There comes a day in our lives where we all become adults and say “so now what?” We pictured ourselves having our dream jobs right out of school, moving into our own places, and establishing a foundation for ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy today. We hope that reading success stories of other people our age will inspire us, give us ideas of a direction to go and bring us to our own success stories. You may not take the exact same steps as the people who inspire you, but it at least gives you the motivation to keep pushing forward. So for all of you needing some inspiration today, I would like to introduce you to one of my friends from high school, Ashley Wilson.
1. Briefly introduce yourself, your age, and current position.
My name is Ashley Wilson. I am 23 and am the owner of Everest & Co. an online boutique based out of Nashville, TN.
2. When you left high school where were you picturing yourself today?
I was supposed to be directing music videos in Nashville. My dream out of high school was to go to film school and then move to Nashville and work on country music videos. I probably wouldn’t actually be directing the music videos at 23, but I definitely wanted to be at a production company and be on set.
3. You were working for Universal Music Group in Nashville, was it hard leaving that job to pursue your own business?
It was a very hard decision for me. I felt like I was raised at UMG. I interned for 4 semesters under the same supervisor who became my mentor and I eventually moved into her role when she left the company. I spent some time working in the mailroom which built my character more than I ever thought possible. And then I worked in the publicity department and that’s where I strengthened my relationships and realized my self-worth. I created the best relationships at UMG over the 3 years I was there and the hardest part was leaving the people. The work was a normal entry level job of paying invoices, booking travel and a few really cool events mixed in. That I don’t miss. The people though made it hard. Everyone was so supportive when I left that it broke my heart to leave everyone. I spent more time with them during the week than I did my family and boyfriend. UMG was also the end goal for me in my mind. That was my dream company and my dream job until I found a new dream. Once I found a new passion it wasn’t as hard for me to leave because I knew there were bigger and better things ahead for me.
4. A lot of people our age would say you took a risk in creating your own company, did you feel it was risky when pursuing it?
I created Everest & Co. on the side of my full-time job because I felt a lack of ownership of my skills and work. It didn’t feel risky to me at first until I thought about leaving a job with benefits and a steady paycheck to focus on it full time. There were parts that were risky like the start-up expenses and not knowing if it would succeed or not, but I also focused on the positive. In my mind, if I do something I dream big with it. I see myself 10 years from now having a successful business, a killer team that I work with and a happy and fun lifestyle. That’s the dream and that wasn’t going to happen if I stayed complacent and stayed comfortable. After getting over the fact that I might not have the best benefits or a steady paycheck, I honestly felt like it was riskier to not pursue my company full-time. I didn’t enjoy my life like I should as a young twenty something and I ultimately didn’t feel challenged or satisfied. Best decision I have ever made.
5. What inspired you most along your journey?
The more research and connections I made in the entrepreneurial world, the more I realized that that was where I was meant to be. The female entrepreneurs around me greatly inspired me. My family and boyfriend’s support inspired me to not let them down and really go for it. I think the possibility of creating something and a brand out of nothing that helps women feel amazing is the best inspiration out there.
6. What advice would you have for the people who may feel discouraged or might not meet the “required experience level” to land their dream job?
I’m a huge believer that anyone can be taught any task at any level, but it is the personality that matters. That’s not how a lot of businesses work. I was discouraged that I would have to “climb the ladder” for 10+ years to really make a difference and be in charge. So I cheated the system and jumped to the top by creating my own business. Being a business owner isn’t for everyone, but I wasn’t going to punch the clock in the hopes of possibly moving up one day. If you are right out of college and are wanting a job that you need more experience for, apply for it. Get an interview and convince them why they can’t operate without you. Don’t go apply for an SVP role somewhere and expect to get it, but have confidence in yourself and your abilities. You might have to take an entry level job and put in a few years in order to climb the ladder, but don’t let “experience required” scare you away.
7. If you could go back to the day you graduated high school, what advice would you give yourself after knowing what you know now?
Stop eating so much pizza your metabolism is going to slow down. Learn how to wear makeup correctly. Be confident. Everything doesn’t have to happen according to your plan. You’re going to find happiness from within and live in the moment.
8. You have always been someone that set goals for yourself. What are your goals now and where would you like to see yourself years from now?
I have some goals for my company as in sales and traffic etc., but my main goal is just to do my best every single day. I want to be a better human today than I was the day before. I see myself running a successful company and have some amazing people added to my team. I’m honestly living the dream right now and would love for my life to continue like it has.
Ashley’s company website: https://www.everestandcompany.com
Featured image via everestandcompany.