We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Watkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I really wanted freedom from the toxic work environments I worked in. I have always been a critical thinker and communicator. It was astonishing , that those qualities were not often welcomed in corporate settings. After graduating college with my Bachelor’s Degree, I was very disappointed in the leadership at many of the jobs I worked at. I knew I was underpayed and undervalued, but more importantly, I noticed how coworkers and superiors were unhappy and not open to change. I knew then, I would own a company and change that for the people on my teams. I was determined to create a happy life filled with peace doing something I loved.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a business coach because I know how hard it is to start with an idea that no one can see but you and turn it into a money making machine. I began my entreprenurial journey with doing hair at the age of 12. As a young hairstylist, I braided everyone’s hair in my neighborhood. I often laugh because it was not legal for me to be making all of the cash I was at that time. This sparked a powerful passion for people. A degree and a few 9-5’s later, I launched a traveling personal training business here in Los Angeles. Actually , it launched itself. I had just moved here from Buffalo, NY and got in the best shape of my life. I lost 100 pounds and simotaneously built an online audience by sharing my weightloss journey. Hundreds of inspired friends, family members and strangers were contacting me to make meal plans, workouts and grocery lists for them. That’s when Body by Ashley was born. Was it easy! Not at all. I was a single mother, who threw caution to the wind to chase the dream of being LA’s top fitness trainer. I was so excited and ambitious , I was completely naiive to how hard it was going to be. I struggled to charge my worth, questioned myself and lived in constant stress, always wondering where the next client was coming from. It was a mess! I learned many lessons through the mistakes I made. Through it all, what made the difference and what kept me going was my fitness background, my mindset and investing in classes to learn more. In the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic, I decided to switch gears. I realized my passion was not fitness. My passion was people. I love helping people and I love entreprenuership. Business Coaching just felt right. When you find your purpose, you know it. It just clicked. It felt personal. Business coaching is redemption for me. The mistakes I made in business cost me so much time and money. If I had a business coach early in my business I would have been lightyears ahead. I can’t change the past but I can certainly help someone who needs it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our first stop would be somewhere in nature for sure. I love the beach. It really grounds me. We would walk with no shoes, do yoga and meditate to the sounds of the ocean. Then we would take a dip and lay out in the sun. My next destination would be to get some really good food. I love to try new foods but my favorite foods are Thai , Indian or Greek Food. I love fresh ingredients, fruits, veggies, yogurts and anything with rice. The aromas of spices and variety of flavors used in these foods are so intoxicating. I think people don’t take the time to mindfully eat and really let your senses take in the experience.
On other days, we would walk or hike. I really am an outdoors girl. A hike, a green smoothie and a good stretch always heightens my mood. I would certainly take her to a book store or library at some point because reading is my first love. The libraries of the world never crowd and are always peaceful and serene.
We would definately try something we never did before. I am a huge fan of coming out of my comfort zone. It amazes me how much the human brain can create new nueropaths and learn until we die. Cooking classes, art classes , dance classes, I love them all. We would also be trying lots of new restaurants and doing tons of laughing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The person that deserves some recognition in my story is my therapist. I met her roughly 4 years ago at one of the lowest points in my life. I had experienced years of trauma which led to me feeling helpless and hopeless. Now that I look back, I know the years of trauma had contributed to me spiraling into anxiety and depression. I booked a call with her and my journey to a happy healthy new life began. Therapy has helped me become more self aware, empowered and has increased my self love tremendously. My personal mental health challenges is why I advocate for mental health awareness every chance I get.
Facebook: Ashley Watkins