Marketing plays a key role in the growth and success of a business, and it’s an incredible feeling to know that my efforts is what helped my clients take that next step. I love knowing that I play such an integral part in their business!
As a part of our series called “My Life as a TwentySomething Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Mason.
Ashley Mason is a marketing consultant and founder of the marketing firm Dash of Social. Starting her business at the age of 19, Ashley successfully grew it to reach six figures by the time she was 21 and now works for it full-time. Since then, she has been featured in TEDx, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, SWAAY Magazine, and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial-minded — since I was 6 years old! I loved the idea of money — and hopefully making a lot of it. I even vividly recall being 10 years old, Googling “how to make money as a 10-year-old” on my family computer, and being disappointed with the “boring” results that populated — becoming a mother’s helper, running a lemonade stand, and asking your parents for chores.
I fell in love with marketing at the age of 15 when I started a fashion and lifestyle blog, in 2012. I grew that blog organically through social media, which led me to work with various companies through paid partnerships. My experience of growing my own brand through social media opened me up to the world of freelance marketing gigs, which I did on a more casual basis, until I decided to take the leap and start Dash of Social in 2016 when I was 10.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?
The most interesting aspect of my business is always trying to explain to people what it is exactly that I do! For those who are unfamiliar with marketing or operating an online business, it can be a little difficult for them to wrap their head around what I do and how I work with clients.
Having to explain this further has helped me to really break things down and get clear on how I support my clients.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There is one reason why my company stands out: ME. I often get on consultation calls with potential clients who tell me they’re not even exactly sure of what I offer or how I can help them, but they want to hire me because they love my personality — and that’s because I’ve spent so much time building my personal presence.
People are inspired by the fact that I started my business at 19; grew the business, took care of my mom who was battling terminal brain cancer, and attended college full-time; graduated college and immediately jumped into Dash of Social full-time; gave a TEDx talk at the age of 22; and paid off my entire student loan debt of almost $34,000 less than six months after graduating. My story is almost like a magnet that attracts people to want to work with me and learn from me.
It’s a 100% true statement that your vibe attracts your tribe! I’m lucky to work with the best of the best.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My parents, without a doubt. My mom was diagnosed with Glioblastoma the day after I turned 19 and it was actually her diagnosis that pushed me to start my business. She was an incredibly hardworking, kind-hearted, and amazing person who inspired me to KEEP GOING. The reason why I worked so hard, and hit so many achievements, is because I wanted to become “successful” before she passed away, so that she could see the dream I’ve built.
My dad has always 100% supported my decision of entrepreneurship, and I’m so grateful for that because not everyone has family members that believe in them. He enjoys hearing about the new projects I’m working on and proudly tells others what I do. Before I became interested in marketing, I was thinking about taking the finance route. At that time, he used to tell me that I would be the president of a bank — but now he tells me that one day I will OWN a bank!
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
For more than a year now, I’ve felt a big push to start a second business, and I’m so excited to be planning that out to launch within the next year. Big things are coming!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the things I’m passionate about most is inspiring others who are around my age to take that leap into entrepreneurship, just like I did. I’m constantly answering emails, meeting for coffee, and chatting on the phone with various individuals to share my story and give some advice!
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein! I’m not totally woo woo, but I fully believe in the idea that if you desire something, the Universe will deliver. This has happened so many times, where I have dreamed about doing something or achieving something, and I manifested it to actually happen.
Can you share 5 of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a “TwentySomething founder”. Please share an example or story for each
- Rewarding — Having freedom in so many senses: time, money, and creativity. I love being able to end work early on Fridays after working hard all week, choose how much money I want to make, and determine which clients and industries I want to work with.
- Difficult — Getting people to take you seriously. In the beginning, people tried to bring me on as their intern or pay me minimum wage for a project that was worth well above that. As a professional and expert, I stood my ground and focused on aligning myself with my ideal client who valued what I was worth.
- Rewarding — Being able to follow your passion. This may seem obvious, but there are unfortunately so many people who are stuck in a career that they dread. It’s unreal to me that I discovered something I was passionate about and found a way to monetize it. Now I get to find ways to monetize other passions, too!
- Difficult — Hurdling growing pains. With entrepreneurship, you can grow month after month, and even year after year, until at some point, you just plateau. Developing strategies to get past that roadblock is important but also takes a lot of time.
- Rewarding — Growing other people’s businesses as you grow yours. Marketing plays a key role in the growth and success of a business, and it’s an incredible feeling to know that my efforts is what helped my clients take that next step. I love knowing that I play such an integral part in their business!
What are the main takeaways that you would advise a twenty year old who is looking to found a business?
- If you are even thinking about taking a leap, that’s an indication you should 100% take that leap. Don’t even think twice.
- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you — it’s how you provide more value to yourself as well as your clients / customers.
- Know your worth and stick to it.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Sophia Amoruso! Her book and podcast, Girlboss, are what provided so much inspiration to me when I had just started my business.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!