All of us have the desire to live our best life ever. But what does that really entail?
You already lead a super busy life, and it can seem like a huge challenge to step out of the rat-race and start doing something that you really love. Just the thought of it can seem overwhelming at times.
During this episode of Do The Damn Thing, join Laura Foy as she speaks with Ashley Hartlage, a successful entrepreneur who created a thriving business doing something that makes her feel fulfilled inside.
Ashley reveals the steps she took to go from being almost totally broke to creating a booming consulting and coaching business online.
But how does someone become a coach or mentor in the first place?
Watch this video now to find out how she Did The Damn Thing!
Read the script:
Laura: Hello, everybody. I am Laura Foy, and welcome to this week’s episode of Do The Damn Thing – the weekly show published by HipCat Society… opens in a new tab to HipCat Society website…, where we talk to solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small business owners, anybody out there really doing it. And we try to figure out exactly how they did it and how they acquired some of their success. And hopefully, we can all learn from that.
So this week, I have to admit, I am very excited to talk to our guest. She has such amazing energy and a really powerful, incredible journey. So I want to welcome you to the show, Ashley.
Ashley is known as The Spiritual Stoner, which is an interesting title. And we’ll get into it – your personal journey, which I only know a little bit about. You were almost homeless, broke and destitute, one might say. And then you just decided to change things and land yourself where you are now. So give us a little bit of your background. What happened?
Ashley: So, about 10 years ago, I was very broke. I was the only person in my entire household with a job, and I made $9 an hour, which I’m sure you can imagine did not work out very well at all. I had eviction notices posted on my door almost every single month, and my life basically revolved around just trying to figure out how to pay my rent before the eviction hit and was final.
So I was basically pawning things and finding random things to sell. And it was just this huge cycle. And I spent a couple of years living my life this way, over and over again. And it was to the point where I felt like I was going to be poor forever because when you’re really stuck in that poverty mindset, that’s kind of all you see. It’s really hard for you to imagine a life that’s any different. So I thought that that was kind of how my life was going to be – that I just needed to accept it. I even was afraid to hope because I was afraid of getting my heart broken again when things didn’t work out.
I was just kind of in that spot. And then I got a random email. I have no idea how I ended up on this email list. I’ve never taken a webinar. I didn’t even know what a webinar was. But I got an email entitled: “Love or Above?” And even though I was pretty sure it was junk mail, I clicked on it anyway because it intrigued me. It ended up being for Christie Marie Sheldon’s Love or Above course, which taught all about vibrational frequencies, and how to tune your energy into a way where you attract what you want into your life.
And I just got hooked. To me, it sounded like magic, and I absolutely fell in love with it. And I started studying manifestation, the law of attraction, and all things about spirituality for about 10 years now. What I started learning in the course, and from other spiritual teachers, really inspired me to just change everything.
So in one month’s time, shortly after taking the course, I broke up with my boyfriend and changed jobs.
Laura: You’re not starving me!
Ashley: Yeah, he was unemployed. So I broke up with him, changed jobs, moved across town, and just started a whole new life. And I kind of got to a point eventually where I realized that I had manifested everything that I wanted.
So really, what I was looking for was essentially a normal life. And I realized that I had that. I had this great apartment. I had this great job that was stable. And I kind of was starting to wonder: “What’s next?” I was starting to get a little bored after a while. I ended up stumbling upon a $30 social media course that I had no idea was meant for women in business. And I took it, and they had homework. You were supposed to post things about your business, but I didn’t have one. So I just started posting about manifestation content because that’s what I was into.
And this one lady ended up stumbling upon my content. She was local, but she was a nationally known podcaster and coach. And she invited me to her networking event and just kind of told me what the coaching industry was all about, what it looked like, and what it could look like to turn what I loved into a business. So, from there, she introduced me to a couple of business coaches. I hired one, and I started my first brand, which was Manifesting On Fire, which ended up morphing into The Spiritual Stoner… opens in a new window to The Spiritual Stoner website….
Laura: So, you kind of had a mentor. Did she follow you along in your journey, or did you kind of bounce from coach to coach?
Ashley: I kind of see her as an unofficial mentor. I’d never worked with her personally, but I’ve gone to a number of her events. She introduced me to my first coach, and I’ve taken a number of courses. But I’ve never worked with her one-on-one or anything like that.
Laura: That’s pretty amazing, though. You just started doing something you love, like learning about manifesting and spirituality and meditation, and you were passionate about it. I think everyone’s dream is to take their passion and turn it into something that they can then make money with.
And real quick, before we move on, I do want to remind everyone, this is live if you are watching on Facebook. So if you have questions for Ashley, please put them in the chat, and we will make sure to ask her those questions.
So you met this woman, and she teaches you about the coaching industry, which I have to admit, I’m coming across more and more in my daily life. And I’m meeting more people that want to do this. And there’s a big industry for it out there online, especially now with coronavirus and everyone taking online courses. So what was her advice to you that helped you get started? Because, from an outsider’s perspective, people say, “Well, I’m not an expert, and I haven’t published a book. Who’s going to listen to me?” So what’s that first step to getting started as a coach?
Ashley: The first step is to honestly just get started. There are almost no limitations in the coaching industry. All you have to do is start an Instagram page or start a Facebook group and start posting. And a big part of it is to just start teaching people. Teach people about what it is you’re coaching about – educational posts, story posts, sharing your story, and just throwing it out there.
And you could literally figure it out as you go because so many people start without even a website. You just need to be able to market yourself because coaching is mostly just speaking to people either on Zoom or on a phone call. There’s almost no barrier to entry. You can just literally get started today and figure it out as you go along.
Laura: We’re actually looking at your Instagram page… opens in a new window to Ashley Hartlage Instagram page… now. And you know, this is what I do. I do social media marketing and digital marketing. And your page looks really professional. You’ve got a very consistent theme and style. Your posts, you know, I would recognize them immediately. Did you learn that by watching others, or did you just kind of naturally figure out how to make great Instagram content?
Ashley: I did learn from others. I took a number of social media courses, and I also learned from my coach, and some of it is just like the style of it. I just kind of picked what colors I really liked and rolled with it.
Laura: Awesome! Ashley’s actually only been doing this for about a year, and she already has almost 2000 followers. You’re looking at, what is that, three a day? I mean, that’s really awesome! So what’s your secret sauce? Did you start with a web page and then go to Instagram to promote the webpage? Did you just start Instagram? What was your social strategy?
Ashley: So I basically just started the Instagram page. I have a website, but right now, I basically don’t use it. I plan on using it eventually cause I’m planning on branching out in 2021 with online courses, on top of the coaching. But it’s all on Instagram, and it’s all from organic marketing as well. So, I am in the hashtags a lot.
One key thing that I do is that I use hashtags that aren’t just a hundred percent relevant. I use the hashtags that my ideal clients are using. And then I go, and I interact in those hashtags. I follow some people in there and connect with them. I engage with people in the DMs a lot through Instagram stories because anytime you react to someone’s story, it instantly goes into the DM. So that’s one really great way to get into someone’s inbox without being creepy and weird.
Laura: Oh, I love that tip! I like that a lot. We’ve actually got a question from Melissa. She says, “When you decided to take action, was there ever a time that you thought about quitting, and how did you overcome that?”
Ashley: Yes, there were definitely times in the very beginning when I thought about quitting because on Instagram – there are millions of millions of people out there. And the coaching world, when you’re in it, it seems like there are so many people out there and that everyone knows each other and that everyone kind of has all their clients already. And sometimes, it would feel like there’s no room for you just because your network might be small, but you don’t realize that there are so many other networks out there that you’ve never been exposed to. At those times I felt like quitting.
At the very beginning of my business, I was posting every day on three separate posts, on three different platforms every day, plus stories. I would get so tired. So I kind of started learning how to take breaks and started learning how to work smarter and not harder. Batching content and not necessarily having to have three different posts on three different platforms. You can cross-post and plan, and using scheduling apps, and things like that.
So I kind of would sometimes take a step back and learn: “Okay, I’m getting burnt out right now. How can I take care of my energy and maybe take a weekend off or take a week off?” People think that when you’re on social media, you can’t go on a vacation, and that you have to show up every day. But that’s not true.
It’s a hundred percent normal and healthy to take days off and have vacations and things like that. And just try to figure it out. It’s one hundred percent necessary. You also have to figure out: “How can I make this easier on myself and how can I make it more fun?” And every single time I’d always bounced back and then I started having fun in my business again.
The first step is to honestly just get started. There are almost no limitations in the coaching industry. All you have to do is start an Instagram page or start a Facebook group and start posting. And a big part of it is to just start teaching people.
Laura: Awesome. Shannon wants to know, “Can you tell us the story of how your first company morphed or changed into The Spiritual Stoner?”
Ashley: Okay. So, this is a pretty funny story, actually. So my first brand was called Manifesting On Fire. I don’t remember exactly how I came up with that. I think it just came to me at random for some reason. I had very much Katniss vibes back then. I take these beautiful crystal bathes. I sometimes post them on my Instagram, where I put candles and crystals all around my tub, drawing a bubble bath. And I take the shower speaker and have music on, and I’ll meditate and just like have a really nice time.
And one night, I smoked a little bit in my bathtub, and I had a Rose Quartz crystal pipe. And I looked down at my little Rose Quartz piece, and I just go, “Spiritual Stoner,” and I just started giggling. And then I was like, “Wait a minute!” And I just got this download because I’m very connected with my spirit. It just said, “If you change your brand to The Spiritual Stoner, it’s going to be amazing for your business. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t go on that hunch right away. I had some resistance because I loved my old brand and I kind of sat with it for a couple of weeks.
And then I was driving home one day, and I just kind of got this thought that popped in my head. And I kind of knew that I was having a conversation with my spirit again. I was like, “Okay, you need to change your name to The Spiritual Stoner.” And I was like, “No, I like my brand. I want to keep it. And my mama will be mad at me.”
Laura: Don’t fight the universe, Ashley.
Ashley: I know, and I know better. That’s the thing. And then at the very next stoplight, the car in front of me had a Texas license plate, which is one of my signs because I see them everywhere. And that’s not normal because I live about a 12-hour drive from Texas. So I literally looked up at the roof of my car, and was like, “Fine!” Then I changed from Manifesting On Fire to The Spiritual Stoner. And as soon as I did that, my following shot up and my engagement shot up. Everything just shot up.
Laura: Amazing how much power exists in things like just a name, or just a color, or just a logo. You shouldn’t put “just a” front of those things because, as you’ve seen firsthand, they can really, really be so transformational in terms of where your business goes. I want to talk to you a little bit about – you were manifesting, you were getting in touch with your spiritual side, probably doing yoga, meditating, all those things. How do you translate that to your business? I totally get it from my personal life, but I know that you said you’re a business coach as well. So talk that through for me.
Ashley: So, what I noticed was that with a lot of coaches online – the issues that they tend to have the hardest time with are learning how to attract their ideal clients and how to captivate an audience. And I found out really early on that I had a natural talent for getting remembered and for captivating an audience. And I realized it’s all about the vibe.
Attracting the clients is just like attracting anything else for the law of attraction. And what really helps you to attract the clients and to have your audience be captivated by you when they watch your content is to really embody something – to really embody some kind of value that’s important to you, whether that’s love, whether that’s happiness, whether that’s freedom. Just true embodiment of a value like that, and a true embodiment of who you are as a person. And you just kind of become the vibe, and vibes never lie.
Laura: Absolutely. Charlie says that she also sees those signs out there. And it’s true – the universe is out there vibing for you. So thank you, Charlie. Rainy wants to know because there are so many coaches out there, “What do you do to separate yourself?”
Ashley: I mostly don’t pay much attention to a lot of other coaches. I just focus on myself and what I’m doing. But how I differentiate myself essentially is to be me completely. I show up on my Instagram stories with no makeup on, sometimes with wet hair straight out of the shower. And I’ll just kind of talk about that day; whatever it is I feel like talking about it. That’s just a full embodiment of me, really. I like to be spiritual.
Laura: Well, there you go. Look at that. So, when you’re starting out, are there specific tools that you’ve known to love? Could you have done this without social media?
Ashley: Oh no. I don’t even know how I would do it without Instagram or Facebook.
Laura: So that’s really your main channel – Instagram?
Ashley: Yeah. Instagram is my main channel. Facebook is my secondary.
Laura: Yeah, I find that as well. I mean, LinkedIn has a need. I know some people that love Pinterest, but I think Instagram and Facebook are definitely the primary channels. But, are there certain tools that you use when you’re making an Instagram story or anything like that, little tricks that you could give our audience?
Ashley: Yes – Canva… opens in a new window to Canva website…. I absolutely love Canva for creating all of my graphics and creating Instagram story templates. And I also use Planoly… opens in a new window to Planoly website…, which is what allows me to schedule my content, so you can show up on social media without even being on social media. This helps so much cause I know that when a lot of people first get started, they feel the pressure to write a post every single day.
When you put that pressure on yourself, thinking that you need to create a great post right now, you’ll just draw a blank because it’s not coming from a place of inspiration. So I use Planoly to premake my content and preschedule it. And I’ll post automatically to my Instagram, whether I’m at my computer desk, or whether I’m out with friends, or doing anything else.
And then I love Calendly… opens in a new window to Calendly website…, which is my automatic scheduler. So if someone wanted to book a call with me for coaching, we don’t have to do this dance of, “What time zone am I in? What time zone are you in? Does this time work for you? Does that time work for you?” I can just send them a link to my calendar, and they can book any time that they want. And it’ll send me some information about them. Just like a couple of things that might help me on the call, like their phone number, their email, and all of that. And it’ll just instantly book for both of our calendars.
Laura: Yeah. We use Calendly a lot at HipCat. I also did use Planoly, but now I use Later. There are a couple of other ones scheduling-wise. That is a really big tip. And as someone who spends a lot of my life on social platforms, it’s such a time-saver. You need to plan out a week or two in advance, and then you’ve got that breathing room to really think up inspiring posts, as you said. So that’s nice.
So let’s talk about a day in life. What is a day in the life of The Spiritual Stoner?
Ashley: So I have my morning routine. I get up, do a little bit of yoga, have breakfast, and read my book for a little bit. And then I have my days to where I plan them. For example: On Mondays, I’ll write all my content. On Tuesdays, I’ll record videos. And I kind of batch-create throughout the days. I have self-development days and things like that. I’ll always check my schedule and see if I have client calls that day. I’ll hop on the phone with them. I normally stop unless I have a client call, around five o’clock. And then I’ll start exercising, having dinner. And then just kind of being a normal person for a while.
Laura: This is your full-time job. This is not your side hustle. Is this paying the bills?
Ashley: This is actually not completely my full-time job, but very, very close to that.
Laura: You’ve only been on Instagram for a year. So, when did that transition happen when you launched The Spiritual Stoner versus Manifesting On Fire?
Ashley: Probably three months ago.
Laura: Oh, wow. Nice. And you’ve already seen such a big jump in growth?
Laura: Very nice. So let’s talk about, real quick, that first client. So what was it like putting yourself out there saying, “I’m going to be a coach?” Were you riddled with nerves? Were you terrified? Did you not know what to say? Did you pretend that you’d done it before? I know I’m an art teacher in my spare time. And I remember my first class. I totally was like, “Oh, I’ve done hundreds of these.” So walk me through that with what that was like for you.
Ashley: I was so scared. Luckily I had a coach, and I kind of told her, “Okay, I have my first discovery call. What do I do?” And she kind of sent me over her process of how she handles discovery calls. And luckily for me, my first client did not think to ask me whether I had done this before or not.
What really helps you to attract the clients and to have your audience be captivated by you when they watch your content is to really embody something – to really embody some kind of value that’s important to you.
Laura: It’s not something people ask, you know. It’s only if you put it out there.
Ashley: Right. So I did tell her she was my first client. I am big on honesty. Anytime someone asks me something like that, I always say, “You have to maintain your integrity,” because if people find out that you lied to them, all trust goes out the window. They will never work with you again. And they’ll never buy anything from you. They’ll tell their friends. I’ve seen people get blasted for lying. So, just don’t do it.
Laura: Absolutely. I mean, one of the pillars that we really, really believe in is authenticity here at HipCat Society… opens in a new tab to HipCat Society website on Services page…. And I think that will be so paramount in your industry. I know if I was talking with my spiritual advisor or my business advisor, or if that was one in the same person, trust has got to be the biggest thing. Does it take a while for you to develop that trust with new people?
Ashley: I feel like it depends what the person. One thing that helps a lot with the trust factor is showing up on video. I show up on video every single day on my Instagram stories, whether that’s me recording it right then, or just creating a batch to use later. And I’ll just kind of save them on my phone. So I still show up on video, even if I don’t have time to show up on video that day. And then just talking with people. Some people will trust you instantly. And for others, it takes time to build a relationship.
Laura: Now let’s talk about coronavirus for a minute there. So how has that impacted and changed, if at all, your business and your marketing strategy?
Ashley: It actually hasn’t affected my business too much, probably because it’s a hundred percent online. And actually, I feel like it kind of – I feel almost bad for saying this – but I feel like it helped my business a little bit because more people were online more than ever before. And then I had time off work, where I was able to really dedicate time to my business more than ever before.
Laura: Nice. And now it seems like you’re almost at the point where this is a full-time job. You’ve got everything you’ve manifested. Are you now manifesting bigger and better things? Do you keep leveling up? Do you ever reach Nirvana?
Ashley: That, I guess, we’ll find out one day. I watch a couple of other people who are really big into manifestations, and they always end up wanting to manifest something else just because you’re always going to want new experiences, whether that’s traveling or something else. It’s just kind of how life goes. So I expect that once I reach a certain point where I’m full-time in my business and just doing this all the time, then there’ll probably be something else – maybe traveling, maybe something else.
Laura: Perfect. You’ve established an online or remote business, so you can do it from anywhere. You can be in Bali, you know, connecting with any one of the people that are your clients.
So I mentioned earlier, one of the things that we hope to do with this show is to inspire people who are still living in that fear to just do it. So what would you say to someone who was like you, five or ten years ago – afraid, possibly broke, but has a dream? How do you get them to ignite that?
Ashley: What really worked for me and what really helped me to make that switch is that I not only asked myself what it would mean for me if that would happen. Instead, I focused on what would happen if I didn’t do it. Would that be something that I would regret for the rest of my life? And I really sat with it, and I kind of spent almost an entire day just focusing on what that could look like. What it would look like to be 80 years old, and wonder “What if? What could have happened if I did it?” And I just remind myself every day: “If I don’t show up today, would I regret it?” Because you might not regret not doing the one Facebook Live or something else, but they accumulate over time. And what you might regret is not showing up fully in your business and not fully going for it.
Laura: I love that, and I totally agree. Do you have a niche or a specialty? Is there an area or category that most of your clients tend to fall into?
Ashley: Basically, every single one of my clients has had a social media-based business and was interested in manifestation or in spirituality. Most of my clients are coaches, but I’ve also had Tarot readers as clients, wedding planners that have mostly marketed on social media, and a little bit of different one-off things. But every single one of them has a social media-based business.
Laura: Nice. Very interesting. What are you most proud of in your career, if there’s one thing? Do you have a claim to fame?
Ashley: I’m most proud of the results that I get for my clients. It’s kind of crazy, actually, because I’m not full-time in my business, but 75% of my clients have gone full-time in their business after they began working with me.
Laura: Wow! That’s a really good conversion rate there. That’s amazing! Congratulations on that.
We just have about a minute left, so I want to be able to make sure we give people all of your websites and addresses, and places to go. But before we do that, what’s next for you? We talked about what you’re currently manifesting. So what are your future goals?
Ashley: So, I plan for 2021 to have three courses come out. One of them will have to do with manifestation. One of them will have all to do with raising your buy-up. And the third will be all about starting and growing your social media-based business on Instagram.
Laura: We will definitely keep a lookout for that. And we will put all of her links in the Facebook Live description and the YouTube description, and the IGTV description. For those of you watching live, thank you for joining us. Tell everyone where they can find you, Ashley.
Ashley: On Instagram at thespiritualstonerofficial… opens in a new window to Ashley Hartlage Instagram page…. Or I also have a Facebook group called the Spiritual Stoner Community… opens in a new window to Spiritual Stoner Community Facebook group….
Laura: Thank you so much! This has been a pleasure. You’ve inspired me, and hopefully, she’s inspired you guys at home. Thank you. We’ll see you next time. Bye.
Ashley: Thank you so much! Bye.
So please like us on Facebook… opens in a new window to HipCat Society Facebook page…, follow us on Instagram… opens in a new window to HipCat Society Instagram page…, and connect with Ashley at thespiritualstoner.mykajabi.com… opens in a new window to Manifesting on Fire website….