Ashley-Lauren Elrod, is a 27 year old visionary woman. Born in Chicago, Illinois she has always planned and prepared to give her best to other people. She is a god-driven woman whose only hope is to be a light in this world and bring other VISIONS to life. Read our interview with the lovely Ashley-Lauren below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always been driven to give back to other people. Creating Visionary Women Productions, and the Warrior Movement are my ways of doing just that. It helps me to connect to the world with projects that mean something, and that are personal for my clients and listeners.
Tell us about your business.
My whole brand is about bringing your VISION to life. People without vision can perish, and my job is to help others realize their true potential and discover what their vision is and how to execute it. Whether it be your fresh modeling portfolio, upcoming tour, casting for a show, wedding, family portraits, or business consultations. I provide one-on-one quality time to ensure your vision is executed efficiently and beautifully.
Where is your business based?
Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I’m currently running a holiday promo! All sessions $150 for a 30 minute session. Headshots, comp card, or family portrait.
- Make-up and styling included
- Full gallery of session with no seal
- 5 edited shots
Promotion ends January 1st, 2017. You may book your session via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I first started Visionary Women in college, my junior year to be exact. It started off as a collaboration with a few other talented ladies. I executed several collabs and helped everyone to network which eventually turned into a successful start to a business! I had no idea what I was doing, haha, all I knew was God gave me this gift to truly see things differently when it came to executing a production for someone’s life! First step was collaboration, second, locking down the business name my mom came up with, and third, starting off with photo sessions and creating a genuine, comfortable atmosphere for our clients.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Honestly, word of mouth! Social media is good to a point but when people hear good reviews from past clients to use you, that takes it to another level in my eyes.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge thus far has been finding a good balance for my company in regards to clients. Everyone wants a “deal” no one wants to pay for the high quality business owners spend hours providing. It causes you to question yourself over and over until you book clients who get it, and know the work that’s put it in, and honor that and your business. Overall, I’ve had an amazing experience with all of my clients that have booked, which makes letting the others go less tainting.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’m honestly still learning everyday! I consulted with many successful business moguls who evaluated my work, and had ecstatic feedback. They helped me learn that I need to believe in the prices I set for the quality of work I provide and the extensive experience I have. To not let it slide to the wayside to make someone happy, because most likely those clients you fall for end up being the most difficult and unappreciative. I learned the hard way – but I learned!
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I pray to be honest and keep God at the center of everything. I’m a full-time artist, waking up with a yearning to make a difference every single day. I personally believe and know that it’s not on me or about me, it’s about being a light in a world that so desperately needs it. God has blessed me through many excruciating times personally and professionally, to be a blessing. No matter how dark times get, I remember what I’ve gotten through because of Him and hold onto that to make it through the next time.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
There are a lot of companies out there with production, photography, consulting, etc. I didn’t just want to be that, I wanted people to walk into my studio and FEEL something. Positivity flowing through the air, fresh scents of comfort, and a genuine person coming to the door that actually wants to CONNECT with them and not their pocketbook. I want to know that person, and want them to get the best out of working with me. If it’s not the best dang experience for them, and if we’re not staying in touch after, I didn’t do my job. All of my clients I’ve had thus far I’ve stayed in contact with and I’m happy that I’ve built professional relationships with all of them.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Trust in the assignment you were given.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
It’s not a competition. We’re trained to think that but I’ve always been busy finding people to collaborate with and build something with. It’s gotten me a lot further than trying to do it all on my own. Take it easy, meet some like-minded people, and don’t treat your business like it’s life or death. You need to have fun with it, have a plan, and if it’s meant to be it WILL BE.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I don’t have one specifically. My biggest tool is research. I love reading business articles from all types of magazines, books on entrepreneurship, and scanning through all of the amazing blogs and posts out there. I have found SO many awesome connections via Instagram. I’d say that’s my go-to for a lot of networking!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @vwawproductions @ashleylaurenofficial
Facebook Visionary Women Productions and AshleyLaurensMusic
Hashtags #warriorrebirth #heartofawarrior #vwawproductions #visionarywomanchicago
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“You are the One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose” by Kute Blackson.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Business structure and strong clientele.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Currently, I am working on so much with my music and speaking engagements which is whole other aspect of my business. It balances out well with casting for projects, photo sessions, and more with Visionary and my goal is to focus on that, BALANCE. My other goal of course is to work on new branding to build a wider client base which I strive to achieve through a few workshops and meetings I have lined up with other professionals.
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