Pop Quiz, Monday with Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Ashley Graham

What is your job role?
Owner/Creative Director of Brandesso

Tell us about your company?
Brandesso is a modern-day branding and marketing agency that infuses brand authority through caffeinated strategies and communications through social media and public relations. To Brandesso, every brand has a unique story. Our creative process is to filter the raw, unique details of a brand and incorporate a well-rounded methodology and strategy that brews the brand to stand out in their industry as an authoritative figure.

What do you love most about your job?
As I am in the communications industry, what I love most about my job is seeing media hits from digital/print publications and/or influencers come through for my clients and my personal brands. There is no greater feeling than watching a new feature come through in my inbox!

Effective PR and social media campaigns can take time while you nurture and establish positive relationships with the journalists, editors, and audiences you are connecting with. Not only is it a win when you get a secured feature for a client, but it is a great feeling when you establish a relationship with the editor and audience to build that rapport for future outreach opportunities.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The initial thought that comes to mind is my morning cup of coffee to get my creative juices flowing. Coffee is kind of my thing 😉

As for the key aspects of my business that motivates me to get up every day and work is the opportunity to take on new initiatives as I see fit. I absolutely love the flexibility to work with the brands I want to work with, a passion for the work and product/service is a key driver to the success of the campaigns we offer.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I have a number of colleagues and coaches that I work with on a daily basis. The one thing that inspires me most about them is we all possess a very similar mindset in which collaboration over competition is most valuable. At the end of the day, we all know that each one of us is there to help raise the other up when they are having a down days, as well as celebrate the wins on the up days.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
When working in a creative space, creativity and motivation flows when you have a healthy mindset. Believe it or not, I find it fun to time-block time out of the day to focus on mindset and every work. Here are the ways I treat myself to “fun” at work:

  1. Brain Dumping & Journaling: There are hundreds of thoughts that run through my mind on a daily basis. I have recently become aware of brain dumping in which I need to allow myself a window to where I just right out all of my thoughts, ideas, etc., in a journal. This allows for more creative expression to avoid draining emotions and/or weighted lethargic feelings when it comes to taking on new initiatives or projects.
  2. Following a more strategic mindfulness and meditation routine; preferably in the mornings to jumpstart the day. Allowing myself to sit in silence to clear the mind while centering my energy flow, brings more holistic energy without needing to reach instantly for the coffee. It is a great way to release energy blocks I may have built the day before to start a new day fully refreshed and revitalized.
  3. Scheduling a massage at least once a month to release built up tension in the muscles and to relieve the pressures of working at a desk hours on end. Plus, how could you go wrong with lying on a comfortable bed with soothing music and aromatherapy tinkling your senses for 60-90 minutes?!
  4. Making more time for yoga. Similar to meditation and/or getting a massage, this is a great way for me to tune into the energy flows I experience each day and to release control of the ones that do not serve me. I’ve noticed that when I do yoga frequently, I am able to understand my thoughts better in which aids in better communications with clients, colleagues, and what I need to transcribe from a content basis within the work I create.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Some of the key challenges I face with my business is managing all the hats I have to wear. Not only am I the publicist, marketing manager, and client relations director, but I am also the sales associate, the payroll specialist, and accountant, the brand manager… You get the idea.

One of the biggest focuses I have right now is getting the point where I can begin to delegate the aspects of the business that are outside of my zone of excellence and begin establishing my core “team.”

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
One of the biggest lessons I learned from a past project is the challenges that can come when you try to offer so much for so little. As a new business owner, it is easy to get caught up in the “scarcity” mindset of taking of projects just to have a small increase in pay. What I have learned to focus on is knowing the worth of the services we offer and building the packages in a way that is bulletproof in what scope of work will be offered at a fair market price.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Stay consistent, persistent and do not take on work or projects just for work or revenue. Take the time to vet and nurture the process to attract and obtain the right clients and projects for you and your business.

Secondly, make sure to have your services and offering streamlined before you begin pitching yourself to new potential clients. I highly advice working with a business advisory group or association to build a roadmap as to what types of packages you need to offer, where you are going to find your ideal clients/customers, and how to target them effectively and efficiently.

Working with an advisor has help shifted my mindset as to what appropriate actions I need to take in order to scale and grow my business. I worked with an advisor about 2 and a half years into my business, but I would advise to focus on this as one of the very first steps before you get started. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for additional tips and tricks to help get you started!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Website: http://brandesso.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brandesso/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brandesso/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandessoSD
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brandesso

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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