November Highlight: Ashley Sonneville
November Client Highlight
Solutions By Ashley
CPC Services Used: Ashley has been a CPC one-on-one business consulting client since 2014. She works directly with Gale Paige.
This month we turn the tables and highlight the person who usually writes our highlights– Ashley! Ashley has a killer eye for detail and communicating via content. Check her out and have a wonderful month!
GP: Over the past year you have changed the services that Solutions By Ashley provides, please share with readers what you offer.
AS: My menu of Solutions continues to slowly and steadily expand but all are centered on content/written work. Content for websites such as FAQ pages, email campaigns, Client or Employee Highlights both in written article form and videos, scripts for videos, newsletters, ghost-writing projects including blog articles and E-Book content, and recently some voice over work for client videos. The past six months have also seen an uptick in Brainstorming Sessions, where owners want to sit down for an hour or two and do exactly that—brainstorm.
GP: For those unfamiliar with SBA, who is an ideal client for you?
AS: 90% of my clients are self-employed individuals and/or small businesses with 1 to 10 employees. They might not have a huge budget for advertising but have the same needs as a larger company. They want to communicate and market in a non-salesy way such as through Client Highlights, blog articles, short videos, or various email campaigns but prefer not to write the content themselves. Perhaps they start with me because my rates are attractive, and stick with me because they are happy. The rest are larger marketing firms that sub out content work to me.
GP: Thinking back, what have you done well as a business owner?
AS: Cutting the admin services and focusing on content has proven to be a smart move business-wise and personally. I love creating, I love writing, and I love the challenge of presenting information in a way that people will respond to. The only non-creative project I will offer are Holiday cards. They were a huge help to busy owners last year and I’ve already received a ton of inquiries so I will offer that again. But overall, I’m glad I had the intuition and sense to see what wasn’t going to go well long term and instead focus on what was, which is content in various forms.
Also, there are people in my life whose feedback I value immensely, a couple I consider mentors even. When they take time to share their thoughts I listen. They give me the truth and quality information and are great for me and my business.
Another good decision was to work one on one with you. Seriously. You are incredibly valuable. On the operations side your simple approach is perfect, and on the growth side you helped me understand networking is a skill as much as cooking or anything else one would view as a skill. I am the person who, if left to my own devices, would never network. I’d much rather be writing or outside getting dirty. Only this past year have I begun to view networking as painless and essential to growth. There is a rhythm to it as well as a give and take that I, in the fog of divorce and kid-raising, never paid much attention to until you held me accountable to improve in this area. So yes, hiring you was one of my better moves.
GP: Thank you for the kind words. Speaking of you hiring me, how did that happen? I hired you for writing work and then you ended up hiring me for consulting work. Do tell!
AS: I know! As I worked for you, including interviewing and writing your Client Highlights, person after person convinced me simply by answering questions like the ones you are asking me today. A lot of the highlight material gets cut out. All sung your praises. Occasionally people choke up about what your help has done for them and their business. Many of them thought they could not afford you but were so glad when they took a chance and hired you. I remember one person emphasizing the importance of having coaches for different areas. And another pointing out that it takes guts to invite someone into your business but that it was worth it. All of that was happening at the same time as I was drowning in work but not working ON my business. Not even billing on time. Having to regularly apologize. Remember? I still cringe. Talk about a learning curve. Things are much better now.
GP: I know from working with you that you are both creative and a perfectionist. What else sets you apart?
AS: I sincerely care about my work and my clients happiness with that work. Business is personal. If I am writing a blog article for someone I want their readers to love it and find it useful. If I am creating a written or video highlight I want all involved to be proud and excited about the finished product. If I am writing content for their website I want it to be crystal clear and useful. If someone has hired me to do a Creative Brainstorming session with them I want them to walk away energized. If I have to interview a client’s client I want that person to have the best experience possible and feel nothing less than understood and special.
GP: What’s your favorite part of your work?
AS: I like all of it but if I had to choose I would say the short video scripts and Highlights are a favorite. I get a kick out of them, I really do. I love people, I love stories. And I like to see everybody win, which is what happens in a Highlight. It doesn’t matter if it’s a video or written. I have never done one in which there was not a mutual respect between my client and whoever they have hired me to highlight. Most of the time I don’t know the person being highlighted but by the end of our conversation they are excited. Some clients push them out on Facebook, some over their email lists, the videos on YouTube. I’m not privy to what others do with their email lists but the ones who put them on Facebook get a lot of exposure. What I’ve heard is nothing but positive feedback no matter the avenue. They are also great for my clients—they pay me one time to create a unique and lasting piece. It’s a win-win for all.
GP: What’s fun personally?
AS: Just about anything done outdoors—work or play– is fun for me. As you know I am a staunch advocate of Hardstyle kettlebell training, which has been life-changing for me, so I practice it often and sometimes compete. Being around friends and family, exploring new places, reading good writing, listening to music, visiting, porch-sitting, just taking it all in and being grateful for every moment. It’s all fun.
GP: Any comments you would like to add?
AS: Thank you, Gale. It’s different being the one highlighted! I appreciate all I have learned from you and encourage anyone to consider you for one-on-one consult work.
Connect with Ashley here on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. CPC readers mention this highlight for 20% off any service booked before December 31, 2015.