Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ashley King of Ashley's Bride Guide

At The Table with Ashley King of Ashley's Bride Guide

Ashley's Bride Guide is THE go-to guide for brides planning a wedding in Nashville, TN! When Ashley King developed this guide, she did so to fill a void in the Nashville wedding planning market. Sure, there were wedding planners in Nashville, but no online resource that combined numerous resources for finding wedding venues and caterers to florists and wedding photographers all in one place. I sat down with Ashley King, the creative woman behind Ashley's Bride Guide, and she shared what she enjoys about entrepreneurship and how she developed the idea for this phenomenal online resource.

Ashley King of Ashley's Bride Guide

Dr. Carmen April: What was your first job out of college? Once you graduated, did you stay in D.C.?

Ashley King: I graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C. My first job out of college was in management consulting in Atlanta. I took a job offer in Atlanta and I was working for a top consulting firm.  It was my first job out of college. I chose to work in management consulting and enjoyed it because it allowed me to work in different jobs. Every four to 6 months, I was on a new project.  A new project meant a new industry, new city, and new goal.  So I might be in Canada working with a bank, trying to help them launch or figure out if a new online banking product will be successful.  Six months later, I was in Oklahoma working with Citgo gas trying to figure out how to cut costs. I realized that I thrived in that environment of change and I think that this says more about my inability to stay with something for too long.  I get bored.  I need things that are challenging and stimulate me.  If I hate it, it’s over in a month.

Dr. Carmen April: Then you decided to come back to Nashville.  Why did you decide to come back here?

Ashley King: The number one reason was that I was ready to settle into home life, family life.  I was thinking at that time that two things were driving me.  One, my parents- they’re getting older and I wanted to be near them.  I hadn’t spent much time with them as an adult and so I thought that I really wanted to soak up their knowledge, their wisdom and to not always be gone. I really wanted to spend some quality time with my parents.  Two, I also said that I was ready to plant some roots and I thought if I moved to Nashville- I’ll probably meet a guy in Nashville.  That way, we could get married here. I had also just hit a point where I was like, “what do I want to do with my life?” I was ready for a change, career wise because that time I was traveling a whole lot and I was like, “I don’t know if I want to travel this much.” I decided to move home and didn’t really have much of a plan in terms of a career.  I really was ready to just chill and figure out what the next phase of Ashley’s career might look like. I just played around with a lot of different things.  I took a retail job, for the first time in my life.  I was working at a children’s clothing store and Starbucks. I loved it!  I don’t even like coffee, but I loved working at Starbucks.  To meet so many different type of people and they don’t care or know anything about my background.

Dr. Carmen April:  You’re a young entrepreneur.  How long have you been an entrepreneur and where did the idea for Ashley’s Bride Guide come from?

Ashley King:  I started Ashley’s Bride Guide in 2006 and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur.  I knew from working with my parents that I was going to be an entrepreneur.  I didn’t exactly know what type of business.  I think you should follow what your passion is and that’s always changing.  I don’t see being an entrepreneur as, “I’m going to start this business and I’m going to have it forever.” I think of it as what phase am I in, what do I love now, and how can I turn that into something that is a win-win?  Something that I love and can make money by serving others, to me that’s what it’s about.  At that time, I was engaged.  I got engaged in 2005 and through planning my wedding, I realized the inefficiencies of planning a wedding. I was at work planning my wedding, as most brides are, and there weren’t any websites to plan a wedding in 2005 that were speaking to Nashville weddings.  They were personal websites; most of them were national websites. There were none for Nashville.  The only options were to go to a bridal show, word of mouth, or pick up a wedding magazine- none of which I could do at work.  I started researching the idea and confirmed that there was a void.  Then I started putting together a plan.  I knew that once I got married, I would start Ashley’s Bride Guide.

Dr. Carmen April: What does a typical work day look like for you?

Ashley King:  Most of my work is writing related.  Sixty to seventy percent of what I do is content development and writing, so I am putting together the content plan.  I am reaching out to people to interview, as you’re doing, and I’m writing articles.  The other part is promoting my site, content, and customer/client management.  My typical day follows that same thing.  Most of the time, I’m writing.  Then there’s some promotion, emails, conversations, and meetings for client management.

Dr. Carmen April:  Can you give me a couple of pros and a couple of cons to being a young entrepreneur?

Ashley King:  The pros are flexibility, creativity- what I say is what I create.  That’s one of the things that I love about being an entrepreneur.  I see that more clearly than most people.  It’s just a matter of thinking it and creating it. I love impacting others economically. I love that people are building businesses and feeding their families based on the business that my site drives to them.  Every day, I pray that my clients are blessed through my business and that my brides find good matches for their weddings so they have joy, harmony, and trust in the decisions that they make.  I know that I’m impacting the Nashville economy. That’s a blessing as well. Those are my pros, the cons- accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, anything like that.  That is my thorn.  I don’t like anything to do with that part of it.  I also don’t like sales and that’s a big issue in my business.  You always have to network, to be all about turning people into clients.  I don’t really like that part of it, so I would much rather do the creative side. Also, I'm realizing that as the business owner - you can't make changes to the business as fast. I like to experiment and try new things. But since it's all on you, you can't be as agile. That's one of my biggest challenges. 

Dr. Carmen April:   To wrap things up, are there any tips that you could offer to any young professional interested in being an entrepreneur? Maybe they’ve had an idea in their head for some time.  They’re working in a corporate structure or corporate America and can’t figure out if it’s the right time to be an entrepreneur.  What advice would you give them?

Ashley King:  My old boss, the one I was working for when I was thinking of starting Ashley’s Bride Guide, gave me a plaque that says “you only regret what you don’t do.” Just try things, be willing to experiment.  I think that God rewards those who are willing to step out of the boat and try to walk on water.  I think that people are so fearful!  What is it that you fear?  Imagine that.  Is that really going to kill you?  What’s the worst that can really happen?  There’s lots of people in those scenarios and most of those things never come true.  Because you’re so fearful of what could happen, you’re not really living the best life.  I always tell kids that I mentor, do what you love when it comes to your college major.  Follow your heart and your natural interests.  Get a minor in business.   You can turn anything that you love into a business.  Whether it’s art or anything, you can turn anything into a business if you have a business acumen. 

Dr. Carmen April: Wonderful, “you can turn anything into a business if you know business.” That’s perfect!
Ashley King:  That’s what I’ll leave you with!

You can find Ashley's Bride Guide online @ http://ashleysbrideguide.com

--Dr. April

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