Running a small business is not for the faint at heart. Who can agree with me that running a small business is like being on a never-ending rollercoaster ride? One minute you’re cruising at a level pace, the next you’re at the highest of highs and then all of a sudden something happens and you feel like you are falling fast. Please tell me that it’s not just me that feels that way. Now, I know some times are better than others and it’s great when we get to a point where we are cruising at that level pace for a long time but even if your business is doing great you know that at any time things could change and even the little hiccups sometimes feel like you are crashing to the bottom. The thing is though, we stick with it, right? There has to be a reason behind the long hours, the stress, the decisions, the learning curve, the growing pains, and all the other craziness that small business owners endure. If it was just all about the money, it wouldn’t be worth it – we could go work for someone else and make a decent living, right? So, what is it? What’s your biz story? What is your why?
I thought it would be fun to share my “why” as well as a few other awesome small business owners that have an amazing “why” as well. If you missed my story, check it out here and also be sure to check out Trena’s and Tracy’s stories as well. Today, I’m super excited to introduce Ashlyn Carter, founder of Ashlyn Writes, to you as she shares her story.
Feel free to comment here or share your story on social media as well, and tag us and use the hashtag #whatsyourbizstory
What motivated you to start your business?
“I wanted to get out of corporate life even though I loved it and it served me really well for the time I was in it. I had recently gotten out of partial hospitalization for some mental health issues and I knew that I wanted to set up things for myself and not work for other people. I wanted freedom essentially to do my own thing and make money doing it.”
How does your business look different today than when it first started?
“It’s completely different! Probably the biggest change is I went from offering calligraphy and copywriting to just copywriting services. One thing that doesn’t look different is my niche. I’ve stayed really tight to that and I attribute a lot of our success to that. I’m fully staffed now which is a big change. I have other copywriters on my team and people doing different jobs.”
What is the hardest part of running your small business?
“The hardest part is saying no 90% of the day to opportunities. A lot of my clients are 4, 6, 8 times more the size that my business is and the number of opportunities we say no to, I just can’t imagine how much they say it. There’s more at stake the bigger we get. There is more of an audience to steward. There’s more of a message to steward. There are employee’s livelihoods on the line. That pressure only increases when you grow. The hardest part of the business as somebody who loves to dream and serve people is realizing that a lot of what has to come out of my mouth to protect the number one is, ‘We can’t participate in that right now.'”
What motivates you to keep your business going even when it gets tough?
“My family, my son, my marriage, and my Mastermind Sisters. Women that are on- I wouldn’t even say the same par as me. They are better, they are smarter, they are wiser, they are so much farther beyond than me. I can only complain to my husband about so much, so Mastermind Sisters definitely motivate me too.”
What is one piece of advice you’d give a new business owner?
“I really believe Sunny Lenarduzzi is the first person I heard say this, ‘Niche down to blow up.’ You’ve heard of niching before, everybody has. But I just truly believe that is how you gain traction. I think so many times people forget when they look at people they want to emulate or be like, you forget that if you rewound that person’s business back to their first year in business they were probably not a jack-of-all-trades like they are now. Or they weren’t the multi-passionate entrepreneur that they are now. I feel like I am constantly reminding my students that you can do more than just this one thing, but please just trust me on this. You can make however much you want to make but if you want to dent the industry and you want to speedily get traction, I think niching down and then adding services and expanding after you carve out that corner market is best.”
If you would like to learn more about Ashlyn and what she does, check out her cute website here!