Running a creative podcast

Running a creative podcast-Twin Cities Collective Podcast

Utilizing Creativity in your everyday life with podcaster & editor @brookseditorial

Today I'm excited to interview Ashley Brooks of Brooks Editorial. Ashley is an editor and content creator and she is also a fellow podcast host! She hosts the podcast Chasing Creative, which is all about how everyday people can make creativity a priority in their daily lives with co-host Abbigail Kriebs. I've been a huge fan of the podcast and had to ask her to be on the podcast! We talk about the definition of a "freelancer", prioritizing your limited time, & following your creative passions!

Full Episode Transcription:

Find Ashley & Chasing Creative!

Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives. She is a well known speaker, educator & social media strategist. You can work with her one on one with coaching and content creation (photo/video) services

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Full Episode Transcription

I'm very excited to be joined by Ashley Brooks Brooks editorial. She is the podcast person at the chasing creative podcast, which is amazing. I've been listening to it for a long time. So do you want introduce yourself?

Ashley Brooks 2:09

Yeah. Hi, and thanks for having me. First of all, I'm super excited to be here. Yeah, I'm

Jenna Redfield 2:14

so excited to have you because I've been listening to your podcast for probably over a year at least. And it's one of my favorites. So I'm really excited is back.

Ashley Brooks 2:22

So great to hear because my co host Abby and I have a really great time doing it. So we're glad to hear people enjoy it. But um, yeah, I'm Ashley. So I am a twin cities local, obviously. I grew up in Roseville, which is sort of right between Minneapolis and St. Paul and went to Northwestern college. I graduated in 2012. Northwestern is also basically in Roseville, it was like down the street. And then I moved a little bit farther down the street when I got married to Falcon heights, which is near the state fair. And basically been here ever since. So I've never really lived more than like, away from home. But I'm definitely always been local in the Twin Cities area and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield 3:07

So how did you get started on your business? Did you do that in college? or How did just kind of start from the side gig or how did that start?

Ashley Brooks 3:15

Yeah, so I've kind of an interesting freelancing story. So when I was in, like junior high, I really liked reading books. And I was like, well, I want to get paid to read books. And I'm going to be an editor. And I was just sitting there one day, and I was like, you know, I should be able to do that from home. Like, there's no reason I have to go to an office for that. So I've actually sort of always had freelancing in the back of my mind as something that I could do just because the career choice that I wanted to pursue, didn't seem to me to be something that had to be confined to an office where I had to go in and work nine to five every day. So that was sort of always the plan. Once I graduated from college with my English degree, I was planning on, you know, getting my foot in the door, maybe a publishing house or two and working for a few years. And then I figured once I had kids because I got married the same year I graduated, I figured once we started our family, I would decide to really pursue freelancing more. And what happened was I graduated, and then I couldn't find a job. So I'd already had an internship with a local publishing house here, red leaf press, which is there a really fantastic publishing house, they do resources for early childhood educators. So they ended up actually giving me my first freelance projects. And I still work with them today. They're like my favorite client ever. I love them. But they started giving me projects. And I was like, all right, I guess this is something that I'm going to do. So it didn't start off as a full time thing, even though I knew that's what I eventually wanted it to become. I supplemented my income with working at Caribou Coffee and part time. And I was married. So my husband worked full time. And that's something I always make sure to mention in the center used to this because so many people think like, Oh, you just started you just got it off the ground. I'm like, well, but I was married. And so if I had had to support myself on my own, I probably would have had to have like a second part time job or a full time job, just to help cover that. But yeah, it's just sort of grown from there. And it's grown with me along with it. I have two kids. I'm Hadley's two years old. And Reagan is seven months. And I do writing along with editing now. So do some freelance writing and some content marketing. And I help solo printers figure out content strategy as well. So that's sort of where I'm at now.

Jenna Redfield 5:37

That's so cool. So is it most Do you call? This is something I've been wanting to ask a lot of people because I recently went full time in my business. And I'm like, do I call myself a freelancer? Or is that like an outdated term? Like, I'm always confused by that. So what is your thoughts on the term Freelancer?

Ashley Brooks 5:54

Yeah, that's such a great question. Because when I first started freelancing, like I had no clue what I was doing. So I picked up this, like this book. And like, I was reading all these resources. And one of the resources that I was reading, and I always mentioned this to people, and I feel so bad, I can't remember who wrote it, because it was so pivotal for me. But it was, um, I feel like it was from the International freelancers Institute, but I'm not sure if that's even right. But they did this survey. And they had all these different analytics and statistics about freelancers. But one of the ones that really struck me was that the freelancers who thought of themselves as entrepreneurs instead of freelancers, earns, like two to three times as much per year as those who thought of themselves as freelancers. So I was like, Okay, so I'm not a freelancer, I'm an entrepreneur. And even though I often still call myself a freelancer, just because that's what our clients know us as, and that's what they're looking for. And I find that it really helps your whole mindset if you think of yourself as a business owner. Because that just sort of helps you get your finances in order, and helps you think about how to be more getting your business and not just like, okay, I'll take whatever job there is, because I'm a freelancer. Like, that word kind of just has negative connotations now, which is why I think some people stay away from it. I personally would go back and forth, like, I don't refer to myself much as a freelancer online. But I know, that's an easy way to describe what I do so that people who aren't in the world immediately understand.

Jenna Redfield 7:22

Yeah, so do you think it's for different audiences? Like you tell like a regular person, you're freelancer, and then someone in the creative world, like I'm an entrepreneur, solo printer, whatever, that term, there's like a bunch of printers now from a feminine printer. I don't even it's like

Ashley Brooks 7:35

making a printer. Yeah, it's kind of it's kind of a good word for that. But that's so awesome. So how much do you spend? Like actually writing versus doing like editing? Like is it is a lot like as a half and half? How, how do you split up your time and your business. And so that's something that's changed a lot. Since I've had kids before, I used to spend a lot more time on editing. And now I'm finding that it's a lot more difficult to focus on editing projects, like I need to have like a deeper focus than I do when I'm writing because when I write, I can kind of like, get a lot of my thoughts down just like in a notebook or something. And then, like, just throw together the final article. Later, when I'm not distracted by my kids. But editing, I was really having a hard time working around with my two little ones with me all day. So what I've started doing is moving away from editing and more towards writing, as the years have gone on, but I do still take some editing projects. I'm still excited about doing that. I don't want to necessarily give that up entirely. But I've had to cut back a lot as that's done.

Jenna Redfield 8:38

Okay, yeah. And then how does your podcast for them? Because, like, I know, you've kind of do it in almost like seasons. And so like, when do you record and like do you do during the day? And then I feel like you do it months in advance, too. So do you like batch like record? Like, how does that work for you guys on the podcast? And maybe you want to explain the podcast a little bit?

Ashley Brooks 8:58

Yeah, so I'll just start give an overview of how it works. So I'm my co host, Abigail creeps, and I and she is from Madison, Wisconsin. So she's our neighbor, our state neighbor. She and I started the chasing creative podcast a little over a year ago, I think it has been now I can't believe it's been that long already. But, um, we just wanted to create a podcast that was for like normal people who are trying to be creative and don't necessarily have access to like resources and like tons of money and tons of time. Like we're we were talking to people who have day jobs and people who have side hustlers, and people who don't monetize their creativity, they do it just for fun, and they don't ever want to monetize it. So that's sort of what the podcast is about. And then what we ended up doing with it is, we made a pact from the very start where we said, if this ever becomes too stressful for us or something fun, we're going to figure out how to fix it like we're going to stop, we're not gonna push through that and keep going. Because right now, the podcast is not a money making venture. And it's just a fun side project for us. So that doesn't happen at all during work hours for either of us. Abby currently has a full time job, although she's, that's going to be changing soon, because she's do with her first baby in a couple weeks here. So what we've done is the first season we batch recorded and pre recorded a bunch of episodes, like for two months or so before we started releasing them. That's our longest season so far that has like 22 episodes or something in it. I think we release every week. And then we took a hiatus over the summer. So the summer of 2016, I was off, because I was having my baby and I was building a house at the time, and just wasn't a good time for us to be recording. So we took some time off, and came back this fall and did a shorter Season Four Season two that I think only has six episodes. And we just currently wrapped up record for season three, which will be releasing over the next six or seven weeks, I think we just started releasing at the beginning of March. So we try to stay ahead as far as we can just because it takes a lot of the stress off of us and because for us, it is a side project. So Abby spitting things and other nights and weekends I'm fitting things in. Usually, while my kids are with me because of my kids are sleeping or five babysitting those hours usually have to be dedicated to work for me. So we do all our podcast editing ourselves, and we just sort of have to fit it into those little nooks and crannies as our own creative project. But that's why we take somebody breaks it. That really helps us keep from losing steam.

Jenna Redfield 11:42

Yeah. And how how do you pick your guests for the podcasts? Like do you find people you just you know, contact them out of the blue? Or how does that work?

Ashley Brooks 11:51

Yeah, a lot of it is just talking to people out of the blue, just sending an email and being like, Hey, we think you're awesome. So like, we had Kayla Hollis on our panel, and we know she was just on yours as well. And she was like I knew her through Twitter. Like everybody knows Kayla. But we still felt like oh my gosh, is Kayla, like she's so great. So we just sent her a random email, which is how we get most of our guests. Although there have been a few that we know personally. So like we had my cousin on from episode and we've had some friends on Abby's. So really just anyone we can think of either in person or in the online space? Who wouldn't be a good definition of someone pursuing creativity in their daily lives?

Jenna Redfield 12:33

Do you kind of mix up the like just super random like topics? Or how do you do this? Do you just talk about what they do? Or how do you kind of decide what the episode is going to be about?

Ashley Brooks 12:47

So what we've been doing is we will season two is a little bit different because that was just a follow up with some of our previous guests is like a Where are they now because it was such a short season for us. But what we normally do is we sort of list out all the people we'd like to get in touch with for that season. And we try to make sure that we have a good mix of different types of creatives. So like some writers, some musicians, some hand makers, crafters, people who are just in different areas to appeal to a wider audience. And then we just we asked everybody sort of the same questions where we like, we want to know how they manage their time. And we want to know how they make space for creativity in their lives. Because that's sort of what everybody has some trouble with. But then we also try to find questions specific to them. So the people who are moms, we asked them either how they afford childcare, or how they are creative with their kids around them. And the people who have a full time job, you know, how do you keep from giving all your creativity to your job and still have any leftover at the end of the day for yourself? So we try to tailor the questions that way a little bit.

Jenna Redfield 13:54

And do you know how who your listeners are like, do you know if they're like a lot of moms that have kids? They're like, do you know you're like general audience? Do you know if they're all like full timers side hustlers? Do you have kind of a general census based off of like feedback?

Ashley Brooks 14:09

Yeah, we did our first listener survey last summer. And we'll probably do another one again this year just to see how things have changed at all. But

Jenna Redfield 14:17


Ashley Brooks 14:18

demographic is mostly women or men that listen to us principles, a female, and probably between the ages of like 20 and 40. But there's a huge mixture as far as lifestyle. So there are a lot of people who are moms who just stay at home, and just like their creative projects are just for them. There are a lot of stay at home moms who are working from home sort of like I do, or who are trying to break into that creative entrepreneur space. There are people who work full time, like Abby does, we sort of tend to appeal to pretty much like a very wide set of people. And I think it's because people in so many different stages still feel that creative drive, and don't necessarily know how to make time for creativity. So I think that's why we drawn such a large variety of people.

Jenna Redfield 15:11

Awesome. So how did you decide to even start the podcast? Like what was your I know, it was a like a way to be creative. But what how did you even meet Abigail? And how did you decide to start a podcast together if you've only met once in person, which I just learned? So that's crazy. I mean,

Ashley Brooks 15:26

yeah, it's kind of a funny story. So Abby and I were Twitter friends, I'm like all my online friends. So Abby and I were Twitter friends, we'd met just through blogging, and probably back in like 2013 or 2014, I think I'd be went back and found the initial tweet at all. But it's been a while since we first like we're friends on the internet. And I have always listened to podcasts, like before podcasts were cool. I've been listening to him since college. And so like five or six years ago now, and, um, I just sort of, I've always wanted to start one of my own, but I never really knew what it would be about or what I would say. And I didn't think I wanted to do one on my own. So after I had my first baby, I was like, Man, it's really hard to find time between running this business and having this baby like time for creative things. And I was listening to a different podcast where they were interviewing someone who was talking about just hire a babysitter and just like pay for childcare and only work four days a week. And I'm like, Okay, well, that's great for you. But what about all the normal people who can't just do that, who have all these other responsibilities and are done a place where they can just be creative whenever they feel like it? Because it's Friday. So, um, that's how I got the initial idea for the podcast. And I just sort of threw a tweet out there on Twitter. And I was like, like, I'm only kind of kidding, like, who wants to come and start a podcast? and Abby responded, and I was like, Oh, that's perfect. Like, I think I'd be it would be great for this because we're at different stages of life. And so we brought like, those different perspectives to the podcast, and, and it just sort of all fell together really perfectly. And it just came together better than I think we could have imagined it would have. Mm hmm.

Jenna Redfield 17:12

So what are your some of your favorite podcast that like, inspired you to start the podcasts? Like, what were the ones you were listening to back in? 2012?

Ashley Brooks 17:20

It's gonna be hard for me to think back that far, because now I

Jenna Redfield 17:24

might not even Yeah, they might not even exist, you know, because I feel like yeah, you're right. There was kind of a shift in the podcast world A few years ago, where all of a sudden, it got cool. Like for I think the podcasts have been around since like, 2005, I think is when it launched on iTunes, and like, but you had to like download them to your iPod. And like, there was all these steps, like through the iTunes Store on your computer, I remember when they around, but I couldn't ever listen to him because I was like, there was nothing for me. And now I feel like it's such a huge medium. So like, so I guess if you can't remember some of the original ones, what do you listen to now?

Ashley Brooks 17:58

Yeah, the one I will make, because I it's the only one I know for sure was one of the originals was the stuff you should know. podcaster Yeah. And they're pretty wildly popular now, I think. But they literally podcast about everything. Like you just feel so smart listening to them, but it's also very entertaining. So they'll have episodes on like every topic under the sun, and I highly recommend them. And And nowadays, some of my other favorites, I should pull up my Yeah, just like quickly mentioned, a couple of the one I've been loving lately, that's sort of a new find for me is called straight and curly. And that's actually an Australian podcast or podcast by Australian people


but they have just these two co hosts have such a great, great conversations about self improvement. So like how to not compare yourself how to focus better all the way over to like beauty hacks and how to goal set and find time for your hobbies. So I've really been enjoying that one lately. And then another one I'll give a shout out to I'm trying to find ones that people might not know as well. Um I really love the lazy genius podcast if anybody knows Kendra she blogs at the lazy genius and then she also has a podcast and it is just brilliant. So like her latest episodes have been the lazy genius shops at all the or the lazy genius buys a gift where she tells you she just sort of tells you like how to do simple things in your life and do them easier and better. Like Kendra's amazing.

Jenna Redfield 19:39

That sounds good because I feel like I always hear the same like entrepreneur type podcasts whenever I ask people you know like there's a few new ones like the thing Creative Collective one strategy power hour and then I also the newer one the gold digger with Jenna features and other like newer one that a lot of people listen to I'm just trying to think of like a few other ones but I like there's a pretty I listened to like I like listen to some religiously. I really like all up in your lady business with Dr. The standard theories about that one, that's a funny one, like I like sometimes when they're just kind of fun. And just like they talk about random stuff. So and it's fun because I actually one other one, my favorite is creative Empire. And I actually am working now with Christina Sklar on video stuff. So it's just kind of cool that like I had, yes, I'd like kind of connected with people. And then eventually started working with some of them. Because I do a lot of editing. And it's interesting because like podcast editing is now like a job. You know? And I was like, Whoa, like, maybe I could, you know, I don't really want to but since I do video editing, I'm like, I'm like, I could probably edit podcasts. I'm not really that good at like audio stuff. But yeah, so like is what have you learned from being a podcast? Or like, what is some of the things that you've learned about? Just either the medium or about yourself by doing this podcast?

Ashley Brooks 20:55

I think I've learned that I've met, like, I can talk to new people.

Because at first, like the first few episodes that Abby and I did, we were like, pretty nervous, I think because we were just not sure how to talk to people. And we were afraid of like, we don't really know what we're doing. Like, we don't know how the technology is going to work. Like we're so new at this. But now I think we've got a lot more confidence about that more confidence of interviewing people, and just even sending that first email and reaching out to people. It's like, we have had very few people turn us down. And even the few who have I think have circled back around and said, No, we would like to this just as a good time.

So I think it's been a really great lesson in

just feeling more confident and knowing that like people aren't out to be mean to you. They're not going to like try and hurt your feelings. And if you do get turned down for an opportunity or offering someone like It's nothing personal, it's fine.

Jenna Redfield 21:50

I feel like it's I think there's certain people who maybe are nervous about being on a podcast. I've actually a few of my guests have been like, I've never been on a podcast before. I don't know you. No, I don't want to sound stupid. But I think so. Yeah, it's like, I think it's a win win for both. It's like you get to kind of promote whatever you need to like, I wanted you on here because I do want people listen to your podcast, because I like it, you know, and like I want I want to help other Yeah, I want to help others people find like the right things that they might be needing in their life. And that's kind of one of the reasons why I started the Twin Cities collective was, I felt like I learned a lot. And I want to share that with people. And this was like an easy way to do it and to have people be introduced to new people that are in their community and that they can actually meet. Because a lot of podcasts aren't locally based or like all across the world. So it's like this one is like specifically for people in the Twin Cities. So it's like, these are people that you could probably email and like meet up for coffee with you know,

Ashley Brooks 22:42

I know. And that's what's so cool about it, because it's like I have all these online friends that I'm probably like many of them I would probably never meet. And like I told you earlier you mentioned my like Abby, I've only met her once. And that was like we had already started the podcast. And she and her husband took like a detour on their way Duluth to come and stop by and have lunch with me. So it's like, it's amazing that you can have all these friendships through the internet through Skype and social media. But it's just better when you can sit down in person with somebody if you have that chance to do that.

Jenna Redfield 23:14

Yeah, for sure. So we quickly interrupt this interview for a quick word from our sponsors. Hey, whats up, guys. So this week's episode of the podcast is brought to you by Lakeside creative studios, which is actually my new business that I'm launching, it's actually local videography. I'm very excited about it, it's actually a spin off of my business generate the designs, I wanted to have something that was specifically focused on local businesses. So it's now has its own name and website. If you go to Lakeside creative studios. com. It's brand new, I'm still working on a little bit. But I'm really excited because I wanted to do a giveaway of a free promo video. So if you guys are interested, there's going to be some information as well as a giveaway, raffle on there. So if you sign up, you will be entered then to win. And then next week, I will pick a winner, you have to make sure that you have an actual business. There's a few things that you have to have in order to qualify. But it's gonna be really awesome. I'm really excited to have someone win this and have it be something they could put on their website, they can share it on social media. And it's a good way for me to get started with the community. So that is my sponsor this week. And I hope you guys go to Lakeside creative studios. com forward slash giveaway to learn more. Thanks, guys. So you said that you were an introvert Is that something that has like affected the way that you run your business because I am like sort of introverted? Like I realized over time I've become more of an extrovert but like I do have those like kind of introvert qualities? Is that something? How does that affected your business?

Ashley Brooks 24:52

I think I've gotten a lot better about like sort of pushing my introverted system aside when I need to. The one thing I'm still really bad at is phone calls with new clients. So Skype I do okay with because it feels more face to face. Yeah, I'm less nervous about that. But I'm really bad on just the phone. So especially if I have a phone call with like a corporate clients. And those always sort of get me a little bit rattled still, but I think over the years, much like with podcasting, I've just gotten better about like emailing the random person that you need to email like, I'm not bothering them, it's okay. Or like putting yourself out there in a Facebook group or on social media or, you know, even when you have to sort of be salesy for your business, like you don't have to be sleazy about it, but it's okay to promote yourself and to tell people how they can hire you, like you're not bothering people. And if you are, they'll go away like loan, like out of your site, they'll unsubscribe for your newsletter, it's okay. I'm kind of like, I've also gotten a lot better about standing up for myself as a freelancer because there are some clients, particularly corporate clients, I think like I freelancers get it, but corporate clients sometimes feel they can take advantage of you or pay you late or not negotiate terms with you. And at first, I was very, almost shy, like I was like, Well, I don't want to bother them. And I don't want to like lose their business in the future. And now I'm like, I don't know, I just get right in there. And I'm like, No, actually, I'm a business lady, but I'm still a business. And this is how I run my business. Do you have a problem with that? Wow.

Jenna Redfield 26:28

I mean, see, I couldn't do that. And I maybe it's because I haven't had that much experience. But do you think that is experienced talking? Or how have you learned to do that? Okay. I think eventually, you just get like, you just sort of get like, not even pushed around. But like, I don't even know what the right word for it would be will go with pushed around.

Ashley Brooks 26:49

Like, it's not like these companies come in? And they're like, Oh, yeah, we're gonna take advantage of the little freelancer, I think sometimes they just don't realize like, no, I need you to pay me in 30 days, not 90 days, yes, 90 days is a really long time. Like, I'm not a big corporation. So just little things like that. I think they sort of add up over time. And eventually, you're just sort of like, No, I've had enough and I'm confident enough in my business that I can know that if I lose you as a client, I'm still going to survive as a business owner, and I'll be better off for having other clients who do pay me and the times I had on my invoice, you

Jenna Redfield 27:23

know, so for sure, how do you find your clients? Do they find? Have you gotten any clients through your podcasts at all? Or how do they find you?

Ashley Brooks 27:31

I don't think I've had any through the podcasts that I know of, anyway, um, I guess if I have like, they've never told me that heard of me. But I get a lot of clients through referrals, actually. So Pam, like to pass my name on or, like with publishing houses, there tends to be a lot of, you know, this editor left that house and went over to a different publishing house. And they remember the freelancers that they liked working with them, so that they might bring you on at the new publishing house. And so most of it has been, like just connections and people that I knew and have worked with before. But I think blogging and being active on social media has also helped a lot with getting my name out there and making some of those initial connections that now sort of snowballed into more referrals.

Jenna Redfield 28:14

Yeah, for sure. Because that's always something I asked, you know, like, Where? Where is your main source of of sales? And all of that? And do you? Do you have any other like passive income besides like your, you know, your services, as I guess freelancers what we call ourselves? Yeah. Or do you do any like, what have you thought about doing any like courses or any other types of passive income?

Ashley Brooks 28:37

Yeah, I have to eat guys for sale right. Now. What about editing? And what about teaching business owners what to blog about, like content strategy, and neither of them are, I mean, they bring in some money, but they don't ever bring in enough, or I could just stop my services all together. And when I make a sale, I'm like, Oh, that's cool. But it's never anything I would rely on. And they were so much work to create. The second one, the blogging for business workbook still has not earned out when I spend on it, like I still haven't quite broken even on it. And, and some people are really good at promoting products. And I think I'm sort of learning that that's not something I'm great at, like even an evergreen product, even if you set up all the automated systems, like it's still a lot of work to put out there and promote that. And it's not something that I have time to focus on right now. And I think I would maybe like to create a course someday. But again, like with the kids, I only have 10 to 15 hours a week. Yeah. And I have very limited time, and pretty much all of that needs to go towards my clients. So I've sort of just accepted that. That's the pace of business I'm in right now. And there are other ways to scale through outsourcing and maybe some contracting work. But the passive income piece just isn't for me at the moment.

Jenna Redfield 29:52

Yeah. So how do you schedule since you have such limited hours? How do you get everything done that you need to get done?

Ashley Brooks 30:00

It's almost like magic. Like I don't know how it happened, how it's done. And I typically am able to squeeze in about two or three hours a day to work. I would like to say that I wake up before my kids, but I do not. So that usually happens when the little boy takes her morning nap and the toddler doesn't really nap anymore, but when the little one takes her morning nap, sometimes I can get the toddler to sit and play quietly by herself for a half hour to an hour and I'll take any of that time that I can. We've also started going to the gym, which has two hours of free childcare. So I will work out and then quick use my second hour to get anything done that I can while they're still that's a good Okay, center.

Jenna Redfield 30:45

Good half. Yeah.

Ashley Brooks 30:47

Yeah, a friend of mine told me about that one. Actually, that wasn't even my own idea. And and then oftentimes I will go back to work at night for like, I try to keep it to an hour to after bedtime. I don't like working like all night long. But sometimes it happens if I I found a deadline. And I do work weekends. I try not to work Sundays. But Saturdays, I typically work just because it needs to happen right now.

Jenna Redfield 31:08

Yeah, I mean, it's interesting, because it's like similar to people who are side hustlers. Because they can only work a few hours a week, and it's usually nights and weekends. That's how I used to do it. And so do you have any advice for people maybe like a new mom who's trying to get back into work? Like how can they you know, even do that? Because I just can't even imagine?

Ashley Brooks 31:30

Yeah, it's tough. And I think sometimes you just have to have low expectations for the day is when I realized I'm like, I would get so frustrated, because I feel like I was like, I should have been able to get this much work done today. And I didn't and I'm like, I need to stop making a list. And I need to just start putting like one thing like one task on my Yeah, there you go. And if I can get that one thing done, it's a win. And sometimes I won't even get that one thing done. And I just need to sort of take it as it comes to being flexible, and just being realistic about how much you can get done. And then I know not everybody is in a position to be able to hire help or to outsource. But I've recently hired a virtual assistant in the last few months. And that has been a huge game changer for me, because now almost all the hours that I'm working our billable hours, and before, I used to only be able to build probably two thirds of the hours I was working, which doesn't seem like it's that big of a difference. But it does, it really makes a big impact on my bottom line of already seeing this year.

Jenna Redfield 32:33

Wow. That's, that's awesome. I think these are really new. It's like a almost like a new thing I never heard about until like maybe like 10 years ago, but it totally makes sense. Because you can do it from anywhere. And it'll just the stuff that you really just need to get done. You know? Yeah, that's awesome. So moving on to let's talk a little bit about the Twin Cities and maybe some local stuff. So where do you live in the Twin Cities and where kind of do you frequent.

Ashley Brooks 32:57

So I'm in Falcon heights, which is and people would know that as the city where the State Fairgrounds are. And it's like, we're a pretty small little city, we border both Minneapolis and St. Paul. But we're like, I think like 70% of our land is State Fairgrounds or the U of M agricultural campus. So like, there's not a ton of stuff here. Um, but I am not a huge fan of Minneapolis, like not like I dislike Minneapolis, but I'm not a big city person, like Sunday, we would actually like to move out of the cities little ways. And I much prefer St. Paul. And I know it gets that being like the old folks like a quiet a year, whatever. But I'm kind of an old person at St. Paul. Like I like the architecture. I like that it's quieter and it's slower. And so I really enjoy like the Summit Avenue Grand Avenue areas. Like all the houses on Simon I'll just drive up and down there. Like I make my husband drive us up and down to the

Unknown Speaker 33:58

lights at Christmas time.

Ashley Brooks 34:01

I love the cathedral and and like shopping on grand is always fun, like hitting.

Like cafe latte hand. Yeah. Right, which Laughlin and all that. So

that's sort of where I go if I if I get a chance to I don't get out as much as I used to do with the kids. That's, that's where I hang out.

Jenna Redfield 34:21

Yeah. Because it's funny because yeah, most of the people I've interviewed are Minneapolis people. So you're the first one I know. And like St. Paul, like, yeah. Cool.

Ashley Brooks 34:32

People that you've interviewed are like young hippie.

But I'm like, I feel old.

like old at heart. And I'm like, No, I like the I like the quiet lame city that nobody else likes.

Just because I'm not cool.

Jenna Redfield 34:49

I it's funny because I every time I go to St. Paul, it always surprises me because I'm like, I always think it's going to be way like crazier and like more more people but it is pretty like quiet in like, you just don't expect that from like the state capitol, basically, you know. And so it's just interesting. It is more of like almost like a suburb, it seems like a suburb. And so I just find that so interesting. But that's just I guess I just I live pretty far from St. Paul's very often. But yeah, so um, do you have any other advice for some of the people? Maybe they've moved to Minnesota and they're trying to get connected like, social media wise, maybe in person? Do you have any tips for our listeners.

Ashley Brooks 35:32

So I would, of course, tell people to connect with Kayla. Create a

Twitter chat, like, which is both online. And then now she's got like an in person component of that as well. So that's a great place to start. But even just like going and noticing on Twitter and Instagram, like, if I were like, I'm not going to move to a new city, I would look at like just sort of pay attention, not like creep on people attention to who you already know and follow on social media, like maybe there's somebody you're already kind of friends with in that city. I'd be willing to grab coffee with you or sort of show you around. And I think that's a great way to sort of expand on those existing friendships and maybe meet some new people.

Jenna Redfield 36:14

Yeah, for sure. Because I think, especially for introverts, it's easier to go one on one than to go to an event. So yeah, I think I think that's kind of how I did I worked my way up into actually going to events I like met with people and then so then when you go to the event, you actually know someone there, which is nice.

Ashley Brooks 36:30

Yes, that is so true. Like I used to go to I don't get to them as much anymore. But there are these like meetups throughout the Twin Cities. I'm trying to think of what they call it's like the Minnesota publishers around table and they do like editing and writing meetups for publishing professionals. And I used to grab a friend to go with that all the time. Like neither of us ever wanted to go alone, but we would go together. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield 36:56

that's awesome. Because I always go by myself. And it's like, it's very funny because I've been to so many now that I'm like, I know, I'm going to know someone they're like, you know, you might not know right away, but you definitely like or they're like, Oh, hey, I know you from that one thing that we saw like two years ago, but I definitely

Ashley Brooks 37:13

like look at someone's name taking their name.

Jenna Redfield 37:17

Yeah, so speaking of that, what are your handles? And how can we follow you on social media?

Ashley Brooks 37:22

Yeah, so I'm Brooke senatorial pretty much everywhere. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, I don't do a whole ton on Instagram, but I try to get better. I'm not on Snapchat, because like we've already covered

Jenna Redfield 37:36

and you can find me at Brooks editorial. com. That's where I'm blogging about blogging, really blogging for business content strategy, a little bit of editing tips, and and then the chasing creative podcast is at chasing creative com.