Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashleigh Warren.
Ashleigh, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m 27. I quit my job at 24 (24 1/2 to be exact). I made $417k my 1st six months as a freelance social media marketer and went on to scale my business to even more. I went from living paycheck to paycheck, to making $60k/year working for someone else, to making so much money working for myself that I had to start a business (S Corp) so that I wouldn’t get completely slaughtered by taxes.
I’ve made $30+ million on Facebook and Instagram for brands by managing their campaigns, producing their copy and creative, designing their landing pages, finding new markets and develop their marketing strategies. I’ve built multimillion dollar beauty, apparel and lifestyle brands through paid FB/IG ads, further grew preexisting multimillion-dollar ad accounts, created campaigns at a significant scale that returned a 5.05 ROAS (not counting Black Friday) and even managed ads for high profile influencers such as Jake Paul, David Dobrik and The Try Guys.
Before I got into marketing, I was a full-time student, lived with my parents, and worked 30 hour weeks at Starbucks. We were still recovering from the market crash, so I worked to help my family and provide a little for myself. We lost everything in that crash…our house, cars and even our dog. We were on food stamps, and it felt like things were just getting worse. My parents had to sell everything just so we could survive and I’m grateful very to them for getting us through that. At one point, my six-person family had to move in with my aunt in her two-bedroom, one bathroom house with my two cousins (8 PEOPLE LIVING IN THAT SMALL HOUSE). She was incredibly gracious enough to let us stay for so long. Some of my best memories are from our time living there. Crazy enough, I got straight A’s that year and was determined to have a better future.
Eventually, things did get better, my parents got greats jobs, and we moved in our own condo. Things were looking slightly up, but I was going through the motions: school, Starbucks, sleep, repeat. Starbucks was great to me. I had an incredible manager that invested so much support and kindness into my life when I needed it the most, but I knew I wanted more from life. I had no idea what that was, or how to get there. I didn’t even know what online marketing was at that point, but one day after class, I told myself, “Enough is enough. Go find better.” So I began looking for office jobs on Craigslist. I found an admin assistant/creative writer role for a marketing company. I like what it paid ($15/hr), and I liked that I would be getting more business exposure than as a barista, so I applied. I got the position and quit Starbucks a week later. I changed my school schedule to complete my degree online so that I could work full-time.
I was an admin assistant/creative writer for about four months, and then they offered me a promotion: Media Buyer. I had no idea what the hell that was, but I was down. It paid $40k/month + commission. I learned Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest advertising. I learned how to operate the platforms, build my own creative, write my own copy, and a lot of best practices. I quickly became one of the best buyers in the office. My numbers proved this and I was still a full-time straight A student.
Still, I knew I could do more and started feeling complacent so I began looking for better opportunities in this field a few months in. I reached out to one of our tech clients who was looking for an in house Facebook marketer. We went back and forth for a while, but nothing happened. Then literally a year later they reached out and offered me $60k + commission, an excellent benefits program, unlimited PTO, a fantastic office space, great people and pretty everything you could want working for someone else. I took it.
But what no one knew at this point was I had started looking for my own freelance clients on Craigslist at the same time. Literally, the only reason I thought to do it, was because my little sister was living with me at the time and I wanted to move back into a nicer part of downtown San Diego, but could not afford a two-bedroom on one salary. I responded to a remote Facebook marketer part-time position days before I had received that new tech job offer. The Craigslist client reached out to me the SAME DAY I got a call from that company.
I decided F it, do it all: full-time online student, a full-time job, provide for my sister (a full-time traditional on-campus student at that point) who didn’t have a car and managed a freelance client. Somehow I was balancing it all well, taking my sister to school every morning before work and picking her up late at night, getting straight A’s of my own, succeeding at work — all my accounts were performing to par or above. So two weeks into my new full-time job I started looking for another client I could personally take on. I searched through Instagram beauty hashtags for clients as I had previously seen a lot of success with beauty clients at my old job. I found a small brand I saw a lot of potential in and sent them an email pitch. They signed with me, and in two months I was making $30k+/month just as a freelancer.
I thought WOAH, but this might just be a fluke, so I didn’t quit my job for another three months and made sure I had a year’s salary saved just in case freelancing didn’t pan out. I knew I would be okay and my sister would be okay for a year.
Crazy enough it kept working. Those two clients began to refer me to other clients, and I officially didn’t have enough bandwidth. I didn’t have the time to work full-time for someone else. I no longer was worth the money. So I took a semi-comfy leap of faith and quit. I built my freelance business and finished school.
At one point, I even built my own agency in downtown San Diego. Invested $50k into this beautiful space and it looked nothing short of DOPE. I loved it, but I hated actually running an agency. I couldn’t just focus on what I loved: the marketing, the training, and the clients. It was now a full-blown company, and I was back in the agency life that I hated. I had way more things to worry about, I had to be in the office all the time since I was the boss and we were a small team. I was stressed, had too much on my plate, way more expenses than I wanted/really needed. So I had a real heart to heart with myself: Is this seriously what you want to do right now at 25? And it wasn’t.
So I savagely fired everyone one day at the same time, broke my lease and fled. I was embarrassed that I let people down, but I had to do what I had to do so I could breathe again.
I kept the biggest and/or best clients, which was what I should have only taken from the beginning. Life went on, clients came and went. I was grateful to be still making an incredible living maintaining lifelong clients and get new ones but not gonna lie; I was pretty depressed for a few months after letting go of my agency. I felt like I failed because in many ways I did, but I WAS NOT a failure and that took me some time to understand and accept.
Fast-forward to now. I currently manage a handful of clients monthly, travel the world regularly and make sure I strive for three things above all else in my life: to love what really matters, to consistently outgrow myself and to always give back to people who need a little hope right now.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I DON’T BELIEVE IN CHARGING A PERCENTAGE OF AD SPEND.
It’s stupid. The model is completely flawed.
As GOOD marketers our job is to get your account to scale—profitably. As you know, an increase in spend does not necessarily equate to an increase in revenue. Also, why would I charge you more for doing my job?
Besides this huge flaw, agencies generally are all cookie cutter. They lack creativity and ability to test outside of the box.
Agencies also have another problem: TIME.
Most account managers have 8+ accounts they manage on their OWN. They are freaking swamped, mentally drained and don’t have the proper amount of time to give each client to ensure their success.
I’ve sat in training, I trained teams myself and I can tell you right now the agency model is unfair. Zero innovation and overworked employees.
There is no way your account is getting the appropriate attention it needs. There is literally not enough time in the day to effectively manage the standard workload of numerous accounts, but account managers do it because they are commissioned off of their workload and the AMOUNT YOU SPEND.
Your account is always spending not just the 9-5 schedule your agency works. Who’s optimizing on the off hours? Not them.
Again this is stupid, which is why I left. I only want to work with clients I believe in, which drives me to always be thoroughly invested in YOU. I never manage more than five accounts. Want a campaign pushed live asap? It will be done in an hour no matter the day.
I monitor and optimize each account hourly, including weekends. I work 6am – 11:30pm every day because I love it and I know what it takes for an account to be successful.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I wouldn’t say luck, but rather timing. I think I decided to take a leap of faith at the right time. It led me to the right clients and the right business relationships. Timing is everything.
- Website: Entrepreneurs Blog: www.extrabuthuman.com Professional Site: www.ashleighwarren.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_ashleighwarren/?hl=en
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/extrabuthuman/?hl=en
Profile image: @bradfordrogne