We get to speak with Ashley Ann Jones. She’s a professional speaker, a social media strategist, a business builder, an award winning event designer, she has been using social media to grow her audience to grow her business. And to make an impact in the world. I got to meet her through LinkedIn. And I really liked what she was doing with social media strategy.
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Junaid Ahmed 0:11
Thank you for tuning in to hacks and hobbies with your host Junaid in season two of hacks and hobbies were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life, want to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. So stick around.
In this episode, I get to speak with Ashley and Jones. She's a professional speaker, a social media strategist, a business builder, an award winning event designer, she has been using social media to grow her audience to grow her business. And to make an impact in the world. I got to meet her through LinkedIn. And I really liked what she was doing with social media strategy, because that is something that I think I can do. And I was like, you know, let's learn a little bit more of how Ashley Jones got to where she is today. Hey, Ashley, thank you so much for joining. And coming up to the podcast.
Ashley Ann Jones 1:20
Thank you for having me, inside and out has nothing to do with anything but you have one of the most fabulous voices ever.
Junaid Ahmed 1:26
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I had to work a lot on it.
Ashley Ann Jones 1:32
Your hard work has paid off my friend.
Junaid Ahmed 1:36
You know what's funny is when I was younger, I would always like didn't like the sound of my voice is like, is that really me? So then over time it just got over it and I was like I'm just gonna you know, just keep talking.
Ashley Ann Jones 1:49
Oh, no, it was perfect. I actually thought about I was like, I'm gonna move downstairs. Okay, cuz Yeah, cuz the sensor is not gonna stop. I'm actually I have two events next weekend. Okay, a corporate event. And then I have a social event. And so I'm actually getting our did a bunch of new lounge furniture. And so the delivery guys are bringing it in. Okay. Yeah, my team is trying to coordinate sounds like they could be going on for 30 or 40 minutes, but I'm trying to get furniture in and out and move today.
Junaid Ahmed 2:20
Yeah. Very cool. Very cool.
Ashley Ann Jones 2:23
Like I slide downstairs. And I mean, there's still sensors here too. But like there's noisy as the ones on them. Okay. Yeah,
Junaid Ahmed 2:31
yeah. Upstairs or in when you have more room to the sound bounces off more than than you get more reflection. Yeah,
Ashley Ann Jones 2:40
yeah. Yeah, Yeah, like the main level, then I have like my studio area downstairs. And then there's another one up at the top. And so I have and then my parents here with me in town, too. So they're like rumaging around upstairs, you're out there, getting furniture and loaded and stuff. It's crazy.
Junaid Ahmed 3:00
So what's really cool about event designing is that I don't, I can't remember where we left off. But I know my uncle back in California, he's done a lot of event design himself. So he's got an inventive and design business out there. And my, one of my cousins, he's in Atlanta, and he's trying to start up a chapter down there. So it's really cool to see that, you know, you, you're still doing it, and you're still you know, making it happen. Because it's like event management and event design is is such a very niche area. You gotta you gotta get in, you know, in front of the people, and then having the right photography and video of you know, everything was happening. It definitely helps and social media is where it's at, because that's where you get a ton of promotion. Oh, yeah. Tell me a little bit about yourself how you got into becoming a speaker, social media strategist? And you know, tell me a journey. Like, what, how'd you get here?
Ashley Ann Jones 4:01
Yeah, it's gonna sound like really crazy.
Junaid Ahmed 4:03
We like crazy!
Ashley Ann Jones 4:08
my BA is actually in finance. And I have a master's degree and I was working in the corporate world. But ever since I've been little, like, I've always been good at design and our stuff like that, like I used to win art competitions when I was a little kid and all of that. It still wouldn't I wasn't is when I was in college is when I realized that actually could get paid to decorate and design stuff and make things beautiful, because I didn't want it my whole life, all of my friends and family, and then like their friends and co workers and stuff like that. And so basically, I'd finished one of my cousin's apartment, she had moved into our first apartment, and I was hoping to decorate, and some of her co workers came over and they were like, oh, they're like, loser designer, she started, like, designers. Like laughing to him, like how my girl What are you talking about? So she was like, well, will you help me? But my face? And I was like, sure. And so then she was like, What do you charge me? I've never thought about it at all. I know, if I just do it, you know, no charge or whatever. So I finished with that. And then she asked, Can I do a party and help her with a party? Just like with me? Just pay me whatever you
Junaid Ahmed 5:24
Ashley Ann Jones 5:25
Yeah, did it, she was really happy, I earned a few hundred bucks, you know, I'm still in college, too. Yeah. But that's the first time the little light bulb went off inside of my brain that I could get paid to do something that I was just naturally good at, and that I actually enjoy. And then from there, so I was still, you know, on the track, you know, your parents want you to go to school and get a good corporate job and all of that. So I was still on the track to do all of that. And I actually started working at a corporation and I'm but I was still kind of Dibble dabble in my little design stuff on the side. And I was dying to become more serious about it. And so I took a job at a party rental company, because I, I didn't have all the sense in the world. But I knew if it was something that I was pursuing, I should, you know, try and learn more about it. Yeah. And I reached out to other event planners and design companies and meeting planning companies, and I wasn't even looking to get paid. I was like, I would like to intern, you know, no one would. They were like, No, you know, we don't do that. Blah, blah, blah, blah. So I was like, Hey, I was kind of getting discouraged. saw this ad for this particular party rental company. And they just needed a girl to come in and you know, work on the floor. And then I told the guy that owned it, I was like, Well, I'm really good at decorating. And I said, I probably could help you rent more of your stuff, if you let your displays. So that's what I started doing. And I got to learn a lot about the industry and clients and customers and stuff. And I met another lady that was there. She was having a party, and she was freaking out to be next you have experienced with another planner. And I overheard her and I was like, I was like I would love to help you. I can you know, I can do this. And I had just started my company hadn't officially LLC yet, you know, still a hobby the hobby hadn't quite become can become a business yet, but it was still a hobby. And I was like, Yeah, I was like, you know, and I was showing her like my little work and stuff. And, and again, there was a question, what are you gonna charge me doing and you just pay me what you think is I said, you just pay me, you know what you think is worth, I finished the party. And I didn't realize when I was doing it, she was in the process of regenerating a whole entire neighborhood. So she was throwing this big party and she was doing this installation of art stuff. And I finished it up, she was very pleased. And at the end of the night, she was like, Look, she was like, I know what you did, for me is worth way more than what I'm about to give to you. But you know, this is all I have right now. She gave me 500 bucks. I was so is that. And then I took that money and that's on it. And I was like, Okay, let me be like really serious about this. And that's when I was like, let me go and file with Secretary of State and LLC. And, you know, my, that's when that's when everything started kind of turning in my head to say okay, I really should try and think about doing something with this. But I know I'm ready to leave my corporate job. So I did pretty well start picking up new clients and customers and stuff like that. I was still now you know, I'm doing both and I'm starting to get tired because I'm still working my full nine to five and I'm trying to pursue this. And I'm basically pray to God and ask for a sign and I booked the six figure fight and I was like, I don't know what biggest time you can get. So I was like, Okay, I was like not coming back to this. I'm not gonna renew my contract. And I'm gonna go full throttle and pursue this event thing. So I blew through all my savings and credit cards, you know, all that crazy stuff. I didn't get alone and yeah, anything like that. And I was doing I had picked up my Masters agree. You know, while all this was going on, I was doing everything they taught me to program you know, I was on billboards and radios and I was even like, on some church fans, I was doing TV commercials, I was, you know, out sponsoring block parties and community drives, I was on Mellors know, all this stuff. The ROI was trash. It was just complete and total trash. And I when I look back at it, I have no idea how it's coming up and money because I definitely did not have it. Yeah, I don't know how I was paying for things, but somehow was you know, I was spending 40 $50,000 a month, which is relatively small when you think about advertising. But when you're just starting out, you know, that's a lot of money. A lot of money. So I was doing all of this stuff that and I was I was getting cons but it was like very inconsistent. And I was getting frustrated because I was having a lot of people calling me and you know, doing inquiries and stuff, but they couldn't afford the services. So that was very frustrating. And then I was like, well, maybe I made a bad decision. And I need to go back and get a job. You know, I had some I found the space I had spent all this money into like renovating it and getting it set up the way I wanted it. Like, you know, I was trying to I was doing everything by textbook what they tell you you need to do as far as opening a business. And it was like I say Hit and Miss. So anyway, and I have been taking these little classes online and learned a little bit about email marketing and stuff like that. But I still hadn't connected the dots of how that would like work for me.
Junaid Ahmed 10:29
Been in the boat
Ashley Ann Jones 10:31
out there floating around. I was on the struggle bus big time. So anyway, but I made a post on my Facebook page one day, and I'll be honest, not a lot happened. I didn't even get 10 likes only thing I got seven likes on your stupid phone. But whatever. I've been told me to make another I made the second post same thing too much didn't happen. Third post I didn't even get 20 likes. But what happened? A woman sent me an inbox on Facebook, that you do weddings, though, and the work looks really beautiful. She's asked me she said do you do birthday parties, she was having a 50th birthday party. Party budget I think was like 28,000. And some change. It was a really good budget for a birthday party. And I think she was only one how like 60 or 70 people there. And I was like, Girl, I'm already at the venue, what are you talking about? But that's when it was like, dang, I was like, Okay, I was like Facebook cost me absolutely no money.
Almost $30,000 client, you know, I like I've been spending thousands of advertising and nothing had, you know, I wouldn't get anything consistent. So really just kind of sparked it to really make me start diving deeper into social media marketing is like 10 years ago, right? Almost 11 years ago. So all of the information that's out there. Now, it wasn't there yet. So I was you know, just kind of filling it out, you know, there wasn't a book you can read or podcasts you can go to or videos, wasn't there yet. A lot of people know, that was just like, a lot of people thought Facebook was going to become a fly by night, they thought, you know, anyway, I was just like, I'm gonna figure this out. I'm gonna, I'm gonna keep on trying this. And so I hadn't quite developed a system. But that's what really got me into the social media. Time I kept booking clients more consistently. And then my colleagues would start asking me like, what are you doing? How are you booking these clients? Pay these budgets, you know, like, what do you know, that we don't know, and I'll start sharing the information. And I'll still doing the email marketing stuff in the background. So I was honestly discouraged, because, you know, all the email marketers back then they all had these ginormous list, you know, 50,000 people over here, I got a million people on this list. You know, you make a million dollars online, you know, you have 80 million people on your list. This not gonna work for me 2500 people on my list, but I I was like, I'm gonna, you know, just throw something out there. See what comes back? I did. All right, I made a few thousand dollars. And I was like, look at that. And then I tried it above is probably a fluke. I tried it again. I may, you know, I made another, it was over 10,000 Oh, snap. I was like, Okay. And so then I caught up because I'm a big tester. So I called up a couple of my friends and said, Hey, y'all, I think I got something figured out. They all did totally different things. I said, you got to follow my instructions. And everybody was coming back, like, what, 8000 12,000 15,000. And I was like, oh, shoot, I was like, I know something, I don't have 10,000 people or 100,000 people on this list and making money, because I was getting targeting. But I didn't know that yet. I didn't know that the targeting. So I incorporated that with the event design company. And so I started establishing myself more as a resource online. So instead of just trying to showcase my work, which I would always show my word, I would just start basically storytelling before it became a thing. You know, now, content marketing is a big thing. It wasn't just start showing people like, you know, my room or what things look like before. And I would interview my clients after and ask them how they felt. And, you know, I would put up little men, you guys just yeah, helpful to my clients. And so then I was able to keep building this list. And then my list was working so that it will give me new leads and consultations. So anyway, I started sharing with other people in the industry, what I was doing, they were like, super dope. I have still to this day cannot tell you how someone who was not in the event industry found out about me, but they were like, I like what you're talking about. I think this could apply to my business to them. There. There were other people who are outside of the event industry who would start coming and speaking to me. Then it got confirmed later, there's another lady, she had this business coach, she was going to $5,000 a month $5,000 a month to this business. But she would always come and ask me stuff. About one day, I was like, why don't you keep calling me like, wait a minute.
What's going on with this?
And she was like, because everything you tell me always works. And several other people had told me that too. And so that's when the little light bulb went off in my head that I should start consulting as well, because I was already doing it. Yeah, I just wasn't getting paid for it. And so that was like nine years ago. So the event started 13 years ago, then, you know, took me a few years to find that. And I still do events, I never let it go. I still do to this day.
Junaid Ahmed 15:38
Passion is in your blood. Yeah, I love it.
Ashley Ann Jones 15:42
The goal is when the consulting started. And so then I did really, really well with that. And I still am. About four years ago, I started doing the late night business show. And that's when the periscope app popped up under four years ago, but you know that everyone can live stream, a lot of people didn't know, thanks already had live streaming technology before that, but she got access to if you were like a celebrity or really popular athlete, or I think if you had at least 50,000 followers on your Facebook business page, and they let you live stream. So all the rest of us, you know, didn't have it yet. So periscope came and they opened it up to everybody. And I started doing the late night business show because honestly 11 o'clock at night was the only time that I could be consistent with getting online. And what it did for me though, is not only did I catch all the night owls in the States, yeah, are picking up international clients. And after that stuff just went kaboom. I literally doubled my consulting business. And it was insane. It was nuts. That's amazing. Yeah. So that's that's my long convoluted story of you know, how how I got from that. And then along the way, you know, a college asked me to come and speak in another college ask him another college did and you know, I'm speaking Yeah, that was it.
Junaid Ahmed 17:00
Really, really, really cool. Because I need you to connect with my with my uncle. He's he's actually just eight months older than me. My mom's younger brother. Right? So I need to connect you with him? Because he's been doing the event design business. For as long as I mean, he did the event design for my wedding, which was about 13 years ago, right. So he's been doing it for a while. But he hasn't hit it off. where, you know, he's got storage fault with decorations and stuff like that, right? He's, he hasn't used social media the way it should be used? Yeah, he's he's got a lot of ideas. And he's got a clothing line set up right now. So he's, you know, he's into clothing, designing clothing and whatnot, as well. But the he'll learn he he can apply. The model is there, right? You can say, hey, this guy is doing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and he's able to bring in traffic, it looks good, great from from looking at it like, Oh, that's awesome. But then like that click doesn't go in your head, I'm in the totally different space, how can I apply that. But when you share your story about event design, and social media, and how you're, you know, sharing content, and telling the story, and people are like, Wow, this is awesome. And then you know, continuously coming back, and then you have the results, doing the targeting thing, right, that's where that's where he needs to work. So the doobie does a really good connection that I that I can envision.
Ashley Ann Jones 18:37
Yeah, it's not just your uncle, though, cuz I at this point, I've like literally, you know, worked with thousands of small entrepreneurs now. And a lot of people have that block of how does this apply to me, you know, and I and I even realize I said it to you earlier, you know, at first, I hadn't figured out well, how exactly does this work for me? When I was sitting in all those classes with the email marketers, you know, I still haven't figured out how exactly does this apply for me, and you know, what I want to do? So I think it's a lot of people that don't realize that there's actually like a system. And if you can start the process of being consistent and kind of putting a little bit of structure to your content, yeah, you will get a gigantic return, because it's all about establishing yourself as a resource at the end. Exactly.
Junaid Ahmed 19:27
Exactly. And that's, I think this one of the things Pat Flynn mentioned is that you want to build the list, if you want to, you know, some of the ways that you can build a list as having those. The email magnets, you have a list of things, you know, these are the things you have resources page, on your website, you have, you know, you're posting videos, or you're basically providing value without asking for anything at all, because you as an expert, you sharing knowledge of things that work, things that you know, you know, that you've gone through, you've experienced, and this is your journey, and people, a lot of people like that, like, Oh, that's pretty cool. Can you do that for me? Right? Yeah, that's really amazing. And that, and that's something I'm working on myself, right? Having figured out because I've been watching Good, I've been hanging out on the internet for you know, over 20 years, myself, you know, being on AOL being on, you know, Earth link, and you know, stuff like that illness and messenger. And then Facebook finally showed up in 2003. And it's been, it's been a pretty exciting journey so far. Hopefully, this year, I get something off the ground and be like, All right, I'm coaching in this area.
Ashley Ann Jones 20:48
And I'm sure that you will just even though I that you have this theory set up, you know, and you're just learning from other people, you know, with their hobbies, and tricks and hacks and how you get paid from it. Like, there's a ton of people who are amazing at what they do. And they're wondering around the way I was, you know, 13 years ago saying, Oh, I didn't know I can get paid for this. Some people who are smart enough to say, I know, I can get paid, you know, for whatever this is, because everything's so different. Now, you know what I'm saying like, even 13 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, you didn't see millions of dollars, because they're good at flying, you know, you can build an audience or platform, at this age, you can make money doing any Exactly.
Junaid Ahmed 21:35
And what's really funny is there's the the can't remember the name of it. But there's a report that comes out every year. And they track how much money is spent, and how much attention is spent on the different platforms. And they're saying that only 13% only 13%. This is the this will end in 10 minutes. So if there's a 40 minute time limit, apparently in this call. So what they're saying is only 13% of the money is made online, or, of the hundred percent money spent in retail 13% is spent online, meaning there's a ton of place to growth. Like if you're thinking of starting a business online, this is like there's no better time than to get on right now. Because it's going to get more concentrated, more concentrated, more concentrated as you go forward.
Ashley Ann Jones 22:41
Something else I did want to add that I incorporated a couple years ago, maybe a few years now, one of the biggest best things I've ever done is text marketing, the ROI is outrageous. And if you're targeting millennials or Generation Y, anybody like that, we have our phones with us all, the open rate for your text messages are typically in between 75 to 95%. even fewer, you know brands and companies utilizing text message marketing, so the competition is really low, use it to drive traffic for all kinds of stuff. But exactly is to me, in my experience and what my customers experience, the return has been much greater on text message marketing, and even on email just because the open rates are higher.
Junaid Ahmed 23:30
Absolutely. And something that I've started noticing is that people are putting the Facebook Messenger icon on their website. So if you want a lead magnet or a booklet from somebody, like click here, to get this through your you know, Facebook Messenger, now they have connection, direct connection through Facebook Messenger. Yeah, because I think it's cheaper than text messaging. But it's still that same open rate. I'm guessing
Ashley Ann Jones 24:00
it is you can send receipts shipping information, and you can even automate it. I use a little software called mini chat right now, because I have several different pages and so I can send out different podcasts and different messages and stuff. pages but yeah, it's super dope and many chat is like crazy affordable. The package I started off with I think was like $10 a month or something like that. And it definitely has done a great job for me. My audience base tends to be like Instagram a bit more than they like Facebook. And so and I definitely have a have a decent audience on Facebook, I think I have like maybe 71, 72,000 followers or something like that over there.
And my audience, they are here for Instagram and so I do as manychat and I do text message you know, one day if they get an autoresponder bot or a direct link message to the BM on Instagram.
Junaid Ahmed 24:57
Ashley Ann Jones 24:57
I'm really going to be all over it.
Somebody is working on it, right? Absolutely.
Junaid Ahmed 25:04
I'm sure. Absolutely. Alright, this is really, really helpful conversation learned a lot of awesome things. Let's get to the point of you know, some of the questions that I asked my guests.
Ashley Ann Jones 25:19
Junaid Ahmed 25:20
What is one hobby that you wish you got into
Ashley Ann Jones 25:24
Junaid Ahmed 25:28
Bitcoin back in 2011? Right, give them a 25 cents a coin. So in 2018
Ashley Ann Jones 25:37
dollars on the Bitcoin is now worth $1.2 million. It's crazy
Junaid Ahmed 25:42
insane. But I mean, so I did some Bitcoin mining back in 2013. And I spent like $500 in, in buying the Bitcoin miners. And I was like, I'm kicking myself like, I should spend that $500 towards Bitcoin coins. Buying a machine that would do the mining. And I made my money back because I mined about $560. And then in 2018, those $560 became like $5,000 and I was like, all right, that's not too bad, you know?
Ashley Ann Jones 26:18
Junaid Ahmed 26:19
You know, made my money back. But then I was I'm still kicking myself, like I had by $500 worth of bitcoins, back in 2013, which was I think it was around $25. Yeah, I would have been a lot more. But hey, there's still time. There's still time to have in mined them all yet. All right, what is your favorite movie or TV show? if none, how about a book.
Ashley Ann Jones 26:45
Oh, guys. Okay, that's hard because I watch all kinds of stuff like docu series. And right now, one show, I'm into this popular million dollar listing. Even though I'm not a realtor, I just love seeing the unique way that they come up with selling things and connecting with people. And I like their hustle. That's really dope. And then I like there's this show is called alone, and it's a competition. And people go out by themselves and basically who can live the longest on their own. And when it's crazy, I begin to take my bears. And then there's some people that are crazy crafty. There's one guy had built like a sink, were running water. Like furniture. He had made some shoes out of like twigs and it was crazy. Wow. Yeah, boy, he was like, Okay, well, I can't think of anything else to do. And he was like, I miss my wife. He was just like, oh, he's like, I can't think of anything else to build or to make. I've conquered this. I'm ready to go. But um, I really love the show alone. It's really cool. watching how creative you are.
Junaid Ahmed 27:47
Nice. Nice. Very cool. All right. Next one is who is your favorite superhero?
Ashley Ann Jones 27:55
Ah, oh, it is hard. I like so many different superheroes for different reasons. If I have to pick one, I would say storm because that was the first woman of color superhero I ever saw. And I thought she was so beautiful when I thought it was cool that she could you know, control the weather
Junaid Ahmed 28:12
Specillay with Halle Berry right? Yeah. Like, Oh, yeah. Nice. Alright, next one is if you are a board game. What would it be?
Ashley Ann Jones 28:27
Junaid Ahmed 28:28
monopoly nice. That's so funny. Just so funny. monopoly is definitely an awesome game. I don't remember being good at it. But I do remember playing it. And then around some time I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. great man. It's an amazing book. Amazing, amazing book and Robert Kiyosaki actually built a board game. That was in line with Rich Dad Poor Dad, so I got to play that game is really fun.
Ashley Ann Jones 29:03
Yeah, I've heard about it, but I've never played it.
Junaid Ahmed 29:06
Yes, it is fun. Alright, so where can my audience find you?
Ashley Ann Jones 29:12
GetAshleyAnn and I'm at King Ashley and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, not on LinkedIn. I'm think I'm just actually Jones on LinkedIn. Give me a username obby King Ashley and over there to
Junaid Ahmed 29:24
go do that. Because right now there's a bunch of numbers in front of your name.
Ashley Ann Jones 29:30
I need to go and fix that.
Junaid Ahmed 29:33
well, Ashley, it was really awesome talking to you. Thank you so much for your time. I'm gonna have to check out your late night show. And you know see
Ashley Ann Jones 29:42
Maybe I can get you on as a guest. Come and check it out and hang out with us. I would love to have you on as a guest. Yeah, I'm I'm all about it. Like anything that someone has to share that they've learned. I'm here for you know, that's how all of us grow in this all of wasn't that bad.
Junaid Ahmed 30:00
Oh, absolutely. I would love to, thank you so much!
Ashley Ann Jones 30:03
Junaid Ahmed 30:03
Yeah. Thank you. Talk to you soon.
Ashley Ann Jones 30:07
Junaid Ahmed 30:07
Bye. Thank you for listening to hacks and hobbies. You can find additional information on the guest today on the website, hacks and hobbies. com. Please feel free to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss out on upcoming interviews with amazing guests.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai