Ask any of her thousands of global followers - especially the 11,000-plus who’ve learned to monetize their social media, and the 700-plus who’ve created six figure incomes – and they’ll be happy to tell you. The reason why Ashley Ann’s main landing page – the one where she invites everyone to “Live Your Dream!” and “Convert Followers to Buyers” – is called AshleyAnnSpeaks.com is because, quite literally, when Ashley Ann speaks, lives change, major “side hustles” happen, big money gets made, influence and brands build and worlds are conquered beyond anything that her clients could previously have imagined.
Since launching her consultancy in 2011 out of her foundational, still going stronger than ever wedding and event planning company (EventsbyAshleyAnn.com), the Little Rock, AR based award winning serial entrepreneur has helped 146 clients create million dollar incomes, with nine consistently doing million dollar months. Her “Prosperity over Popularity” mindset training has helped over 1000 businesses generate between $25-45K per month using Facebook, Instagram and Livestream. Known in the event and business worlds for her charismatic personality, revolutionary ideas and concrete results, Ashley Ann has clients all over the world – including Australia, Ireland, England, Canada, Belize, Japan, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, etc.
In addition to having 195,000 followers on Facebook and over half a million on her @KingAshleyAnn Instagram page, AshleyAnn is a Google Partner and has been featured on countless business news outlets – including Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Life, CNN Money, Kontrol, MSN, Breitbart, NewBreak, Business Insider, Newsweek, CNBC, Sheen, Morning Mix Up, Doz, Rolling Out Magazine, Fox News, KATV, WoW City and, STAND’s 30 Under 30. With her Instagram focused Coin Academy program and #LateNightBiz show on the Periscope app – where she offers free social media marketing and business training to counteract people getting ripped off in the consulting industry – she teaches metrics, numbers, terms, systems, advertising formulas and other key elements to building online businesses.
Not that it’s truly a secret, but to use the well-worn phrase, one of the secrets to Ashley Ann’s success is her ability to simplify social media, lead magnets, the process of funneling and CVO so that her clients achieve desired outcomes. “I teach you how to find their purpose and make money doing things they like to do and are good at,” she says, “to help you build an audience and community of people who care about what you are interested in and what you can offer them. I explain funnels like they’re going on a date and sealing the deal and smashing it.
“My clients like the fact that I’m approachable,” Ashley Ann adds. “I don’t present myself like I’m the end all, be all master. I’m just a regular girl like you’re a regular person, and I want you to let me give you a path to success that works for you. Another thing is that folks don’t see a lot of black women in this space, doing what I’m doing – especially one who’s big and tall and has these long eyelashes. It’s easy for people to remember me!”
In an insightful October 2020 Accesswire article titled “Meet Ashley Ann: The Social Media Strategist and Business Builder Who Will Make Sure Your Business is Scam-Proof,” the writer paints the entrepreneur’ road as one of a highly educated person boldly venturing out on her own and launching her planning business after being frustrated with the corporate rat race, “working over 50 hours a week after having gone to school and having dropped a huge amount of money on her MBA, despite having done everything she was told to be successful.” The piece mentions that along the way, “she began to see the value social media gave her. . .she was able to target specific audiences and groups. Coupled with Facebook advertisements, Ashley was able to grow her business quickly.”
All that is technically true. Ashley Ann received her B.A. in Finance in 2007 and M.B.A. in 2009 (both from the University of Central Arkansas) and worked three years as a financial analyst/team leaner. But it was during her Master’s Program when she put together the feasibility plan for a wedding and event planning company that eventually became a self-sustaining business. When she left her finance job, she set about building her business, working as substitute teacher to supplement her income.
In 2015, while “killing it as an event designer,” Ashley learned that a friend, while calling Ashley for advice every day, was paying a business manager $5000 a month. The proverbial lightbulb went off and Ashley realized she should launch a side consulting business focused on social media. She assumed everyone knew how to market using social media to their favor, but quickly realized she could create a niche there. Learning the value of targeting, she started teaching people how to build content, add to their email and social media lists, set up budgets and make offers. She began introducing herself as a social media strategist who teaches people to make money via Facebook, Instagram and other platforms – and soon she had more clients than she could handle alone. Between both businesses, she now has a support team of 40 employees.
Yet the deeper, much darker and more painful story behind Ashley’s essential, previously chronicled entrepreneurial narrative makes her ultimate success an even greater triumph and inspiration to those she consults with and teaches. Healthwise, during her college and graduate years, she had four surgeries on her spine to correct L4 and L5 ruptures. Many doctors told her she would never walk again, and she had to take six months off during her M.B.A. studies at one point. Yet she considers her personal and business betrayals and resulting emotional traumas even worse.
“Some people become prisoner of their story, always saying look at these terrible things, rather than look at what I’ve overcome,” Ashley says. “I refer to this challenging time as my ‘bankruptcy period at 25.’ I got married and divorced early. I was legally married for four years, but during that time my best girlfriend was kickin’ it with my husband. So while my spine was deteriorating at a rapid rate, my ex- husband’s girlfriendaccused me of messing with HER man and terrorizing me on my online business pages. Then I had a business colleague steal 20 grand from me.
“At the time I split up with my husband,” she adds, “he had a stripper side piece, yet I wondered if it was my fault – and worried what people might say about a wedding planner with a failing marriage. I was suicidal, felt I didn’t have any true friends and that nobody understood. A total pity party. Later as I learned about the way we can manifest things, both detrimental and positive in our lives, I realized that as terrible as they were at the time, I could draw on these experiences and my ability to get out of these dark places to help people. As if maybe God wanted to put me in that position for just that eventual purpose. At the time however, I could never have imagined surviving, let alone one day attracting hundreds of thousands of people who could potentially be impacted by my story.”
Ashley was so despondent that at one point, seriously contemplating suicide, she wrote goodbye letters to her parents and the few people she considered friends. In the midst of the storm, while desperately seeking answers, she had a literal “come to Jesus” moment for the ages. She can’t say if it was a dream or a waking visitation, but it was as if God spoke to her and said, “This is not what I put you here for. Crying every day is not making the situation better.” She made a bargain with God. “It was not about money or success, though if I had been in my right mind, it would have been!” she laughs. “But I was tired of feeling unhappy and I said, ‘If You can get me out of this, I will never return to this position again, and dedicate my life to getting others out of this position.”
Following the words of Colossians 3:15 (“You were called to live in peace”), Ashley left her marriage, didn’t take the bait when her husband begged her to return and took stock of the poor decisions she had made in her life that had led to that despondent place. She realized that she was the common denominator motivating all of her bad decisions, and started to take responsibility for those actions. She also asked herself why she was so worried about what others might say about her, and moving forward, vowed to be focus on being her best self no matter what anyone might say.
She thought about every bad situation and asked herself, what could I have done to have achieved a better outcome? She began attracting better friends into her life and the confidence she exuded while building her business soon led people to tell her it was as if she was emanating light. The same energy that attracted people to her also inspired those who became friends and clients to be their best. She also managed to work her way out of the financial hole her ex left her in that included $29,000 in taxes and paying off multiple credit cards.
Early on in this journey towards spiritual and emotional freedom, even before she began learning about the importance of having a mindset of setting intentions, Ashley heard someone on TV talking about manifestation, and she equated it with what she learned growing up in church about life and death being in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). She put this concept to the test, telling herself she could manifest $10,000 in a single week. On the last day of that designated period, a woman came into her event planning shop telling Ashley her previous planner had done a terrible job. Ashley made a better offer: $20,500, and because the event was less than 60 days away, 50% down was required. Later in the day, just as she was closing, the woman returned with a check for the $10,000.
“Now, when I’m helping clients achieve their goals, I draw from all of my life experiences, the highs as well as the lows, to focus on two simple concepts,” Ashley says. “I tell them to get a journal or notepad and write down what they want in life. It sounds crazy but sometimes they can’t answer me. I told them they shouldn’t be ashamed to want something different from the way things are now, and they need to be honest with themselves. The second thing, related to that, is a self-assessment, a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting where they take accountability for their mistakes the same way I had to. Many people don’t want to tap into that superpower, but I tell them this is the key to finding a way to shake and bake out of it. Only by dealing with the sum total of your actions and behaviors can you find true freedom and the breakthroughs that will lead you to a higher level of success in all areas of your life.”