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251 – High priced college got her a low salary job: Tom interviews Ashley Monk
From:
Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Virginia Beach , VA
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

 

Episode 251 – Ashley Monk
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody, it's Tom here with episode two hundred and fifty one of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with one of my favorite people in the world. She's the star pupil of my school and her name is Ashley Monk. She quit her job. She's on her one month anniversary of quitting her job. The dreaded J-O-B. And we're gonna bring her on in a minute. I hope you didn't miss episode 250. That was our big deal. There'll be a lot of there's a lot of discount coupons for all kinds of stuff. Our two hundred and fifty podcast episode anniversary a quarter away to a thousand. And this was on super fast customer service. We're known for that. And I'll show you the tools and how we do it without pulling our hair out. So make sure you grab a copy. And a lot of it's in our automation book which you can get for free at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And everything we talk about today, including Ashley's great stuff. We'll be in the show notes this is episode 251. So to get to those episodes, you always go to screwthecommute.com/251. All right. Our sponsor is the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia. It's a distance learning school. And that's what I was saying and Ashley is our star pupil and teaches legitimate techniques to make a great living, either working for someone else or starting your own online business or both. And she's living proof of it. You can check it out at IMTCVA.org. And we also have a quiz over there that I want you to take. That's about college rip offs. It's seven ways colleges are ripping you off. You and I have a consumer advocate show in development in Hollywood called Scam Brigade. And I contend not so humbly that these college people would be in jail if these were any regular kind of business or what they're doing to students and families. So check it out at IMTCVA.org/quiz or pass it on to some is only takes two minutes, but be prepared to be mad because these things are just terrible the way they're running up the student debt and giving you a crappy education and all that stuff. So pass it on to somebody that you know, I guarantee, you know, somebody that's got kids growing up, that they're thinking about college. And, you know, you've been brainwashed for 100 years thinking that you have to do this. Well, no, you don't. In fact, Google, IBM, Apple, Bank of America, a lot of places, hundreds of them. In fact, big companies are getting rid of the college degree requirement for application now because they want people who can actually do stuff like Ashley can do now.

[00:03:20] So so here we go. So let's bring Ashley on. Ashley Monk is the owner of IT Media. It's a digital agency helping service based business owners feel less overwhelmed about growing their business and no longer worried about finding their next client. Ashley helps business owners simplify their marketing and generate leads through Facebook ads, social media and email marketing. And now that she's all grown up, she gets the normal opening. Ashley, are you ready to screw? The commute?

[00:03:53] Yes. I am so excited to be here.

[00:03:59] I'm so thrilled now. Now, I'd said that, you know, you're at your month anniversary of quitting your job. But that's the you've been running this business for a while now, right?

[00:04:11] We are about nine months in, which is crazy. That's for sure. But yeah, about I think end of April, early May of 2019 is when I started my business.

[00:04:21] And you started making money right off the bat after you got in the school.

[00:04:26] Yeah. I mean, month one from the school I was already bring. I've never gone in the negative for my business thus far.

[00:04:32] Yeah. And so after about a month you report. I remember this stuff because it was so cool that you were reporting to me how it was going along. So from what I recall it was like one month in and was like eleven hundred dollars.

[00:04:47] Yeah. Then two months in it got up to 3000. Then I think three months was thirty four hundred. And then you called me not too long ago and said I'm quitting my job, I just go hit.

[00:05:02] That's right.

[00:05:03] Yes. So is that about right. The figure is. I was given a yes.

[00:05:08] Slowly but surely it's been scaling and then I even noticed a huge shift, just like you were coaching me when I was leaving, just with not only the tax write offs that I would get from having my breath, but also as soon as I took that transition, my eye kind of leveled off about what I could make each month just with the time that I was designated between my full time job and my business. But my first month, I end up doubling what I had brought in consistently those months before. Just by taking that transition.

[00:05:35] Yeah. Yeah. And the overhead overhead actually do an elective for our school to show how she did it. Given some of the ideas on how you you you grab that much business so fast.

[00:05:48] I love it. Well I'll give you kind of a quick spiel, but really what I started to do, there's so much opportunity in this space. It's ridiculous. And a lot of the large agencies, truthfully that are in the marketing space, they can't keep up with all the changes that are happening in a lot of the hard skills, just like you teach in the school. So what I started to do was initially to get experience. I started contracting with a few smaller agencies in the area that paid peanuts, but we're great experience. And then I also ended up going after some small business clients to kind of get experience. So that's what I did. I started charging hourly. Slowly but surely, as I got more skills, I increased my rate. And when I really started to know what I was doing and see a lot of growth, I switched to a retainer model. So some of the ways I started prospecting, too, but I was really just social media. So a lot of the strategies that you teach. Work for me to get my own clients. So I initially started doing that. But I'm not above kind of prospecting, cold calling and direct messaging people online. So I would hang out and Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups just try to do some helpful stuff. And that's prospecting that you can do in your pajamas at any time of day from behind your computer screen. So those are just a few of the ways that I begin to get some of my first clients.

[00:07:02] You know, the market is just enormous because most businesses, you know, you can walk down the street in their clue. I mean, I'm doing some stuff with chiropractors right now.

[00:07:13] And I've looked at probably a hundred and fifty chiropractic sites in the Virginia Beach area in the last two days. They are insecure.

[00:07:26] You can't read them. They're not mobile friendly. There's just I mean, that's just one. And, you know, these are professional people. You think, oh, this is going to be perfect. They're clueless. So we're having an open house day for chiropractors to bring him in and show them these things that they're doing wrong. That's hurting, hurting them. But somebody like you can swoop in, take it off their back, because a lot of these professionals, you know, they're they're great at what they do and they love it.

[00:07:55] And they want to do that and they want to do that, but they don't want to do this other stuff. And they're happy to pay you to take it off their back.

[00:08:04] I couldn't agree more. And Tom, one of the things that I started to do is I transition into offering new services is I really have started Denise Dowlan mostly offer, like you said, social media, Facebook and email as my big three.

[00:08:17] But what I've started to do is I prospected is when you compare the cost about at first I feel like it's a a mindset issue when the people in a lot of the people in your audience, I'm sure can relate to this. But money, when you're used to making under six figures a year a thousand dollars, two thousand dollars, it's a lot of money. But to a lot of business owners, it's really not. And so what I started to do when I was prospecting as well as I go after different clients is I start to learn and kind of understand how much some of these companies were paying in print advertising. And so I would go and reach out to local newspapers and just see how much it would cost to get my own ad in the paper if I ever wanted to. And I couldn't believe the prices that they were charging.

[00:08:59] Nobody's read them and their parakeet cages is big.

[00:09:03] And you know what? With everything that we do, whether it be web, social media or ads, everything we do is data driven. And so it's a no brainer, in my opinion, for a business owner, if you can just get that meeting and get your foot in the door. I mean, with print, you can see how many I's go to it. But those are all vanity metrics. You have no idea who actually is opening that unless you maybe have like a separate you are a link. But even then, there's just too many distractions to actually have that person go and follow the link. And so when it comes to what we do, I mean, it's a no brainer for a business owner because we can actually show them how many leads that we've gotten them. The actual metrics and reporting for how we've helped them. Not to mention that it's so much more affordable for a better return on their investment for digital. So I couldn't agree more. There's so much business out there. There is no shortage of clients and even the people that are in this space already. It's so possible to niche down and become specialized in one area. There is so much opportunity and I think we've barely scratched the surface.

[00:10:02] Yeah. And one trick or one thing that's trick that print publications use against people in case anybody out there is thinking about advertising in a newspaper or magazine or anything, they there's two different things. There's circulation and there's readership.

[00:10:23] So they try to say that, oh, well, for each publication we put out, maybe three people read it. So they triple the amount of, quote, eyeballs on it. But it's all smoke and mirrors. It's not real. So. Yeah, and some of those things. I mean, I get I get magazines every day. I never even open them. They go directly into the recycling.

[00:10:48] Right. You know, mine stay out.

[00:10:49] But the only reason mine stay out is I add them to my CRM as prospects. And then they go on the track.

[00:10:54] Yeah, exactly. Right. Right.

[00:10:55] Because anybody that's in the magazine or print and doesn't have online is an ideal client for me. So otherwise they write, they go right in the trash.

[00:11:03] Yeah. So. So the only, you know, readership is the recycling guy.

[00:11:08] I think that, you know, there's a few exceptions. I think if it's a really specialized like I know a one company and the BRIDEL ones or if it's really targeted toward an ideal audience, I've seen success in print or like a few direct mail companies that are really strategic, but for the most part, the your local newspaper and just your coupon codes. There's I mean, you think about when you open the mail and just the time that it would take. I mean, the bottom line is consumers do not want to be interrupted. And we are bombarded by so many marketing messages every single day that if it's not an easy customer experience for them to get a hold of you, they will go with your competitor. And that's where our efforts are so important. And there's just so much room for growth and opportunity for us here.

[00:11:49] Yeah. And so so tell everybody. So you're you're a very young lady, and I'm sure your dad is choking on that money spent on your call.

[00:12:01] You know why? Because you could hire yourself back to that college to get all that tuition back.

[00:12:08] Events that would be, hey, you could use some help for sure. And affectless kitchen.

[00:12:13] Kitchen. Yeah. You're an alumni, so. That's right. That would be great to get that money back. So.

[00:12:19] So what do you know now? All right. So so now that you're an old established business person, established nine months into it. So what do you what do you wish you knew nine months ago when you started?

[00:12:35] Oh, wow. There are so many lessons and so many key resources. But I would say the most important lesson would just be, I guess there's to start before you're ready and be open to the pivot's. I think so often. And that really. So to give you some context. Before I started my marketing business, I had another business that didn't necessarily feel it was more of a passion project. But it took me so long to let go of it. It took. Coach and mentor my life to kind of just say, hey, actually, this is an amazing passion, but this really from a business perspective, isn't profitable. And I took that really took that advice and latched onto it. It seems great advice. And how I pivoted sooner, I probably would have brought an income sooner and maybe been on this path a little bit sooner. That's OK. I've learned so much along the way, but I that was a point where I needed to pivot and eventually with it media I did it. Media is still evolving. So I would say being open to those changes when you entrusting your gut and recognizing when you're going down a rabbit hole, when it's time to basically you've hit a wall and kind of transition and then the other would just be to start before you're ready.

[00:13:47] And that's when I really started to see the most dramatic growth in my business was when I did start. I didn't have everything in place. All of my systems weren't clear. I really didn't know what I was doing, but I filed it. Media as a. You just kind of went for it and started chasing after clients. And so with each client, I learned too, I like to work with I didn't like to work with and just different lessons, but I think the key is just going for it. I think if the day that we decide that we're gonna wait for the day to come, I mean, it's near that day's never going to arrive. And so I think the two most important lessons, again, are just being open to the changes and trusting your gut when you see them. And then just taking the steps to get started, even when they're uncomfortable, it's OK to ask for help. It's okay to admit to your clients that maybe you've had something happen. So I think for me, it was just kind of like when those pitfalls would come, just being open and honest about them.

[00:14:44] When mistakes would happen, finding ways to work with people and to just satisfy them overall. And I think that really has attributed it the most growth over the last nine months for me.

[00:14:54] So you were going to a job and now you're not. So how is that transition? Is that like, oh, I love it. I don't have to get all gussied up every, you know, and get on the road every morning. What's what's it like? Is it lonely now? Does it feel like I'm thrilled to death? How are you feeling about that?

[00:15:15] It is an eerie thing. I love it. So for context, my my position previously, I I'm an extrovert, but I even hit my cap. I was surrounded by people 24/7 from 9 to noon when a 5. And so usually by 3 to 5, I was just wiped out from being around people. So I'm an extrovert, but I had my limit. And so it's kind of been interesting to go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum from constant social interaction to really just me. But I have to say, I love it. I'm a part of enough. I had to really guard my time and be cautious because I think it's really easy to just get sucked out. I think the first week I was like meeting, networking, do this, do that. And I was thinking, oh, wow, I need to make sure that I actually have time, but it might work and kind of getting it. So it's taken some adjustment to get those rhythms. But overall, I love it.

[00:16:09] I just ended up hiring a virtual assistant to kind of help be the gatekeeper for my calendar and help me.

[00:16:15] I had a big, big deal. Now you've got your assistant. Oh, really?

[00:16:21] No, I it's been a they've been fit. Fantastic. They just helped me kind of stay organized. And I have a tendency. See, it's not that I have a problem. One of my friends does it well. And I would say the same thing that I consider myself a time optimist. And it's not that I have a problem saying no. I just think that I can accomplish more in a day than I actually can.

[00:16:43] And so having a virtual assistant has been really helpful just for helping me manage my time better. And they're almost the gatekeeper for where I do and don't spend my time. But it's been amazing. I also reached out to the local high school around here and I got paired with an incredible senior intern was in a few days a week for a few hours.

[00:17:02] And it's been that's been a nice way to have social interaction, too, that I can kind of teach her and to see, because now that I'm in my business, my next process is, OK, how what are the steps to growing and scaling? And what does that look like? So she I'm laughing because she says that she loves learning from me, but I just keep telling her that it's more of a learning experience for me and supervise and train someone because that alone is bad. It's just like try and I've done a lot of volunteer management, but I've never actually had somebody report directly to me. So this has been a good test of my management skills and delegation skills. But overall, Tom, I love it. I cannot imagine going back just the freedom that comes. You know, it's been hard because I have to tell myself to stop working because I genuinely love what I do so much. It does it really doesn't feel like work to me. I just really feel like I'm aligned with my purpose and in my element. And I I truly just love it so much. Every day is. They start around 5:00 a.m., I guess I'm kind of in a rhythm now I get up, I do all my client work, then I do some prospecting and cold calling. Then I try to do some meetings or interviews, a little bit more quiet work and then other meetings. So I'm almost in a rhythm, but I'm just excited, too, that I can I can make our schedule. I can do kind of what I want when I want. I am gonna be gone for the next two weeks to visit my best friend in D.C. So I'm going to take my computer and work from D.C. for a week and then I'm going on vacation. And I love that I can take my computer and if I need to, I'll be working from there, too. And so it's just incredible to have that freedom and flexibility to just kind of set set that I. So I it's it's amazing.

[00:18:49] Wow. So so you're going technically on vacation, but you're going to work from your vacation the whole time.

[00:18:58] But you know, how cool is that?

[00:19:01] It's the early stages. So maybe at some point all I just don't trust myself yet.

[00:19:07] If anything, that there's a major fire, I don't play to sit in front of my computer all day. But if anything happens and just some of the work, I I'm not the point where I'm fully comfortable for shutting my laptop for.

[00:19:18] Where are you going?

[00:19:20] I'm going to conclude. I'm don't. Yes. It'll be fun. So cool. But take some breaks to make sure that everything is functioning smoothly. And it'll be good having that virtual assistant kind of see what that it's kind of like a tap. It'll be a trip, but almost a way of testing. Okay. What does this look like? How much can I delegate? How do I grow up? So I'm I'm excited for that.

[00:19:41] All right. So are you are you seeing any prospects or customers in person or is it all remote?

[00:19:49] Yes. So believe it or not, Tom, most of my clients right now are remote, which is amazing.

[00:19:54] You've never met them.

[00:19:56] Some of them I did. Eventually, once I started to sign more, I flew to Dallas, where a lot of my I have some clients in Dallas, Phoenix and Denver since so many of my clients are in Dallas. I have flown down there a few times just to introduce myself because I love them and kind of meet them in person. I am starting to get more local clients, though. And so I think the shift in some of the rationale behind that, too, is that the suburbs are one of the areas since I'm in Indianapolis, the Indianapolis suburbs have been a little bit slower to jump on the bandwagon with digital marketing, whereas the larger driving areas that are growing really quickly and are entrepreneurial like Dallas or Denver. Those those people, I think that's why some of those smaller companies have hired me. I will say I am starting to shift my approach and go after some larger players in the Indianapolis market. So those clients I will if I recognize, OK, this might be a larger proposal. I'll try. My first step is trying to set an appointment with them and then sit down with them, see if we're a match and then take an I'm going through some sales training, which has been helpful. I have the marketing side, but not the sales side as much. And so I've started to try to set appointments and just get that commitment before I create a proposal. So that's kind of where I might go.

[00:21:14] Well, I just interviewed a young lady that was up against some really big agencies for the job with a big company. And they their proposals were like fifteen to twenty thousand dollars to make their sales pitch with a big team of people and fancy stuff. All this and all she did. And she she has no way she could compete with that.

[00:21:39] So she just went and interviewed all the people involved ahead of time and they basically told her what they wanted. The other company, absolutely. They knew what they wanted. And she got the job. All these all a laugh. You know, it's more one on one and just giving them what they wanted, but taking the time to figure that out.

[00:22:00] Absolutely, I think listening is just such a key, a key factor. I always try because I. I will say there is a disconnect. I'm sure you've seen this, too. Some of my clients think that I'll always do what my client wants and I'll try to kind of educate them on what I think would be the best alternative route. But sometimes they say that what a lot of times they'll have clients that say, I need social media, I need social media. And based on their business, they don't. That's not always the case. I think that I should. I should clarify. Let's say it's a business, a business company, and they think they need to be on Instagram while they're considering their bottom line to talk.

[00:22:40] But it's just funny. I was meeting with somebody that had a multimillion dollar company and wanted to hire me for marketing and wanted me to do. Is Instagram page. And I just asked him, I said, hey, well, tell me more about your current client base and who they are. He said, well, it's owners of these large manufacturing companies. And I said, OK, well, do you really think that they're spending their time on Instagram? And he said, no, I just think that I need to be on social media. And so I just always try to set the expectation. And I'll say, if that's really what you want to hire me to do, I would gladly do that. However, I don't necessarily think that I can give you the results that you're expecting or thinking. I mean, this would be a platform where I can help you establish credibility. Sure. And do a great job. But ultimately, if your ideal client isn't here, you will generate sales or revenue from Instagram. So, yeah, I think it's just really important that listening piece is key because so many times they think that comes and just almost asking the right questions to be able to get that information. I think that's so key because these agencies will go in and pitch these huge proposals, but without fully understanding. I mean, at the end of the day, the business owner or the senior marketing director knows that industry, that market better than the agencies and the marketers like ourselves do. And so I think the key and probably what she did really well when she made that presentation is asking the right questions and listening and offering feedback, but ultimately coming up with a plan that they will value. But kudos to her. I'm very impressed. That's wonderful.

[00:24:11] So what's interesting here is that you haven't even finished the school yet.

[00:24:18] I haven't. I need to say on that. I'm halfway done.

[00:24:21] I mean, the best part is yet to come you to use the simple stuff now. The good stuff.

[00:24:26] That's right. That's right.

[00:24:29] I know. I just have to get crazy that I'm only at the halfway mark and just where I'm at. So I'm excited to see where I'm at when I finish. But yes, I am times locking it into my calendar this week.

[00:24:40] Well, I think, you know, the thing is, is that we don't put anything in the school that's not valuable.

[00:24:46] And so absolutely, you see what you have been able to do with just half the school before. And actually in the first month, you were able to do some stuff. But but there's going to be a lot more things that you can do as adding services and and recommendations and in your experience and skill level will keep increasing like crazy. And then once you're done with the school, it doesn't end. You know, you have to keep up with things because things change rapidly. So so so what's your dad think about all this?

[00:25:19] He's the one that gifted the scholarship to you.

[00:25:22] But I did it. He did. He's so excited.

[00:25:25] Had to really talk you into it. I don't remember the how the origins of this happened.

[00:25:30] He he joined my mentor program and I was ready to jump.

[00:25:35] Yeah. But so the deal is, is he joined my mentor program and he got a scholarship to the school that he could either use himself or gift to someone. When you join the big mentor program. So he gifted it to you. But I don't know how that went. Did he have to talk you into it or did you know? How did that go when that happened?

[00:25:56] I was ready. I was so excited. I had been looking for kind of a framework. I feel like when I came into school, I I mean, I was thrilled. I got. I was like, can you give me this stuff so I can sign faster? But what I love about the school is I've just take I've taken a lot of online courses. So I've gone through my Google Add certification. I've gone through like certain bad training. But the biggest holes that I found in just online programs in general is that there's really not a clear blueprint to take you from point A to point C where you're at. Where is your course is so comprehensive. There's just so much content. You're really diving into every area that needs to be addressed in the digital marketing space. Whereas, yeah, Facebook offers a Facebook blueprint course, it's really comprehensive, but that doesn't teach me the foundations of being a digital marketer. And so what I love about the school is it marries not only the hard skills that you need to be successful, but also the foundational in the strategic framework and the thing the thought process in thinking patterns that are necessary to think like a marketer and. Tell you how many colleagues of mine I know that have gone to a four year university and gotten a marketing or communications degree and they have a lot of foundational knowledge. But the schools can't publish textbooks as quickly as this industry is changing. And so the schools that the most comprehensive program I Phalen to include all of those elements, not only with the thinking required, but also the hard skills to execute them.

[00:27:24] Yeah. And wheat's we change. I mean we could make several changes in the curriculum a week because it changes in the Internet. And so no regular college course updates, you know, yearly, even if you're lucky. Especially when it's based on printed textbooks and the.

[00:27:42] Oh, boy, is there something in that quiz I was talking about of the rip off quiz that they're doing with textbooks now. They're putting expiration codes in them so that you can't resell them. Wow. And then the next guy or girl has to pay full retail at the bookstore to get the new one without the expiration code.

[00:28:05] Spencer, I bought all my books online for like that were used. That's just so expensive.

[00:28:11] Yeah, but see, with our school there is no you know, there's none of those extra expenses of textbooks, travel or anything. But we are opening an in-house class starting this year because of the G.I. Bill requires it for four. So we're trying to get in the. So veterans can can take the school and so inside. So so so I'm so thrilled for you, kiddo.

[00:28:39] Well, thanks. Oh, so much of it's you. And I couldn't be more thankful for this school and just the mentorship that you provided me and helping you get here. So thank you.

[00:28:47] So it's byitmedia.com. Ok. And then that'll be in the show notes. And what are they going to see when they get there?

[00:29:13] They are going to see who I help, how I help them and the ways that I help them and how they can get a hold of me.

[00:29:21] Yeah. Because you can help anybody anywhere in the world that here's here's this right there.

[00:29:26] That's right. It's a really clean, simple website. And I designed it with all the notes and I got this.

[00:29:32] Beautiful, beautiful. All right, folks. Well, I'm so thrilled for my little star pupil here is just taken off like crazy. Now, you got a little ways to go because, you know, my first young young guy just sold his company for three hundred and forty million dollars.

[00:29:49] Challenge accepted way to get up there.

[00:29:53] And I told him next time I come to visit him, he's buying and dinner.

[00:29:57] That's right. That's right. He better. Yes. And that's fantastic.

[00:30:00] Yes. The folks check it all out. I am T-C v._a, dawg. You or your kids could have a marketable, skilled career in as little as six months. Now, if you if you really want to take advantage of all the the electives and things that might take six months to a year, but you don't have to wait that long. And Ashley is living proof that you can be making money earn while you learn is what they call it. So. That's right. Yeah. So. And then you'll see one of the first classes as an elective by Ashley telling you how to get to the money fast. And she's she's great at it. So thanks so much. And I'm going to keep checking in on you to see how you're doing and get the keep after the school. Get it finished.

[00:30:48] That's right. Thanks so much, Tom.

[00:30:50] All right, everybody. So we'll catch everybody on the next episode. See ya later.

 
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