Now, who determines if your content is good quality or poor quality, you ask. It's your audience, and you can look and see how they engage with it. If they talk to you, if they ask you questions, then you have some great content. For instance, if you, hey, click the link and check out our latest blog posts and you go and look, and all of a sudden you had 500 visitors to your blog that day, then guess what? You have good engagement, and you have influence. So that means if you were to ask them to check out a product or service or an event that's for sale, then guess what? They are more likely to do that than not. We get good quality content to start asking questions about how this information can help my audience. Think about things like, is it going to make them laugh, make them think, make them feel good, or answer a question for them

In other words, is it, is it going to explain something to them, give them the steps to do something, or show them how to do something? Start thinking about how this is going to help them, save them time or save them money. Anything that you can think of will help your audience that they will find beneficial. Remember, everything doesn't have to be educationally based. So if you are a comedian or your commentary makes people laugh, or they say things like, "I love talking to you," because they feel like you're their friend. Maybe you're honest with them and adding value to their lives, but by giving your commentary in your opinions and delivering it in the way that they like to receive that from you, this is valuable content.

Don't think if you're not educating someone or giving someone the steps to something that your content is not valuable because that's not true. If you fulfill a need, create a safe space, hosting an area where people feel like they can share and not being judged. Those sorts of things create value. If you're discussing topics, they want to discuss or want to hear about, that's value-added content. Someone else may think it's silly, but your audience loves it. You hear them say things like, "Oh, I couldn't wait to hear what you were going to say about XYZ." or "Tell me more about this week's episode of love and hip hop" Did you know that there are people on Instagram who have blown up, and that's all they do is sit and give commentary on television shows.

I don't know if anyone knows who Don Eva is on YouTube, but Funky Don started on YouTube, and he would have this character, who would always be calling his friend Nessa on the phone. He would put on these crazy wigs lipstick, and he would get on to give commentary over all of the ratchet TV shows, award shows, and all of that based on his opinion. He soon caught the eyes and ears of Candy, and then they put them under contract. So at the end of the day, his content was valuable because his audience wanted to know his opinion or his thoughts. Does that make sense?

So when it gets to valuable content, don't feel like you're not educating or teaching or giving the steps on how to do something that your content is not valuable. People like his content and his commentary because it was a lot of the same thoughts and the opinions that they had themselves. They also liked it because he gave them reasons to laugh. So this meant that he built a community where other people that follow those programs could come and check out what he had going on. That said, just keep your mind on valuable content that your audience likes to consume. How do you know what they like to consume? You would look at your engagement and results when you ask them to do things and go from there on what types of things you will offer them.

Mistake #3 - I see people making this costly mistake all the time, and it's what will tell you if your content is valuable. Many of you are not using your insights. Your insights will tell you what time of day your users are most active, who are male and female, and most of all, which content people really found helpful and valuable. I personally like to look and see how many people saved my posts. For example, when I put out something on a strategy or technique like 10 steps to making a thousand dollars this week and from our list, with those steps and those slide decks. If I see that 3,900 people liked it, and then I go back though, and I see 4,100 people saved it for me, then I know that I knocked it out of the park. It also shows me that the information was really valuable to people. It was valuable to the point that they wanted to save it to go back and reference it. That's how I figured out what made sense for my audience and why I'm always doing five reasons for this or four ways for that. I look at my analytics, or I will look at the posts that I had made over a week, and I will see which ones got the most responses. So overall, your analytics will tell you what people are engaging the most with, and they will help you figure out what time to post and what type of content your people on your page are really feeling.

Mistake #4 - I see people making this common mistake all the time, and that is you guys not leveraging your leaders and competitors that are already in the marketplace. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Now some of you guys, God will give you an idea, reinvent the wheel, or some new way to do something. However, for most of us, you don't have to look at that. You could just look in the environment and see what's working right now. So this is where I tell my audience to look up complimentary pages. I tell you guys to look at influencers, leaders, and industry pages to get examples from.

While I tell you to go and look at your competitors' pages, it's not because you want to try and steal and see what they're doing, but you're looking to see what works for that industry. For example, if you want to know what time to post, go and turn on notifications on these pages to see what goes on and when so that you can see what time their page is popping. People will also often tell me that their follower count is too low to look at your insights right now. In that case, we're going to go and see what's happening on those pages to get examples of what people are into on similar pages to yours. For the world of people that you want to get in front of and see what types of images they like, ask yourself what type of colors they're into, what type of articles do they like to read, what type of content do they like to consume, do they like video, images. Also, think of things like do they like some type of hybrid or one by one. For example, do what they really like or respond to, like IGTV videos. From there, you start collecting data for yourself, and you know what to put out there.

Mistake #5 - Not using quotes is something I see lots of you guys not doing. Believe it or not, you can find quotes on Google. There are also some apps you can download, and they will give you random quotes, and every day, it will give you a daily quote. To get more specific, though, you can also say, I want to find quotes about flowers, but you can find quotes about anything.

Mistake #6 - Another common mistake that I see people making is copying someone else's voice. I know it is tempting to change up your style, change up your swag, or move into something you see someone else succeeding. I also know it is especially hard when you look around. You see people winning, but don't let that copycat spirit consume you because when you're interacting with people on social media, especially when using a hybrid of mediums for your content. Sometimes you're going to be on videos, posting on your timeline, commenting, and using polls.

Other times you're going to be doing the stories or live streams. There are different ways to interact and engage with people, so when you start to copy someone else's voice, you suddenly lose your thought process, and you lose your opinion. Then it's tough for you to connect with people. So some of you guys are having a difficult time because, every other week or every three months, you have a whole different voice because you're trying to pick up what this or that person is using. Remember that you don't have to mimic someone else's energy. You don't have to mimic their words. You don't have to mimic the way that they look. You don't have to change anything about yourself. Does that make sense? At the end of the day, whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever your voice is, is your competitive advantage.

My cousin and I were at the Verizon arena for an event one night, and this girl that I went to college with shouted out to her. Long story short, I had not turned around, but she ended up telling me that she recognized me by my hair when she was behind me before I even said hello. She said, "I knew it was you because of the hair." There are also so many people that troll me online because of my hair. I don't listen to them, in any case. When I meet people in person all the time, they're always telling me things like, "Oh, your hair is beautiful," and it's also one of the first things people compliment me on. I've also gotten all kinds of jobs and gigs because of my hair. It makes it easy to remember me. For example, when I follow up with someone that I want to work with after I've networked at an event, I always say, "Hey, my name is Ashley Ann, and we met at such and such. I'm the girl with the big hair." Once I say that people instantaneously know who I am. So when I see many people trying to change themselves because they want to fit into the model that they see someone else in, how someone looks, how they dress, how they speak or what they wear makes them stand out, I say, be yourself. That's right, baby, be you!

I've had some of you guys tell me things like, "Oh, I'm afraid to put it on, I'm afraid to take a selfie because I have a gap or I'm too dark, or my name is ghetto." I have about four clients who have stage names because they feel like their regular name is inferior, which I'm always telling them, your regular name is beautiful. The name your parents gave you this gorgeous name, and it's easier for people to remember. You're really unique so roll with it. I'm not saying that there's no room for improvement because we are trying to become the best version of ourselves that we can be for sure. I'm always working on trying to improve and elevate and all of that good stuff, but at the end of the day, I am who I am, and I'm going to improve when I want to improve or change, but it will be when I want to change something.

So, all those things that people have always made fun of me about have been the very things that have made me stand out and also made me extremely successful.

I had this guy; he used to date. He always used to make fun of the way that I laugh. He would say things like, "Oh, your laugh is obnoxious." Or, "Your laugh is loud; you've got an ugly laugh." Saying that to me all the time. I even started getting self-conscious about how it sounded when I laughed, and I would find myself trying to change it and cover my mouth and all sorts of stuff. Then one day, I just got over him. I was like, whatever, bro! We had another conversation about tattoos. (I don't have any tattoos, you guys), but this guy had tattoos, very huge, massive tattoos. He had so many negative things to say about women with tattoos, which I thought was very hypocritical because here you are with tattoos and looking down on these women and other men who have tattoos because somehow you're low grade, but he had tattoos! I know that sounds crazy. But those conversations made me think, "Oh man, I'm over it, and he's crazy."

So anyway, long story long, I resumed my regular laugh, and you guys tell me this all the time that it's something they notice about me in my live streams. My laugh has helped me. I have a very recognizable laugh and voice. I even have some of your husbands come up to me in public after they hear me laugh or have a conversation (no matter where I'm at in the United States or when I'm in Canada) or if it's somewhere. There's someone else there, and they know who I am. People will come up and say, "Oh my God, you're Ashley Ann!" They say things like, "can I have a picture, can I buy a drink, my wife listens to you all the time! Or I listen to you, I started this company because of you," and so on. So at the end of the day, anything about you, most of the time that you're insecure about, or that someone tries to pick out about you, for the most part, is the thing that's going to help set you apart and make you memorable. It's going to be one of the things that help people connect to you.

So, I'm just telling you guys that you don't have to copy someone else's voice at the end of the day. Some people think I'm annoying. Some people think I'm too much. They will say, "Oh, she is so extra," "Oh, she is so ghetto," "Oh, she is.. this and this and that." So they may really love your conservative tone. They may like your calmness. Some people don't like the fact that I get people together. They say things like, "Ooh, Chilleee, she's getting people together." So it's this, and I don't like all that, but that's just it, I'm not for you. I'm for the people that do like it. Blink, blink, blink!

You deliver that content and that information to them and only the way that you can. Does that make sense? So if you are for me, you have said, you came for the extras and the blink, blink, blink, and that's real. So don't make the mistake of trying to copy someone else's voice. You be you and do what you need to do to deliver your content the way you need to do it.

We're innovative, we're strategic about it, and you know, we're going to learn the best times, the best days, and what type of content people want to consume, but you can give it in your own voice.

You can build your business the way you want to build your business. You can build your income stream the way you want to build your income stream. There's a lot of crazy stuff about social media, but my favorite thing about social media is the fact that you can be who you want to be. You don't have to conform to all of these rules that were there in the past that would force you to have to depend upon someone else for you to be able to build a platform. That no longer applies.

Mistake #7 - People are not putting together some type of business model or a system in place. So, what many people will do is fall into, I call it the "selfie trap" because they have seen so many people on Instagram get very popular from posting. I'm going just to keep it funky, posts and thot shots, or posting really outrageous or controversial content, and they've seen others success in reactions, commentary, likes, and the shares that people get from it. Sometimes that's the path that people take, but there is no model or structure. A prime example (and this is not to clown anyone, it is just an observation from the industry): There are many other ladies who want to coach women to success. There are lots of other women who have titles like social media, strategist, branding, developers, business coaches, startup coaches, things like that. However, when you go look down their pages, it's pretty much just selfies of them. Right? Then sometimes, they are overtly sexy, which there's nothing wrong with being sexy. I mean, I think I'm a sexy girl. I don't look all sexy right now, but I'm saying I can give it to you when I need to, and I'm also not trying to have booty all over on my page.

Alternatively, it could be all about materialistic stuff. Now don't get me wrong, I have pictures with my Louis V bag, my Balmain sweatshirt, cute pictures of me with my Fendi bag and my Fendi shoes and stuff like that, and there's nothing wrong with posting stuff like that every now and then that's light because that's called lifestyle marketing. But when you see, sometimes people get lost in it, and they're not really giving any actual content or value to the audience, and then they'll slide inside of my inbox and say things like, "Ashley Ann, I would like a session with you, I see you making money. I see your clients making money, and I see your clients going escapes, making money. I see all these people you're working with making all this money, and you know, I should be making the same amount of money, or I should be making more (because sometimes they do have larger followings), and I don't understand what I'm doing, what I'm doing wrong?" Maybe you can help me with it etc." Well, first of all, if you're here to empower women or encourage women or help women heal or find themselves or build their businesses or make money or whatever it is that you're helping women with, you have to be the type of person that a woman would want to relate. Right? You have to be the type of woman that a woman would want to talk to. You have to be the type of woman that a woman would want to work with. I'm just telling the truth, and some people don't want to hear it. Also, if you're helping me heal or helping me build a business, or helping me with time management or helping me be with accountability or what you're helping me with, I should see that up and down your timeline. I should see that in your stories. I shouldn't just see pictures of you posed upright in your super sexy outfits or your designer stuff all down the timeline.

So whenever you post, yes, you may get several likes, or you may get a lot of emojis, but overall, you're not making sales. You're not making sales because you didn't have a clear plan or model. Instead, you fell into the trap of lifestyle marketing or the thot shot, and you fell into one of those boats, and so that's all you keep putting there. Does this make sense? So then you don't know what to do because you're getting a lot of likes, and you're getting the engagement that you're desiring, but you're not getting any of the sales. You can't figure out what's going on, and it's because of how you're presenting yourself and the information you're putting out there.

So have a model with a plan and say what you want to give to the world. Decide how you are going to deliver it, the format of your content. Plan your actions on how you will offer a product or grow your audience to make money with advertisers. Whatever that it is, you're putting in your model, and this is how you're going to do it. I want you guys to have some type of plan. Your plan can have flexibility and change, but just keep in mind that you need some plan. I don't want you guys out here falling into the trap, which leads me to number 8.

Mistake #8 - Trying too hard to be popular instead of being prosperous. People always tell me things like, "that's what attracted me to you because you were real." Let's say you get a million followers and you're happy about insights, but there's no money flow. There's a comedian by the name of Carlos Miller, and I think he joked about that in one of his comedy sets. He told the women in the audience to be cool with themselves and not fall into the trap of looking at what people have because most of the stuff on Instagram is not real. He had gone to this girl's house, and she has about 6.5 million followers. He says how he thought she was wealthy because of the lifestyle she was portraying online, but when he got to the house, it was basically in the hood, and she was sleeping on a pallet on the floor.

Rappers joke about that all the time, too, and even sing about it sometimes too. "Netflix, but she ain't got no cable" or "no couch" and all those sorts of things. So don't, don't fall into the trap of being popular. You may be getting a lot of likes or little thirsty comments and stuff, but it's not translating into money at the end of the day. It's a real slippery slope that leads to trying to pursue popularity over profitability.

I mean, all of us live our lives in different ways. But, I think that the likes give people some form of pseudo validation to some extent. I feel like that's why many people chase popularity. I also know that there's a misconception out there that people feel like the more followers you have people feel like that equates to money. The only way that equates to money is if you have some type of business model in place. For instance, if I get a million followers, I'm not going to get magazine covers, invited to events, and sponsors out of nowhere; it doesn't happen that way. You guys got to get out there and hustle to get the sponsors. Some people have a million or 2 million followers, and they will ask things like, "how's Ashley getting all these endorsements? I have 10 times the followers she has!"

However, because I have a team, we specifically submit three speaking engagements per week. I submit to about five different companies for my sponsorship if you have to let people know that you're here. I also have a plan, and that's in my plan. Every week, I need to submit things, and then the week after that, we always have to follow up. So you need to focus more on profitability than popularity. And if we can, if we can put together the model and we know what type of content is going to be out there, even if you have 200 followers, you'll be able to make a sale with your 200 followers, and you will be able to get new visitors.

Once we get you to where you're making a few sales a week, even if they're sporadic, then if I can get you to where you're making sales every day in a week after that. Then, it's time to blow up your page and start going.

So we'll try to get you to the first benchmark, and after we have a couple of thousand people, we can see what they like and don't like. Let's see if they buy less if they take things out of the cart, who's not seeing your content, and those sorts of things. That's amazing, right? So for me, okay, you're profitable now, and now we're going to try and work on making you popular by getting the word out. That's what people don't understand. It's about being on the profit side instead of on the popular side. Then if we can figure out something that people want to be invested in or subscribe to, listen, buy, or spend time with us, we're going to be on the path to making money with our social media pages.

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Building Your Social Media & Business With Ashley Ann

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