Firstly – hooray for Viv being organised! I’ve got a wonderful bunch of these Everyday Gal installments to roll out over the next few months, and today’s is pretty damn awesome.
I got in touch with Ashlee, founder of AM Social Studio and The Daily Harvest, to chat all things business and Brisbane. Ashlee is only 21 and is already doing kick ass things in the social media and marketing world. She’s been a huge inspiration for me in terms of doing business your own way, and I hope you love her words as much as I do.
First off, tell us a bit about yourself…
Hey! My name is Ash and I’ve always enjoyed doing things a little differently. I like early mornings (we’re talking 5am fresh faced, baby), filter coffee, reading business books for leisure, and eating tacos with my friends every second Tuesday. At this current point in my life I’m known as a Social Media Specialist, and Copywriter, venturing on my own and with a team, week to week. This time next year, I might be running a multi-billion dollar, female powered empire. Who knows… we’ll see how I feel then.
How has 2018 been for you so far?
Crazy wonderful, chaotic, confusing, exhausting, caffeinated, exciting, terrifying, fulfilling, and 100% magic! It’s a year of continuous change for me and I’m really challenging myself to embrace the journey, the good and the bad.
Best piece of advice you were ever given?
Surround yourself with good, humble people that will challenge you, lift you up, and fill you with radiating happiness.
What is home to you?
Cliche, but true – It’s with the people I love most in the world. I see myself as a bit of a digital nomad so I hope to make myself at home with beautiful, kind people no matter where I may be in the world.
Do you like living in Brisbane? What’s it like being a local?
Love it! I moved here at the beginning of 2014 to finish high school and have loved it ever since. My partner (Rhys) and I just moved into our first place together RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the Valley. It’s so great. I walk to work, I walk to the markets, I walk to my new Yoga studio, and I sit within the comfort of our bare brick loft with delicious, filter coffee and the WWW at my fingertips… The lifestyle we’ve created is exactly what I need right now.
What’s the start up/small biz community like (in Brisbane)?
From my experience, a lot of people overlook the opportunity that Brisbane provides. So many people up-and-out as soon as they finish school or uni but let me tell you, Brisbane is where it is happening! I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing in a city like Sydney or Melbourne. Brisbane gives you room to break and make the rules. Don’t underestimate the value in the opportunity that’s all around this city. P.S. The Queensland Office of the Chief Entrepreneur hosts some really great events for entrepreneurs and startups! If you’re in BNE, get yourself to one.
Literally – The Greatest Showman soundtrack gets me pumping!
Every day I rotate through Daniel Caesar, Alina Baraz, Sabrina Claudio, Mahalia, and Sinaed Harnett. Give me those soul vibes any day of the week.
What is AM Social Studio and what does it do?
AM Social Studio is my way of positioning my collective skills to prosper into a profitable and sustainable business model. You could classify it as a creative studio specialising in content creation and social media marketing. I hope to take it in the direction of consultancy and coaching because I thrive when I work closely with other creatives, educating them to advance their businesses.
What inspired you to launch a business at the age of 20?
I was just doing my thing. Social media management and the works! I adapted to what I was good at, pulled in more enquiries, and hey presto I had a business! The smart thing to do was brand and prepare what I could offer to become a profitable business. #WorkSmartNotHard
How did you become qualified (to help your clients)? Did you study a degree/diploma or learn as you went?
From my experience, it comes down to your ability and determination (obviously depends on the industry you’re in). Marketing is always going to be, to an extent, trial and error. There will always be an alternative way of doing things. I’m the type of person to dive into a role and learn it from the inside out, so that’s what I did. I also thrive off instinct. Uh, that answer was whack. What I’m saying is life experience and my personality type qualified me.
Can you walk us through the process of starting up AM Social Studio?
I’m still developing the brand and the extent of services I’d like to provide but the basics will always be the same and it goes something like this…
– I had developed a collective range of skills over time
– I identified a common need of people I wanted to work with
– I served that need with social media management, copywriting, and the ability to get shit done
– I then branded the business to align with my personality, structure my services, built my website, and printed my marketing collateral
Why did you decide to work in social media and digital marketing?
I actually didn’t actively “decide” on it. I’ve always been creative, addicted to writing, and motivated by numbers. It was natural and I was drawn to it. I try my best to adapt my work and take on more of the things that I love and get energy from, and that helps me direct my path.
What are your thoughts on Instagram and do you think it’s here to stay?
I love Instagram. I think it’s FAB. Like all social media, it’s not very healthy for you. I even schedule myself tech-free time.
Who knows whether it will stay or not. What I can say is technology and social media are rapidly and constantly changing. Facebook is already bagged out by the younger generations and with their latest release of algorithms has the power to make or break it. If Instagram follows suit I’m not sure it will be a sustainable platform for small businesses. However, Instagram has so much more room for growth and many years ahead with thousands joining everyday. If you are planning on marketing yourself through Instagram, get on top of it asap. You’ve still got great opportunity to achieve success through Instagram. No matter what – adapt to the changes!
What’s it like owning a business as a 20-something?
I don’t really know how to answer this question. Owning a business is easy. You can set up a business within a day. Making it profitable and sustainable is anothing thing. Maybe come back to me in a few years…
What’s your favourite thing about owning your own business?
Getting to wake up every day and do what I love without any limitations. This really is a matter of perspective though and I’m sure you can find this in many jobs.
Least favourite thing?
Managing the books, quoting, and invoicing. This will be the first thing I outsource when I have the budget for it!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Every day is different. If I’m at my part-time job I head into the office from 8am – 5pm and work on a whole heap of different client work. If it’s on my own accord it roughly goes… Early morning (I still hit the snooze button twice) with a good book and coffee, and exercise. Then I’ll split my day up into three or four time slots to delegate to each client that I may be working on that week. I try to wrap it up by 6pm so I can enjoy dinner and some brain-melting Netflix time! The best days I get to fit in a bath.
What advice would you give to young, aspiring business owners?
Tell fear to F**k off. This is something I’ve learnt the last two years (the hard way). There has been absolutely no reason for me not to take on clients that I would LOVE to work with, but my own fear has gotten the best of me. It feels terrible (temporarily), but put up with it, go for it, and you will thank me later.
Life is not a race. After I graduated highschool, I gave myself a choice; go to University, get a degree, and come out not necessarily employed or DIY and innovate my own career path, and aim to enter the workforce by the time I would have graduated. This mentality was not healthy. I fired off, racing not pacing. I’m learning to slow down, and do things at my own pace, without getting distracted by others and what they’re up to. Enjoy the process because it flies by. It’s all so much fun if you allow yourself to enjoy it.
Coffee order: Batch brew or a long black on single origin…
Fave coffee shops/cafes in Bris: Bunker, Reverend’s, and Josie North!
Go to outfit: Linen shirt, denim, and leather sandals. Oh, and a little splash of silver. Keep it simple.
Ideal Sunday: Early morning yoga, coffee and a good book, church, soak up some sunshine, creative writing time, plan for the week ahead, dinner with the people I care about most, a movie on the couch with a bar of chocolate and my bae. Sunday is my favourite day!
Fave podcasts/books: Oh gosh, there’s too many!!! I love listening to Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher for all those inspirational business gal vibes. At the moment I’m reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington but I have a whole 12 months of reading planned. A little goal for 2018 is to read 26 books.
Ultimate travel destination: Egypt or Israel… going to be waiting a while before I visit either of those places.
Proudest moment: Hmm… When I moved out of home at 16 to go to a really great music school in Brisbane.
Where can we find you online: Instagram is my jam!