Teaching Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Company, Sustaining Business Relationships, & Creating Multiple Target Audiences with Psychographics
I interview Ashley Ebert all about strategy, including all about her successful business of a decade, whether or not to scale, managing 50 employees, founding a business with her dad & more!
Jenna Redfield 0:00
Hey guys, before this episode starts I wanted to tell you about an upcoming event that we are having. And that is our one day intensive. Now this is the first time we've ever done an all day event and I'm so excited about it. Basically what I decided was to kind of combine every workshop we've ever done all in one day. So we've got topics including influencer marketing, Instagram, growing your Instagram, Instagram stories, you know, setting up your website, all of the things that you need to know blogging, content creation, YouTube, podcasting, it's all going to be jam packed into the super amazing day full of practical information. It's going to be happening on June 1 at Cornerstone studios in northeast which is that the cutest little co working shop and I'm so excited because we are going to be doing all day event with a small group of people. And so you actually get to network and you get to share about your business and the tickets are going live this week. So if you haven't gotten them there is just a couple of early bird tickets. So make sure to grab those. If you want to go to our website. Go to
Do you struggle with getting your voice and your business out there to the local Twin Cities community? Don't worry, we've all been there and this podcast is ready to help. Welcome to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield. Each week we'll be discussing topics that will educate, encourage and inspire you to grow your brand or business and introduce you to new ideas, businesses and entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities area hosted by Studio Americana and Golden Valley. This podcast shares, tips and tricks to help grow your empire and have fun doing it. Hi, I'm your host Jenna Redfield, director of the Twin Cities collective and online community for local entrepreneurs, bloggers, small business owners and creatives. Make sure to join our Facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash tenses collective. Follow us on Instagram at Twin Cities collective and go to Twitter.
disclosure calm. To learn more about our upcoming workshops. Subscribe on your podcast app and give us a review on Apple podcasts. Now sit back relax and enjoy this episode of the podcast. everyone welcome to Twin Cities collective podcast. I'm your host Jenna Redfield, and this week I have a special guest, Ashley Ebert. She is the founder of the abundance group. And I'm really excited to have you here. Yeah.
Ashley Ebert 2:22
Thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 2:24
So we've known each other. We were just talking about this for a couple of years, probably like three, four years. We met through like networking, and then I took this like workshop class that you had. Yeah. And it was so great. I met a lot of people I met many many Impalas
Ashley Ebert 2:43
are humans Yes.
Jenna Redfield 2:44
I've ever met, you know, so she was just starting out at that. Time. And like, I remember it was with Kayla Hollis and like, yeah, people have no Yeah, exactly. She's been on to our first guest on the podcast. She
Ashley Ebert 2:54
is here tomorrow. And so excited. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 2:56
So I saw her, like, maybe a week or two. Yeah. Anyways, um, so basically, you at the time were doing wedding planning? Yeah. And can you tell us a little bit about kind
Ashley Ebert 3:08
of your entrepreneur story, totally the short version. So been a business owner for about 10 years, and really started off in the wedding space. Because family number one for me, always has been and I wanted to really be around this beautiful happy time of weddings and right like, so this concept of jumping in being a part of the emotional process of, of planning was something that just drove me right away. And the hard part of it was I had no business experience whatsoever. I write and I went to school for like psychology, I was in the marriage and family therapist, like sure and happenstance, my grandmother fell ill. So I actually ended up taking care of her for the last year of her life, but I had a lot of downtime. So I had the resource of time to build this business. The other amazing resource I have is my dad, who's an entrepreneurial business coach has been for about 30 years, so little ace in my pocket. But so going through that time, he really helped me build the business based on my differentiator, which I think was such a, it was a more sophisticated view on building a business as a 23 year old. So that was that was just profoundly valuable for me. So the simple, elegant group, which is the planning company that I own, really was based on this idea of connecting vendors, to our clients that gave a great product or service. But they took care of our clients and gave our clients and incentive, and how we marketed that in the unique, unique spin we took on that as our hope is to save you more money than we cost you through those relationships, which really spoke to the market in the Midwest of the couples that like no DIY at, well, hey, if I can actually get your services, it's not dipping in my budget. Fantastic. So we still live and breathe that today. But so really, that's where I was fun. Because in the creative world, when I, when I entered it for I'm actually not that big of a creative. I'm much more analytical, I'm much more strategy driven. So it was kind of a unique, unique tool that I had that I could really, it was a lot more, like I said, kind of an analytical pattern of how I built the business, which was cool. And again, I think a lot of people in the wedding space, it's this idea of how do I make it viable? With there's so much market saturation. And Laura, I was on the podcast recently and talked about with photography, it's just completely saturated. So how do you how do you differentiate? And that was really the building blocks of what we did it simply all again. So yeah, and now we're in eight different markets. I have a team of about 40 to 50 employees, depending on seasonality of it. So it's become a completely different thing than when I first started. But it's beautiful. And it's just been so much fun. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 5:48
And so how much are you now involved? That's kind of what something I want to ask you about is scaling and adding employees. How did you know when to grow? And how much are you involved now? Yeah,
Ashley Ebert 5:58
so I decided salary through that. But I work about five to 10 hours a week.
Which is easy. Yeah. And the idea around why I can do this is
really building the team around you that understands your vision. And I have honestly one of the most incredible employees, Lindsay makki. She's out in Chicago, literally my my lifeblood and she is incredibly hard working. But she completely and utterly understands the vision. And she runs and believes in it with such passion just like I do, that it was really enabling me to find someone that I that replaced me. And and that is such a gift. And it is it's hard. I mean, it's really hard to do. I think people think like, Oh, you just like scaled it. And it was great. And I mean, man, it's been it's been a journey, but it's so worth it. Because I don't have to ever think about that simply like it's taking care of her. She's there. And she knows how. And I tried to any way I can honor her in that. But she is she's incredible. But I think really, I mean, scaling is a whole conversation that you know, love to have. But it's it's really about if if it's a you know, multiple locations, you got to build that team. Yeah. And you got to build that culture and you got to build, you got to find the right people, which sometimes takes longer than want. So you have to adjust your growth expectations. But really, that's that's the key. I think, for me,
Jenna Redfield 7:21
how did you find the people that you have now? Yeah,
Ashley Ebert 7:24
it depends on their role and what they do. So some people we find on social, some planners, so we have a couple different tiers of, of team members, some second assistant really help on that's kind of the ground level of organization. And then we have lead planners who've been with us a year in the industry for less than five over that their expert planners, so if they've been with us for a while. And really, it's because I think simply elegant plans a little bit differently than some other planning companies were really structured in our training. So if you've worked in another organization, which we have a lot of team members that have, there's just certain nuances and every business that makes beautiful and you know, directly, you know, gets their tracks our ideal client. But for us, we really are about where the team player and you know, we want vendors to love to work with us, and really enjoy our company and feel that we are a part of that team. And that that day is not only a beautiful for the couple, but a blast for the vendors to work. Which takes a certain mindset, I think as a planner, yeah. Yeah,
Jenna Redfield 8:24
I was gonna say let's talk, I was going to ask this towards the end, but like working and finding those relationships with vendors, and just with networking, how did you get started with that? How did you learn how to how to network and how to build those relationships. So it's actually funny I
Ashley Ebert 8:43
was talking with, actually my dad about on the abundance group side of things. It's, it's the, it's my biggest strength as a person. And there, you know, I have a whole mess of weaknesses. But that's the thing I just love, I love sitting together with people being really transparent about what they're going, what's going on in their business, how I can find the win. So I went in every meeting, and I'm sure you know, we've talked about this too. But you you walk into any meeting, whether it's you know, a big group of people or a one on one, and you just think how can I add value to the person I'm with? or How can I add value to this group, it takes the pressure off you a bit, you don't have to know your pitch, you don't have to know how this is how I have to adjust it for this person. This is how I have to feel credible this stuff to build my confidence. You're talking about that. But when you're thinking about how, how can I serve? How can I How can I add value to Jenna when I'm sitting here with you? What do I know? Or what do you know we were talking about? Yes. Right. How can I help? What can I do? And I think that for me just took the pressure off. And it's in it completely changed how I networked? Because I didn't feel any intimidation. It was like, Oh, I'm just here to help. And maybe I'm not the perfect fit. But maybe yes,
Jenna Redfield 9:50
exactly how I am too. And that's like what how everything was born was what's white success? Yeah. Right. And it's like, I never, I always think about what did they want, not what I I want, I also have to think about what I want to but I think when I do go to networking events, that first thing I'm thinking about, my brain starts wearing like, Who can I connect them with? That's like the first thing I think
Ashley Ebert 10:09
such a beautiful thing
Jenna Redfield 10:10
is I think, like, I wish I had had that person when I was
Ashley Ebert 10:13
Jenna Redfield 10:14
I know and it's like I it took me two, three years to finally find like even one networking event that was like, wait, there's working. I was afraid, you know, like, I wasn't what I thought I was thought in college, I was terrible at networking. Yeah. And then when I started, like now I love it. Like I love going to networking events. And it's just funny how, like, something just clicked in me. And I was like, Oh, this is like such such a great thing to do. Yeah,
Ashley Ebert 10:36
I don't know, I think people just are too. Maybe they haven't tried it and they overthink it, I think they think about like, I need to be perceived a certain way. When I leave this meeting, I want this person to like me, right? And I really do. Like I want to connect with them. I want and sometimes too, it's even like, I want to get business from this person. So that's the mentality you walk in with. And that's a mountain of pressure. It's a mountain of pressure, that honestly, even 10 years in the business. Like I couldn't walk into my meeting and guarantee like, this is what I'd have to say to get. Like, that's just not how it works. And I think Yeah, just getting that first you have to meet them and connect with them. And then it's over time too, because like a lot of these relationships you've built over years. Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, decades, people, the 10 years I've been in this and I still you're still calling and cultivating those and and thinking about people and you meet new people? And how how can that bridge that gap? Especially in my life with you know, simply elegant being? Not a not a large time that I'm investing? Now, I'm still thinking about how can I How can I add value in the light? Yes. Even though you know, it's not necessarily a derivative of what I'm doing a tag. It's like, what can I do, and that always comes back always comes back. And I think that's the thing that when you when you believe that and you've you completely embrace that, you just look at it differently. Do a coffee over here I've met, I can't even tell you how many new planners I've sat down and talk to you. And you know, just saying, okay, and some of them have built mega businesses. And it's, it's awesome to just watch that happen, and that you can be any small part of that, but then also continuing to think about them and what you can do for them.
Jenna Redfield 12:06
Absolutely. I think that that's so true. And I think that you have to go into a networking event not expecting anything to happen right away to Yeah, it could happen a year from now, you know, it could have like the fact that like, there's a guy that I met at a networking event, and like to this day, like I haven't seen him since but we're still you know, on LinkedIn, and like he says, I ended up being quoted in an article that he wrote, like, it's just like, there's like things that you just you never know, what's what the relationship if it's gonna, you know, you never see them and never talk to them again. Or it could become like your new best friend. Sometimes I know. It's silly. I'm like, okay, we're gonna be friends.
Ashley Ebert 12:41
What are you doing after this? Yeah,
Jenna Redfield 12:42
really. And some some networking events or a bus and some are great. And like, full of people were like, Oh my gosh, like I went to one, like a month ago. And it was like all guys, john, like, I've never been to one like that. And I was like, I don't know any of these people. I'm definitely come back to this because I need to meet all these people. Because I usually when I go to a networking event, have two people, right? You've been to so many.
Ashley Ebert 13:02
One. I think too. It's a beautiful concept. And in your heart you speaking to us as redefining what success is when you network? Yeah. And I think people hear what network equals business or networking, was this, this, this bid? Or I get this door opened? Yeah. But when you redefine it, and you think of it in a different way, it completely changes the game. So that that's a great segue into your new venture, which is all about helping small businesses kind of connect with each other and, and, and teach them So can you tell us a little bit about like, what the abundance group is? Yeah, absolutely. So again, in my life in the wedding world, I really felt and I heard somebody say this, it was beautiful off like, Elaine was talking about this, but this idea that when you've been doing something for you know, 778 years, you've kind of given it everything you have, and I was feeling that it's simply all Yeah, love, love coaching love working with my leadership. But But I was, that's I kind of had tapped my my value really, and how I'm looking at Personally, I'm always moving and do to cool new things, and whatever. So it was like what's next, and my dad and I actually sat down at a dinner one night, and we were both. He has this prolific career where he's worked with fortune 500 companies. He's a founding partner on john Maxwell team. I mean, he's like, way too cool to be my dad. I don't jackpot. But he was having kind of the same feeling of like, I've tapped out this corporate consulting piece. And we both talked about how we really truly think that America and this beautiful time we're in is all about entrepreneurship, and the freedom that it brings. And this this not only monetarily, but with your time, and building your own life. And for us, it was like, how do we get everybody to have this? How can we just affect as many people as possible. And one of the huge barriers to success and entrepreneurship is found business principles, you know, you kind of we talked about you, you jump in and you're like, Okay, now I'm photographer, or now I'm doing this and, you know, really having the fundamentals, you either learn through failure, which is great, but it takes a long time. And it's usually very expensive. Or, you know, what could we create, so we created the abundance group, which is an online resource. So dad beautifully put together a training, it's not even necessarily an online course, it's a training, like master's degree in entrepreneurship. And we, we structure it in a way where there's basically five levels of business. So pre launch, launch, adjust, mature, expand, you're sitting in one of those. But then there's also six different disciplines in business. It's anywhere from goals and strategy and marketing and sales operations, building your team, right. So there's, he, this is how his mind works, you can call thousands and thousands of book and he'll he's a learner. And this is not something I could do. But he brings it all together, he's a teacher against so he put it together in this just beautiful solution. So really, it's it's a 36 video training module where you can really pick Okay, I'm I'm in this adjust phase. So I've been in business for a while, and I'm starting to scale I need I need a team to do it. So so that's it says grid layout where you can really find you know, from the Adjust phase go down to team and you can watch that video. And he talks about these lessons within that time of your business that you're going to learn. So it's it's an education component to it. That's huge. The cool part about that what we did, again, with this mission to really help as many entrepreneurs across the country as we could, it's really general foundational practices. And then I was like, well, I want it to apply, I want people to be able to like go and do like what we're talking about. So we also created a toolkit, that's supplementary with all the education where you can like take out and build. So if you're doing goals and strategy, for example, build out your why. But beyond that, learning
How to build out your your what we call ICP your ideal client profile. We have tools that help you work through the step by step process and how it applies to your business. The other great thing is you can reuse them as your business grows is this beautiful, beautiful education side of it. And that's his. That's his role. He does all the educate because he's incredibly smart. And that's literally and it's so beautiful to watch my dad live in his legacy he was made to build this he's made to build the grid. So that was really fun. And then the other side of it is the support side. So that's where I come in, which I love. So it's really about it takes some stuff that we do at simply elegant. It's about building partnerships. So for the last two years where we didn't see me today,
but it's I've reached out to hundreds of both product facing vendors, but also service providers. And I talked to him about the concept of what we're doing what we're trying to build, and they become preferred products or preferred service providers for us. And they again, they provide incentive for our members. So for example, QuickBooks doesn't admit they have an amazing discount that they give our members and it's retroactive. So even if you're using QuickBooks, like go be a tag member to save some money, and it's Yeah, forever. It's beautiful. So so there's things like that. And I that was a that was a partnership that I'm not gonna have pop some champagne after we close that deal. That was a great one that, again, QuickBooks, like so many people use QuickBooks, and it's this idea of what we want to do is, is have enough product and service providers that you're using within our network. We're saving you more money through the incentives that we have to offset the cost of your membership.
Jenna Redfield 18:37
That was the so I actually went to the launch party. Yeah. And I learned so much about it. And like I saw the grid and everything. It was so interesting. But that was like one of my favorite parts about it was the fact that you're basically giving the kickback back to the Yeah, I'm like what? Yeah, I could tell there are people in the room that were like, what, when they couldn't believe the fact that like, you would actually like, take away my from your own business? Totally,
Ashley Ebert 19:01
totally. And it comes back to what's your mission. So Dan and I are both salary through our other job through other work. And for us, this is passion, like we want to profoundly change the scape of entrepreneurship, like we want to do everything we can for those, those people that are just starting this business has been 234 or five, six years. And again, people are familiar with traction and us and all the high level stuff that a lot of you know $10 million companies are doing. And dad, that's who we work with in corporate Yes, he build out systems, he built out tools for these companies. Oh, yeah, they're in the abundance group. Like it's insane. And he's like, you want me to put this tool in there as well? As I said, Yes, please. Like, yes, I want my I want my my creative entrepreneurs on my right. I want them to have access to the sophistication and that that to take it seriously that you can really build these behemoths businesses, if that's what you want. For sure. Yeah. So it's fun, because like I say, when we were doing all the partnerships, to your point, affiliate programs are out there, right. You know, if I refer you to groups refers over to Convert Kit or wherever they're built that way that they just have a Philly, and these are monster companies. That's that's their system. That's what they have. So my workaround, and again, this is where I can really problem solve is how do we still make that really beneficial for our members? Because we also said at that dinner, like, we're never going to profit off the partnerships, ever, because there's an ethical dilemma in that, and I think people feel it that are that are, you know, influencers? in that? Yeah. Our affiliates have? Am I am I referring you to this this product? Because I love it or because I make money out of it? Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 20:26
So we wanted that a lot.
Ashley Ebert 20:28
But we for us, because of the education side, we wanted to take that off the table, and we just No, no, we never make money on any anybody are hearing about from us, like you get the sole benefit of that. And so that's where the affiliate came in, where what we do, and sometimes, like I say, the tech is just built, like, you have to have an affiliate program to get the biggest bang for your buck back. And what we do is we actually put all that money into a general fund on the affiliate side. And sometimes there's instant discounts that you get right quick, though. So you go in you talk to Chadwick car guy and he, he takes care of you immediately, you know, 2030 bucks off your subscription boom. So directly facing, you know, yeah. And then there are these long term ones, like I say, the affiliate programs. And so they're just set up to do it that way. And we're not going to like buck the system, we're going to try to get the best discount, we can, but we want to work well with them. So we Yeah, we set it up with all the money goes into a general fund. And at the end of the year, all of our members get cash back checks from that, from that huge, you know, right, we're trying and the more members we have, the bigger that pot grows, the more money we get back. You see the beauty. Yeah. So that's the I think that's the thing, when we realize what we were putting together, it was like, Man, this could be really, really good for so many people. So yeah,
Jenna Redfield 21:35
so it's funny, because we were talking before the set, I was there when you were like so in concept mode. Just like, we're just like, I have this idea to like connect the vendor. Yeah. That was kind of more what you wanted. It was almost like a platform to connect vendors with. Yeah, that's kind
Ashley Ebert 21:50
of what started. That's where we Yeah, well, that's what my simply elegant life, right? That's what we do over and over with all you know, we have like 400 vendors in preferred vendors are in the wedding space that are on that list. I love that because I've I've watched that profoundly change some businesses, I've had friends that came to me and said, you know, last year I had 1010 weddings on my books at this time. And now I have 25 and 50 of those are simply elegant clients. Like how cool is that, that that my business could pour into their business that way? So I love that is like the thing again, I think it's completely back to this foundational idea of I just want to help as many entrepreneurs as I can. So that, that it's that Yeah, that was me when we were talking about Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 22:28
Then you you spent like, what, two years in development
Ashley Ebert 22:31
over two years actually building this building my dad building the education, bringing it all together. And then me pounding the pavement with talking about these, with these products and these service providers? Yeah, absolutely. It was, it was, it was so fun to watch it come together. But it's a lot of it was a lot of work. You know, it's a lot of work on the back end where we were monetizing in any way. It's just like, how can we better this and keep taking it to the next level before we even introduced that. So
Jenna Redfield 22:56
So what was the launch then like? So I was there kind of at the launch party, but then you launched it. How did that go? Yeah,
Ashley Ebert 23:01
great question. So we attack because dad's brilliant, we actually we and we practice what we preach, we literally talked about this concept in the abundance group. So we did a beta launch. And what that means is we let a limited amount of founding members a part of it. And then what we did is we close the cart. So actually, right now enrollment is closed, it's opening in just a couple weeks. I'm sure when people are listening, they'll be able to be a part of that. But so when we closed it down, we could talk to the members that we worked with, what do you love? what's not working? what's what's not quite? What's not quite making sense? What can we better. So we actually built out more tools. Over the last couple of months, we've built out more tools, based on what people are asking for employee onboarding, we're really, really getting a more sophisticated version of the ideal client profile. Because we feel like that idea of attracting your ideal client is such a tough one, that we're building out kind of a more a more sophisticated, deeper dive into that for the members. So we had this really beautiful time. And we're in it right now where we can really customize the experience for those that were willing to invest. And it's cool, because our founding members got incredible pricing that will never, you know, offer again, they're going to get really great incentives through the years as we build this thing. But then we Yeah, we launched again, we launched again, in the end of May here coming up. So I'm
Jenna Redfield 24:12
so excited. Well, that's a little bit before that. But yeah, go, I'll have to ask at the end how to how to connect, what do I disagree? But let's talk a little bit about that. That the stuff that you teach? Yeah. Because I think that to me is like, I want to know kind of what it is that I'm going to be getting totally.
Ashley Ebert 24:26
So we teach it we teach it it's like 148 different topics. My gosh, is it Yeah, this thing is this thing. But I think we were talking about and maybe just to spend some time to really deep dive with you is the ideal client profile for sure. You know, there's a lot there's a lot of materials out there a lot of beliefs around this, you know, customer avatar, there's all these different things that people call it. But for us, it's this idea of creating an ideal client profile. And that means you can have multiple different profiles. So it doesn't necessarily mean my only target audience is, you know, between 20 and 35 really recently engaged and you know, they have this kind of budget, if you're doing weddings, maybe it's venue centric, or maybe it's maybe you're branching out doing different types, different types of photography that you love. So you're able to kind of create multiple different profiles or multiple different, you know, ideal clients. So it leaves space, because we were talking about this, even with your business, like there are different offerings that you have in different ways and different things that you love to do. And they don't necessarily always attract the person for sure. So how do you market around that? How do you? How do you write your copy based around that? So we Yeah, we dive into that in a really great way. We actually, we're building out even more right now, because we've been just people are hungry for this. To really understand I see it all the time. Yeah. And where to find them. Like, okay, I know. Yeah, yeah, like, but But now what, we dive really deep into that, and we do a lot of a lot of places talk on the surface of demographic. So, you know, age, location, maybe education income, but we are really focused on the psycho graphics of your ideal buyer. So it's how they think and how they make decisions, what they're afraid of what they need. So it's it's a little, it's deeper than just like, knowing, like, where they're hanging out. Yeah. But it's like, for example, why, you know, if you're a candle maker, and you're a vendor to store, why, what makes your client walk into the store? What makes them turn around and walk out? What makes them walk further? And how do they engage with the product? You know, so it's, it's, it's more about addressing those questions than really like, kind of what we call percentage of it. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 26:46
Well, you went to you said, you went to school for psychology? I did.
Ashley Ebert 26:49
factor in a little bit, honestly. Yes. I love people. I love learning. Again, back to that, like, I let how, what, what can I do for you on that? To understand you and what you're a little bit. So there's definitely that part of it. But honestly, Dad has been with me through my entire I'm like the biggest case study from my dad. Like, I went from nothing to you know, 50 employee organization. So he's built this thing. And he that's his he site psychology based, you know, learning but also, like tangible tactile strategy stuff. But it's a huge part of it. And I think I gravitate a lot towards the people in the why and understanding. So a lot of our teaching does talk about that. And he it's cool in the videos, he really does the high level principal training. And then I do kind of, you know, the, the color, the the storytelling, so how it applies and kind of that fashion. So, so yeah, it's I think it's something that we both love. So it's inherently kind of woven into the teachings and we do think it's profoundly important. But yeah, it's I'm sure it's helped me along. Yeah, I love I love learning about how people think,
Jenna Redfield 27:55
is that something that like you How did you learn about psycho graphics? Was that sounds like a concept that has been developed already? Yeah, yeah,
Ashley Ebert 28:03
it's definitely been around. And and I think he how we package it is a little bit different. Because it's so for us, it's very tangible. So I think, I think psychology and kind of how to think about how people think, right? It kind of gets intimidating. Like to meta for me, I don't you know, right. So we try to bring it down and make it really black and white. So again, it's the idea psycho graphics in general, just they can't know, how is someone? How is someone thinking? But what is the reasoning behind what they're doing? And how do you dive into that? So I think it's, I think it's the most profound teaching around your business. And we again, we're building this out in a big way. Because we think if you know, your ideal client, you know, how they think you know, how they react, you know, how they buy, yeah, you can create the perfect sequence, the funnel and all that. That's great. Yeah, but also the perfect experience for them. Sure. Because now that you've given them exactly what they need, when they need it. They love it. They have this beautiful symbiotic relationship. But now they've become a raving fan for your services. And when they go to talk about it, their friends are just like them. So yeah, we're really we're really loving that, again, our founding members, were really bringing that to the forefront of like, that's what people want, I guess. Is
Jenna Redfield 29:11
there any other big issues that people have? Yeah,
Ashley Ebert 29:14
so scaling, oh, that's another big one. And we can do another podcast. But that's another one that people ask a lot about. And I think in the creative industry, specifically where my network is, and and they live, but it's kind of this like, ambiguous, like, how do you scale? Do you know, you bring up a product, you launch another brick and mortar? Do you go to a different city? What does scaling really look like? And what does it look like for you within what you want in your life, because I think a lot of entrepreneurs feel like, they just got to get bigger and bigger and more and more and more and hustle and hustle and keep going. But really, if that's not what you want scaling can be outsourcing scaling can be, it can be outsourcing to someone else to do the work for you and keep the client load consistently that you want. And then hey, if you're getting more referrals, you know, I have a ton of friends that are like maxed out in business. My books are six months out, but they can they can help other entrepreneurs because they can refer those clients. Yeah. So scaling looks different for everybody. And I think again, demystifying this idea somewhat Laura, actually, Laura was talking about demystifying this this concept around what what it looks like for your business. Yeah, I think is really important. Yeah,
Jenna Redfield 30:20
I think that is so interesting, because I do think that everyone preaches scaling.
Ashley Ebert 30:27
And scaling is intimidating. Like,
Jenna Redfield 30:29
I've considered doing it. And that's something that I need to really I was, I was literally like, about to do it. And and I'm like, Yeah, I need to really think about smart, like, I don't know what I want. Yeah. And so I'm in that what do I want phase when I business beautiful,
Ashley Ebert 30:44
because actually within the grid, so for us, our first thing is you figure out your why your life that you want, and in a different seasons of your business actually expand stage, we go go back to that go back to that, because it's different now. And for me, like when I started simply elegant, it was like I wanted to be able to do 20 to 25 weddings here to be able to stay at home with my kids, which I later on, you know, naive. But you know, that was the dream. That was the goal. And now the five year goal is 1000 weddings across the country in 1015. markets. So very different. And it's, it's been We've been in business about nine years. So even in that short of time, it's just a different why. And really my why was so I can be at home with my kids, when I had them at 23. But now it's I want to be able to provide an amazing job opportunity for women across the country. So my wife is very, in simply elegant. So I'm able to go back and like I say, readjust. And it's is so imperative that you take the time to do that. Sure. And think about it.
Jenna Redfield 31:39
Because when I start I mean, I probably shared this before, like when I started when I was collecting, it was like a fluke. Yeah, like I took over Yeah, I was already like, I'm like, What do I do with this? And that was around that time? Yeah, that workshop with you. And I was like, I have this like group now. And I don't know what to do with it. And like for the first two years, it was just a group. It wasn't a business. Yeah. And and last year, when I started doing workshops, I was like, started treating Monica business and then merged it with my other business. Now it's like, I have this massive thing. Yeah, I'm trying to figure out what to do it. And I've never run a large business. I've never even had a real corporate job before because I I have only had small business jobs.
Ashley Ebert 32:15
I love it. I love it. Yeah. Like,
Jenna Redfield 32:16
I'm like, I'm like, I don't know what to do. And yeah, and like,
Ashley Ebert 32:19
what's the next step? But I think totally The first thing you do is you go back and go, Okay, cool. Like I have all this opportunity. And again, back to like, how beautiful is that? You have opportunity? I do? Yes it in that they think about all the stress and the chaos. Right. But like sitting in just like, Man, this is I have this opportunity just pouring in for me. And there was probably two years ago, whatever. But that wasn't the case. And you were like, you were like, now what? And now it's just a beautiful season and like I have this opportunity. But then you take back and you go okay, but because I have this opportunity, I get to craft and create what my future looks like, take the time to do it. So I think you're in a beautiful place where that's exactly what you do. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield 32:55
And I think that I so like, and I'm almost like scaling back on what I offer, because I'm focusing on the core of like, what it really is that gets attracts people. And then also what I like to do what you know,
Ashley Ebert 33:06
and and that's a beautiful thing, you said that you're at this place in business where you get to do what you like to do, because there are a lot of hustlers out there that I'm I'm taking everything and they should. And that's great. You say yes, you don't. And you don't, right. But the thing about it is, is you don't stay in that forever, because you will work hard and you will pull yourself up. And you will get to that place where you can say, now I get to do what I love. Yeah. And for me even in within simply elegant was I thrived in day of coordination. So I was really, really good at that. That was the thing I love to do. Because problem solving, right? That's my jam. I love it. So day, I was easy. So full service for me. Either our staff would do it, or I push it out to other planners and people are like loving full service or like are you passing? That's really what you like to do. But again, I was in that place where it was like, Hey, I get to choose now. And but that's, that's, again, you're at this place of like them, bring it to the next level and craft the rest of you know, the next four years of your life. What that looks like and why you're doing it.
Jenna Redfield 34:02
So let's talk a little bit about marketing. Yeah, so how have you been marketing? So it's in beta right now? Yeah. What's your marketing strategy for tag?
Ashley Ebert 34:09
Again, I guess I love it. It's like one of the things we've built out that I think I'm like most proud of so we actually have something within the abundance group called the tag marketing formula. So and it's the awesome marketing formula has seven components, advertising website, email, marketing, social media, other which is like education, teaching, doing podcasts, right. And which is meeting people. And he is education, I'm trying to do these on the fly. But basically these seven components to marketing these seven components to marketing. And really you you identify what is pertinent in your industry. So for example, if you're a real estate agent, a lot of people have print collateral still, and they're kind of doing networking in a different way. So what's what does your industry do as far as their marketing, but then also this layer of and I'm doing this in like two minutes, but like, yeah, also, then what's the layer of this your strength? So for example, if you know we were talking a little bit about networking, if that's really intimidating to you, don't start there, do some other facets of this component of this awesome, right. So cheesy, but memorable. That's the thing is a memorable, do other components of this formula to help you build your business. But maybe that's something if you want to take on later in your business, building big network, then you then you have the opportunity that great
Jenna Redfield 35:28
because one thing I do is I do a lot of social media consulting, and it's like people like where do I start? And that's a great way is like what you're comfortable with? And then Yep, but you can't just stay there. I think that's the thing that people struggle with is like, I'm too scared. I'm like, they got to take those steps. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 35:42
you just have to do it.
Ashley Ebert 35:45
Last night, I went to an event where I was like, This is not my cup of tea, usually, like I would not go to this. And for me, I made a commitment. So I'm going to go like, that's just a thing that I do. If I say yes, I'm there, you can count on me. I was like a really, really weird, I don't want to get you know, and I went and I was like man, I it wasn't necessarily something that was hyper hyper valuable for me. But what I could do is in that moment, extrapolate the lessons that I needed to learn from that. And what you know, the speaker was talking about, and what they you know, how, why they were so charismatic It was so it was different. It was unlike anybody had seen before and and they had this charisma. And so I could like pull out like, Oh, it's because he's, you know, really facing the crowd, His hands are like it was so it was fun to learn those different things. But again, you evolve, because you're learning. So I think you're totally right, that you don't stay stagnant. And how your marketing Yeah, because you learn and evolve as a business owner, as a person.
Jenna Redfield 36:38
I think that sometimes it gets overwhelming the options, I think, in anything, and I think just pouring down to the things that you know, yeah. You know, if you just take those baby steps, and then you'll take bigger steps when it's just go.
Ashley Ebert 36:54
I mean, yeah, I think there's I was listening to a podcast, I'm sure of this concept of like, what's the worst thing that could happen? What's the worst thing that could really happen? build that out? And that is so unlikely to happen. And really, when you like, shed light on it, it's not that bad. I go, and I don't enjoy myself. Well, that's not the worst thing in the world. Yeah, you know, you're not going to lose business, your businesses are going to fall apart. Because you go to a networking event, or you know, it's kind of that idea of like we we build up the fear around. Yeah. And how do we how do we really just shed light and instantly, that's Yeah, you know, but yeah, it's, I think it's really important to be always growing. And always thinking about that,
Jenna Redfield 37:28
for sure. One of the things that we talked a little bit about with the target audience is, like, we talked a little bit about how you shouldn't niche too much. I think that's really interesting
Ashley Ebert 37:36
about that. Yeah, and it's kind of counterintuitive to a lot that's out there. But it's this idea, again, I think of when you, I think everybody's kind of scared to niche down a little bit. And I think it really depends on your core mission. So at at the abundance group are we want to help as many entrepreneurs as we can. So it's really hard to niche when you just want to help, right? You want to add value. So are our teaching around this is you can help, you have to be able to the narrative is you have to be able to knit you have to niche down because you need to speak their language to speak to them. And I agree with that wholeheartedly. Good copy, sales, you know, conversion copy is worth its weight in gold. I mean, right. It's so important to we
Jenna Redfield 38:19
talked about in the podcast few weeks ago. Yeah.
Ashley Ebert 38:20
It's so important. Yeah. But if you if if your business and again, you know, using your business, for example, you teach social you do great video, you can also do all these other things. Yeah.
Well, I think and again, dad and I have studied this, we think it makes a lot of sense to build out multiple different profiles, and learn how to speak to that audience each way. So you are you're doing the work to learn the niche and learn kind of how to how to really speak. But then you can really bring it in multiple, multiple layers of your profiles, or of your ideal client profiles is what we call them. But yeah, it's it enables you to have a more a visit also a I think, a business that can pivot, because if something dries up, or something changes, yeah, you know, then you're able to go, Okay, I can invest more in this type of service, or this type of offering right now. Yeah, so it is a little bit against the grain, I think. But I think it's the the core message of wide to niche down is, so you can speak into the heart of your client. And if you do the ICP work that that we talked about, you're gonna be able to do that. Yeah, but then you can bring that kind of lot, there's a lot of overlap. I mean, there's, you know, like, for example, we practice what we preach, we have five different ICP, and we have to kind of what we call in the creative space, the creative entrepreneur, that as a solo entrepreneur, and is doing it to build a beautiful life and for you know, take their family on vacations and not have to work for a corporate job. And then we have creative scale. So creatives that really want to scale their business. So we can still use this beautiful, imaginative language that like brings creatives in and they understand like that we get them. But we can, we're going to speak to the
Unknown Speaker 40:00
Entrepreneurs differently. They're going to speak to the scaling. It's a little bit. And those nuances show our audience so we can still speak to them. So I hope that I hope that that was super interesting because I was listening to I think it was Jenna Kutcher's podcast, like a week or two ago, she had this business coach on Jean Ghazi. Yes. Yeah. So that was the thing you said is it? Is it more about like, the lifestyle? Or is it more about like, you know, the money and the success? And I thought that was really interesting because I'm like, and I actually pulled on our Instagram Yeah, I thought it was Yeah, most people said lifestyle Yeah, cuz I think most people I think it might be I worded it wrong, but they they prefer more like almost like the laid back. They want to build a life for themselves. They have kids, they like want to do that versus like, I want to be like the next Tony Robbins. Yeah. Building. Yeah. So solar printer versus scaling is how we articulate. I love that within our organization, but it's this idea of it. It's there is such
Ashley Ebert 41:00
beauty and soul partnership. And I think again, back to people, like they feel rushed to scale. And I keep grinding and I'm successful. Now what the next question like now, what are you going to do? And now I'm going to sit and enjoy what I built.
Jenna Redfield 41:10
And that's great.
Ashley Ebert 41:12
And again, as long as you're getting your goals and you're meeting your y and you're you know, doing all these beautiful things? Like? Absolutely, I think people feel like they need permission to just pause and standstill and, and bask in the glory of what they were trying to create when they started and now they don't they feel like they have to keep grinding and going. But yeah, it's Yeah,
Jenna Redfield 41:32
that's so interesting. Well, I have one last question. Yeah. If somebody's starting a new business, what's the first or like the biggest piece of advice you have for someone? Maybe like a brand new out of college a 23 year old self?
Ashley Ebert 41:43
Well, such a such a good one. I get this all
Jenna Redfield 41:46
the time? Oh, I know. I
Ashley Ebert 41:48
know. I love it. And it's it is it's it's this idea. And so I have a concept that I've embraced very strongly called the attitude of abundance. Anybody that knows me, it's like, oh, she didn't talk about abundance again. But it's literally
I think it's a deal breaker and and it's how it's a such a predictor of success. So it's this idea of building grit and building grit in your life and being able to just we I think we were actually speaking about on our earlier of this idea of, it's always going to come back to you. Yeah. So even if get yourself out there, go do go go meet people go create, go launch your product. It's never going to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect, because you're always gonna be evolving. So I think making sure that you're out there, you're on stage, you're doing it you're releasing it. You're you're you're saying you're a business owner, you're owning that Yeah. But then understand it's you are absolutely going to fail. I had a I had a very pivotal moment, my business where I like was on the ground, bawling crying because this this fell through and how I thought this was gonna work. It was it was the thing that I said, if this doesn't work, I will not be in business. I will have failed. And dad, of course, I called him and said, You know, this is what happened. I can't believe I'm so stupid. How could I even think that this was the way that this was going to go? This doesn't make any sense. What was I doing?
I have friends that have lost their job that had been in corporate for 30 years. And now what? Right? The whole thing I think when you know, 23 year old me was this was a huge risk. How do I know this was the right thing for me. And because it's completely in your control, to have that abundance, it's completely in your control to have success, because you're the one that can get out and go meet people learn about the market consume, grow as a person. So that's beautiful. And I think the idea that if again, my 23 year old self I would say go out work hard work really hard. I think that's the thing is people think to like it's gonna look at Jenna.
community and like, boom, no, it's gonna be real hard to be real hard. It's me real beautiful. And you have complete control of your success. And
Jenna Redfield 44:51
I think you learned about your a lot about yourself. And I think I think my biggest piece of advice is to someone 23 is like, there's a lot that you still have to learn. Yeah, and there's a lot that it will take time. It's not overnight. Nothing is overnight. I always think I've been thinking about this a lot. There's no overnight success. Gehrig banner, Chuck Jenna Kutcher, Rachel Hollis, all these people hustled for like, five, six years, 10 years, decades. Yeah. And then finally, like something happened. But yeah, but then they have like, I think actually, both Jenna and Rachel like went viral on Instagram. But they already had like a pretty big community that they've been growing. And that just like, helped it grow even faster. When I think the lessons they've learned and I know they speak about it a lot. The lessons they learned over those 10 years. Yeah, I mean, help them now prepare for success ready for it? Yeah. And I think that's the thing is like, it's like, are you ready for it, and you just have to keep
Ashley Ebert 45:40
it hustle. But like, you have to get more game you have to be you have to work hard, you have to work hard. But again, the beautiful thing about entrepreneurship is you're working hard for the thing that you love, you're working the hard that that for that thing that like stirs your soul. I want to do this like passion for it. We want to help entrepreneurs, we want to we want we want 100% all of that to be accessible. That is worth everything for me to get right. So it's that idea of find finding that and I think a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of dreamers that I've before they launch their businesses, they found that thing, and they just have this fear holding them back of like the risk or, you know, what if someone doesn't like what I'm giving, and it's like, no, work hard, have an attitude of abundance, and your rocket, that's amazing.
Jenna Redfield 46:18
How do we connect with you and the abundance group and everything? Yeah.
Ashley Ebert 46:22
So online, our website is just the abundance group. Really, really easy. And then Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, we're all just the abundance group. Super, super simple. If y'all want to email me directly, I'm just Ashley at the abundance stack group. So loaded up with questions. Yeah, those links in the podcast. Yeah, absolutely. No, just want to help out entrepreneurs. I think just yeah, we're just we have like four other podcasts with ICP stuff with scaling and know that we can talk about with you and Yeah,
Jenna Redfield 46:50
well, yeah, cuz I'm like, I just I'm like, I want to do something with you guys. Because I feel like so interesting. And like, I think that your your mission is exactly what my mission is, as well. Like, I want I just helped people. Yeah, I love it. It's not, it's not so much about like, I want to become the next you know, no gay. It's like, Well, hey,
Ashley Ebert 47:06
I'm happy to come back anytime seriously.
Jenna Redfield 47:09
I would do like a video or something. Yeah.
Cool. Well, thank you so much for being here. And I'll talk to y'all next week. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield. Make sure to click subscribe if you haven't already. And make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks again for Ian at Studio Americana for producing this episode, as well as Melanie Lee for designing the podcast art and thanks to Nikolai had less for the use of the song in the intro Outre. Thanks so much again and I'll see you next time.
Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.
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